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AN ACCOUNT OF THOSE WHO SUFFERED
IN THE SEVENTEENTH
FROM 1600 To 1660
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS IN THE SEVENTEETH
[After the preceding, sixteenth century closed with the burying alive of Anneken van den Hove, in the year 1597, the following, seventeenth century commenced, not without threats, and the shedding of the blood of the pious witnesses of the Lord.
The first year of this century begins with a decree (though not unto death), published by those of Groeningen and Sneeck against the Anabaptists.
Huybert op der Straten, Trynken his wife, Pieter ten Hove, and Lysken to Linschoten, near Witgensteyn, for the afore mentioned faith, led around the gallows, scourged and banished from the country, in 1601.
Hemes Nimrich, a teacher of the aforementioned people, and others, four years subsequently, namely, 1605, near Steyn, scourged out of the city, Hemes having first been led through under the gallows.
Marcus Eder and Hans Poltzinger apprehended on the 24th of April, of the same year, at Nimbach, in Bavaria, and on the 26th of the same month taken to Riet; and, for the steadfastness of their faith finally put to death with the sword, and burnt with fire, on the 26th of August, A.D. 1605.
Hans Landis beheaded in the city of Zurich; further observations touching the circumstances of his death; for the year 1614.
An account respecting a certain prohibition published by those of Aerdenborgh against the Anabaptists, and what was done by the Lords States General of the United Netherlands for the abolishment of the same.
An extract from certain letters of said Lords States to the Lords of Haultain, Governor of Sluys, as also to the bailiff and magistrates of Aerdenborgh, for the cessation of the oppression began A. D. 1619.
A decree of those of Deventer against the Mennists or Anabaptists, A. D. 1620.
A note touching severe slanders against the Anabaptists in Holland, and how they, by a certain con
fession of faith, defended themselves before the States of said country, A. D. 1626.
The inauguration of the last Swiss persecution, as also the cause of the same, A. D. 1635.
The progress of the inauguration of said persecution in the castles Wadischwyl, Knonow and Groeningen, as also in the consistory, at. Zurich, A. D. 1636.
Concerning said persecution, and the manner in which twelve brethren were apprehended, and imprisoned in the place Othenbach, at Zurich, as also how it terminated, A. D. 1637.
Hans Meyli, Sr., and his son's wife conducted to Zurich and imprisoned A. D. 1638.
This year (1639), fruitful of martyrs and martyresses, many having suffered in prison, at Zurich, in body as well as in life; an account of whom is given in order, namely, Catharina Mulerin; the four sisters, Barbara Meylin, Ottila Mulerin, Barbara Kolbin, and Elizabeth Meylin; as also, Elizabeth Hilzin; the brethren, Hans von Uticken, Burckhardt Aman, Jacob Egly, Ully Schedme, surnamed Schneider, Jacob Rustenhel of Horgerberg, Stephen Zehender of Byrmensdorf, Ulrich Schneider, with his two sons, Henry Gutwol of Lehnmer, Hans Jacobs Hess, as also his wife.
A certain manifesto published by those of Zurich in excuse of the persecution commenced, answered and refuted by the persecuted; in the aforesaid year 1639.
Werner Phister, and his son's wife, as also Callus Schneider, Rudolph Bachman, and Ulrich Muller, put to death in the year 1640, at Zurich, in the prison Othenbach.
A supplication of those of Amsterdam to the council of Zurich, for mitigation of the persecution; as also the answer, A. D. 1642.
Felix Landis (the son of Hans Landis) dies of hunger and want in prison Othenbach, A. D. 1642; his wife delivered out of her bonds.
Rudolph Suhner, a young lad, follows in the footsteps of the aforesaid Felix, and also dies of want, A. D. 1643.
A number of women suffer much for the truth, namely, Elizabeth Bachmanni, Elsa Bethezei, Sarah Wanry, Verena Landis, Barbara Neff, and Barbly Ruff, about A. D. 1643.
Henry Boller dies bound in prison, A. D. 1644.
A certain letter from Switzerland, touching the threats made by those of Berne against the Anabaptists in those parts, A. D. 1645.
Mention is made, A. D. 1650, of a decree published by those of Schaffhausen against those called Anabaptists.
A certain mandate proclaimed against the Anabaptists, three years later, namely, 1653.
Ully Wagman and another brother, both imprisoned; Ully dies A. D. 1654, while the other brother remained in prison long afterwards.
A certain letter from Mackhenheym, in defense of the brethren persecuted in Switzerland, sent to Amsterdam, A. D. 1658.
Seven teachers apprehended at Berne, namely, Ully Bogart, Anthony Hinnelberg, Jegly Schlebach, Hans Zaug, Ully Baumgartner, Christian Christians, and Rudi Peters. See year 1659.
A decree published by those of Berne, against those called Anabaptists, on the 9th of August, A. D.;1659.
A record of what the Lords States of the United Netherlands did with those of Berne,_ for the mitigation of the aforesaid decree, by letters of recommendation, as also of letters of recommendation of some Dutch cities in particular, for the same purpose; A. D. 1660.
Herewith this whole work, and consequently the whole Book of Martyrs, is abridged and concluded.
This century will be brief, and extend not over much more than half a century. Neither will the martyrizations that occurred in it be so severe as those in any of the preceding centuries. Beheading people, or suffering them to die of want in prison, will be the severest punishments that were inflicted according to the body upon the following witnesses of the Lord. In the meantime, when the north wind of persecution began to blow its fiercest, according to the course of the times, the pleasant south wind of rest and liberty from persecution intervened. The most, however, mischief in this brief century, in the parts of Zurich and Berne, was caused by such as called themselves Reformed; others, who bore the same name, and especially the rulers of the United Netherlands (as being friends of peace, and enemies of constraint of conscience), opposed it, and kindly and in a fatherly manner protected the innocently persecuted ones, according to all their ability.
This work begins with Groningen and Sneeck in Vriesland, and ends with Zurich and Berne, in the confines of Switzerland. This is the order which we shall follow.
OF A DECREE PUBLISHED BY THOSE OF GRONINGEN
AND SNEECK AGAINST THE ANABAPTISTS,
A. D. 1601
With the beginning of this century, when the constraint exercised by the papists upon the faith and conscience of the pious, began to cease somewhat, some who had separated from popery, and yet nevertheless retained the disposition of the papists, in the matter of oppressing others for their religion, poured out their bitterness not only upon those who had formerly oppressed them, but principally upon such as had never done them evil, but always good; however; not unto death, nor severe punishment of the body,. but lighter and lesser penalties, of which those of Groningen and Sneeck were the inventors, and inaugurators. Which decree, as far as it is directed against the Anabaptists, we shall copy literally.
The burgomasters and the council make known: Whereas it has come to our certain knowledge that not only many in the city and in the jurisdiction of the same presume to exercise and practice, contrary to the treaty sworn to and made with the city, A. D. '94, another religion than the Reformed, to the adulteration of the Word of God, to the misuse of His holy sacraments, and to the offense and seduction of many persons; but that also nearly all disorders and abuses in and without the marriage state, and also others contrary to the Christian church regulations established and customary here, creep in and are practiced; and we by virtue of our office recognize it our duty to meet and check all this with proper penalties: therefore, we have ordained, and do ordain and decree by these presents, as follows
Firstly, that the exercise of all other religions than the Reformed is herewith again strictly prohibited.
And if any one be found to allow his house or place to the Anabaptists, contrary to the church regulations of this city, for the purpose of preaching or holding meetings therein, he shall each time be fined ten dollars.
The preachers, as aforesaid, if found to be preaching, shall for each offense be fined ten dollars, or be imprisoned two weeks on water and bread; and when detected in thus preaching the third time, shall be expelled from the city or the jurisdiction of the same.
And all that shall be found attending such preachings or gatherings, shall each time be fined two dollars.
Whoever shall be found to have rebaptized any one, shall be fined twenty dollars; and when detected the second time, shall be imprisoned on water and bread, and expelled as aforesaid.
Again, unbaptized children shall not receive inheritance, according to the city statutes.
No one also shall be admitted to any administration or office, public or private, nor be accepted as a witness, except he render the solemn oath required for it.
And all that refuse such oath shall be punished as a witness, except he render the solemn oath required for it.
And all that refuse such oath shall be punished as is proper according to law.
(NOTE. Here follow two other articles, which do not properly belong to this matter; hence we have omitted to place them here; but proceeding we read thus:)
As regards the disposing of the aforesaid fines, one half shall go to the informer, and the other half, like other fines, fall to the city and its jurisdiction.
* Let no one take offence at the words of this decree; for we desired to give them unchanged.
Thus resolved on the 5th of September, to be published by the bell on the ensuing Monday.
The aforewritten, touching the exercise of religion, was published by the bell, the 7th of September, 1601, old style.
See Chronijck van den Ondergang, edition 1620, page 1539, col. 2, compared with the apology of the decree, letter A., fol. 4; also, Tegenberacht, letter A., 3, 4.
Whether this decree by those of Groningen and Sneeck caused any serious oppression, then or about that time, by way of banishment or the like, to those baptized according to Christ's ordinance, we have not been able to learn; but that they afterwards in those places proceeded much more severely than the decree justified, by hard imprisonment, etc., against those people, we have found only too much to have been the case; however to the great good and happiness of those who suffered this for the testimony of the Lord and His holy truth.
Moreover, said year did not end without the shedding of blood of the saints, and the spoiling of their goods, in the parts of Witgensteyn, as will appear from the following account.
FOUR PERSONS, NAMELY, HUYBERT OP DER STRA;
TEN, TIJNKEN HIS WIFE, PIETER TEN HOVE,
AND LIJSKEN TE LINSCHOTEN, NEAR WIT;
GENSTEYN LED AROUND THE GALLOWS,
SCOURGED, AND BANISHED FROM THE
COUNTRY, A. D. 1601
In the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and one it occurred that Johann von Steyn, Count of Witgensteyn, Lord of Hamburg, being a member of the Calvinistic Church, purposed to abolish the Romish and Lutheran doctrine, and at the same time laid his hands on the defenseless sheep of Christ, which were contemptuously called Anabaptists, and put them in prison.
Among these are mentioned by name, Huybert op der Straten, Trijnken his wife, Pieter ten Hove, and Lijsken to Linschoten, which latter, as we have learned, was an aged woman of over seventy years.
The first three mentioned were imprisoned twelve weeks, the latter seventeen days, she having been apprehended much later.
They suffered much temptation, by way of bitter threats as well as by entreaties, in order to cause them to apostatize; but when they (the persecutors) could not destroy their souls, or cause them to apostatize or depart from the truth all four were finally condemned upon a false accusation (namely, that they had been convicted with the holy Scriptures, which was altogether untrue, and that they would nevertheless continue in their deceptive heresy of Anabaptism, etc.) in this manner
That all their property should be forfeited, and that each should be scourged with rods, to the number of about forty stripes, and moreover be forever banished from the country; which was accordingly done.
Thus, say the authors, they stripped these innocent, pious persons, led them around the gallows, and scourged them, spoiled them of their property, and shamefully drove them forth with empty hands, and sent them out of the country. See preface to the old Of f erboeck, o f the year 1615, letter iij, Col. 1.
HEMES NIMRICH, A TEACHER OF THE ANABAP;
TISTS, TOGETHER WITH SEVERAL OTHERS,
SCOURGED OUT OF THE CITY, FOR THE TES;
TIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, HEMES HAV;
ING PREVIOUSLY BEEN LED THROUGH
UNDER THE GALLOWS, A. D. 1605
Under the afore mentioned Count of Steyn (or Witgensteyn) in Germany, though he was called Reformed, the Anabaptists also at this time, had to suffer much persecution for their faith.
A teacher of said faith, named Hemes Nimrich, was apprehended together with several others. "He was led to the gallows," writes P. J. Twisck, "not knowing but he was to be beheaded; but when he arrived there, he was (as had been done to the preceding persons) led through under the gallows, and severely scourged; the other prisoners were scourged out of the city." Chron. van den Ondergang, page 1590, Col. 2.
MARCUS EDER AND HANS POLTZINGER, A. D. 1605
On the 24th of April, A. D. 1605, two brethren, named Marcus Eder, a cartwright, and Hans Poltzinger, a tailor, were apprehended for their faith and for the sake of the divine truth, at Nimbach in Bavaria, where they were traveling through and were betrayed. Early in the morning on the 26th of April both were taken prisoners to Riet, where they remained in confinement until in the fifteenth week. In the meantime they dealt with them in many and various ways, seeking to make them apostatize from the faith. Two Jesuits were also brought to them from the town of Oting, who were to instruct them, and teach them their faith. But they continued firmly and steadfastly in the true faith, and would not hearken to the voice of strangers. The priests at Riet often came to them, and wanted to persuade them to their faith; but the brethren said: "It is a faith of idolatry and fornication, a faith of sin and blasphemy, as the fruits testify." And thus they did in no wise suffer themselves to be moved, but always defended themselves well according to the truth and the simplicity of Christ, concerning what God had made known to them; and thereto they would adhere unto the end; and though they, by God's permission, should deprive them of their lives, they could not harm their souls.
Now when all the false doctrine of the priests could accomplish nothing with them. they gave them over to the executioner that he should try his skill on them, and had them twice very cruelly tortured, wanting to know of them, who had lodged them, and who they were to whom they wanted to go; the brethren however would not tell them, but said that it was not necessary for them to know.
Now when they could in no wise accomplish their purpose with them, there came, after much proceeding, an order from the government at Berckhausen, that they should be executed with the sword, and then burnt with fire.
When they arrived at the place of execution, Brother Marcus requested the executioner, that he should first execute Hans, which he also did; and when this had been done, Marcus said to the people, of whom there were many present: "God be praised, my brother has overcome; and I will do likewise." After these words Br6ther Marcus was also beheaded, whereupon both were burnt together. This occurred on the twenty sixth day of the month of August of the aforesaid year. The executioner had received orders, that if he should perceive that one of them wanted to recant, though he should already have drawn forth the sword, he should yet forbear and not proceed with it; but in this hope they were disappointed. Thus these two brethren testified to the faith and the divine truth valiantly and steadfastly unto death, with their blood; God, who gave them power and strength thereto, be praised and thanked forever.
The following brief account, which is found in the Chronijck van den Ondergang, page 1590, Col. 2, will serve as a confirmation of the foregoing.
In the year 1605 (says the writer), on the 24th day of April, Marcus Eder and Hans Polzinger, Anabaptists, were apprehended for the faith, at Nimback, in Bavaria, and taken prisoner to Riet, where they remained in confinement until the fifteenth week.
When they could neither by the Jesuits, nor by the priests, move them from the faith, they gave them over to the executioner to try his skill on them, and had them tortured twice very cruelly, wanting to know of them, who had lodged them, and who they were to whom they wanted to go; but the brethren would not tell them. Thereupon both of them were executed with the sword, and their bodies burnt together, on the 26th of August, of the same year. Compare the afore mentioned chronicle with Jac. Th. Oal., and W. Att. letters.
HANS LANDIS, A. D. 1614
That the bloody constraint or dominion over the consciences of men still obtains, is a sad thing, and especially is it to be deplored, that those who boast of being, more than others, followers of the defenseless Lamb, have not more the nature of the lamb, but much rather that of wolves in them. It certainly cannot stand as an excuse, that such a course is conducive to the maintenance of purity of the church; but it appears to be a hot zeal to weed out the tares (or what thev iudLye to be tares): whereas the servants of the lord, when their zeal urged them to root out the tares, did not venture to do it; but asked permission, and when they were forbidden to do it, they forbore. If these would also ask, or examine the law book of their Lord, they would find there, that the Shepherd does not teach His flock to devour, but sends them as sheep among wolves; that it is also not His will, that the erring should be destroyed, but that they should be .guided into the true way; and that He also does not desire the death of the sinner, but that he should repent and live. And many other similar doctrines, all of which tend to the salvation and not the destruction of men. But it is very evident that there is still a veil before their hearts, so that they cannot understand this; or that a frantic zeal has inflamed their hearts to such bloodthirst, that they cannot tolerate it, that any one should walk the way to heaven in any other manner than just as they have chosen it, and in which they want to compel every one to walk, as was seen in the year 1614, at Zurich, in Switzerland, in the case of a pious witness of the divine truth, named Hans Landis, a teacher and minister of the Gospel of Christ, who had gone up the river Rhine, where he had his place of residence, to feed and refresh with the Word of the Lord some souls that were hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
When the council at Zurich learned of this, they, instigated by the disposition of the envious scribes and Pharisees, could not tolerate this, but instantly caused it to be forbidden him, as though they had thought thereby to hinder the true progress of the word of the Gospel. But he, who knew with Peter, that we must obey God's commands more than the commandments of men, had such love to the truth, and to the young sucklings on Zion's breasts, that no human threats could induce him to forbear feeding them with the true food of the soul. Hence the enviers of the same apprehended him, and sent him ironed from Zurich to Solothurm, to the papists, expecting that he should forthwith be sent to sea or upon the galleys; but through the help of goodhearted people he was there released; but subsequently apprehended again and taken to Zurich, where he was rigorously examined concerning his doctrine, and when he would in no wise desist from his godly purpose or from his faith, they showed in him, that their decree of eighty four years previous was not yet forgotten, neither had the spirit of it died of old age; for, according to the import of the same, they sentenced him from life to death, and hence, in the month of September of the aforesaid year, 1614, for the sake of the truth he was beheaded as a true follower of Christ. Which they nevertheless would not acknowledge, but pretended, and persuaded the common people, to deceive them, that he was not punished and put to death for his religion, but for his obstinacy and disobedience to the authorities.
In this they evinced their old nature of Pharisees; who, when they condemned to death the innocent Lamb, the Saviour of us all, did not say that it was for His virtuous doctrine by which He converted man to God, but that He had to die for His blasphemy. And this is the nature of all tyrants, to heap upon the innocent, besides sufferings and death, also false accusations. But when the last day of judgment shall come, when they must also expect and shall receive a sentence for their inconsiderate sentences, and shall lament in amazement: "Behold these whom we once had in derision, and a proverb of reproach, how are they now exalted"; then they shall too late repent of their wicked course, and lament it forever with gnashing of teeth.
But on the other hand, this pious martyr and witness of God, and all the righteous that are still under the altar and wait for the fulfillment of the number of their brethren who shall also make their robes white in the blood of the Lamb, shall receive a glorious reward, and shall then together, in shining raiment, with great boldness, as valiant heroes and confessors of Christ, with the wise virgins, be admitted by the Bridegroom to His marriage, where they shall enjoy eternal happiness, and possess the kingdom of the Father, prepared for them from the beginning. Amen.
FURTHER OBSERVATIONS TOUCHING THE PERSON
AND DEATH OF HANS LANDIS
Having through our good friends B. Louwr and H. Vlaming come into possession of a certain extract from a letter dated, A. D. 1659, July 19-29, from one of the preachers at Zurich, who witnessed the death of the afore mentioned martyr, we have deemed it well to add it here, that is, as much of it as is necessary to be given here for fuller information.
"Further you remember," he writes, "that Hattavier Salr. witnessed the beheading of Hans Landis, which I also still remember well, having seen it myself in the Wolfsstadt, the whole transaction being as fresh in my recollection, as though it had happened but a few weeks ago."
Continuing, he speaks of his personal appearance and the manner of his death, saying.
"Hans Landis was a tall, stately person, with a long black and gray beard, and a manful voice.
"When he, cheerful and of good courage, was led out, by a rope, to the Wolfsstadt (being the place made ready for his execution), the executioner, Mr. Paull Volmar dropped the rope, and lifting up both of his hands to heaven, spoke these words
"'O that God, to whom I make my complaint, might have compassion; that you, Hans, have come into my hands in this manner; forgive me, for God's sake, that which I must do to you.'
"Hans Landis comforted the executioner, saying that he had already forgiven him: God would forgive him, too; he well knew that he had to execute the order of the authorities; he should not be afraid, and see that there was no hindrance in his way.
"Thereupon he was beheaded. After his head had been struck off, the executioner asked: `Lord bailiff of the Empire, have I executed this man rightly according to imperial law and sentence?' Otherwise it was customary to say: `This poor fellow,' etc. As though he believed that he died saved and rich.
"The people were of the opinion, that the executioner by dropping the rope meant to indicate to Hans that he should run away, it was also generally said: that if he had run away, no one would have followed him, to stop him." So far the aforementioned extract.
Further Statement. It is also appropriate to give here what has been stated to us through credible testimony, namely, that when the aforementioned Hans Landis was standing in the place of execution, to be put to death, his dear wife and children came to him with mournful crying and lamentation, to take a last and final adieu and leave from him. But when he saw them, he requested them to go away from him, in order that his good resolution and tranquillity of heart for the death awaiting him might not be disturbed or taken away by their weeping and grief; which having been done, and he having commended his soul into the hands of God, the quickly descending stroke of the sword put an end to his life.
OF A CERTAIN PROHIBITION PUBLISHED BY THOSE
OF AERDENBORGH AGAINST THE ANABAPTISTS,
AND WHAT WAS DONE BY THE LORDS STATES
GENERAL OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS
FOR THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE SAME,
A. D. 1615
Also at Aerdenborgh in Flanders they began to put into execution various means for the oppression of the Anabaptists who resided there and had escaped the claws of the Romish wolf, the cause of which was a certain prohibition emitted by the bailiff and the council of said city; in which said people in the first place, were refused liberty in the practice of their religion, insomuch that they were not allowed to assemble for this purpose, neither in the city, nor within the limits of its jurisdiction.
Thereupon there began they to afflict these innocent and defenseless people, not only with heavy fines, but also with arrest and imprisonment.
This sad beginning would, to all appearance, have culminated in greater mischief to the aforesaid people, had not their High Mightinesses, the Lords States General of the United Netherlands, who had received information of this, opposed it with a certain mandate, whereby those who were the cause of said oppression were prevented from proceeding with the execution of their aforementioned prohibition, and on the other hand, liberty of religion was granted to those that were oppressed. The contents of the afore mentioned
mandate are as follows:
The States General, etc., to the Bailiff, Burgomasters and Judges o f Aerdenborgh.
Honorable, etc.: We have learned with surprise, that contrary to our resolution announced to Your Honor by our order by the clerk, Jan Bogaerd, you still hinder the members of the community called Anabaptists or Mennonists, residing in Aerdenborgh and the parts under its jurisdiction, in the freedom of their assembling and the exercise of their religion in Aerdenborgh, and trouble and oppress them, by prohibiting their assembling, by arrests, and fines.
Whereas we desire that the aforesaid members of the community belonging to the Anabaptist persuasion be allowed to enjoy just as much freedom, with all quietness and modesty, in their mind, conscience, assembling, and exercise of their religion, in Aerdenborgh as is the case every where else in the provinces, cities, and places of the United Netherlands, without any contradiction or resistance, except that you may exercise an oversight over their gatherings, as far as they deem it well, and that they, to this end, may inform you every time that they desire to assemble. Hence we command you, to govern yourselves precisely in accordance with this, to the better maintenance of tranquillity, peace and unity in the aforesaid city; without causing the apprehension or execution of the aforesaid members for any fine or contravention, because of previous gatherings. Upon this we shall rely, and, etc. Given this 1st of May, 1615.
This agrees with the minutes preserved in the rolls of their High Mightinesses. Signed,
FURTHER OBSERVATION, A. D. 1619
When the aforesaid mandate had been drawn up, and properly delivered by order of their High Mightinesses, the hope was indulged in that it would be obeyed, and thereby the peace desired accomplished, but through the intervention of envious and malevolent persons this hope was frustrated; for it was sought, notwithstanding said mandate to find cause whereby the liberty of the afore mentioned people might be annulled justly as it were, and their peace disturbed.
To this end served, or at least was used, a certain ordinance decreed in July of the year 1619, by order of the Excellencies lords in power against certain individuals. Though this ordinance had no reference whatever to the Anabaptists, yet their assembling and religious worship was prohibited; hence they again addressed themselves with humble supplications to the High Mightinesses of the United Netherlands, to the end that they might be delivered from this disturbance of their peace, and freely permitted (as had been ordained before) to practice their religion; whereupon followed another mandate to the governor of Sluys, and the bailiff and magistrates of Aerdenborgh, it read as follows
The States, etc., to the Lord o f Haultain, Governor of Sluys and the adjacent parts, , as also to the Bailiff and Magistrates of the city of Aerdenborgh.
Noble, august, honorable, dear, particular: We here send you the adjoined request presented to us in the behalf of the members of the community called Mennonites or Anabaptists, residing in Aerdenborgh who complain that they are disturbed in the free exercise of their religion which we have granted them in the aforesaid city; you doing this under the pretext of the decree emitted by us on the 3d of July last; whereupon we have deemed it necessary to advertise and explain to you, that it is not our intention that the supplicants be comprehended in the aforesaid decree of the 3rd of July, but that the supplicants shall retain, enjoy, and continue in, said freedom in the exercise of their religion, in Aerdenborgh, even as they have previously had and enjoyed. Hence we charge you, to govern yourselves in accordance with this, without further troubling the supplicants, as that they have to follow our previous concession and resolution. Hereupon we shall rely and commend you into the high protection of the Almighty. From the Hague, the 16th of November, 1619.
This agrees with the minutes preserved in the rolls of their High Mightinesses. Signed,
REMARKS AS TO WHAT FOLLOWED HEREUPON
After this second mandate there followed in the aforesaid city and its jurisdiction the hoped for peace, at least so that we have learned of no noteworthy disturbance or obstruction of religion.
Meantime the mischief broke out again in other places, especially at Deventer, though also from those professing the Calvinistic doctrine; insomuch that the authorities of said city, instigated by certain bitter and malignant persons, endeavored, through a certain edict containing divers punishments against the Anabaptists, to abolish the gatherings of those professing that belief; an account of which we shall forthwith give.
OF AN EDICT OF THOSE OF DEVENTER AGAINST
(AMONG OTHERS) THE SO CALLED MENNONISTS
OR ANABAPTISTS, A. D. 1620
When the year sixteen hundred and twenty, after the birth of Christ had come, the aforesaid magistrates emitted an edict, not only against the Romanists (from whom they had formerly suffered persecution themselves), but also against the Mennonites or Anabaptists, who had always shown themselves peaceable and friendly toward and among them, whereby they prohibited, among others, also the assemblies of the Anabaptists, yet not on pain of death.
That this may be well understood, we shall correctly copy the edict; as far as it is directed against the Anabaptists, and present it to the impartial reader.
The magistrates of the city of Deventer prohibit all citizens and residents of their city; that no Mennists, etc., shall hold any secret or open assembly or meeting where any preaching . ~ .* marriage, or any other exercise of religion is practiced; under whatever pretext the same may be done; on pain that those who shall be found to practice it shall forthwith be banished from the country forever; and every person that shall be found at such a place or in the assembly shall forfeit the upper garment and twenty five guilders in money; the second time, the upper garment and fifty guilders; the third time, to be punished arbitrarily. And he that lends his house, for the purpose of holding such gatherings, forfeits a hundred guilders; the second time, two hundred guilders; the third time, he shall be banished forever. See Chron. van den Ondergang, Book 17, for the year 1620, etc., page 1825, col. 1.
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward Gad endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps. I Pet. 2:19-21.
OF SEVERE SLANDERS AGAINST THE ANABAPTISTS
IN THE PROVINCE OF HOLLAND, ETC. (TO IN;
STIGATE TO PERSECUTION) , AND HOW
THEY DEFENDED THEMSELVES TO
THE STATES OF SAID COUNTRY,
ON THE 8TH OF OCTOBER,
A. D. 1626
In the meantime men did not cease to slander and speak evil of the doctrines of the Anabaptists; especially about the article which they confessed concerning God, as also touching the incarnation of the .Son of God, etc., even as though they advanced the most absurd, yea, ungodly opinions in regard to it; which was done, in order, if possible, to cause a persecution of these people, even in the midst of the Netherlands.
For this occurred in such a way, that also the high magistrates and States of the country were exercised with regard to it; who, to get full information about this matter, gave orders to divers churches. of the Anabaptists, to make a uniform confession touching the afore mentioned articles, anti to deliver the same to their noble High Mightinesses.
To this. the afore mentioned Anabaptists were
" That which is left out here concerns the religion of the papists; hence we have omitted it. not averse; inasmuch as they composed these articles in writing, and delivered them, on the 9th of October, A. D. 1626, to the deputies of the Court of Holland. The contents thereof were as follows
Of the only God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
We believe from the heart, and confess herewith according to the testimony of the Word of God, that there is one, only, eternal, almighty, merciful and just God (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 19:17; Ps. 90:2; Isaiah 40:28; Rom. 16:26; Gen. 17:1; Ps. 103:8; Philippians 2:4; Dan. 9:7), and none other (I Corinthians 8:4, 5), to whom there is none like (Ex. 8:10; Isa. 46:9), whose greatness is immeasurable, and His form indescribable, II Chron. 6:18; Job 11:8, 9. Before whom, above whom, and beside whom, there is no other, Isa. 43:11; Deut. 10:17; 32:39. Who is of Himself that He is, Ex. 3:14. To whom all things that are owe their existence, Gen. 1; Ps. 146:6; Acts 14:15. Who is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, Rev. 21:6; Isa. 41:4. Who knows, sees, and hears all things, Ps. 94:11; I John 3:20; Ps. 33:13; 94:9. Who alone is good, and the fountain and source of all good, Matt. 19:17; James 1:17. Wherefore to Him, blessed be He, belongs and must be given all divine honor, fear, love and obedience (Ps. 29:1; Luke 2:14; Deut. 10:12, 20; 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Jeremiah 11:7), which may not be shown to any other, neither to angels, nor to men, nor to any other, whether they be heavenly or earthly creatures, Rev. 19:10; Acts 10:26. For He will not give His glory unto another, neither His praise to idols, Isa. 48:11, 42:8. But although God in the aforesaid manner manifests and makes Himself known in general by His Word: yet by the same word He also shows Himself distinctively and separately, as, namely: That there are three that bear record in heaven, I John 5:7. Not three gods, but one Father, one Word or Son, and one Holy Ghost, even as this was shown, when the Lord Christ was baptized (Matt. 3:16); and is also taught in the words of Christ, where He commands His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 28:19. So that therefore, according to the Word of God, the Father is the true Father of the Son (Matt. 7:21; 10:32, 33; 16:17; Mark 14:36; John 17), from whom the Son proceeded in an incomprehensible manner from eternity, and was born before every creature. Micah 5:2; Col. 1:15. Hence the Son is also the true Son of the Father (Ps. 2:7, 12; Matt. 3:17; 17:5 ), so that also the Father, as far as He is the Father, is not the Son, John 3:16, 17; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4. That likewise the Son, as far as He is the Son, is not the Father, John 16:28; Rom. 5:10. But that herein the Father is another than the Son, and the Son another than the Father, John 5:32, 37; 10:25, 29; 15:24. That also the Father and the Son, as far as they are Father and Son, are not the Holy Ghost. That also the Holy Ghost, as far as He proceeds or is sent out by the Father, in the name of the Son, is another than the Father or the Son. But as far as the Father is God, eternal, uncreated, but the Creator of all things, with many other divine attributes, herein we believe that the Son and the Holy Ghost are one with the Father, to whom one and the same title of God, in the highest significance, honor, service, and obedience, belongs.
However, the manner, how and wherein Father, Son and holy Ghost are three and also one, we do not think that God has so fully revealed to us in His Word; that also all the knowledge of it is not necessary to salvation, since it is a high or deep mystery, which here in this life can be known but in part, as if seen through a glass darkly, I Cor. 13:12. The perfect knowledge and true contemplation of which, is hoped for by faith, in this life, but will only hereafter, in the life eternal, be fully known. I John 3:2. Wherefore deep investigation of this matter, beyond or above the Word of God, is more subtilty than Christian simplicity. The terms, o f one essence, trinity, three persons, invented in former times by the ancients, we avoid, because they are unknown to the Scriptures, and because it is dangerous, in naming God, to use other words than those of the holy Scriptures. By the words, three beings, or three in one being, previously used by Jaques Outerman, as also by some of our teachers, we understand nothing else than what is comprehended in this our preceding confession.
Of the incarnation of the Son of God
We believe and confess, that God, willing to show His very great love to the human race (who through sin had fallen into death and into much corruption), and to perform by the deed His gracious promises made to the fathers (Gen. 3:15; 12:3; 22:18; Deut. 18:18), sent to this purpose His only (John 3:16), dear (Luke 9:35), and beloved Son (Matthew 3:17), who was from eternity (Heb. 1:2), by whom all things were created and made (Col. 1:16; Heb. 1), into this world (John 3:17; 1 John 4:9), who gladly obeyed the will of His Father (Ps. 40:8: Heb. 10:7), and came from above (John 3:31; 8:23), from heaven (3:13; 6: 62), came forth from His Father (16:28), leaving His divine glory (17:5), form (Phil. 2:6), and riches (II Cor. 8:9), descended (Eph. 4:9), came into this world (John 16:28), so that the virgin Mary, by the power of the Most High (Luke 1
35), conceived Him (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:7), so that also the same, and no other, was born of her (Isa. 7; Matthew 1:25; Luke 1; Gal. 4:4). For although Mary bore the Son of God in another form, than in which He was with the Father before the foundation of the world; yet it is nevertheless the same, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, Micah 5:2; Isa. 9:6. For the Word or Son became flesh. John 1:14. Yea, He that was like unto God, became like another man. Phil. 2:7. The Son of God appeared in the form of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), and God was manifested in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16), so that the second man Christ is the Lord Himself from heaven. I Cor. 15:47. Hence that which the apostles saw in Christ, with their eyes, heard with their ears, and handled with their hands, was of the Word of life; so that they saw that eternal life which was with the Father. 1 John 1. For God brought His first begotten Son into the world, whom all angels and men must worship. Heb. 1:6; Phil. 2:10. And when we thus believe, we have in our favor the testimony of God and of all the righteous, who with one accord unanimously exclaim: that this visible man Christ is the Son of God (Matt. 3:17; John 1:2; 9:37; 11:27; Matt. 16:16; I John 4:10; 5:5), who dwelt among men (John 1:14; Zech. 2:10; Bar. 3:37), and whom the high priests, because He confessed Himself to be the Son of God, also condemned to death. Mark 14:64; John 18:35. For, not knowing Him, they nailed the Lord of glory, that is the Lord from heaven, to the cross. I ~Cor. 2:8; 15:47. There the Son of the living God suffered (Heb. 5:8), whom God did not spare (Rom. 8:32), but delivered Him up for the life of the world (John 3:16; I John 4:14), to the most ignominious death of the cross. Phil. 2:8. There the Son of God shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 20:28; Col. 1:14; I John 1:7; Rev. 1:5); He by whom God made the worlds, by Himself purged our sins. Heb. 1:2, 3. He was buried, and the third day was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. I Cor. 15:12; Acts 3:26; Rom. 6:4; I Thess. 1:10. He ascended up to where He was before. John 3:13; 6:62; 16:28; Eph. 4:8; I Tim. 3:16. He is sitting there at the right hand of the Majesty of His Father (Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3), whence He shall come in the clouds of heaven, to judge the quick and the dead. Matt. 24:30; Acts 10:42; Rev. 1:7.
The final cause of the sending, advent, incarnation, and suffering and death of the only begotten Son of God in this world, was to save sinners (I Tim. 1:15; Matt. 18:11), or to reconcile the sinful world to God the Father, John 3:17; I John 2:2; II Cor. 5:19. Hence He is also the only foundation (I Cor. 3:11), the only door to the Father (John 10), the only way to eternal life (John 14: 6), and the only meritorious cause of justification (Acts 13:38; Rom. 3:24), and of eternal salvation; for there is salvation in no other, as the apostle Peter says, neither is there any other name under heaven given among men, whereby they must be saved, than in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12. To Him be praise, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
This was subscribed by twenty ministers of the Anabaptists (who are all well known), in the name of their churches; as of Amsterdam, Haerlem, Leyden, Delft, Rotterdam, Dergoude, Schiedam, Bommel, Blockzijl, etc.
This confession of faith, concerning the articles about God and the incarnation of the Son of God, etc., having been delivered to the deputies of the Court of Holland, produced satisfaction with their high excellencies, and hence the establishment of greater peace and liberty for the Anabaptists in said country, although to the dissatisfaction of those who, through bitterness, had first endeavored to disturb their peace, and, if they could have succeeded to cause an oppression or persecution of them.
NOTE. Just in time two manuscript tracts, in the Swiss language, were sent to us, both of them having been sent before this date, from the Swiss parts, to divers churches of our fellow believers, but principally to those of Amsterdam, at the request and in the name of some of the oppressed brethren; also in general, of the ministers and elders of the church in the Palatinate and Alsace.
The first was written and completed on the 15th of September, 1645, and bears the signature of Jeremiah Mangold.
The second, in the month of February, 1658, by M. Meyli.
These two tracts, both of them written with one design and purpose, and sent to us, shall aid us in the carrying out of the work we have undertaken; namely, to extend the history of the holy martyrs who suffered for our common Christian faith, to this our present time, and bring it to a completion.
In order to do this in the best manner, and to bring these matters (which in one tract are described very diffusely, and in the other, very briefly, and sometimes abruptly), into a convenient form or shape, we shall not grudge the labor of treating them from their first rise, and to follow up the matters chronologically (though they are described indiscriminately), and to indicate each time, in order that no error be made, as to which tract from which we have taken it.
OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE LAST SWISS PERSE;
CUTION; TOGETHER WITH THE CAUSES OF
THE SAME, 1635
The blooming rose of the church of God, in the Swiss countries, had now for about twenty one years enjoyed tolerable peace; for it appears, that the thorns which before and about the year 1614 had grown up over it for its oppression, were satisfied with the blood of the last named Hans Landis; until, in the year of our Lord 1635, the old hatred of the misnamed Reformed broke out again in those parts, and principally in the city of Zurich, which, already one hundred and ten years previously, namely, A. D. 1525, in the time of Zwingli, when their church was but five years old (as was shown fol. 80. col. 2), had commenced with public decrees against the Anabaptists.
This originated principally in the conversion of a certain influential, rich, and respected man in the city of Zurich, named Henry F., who being chosen ensign by the authorities there, found his soul troubled with anguish and distress, and became unwilling to be used in the war, in which he was now to serve; hence seeking advice with the church of the defenseless Christians or Anabaptists, he entered into the convent, and forsaking war, was there accepted through baptism, and recognized as a dear brother of said church. This through the instigation of the learned there, was very illy received by the authorities in the afore mentioned city; the more so, since he continued to live undisturbed on the borders of their territory, and this right opposite their adversaries, namely, the Roman Catholics.
Thereupon it followed that the magistrates issued a command, that all the Baptists (who contemptuously were called Anabaptists) should have to go to church with them and attend their worship, if they wished to retain their liberty.
But when they could not do this with a good conscience, and hence refused to comply with it, the magistrates, incensed at this, towards the close of the year 1635, caused many of them to be arrested, all of whom, with the exception of three, escaped (since the prison was not strong) and fled from the hands of the persecutors. The other three, however, namely, Rudolf Egli, Uhbi Schmied and Hans Muller, remained, and were each separately imprisoned, in the council house, where they persevered about twenty weeks, amidst much conflict, adversity and temptation, inflicted upon them in order to make them apostatize from their faith.
But when they in no wise wished to apostatize, and their adversaries could accomplish nothing with them; inasmuch as they indeed promised, if they should be released, to render their authorities, as they had previously done, all proper honor, subjection, and taxes, but that they would in no wise go to their church, nor attend their worship (which was the principal point); they were enjoined, that they, in order to come to a resolution, should deliberate and advise with their brethren; wherefore they, provisorily, were released from their imprisonment and bonds for a month's time.
Afterwards, when they, according to the charge given them, and their promise, returned, and could still not consent to or follow with a good conscience that which the authorities demanded of them touching their religion, they were again confined in prison.
But when, as before, their good resolution and firm faith could not be changed, they were finally again released upon the afore mentioned condition, but afterwards, having proved what they had to expect, they did not again appear before them without safe conduct. But all these things were but the beginning of sorrows. Compare Tract, Jer. Mang. after the preface, fol. 1, A., with Tract, M. Meyl%, fol. 2, A.
PROGRESS OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE AFORE;
SAID LAST SWISS PERSECUTION, IN THE CASTLES
WADISCHWYL, KNONOW, AND GROENINGEN, AS
ALSO IN THE CONSISTORY AT ZURICH, IN
THE YEARS 1636 AND 1637
In the following year, namely 1636, on the 17th of March, also on the 17th of August of the same year, and also on the 8th of September, and towards the close of the year, but finally, in May of the following year, 1637, nearly all Anabaptists, brethren as well as sisters, in the parts of Switzerland, but principally, in the territory of Zurich, were summoned before certain persons, political as well as ecclesiastical, whom the authorities had delegated thereto.
First in the castles Wadischwyl, Knonow, and Groeningen, where they all had to make known their names and surnames, which were written down.
The second time, again in the same castles, where they were informed: That they should conform to the common mode of worship in the churches; which they refused.
The third time, at Zurich, in the consistory (however not all, but only some), where they disputed with them about three articles of religion, namely, about baptism, the Supper, and church discipline, or evangelical excommunication; so that when they had declared their views touching these points, as also concerning the whole foundation of their faith, and asked the committee, whether one could not be saved with such a faith; they received for an answer: "Yes, one could be saved with it." However, in the evening, this having occurred during the day, they were again greatly reviled, reproached, and threatened with regard to their faith; for, as the proverb says: "When the fox's skin does not reach, they use the lion's pelt."
The fourth time, again in the same consistory, where it was told them that they should indicate all their movable and immovable property; with the promise that not one stiver should be taken therefrom; which they candidly did and declared; hence all their property was written down and registered, and they were then put in arrest.
The fifth time, again in the afore mentioned castles, to which end a letter of safe conduct was given them. Here they were asked, what they had resolved as regards conforming to the common worship, etc., which they had been enjoined to consider; whereupon a letter from the high bailiff, by the order of the high authorities, was read to them, which contained that if they would not go to church, and therein obey the authorities, they should be imprisoned in certain places, and have to expect no mercy.
In the meantime the aforesaid brethren and sisters frequently requested permission to leave the country (namely, with their property), but consent was never granted, only two things were offered them, of which they might choose one, namely,
(1) that they should have to go to church with them; or, (2) that they should have to die in the prisons in which they were to be confined.
The first they would not promise or consent to, and hence had to expect the second.
This is the manner of the proceedings that preceded the last persecution of the believers in Switzerland. Jer. Mang., Tract, fol. 2, A. B.; also, M. Meyli, fol. 3, A. B.
OF THE AFORE MENTIONED PERSECUTION ITSELF,
HOW IT OCCURRED, AND IN WHAT MANNER
TWELVE BRETHREN WERE APPREHENDED,
AND IMPRISONED AT ZURICH, IN THE
PLACE OTHENBACH (WITH SOME
CRIMINALS); AND HOW IT
THEM, A. D. 1637
After the afore mentioned proceedings of the Swiss authorities against the true believers in those parts, had taken place, and said believers could not answer according to the former's pleasure, since their consciences did not feel free to do so, the afore mentioned authorities, especially those of the city of Zurich, in the month of May, 1637, sent out their beadles in great numbers, who with raging and storming, cursing and swearing, cutting and chopping, even as ravening wolves among a flock of sheep, violently entered the houses of the believers, and took with them nearly all that they could get, sparing none; young and old, men and women, those enceinte, and mothers with infants, well and sick; among whom twelve brethren are especially mentioned by name, in the writings of the friends from Zurich; all of whom were imprisoned in the city of Zurich, in a very damp prison, called Othenbach, with some criminals; where much grief, vexation and misery befell them, solely for the steadfastness of their true faith. Some of them, who could not endure the severity of the imprisonment, the lack of food, and other hardships, died in bonds; some, however, escaped, by the help of God, unknown to the authorities, through the prison being opened, without doing violence to their faith; which matters will be treated more clearly and circumstantially in their proper place. Compare this with Jer. Mang., fol. 3, B.
NOTE. In the year 1637, in the month of May three brethren, the names of two of whom are Jacob Rusterholtz and Peter Brubach, were summoned to a certain place and kept prisoners, by the high bailiff of Wadischwyl. There was also imprisoned at this time, Hans Landis the second, a confirmed minister of the church in Horgerberg; as also his daughter, Margaret Landis, who remained imprisoned about sixty weeks in Othenbach. In the meantime the authorities sold their property, realizing seven thousand guilders from it, which they kept for themselves.
Again, one Rudolf Egly, who two years previously, namely, 1635, had been imprisoned with two other brethren, in the council house at Zurich, but had escaped, was now, A. D. 1637, again imprisoned, his house destroyed, the children driven out of it, and everything sold; from which there was realized about five hundred guilders, which the authorities also took into their possession.
Afterwards his wife, Martha Lindingerin, was apprehended and confined at Othenbach, in a very damp prison. For a time she was very harshly treated, and also severely tempted in regard to the common money belonging to the poor of the church, of which her husband had charge; for she was conducted into the torture chamber, and the executioner sent for and placed beside her, and she was threatened with severe pain and torture, if she would not indicate it.
In consequence of this she weakened, and gave the desired information, whereupon she was released, and the property of the poor saints seized, amounting in money and notes to about two thousand rix dollars.
But when her spirit, as it seems, could not rest, and she bewailed this with great sorrow, she was, a considerable time afterwards, again apprehended, and imprisoned in Othenbach; but was, with a good conscience (by breaking out), on the Friday before Easter, with others of her brethren and sisters, delivered from bonds.
Compare both tracts, viz.: Mangold and Meyli.
NOTE. In continuation, we shall now show from the first mentioned tract of the Swiss elders and ministers, what persons, as far as we have learned of them, were apprehended during this persecution, as also how it terminated with them.
HANS MEYLI, SR., AND HIS SON'S WIFE, ABOUT
THE YEAR 1638*
In the Knonow Bailiwick, the persecution, at this time, broke out with great violence, so that at one time about thirty thief catchers** entered, as by storm, the houses of the Anabaptists and defenseless Christians, made many watch fires, raged and stormed, broke open doors and windows, ran with bare swords through the houses, and afterwards drank and rioted worse than soldiers.
Among others there was also vehemently assailed the house of an old man, named Hans Mevli, a minister of the church, who himself had been imprisoned in the year 1637; but now they also took along his son Martin's wife, notwithstanding she had an infant at the breast.
She was bound hard, and confined in the convent prison called Othenbach, fed for a long time on bread and water, and very severely treated, in order to cause her to apostatize; but she continued steadfast in all her temptations, and was ultimately,
* The exact time, when this occurred, is not mentioned by the writers; but we find, from the circumstances, that it was about the year 1638.
** There were with them two preachers (says the Swiss author), who went along with the thief catchers and helped them.
through the grace of God, wonderfully delivered from bonds. Subsequently, being enceinte, she was again apprehended, and taken to the council house at Zurich, thence to Othenbach, and finally into the hospital, and there made fast to a chain, until the pains of travail came upon her, when she was loosed from her bonds, and seeing an opportunity for deliverance, once more escaped the persecutors' hands. See Tract of the year 1645, by Jer. M., fol. 4, B. and fol. 5, A.
NOTE. The authorities laid their hands also on the property, movable a's well as immovable, of the old man, and realized from the sale of it fourteen thousand guilders, all of which they kept for themselves, without making any restitution.
NOTE. On the 3d of May, A. D. 1639, the two sons of the afore mentioned Hans Meyli, namely, Hans Meyli, Jr., and Martin Meyli, together with the wife of this Hans Meyli, were apprehended and imprisoned at Zurich, where there was inflicted upon them, especially upon the men, much misery, vexation and harm, with fetters and handcuffs, as well as iron shackles, which were put upon them twice, in order to make them apostatize from their faith.
Their children, as poor, forsaken orphans, were put out among strangers, which, as may easily be supposed, must have caused no small sorrow and anxiety to the hearts of these imprisoned parents; nevertheless they remained unchanged in their faith, refusing to apostatize therefrom, notwithstanding their love to their afflicted children, to whom they could not come, until they, on the Friday before Easter, A. D. 1641, after three years imprisonment, together with others of their fellow brethren, were delivered, in an unexpected manner, from their bonds, keeping a good conscience. See Tract of the year 1645, by Jer. Mang., fol. 5, A. B.
CATHARINA MULERIN, A. D. 1639
The north wind of persecution rose now more and more in the Knonow district, which also appeared in the case of an old sister, named Catharina Mulerin; who having also been apprehended and taken to Zurich, had to suffer much there in prison, for the faith and testimony of Jesus Christ; but was afterwards (as the preceding ones), beyond all hope and expectation, released from bonds. Tract, Jer. Mang., fol. 8, B.
FOUR SISTERS, NAMELY, BARBARA MEYLIN, OT
TILA MULERIN, BARBARA KOLBIN, AND
ELIZABETH MEYLIN, A. D. 1639
The persecution did not cease with the foregoing; but they continued and laid their hands also upon four pious sisters, Barbara Meylin, Ottila Mulerin, Barbara Kolbin, and Elizabeth Meylin, who also had to drink out of the bitter cup of the dreadful Zurich prison; however, the Lord preserved them, so that they, unharmed in their faith, unknown to the authorities, unexpectedly also escaped from imprisonment and bonds. See the lastmentioned tract, fol. 10, A.
NoTE. We made mention, for the year 1635, of one Hans Muller, who, being imprisoned in the council house at Zurich, with two of his fellow brethren, was released for a month upon condition and then again imprisoned, and released the second time upon the same condition.
He was subsequently (about the year 1639, as the circumstances show) again cruelly persecuted; insomuch that even his neighbors and their houses were not spared, through which the thief catchers ran like ravening wolves on the track of a sheep; but when they came into his house, from which he had already escaped, they, with pincers and other instruments, broke open chests and drawers, in the hope that they might there find the property of the church or the poor.
These thief catchers, that night, threatened his little children, with bare swords, that they would kill them, if they did not show them where their father was.
When they could not get him, they took along his wife, whom they bound and imprisoned in Othenbach. Thereupon, it was proclaimed in church, that no one was allowed to lodge, or give food or drink to Hans Muller from the Groeningen bailiwick, on pain of severe penalty and the disfavor of the authorities.
Now when his life was made exceedingly hard to him, the bailiff in the convent of Ruti, in the name of the burgomasters and councilors of Zurich, sent to him a letter of this import, namely, that he should have a safe conduct for three weeks, to go and remain wherever he would; also that he might freely come to him in the convent, and, after they should have finished their conference, leave free and unmolested.
Thereupon he voluntarily, with sure confidence in the aforesaid promise, went into the convent; but when he could not consent to the bailiff's demand about his having to go to church, he was confined there, guarded day and night, and then taken to Zurich, imprisoned for a time in the council house, and then in Othenbach (that being the place where also his wife was imprisoned), where he was stripped, and kept a prisoner about sixty weeks; in which time he was in irons sixteen weeks, till he with the other prisoners finally, one Friday before Easter, unexpectedly made his escape.
Afterwards he was again hunted with mad fury, even as before, and driven from one place to another, so that he did not dare to live in his house with his wife.
In the meantime it happened, that his wife, having been delivered of twins, and lain in but eleven days, was surprised by ten thief catchers, who, having surrounded the house by night, entered it with this threat: that if she would not indicate her husband's hiding place, she should not leave the house for six weeks, or else she would have to go to church herself. But when she would not comply with this, two of the ten remained, and guarded her day and night.
This filled the woman with such terror that, seeing their design, she, on a certain very cold night, broke away with her two infants, and went a long unbeaten way, over hill and dale, and thus escaped the enemies' hands, forsaking all that she had, which the authorities rented to strangers, realizing thereby a thousand guilders annually. See ler. Mang. Tract, fol. 13, A.
ELIZABETH HILZIN, A. D. 1639
In the meantime they treated some far more severely and cruelly than the preceding ones; for they ceased not with mere imprisonment, but the people were suffered to die by sheer want, poverty and misery.
Among those that suffered death, there is numbered Elizabeth Hilzin, a God fearing woman and sister of the church, who having been apprehended, bound, and imprisoned in Othenbach, was there treated so harshly, that she, from that time on, had but few well moments.
Nevertheless no mercy or compassion was shown her, until she, in consequence of all the hardships suffered, wasted in body, and having surrendered her spirit, which she had received from God, back to Him, died. However, the second death shall not hurt her, according to the promise of the Lord
"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Rev. 2:11. See above.
NOTE. The authorities extorted a fine of five hundred guilders from the surviving husband of Elizabeth Hilzin.
Further observations. About this time, 1639, there was also apprehended a young man from Horgerberg, named Hans Aster. He was also taken to Zurich into Othenbach, fed an bread and water for a time, stripped in his bonds, etc., but subsequently helped out, through the assistance of some of his fellow believers.
When this occurred, he was so miserably crippled through the severe imprisonment, that he had to be carried a long distance in the night.
In the meantime, also his wife with her infant child was apprehended, and confined in Othenbach for a time, but subsequently, through divine providence, escaped the enemies' hands.
The authorities expelled the children into poverty, and sold their house and homestead (realizing from it about four thousand guilders), without restoring anything.
The parents had therefore to work hard for a living, having lost everything; but in this they trusted in God's promises. Tract, Jer. and Meyli.
HANS VAN UTICKEN, A. D. 1639
Like a sweeping tempest which strikes everything, and carries away whatever is loose, so it also went at this time in the matter of persecution. All that were called Anabaptists were taken along, wherever they could get hold of them. The district of Uticken wage had to suffer much in consequence of this. Among those that lived here, they also apprehended a pious brother, named Hans van Uticken,* surnamed Muller, who, in the year 1639, was incarcerated in the convent prison at Zurich.
There they fed him on water and bread, stripped him in his bonds, and treated him most unmercifully, until he, having continued therein two years, became very sick, and as sick as he was, was helped out of prison, through the assistance of some of his fellow believers, who, as it seems, feared his untimely death.
But when he was brought to his wife and children, and attained to rest, he died; however, with a joyful hope and glad soul, because the course of his pilgrimage (since he was not weakened in his faith and conscience) was now finished.
Thereupon his wife, because she had lodged her husband, and the children, because they had shown mercy to their father, had to pay to the authorities, a fine of forty pounds. Tracts, Jer. Mang., fol. 6, A., and M. Mevli, fol. 7, B., nun. 13.
NOTE. In the year 1639, the thief catchers of the city of Zurich, led by one of the ministers of the church there, who went before them with a light (a lantern, torch or candle) like maniacs and madmen, violently entered into the house of a pious brother, named Rudolf Hagi, whom they forthwith took prisoner and conducted to Othenbach, a damp and unwholesome prison of the city of Zurich.
Here he was stripped in his bonds, and kept confined for about eighty three weeks; during which time he, with other of his fellow believers, was fettered and chained for sixteen weeks.
In the meantime they searched hard for his wife, but for the first captured only her oldest child, which they threatened with iron bonds and handcuffs, if it would not show where its mother was. Afterwards they also found the mother, whom they imprisoned in Othenbach. They, however,
' The Swiss author calls this Hans van Uticken by the name of Hans Muller, but we have allowed him to retain the name Hans van Uticken, because he was by descent from Uticken wage; to distinguish him from Hans Muller who was descended from the Groeningen Bailiwick, and of whom we made previous mention, in the note added to 'he account concerning Barbara Meylin and three of her fellow sisters. When there was no deliverance at hand, subsequently, by a certain means, made their escape, together with their brethren and sisters that were also imprisoned, without apostatizing from the faith. Tract Jeremiah Mang., fol. 6, A., compared with M. Meyli, on the name Rudolf.
BURCKHARDT AMAN, A. D. 1639
Burckhardt Aman was a God fearing brother, who lived on the lake of Zurich. He was from there taken to Zurich, and imprisoned in Othenbach. But when his imprisonment had lasted about a year and a half, he, through a certain accident, unexpectedly was released, unknown to the authorities, keeping the faith in a good conscience.
But as in his bonds he had been maltreated very unmercifully and miserably, through many hardships and afflictions that he had suffered, not the least true Christian love or assistance having been shown him, it was impossible for him to live long; and he fell into a lingering sickness, and ultimately died, and was thus numbered among the dead in Christ, who have suffered and fought for His name's sake. Jer. Mang. Tract for the year 1645, fol. 20, A.
NOTE. About this time also two sisters, honorable women, were apprehended on the Lake of Zurich; who, after they had endured the trial of the faith, were released and delivered from their bonds. See Tract, Script., A. D. 1645.
JACOB EGLI, A. D. 1639
The misery of the beloved friends and children of God continued; insomuch that in the year 1639 they laid their hands also on a pious hero and soldier of Christ, named Jacob Egli, from the Groeningen Bailiwick. He was also taken to Zurich, and there imprisoned in the convent dungeon Othenbach.
Herein he persevered upwards of seventy weeks,* but was finally no longer able to endure, according to the flesh, the severity of the place and the bad treatment, so that he at last, when his strength failed more and more, and his infirmities increased, with a cheerful heart, commended his soul into the hands of God, and through death departed this life.
Thus he finished the course of his pilgrimage, and entered into the saints' rest, to triumph hereafter, where there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor pain; where all things shall be made new and turned into joy, according to the Lord's promise, Rev. 21:4. See Tract Jer. Mang., fol. 18, B.; also M. Meyli. Tract, fol. 7, A., num. 10.
NOTE A. D. 1639 there was also apprehended the Brother George Weber, an old man, from the county of Kiberg. The same was also taken to Zurich, into the convent Othenbach, and there fed on bread and water.
* A year and a half, one of the Zurich writers say.
Finally, through the hardships and long duration of his imprisonment, be became greatly impaired in his body, and fell into a severe sickness, after he had been confined there seventy weeks.
Afterwards, through some of his fellow prisoners, who opened the prison, he was released, but never again recovered his property.
As regards the homestead of this George Weber, as also that of Jacob Egly, the owners of the same must each annually pay therefor to the authorities five hundred guilders. Jer. Mang. Tract, fol. 19, A.
ULLI SCHEDME, SURNAMED SCHNEIDER, IN THE
The fire which the persecutors had kindled continued to burn, and their mad fury did not cease, until they had also apprehended a zealous and Godfearing minister of the church, named Ulli Schedme, surnamed Schneider, by descent from Hirtzenstal, in the seignioralty Wadischwyl.
In his imprisonment all manner of vexation and sorrow was inflicted upon him, in order to induce him to conform to the common mode of worship in the churches, and to turn him from his own with whom he had hitherto associated. But as he could not consent to this, and time passed on, he, because of the bad fare and other hardships suffered, continually grew weaker and weaker, till his soul left his body; and he thus, because of his faithfulness, became, through natural death, an heir of the eternal and blissful life; the full possession of which the Lord, at the last day, shall grant to, and make partakers, of, all those that have here faithfully and steadfastly served Him. Tract, M. Meyli, fol. 6, B., num. 4.
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." II Timothy 4:8.
JACOB RUSTERHEL FROM HORGERBERG, IN THE
In the year 1639, there was also brought prisoner to Zurich, Jacob Rusterhel, an old brother of the church at Horgerberg.
He was imprisoned in Othenbach, and they dealt very unmercifully, rigorously and cruelly with him; insomuch that he weakened, and consented to those that kept him in prison, to go to church; wherefore he was released.
But when he came to himself and considered what he had done; and what great offense should arise from it, he repented and very bitterly bewailed his fall, and again prepared himself very valiantly for the coming conflict.
Thereupon he suddenly became weak and sick according to the body, though full of divine power according to the soul, and kept quietly hid in his house.
However this could not remain concealed any longer; hence, being known, he was betrayed, again apprehended, and, as sick as he was, taken to Zurich, and, having been shackled with a chain, confined in the hospital there.
But as he could not endure this, and bodily infirmities came upon him more and more, he there departed this life, in misery, though with a joyful hope, waiting in blessed rest for the day of resurrection from the dead, which shall crown and comfort him and all true lovers of God, for all reproach and affliction suffered, with eternal honor and joy. Jer. Mang., Tract o f the year 1645, fol. 13; also, M. Meyli, Tract, fol. 6, B., num. 14.
NOTE. We have extracted this from the writing of the Swiss friends, of A. D. 1658, and it must be distinguished from that which is contained in the writing of A. D. 1645, concerning Brother Jacob Rusterholtz, who was imprisoned almost two years, and then with wife and child expelled from the country, leaving behind his property, from the sale of which the authorities realized 1700 guilders, without restoring anything of it. See Tract, Jer. Mangold concerning the name Jacob Rusterhel.
But if it is to be understood, that both accounts refer to one and the same person, so that the surnames Rusterhel and Rusterholtz are, only to be distinguished in the sound or spelling, and not in signification, it must follow, that said person was imprisoned only a few years ago, and then, when they could accomplish nothing with him, expelled from the country, and his goods seized and sold; but that he was finally again apprehended, and, when he, as before, remained steadfast, fastened to a chain in the hospital, until he died, having commended his soul to God. Compare both tracts, in the places which we have indicated.
STEPHEN ZEHENDER OF BYRMENSDORF, IN THE
On the 23d of September of the same year, 1639, there was brought bound to Zurich a God fearing brother, aged in years, named Stephen Zehender, a member of the church at Knonow, but by descent from Byrmensdorf. He was there imprisoned for sixteen weeks, in iron bonds, in the convent prison, a very damp and unwholesome place, called Othenbach, stripped in his bonds, fed on bread and water, and kept very hard in every respect, until he could stand it no longer, and, impaired in body, was befallen with severe misery according to the flesh, and ultimately with death, after he had with a patient and steadfast mind, commended his soul unto God. See Jer Mang., Tract, fol. 7, B., compared with the account of M. Meyli, fol. 6, B., num. 6.
NOTE. About this time an old sister named Catharina Grobin, lived concealed (on account of the persecution) with her daughter, in the Knonow Bailiwick; but the preacher of the church at Risterschwyl, knowing this, came and wanted to apprehend her, notwithstanding he was alone; the daughter, however, out of filial love, wanted to save her, but he (Oh, what cruelty from a preacher!) gave her such a thrust, that the pains of travail came upon her, and she was delivered of a dead child. In the meantime the mother escaped the hands of this ungodly man. Tract, M. Meyli, compared with that of Mangold, about the year 1639.
ULRICH SCHNEIDER, WITH HIS TWO SONS, IN THE
On the same day that Stephen Zehender was apprehended at Knonow, namely, the 23d of September, of the year 1635, they also seized, in the Seignoralty Wadischwyl, Ulrich Schneider, who was likewise (for his true faith, and because he would not go to the common church with his adversaries) bound and brought into the dungeon Othenbach.*
But when he had persevered here for a long time, lain in irons, and suffered exceeding much temptation, adversity and conflict (inflicted upon him, to make him apostatize), and, moreover, been stripped in his bonds, his bodily strength left him, and having committed his spirit unto God; he died in prison, thereby triumphing valiantly and courageously in the conflict set before him, without having weakened in his faith.
After the death of their father, his two sons were also apprehended, and imprisoned in the same place where their father had died; but the Lord granted them deliverance, so that they, when it was least expected, with a good conscience, through a certain means, unknown to the authorities, obtained their freedom.
In the meantime the authorities broke up this whole family, drove the remaining children among strangers, and sold the house and homestead, realizing therefrom 7,000 guilders, which they kept for themselves, but the cast out and forsaken ones joyfully bore the spoiling of their goods.** Tract, Jer. Mang., fol. 11.
HENRY GUTWOL OF LEHNMER, A. D. 1639
Two days and one month after the apprehension of the last mentioned witness of Jesus Christ, namely, on the 25th of October, 1639, there also died in the dungeon Othenbach, very miserably, however with a steadfast and joyful mind, Henry Gutwol, of Lehnmer, from the Knonow Bailiwick, after he had suffered much want, poverty and misery there; which painful and prolonged misery, upon which death ensued, shall hereafter, because of his steadfastness in the accepted truth, be returned to him in an eternal, joyful and triumphant life, according to the Lord's promise: "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life."
* Some say, into the convent Othenbach; others, into the dungerna; others, into the prison, etc., but it was evidently at Othenbach a famous prison in Zurich.
** They sold everything without restoring the proceeds to the poor, expelled orphans. How will they be able to answer for this in the great day of judgment, when the Lord shall come and inquire what mercy they have shown? Matt. .25.
Revelation 2:10. Compare both tracts, that of Mangold as well as that of Meyli; the one of A. D. 1645, the other of A. D. 1658, in the Swiss language, on the name Henry Gutwol.
HANS JACOB HESS, WITH HIS WIFE, A. D. 1639
Among those who suffered in the Swiss persecution, there was none of the least Hans Jacob Hess, a chosen and confirmed minister of the Christian church.
He was apprehended for the third time in the year 1639; for from the two preceding imprisonments, the first of which had occurred already, in the year 1637, the Lord, beyond all expectation, had remarkably delivered him, through the aid of those that were imprisoned with him; as also out of this third imprisonment. The first lasted nineteen days; the second, eight weeks; the third, eightythree weeks, or more than a year and a half.
But in the meantime his life was made very bitter and vexatious; for he was stripped, and, together with some of his fellow believers, put in iron bonds sixteen weeks, which he nevertheless patiently bore with a steadfast mind, until the time of his deliverance.
While this was taking place, namely in the same year, also his wife was apprehended, who was first imprisoned in the council house, and then in Othenbach, where, through bad treatment and unfit food and drink, for sixty three weeks, she was so impaired in her constitution, and weakened, that she was seized with consumption, and after suffering much misery, died in prison.
This then was the end of this pious heroine of Jesus, who, to receive the eternal, blessed life, because of the uprightness of her faith, chose to die a lingering death rather than enjoy the temporal rest and pleasure of this life; wherefore the gracious God shall hereafter crown and reward her, with all those that have valiantly suffered and fought for His name's sake, with the unfading crown of honor. (I Peter 1:4) Tract, Jer. Mang., fol. 16, A. B., and fol. 17, A., etc.
NOTE. The property of Jacob Hess was seized by the authorities, who realized from the sale of it 4,000 guilders, without restoring anything of it to those who remained. O great injustice! How will they be able to account for this before the righteous judgment seat of Jesus Christ?
OF A CERTAIN MANIFESTO, EMITTED BY THOSE OF
ZURICH, A. D. 1639, IN EXCUSE OF THE PERSE;
CUTION RAISED; AND OF THE ANSWER WHICH
FOLLOWED FROM THE PERSECUTED AS A
Now when it happened that in consequence of the foregoing evil treatment instituted against the Swiss Anabaptists, those who had commenced this, drew down upon themselves, even from the common world, much opposition, criticism, and reproach, the rulers of the country, and especially of the city of Zurich, as having been the principal ones in said ungodly work of persecution, caused, A. D. 1639, a manifesto, apology, or defense (so called) to be published, in excuse and vindication as it were, of what they had already done and brought about against said Anabaptists.
But as this in many respects, was not according to the truth, but, from partisanship, contrary to the truth, many of the Swiss brethren who were still out of bonds, yet in the same persecution, defended themselves with regard to it, with all proper courtesy in a Christian and discreet manner. We could produce here their answer entire and with all the circumstances, since we have received it correct; but as this would take up too much room, and unduly increase this work, we shall note only some of the most important portions from it.
In regard to the first accusation laid to their charge in the aforesaid manifesto, by the lords of Zurich, namely, that they had separated themselves from the obedience which they owed to the Christian church; they make this reply
"Herein, right in the beginning; great wrong and injustice is done us; for we desire in no wise to separate ourselves from the Christian church, but seek to adhere to the same and the pure Word of God, yea, to sacrifice our bodies, property and blood therefor; but the reason that we cannot unite with their (namely, the so called Reformed) church, is, that her doctrine in many respects is not like the ancient, pure, apostolical doctrine, nor does it agree with the words and commandments of Christ; and that we, through God's gracious illumination, have before us a better way, namely, the true apostolical foundation, to which, by the help of God, we will also adhere.
"But that nevertheless not we, but the principal learned men, and some of their own number, are those who, having in the beginning of the change held the right views with us, touching baptism, the Supper, excommunication, and resistance or revenge, afterwards again turned away from it shall clearly appear, when we shall rightly examine their first teachings and writings of a hundred years or more ago."
Hereupon it is stated in the same answer, what teachers in the beginning o f the Reformation taught the afore mentioned articles aright, from which they subsequently, and especially their descendants, again departed; which appears from these words:
Firstly, as regards baptism, this is declared by the conference of Zwingli and Balthazar Hubmaier, held A. D. 1523, at Zurich, in the Graef; where Zwingli publicly confessed: "That infants are not to be baptized before they grow up and attain to a reasonable age. He also promised that he should make mention of it in his Book of Articles; as he also did, in the eighteenth article respecting Confirmation, where he says
"That in former times it was not common to baptize children; but that they were publicly instructed together with the rest; who afterwards, when they had attained to their understanding, were called catechumeni, that is, instructed ones in the word,* whereupon, when the faith was thus firmly implanted in the heart, and they had confessed it with the mouth, they were `baptized."'
This practice of the doctrine, he said, he wished to see readopted in this our time.
Thus also confessed his colleague, Oecolampadius in a letter to the afore mentioned Hubmaier, saying: "We have up to the present day not met with any passages in the holy Scriptures, that cause us to confess the baptism of infants, as far as we in our littleness can see."
In like manner, on the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, treating on the word, Anignoratis, he writes: "That every Christian shall first confess Christ, and then be baptized with the external baptism (of water)."
So also writes Sebastian Holmeyster, preacher at Schaffhausen, to said Hubmaier: "We have publily confessed before the council at Schaffhausen that if our brother Zwingli in any wise insists (contrary to his previous opinion), that children are to be baptized, he herein greatly misses the mark, and does not according to the truth of the holy Gospel."
Continuing, he writes: "Truly, I did not allow myself to be compelled that I should baptize my child, who is named Zacharias, hence you also act in a Christian manner, that you bring to light again the true baptism of Christ; which has long been neglected or kept down. We will also undertake to do this."
Christopher Hogendorf, on the third chapter of the first Epistle of Peter, writes: "You have heard, that faith is put before baptism; hence it is not mere baptism, but also the faith of baptism, which saves us."
In like manner, Cellarius writes to the aforementioned Hubmaier, as follows: "Since you desire that I shall declare to you my iudgment concerning baptism and the Lord's Supper, I will heartily and briefly comply with your request
"In the first place it is an abomination in the eyes of God, that little children are baptized; which baptism is declared neither in the holy Scriptures, nor in the examples of the holy apostles; and there testify against it also God's judgments, which manifest themselves in the division of the created things; for in the beginning the earth was without form and void."
The preachers at Strasburg: Wolfgang Capitb, Cestor Hedio, Matthew Zell, Symphonas Polio, Theobald Niger, John Latonius, Anthony Firn, Martin Hatk, and Martin Bucer, in their book, entitled, Ground and Reasons, fol. 1, write: "That in the beginning of the church no one was baptized nor received into the holy Christian church, except those who had entirely submitted to the word of Christ."
* In the word of salvation, etc., it says: In the tract the order of the words is a little different, according to the Swiss style; however, the sense of the same is clearly expressed here.
Their ground and reason for such belief, they show from the holy Scriptures, namely, that they confess, that the beginning (before) of our Christian life is sin, and that therefore John the Baptist, Christ, and the apostles always began by saying: "Repent, etc." Again: "In the congregation of God confession of sins has ever and always been first, which, with the ancients, preceded baptism, for usually adults, and not children, were baptized."
Fol. 2 and 3, as also further on, they write: "That without the baptism of the Holy Spirit the water and (its) baptism are but a hocus pocus."
Concerning the article of War or Retaliation. In like manner, some of the foremost Lutherans (who in the beginning were one with the Calvinistic Reformed), and of the Zwinglians, believed with us that it does not behoove a Christian to war, or offer resistance. Among them we will first adduce Andrew Carlstadt, who, in a little book treating on whether men should forgive sufferings and offenses, printed at Zurich, A. D. 1524, writes as follows concerning resistance
"We shall not be misled by the objection made: War is a punishment of God; hence there must certainly always be one who wages war against another." Again: "They warred in the Old Testament."
In reply to the first he writes: "Hear on the other hand, what Christ says (Matt. 18:7) 18:7): 'It must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!' Hence some merit the disfavor of God, so that He punishes and torments them with war, but woe to him that wages war against them; for He (namely, God) punishes the evil with the evil."
Reply to the second: "The children of Israel waged war, either against sinful nations that would not allow them to go into the promised land, or against those, who, when they were in it, did not leave them in peace, and all this was a figure of the spiritual war, which we must now wage in Christ, as regenerated and new men, against all vice and unbelief."
Immediately after that he proceeds and writes: "They also bring against us this objection: That we must compel by force of arms those that will not allow that which is right."
Answer: "If we are to speak in a right and Christian manner of the matter, war in no wise becomes us; we ought, according to the teachings of Christ, to pray for those who say all manner of evil against us, and count us fools; yea, if they smite us on one cheek, to offer them the other also; then shall we be children of the Most High." Thus far, Carlstadt.
From Carlstadt the writer goes on to Luther, saying: "In a little book, printed at Wittenberg, in the year, 1520, Luther states why he burnt the pope's books. The twenty second, article thereof reads thus: `Because he teaches; that it is right for a Christian to defend himself with violence against violence; contrary to the words of Christ (Matthew 5:40): "If any man take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." ' "
In another book, also printed at Wittenberg, in the year 1522, there are found among other articles (which one Sorbona had extracted as heretical from Luther's books) also these: "That he (namely, Luther) had taught concerning the words of Christ (Matt. 5:39): `Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;' and again, (Rom. 12:19): `Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,' that these words are not advices" that is, which one may, or may not do "as many theologians erroneously teach, but that they are commandments" that is, things which must be observed.
Again: "Christians are forbidden to sue for their rights at the law." Again: "Since a Christian may not place his affection upon temporal things, he may also not swear an oath because of them."
In short: "We find that Luther for a considerable time was with mouth and hand opposed to resistance, till he was finally seduced to another belief, by the Jesuits even as Sleydanus, lib. 8, fol. 561, testifies." See the oldest edition.
A few pages further on the writer comes to speak of Pomeranus, Brentius, and divers others, who, about the years 1520, 1530, 1540, and subsequently, undertook the work of the Reformation from Popery, and also became effectual instruments in that direction; who nevertheless at that time taught not only against retaliation upon enemies, but also, besides infant baptism, the swearing of oaths, and other articles which are not founded in the holy Gospel of Jesus Christ; and, on the other hand, taught and defended such things as are founded therein, and are still at the present day taught by the Anabaptists; though some of the aforementioned reformers themselves, and especially their descendants, for the most part, again departed therefrom.
These and similar matters were, in said reply of the persecuted Anabaptists in Switzerland, given for examination to the lords of Zurich, and to those who had drawn up the afore mentioned manifesto in excuse of the persecution raised; as clearly showing that not the Anabaptists, but they themselves, had departed from the principles of the Reformation; that consequently not the Anabaptists, who had adhered to their principles, but the apostate reformed themselves, were to blame in this matter. Hence, that the authors of said manifesto had done wrong in charging the aforesaid Anabaptists with having separated themselves from the obedience which they owed to the true Christian church, only because they would not go to church with them, who are called Reformed, nor receive their religion contrary to their souls and consciences.
Besides this point of disobedience toward the church, the Swiss brethren were also charged in the aforesaid manifesto, that they were also disobedient to the political authorities, etc. But hereupon they, in said answer, roundly declared that this was unjustly said of them, yea, that they were willing and entirely ready to obey their authorities in all just matters, to pray for them, to pay them due tribute, honor and fear, and, though they should suffer wrong from them, in no wise to avenge it; but willingly and patiently to bear it for the Lord's sake.
These were about the principal points that were mentioned in the manifesto, and refuted by the persecuted brethren; the other matters are of small importance, and hence not necessary to be adduced here.
But they nevertheless proceeded with the persecution, and granted no mitigation, as will be seen from the following accounts
WERNER PHISTER AND HIS SON'S WIFE, IN THE
The progress of the years brought no cessation of the persecution, nor could aught of what was adduced by way of excuse avail anything. This was clearly evident, for the year 1640 had scarcely come when the Wadischwyl district began again to resound with persecution, insomuch that the servants of the authorities there assailed, with dreadful raging and storming, like howling wolves and bears, the house of an old and pious minister of the church named Werner Phister, beat doors and windows and all that was attached to it in pieces, and apprehended him and his wife, as also his son's wife, and brought them to Zurich, where they were imprisoned in the place Othenbach.
In the meantime the old man's wife by a certain accident escaped; but the pious old minister himself, as also his son's wife, when they would in no wise apostatize from their faith, nor go to the common church, had to forfeit their lives, insomuch that they were suffered miserably to die through want, poverty and hardships. But hereafter they shall no more hunger or thirst, nor be assailed by suffering or death; when the Lord, according to His promise shall reward and crown them with the eternal and blessed life. Tract, Jer. Mang., fol. 14, B, compared with Tract, M. Meyli., dated 1651, fol. 6, number 2.
NOTE. We previously, for the year 1637, made mention, in the margin, of a brother named Peter Brubach, who being then imprisoned with two other of our fellow believers, finally was released. The same was now, A. D. 1640, cruelly persecuted; insomuch that on the 6th of May his house was demolished, his male and female servants sent away, the children driven out of the house, his house, homestead, woodland and fields, movables and immovables, yea, everything taken; a part of which was put into Othenbach, and the other part sold, from which 9,000 rix dollars was realized, which the authorities seized. Not long afterwards the three little sons of this man were imprisoned in Othenbach, where they miserably wasted, etc. Tract, Jer. Mang.; edit. 1645.
GALLUS SCHNEIDER, A. D. 1640
A very old man named Gallus Schneider, from the Seignioralty Wadischwyl, was also apprehended in the year 1640, brought to Zurich, and there imprisoned in the convent dungeon (Othenbach).
He was kept in irons sixteen weeks, and very harshly treated, until he finally, when his faith had been sufficiently tried, and been found immovable, died in his bonds, having committed his soul unto God, from whom he had received it. Compare Jer. Mang. Tract, fol. 15, B. with Tract, M. Meyli, fol. 7, A., mum. 7.
NOTE. About this time, an old sister from Horgerberg, named Verena Albi, was also imprisoned, but subsequently, through a certain means, delivered out of bonds, but must still keep herself concealed. Tract, Mang., and Meyli.
RUDOLPH BACHMAN, A. D. 1640
Even as youth on account of the bloom of their life was not spared, so also not the least compassion was had upon old age and declining years; yea, not even upon such as were very feeble and infirm according to the body.
Among these was Rudolph Bachman, from the Wadischwyl district, who was apprehended in the year 1640, and as he on account of his great age, weakness and infirmity, according to the flesh, was not able to walk, he was put on a sled, and thus conveyed from his house to the prison, which was a great distance off.
Afterwards he was placed in chains for a time, in the nearest hospital, and, because of the steadfastness of his faith, not loosed therefrom till he died.
But for this he shall hereafter, being freed from the eternal bonds of darkness, be admitted into the liberty of God's saved children; on the other hand
"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity." Rev. 13:10.
Then it shall be seen, what difference there will be between God's true servants, and those that have afflicted them; for everyone shall receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. II Cor. 5:10. Compared with Tract, M. Meyli, dated 1658, fol. 6, B., mum. 3, etc.
NOTE. Now, in the year 1640, there was also apprehended Henry Schnebbi, from the Seignioralty Knonow, a God fearing brother, who was cast into prison with a number of criminals at Zurich, at whose hands he met with much ill treatment; however, he was finally released. Tract, Jer. M., etc.
In the year 1641, Hans Rudolf Bauman, a very God fearing man, and a minister of the Church of Jesus Christ at the Horgerberg, was also taken to Zurich, and there confined in the convent prison, where he was: very closely kept for over sixty weeks, and for a considerable time fed on bread and water, and put into iron bonds; in consequence of which he fell into a severe sickness.
In the meantime, on a certain Good Friday, through the aid of some of his imprisoned fellow brethren he escaped, but as he on account of his sickness, was not able either to walk or to stand, he was taken up and carried for a considerable distance, so that he escaped the persecutors' hands.
Thereupon his house and homestead were sold, and wife and children driven therefrom. From the sale was realized 3,000 guilders, which the authorities seized and kept for themselves. But the Lord shall render unto every man according to his righteousness, and according to his faithfulness. I Samuel 26:23. Compared with Tract, Jer. Mang., fol. 12, A., etc.
ULRICH MULLER, A. D. 1640
On the 31st of August of the year 1640, there was apprehended Ulrich Muller, a minister of the Word of God, in the country of Kiberg.
He was taken from there to Zurich, where he was confined in the council house, and a few days afterwards imprisoned in the convent dungeon at Othenbach.
Here they treated him most unmercifully for thirty five weeks, so that he completely wasted away, and, adhering to his faith, fell asleep in his bonds in great steadfastness.
After his death his children had to pay a fine of 100 guilders to the authorities on account of their father, who had, as it was thought, died as a heretic.
Compare both tracts, that of Mangold as well as that of Meyli, on the name Ulrich.
NOTE. At this time, A.D. 1640, there was also apprehended Oswald Landis, with his wife and two of his daughters in law, all of whom were imprisoned in the convent Othenbach; Jacob Landis, the son of Oswald, as also his entire family, were exiled into misery.
In the meantime the two imprisoned daughtersin law, who had nursing infants, escaped out of prison by night;, in which subsequently also the old man and his wife succeeded, but they had lost all their property, in consequence of which they had to roam about in poverty. Tract, Jer. M.
In the following year, 1641, they again apprehended divers pious Christians residing in the Seignioralty of Knonow; among whom are mentioned by name, Henry Fricken, and also Hans Ring and his wife.
Henry Fricken was confined in the council house of the city of Zurich, and so unmercifully treated, that he weakened in his purpose, and consented also to go to the common church, which was what they desired; whereupon he was released. But when he considered what he had done, and how he had done violence to his conscience, wronged his soul, and given offense to the Church of God, he fell into great distress, confessed his fall, and, with Peter, bitterly wept over his sin, and in order that his persecutors should no more rejoice over his apostasy, he went back to Zurich, into the council house, to be confined in the place whence he had been released, which was done.
In the meantime, by the order of the authorities, his two large farms were rented for 420 guilders and notes they took from him over 13,000 guilders; after which he was released, but again apprehended, out of which bonds he again escaped, but was afterwards, as before, sorely persecuted, while wandering about in misery and poverty.
Hans Ring also had to go to Zurich into the council house, and was then imprisoned in Othenbach, and closely guarded. He was conducted into the torture chamber, and twice stripped, near the rack, but yet finally, unweakened in his faith, escaped the tyrants' hands.
The wife of this Hans Ring, four days after having been confined, and being yet very sick, was unexpectedly so assailed and distressed by the magistrates' beadles, with furious raging and cursing, that she, in the attempt to save herself as it seems, unexpectedly fell into a gutter, where she could not be found or helped out for the time being; but afterwards, having been found, she was there fastened to a chain, and the people in the house commanded with severe threats, not to let her leave the house.
Finally, however, through the aid of some of her friends, she escaped by night, and, being very weak yet, was carried into another region. Compare Tract, Mang. with Tract, Meyli, on the names above referred to.
OF A CERTAIN SUPPLICATION ADDRESSED AND DE;
LIVERED BY THOSE OF AMSTERDAM, IN FEBRU;
ARY, 1642, TO THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
ZURICH, FOR MITIGATION OF THE PERSE;
CUTION RAISED; AND OF THE ANSWER
WHICH, IN JUNE OF THE SAME
YEAR, FOLLOWED THEREUPON, BY
THOSE OF ZURICH
The laudable magistrates of the city of Amsterdam, in Holland, having an aversion to the proceedings of their fellow associates at Zurich, on the 20th of February, 1642, through the urgent request of the Anabaptists, at Amsterdam, with regard to the distress of the Swiss brethren, sent an humble supplication to the burgomasters and the council of the city of Zurich, in order, if possible, to obtain some mitigation of the persecution commenced against the Anabaptists there.
This supplication having safely and properly arrived and been delivered there, could nevertheless obtain nothing in this direction, save only an unfriendly and irritating reply; which was drawn up by them on the 18th of June, of the same year, and sent to the good magistrates of Amsterdam, and consequently also to the Anabaptists there, accompartied by three of their previously emitted manifestoes of the year 1639, wherein, as we have noticed for said year, nothing but reproach and contumely (though without cause) was heaped upon said persecuted people.
We could here adduce this letter of the Zurich lords, as we have a correct copy of it; but as it contains nothing but unkindness and acrimony, without the least justice or information, and the following work sufficiently declares from what spirit it proceeded, we deem it unnecessary and unworthy, to accord it a place here; without, however, despising said lords, since we are commanded to love even our enemies, and to pray for them that persecute us. Matt. 5:44.
FELIX LANDIS, WITH HIS WIFE ADELHEID EGLI,
ABOUT A. D. 1642
Felix Landis (the son of Hans Landis, who, A. D. 1614, was beheaded at Zurich) was a pious and God fearing brother of the church in Horgerberg. He was apprehended, and imprisoned in Othenbach, in which place he was treated most unmercifully; for he was not given anything to eat for many days, so that even some criminals that were confined near him in another place, took pity on him, and with difficulty, managed to get some food to him, through an opening between them. But when the doorkeeper perceived this, he was put into another prison. Finally, however, they gave him some food; but he was so impaired in his body (through shrinking of his bowels, as it seems, on account of having suffered hunger so long), that he could not bear food any more, but prepared himself for death.
Yet in his greatest distress he was carried to church, during the sermon, where he, O dreadful inhumanity! was thrown under a bench; but he soon after gave up the ghost, which he had commended into the hands of God.
His wife Adelheid Egli, who was also imprisoned in Othenbach, was kept there almost four years.
In that time she was treated not only unmercifully, but also shamefully; they threw her into many a stinking corner, stripped her twice in her bonds, and for a time took away her clothes from her every night; however, she afterwards, with a good conscience, escaped from her bonds.
But in the meantime the authorities had broken up their family, put out the children among strangers, and then sold house and furniture, realizing from it 5,000 guilders, all of which they kept for themselves.
However the cast out and forsaken ones comforted themselves herein according to the words of the apostle: "Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and enduring substance." Hebrews 10:34. Compare Jer. Mang., Tract o f the year 1645, fol. 13, A. B., with M. Meyli, Tract, dated 1658, fol. 7, mums. 8.
NOTE. The time of the imprisonment and death of this martyr, and of the following ones, which we have fixed about the year 1642 and 1643, is not really expressed in the Swiss manuscript, but is inferred from the circumstances.
RUDOLF SUHNER, ABOUT A. D. 1643
They also apprehended a young lad, named Rudolf Suhner, who, though young in years, was old in the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
He was kept confined nearly two years in Othenbach, during which time he was forced to hard labor.
In the meantime they made his life so bitter to him, by severe threats and terrible representations, that he, through fear of the impending distress, consented to go to church with those that had imprisoned him, whereupon he was released. But soon after, reflecting on his fall, he experienced great sorrow, sincerely wept over his sins, and again prepared himself for the conflict set before him.
Thereupon he was again apprehended, and confined in the afore mentioned place, but kept much harder than before. For, for a time all food was denied him (even as had been done to Felix Landis), so that some criminals, who were confined close to him, filled with compassion on his account, poured to him some warm liquid food, through a crevice in the wall.
Finally, when in consequence of having suffered hunger so long, he was so weakened, that he could not live any longer, he requested once more, that they would, in his great distress, allow him a little warm food, which the jailer made known to the lords. This, however, they jointly refused to grant in order to cause him, if possible, to apostatize. But finally one of the lords, beholding his misery, gave permission that they should give him some thing to eat again. Which when it was done, he could eat or bear it no more, and thus died famishing in his bonds; for which the Lord shall hereafter, at His heavenly table, reward him with eternal satiation. "Blessed are ye that hunger now for ye shall be filled." Luke 6:21. Compare Jer. Mang., Tract, fol. 14, A., with Tract, M. Meyli, fol. 7, mum. 8.
THREE SISTERS, NAMELY, ELIZABETH BACHMANNI,
ELSSA BETHEZEI, AND SARAH WANRIJ, ABOUT
A. D. 1643
The army of God, which at this time prepared itself for the conflict and the sufferings of Jesus Christ, consisted not only of men, who are sometimes judged to be strongest, but also in women, for God's power is made strong in weakness, which appeared in the case of three pious heroines of God, namely, Elizabeth Bachmanni, from the Groeningen Bailiwick, the wife of Hans Jaggli, of Bartschwyl; Elssa Bethezei, from the Knonow Bailiwick, the wife of Jacob Isselme; Sarah Wanrij, from'i the Horgerberg, the wife of Hans Phisfer, all of whom, imprisoned and bound in the dungeon Othenbach and in the hospital, for the testimony of Jesus Christ, lost their lives through want, hardships, and misery. All this they endured in the fear of God as well as patiently. They counted their departure from this life as the beginning of the future. And so, their unrest was truly the entrance to the rest of the saints, who shall hereafter, for this brief suffering, which they endured for the name of the Lord, rejoice forever. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." II Cor. 4:17. Compare the above with Tract, Meyli, dated 1658, fol. 8, A., num. 1, 2, 3.
VERENA LANDIS, A. D. 1643
An old sister, named Verena Landis, was surprised in the night in her own house, with dreadful raging and storming; in consequence of which she was so frightened that she fainted, yea, became sick, and hence could not go with the thief catchers.
When they could not get her away, she had to promise to remain a prisoner in her house, which promise she kept.
But as they treated her very harshly, and provided her with very bad food, certain death ensued a short time afterwards, and she thus departed this life with a joyful hope and cheerful heart; for which the Lord hereafter, because it was done for His name's sake, shall crown her with the life of bliss, and deliver her from eternal death. "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev. 21:4. Jer. Mang., Tract, fol. 15, B., compared with Tract, M. Meyli, fol. 8, A.
BARBARA NEEFT, ABOUT A. D. 1643
This woman was very near her confinement, when she was driven hither and thither through the persecution.
After she was delivered and had lain in three days, she was betrayed and apprehended.
She was forthwith, in the bitter cold of winter, taken to prison, a distance of four hours' walk; in which, on account of the intolerable cold, her health became irrevocably ruined, so that she, though she was released from prison previous to her death, died soon after, and is now resting with her soul under the altar of God. Compare Jer. Mang., Tract o f the year 1645, fol. 16, A., with M. Meyli, Tract, fol. 8, after the three women first mentioned, num. 1.
BARBLY RUFF, ABOUT A. D. 1643
The persecutors did not rest, but continued, so that having hastily entered into the Knonow Bailiwick, they fell upon another sister, namely Barbly Ruff, who was likewise enceinte; in consequence of which this good woman was so exceedingl, frightened, it happened so unexpectedly, that thi pains of travail came upon her, and she was there fore not able to accompany her captors.
Therefore she was fastened to a chain in the house of her brother in law, and the family o~ servants there enjoined to guard her well.
But when she had been delivered of her child and had gained a little strength, although not ye quite recovered from all the hardships she had suf fered, she, when it was not expected, escaped intc another district, but since her life had been greatl3 weakened through the persecution she had sufferec she died soon after; which she bore willingly anc patiently,. with a valiant and steadfast mind, to the praise of the Lord, entering into the saints' rest, and waiting for the day that shall hereafter comfort her and all the pious. M. Meyli Tract, dated 1658, fol. 8, B., compared with Jer. Mang., Tract of the year 1645, on the name Barbly, etc.
NoTE. About this time, 1643, there were also apprehended for their faith, two sisters, namely, Martha Lindne and Annill Blau, very well known and noted women. Martha was imprisoned in Othenbach, and threatened with the executioner, who stood beside her, if she should not reveal the poor fund, which was intrusted to her husband; which when she had pointed out, they took the whole of it and kept it, it amounting to about 1,000 dollars. Annill being enceinte, was fastened to a chain in the hospital till she was delivered. But, as many interceded for her, and especially through the intercession of the chief curate, Printlger, she was released, and went to the Lower Palatinate, where she and her husband, named Moneth Meylich, who, on account of the steadfastness of his faith, had also endured much persecution, tribulation and imprisonment, settled down, and (nothing to the contrary being known) they still live, enjoying prosperity through the blessing of God. Compare tracts of M. Meylz and Jer. Mang., on the names above referred to.
HENRY BOLLER, ABOUT A. D. 1644
It continued to be a common custom to let people die in prison. This appeared also in the case of a God fearing brother, named Henry Boller,* from the Seignioralty Wadischwyl, a man of very great age, and very infirm according to the body.
He was apprehended, and taken to the aforementioned prison Othenbach at Zurich, and there put in bonds.
But as they treated him most unmercifully and without the least compassion, his many years and natural infirmity were not able to bear up under it; hence, having commended his spirit into the hands
* In the last tract he is called Hans Boiler, but in the first, Henry, which we have followed in our account. It must also be noticed, that in the Swiss manuscript the time of this occurrence is not exressly noted for the year 1644; but from the circumstances we have inferred, that it took place about said year, as we have also noted.
of God, he died there in prison: but he shall be rewarded for this in the day of resurrection, when there will be fulfilled what the prophet says: "Thy dead men (O God!) shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs." Isa. 26:19. Compare Tract, Jer. Mang., fol. 16, A., zu:th the account of M. Meyli, fol. 6, B., though, through a mistake in copying, instead of Henry, it reads Hans.
NOTE. On the 11th of June of the year 1644 there was apprehended an old brother from the Horgerberg, named Conrad Stricke, who, though he had been apprehended outside of the Zurich jurisdiction, was nevertheless imprisoned at Zurich, in the place Othenbach, and put in chains every night.
So was also his wife apprehended, and imprisoned in the same place; however, she, through a certain means, keeping her faith, escaped again; but the afore mentioned Conrad, her husband, was not so successful, so that he remained in severe imprisonment until the close of the year 1645, after which time we have learned nothing of him or of his deliverance. See Jer. Mang. Tract, edit. 1645, on the name Conrad.
OF A CERTAIN WRITING FROM SWITZERLAND,
TOUCHING THE THREATS MADE BY THOSE OF
BERNE AGAINST THE ANABAPTISTS IN
THOSE PARTS, A. D. 1645
Now when some brethren and sisters in the Swiss dominions had died in prison, of misery, want, hunger, and grief, but five still lived in confinement, the remaining ones who were yet out of bonds, when they were threatened, especially by those of Berne, that they should expel them all from the country, and seize their goods, and sell them, had recourse, next to God, with an humble and friendly letter, to their fellow believers in Holland and elsewhere in the Netherlands, requesting that they should everywhere fervently call upon God the Lord in their behalf, for comfort and grace, to the end that they might patiently endure that which might come upon them according to the flesh, for His holy name's sake.
This letter was written the 22d of July, old style, in the year of our Lord 1645, and was signed by
What followed therefrom, and how it subsequently went with those who were imprisoned, can be seen in a subsequent account, in a marginal note, in connection with Ully Wagman.
But as to how the poor wanderers that were not imprisoned managed in their misery and poverty, we have received no clear information, but it can be sufficiently inferred from the sad condition of affairs.
AN EDICT PUBLISHED BY THOSE OF SCHAFFHAU;
SEN AGAINST THOSE CALLED ANABAP;
TISTS, ABOUT THE YEAR 1650
The persecution of the sheep of Christ remained at this time not confined in the limits of Zurich and Berne; but as a fire of gunpowder, or a flash of lightning, rapidly passes from one place to another, so it went also here; for also those of Schaffhausen, being one of the Swiss cities designated by the name of Cantons, following the footsteps of their fellow believers, took, even as the former, to banishing the defenseless people who, having hitherto peaceably lived under their protection, were called Anabaptists.
There was, however, some time set them, in which they might leave with their families; hence the distress of those whom this befell was not so great as that of those of whom we made previous mention, and of whom we shall hereafter speak.
All this was caused by a certain edict published for this purpose, which, if it were necessary, could be adduced here; but for certain reasons we are compelled to be brief, and to abridge our account as much as is possible.
OF A CERTAIN MANDATE PUBLISHED BY THE PRINCE
OF NEUBURG, AGAINST THE ANABAP;
TISTS (SO CALLED), ABOUT THE
Even as an innocent lamb that has escaped the wolf, at last falls into the claws of the bear, so it went also at this time; inasmuch as some of the defenseless followers of the meek Jesus, daring no longer to trust themselves to the Swiss confines, under the dominion of the Zwinglian Reformed, fled hither and thither, and thus also, as it appears, into Bergsland, the dominions of Guliche, and elsewhere, where the Roman Catholic Prince of Neuburg, William Wolfgang ruled, and where the Anabaptists had lived in peace for many years, under toleration.
But now it came to pass, about the year 1653; that the same prince, instigated, as it is supposed, by certain envious and malignant Jesuits, also opposed all those that were called Anabaptists within the limits of his dominion; insomuch that he, by a certain public mandate, banished these people, in whatever part of his dominion they were resident, however with these conditions
1. That all Anabaptists who had become such by apostatizing from the Romish religion, should have to leave without delay.
2. That all other Anabaptists, who had not apostatized from the Romanists, but had proceeded out of themselves, if they owned no real estate, should have to leave within half a year.
3. That all like . conditioned Anabaptists, who owned real estate, and were engaged in an established mercantile business, should be granted for their removing, in order first to save their property, two years, etc. All this was accompanied with certain threats.
This was executed by his order, and published without any delay in every place of his dominion where it is customary to make proclamation; however, at Glabbeeck, in the country of Guliche (from where we have received information concerning this matter), it was done on the last of January of the year 1653.
In the meantime divers supplications for mitigation of the afore mentioned edict were delivered to the prince; to which, as it appears, he would in a measure have been inclined: but before this was done, he departed this world; hence that which had already been published remained in force with his successor.
Hence the afore mentioned people had to leave those parts, and everyone had to look out where he might best go; in which the Lord God showed many of them the grace that they were peaceably and joyfully received in the places whither they went, especially in the country of Cleves, under the Elector of Bradenburg, and in the Netherlands.
"When they persecute you in this city," says the Lord, "flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." Matt. 10:23.
LILLY WAGMAN, AND ANOTHER BROTHER, IN THE
There was some respite or abatement, as it appears, between the years 1644 and 1654, in the Zurich dominions, inasmuch as we have not learned of any one having died in prison, from bad food or maltreatment (though some, of those whom we previously, and also in the margin, made mention of, had been apprehended a considerable time previously); but when the year 1654 was come, we again learn of the death of a pious Christian there.
They aimed at the leaders of the church, especially at those who ministered in the Word of God. Among these they had apprehended, and imprisoned at Zurich, in the convent Othenbach, a very dear and worthy man, who, from a faithful heart, with the gift he had received from God, took heed to the church of Jesus Christ, and cared for it spiritually; his name was Ully Wagman.
But as in his imprisonment he was treated very harshly and rigorously, he felt that his death was near, and having commended his soul unto God, he departed this life. Compare both of the aforementioned tracts.
With him there was imprisoned another brother, who after Ully's death (since he did not want to apostatize, nor to go to church with his opponents) remained in confinement about two years longer, namely, until the 2d of October, A. D. 1656. But as to how it subsequently ended with him, we have not learned. M. Meyli, Tract edition 1658.
Meanwhile, the former lost his life, while the latter remained in bonds. The Lord will hereafter pronounce a righteous judgment upon those who have done and those who have suffered this; the dead that die in the Lord are blessed; those imprisoned for the testimony of Jesus Christ shall be brought into the liberty of the children of God; and on the other hand, those who imprisoned shall be imprisoned and bound with the woeful bonds of darkness; those who put to death the pious, or were the cause of their death, and have not repented of it, will, it is to be feared, not escape the second and eternal death. Oh, that those who may be guilty in this matter, and are still living, might repent before their death! Oh, that from persecutors they would became true followers of Christ and of His saints! Oh, that they might be saved! This we also wish them out of pure love and from the heart.
NOTE. Already prior to the year 1645 they had at divers times brought this and that one of the scattered flock of Christ prisoner to Zurich, and confined them in Othenbach. Among these there were particularly five brethren, namely, Jacob Aussilly, Jacob Gachnauer, Jacob Baumgarter, Hans Huber, and another, named Henry. With these,it went, consecutively, as follows
Jacob Aussilly, from the county Kiberg, was imprisoned in Othenbach already m the year 1644, stripped of his clothes, dressed in a long grey coat, and fastened to a chain.
Jacob Gachnauer, from the Groeningen Bailiwick, was first with his wife driven out of the country, his family broke up, the children expelled and thrust into poverty, house and furniture sold, and the proceeds thereof delivered into the hands of the authorities. But when he subsequently undertook to come back into the country, to seek his scattered children, he met the persecutors on the way, who also imprisoned him in Othenbach, deprived him of his clothes, dressed him in a gray coat, fastened him to a chain, and dealt with him as with the preceding brother.
Jacob Baumgarter, an old man of seventy years, had prior to this time been imprisoned five times on account of his faith, but had escaped every time; but when he was now apprehended, and also brought to Othenbach, there was no hope of deliverance, for they also fastened him to a chain, likewise deprived him of his clothes, and, as had been done to the former, also dressed him in a gray coat. Moreover, he was for a time fed on bread and water, stripped twice, and put in irons twice, and also in fetters and handcuffs, etc.; his house and homestead were sold for 500 guilders, and the money delivered to the authorities.
Hans Huber, from the Horgerberg, was first imprisoned with eleven other brethren, for the faith's sake, from which bonds he was delivered with his companions; but he was subsequently again apprehended, and imprisoned in a strong place at Othenbach; and as he was fettered and chained, there was no prospect for him to be released without the miraculous help of God.
In the meantime, his wife and her sister, two aged women, were driven into exile, also because of the faith.
The last, named Henry, had divers times also been severely persecuted for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and had also been imprisoned; but he was now confined with the others, in a way which made deliverance almost an impossibility.
They were all chained, and stripped of their usual garments, and dressed, in the aforementioned manner, for a mockery and reproach, in long gray coats.
Thus they persevered until the last of August of the year 1645, being the time when we heard of them for the last time; how it further went with them, we have not been able to ascertain.
In the meantime there cannot be withheld from them the name of pious witnesses of Jesus Christ; since they professed a good profession, and, moreover, suffered all this for His name's sake. See Tract, Mang., of the year 1645, completed the 15th of September.
OF A CERTAIN WRITING FROM MACKENHEYM, BE;
ING A DEFENSE OF THE PERSECUTED SWISS
BRETHREN, OR REFUTATION OF A LETTER
ACCUSING THEM, SENT FROM ZURICH
TO AMSTERDAM, A. D. 1658
When all the afore mentioned outrages perpetrated on the Swiss brethren gave rise to much censure on the part of some people, against the authors of said outrages, a certain letter was sent from the city of Zurich to one of the merchants at Amsterdam, in which the cause of the persecuted brethren was represented in the blackest hues, but the cause of their persecutors, in the fairest colors; consisting principally in the assertion, that those who were persecuted there were quite a different class of people, and of another faith and practice, than their fellow believers in the Netherlands, namely, that they were disobedient, stubborn, etc.
This letter having arrived at Amsterdam, it was found good to send the same (either the original or a copy of it) to the Swiss brethren; to the end that they might obtain from them a correct and true explanation with regard to this matter.
Thereupon they wrote an answer upon the 20th of March, old style, or the 30th of the same month, new style, A. D. 1658, and sent the same, together with the confession of their faith to the ministers of the church of God at Amsterdam. .
Therein it is stated, among other things, concerning the slander of disobedience, that even the Zurich lords of both estates had often confessed to them (the prisoners), that they had been to them very dear and obedient subjects, that is in common or civil matters, yea, that in the matter. of doing right they serve as lights and examples uno others. Again, that they had nothing to complain of them, save only that they would not go to church with them, etc.
It is then stated in said letter, that they had nevertheless been reduced to extreme desolation and misery, in regard to which these words are found
"They apprehended the old and sick, women enceinte and in childbed, together with their innocent babes, and treated said persons in various ways, with great harshness and cruelty; yea, they seized all whom they could get into their power, so that at one time there were, in confinement, thirty seven persons, of whom many men and women, in consequence of the dampness and long confinement, were very grievously injured in their health, and sixteen persons had to die in these prisons," etc.
This letter was written at Mackenheym, and signed by six elders and ministers from Alsace (whose names on account of the present peril, we will not mention), in the year 1658, in the month and on the day given above.
SEVEN TEACHERS AND ELDERS OF THE CHURCH
OF JESUS CHRIST IMPRISONED AT BERNE,
NAMELY, ULY BOGART, ANTHONY HINNEL;
BERG, JEGLY SCHLEBACH, HANS ZAUG,
ULY BAUMGARTER, CHRISTIAN CHRIS;
TIANS; AND RHODE PETERS, IN THE
The little flock of Christ having fled from the confines of Zurich to the regions of Berne, could at this time also there obtain no freedom, inasmuch as those of Berne, following the footsteps of those of Zurich, also undertook to lay hands on them, but especially on the shepherds and leaders of the church, in order that they might by this means, as it Seems, cause the more terror among the innocent sheep and lambs of the scattered flock of Christ.
Seven of the teachers and principal elders of the church were apprehended, for whom special prisons were prepared, namely, Uly Bogart, Anthony Hinnelberg, Jegly Schlebach, Hans Zaug, Uly Baumgarter, Christian Christians, and Rhode Peters.
These were for awhile kept very hard at work, and very poorly fed with heavy food, spelt and rye, to make good the expenses they caused; besides that much reproach, contumely and vituperation was heaped upon them.
They were first told, that they should be kept confined in this manner until the end of their life; in which they patiently comforted and surrendered themselves to the grace of the Lord. . However, when they saw that there was no hope of dissuading these people from their faith and religion, they determined upon another plan (according to what we have been informed from Alsace), namely that they should have to choose one of these three things: (1) To go with them to church; or, (2) Be perpetually banished to the galleys; or, (3) To have to die by the hands of the executioner.
Certainly a hard and difficult choice; for the first proposition concerns the soul, and the last two the body: by choosing one of these things doubtless either the soul or the body, or even both together, should be imperiled.
If one denies his faith, he does violence to his conscience; or if he adopts another religion, contrary to his heart and mind, he exposes his soul to extreme danger, yea, to the peril of damnation.
If one on the other hand will keep his faith, not bend or violate his conscience, and maintain and defend the religion which he has accepted and thinks necessary to salvation; he brings, in such case, his body in distress, so that he must wander about in misery, or meet with an untimely and violent death.
However, in such a case, it is necessary to consider, that the soul is of infinitely greater importance than the body, which latter at all events must once, when the soul shall continue, be put off. Hence heed ought to be taken to the instruction of Christ, where He says: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matt. 10:28.
As to what was done in this matter, either on the part of the prisoners, or by those who kept them imprisoned, we have not been able to learn; it is certain, however, that they remained in confinement as late as A. D. 1659, which sufficiently indicates the immovableness of their faith, wherein the Lord, who is gracious, be pleased to strengthen them by His good Spirit, so that they, striving steadfastly, may hereafter, with all the saints, of whom we have mentioned many in this book, receive the blessed crown of unfading glory from the Lord.
SEVEN HUNDRED PERSONS OPPRESSED AND PERSE;
CUTED AT BERNE
In the year 1671 there arose again a severe persecution against the Anabaptists, in said dominion of Berne; which persecution was so rigorous and long continued, that it seemed that the authorities would not desist, until they should have utterly driven that people out of their dominion, or exterminate them. In consequence of this it also happened, that about seven hundred persons, small and great, found themselves compelled to leave their abode, forsake their property, and, many of them, also their kindred, together with their earthly fatherland, and betake themselves with the others to the Palatinate, in hope that the Lord should so order it, that they might find a place of abode there. We were eyewitnesses, as to how it went when they arrived there, and we inspected place after place whither they had come to find abodes.
However, as we, just before we went thither, had received, from the persecuted people themselves, as well as from others who wrote in their name, and as they told them, several letters, which plainly state the circumstances and condition of this persecution, just as we had heard it from their own lips, we deemed it advisable, to insert the same here, in order that the Christian reader, reading them, may fancy to himself, that he hears the account, not of ear or eye witnesses, but even of the very people that suffered said persecution. The letters read as follows
EXTRACT FROM THE FIRST LETTER, DATED THE 7TH
OF APRIL, 1671, FROM OBERSULTZEM
As to the request of the friends, concerning the situation of our Swiss brethren in the Berne dominion, the facts are, that they are in a very sad condition, as we have learned from the lips of the fugitives that have arrived here, some of whom are still in my house. They say that they are daily hunted with constables, and, as many as they can get, taken prisoners to the city of Berne, so that about four weeks ago about forty, men and women, were in confinement there. They have also scourged some, and banished them from the country, one of whom has arrived here. They also scourged a minister in the word, and then conducted him out of the country, into Burgundy, where, when they arrived there, they first branded him, and let him go among the Walloons. However, as he could talk with no one, he had to go about three days with his burnt body, before his wounds were dressed and he obtained some refreshments; being in such a condition, that when they undressed him for the purpose of binding up his wounds, the matter ran down his back, as a brother who helped dress the wound told me himself. This friend arrived in Alsace together with two women and a man, who had also been scourged and banished. Hence they proceed very severely, and, as it seems, will not desist from their purpose, until they shall have utterly banished from their country and exterminated this harmless people.
It also appears that nothing further can be done in favor of these persecuted brethren; for besides that the friends at Amsterdam and elsewhere labored for several years in the matter, so that several favorable letters of recommendation from the Lords States of Holland, as also in particular from the city of Amsterdam, and also of other persons of quality, were sent thither to the magistrates; also, in the year 1660, an Express named Adolf de Vreede, was sent to them; however, he did not effect much for the benefit of our friends there. Hence, I cannot see that the friends at present will be able to effect anything that would tend to the relief of our persecuted brethren there. We will have to await with patience the deliverance which the Lord our God may be pleased to grant them.
EXTRACT FROM THE SECOND LETTER FROM OBER;
SULTZEM, THE 23D DAY OF MAY, 1671
The persecution of our friends continues as rigorous as before, so that we are surprised, that they do not make more speed in leaving the country. Now and then one or two come straggling down; but the most of them still stay above Strasburg, in Alsace. Some go into the woods and chop wood; others go to the mountains and work in the vineyards, in the hope, as it appears to me, that by andby tranquility will be restored, and that they might then be able with the greater convenience to return to their forsaken abodes; but I fear, that it will not pass over so soon, and that they will find themselves greatly deceived in their hope.
The magistrates at Berne caused six of the prisoners, among whom was a man with nine children, to be fastened to a chain, and to be sold for the sea, to be used as galley slaves between Milan and Malta; but as to what they propose to do with the other prisoners, cannot really be learned. One of the prisoners, an old man of about eighty years, died in prison. May the Lord comfort them in their sorrow, and strengthen them in their weakness, so that they may patiently bear the cross, and strive faithfully unto the end, for the truth of the Gospel, and thus be enabled ultimately to obtain the promised salvation and crown of life. Amen.
EXTRACT FROM THE THIRD LETTER FROM OBER;
SULTZEM, THE 13TH OF OCTOBER, 1671
Hendrick de Backer, most esteemed friend and beloved brother in Christ. I wish you and yours much grace and peace from God our 'Heavenly Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, as a friendly greeting. Amen.
This is in reply to your request touching the condition of our persecuted Swiss brethren. The facts are, that on the 11th ult., it was resolved in the full council at Berne, to send the male prisoners that are young and strong also upon the galleys, even as they have before this done to six of them; but the old and feeble they would either send elsewhere, or keep them in perpetual confinement. Learning of this resolution, and being moved to compassion, a certain gentleman in Berne went to the magistrates, and requested that they would be pleased to postpone sending away the prisoners until he could go to their fellow believers, residing in Alsace, and see whether they would be responsible for the prisoners, by promising that the latter, after leaving the country, should return no more without consent. This he obtained, and coming into Alsace to our friends, he presented the matter to them, who, as soon as they had heard it, forthwith accepted the conditions, and promised in case the authorities at Berne should be pleased to send the prisoners to them, that they would be responsible for them, and aid them in obtaining other abodes. This our friends, as I understand, promised this gentleman (his name was Beatus), not only orally, but also gave it to him in writing. Thereupon he promised them again to do his best with the authorities of Berne, and hoped to obtain so much from them, that they should bring the prisoners as far as Basle, from where the friends might take them away with them. Hence, we long to meet them, daily expecting to hear that they have arrived in Alsace, or that they shall come over here to us.
At this moment there have arrived at my house, four Swiss brethren with their wives and children, who say, that also many others are on the way, since the persecution and search are daily increasing. Concluding herewith, I commend you, after a Christian and brotherly greeting, to the Most High, for your eternal salvation.
Your affectionate friend and brother in Christ,
EXTRACT FROM THE FOURTH LETTER, DATED
NOVEMBER 2D, 1671
Concerning our Swiss friends, they are now coming this way in large parties, so that there have already arrived over two hundred persons, and among them are many old, gray headed people, both men and women, that have reached seventy, eighty, yea, ninety years; also a number that are crippled and lame; carrying their bundles on their backs, with children on their arms, some of good cheer, some also with tearful eyes, particularly the old and feeble persons, who now in their great age are compelled to wander about in misery, and go to strange countries, and many of them having nothing on which to sleep by night, so that I and others with me, have now for about two weeks had to make it our regular work, to provide shelter and other necessaries for them.
We are also in daily expectation of still more, so that we hope, that when the people have mostly left the country, the prisoners also will be released. Farewell.
The sequel was, that continually more and more of the expelled fugitives came down from Switzerland into the Palatinate, in all nearly seven hundred persons, old and young, among whom were families of eight, ten, and as many as twelve children, who had scarcely been able to bring with them enough for their traveling expenses, as appears from the following extract
FIFTH EXTRACT FROM THE SAME, OBERSULTZEM,
ON THE 5TH OF JANUARY, 1672
There has arrived in the region above Heidelberg, a man, being a minister in the North, having twelve, mostly very young children, but having, as I understand, brought with him only four rixdollars in money, and a very poor horse. Some others have brought with them some money, but many nothing at all, so that after close examination there was found among two hundred and eighty two persons, one thousand and forty six rix dollars. And in the Alzey Bailiwick, among two hundred and fifteen persons, six hundred and eight rix dollars. In the Darmstein Bailiwick, there were found one hundred and forty four persons; but as to what their means are, I have not learned; but from appearances I judge them to be the most indigent. In short, we find that their number consists of about eighty full families, then further, widows, single persons, and husbands and wives that had to forsake their companions, because the latter, being attached to the Reformed Religion, could not make up their minds to leave; in all, six hundred and forty one persons, whose funds amount to no more than the little sum already stated; so that you can easily calculate, that considerable assistance will be necessary. Besides these, we understand, there are about one hundred persons more sojourning in Alsace, whom we also expect by the forepart of the year. Farewell. Thus far the extracts from the letters.
Subsequently the brotherhoods residing in the provinces of the United Netherlands, in March of the same year, 1672, sent some from their midst to the Palatinate, who traveling everywhere to the persecuted brethren, and hearing and seeing them, not only found the above related, to be true, but also, that already some of the last mentioned had come over from Alsace, who, bringing also, like the others, no funds with them, were, together with these, aided and comforted by the common assistance of the wealthy churches or brotherhoods of the United Provinces.
Moreover, they learned from some of the forty prisoners themselves that they had all been released, and, according to the request of the abovementioned gentleman, been brought to Basle, and there turned over to their brethren, with whom they then together removed. But when the chiefest of them were asked why they had not left sooner and sought such places, where they might have lived with more freedom according to their conscience, seeing the authorities had not prevented their leaving, they gave different reasons for it, of which the following ones were not the least
1. They said that they say that the churches greatly waxed and increased, so that, though under the cross, they nevertheless flourished as a rose among thorns, and that further increase could daily be expected, because many persons manifested themselves, who saw the light shine out of darkness, and began to love the same and seek after it; that the ministers considering this in their heart, found themselves loath to leave the country, fearing that thereby this promising harvest might be lost, and thus many fall back from their good purpose; and hence, they chose rather to suffer a little than to leave, in order that they might yet rescue some souls from perdition, and bring them to Christ.
2. A second reason was that they could not so easily take their departure to other countries, because there are among them many divided families, of whom the husband or the wife is in the church, while the companion still attended the public church, in which case, if the latter would not follow their persecuted companions, also to forsake everything and leave the country, it caused great inconvenience and sorrow; that there were even divers ministers not exempt from this difficulty, and there were also two ministers there in the Palatinate, who had wives that were not in the church, and whom they (having secretly been warned by a good friend), also had had to leave by night, and take to flight, without knowing as yet whether their wives should follow them, or whether they, loving their property more than their husbands, should remain there in the land, and forsake their husbands. That such cases created the more sorrow and difficulty, because the authorities granted liberty to such remaining persons, whether women or men, to marry again and seek other companions. These and other reasons had prevented them from departing uncompelled out of their earthly fatherland; but induced them, rather (as they had now done), to wait until they should see that they could no longer remain there and preserve a good consience.
Truly, it is to be lamented that at this time, when the light of the Gospel has shone so long to the protestants, there are nevertheless still found among them those who think it good to persecute such who in every respect are good and pious subjects, and differ from them only in certain points concerning the Christian religion. Oh, how little there is regarded by such conduct, the teaching of our Saviour, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. And yet such complain of the persecution that is inflicted in France, Hungary, and elsewhere upon their brotherhoods. But what do you think, might they not with justice be replied to in the same manner in which the Apostle Paul replied to the Jews, Rom. 11:21,* etc.? Certainly, very justly.
We conclude this recital with this earnest prayer, namely, that God the Lord would be pleased so to direct the hearts of those that are in authority, that we may under their reign and dominion lead a peaceable and quiet life, in all godliness and honesty. And if it should be, that the great God might deem it good, to permit the persecution of His believers here or there, that He might then be pleased to abide with them with His fatherly care and comfort, and through grace grant that their afflictions may be accompanied with patience, their faith with steadfastness, and their virtues with faithfulness; all to the honor of His name, that can never be praised enough, and to the salvation of their souls, through Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
* This is evidently an error, and Rom. 2:21 seems to be the passage had in view by the author. Trans.
HANS HASLIBACHER, A. D. 1571
In connection with the above account of the persecutions that came upon the Swiss brethren, we do not deem it out of place to add the following, namely, that a certain old and pious brother (commonly called Haslibacher, because he was born at Haslibach); was apprehended for his faith, and brought to Berne, where in prison he was handled very severely, and cruelly tortured; but when he, notwithstanding this, steadfastly adhered to his faith, there came to him in the prison, soon after, one Friday, several preachers, who disputed with him, against whom he so bravely conducted himself, in defending his simple confession of faith, that they could accomplish nothing with him. Thereupon the preachers came to him again the following day, being Saturday, speaking more harshly to him, and severely, threatening him, that if he did not renounce his faith, his head should be laid before his feet. Upon this, the good old man courageously replied, that he should in no wise renounce his faith, but would steadfastly adhere to the same, since he felt perfectly assured that his faith was so acceptable to God, that He should by no means forsake him in distress and death.
Thereupon it happened, as is credibly related, that in the following night from Saturday until Sunday he was comforted and strengthened by a divine vision, and exhorted to adhere steadfastly to his accepted faith; and that, though they should severely threaten him, even so that they should put him to death with the sword, he should nevertheless not be terrified, for the Lord should be at his side, and not suffer that he should feel any pain from it.
Now when on Monday the preachers again came to him and disputed with him as before, endeavoring to move him from his faith, adding, that if he did not renounce, he should be punished with death the next day. Haslibacher boldly answered: "I am ready to suffer my head to be struck off, much rather than apostatize from my faith."
Thereupon, when the preachers left him, and he in the evening fell into a deep sleep which lasted until midnight; it is said that he had a dream in which it was shown him that they would behead him (through which he was suddenly awakened), and it was made known to him in a special manner, that he should be punished with the sword, but that there should be given three special signs, whereby his innocence would appear before men.
NOTE. As reference has been made to three signs, which however, are not mentioned, but are given in the hymn (the last one of the Gesangbuch der Taufgesinnten), we will in order to complete the account, here insert this hymn in full. We will, however, add that neither this hymn nor the list of Swiss martyrs, copied by Hans Loersch, following it, were contained in the Holland editions of the Martyrs' Mirror, but were afterwards added in the German editions. The hymn which also appears only in part in the German, is here given entire.;Publishers.
Give ear, kind friends, and help who can,
To sing about an aged man,
Who hailed from Haslibach;
Hence, Haslibacher was he called,
And lived in parish Summiswald.
Since our dear Lord permission gave,
To men t' accuse him as a knave,
Because of his true faith;
Hence bound they him with rigor stern,
And led him to the town of Berne.
And though he was imprisoned here,
And tortured with torments severe,
For holding to his faith;
Yet did he steadfast still remain,
In torture. anguish, and in pain.
One Friday moning, mark my words,
There came some educated lords,
Into his prison hold;
And in dispute did him enlist,
That he should from his faith desist.
Our Haslibacher then and there,
Gave all their babblings to the air,
For thus he straightway said "
My faith I never will forsake,
Though life and body you should take."
On Saturday these learned men
Came to his prison hold again,
And thus with threats they spake "
Thou must renounce thy heresy,
Or else thou shalt beheaded be."
Instant he answered with bold heart
"From this my faith I'll ne'er depart,
But firmly cleave thereto;
For God accepts my faith as right
And He'll protect me by His might."
And when night's sable garb was spread,
God's angel came with might and said,
In Haslibacher's ear "
Tis God who me to thee doth send,
To comfort theee before thy end.
"Moreover I will counsel thee,
Not wavering in thy faith to be,
But strong therein remain;
For God accepted thy belief-
He'll keep thy soul and bring relief.
"And though they threaten with the sword
To execute thee, let their word
In thee cause no dismay
For at thy side I will remain
To succor thee from every pain."
And thus again, when Monday came,
Those tutored men of priestly fame
To Haslibacher went,
And sorely him with words they ply,
That his belief he should deny.
"If not," they said, and meant it too, "Tomorrow's morn brings death to you."
But Haslibacher said "
This body you may put to death-
I'll give my head, but not my faith."
When night again her mantle spread,
Deep sleep fell on his weary head,
Until the clock struck twelve.
He dreamed he was in daylight fair,
Led forth to be beheaded there.
This wakes him up, as well it might,
And lo, about him all is light.
A book before him lies,
And angel's holy voice explains
"Read what this little book contains."
And when he reads the book he finds
That his tormentors set their minds,
That they would him behead.
But God would let three signs appear
To show th' injustice he should bear.
When he had read it to the end,
Night's darkness did again descend,
And sleep his eyelids closed,
'Til daylight brought these murderous men,
Into his prison cell again.
"Good morning, friend," he from them hears,
With thanks, like greeting meets their ears.
Then unto him they said:
That he the Word divine should hear,
Or feast on executioner's fare.
"From this my faith I'll ne'er let go,
The Word of God full well I know;
My cause to God I give;
Yet deep regret doth fill my heart,'
That innocent I must depart."
They led him to an inn in haste,
And meat and drink before him placed,
The hangman by his side
That deep disgust and fear of death,
Might make him yet renounce his faith.
Quoth Haslibacher to the man
"Eat, drink; make merry while you can,
For though upon this day
You offer up my guiltless blood,
My soul more quickly soars to God."
He further said: "The Lord will show
Three signs, to let you plainly know
That innocent I die;
For when my head's struck off, 'twill fall
Into my hat, and laugh withal.
"The second sign upon the sun
You'll plainly see when it is done;
And of the third take heed
The sun will, like my blood, be red,
The town well likewise blood will shed.
"The judge unto the lords decreed:
Of these three signs take godly heed.
Remember also this:
That if this all shall happen so,
'Twill work your soul's eternal woe."
When he had finished his repast,
They took his hands to tie them fast;
When Haslibacher said
"Pray, Lorenz, listen to my plea,
And leave my hands from fetters free.
"I'm ready now and do rejoice,
That you have let me have my choice
To die and pass from hence.
But Lord, show mercy unto them,
Who me this day to death condemn."
When he at last the block had faced,
He doffed his hat and had it placed
The multitude before
"Friend Lorenz, to my prayer give ear,
I beg to leave my hat lie here."
With this he bowed his knees in prayer,
And when the Paternoster there,
He earnestly had prayed,
He said: "To God I've given my cause,
Act now, according to your laws."
Down comes the sword, when lo, the head
Springs in his hat, as he had said;
And all the signs were seen-
The sun was red and looked like blood,
The town well shed a crimson flood.
Amazed, an aged sire said "
The Anabaptist laughs, though dead."
Then said another sire
"If you had let this Baptist live,
Eternally you would not grieve."
With one accord the people said.
"Henceforth no Baptist's blood we'll shed."
Then said an aged sire
"Had you not acted 'gainst my will,
This Baptist would be living still."
The hangman too was heard to say "
'Tis guiltless blood I've shed today."
Then said a yeoman old
"The Anabaptist's mouth did laugh,
Which surely indicates God's wrath."
He who composed this little hymn,
Received his death in prison dim,
A sinful mob to please.
They brought him pen and ink to write,
And thus he bade us all "Good night."
NOTE. At the close of the German edition of the Martyrs' Mirror an extract was received and inserted which Hans Lcersch had copied out of the Tower Book at Berne, and which has been preserved by Christian Kropff; the same reads as follows
At Berne the following persons were executed for the faith: In the year 1528: Hans Seckler, a joiner, and hatter, at Aarau. In the year 1529: Conrad Eicher of Straffisburg; two believers from the Seignioralty Bix; a tinker from the Emmenthal; Ulrich Schneider, of Luetzgenpfluehe; a young lad from Wallis; Hagerly, from the Seignioralty Alburg. In the year 1536: the 2nd of May, Moritz Losenegger. In the year 1537: Bernhard Waelty of Ruederswil, on the 7th of July; Hans Schweitzer of Ruegsau, Juerg Hoffser of Obergallbach, from the Seignioralty Siegnau on the 28th of August, Ulrich Bichsel; Barbeli Willher of Hassli; Barbeli zur Studen of Summiswald; Catharina Friedli Imhoff; Verena Issoli of Schuelbah from the Seignioralty Seignau; Ulrich of Ruegsau. In the year 1538: Cunas Seidenkohen of Constance, on the 28th of March; Peter Stucki, at Wimmis on the 16th of April; Ulrich Huben of Rietenbach from the Seignioralty Seignau; Hans Willer, in August; Elsbeth Kuepfer of Summiswald; two women, on the 28th of May, the one of Summiswald, the other of Hoestetten; Peter Wessenmiller of Wimmis, on the 7th of September; Stephen Ruegsegger, on the 8th of December, who was executed at Einygen; one from the Seignioralty Seignau; one of Summiswald; Rudolph Isolly from the Tannenthal. In the year 1539: Lorenz Aeberly of Gruenau, on the 3d of June; Hans Schumacher from the Aargau, of Wuemistern. In the year 1532: one of Oberbip, on the lst of May; Peter Ancken from the Siebenthal. In the year 1543: Christian Oberlen, on the 17th of September; . Hans Ancken of Ausseldingen; Waelty Gaerber on the Striethalter, from the Seignioralty Seignau. In the year 1571, on the 20th of December: Hans Haslibacher, from the Seignioralty Summiswald, who was executed at Haslibach.
AN EDICT PUBLISHED BY THOSE OF BERNE AGAINST
THOSE CALLED ANABAPTISTS, THE 9TH OF
AUGUST, IN THE YEAR 1659
The persecution did not cease with the imprisonment of the above mentioned seven friends at Berne but they proceeded still further with their constraint of conscience, and consequently with the exercise of their fury; insomuch that they also aimed at those that were dispersed and wandered about as sheep having no shepherd.
Against them, on the 9th of August of the year 1659, in the meeting of the Council of the city of Berne, a certain edict was drawn up, confirmed and also proclaimed, touching the bodies and goods of the afore mentioned, poor, wandering, and afflicted people, teachers as well as those taught; reading as follows
Extract o f an edict, published by those o f Berne against the Anabaptists
The teachers, _ of whom, by close search; one or more can be apprehended, shall forthwith, by the bailiff, be conducted here into our orphan house, for safekeeping; in order that the necessary steps for their conversion may be taken there, or, if they persist in obstinacy, proper punishment be exercised. In the meantime the officers shall seize their property and deliver an inventory thereof to us, or to the directors appointed by us for this purpose.
Now between those that are not teachers, but simply their adherents and followers, as also between the stubborn and obstinate, and the simple or weak and inexperienced, this difference shall be made, that with the former more severity is to be used, but with these more gentleness.
Those, however, as well as these, our officers and preachers shall together, kindly, diligently and punctually examine and investigate, concerning their and their fellow believers' life, conversation and faith; remind and convince them from the word of God of their error, and thereupon, for the same reason, show them, with proper discretion and prudence, their bounden duty towards God, His Word, the preaching of the same, holy baptism, the holy Supper and catechization, and also toward their God appointed Christian authorities, fidelity and allegiance towards their country, together with other things required, and remind them well, so that they may at all times execute these things.
If then by such kind words, instruction and admonition, some shall have been brought back into the true way, so that there is hope of their reformation and conversion, the same shall and may without any other abjuration, or without rendering any oath, be set at liberty, with a good admonition, and paying the expenses, and as converted members, graciously be received back into the bosom of the church; without this causing them any further rebuke, hatred, contempt or the like, but much rather praise for their obedient return.
Then, as soon as these people shall have returned the preachers of said place shall so order their sermons, as to strengthen the same after their conversion, and earnestly admonish all the others in general, much rather to honor, praise and love these people on account of their conversion, than that they should therefore in any wise hate, despise and revile them. Further, they shall set them a good example, by a blameless life and conversation, by piety and honesty, in the hope, that by this means the rest may be won the more easily, and, without fear, be brought back into the true way.
But to those who accept no reminding, instruction or admonition, but continue disobedient and stubborn, neither will renounce or depart from their error, the penalty of banishment imposed upon them shall be announced, and their immovable obstinacy and reprobacy be made known to the directors appointed by us over the affairs of the Anabaptists, that our further orders with regard to it may be expected.
And when such obstinate, erring persons, upon the above mentioned report, have been sentenced by the court, it is our meaning, intention and command: that they, under a safe escort, be conducted to the boundary, and by a promise, in place of an oath (since they do not swear an oath), be utterly banished from our country and dominion, until their apparent conversion; and if they, notwithstanding the banishment, return unconverted, and are apprehended, and still do not recant, but obstinately persevere in their error as before, they shall, as often as this occurs, be publicly scourged with rods, branded, and again, as before, expelled and banished from the country, which well deserved punishment is founded upon the following reasons and arguments
1. All subjects are, without contradiction, bound to show their natural, God given authorities, fidelity and allegiance, and to attest such fealty or fidelity with an oath; but those who will not render such oath of allegiance are not recognized as subjects, nor tolerated in the country, hence the Anabaptists, who flatly refuse the same, neither can or shall in any wise be permitted to remain in the country.
2. Just as little can they be recognized and tolerated as subjects, who will not acknowledge (as subjects are bound to acknowledge), that their authorities are from God, and with God, without which acknowledgement there can be no obedience; but as the Anabaptists will not admit, that the office of magistracy is compatible with Christianity (or can exist in the Christian church), hence they can also not be tolerated in the country.
3. All subjects are bound to defend and protect their country, as being our common mother, yea, to sacrifice their property and blood for it; hence those, who, contrary to the command refuse to do this, cannot be permitted in the country and as the Anabaptists utterly refuse this, they cannot be tolerated in the country.
4. All subjects are bound, according to the teaching of the holy apostle Paul, to render, for the common support of their country, tithes, customs and taxes; and those who refuse to do this cannot be tolerated in the country. Since, then, the Anabaptists, though they do not refuse to do these things, which is done through fear, yet teach, that to take this, is not compatible with Christianity; which doctrine, if it should gain the ascendancy, might easily produce evil fruit; therefore such people can not be put (or tolerated) under a government.
5. Since the magistracy, as the same apostle teaches, is given of God as an avenger, upon those that do evil, especially upon murderers, traitors, and the like, the subjects are bound to make the same known to their authorities; but those who will not obligate themselves to do this, cannot be reckoned among the faithful and obedient subjects; now therefore as the Anabaptists are such as refuse to make known one of them to the authorities, they cannot be tolerated.
6. Those who refuse to submit to the wholesome ordinances and statutes of the authorities of the country, yea, act directly contrarily to them, can be tolerated still less. Now the Anabaptists are such people; for they act and offend against the so necessary and not less beneficial ordinances of the authorities, in the following ways
1. They preach without the calling and confirmation of the authorities.
2. They baptize in their churches without the calling and command of the authorities.
3. They pervert the church discipline (or have other church regulations) contrary to the public ordinances of the authorities.
4. They attend no meetings (of the church) held on Sundays or days of prayer.
Hence, as they will not submit, as behooves faithful subjects, to such institutions and ordinances, that agree with the Word of God, and contemptuously act contrarily to them, they are not worthy to live in the country.
For these manifold and vitally important reasons we are entirely resolved, and would earnestly have it laid to heart by all, that they constantly and without delay proceed with such banishment and the penalties pertaining thereto, against all the adherents and followers of this erring and (on account of much evil) very dangerous, wicked sect; that the same may make no progress, much less, receive additions, but that it may, with every possible means, be utterly abolished, and the country be rid of it; whereupon we graciously rely.
Touching, then, the property of such disobedient banished people, as also of those that have run away, the same shall, after computation of the expenses accrued, be divided with the obedient wives and children, and said portion, whether real or personal property, after our officers have seized it, an inventory thereof shall be semi to the hands of our aforesaid directors, in order that such property may be managed at their discretion, the annual income be drawn from it and, if the banished or fugitive persons do not again return, but die unconverted in their errors, the same be adjudged to us with perfect equity; likewise shall it be done regarding the property belonging to the wives and children of Anabaptists, who went away with them, though they were not regarded as adherents of the sect.
We herewith also declare and prohibit with equal strictness, that no one, whoever he be, shall lodge or give shelter to native or foreign Anabaptists, whether they be related to him or not; or to help encourage their meetings, preaching, etc., whether by granting them the use of houses or barns, or by aiding them with means; or, in the future, to have any intercourse whatever with them, whether written or oral; or in any wise to lend them any aid in the way of money, provisions, or the like, neither secretly nor publicly; but, on the contrary, we earnestly admonish every one of our subjects, whatever they can learn concerning them, by writing, by messengers, or orally, forthwith to report the same to the high bailiff, that he may regulate himself according to these our ordinances, and proceed against offenders, for every offense of which they are found guilty, with the irremissible fine of one hundred guilders; or, in case they are not able to pay it, with arbitrary punishment, concerning which last mentioned point, every one shall, until further information, be warned by a special proclamation read from the pulpit.
Given in our council meeting, on the 9th of August, A. D. 1659.
CONCERNING WHAT WAS DONE FOR THE DELIVER;
ANCE OF THE LAST MENTIONED PRISONERS, AS
ALSO FOR THE MITIGATION OF THE EDICT OF
THOSE OF BERNE, BY THEIR HIGH MIGHTI;
NESSES THE LORDS STATES GENERAL, AND
SOME RULERS OF DUTCH CITIES, IN THE
This edict having been drawn up and proclaimed everywhere, especially in the confines of Berne, caused very great sorrow, for those that were already imprisoned, as well as for the rest that were still out of bonds; since, as it seemed, it was now imminent, that the whole remaining light of truth, which had most gloriously arisen in these parts, should be extinguished, and even the very foundation and root of the lovely flower of the true Christian church utterly eradicated and destroyed.
But in the meantime it happened, that the aforementioned edict came to our notice, in the original Swiss language, and also translated into the Dutch; whereby there was caused in us, and in many other of our fellow believers in the province of Holland, who had received reliable information regarding the same, an inward affection, love and compassion for the distressed Swiss friends, who were severely threatened thereby.
Hence it was resolved and determined, in February of the year 1660, to dispatch certain persons, fellow believers of our faith, from the cities Dortrecht, Harlem, Leyden; Amsterdam, Goude, and Rotterdam, to Gravenhage, or the Court of Holland, where their High Mightinesses, the Lords States General, were then holding their special assembly; to the end that the distress of the Swiss Anabaptists might be made known to them, and favorable letters of recommendation be obtained, to the cities of Berne and Zurich, for the release, or at least alleviation of the condition, of said people that were persecuted there.
Thereupon those dispatched from the aforementioned cities appeared together in Gravenhage, about the 18th of February, of the same year, and very speedily brought into the proper form an humble supplication (which had already been drafted, but was not yet signed by all) signed it, and, to the end of aforesaid, delivered it to their High Mightinesses.
These, as kind fathers and friendly fosterers of the afflicted, poor and oppressed, took such great interest in the matter, that they without delay, immediately resolved to comply with what was requested in the afore mentioned supplication.
Hence three documents were drawn up by the order of their High Mightinesses; the first to the rulers of the city of Berne, for the releasing of the prisoners, etc. The second to those of Zurich, for restitution of the property of the imprisoned, deceased and expelled Anabaptists (of whom we have also made mention in this book), which they had kept in their possession already from the year 1635. The third, as a passport for Adolph de Vrede, who was now to travel to Berne and Zurich in Switzerland, in behalf of the Dutch Anabaptists, or at least in the name of those who had drawn up the afore mentioned supplication, and thereupon obtained the letter of recommendation from their High Mightinesses; to deliver the first mentioned two documents to the lords there, to the end aforesaid.
These three documents; since we have received true copies thereof, we shall, as much as concerns this matter in particular, present to the well disposed reader, and accord them a place in this book, for a laudable memorial of what the States General of these blessed United Netherlands have herein done.
THE STATES, ETC.
To the city of Berne in Switzerland:
Noble, very respectable, wise, prudent lords, especial good friends and neighbors. From the complaints of, divers persons, delegated by their respective churches, who here in this land are called Mennonists, citizens and inhabitants of the cities of Dortrecht, Harlem, Leyden, Amsterdam, Goude, and Rotterdam, all situated in the province of Holland, we have learned, that their fellow believers, under the name of Anabaptists, are suffering great persecution at Berne,and thereabouts, by virtue of very rigorous edicts enacted against them, whereby they are not only prohibited from continuing to reside in the country, but are not even permitted to depart elsewhere with their families and goods, though they cannot be charged with any crimes.
That also some of the above mentioned persuasion are kept in close confinement there.
All of which has moved us to Christian compassion, and we could therefore not forbear, but, on the contrary, have deemed it well, hereby to request you very kindly and neighborly, also most earnestly, that you will not only not meet, neither suffer to be met, the fellow believers of the supplicants, who under the name of Anabaptists are found in, or belong to your dominion and are obedient, with improper proceedings, and release and set at liberty the aforesaid prisoners, but also much rather, according to the good example of the lords of the government of Schaffhausen, grant them sufficient time, to remove with their goods and effects, whithersoever they shall resolve to go.
Taking into favorable and proper consideration, that in the year 1655, when the Vaudois, our and your fellow believers, were so miserably dispersed and persecuted by the Romanists, solely for the profession of their Reformed religion, that the distress of the poor, dispersed people, could not be relieved in any other way, than by the giving and gathering of great contributions in England, in this country, and elsewhere, where the Reformed* religion was practiced, the Anabaptistic church, now the aforesaid supplicants, upon this simple recommendation of their respective magistrates, from due obedience to the same, and at the same time, also out of Christian love and compassion for the aforesaid dispersed and persecuted Christians, gave so liberally in their meetings, that it swelled to a notable sum, which the deacons of the aforesaid church, by the order of their afore mentioned respective magistrates, turned over to where it belonged.
We will rest confident, that you will defer to our well meant friendly and neighborly intercession, as much as the justice of the matter demands, and
* "True Reformed," a certain copy has it.
as we expect from your usual wisdom and discretion; assuring you, that we shall never fail to return and acknowledge respectively this favor to you collectively and individually, also to your inhabitants, whenever an opportunity for it shall present itself to us, and you shall be pleased to try us in this respect. In the meanwhile we pray God Almighty: Noble, etc. In the Hague, the 19th of February, 1660.
This accords with the minutes preserved in the records of their High Mightinesses.
Besides this writing of their High Mightinesses to the lords of Berne, there was drawn up also the following, to those of Zurich, which (excepting a few words expressed in the foregoing, and hence not necessary to be repeated), we will present here,
THE STATES, ETC.
To the city of Zurich in Switzerland
Noble, very respectable, wise, prudent lords, especial good friends and neighbors. From the complaints of divers persons, delegated by their respective churches, who here in this land are called Mennonists, citizens and inhabitants of the cities of Dortrecht, Harlem, Leyden, Amsterdam, Goude, and Rotterdam, all situated in the province of Holland, we have learned, that their fellow believers, under the name of Anabaptists, have suffered great persecution at Zurich and everywhere in your dominion, by virtue of very rigorous edicts enacted against them, and that they have thereby been compelled to leave everything and to remove to other countries, to their great inconvenience and total ruin.
All this has moved us to Christian compassion, and we could therefore not forbear, but on the contrary, deemed it good, hereby to request you very kindly and neighborly, also most earnestly, that you, according to the good example of the magistrates of the city of Schaffhausen, release the property of the fellow believers of the supplicants, which you have now for several years had managed by directors appointed over them, and drawn the fruits thereof, and deliver them to the aforesaid persons interested, or those authorized by them, to be sold within a certain sufficient time, and turned into money for their benefit.
(The rest is identical word for word with the preceding letter.)
Besides the afore mentioned two letters of the States General to the lords of Berne and Zurich, which are dated the same day, namely, the 19th of February, 1660, there followed yet a third letter, on the 9th of March of the same year, serving partly as a passport to the ambassador and bearer of said two letters to the cities of Berne and Zurich, and partly to request the neighboring potentates near and around those parts, to promote said matter for the protection of the Anabaptists. The contents thereof are as follows
The States General of the United Netherlands, to all who see this or hear it read, greeting.
Be it known: Whereas divers merchants and inhabitants of the chiefest provinces of Holland and West Friesland, have informed us, that they, for the performance and promotion of matters of consideration and importance, most deeply concerning them and their own (for which purpose we also, several weeks ago, granted our favorable letters of recommendation had deemed it necessary, to dispatch to Switzerland and the adjacent countries, the honorable Adolph de Vrede, we have, according to the manner customary here, in such cases, deemed it well, hereby to request his Roman imperial majesty, all kingdoms, republics, princes, por tentates, states and estates, also the rulers of cities and places, friends and allies of this state, or maintaining neutrality with the same, and especially the kings, republics, princes, potentates, and lords in the aforesaid parts, together with all others that shall see this or to whom it shall be shown; that they will render and show, and also suffer to be rendered and shown, the afore mentioned Adolph de Vrede, during this his coming journey, in going, stopping, as well as returning, all aid, favor and assistance, whereto an opportunity may present itself, which we are ready to return and acknowledge, at all occurrences and opportunities, to his most high aforesaid imperial majesty, said high kings, said high republics, princes, potentates, said noble states, estates, and rulers of cities and places, as also to their subjects and inhabitants respectively, to each according to the opportunity and propriety of the State and Country).
Given in our assembly, under our hand and seal, and the signature of our recorder. In the Hague, on the 9th of March, 1660.
JOHAN BARON VAN REEDE, at Renswoude
By the order of said High Lords States General in the absence o f the Recorder.
Besides that which was done by their high mightinesses, for the release; or at least for the alleviation of the condition of the persecuted Swiss friends in the confines of Berne and Zurich also some separate cities of the United Netherlands, particularly in the province of Holland, who were sincerely opposed to the constraint exercised over the faith and the practice of the dictates of conscience, reproved their coreligionists in Switzerland, especially the rulers of the city of Berne, and admonished them to gentleness; yet all this, in a courteous, friendly and discreet manner.
Of this, in order not to adduce too much of a matter, we shall not quote the whole, but only that which, by the burgomasters and rulers of the city of Rotterdam, was written to this end, in Latin, and sent to the rulers of Berne, which, translated into the Dutch, as sufficiently expressing the sense of the whole, we will present to the well disposed.
(Translated from the Latin)
To the Rulers and Councilors of the City and Republic of Berne, the Burgomasters and Rulers of the City of Rotterdam wish all happiness and prosperity.
Noble, honorable, highly respected lords, esteemed friends: It is but a few days ago, that there was presented to us, from the elders of the church, which, from their predecessor,* Menno, is called the church of the Mennonites, a request, in the name of said church, containing long complaints; that their fellow believers, under the odious name of Anabaptists, are proceeded against with such fury in your E. E. city, that, in consequence of the edicts, they are not allowed (though they are harmless and not accused of any crimes), to remove with their possessions and temporal effects out of your E. E. city and jurisdiction, and go elsewhere, yea, that some, solely out of hatred against their faith, are deprived of their goods, and confined in prison.
They the supplicants, request, that we, through our intercession, should endeavor, to avert, if possible, the punishments decreed against their brethren; which their request, being founded upon just arguments, if they at all are founded on truth, we, by virtue of our duty and office, could not ignore.
Hence we request your E. E. highly esteemed lords, yea, we beg your E. E., for the sake of religion and the faith in Christ; which we have in common with your E. E., that your E. E. would be pleased, either utterly to abolish the aforesaid exceedingly severe decrees enacted against the innocent, erring or wandering ones, or, if your E. E. should not deem this compatible with the situation of your state, of which the judgment belongs to your E. E., would at least permit, that the afflicted people, after selling their real estate, and arranging their matters, may remove with their means to where they may expect more tranquillity and safety.
As far as we are concerned, honorable lords, we have ever since the foundation of this city held, that this class of people can quite safely be tolerated in the state, without injury to the republic.**
And for this our judgment we have to thank Prince William of Orange, of blessed memory, who through his valor established for us freedom of conscience, whom the entreaties and perverse zeal of a class of evil disposed men never could move, to refuse the Mennonites any civil privileges. And, truly, we have not yet regretted it, having never found, that the Mennonites, under the cloak of religion (which alone is pernicious for all republics), have ever sought to brew any thing in the state; but, on the contrary, that they have always with a cheerful and willing mind rendered custom and taxes, and all that a subject owes to his prince, yea,
First one, etc., another translation has it.
** Here follows a brief parenthesis, which can be omitted with. out changing or diminishing the sense; namely: "If they are only separate from the mad way of the Old," etc.
that they relieved, with their very liberal contributions, the Reformed that were elsewhere suffering trouble for their faith, and again recently, the Vaudois, our fellow believers, when they, upon the instigation of the pope's ministers, were miserably maltreated by the duke of Savoy.
It is not hid from us, highly esteemed lords, that certain madmen, through a wrong and perverse zeal, endeavor to persuade your E. E. by arguments that the tolerating of the Mennonites is injurious for the republic; but they do this with such arguments, the weight of which was never sufficient to induce us, to oppress the Mennonites with any severe edicts.
For, that they do not consider the office of magistracy lawful for a Christian, and religiously abstain from the swearing of oaths (with which two points they are principally charged), this cannot be detrimental to the republic; seeing they do not refuse obedience to the magistrates, to whom, though they command something onerous, they, constrained by their conscience, consider themselves in duty bound to obey; and will be so bound to their naked declaration, that, when convicted of broken faith and of falsehood, they are willing to submit to the punishment of perjurers.
Which things, as long as they continue unchanged we cannot see, what harm the Republic has to expect therefrom.
That some, through pious, or even superstitious, fear, abstain from the magisterial office, and from the swearing of oaths, what will those say against it, who under the truly glorious name of Reformed, follow the tyranny of the pope, and under the favor of the excellent titles of reformation and purity of faith introduce popery, with regard to the cruelty of which, as it was practiced in former times, in this city, especially against the Mennonites, as often as the remembrance of it, preserved in our records, burdens our thoughts, our souls are seized with horror and we rejoice that through the blood shed in former times our necks have been freed from the yoke of the furious harlot.
All of which, highly esteemed lords, if it is properly considered by your excellencies, we indulge the hope, that your E. E. will either abolish the severe decrees against the Mennonites, or, at least, after the example of those of Schaffhausen, one of the Swiss cantons, and the example of the Roman Catholic prince of Neuburg, grant the afflicted, erring (or wandering) ones sufficient time to arrange their affairs, and to settle down elsewhere.
Which, highly esteemed lords, when it shall have been done, your E. E. shall have performed an act that shall be acceptable unto God, glorious for the name Reformed, salutary for the erring (or wandering) ones, and pleasing to us, who are united with your E. E. by the close bond of religion, and able to serve as an example to all those that boast of the glorious name of the meek Saviour.
We pray God Almighty, to enlighten your E. E. persons and republic with the radiance of His truth, and to preserve you in lasting prosperity. In Rotterdam, the 14th of February, 1660,
Your E. E. Excellencies' affectionate friends, burgomasters and rulers of the city of Rotterdam, and in the name of the same.
W. VA DER A. A.
This then was the laudable and good work of our high authorities in this land of the states general, as well as of the authorities in particular cities; far different from the disposition of those who instituted the afore mentioned oppressions and persecutions; wherefore we sincerely wish and pray that God the Almighty Lord, would therefore be pleased to be their shield and exceeding great reward.
Verily everyone shall receive reward according to his works. The martyrs who suffered for the truth of God, for their faithfulness and steadfastness unto the end; the persecutors who afflicted the pious, for their cruelty and tyranny, if they died unconverted and without repentance; the saviors and deliverers (that is the good authorities) who sought to defend the oppressed and persecuted, to help them, and to rescue them from the claws and teeth of rapacious, blood thirsty, unreasonable men, falsely so called, for the salvation and deliverance which they with regard to this effected for the harmless and innocent.
In the meantime we wish everyone the best, even our enemies; for by the means of their cruelty the pious are tried, made martyrs, and brought to that state which makes truly and infinitely happy, namely, to the eternal and blessed life. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. I Pet. 2: 19.
PRAYER FOR THE SECULAR POWER
Oh, thou God and Lord of hosts, who hast appointed governments in all countries, forgive those authorities who have laid their hands on Thy saints, and touched the apple of Thine eye; let the blood of those whom they have killed not cry vengeance upon them, lest Thy wrath be kindled against them; let it not be laid to their charge in Thy great day of judgment, which shall be hereafter.
Let those who do not yet cease to rage against Thy sheep, and to scatter Thy dearly purchased church, be brought to the right, so that they may be converted before their death, and from persecutors, become true followers of Thy church.
On the other hand, the authorities whom thou hast set in our fatherland, the blessed Netherlands, that are at present free from the constraint of conscience, free from domineering over the most holy faith, and above all, free from the blood of Thy servants and saints, be pleased to bless them, out of Thy heavenly habitation, with the abundance of Thy wisdom and grace, a foretaste of which Thou hast permitted them to have already, many years ago.
Let Thy church, which is without external armor, shield, sword, or arms, rest under their protection, as under a shady vine or fig tree, in honesty and godliness; so that Thy people may be multiplied, and many that are still in error, be guided into the true, right, and only way that leads to life.
Guide us so into Thy ways, that we may not in any wise be a stumbling block or offense for them; so that the liberty, which they grant us in the practice of our religion, which we owe to Thee, may not be taken from us because of an improper walk on our part.
Be pleased to let our children and descendants (if it be best for their salvation), enjoy this pleasant peace which we receive under their protection.
O Lord God, grant that none of these authorities, or of those that are ruled by them, perish; but that they may all be kept and eternally saved, through Jesus Christ Thy beloved Son, to whom be praise, now and forever. Amen.
Remember me, O my God, for good. Neh. 13: 31.
Into thine hand I commit my spirit; thou_hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. Ps. 31:5.
When this book had been printed and fully concluded, we unexpectedly received several things pertaining to the last Swiss persecution in the confines of Zurich and Berne; principally concerning, however, the Berne edict of the 9th of August, in the year 1659, and what was graciously effected and accomplished by the E. E. honorable lords burgomasters of the city of Amsterdam, for mitigation of the same, as also for the release of our already imprisoned friends, and of their goods.
Concerning the edict, it must be stated, that what we shall place here is not the whole, but only the first part of the same, being really a preparation for the extract of the edict shown page 1130, col. 1; for this, when added to that which is placed there, constitutes the whole edict.
The people of this century are very inquisitive, not so much, however, from a true hunger of souls as from a spiritual lickerishness. This work could have consisted just as well, if the following had not been added, since in the afore mentioned extract; printed in the place above referred to, the execution and punishment of the imprisoned Anabaptists who adhered to their faith is set forth, which is the principal point to be noticed. On the other hand in what follows here, only an address is made to the so called spiritual and secular persons of rank, of the church, in the jurisdiction of Berne, with regard to their offices: in connection with which some preparation is made for the searching out and apprehension of the afore mentioned people.
But in order, also, if possible to satisfy the inquisitive in this respect, and withal to show that we have in no wise omitted anything that might be necessary, we have deemed it advisable to add this here.
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. John 16:2.
NOTE. Though this properly has, reference to banishing, ejecting or expelling from the Jewish synagogues, it can be applied to all banishment for the sake of religion.
O f the Edict o f those o f Berne, in Switzerland, against the (by them called) Anabaptists, dated
the 9th of August, A. D. 1659
We the bailiff and councilors, of the city of Berne, send to everyone of our officers, preachers, and those who administer any office, both spiritual and secular, in all towns, counties, seignioralties and tribunals of our German dominions,* and hereby make known, that since the reformation of the Christian religion, there have been emitted, from time to time, by our laudable and pious forefathers, and by us, pursuant to our Christian reminding and command, admonitions and ordinances, how and by what means, and with what zeal and earnest, the errors of the hypocritical and seductive sect of the Anabaptists, that has crept in, which is rejected by all Christian authorities from the infallible foundation of the Word of God, as being an evil, dangerous, pernicious leaven, because they reject the lawful protection of the magistracy,** through which much baneful harm can be caused to country, people and ranks, are to be opposed and averted, yet, by constant experience we must see and learn that such orders do not meet with real attention and execution, in consequence of which negligence this evil has rather increased than decreased until this time.
But in order that the same may not be permitted further to pursue its pernicious and seductive course, but may earnestly be checked, and as far as possible utterly abolished, we have caused diligent inquiries to be made, in regard to the default in not executing and obeying of the commands and ordinances we have emitted, and held a careful deliberation as to what might be the most expedient to do in this matter, as also, to whom it pertains, by virtue of office and duty, to take care, that these errors and all that is contrary to the confession of the Swiss evangelical faith, be not tolerated in our dominions, and among our God committed and entrusted, dear subjects, but, on the contrary that
" A certain copy of this edict adds here these words: "Our gracious good will and greeting, etc."
** This is utterly false, since the so called Anabaptists have never rejected, but much rather honored and highly esteemed the lawful protection of the magistracy as they also still do at the present day. But quite differently did the most laudable rulers of the common Dutch cities, judge of this and especially those of the city of Amsterdam, who gave the Anabaptists, who had lived among them from of old, and do still live among them, the name of good citizens and subjects, who were found wanting on no occasion, etc., as sufficiently appears from their letters of A.D. 1660.
our own may be led to the true knowledge of God, and kept therein.
As to the means which we have deemed well to be employed in, and for this our intention and purpose, they consist in two chief points.
First, namely, in the removing o f the principal causes of offense to which the so called Anabaptists object, in order to separate themselves from the common Christian assemblies.
Second, in the course of proceeding that shall be observed against those that are attached to said sect.
Concerning the first point, it comprises and requires a godly and virtuous life and conversation; also proper punishment of open slanders, and attention is therefore to be given that the officers, both spiritual and secular, for the better heeding and evincing of their duty, be, in the following, earnestly admonished. The virtuous life of the officers, with which everyone shall seek to be a light to his subjects, can particularly serve as a good example herein, and prevent further offense; consisting chiefly in this, that they diligently attend preaching and practice other Christian works, so that such apostate persons may at no time take occasion to say, as has already happened, that the things of which they are accused in this respect are neglected also by our own people, and even by the officers.
But the preachers shall be edifying, both by being zealous in their church ministry, and by conducting themselves honestly, godly, and inoffensively in their life, so that especially, of the preachers, no evil reports be heard. The duty of their calling also consists principally in this, that they rightly divide the doctrine of truth, and apply the same to the profit of everyone; also, that they, as often as an opportunity presents itself, show forth the errors of the Anabaptists, and effectually, but yet in the spirit of meekness, refute them from the foundation of the holy Scriptures, well answer all objections, and fully convince them, as also that they better instruct their churches and hearers.
But the officers in general, spiritual as well as secular, especially of the places where such people live, shall, every one in his calling, so perform and do their duty, as before the eyes of the omniscient God; they shall also together, in general as well as in the consistory, sincerely labor with zeal and diligence, that the open vices of whoredom, lasciviousness, cursing and swearing, immoderate eating and drinking, and like wickedness, be strictly and without connivance, punished according to the edicts and ordinances emitted by us, virtue and honesty thereby planted, and thus they who would excuse their departing from the church by such offensive life, be deprived of all occasion.
But to this, our chief point, belongs especially the invocation of God, that He will grant His blessing and increase, to the public proclaiming of the pure doctrine, and keep Satan in check, so that not under the dissemblance of simplicity, the noxious and pernicious weed of hypocrisy, of disobedience to God, of base contempt of the public worship, the holy sacraments, and other holy institutions, as also of the duty and propriety due to us, the Christian magistracy, be propagated.
The second chief point, as to how such people are to be dealt with, consists of two points
1. How the same are to be detected and brought to light.
2. How those that are detected are to be proceeded with.
Concerning the first: As these people are hard to be taken, since some are concealed by others, even by those to whom they are related by marriage or other ties, particularly by those with whom there is little knowledge of God, and zeal for religion to be found, and they hold their gatherings mostly by night, in hid or otherwise unknown places; therefore our officers shall with all diligence, according to their oath and official duty, also on pain of punishment for connivance,.be admonished and bound themselves, and through their subofficers and servants, to search for them, especially the teachers, as much as possible, and to have them followed whether in the mountains or in valleys, forests and wildernesses, with all possible means, in order to apprehend or capture as many of them as possible.
In order now the better to know and discover them and their adherents, our church ministers, as appointed shepherds, shall with like diligence, and in accordance with their literal, sworn oath, be admonished, obligated and bound, every one of them, particularly in places where this sect is found, with two or three of the church council in his pastorate, to go round from house to house at least twice a year, and properly to write down all those that belong in the church, that is, men and women, old and young, and to keep a stricter eye on them, so that they may all attend the preaching, catechization, common prayers, and particularly also use the holy sacraments; those who stay away and do not bring their children to holy baptism at the proper time or not at all, and thereby are guilty of apostasy from the church, not only at all times to make known these by name to the chief bailiff appointed, but also to indicate to him the persons and their places of abode, as far as known; also to neglect nothing of all that is required for the managing of such persons.
However, in order that not again something be lacking in the execution of this so necessary work, even as has hitherto been the case, or that it otherwise be slackened and omitted, through want of the necessary zeal, our officers together with the preachers are strictly charged to carry out this order with the proper effect, in sincere earnestness, without regard of persons. And that herein no negligence or connivance be exercised by them, much less that they allow themselves to be turned therefrom by any scruples, as being forbidden, improper means, or on account of any advantage, lest they incur our disfavor.
The second article of the second chief point con cerns the manner of proceeding against those thal are detected and captured by the aforesaid means whether the same be teachers and seducers, of their adherents, and that are seduced.
Thus far the first part of the edict, which as yet mentions no corporal punishment, but only the apprehending and capturing of the (by them socalled) Anabaptists. The other part then follows, page 1130, col. 1, beginning with these words
"The teachers of whom one or more, by close search," etc.
Thereupon it follows, in what manner they are to be punished, either by depriving them of their goods, utterly banishing them from the country, conducting them under safe escort to the boundaries of the country, and if they, contrary to the banishment, etc.
NOTE. This edict having been proclaimed in the Berne dominion, soon after arrived in Holland, and caused no small sorrow in many well meaning hearts among the Anabaptists there, who were moved with heartfelt sympathy for their dear fellow believers, the more so since already some of them were in severe imprisonment, and others in the confines of Zurich, had now for many years been deprived of the use of their property.
Hence, in various Dutch cities, yet especially in the city of Amsterdam, there was presented, by certain men delegated thereto, in the name and by the order of their churches, to the noble, honorable lords burgomasters of said place, the distress of the afore mentioned oppressed friends, and a formal request made for favorable letters of recommendation to the magistrates of the cities of Berne and Zurich respectively, for the release of the aforementioned prisoners, and the restitution of their goods, etc. This was subscribed with the names of H. Vlaming, W. J. V. Coppenol, and G. Grates.
This request having been delivered, the noble, honorable lords burgomasters and rulers of the afore mentioned city, very fatherly and kindly consented to the matters presented, giving thereupon this appointment
The burgomasters and rulers of the city of Amsterdam have consented to grant the above requested letters of recommendation.
Done this 29th of January, 1660, and subscribed,
Thereupon followed the promised letters of recommendation to the rulers of Berne as well as to those of Zurich, reading as follows
THE SUPERSCRIPTION OF THE LETTER TO THE
GOVERNMENT OF BERNE
To the very honorable and highly esteemed lords, our good friends, the lords burgomasters and pensionaries of the city of Berne, Very honorable and highly esteemed lords: A very considerable number of our citizens, who with regard to their religion are called Mennonites or Anabaptists, have shown us, that their fellow believers, dwelling in the cantons of Zurich and Berne, because of their religion have to suffer a very severe persecution, insomuch that many of them have been cast into prison, without that it was granted then, to leave the country with their families and goods.
It is for this reason then, that the above mentioned citizens, sympathizing in their hearts for their fellow brethren, on account of their distress, have, through Christian, as well as human zeal, requested letters of recommendation from us, in order that by means of the same they may have a favorable access to your noble lordships, to prostrate themselves before your excellencies, with respect and proper humility, to excite compassion and pity in you for those who are persecuted, that you will give and grant them the liberty and reasonable permission, to leave the dominions of your lordships, with all that belongs to them.
They are a class of people who, under our government, and that of our predecessors, have lived for many successive years, and do still live, in this city, with all quietness and peaceableness, as has also been the case in divers other cities of this state; willingly contributing for the support of the Republic, as much as is imposed upon them; discharging further the duties of good citizens and subjects, who have on no occasion been found deficient, in manifesting an unusual love towards the confessors of the Reformed church.
They still recently, while our brethren the Vaudois, were so cruelly dispersed, contributed in this city, simply upon our recommendation, even to the sum of about seven thousand pounds Dutch money, to be used in the support of said Vaudois.
It is therefore for this reason, very honorable and highly esteemed lords, that we, considering these reasons, could not refuse to grant the effect of our Christian love to these our worthy citizens, interceding for them with your lordships, in favor of their fellow brethren; praying your lordships, if you cannot be moved to let these poor people live under your government here, even as we do, that you would at least be pleased, to deal gently with them; granting them, according to the pattern and example of those of Schaffhausen, as also of the Duke of Neuburg, a Roman Catholic prince, the liberty, and proper time, to remove with their families and goods; in which we doubt not your lordships will do a trug and genuine work of mercy. We on the other hand assure you, that we shall not neglect, when opportunity offers, to reciprocate such obligation in all that in which your lordships shall deem our intercession to be proper; as being truly, very honorable and highly esteemed lords, very ready to serve your lordships, the lords burgomasters and rulers of the City of Amsterdam.
The 11 th o f February, 1660.
By order of said my lords.
Subscribed: N. NICOLAI.
NOTE. It would be sufficient for the intelligent, if only the first mentioned letter were given, since the following contains almost the same words and circumstances; but as it was thought by some, that this work would not be complete, if anything lacked of that which was also written to Zurich, we shall place said letter here in full.
THE SUPERSCRIPTION OF THE LETTER TO THE
GOVERNMENT OF ZURICH
To the very honorable and highly esteemed
lords, our good friends, the lords burgomasters
and syndics o f the city o f Zurich.
Very honorable and highly esteemed lords: A very notable number of our citizens, who with regard to their religion are called Anabaptists, have shown us, that those of their persuasion have now for several years been compelled, because of edicts published against them, to leave their abodes and goods in the canton of Zurich, without that it was granted them, to take their afore mentioned goods with them, nor to enjoy the profit and income from the same, even to this day.
It is for this reason then, that our said citizens, sympathizing in their hearts for their fellow brethren, on account of their distress, have, through Christian as well as human zeal, requested letters of recommendation from us, in order that by means of the same they may have a favorable access to your noble lordships, to prostrate themselves before you, and to entreat you with respect and proper submission, to have compassion and pity for those of their church; giving them, or to those whom they have authorized, the liberty and reasonable time, to dispose of their aforesaid goods, which are situated under your lordships' jurisdiction, in order that they may convey them away to where they may deem it convenient or necessary.
They are a class of people, who, under our government, and that of our predecessors; have lived very peaceably for many years, and still live, in this city, as also in divers other cities of this state; contributing with all diligence, to the support of the Republic, all that is imposed upon them, and discharging the duty of good citizens and subjects; who have on no occasion that presented itself been found deficient, to manifest their Christian zeal in an uncommon manner against those of the Reformed religion; even as they also still recently when our brethren the Vaudois were so cruelly dispersed, contributed in this city alone, upon our recommendation, even to the sum of about 7,000 pounds Dutch money, to be used for the support and comfort of said Vaudois.
It is therefore for this reason, very honorable and highly esteemed lords, that we, in consideration of the same, could not refuse this present effect of our Christian love, to these our worthy citizens, interceding for them with you, praying your lordships in favor of their fellow brethren: if your lordships cannot allow this poor people to live under your government as we do here, that you would at least be pleased to deal a little more gently with them, granting them, according to the example of those of Schaffhausen, and also of the Duke of Neuburg, a Roman Catholic prince, the liberty and proper time, to dispose of their goods and effects,!n order that they may in pursuance therewith convey or transport the same to where they shall deem proper; in which we in no wise doubt, your lordships will do a true work of equity and mercy. We also assure you, that we on our part shall in no wise fail to evince our reciprocal and mutual duties, in all that in which your lordships shall deem it well to commit it to our intercession, as being truly and sincerely, very honorable and highly esteemed lords, very affectionately yours, and ready to serve your lordships. The burgomasters and rulers of the city of Amsterdam.
The 2d of March, 1660.
By order of said my lords.
Subscribed: N. NICOLAI.
Thus did the noble and most laudable rulers of the city of Amsterdam, as fathers over their dear children, full of compassion and mercy, act in the matter of the afflicted and oppressed Swiss friends. God be their shield and very great reward. May He bless their wise reign. May He grant, that their days may endure as the days of heaven and earth.
The very good example of the afore mentioned rulers took such great effect in the hearts of some of the leaders in the French church of said city of Amsterdam, that they were also moved, and kindled with a holy zeal of compassion, to labor in like manner, by friendly petitions, to the magistrates as well as to the members of the consistory of the cities of Berne and Zurich, for the deliverance and liberation of the oppressed.
With regard to this, we could, if it were necessary, show their own writings. Truly, a miracle of the Lord! Who should ever have thought, that Zion's deliverance should come through this way? But it is here, as the apostle has said for the consolation of the pious: We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. Romans 8:28. We are persecuted, but not forsaken. II Corinthians 4:9.
TO THE BLOODY THEATER OF THE ANABAPTISTS,
OR NONRESISTANT CHRISTIANS*
To my Brother T. J. Van Braght
A zeal and heavenly desire pervades th' inspired
Of David's harp, whose tuneful chords a mournful
When fear of death was strong within, those
strains from Zion would roll,
In psalms to demonstrate his grief and gloominess
Such zeal, O brother, did I see from thee, like
As thou the Christian martyrs' deaths and stead;
fast faith rehearsed
E'en at the very time when sore afflicted, thou
And thou didst seem to realize that thou must
Wilt thou not save that care and zeal which thou
dost now exhaust,
And cease awhile that sacrifice, which all thy
strength has cost?
And with the sick and weak awhile from active
In which, as I have said, thou hast engaged with
Yet, well I know that thou, like Christ, must ever
And teach the world the word of God, while trav;
eling here below.
To show the world what we should bear, and what
the martyrs bore
Thou wast, by studying God's blest word, impelled
to work the more.
P. VAN BRAGHT.
TERTULLIAN'S CONSOLATION AND ENCOURAGE;
MENT TO THE MARTYRS IN PRISON IN THE
TIME OF THE HEATHEN EMPERORS,
IN THE YEAR 200
Ye blessed and chosen martyrs of Jesus Christ, receive from me also, somewhat that may tend to your spiritual refreshment, in addition to the tem poral comfort and maintenance with which the lady, the church, has supplied you from her own breasts, and the brethren from their individual labor. For, it is not profitable to nourish and cher ish the body, while the spirit is permitted to suffer hunger; and when assistance is rendered to that which is weak, we should not neglect that which
* This poem, by P. Van Braght, written to his brother, the author, on the occasion of a severe illness from which he was not expected to recover, during the progress of the work, appears in the original, on page 61. During the progress of the work on the present edition it was translated by A. B. Kolb, and hence we give it a place here. Publishers.
is still weaker. However, I am not the person to address you. Nevertheless, the most consummate soldiers are addressed, not only by masters and their superiors, but also by plain persons and those of inferior rank, receiving occasionally abundant and circumstantial exhortations from them. Hence, it has frequently happened, that the representations and admonitions of such persons, have afforded them signal advantage.
Therefore, ye blessed, above all things, grieve not the Holy Spirit who has accompanied you into prison; had He not entered with you, you would not now be in bonds. Strive, therefore, to retain the Holy Spirit with you there, that He may lead you from prison and conduct you to the Lord. The prison is indeed the house of the devil, in which he keeps his household; but you have gone into prison for the purpose of trampling upon him in his own house; for when you contended with him without, you totally vanquished him. Wherefore, he shall not say: "They are in my power, I will tempt them with disgraceful hunger, with apostasy, or with dissension among themselves." He will flee from your sight, and hide himself in his abyss, like a frightened, halting, torpid, accursed and vanquished serpent.
Moreover, he shall not be so successful in his kingdom, as to excite dissension among you, and incite you against one another; but he shall find you equipped and armed with concord, since your peace is to him a war. Even though some of you have not enjoyed this peace in your churches, yet they have usually obtained it through prayer, from their fellow martyrs in prison. You ought, therefore, to have and preserve this peace among you, that you may impart the same to others. Other hindrances, such as parents, etc., have accompanied you to the prison door. Thenceforth, you are separated from the world, and much more from the perishable things of the world. It should not be a source of fear and distress to you, that you are separated from the world; for when we consider that the world is rather a prison, we can perceive that you have rather escaped from than been committed to prison. For the world is filled with greater darkness, obscuring the minds of men. The world binds sinners with more ponderous chains, in order to keep their souls in bondage and security. The world exposes adulterous mankind to more desolating impurities. In fine, the world contains more prisoners; namely, the whole human family; and, moreover, is awaiting a sentence, not this sentence of aldermen or judges, but the judgment of God. So, ye blessed, ye are now in a place of refuge or safety from the prison of the world; true, there is darkness in that refuge, but you are a light in that darkness. There are indeed prisoners there, but you are God's freedmen; there is a loathsome smell there, but you are a sweet savor. These judges have to look for a judge, but you it is who shall judge these judges. II Cor. 6:2; Rev. 3:21. Those may indeed be distressed who sigh after the wealth of this world, but a true Christian had already renounced the whole world when he was out of prison: and now that he is in prison he also renounces the. prison. To you who have renounced the world, it matters not in what part of the world you are. And if you have but some of the joy of this life, it is profitable dealing to lose or relinquish a trifling bargain, in order, thereby, to gain a greater one. I forbear mentioning the magnitude of the reward and glorification to which the martyrs are called of God. Rev. 3:21.
Still, we would hereby compare the life of the world and the prison life; the spirit gains more in prison than the body loses. Nay, the body loses not the necessaries of life, in consequence of the providence of the church and love of the brethren. but the Spirit, moreover, makes such acquisitions as are every way advantageous to faith; for there (in prison) you see no strange gods; there you are not offended with their images; there you are not molested by the great throng of men, which takes place at the festivals of the heathen; you are not enveloped with foul stench; you are not terrified with the shrieks of the horrid exhibitions, and with the fury and insolence of tumult, when the heathen tragedians make such vain reptesentations. You are not disgusted with the sight of public brothels; you are free from offense, from temptation, from evil thoughts, nay, from persecution. The prison affords to Christians all the advantages derived by the prophets from their solitary wilds. The Lord was wont to withdraw from the people, that He might enjoy the more freedom in prayer, and in retirement from the world. Nay, in the wilderness, He manifested His glory to His disciples. We will, therefore, discard the name prison, and substitute that of separation, for, though the body is therein secluded and confined, yet all things are open to the spirit. Let the spirit then issue forth and wander abroad, not in shady orchards or spacious pleasure houses, but let it travel in the way that leads to God. Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:2; Heb. 13:14. So often as you expatiate in the spirit, so often will you be beyond the confines of the prison. The feet are free from the shackles, when the hands are uplifted to heaven; the mind carries the whole man with it, taking him wherever it goes; hence; our hearts should be wherever we should have our treasures. Matt. 6:21.
But be it so, ye blessed, that the prison is irksome to the Christians: yet we must remember, that we are called to the warfare of the living God. Eph. 6; and the more especially as we have taken the sacramental (baptismal) vow. Nay, no soldier marches to war with joy and delight. He marches forth to the battle, not from his bed, but from his tent, equipped and girded about, when the whole work is a series of trouble, sorrow and turmoil; nay, in peace they are free from labor. They teach with trouble to endure the fatigues of war; they march under arms, they exercise in the field, sink ditches and saw wood for the various kinds of armaments and fortifications. All is one continued labor and toil, lest the body or the mind should be influenced by fear; from the evening twilight till the dawn of day, from the heat of summer to the cold of winter, from the taking off of the coat till the putting on of the armor, from silence till clamor, from tranquillity till alarm.
Therefore, ye blessed, inure yourselves to all the hardships of the soldier, for the exercise and strengthening of the mind and body. You are now marching in a good contest, in which the living God is the dispenser of the prizes, and the Holy Ghost the keeper; the coronation is an everlasting jewel, the citizenship angelic existence in heaven, a glory that shall endure forever: therefore, it is Jesus Christ who dispenses the prizes to you, who has given you the unction of the Holy Spirit, and advanced you to this grade of honor; may he withdraw you from lighter work before the day of battle, that you may be assailed with greater violence, and your strength be confirmed; for the combatants have to undergo severe discipline and exercise, in order that, by exertion, their physical powers may be improved. For, for this end they are kept from venery, rich victuals, and strong drink; they are subjected to constraint, tortured and exercised; and the greater preparatory exercise they take, the greater is their hopes of victory. Now they do it, says the apostle (I Cor. 9:25 ), to obtain a corruptible crown; but we shall obtain an eternal one. We should, therefore, make the prison a place of trial and exercise, that we may be inured to every misfortune and inconvenience, and so appear with the greater confidence, before the judgment seat of Christ.
We are not unacquainted with the declaration of the Lord Jesus: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." We ought, therefore, not to fear or be dismayed, since the Lord declares that the flesh is weak; but He has told us beforehand, that the spirit is willing and ready, in order that He might know which should be subject to the other, namely, that the flesh should serve the spirit, the weaker submit to the stronger that the former might also acquire strength of the latter. The spirit should converse about the general eternal salvation, and not about the inconvenience of the prison, but meditate upon the contest, and what greater hardships may still be in reserve. Perhaps the flesh will be terrified at the huge sharp sword, the lofty gallows, the ravenous beast, or the exquisite pain of the flames, and the numerous instruments of torment; then will the spirit and flesh stand in opposition. What though this be great cruelty, numbers have suffered it with great joy; nay, persons have voluntarily desired and longed for it, in order to acquire honor and a name; and not only men but women. Hence, ye blessed, you may know how to deport yourselves according to the measure of your race.
It would consume too much time to mention all who have been executed with the sword, under the influence of a strong desire for such a death. Among females, there is Lucretia, who, being ravished, pierced her bosom with a dagger in the presence of her friends, that she might leave behind her the fame of her chastity. ATutius burst off his right hand, in order, thereby, to acquire a name. How, also, that many other extraordinary inconveniences and tortures have been suffered for the acquisition of worldly honor and fame, we omit for brevity's sake; and add that if temporal honor is worth so much torture and pain, endured through strength of mind, so that fire, sword, gallows, wild beasts, and torture were contemned for the reward of human fame, I may well say, that this, our affliction, is extremely light in comparison of the heavenly glory and the divine reward. If glass is so valuable, how much more precious are jewels? Who, then, would not much rather suffer so much for a real, substantial good, when so many endure so much for an unsubstantial one. I now dismiss the consideration for temporal fame; still the strife of indignation and that of martyrdom are analogous, etc.
This outward exercise, ye blessed, the Lord has not permitted to enter the world to no purpose; but for our sakes, to warn us, thereby, that we shall be put to shame and confusion at the last day, if we are afraid of suffering for the sake of truth unto salvation, that which others have endured for the sake of vanity, unto perdition, etc. And in conclusion, let us consider the end or design of the creation of man, at which we must arrive, that such reflection may stimulate us to prepare ourselves resolutely to endure those calamities which equally befall the willing and the unwilling, (namely, the punishment of death, etc.), There is no person who would not still suffer for man's sake; why then should we hesitate or fear to suffer in the cause of God, who will recompense us with the purest love, and with joy and everlasting glory? Meditate upon this, ye blessed.
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