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Books and Sources

On this page are enumerated the sources used for my search on the history of Dordrecht, Holland and Ancient Europe.

Many of these sources can be visited on their respective websites on the www, when available I added a link to the websites.

On the WWW

Mr. drs. Dirk van Duijvenbode in Dutch

The Royal Genealogy site in English

Internet Medieval Sourcebook in English

Genealogy of Holland in English

Women in Leadership in English

Historische sprokkelingen in Dutch

Wikipedia the free encyclopedia in English

The Info please encyclopedia in English

 Het volk van Nederland in Dutch

The 1911 edition encyclopedia in English

The Dutch Republic in English

Genealogy page of the Nassau family

Maximilian Genealogy Master Database

A German page in English The Stem Duchies

All about Castles and Ruins in The Netherlands


I also used several books conserning the topics I am writing about. Thse books are all in the public domain, thats why I published them on this website. The books written by C. Davies are in my own library even as The Annalsof Egmond, the books of Albert Delahaye, The books of Mathijs Balen, Beschryving der Stad Dordrecht.1676.

Chronographia Johannis de Beke, Croniken van den Stichte van Utrecht ende van Hollant.

Rhyme chronicle of Holland (366-1305) through an anonymous author and Melis Stoke.

Mathijs Balen, Beschryving der Stad Dordrecht.1676.

Henri Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique, 7 vol. (1900–32), a brilliantly written history extending to 1914 by the famous Belgian historian, covers for the period of the Middle Ages the northern as well as the southern parts of the Low Countries, although emphasis is on the south (the post-Revolt period is covered only for the south).

Ivo Schöffer, A Short History of the Netherlands, 2nd rev. ed. (1973), provides a useful history of the northern Netherlands.

An excellent general synthesis written by expert authors is J.A. Bornewasser et al. (eds.), Winkler Prins Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, 3 vol. (1977–78).

Pietsser Geyl, Geschiedenis van de Nederlandsche stam, rev. ed., 3 vol. (1948–58), is a monumental work in which the linguistic-ethnic unity of the Dutch-speaking Low Countries is emphasized.

D.P. Blok et al. (eds.), Algemene Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, 15 vol. (1977–83), is an extensive history of both the northern and southern Low Countries from Roman times to the present day, with detailed bibliographies.

The Dutch-speaking part of actual Belgium is considered in Max Lamberty et al. (eds.), Twintig Eeuwen Vlaanderen, 15 vol. (1972–79).

Other works concerning the same area include Renée Doehaerd et al. (eds.), Histoire de Flandre: des origines à nos jours (1983), an excellent and up-to-date general synthesis; and A.G.H.A. Baart and J. Louage (eds.), Culturele geschiedenis van Vlaanderen, 10 vol. (1982–83), a more popular version by good scholars of the general history of art, literature, and daily life.

The French-speaking regions have been competently dealt with by Émile Coornaert, La Flandre française de langue flamande (1970); Louis Trenard (ed.), Histoire des Pays-Bas français (1972, reissued 1984); and Hervé Hasquin et al. (eds.), La Wallonie: le pays et les hommes, 6 vol. (1975–81).

The prehistory of the Low Countries is presented by Sigfrid J. de Laet, The Low Countries (1958), the only general survey in English on the topic, but now out of date in many respects; L.P. Louwe Kooijmans, The Rhine/Meuse Delta (1974), on prehistory and Holocene geology in the Dutch coastal wetlands; H.T. Waterbolk, “Archaeology in the Netherlands: Delta Archaeology,” World Archaeology, 13(2):240–54 (1981), a short evaluation of Dutch archaeology in the last decades; and J.H.F. Blowmers, L.P. Louwe Kooijmans, and H. Sarfatij, Verleden Land: Archeologische opgravingen in Nederland (1981), a full-colour presentation of modern-day archaeology in the Netherlands, from the Middle Paleolithic up to post-medieval times.

W. Jappe Alberts, H.P.H. Jansen, and J.F. Niermeyer, Welvaart in wording: sociaal-economische geschiedenis van Nederland van de vroegste tijden tot het einde van de Middeleeuwen, 2nd enlarged ed. (1977), presents a social and economic history of the northern Netherlands during the Middle Ages, with emphasis on the economic aspects.

É. de Moreau, Histoire de l’Église en Belgique, 5 vol. (1945–52), with exhaustive bibliographies, and a supplemental vol. containing maps (1948); and R.R. Post, Kerkgeschiedenis van Nederland in de Middeleeuwen, 2 vol. (1957), are extensive handbooks of the church history of, respectively, the southern and the northern Netherlands.

D.P. Blok, De Franken in Nederland, 3rd ed. (1979), offers a brilliant portrayal of the early history of the northern Netherlands.

P.C.J.A. Boeles, Friesland tot de elfde eeuw: zijn vóór- en vroege geschiedenis, 2nd ed. (1951), is an authoritative work on early Frisian history, with a lengthy English summary.

François-L. Ganshof, La Flandre sous les premiers comtes, 3rd ed. rev. (1949), reCounts the history of the important principality of Flanders, tracing its origins and ending with the eventful crisis of 1127–28.

Henry Stephen Lucas, The Low Countries and the Hundred Years’ War, 1326–1347 (1929, reprinted 1976), is a reliable and richly documented account of political events.

A series of books by Richard Vaughan, Philip the Bold: The Formation of the Burgundian State, rev. ed. (1979), John the Fearless: The Growth of Burgundian Power, rev. ed. (1979), Philip the Good: The Apogee of Burgundy (1970), and Charles the Bold: The Last Valois Duke of Burgundy (1973), are well-documented studies of the Burgundian Dukes and the growth of their political power. J. Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages: A Study of the Forms of Life, Thought, and Art in France and the Netherlands in the XIVth and XVth Centuries (1924, reprinted 1985; originally published in Dutch, 1919), is a classic work. Walter Prevenier and Wim Blockmans, The Burgundian Netherlands (1986; originally published in Dutch, 1983), is a magnificently illustrated scholarly general synthesis concerning the period 1380–1530. Geoffrey Parker, The Dutch Revolt (1977), analyzes the period 1565–1659.

Petrus Johannes Blok, History of the People of the Netherlands, 5 vol. (1898–1912, reprinted 1970; originally published in Dutch, 8 vol., 1892–1908), is a classic history of the northern territories, although now outdated, particularly so on the history of the Middle Ages.

Books published on this website :

All in the public domain.

Holland, the history of The Netherlands By Thomas Colley Grattan with a supplementary chapter of recent events by Julian Hawthorne Lardner's ‘Cyclop.’ vol. x. 1830.

History of Holland and the Dutch Nation From the beginning of the tenth to the end of the eighteenth century. Including an account of the municipal institutions, commercial pursuits, and social habits of the people. The rise and progress of the protestant reformation in Holland. The intestine dissentious foreign wars By C. M. Davies. In Three Volumes Vol. I LONDON: G.Willis, Great Piazza, Covent Garden. MDCCCXLI.

History of Holland  Cambridge Universitiy Press C.F. CLay, Manager London: Fetter Lane, E.C.4 By George Edmundson D. LITT., F.R.G.S., F.R.HIST.S. Sometime Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford Hon. Member of the Dutch Historical Societssy, Utrecht, Foreign member of the Netherland Societssy of Literature, Leyden. Cambridge at the Universitiy Press 1922.

More to come soon


Dumas, Intro

The Black Tulip

by Alexandre Dumas 
A deceptively simple story and the shortest of Dumas's most famous novels, The Black Tulip (1850) weaves historical events surrounding a brutal murder into a tale of romantic love. Set in Holland in 1672, this timeless political allegory draws on the violence and crimes of history, making a case against tyranny and creating a symbol of justice and tolerance: the fateful tulipa negra.

The Black Tulip is a historical novel written by Alexandre Dumas, père.

The story begins with a historical event — the 1672 lynching of the Dutch Grand Pensionary (roughly equivalent to a modern Prime Minister) Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis, by a wild mob of their own countrymen — considered by many as one of the most painful episodes in Dutch history, described by Dumas with a dramatic intensity.

The main plot line, involving fictional characters, takes place in the following eighteen months; only gradually does the reader understand its connection with the killing of the de Witt brothers.

The city of Haarlem, Netherlands has set a prize of 100,000 guilders to the person who can grow a black tulip, sparking competition between the country's best gardeners to win the money, honour and fame. The young and bourgeois Cornelius van Baerle has almost succeeded, but is suddenly thrown into the Loevestein prison. There he meets the prison guard's beautiful daughter Rosa, who will be his comfort and help, and at last his rescuer.

The novel was originally published in three volumes in 1850 as La Tulipe Noire by Baudry (Paris).


William, Prince of Orange, afterward William III. King of England.

Louis XIV, King of France.

Cornelius de Witt, inspector of dikes at the Hague.

Johan de Witt, his brother, Grand Pensionary of Holland.

Colonel van Deeken, aide-de-camp to William of Orange.

Dr. Cornelius van Baerle, a tulip-fancier, godson of Cornelius de Witt.

Mynheer Isaac Boxtel, his rival.

Marquis de Louvois.

Count Tilly, Captain of the Cavalry of the Hague.

Mynheer Bowelt, deputy.

Mynheer d'Asperen, deputy.

The Recorder of the States.

Master van Spenser, a magistrate at Dort.

Tyckalaer, a surgeon at the Hague.

Gerard Dow.

Mynheer van Systens, Burgomaster of Haarlem and President of its Horticultural Society.

Craeke, a confidential servant of John de Witt.

Gryphus, a jailer. Rosa, his daughter, in love with Cornelius van Baerle.


The Dordrecht Minster 2

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

The Dordrecht Minster or Church of our Lady


Inside the Dordrecht Minster

The Maria or Lady Chapel

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The Maria or Lady Chorus, 1283, was damaged during the great city fire in 1457 and partly rebuild The Maria or Lady Corus, this organ was installed in 2006 and build in acc. with the speicifications of the original 18th century Bach organ


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The Maria or Lady Chorus, memorial for the famous seascape painter J.C.Schotel, installed in 1839 The Maria (Lady) Chorus, stained glass windows

The Meerdervoort, Jerusalem and St George’s Chapels

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The northern Choir Aisle, view on the Meerdervoort chapel The northern Choir Aisle, memorial for an English sea officer who was killed on March 21,1793 at Noerdijk in defend of Holland against Napoleon. The English army was quartered at Dordrecht to defend Holland against the French


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The Meerdervoort Chapel, close up Meerdervoort Chapel, tombstone of Michasel Pompe (died 1639) and his wife Adriana de Bevere (died 1678)


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The Meerdervoort Chapel, close up The Meerdervoort Chapel


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Stained glass window in the Meerdervoort Chapel, The life of Jesus Stained glass window in the Meerdervoort Chapel, Thedead of Jesus Stained glass window in the Meerdervoort Chapel, The resurrection of Jesus


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View on the Jerusalem Chapel, the three stained glass windows which, like in the Meerdervoort Chapel, were given by the Stoop family, depicts three moments in the history of Dordrecht: the St Elizabeth’s Flood of 1421, the Great City Fire of 1457 and the occupation of Dordrecht on 6 April 1481, during the battles between ´Hooks and Cods´ groups (see description next) View on the The Jerusalem and the St George’s Chapel who belonged to the Guild of Bowmen


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The Jerusalem Chapel


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The Jerusalem Chapel, stained glass window depicting the St. Elisbath Flood in 1421 The Jerusalem Chapel, stained glass window depicting the great fire of 1457 The Jerusalem Chapel, stained glass window depicting Dordrecht occupied by the Cods trickered by Jan van Egmond on April 6th 1481 during the Hooks and Cods wars


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Modern stained glass windows in the St George’s Chapel, this chapel belonged to the Guild of Bowmen, installedf in 2006


The St Louis’ or Minster Chapel, the St Apolonia’s Chapel and the St Pancras’ Chapel

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The southern Choir Aisle, from left to right, the St Louis’ or Minster Chapel, the St Apolonia’s Chapel, the St Pancras’ Chapel, The Jan van Muylwyck Chapel, St John’s Chapel, St Jacob the Major and the St Peter and St Paul Chapel In 1433 the Minters guild took responsibility for the St Louis’ Chapel. Coins of the realm were minted in Dordrecht for many centuries. Above the door there can be seen the Minters’ coat of arms and tools, with the inscription, ´Hast Thou aimed for money, more excellent than gold; share Thy money with the poor and expect a hundredfold´. Counting the red-painted Roman numbers on the inscription, we get 1675. That was the year in which the screen was installed


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View from the Sanctuary to the St Pancras’ Chapel View to the east of the southern Choir Aisle


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The St Pancras’ Chapel. The third chapel in the Southern Choir Aisle belongs to the Vriesendorp family societssy and was restored in 1914. The attractive screen and stained glass window were also added at that time. The window shows the history of the young Pancratius, who was killed for his beliefs in the year 303. On the left-hand side Pancratius stands before the emperor, who is trying to persuade him to give up his belief. The right-hand side shows the death of the young martyr. Pancratius is kneeling while the executioner raises the sword to behead him.


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The St John’s Chapel, stained glass window depicting the charitable activities of the Order of the Knights of St John of Malta. The St John’s Chapel has a window depicting the charitable activities of the Order of the Knights of St John of Malta. In the eleventh century the Order founded a hospitum – a combination of pilgrims’ hostel and hospital – in Jerusalem.
Their activities included feeding the hungry, treating wounds, nursing the sick, carrying for foreigners, preaching the Gospel, liberating prisoners, giving water to the thirsty and defending the law.
There were centres of the St John’s Order in the places named in the window






This window, with its colourings of purple, blue and red also clearly indicates the atmosphere of the Middle Ages Unfortunately a wall with entrance was erected in 1987 (a shame to deform this magnific monument in such way), making it difficult to view the lower part of the window
The Southern Transept
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  tained glass window (Southern transept), depicting five historical scenes from Dordrecht.

1. The liberation of Dordrecht by the “Watergeuzen” (sea fighters) in 1572

The lowest part of the window depict their leaders, Lumey, Count Van Der Mark (left side), and Barthold Entens van Mentheda (right side).

2. William of Orange taking part in Holy Communion in Dordrecht Minster on 21 March 1574.
3. The first Free States Meeting under the chairmanship of Marnix van Sint Aldegonde, held in 1572 in the former Augustine monastery. It was attended by representatives of those cities which had supported William of Orange in the fight against Spain. This lead unintentionally to the founding of the Repulblic of the United Netherlands. The cities represented at that meeting are depicted in the window by their coats of arms. These are connected by the motto Concordia res parvae crescunt (Union also makes the small large).

4. Above the coats of arms can be seen the important people who attended the National Synod in Dordrecht in 1618 - 1619. From left to right they are Prince Maurits; his nephew, the Friesian governor Willem Lodewijk; Johannes Uitenbogaerdt, court-chaplin; Professor Franciscus Gomarus; Johannes Bogerman, Chairman of the Synod (left, with raised hands); and (below left) the Remonstrants Episcopius; Niellius; Johan van Oldebarnevelt; Hugo de Groot (he is holding the ´Resolution for Church Freedom´ in his hand) and Professor Jacobus Arminius, though he had died in 1609, aged fourty-nine.

5. The translation of the Bible from the original languages. The so-called States Bible had much influence on the Dutch language.
The Sanctuary
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Copper fence, 1743. This Fence was placed between the Sanctuary and the Nave of the Minster in 1761 The southern Choir Aisle, view to the west


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Copper fence, 1743 View to the east to the Sanctuary. In the Middle Ages the Sanctuary was the liturgical heart of the church


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Copper fence, 1743, close up Overview of the Sanctuary to the east with the famous Stone Dome Vault of the Dordrecht Minster


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The Sanctuary, southern side. The early renaissance choir stalls which are currently in the Sanctuary were made between 1538 and 1542 The Sanctuary, northern side. Matthijs Balen mentioned in his description of the City of Dordrecht (1677) the name of a certain Jan Terwen Aertszoon as the maker of the choir stalls


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Overview of the Dordrecht Minster from the Sanctuary to the west with the Stone Dome vault of the Minster, the Choir Stalls and far in the background the Nave with the famous Baroque organ, 1672 View on the copper fence between the Sanctuary and the Nave


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View to the Nave, in the foreground the tombstones of the Sanctuary, the large maintenance of the main organ (2007-2010) is visably in the background Side close up view on the Choir Stalls in the Sanctuary


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The Dordrecht choir stalls stand in two levels behind each other and can seat 60 people, separated by supports. The long stalls without supports were for choir boys and church officials. Forty people could be seated there


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Copper tombstone of Wouterbuck, mintmaster of Holland and his wife Tombstone of Ocker Gevarts, mintmaster of Holland and burgomaster of Voorne
The Nave
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View from the Nave to to the Sanctuary. After the Reformation in 1572 the Nave was adapted for protestant worship The Pulpit, 1756. The pulpit with marble steps and body and wooden sounding board


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The Pulpit, 1756. The pulpit with marble steps and body and wooden sounding board


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Clos up of the Pulpit, 1756. The pulpit with marble steps and body and wooden sounding board


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Overview of the Minster from the Nave to the Sanctuarry


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The present organ was installed to replace an organ from 1400. When the pulpit was moved to the nave in 1597, the first organ was also moved to the southern transept, approximately opposite its original position. In 1762 the organ casing was fitted with new carvings in rococo style, with the exception of the Arms The carving and Arms were painted white and the oakwood organ casing received a mahogany colouring. In this way the organ formed a unity with the nave. About 1855, however, the organ had fallen into such disrepair that it was decided to build another organ, to be placed in the existing casing.


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The new organ, now located at the north western end of the building, was built by the organ builder Kam of Rotterdam and was inaugurated by the then current Minster organist, Gijsbert Izaäk de Vries. Except for some minor changes, the current organ still has its original specification from 1678
The Southern Choir Aisle
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The St Anna’s Chapel
This chapel was founded for the furriers and at the end of the seventeenth century came into the ownership of the Van Slingerlandt family. The family coat of arms with crown is supported by an eagle and a swan. The crowned letter L on the eagle’s wing probably refers to the fact that the Van Slingerlandt family were raised to the nobility in 1702 by the Austrian Emperor Leopold I
The northern Choir Aisle, view to the east


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Exhibition about the Synod of Dordrecht. The Synod was held in 1618 - 1619 in the Arquebusiers’ Shooting Range (Kloveniersdoelen), that building being demolished in the nineteenth century. The opening and conclusion of that Synod took place in the Minster and there were many foreign representatives present A most important decision was to translate the Bible into Dutch, which had a great influence on the Dutch language.The model gives a good impression of the ´Kloveniersdoelen´ and the Synod held there

The Northern Choir Aisle

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Entrance to the tower and the main entrance Hall (north-western side) The southern Choir Aisle, view to the east


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St Barbara’s Chapel, the huge tombstone of Cornelis Teresteyn Adriaenzoon Teresteyn, who died on 22 March 1643, lies in this chapel Mayor Pietsser Damaszoon van de Velde had furnished the St Olof’s or Odulphus’ Chapel as a family grave about 1550. Descendants of the Van de Velde- Van der Mijlen family provided a renaissance screen in 1626 with the family coat of arms.There are also several biblical texts on the screen from the Book of Isiah and the Book of Revelation of St John


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The St Catherina’s Chapel, tombstones of the famous Dordrecht De Witt family, the last resting place of the parents and grandparents of Johan de Witt (famous statesman) and his brother Cornelis. The De Witt brothers were cruelly murdered in The Hague in 1672


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This chapel belonged to the Fish Merchants Guild. The chapel floor has been restored to its original level, making visible the stone seats along the wall. There is a vault in the chapel which contains the gold Holy Communion and Baptismal sets in the summer months The Gold Liturcal set for the last supper and the baptism dates from 1738. The design was made by the famous Dordrecht Painter and artist Aert Schauman and was cast in Gold by goldsmith Dirk Wor.


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In 1579 a painting in the renaissance style was made above the entrance to the northern Transept This is one of the largest protestant paintings in the Netherlands. It is a so-called ´secco´, a painting on a dry chalk base

The two organs of the Dordrecht Minster

Even in the Middle Ages the church had an organ. This is confirmed in financial accounts from 1490 which show payments to an organist. However, after the introduction of the Calvinistic order of service little remained of the rich Roman Catholic liturgy. It was not so much organ music to which the church council objected, but rather some “light hearted” playing. This was probably due to the organists who, now and again, played non-religious pieces.

When the pulpit was moved to the nave in 1597, the first organ was also moved to the southern transept, approximately opposite its original position. In 1614 the organ builder Aelbert Kiespenning of Nijmegen was contracted to build a new organ that would be located on the east wall of the southern transept. This organ was approved by the famous organist Jan Pietssersz. Sweelink of Ansterdam.

A lead singer was appointed in 1611 to support congregational singing. Organ music was banned temporarily from church services but after 1638 the chanting of psalms was once again accompanied by the sounds of the organ. The organ once again regained its rightful place in services, but technically no longer met requirements. In 1671 the organ builder Nicolaas van Hagen received a contract to build a new instrument. In spite of protests from the Guilds that the money could be better spent, he made preparations in his home town of Antwerp and commenced the project. Lack of money and the war against France caused progress to be slow.

By 1674 the work was only half completed. However, to have stopped at that point would have been a senseless waste of money. The only alternative was to borrow more money and in 1675 Nicolaas van Hagen was again fully employed on this work. After that date his name is no longer mentioned in historic documents. Carel Jacobsz. Pellereyn, organ builder of Dordrecht, finally completed the building of that organ.

In 1762 the organ casing was fitted with new carvings in rococo style, with the exception of the Arms. The carving and Arms were painted white and the oakwood organ casing received a mahogany colouring. In this way the organ formed a unity with the nave. About 1855, however, the organ had fallen into such disrepair that it was decided to build another organ, to be placed in the existing casing. The new organ, now located at the north western end of the building, was built by the organ builder Kam of Rotterdam and was inaugurated by the then current Minster organist, Gijsbert Izaäk de Vries.

1. The Main Organ, made bij Hagens in 1672, called Kam Organ

The Word-famous Organ of the Minster of Dordrecht in The Netherlands was build in 1678 and renovated in 1762 and 1859. In 2006 a major restoration of the organ pipes began, which was finished in 2011 and  restored the full former glory of the sound of this wonderful charactaristic organ.


Click the image to hear the ORGAN of the Dordrecht Minster, Marche Triomphale - Mic.J. Lemmens, Organist Andre de Jager.

Due to the acoustic of the Cathedral, the echo of the sound of this organ takes about 10 seconds to die-away. A notable detail, the organ can't be set to its full capacity because of the danger of damaging the walls and the stone dome-vault of the Big Church.

If you like Organ music, here is another nice example of the sound of this famous organ : Organist Andre de Jager Baroque Suite - Gordon Young in MP3 CD quality (160kbps / 44 kHz) (9.538 kb), playing time 8.07 min.

A video with fragments of the DVD from the organist Everhart Zwart

2. The Bach organ


On September 26, 2007 a new Bach organ was placed in the Minster, made by Verschueren Organ (Heythuysen) and festively inaugurated.

This instrument is a significant enrichment of the Dutch organs in general , and of the Dordrecht Minster in particular. Never before was indeed a copy of the work style of the famous organ builder Gottfried Silbermann built in the Netherlands. Moreover, the instrument is from a stylistic point of view an important addition to the opus magnum of the famous organ builders Kam (the builders of the main organ) in the giant Dordrecht Minster.

Flash slideshow of the Dordrecht Minster

I made a flash slideshow of the inner side of the Minster with organ background music which can be set off when you don't like organ music. This slideshow can be paused to read the information when moving the mouse on the picture. You can see the Slideshow HERE

The Dordrecht Minster 1

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

The Dordrecht Minster or Church of our Lady


Origin of the Minster

The first Romanesque church was build by order of Count Dirk V (1061-1090) and started in 1077 managed by a certain Pietsser de Groot who was the grandfather of Anna, a spiritual virgin, who is said to have lived for 113 years (1081-1196). During excavations in 1986 under the choir of the present Minster, walls of tuff stone in the form of a semi-circular Romanesque chancel were found, which could be dated to the 10th century. The inner diameter was about 9 meters. Regrettably only part of the choir could be investigated and it is therefore uncertain whether there was an even earlier building. Nevertheless it is clear that at that time (10th century) Dordrecht had already a significant church.

The medieval Grote Kerk of Dordrecht, or Dordrecht Minster is a building which is rich in history. Its origin lies in the early 12th century. There is no accurate confirmation about the age of the present Dordrecht Minster, but archaeological data indicates that a chapel which was mentioned in a charter of 1122 could be the basis of the Minster. The first written story of the present Minster dates from 1182 where it is mentioned as a parish church.


On the oldest known City-seal of Dordrecht dated 1255, we can see at the left the original seal and at the right a reconstruction of the seall  The Church on the seal must be the early Dordrecht Minster (a Romanesque building). The first tower of the Minster was build from about 1182.

The Romanesque Church was replaced in the 12th century by the present Gothic building with its famous massive tower. The present tower dates from 1339 and was never finished because the tower started leaning over 2,5 meters and the building had to stop, otherwise it would simply have fallen over. After the St-Elisabeth flood of 1421 four massive clocks were placed on top of the never finished tower. The Church nave itself was enlarged from about 1339. The whole Church was finally ready by the end of the 14th century.

 The Dordrecht Minster is the third biggest in the Netherlands, and the tower is about 75 meters high (about 250 feet). The dome-vault of the Dordrecht Minster is the only one in Holland fully made of stone. It is not only the external architecture which is impressive, but also its monuments, chapels and the 16th century finely carved choir stalls, a famous 17th century organ and a 18th century Marble pulpit make this church the most important building in Dordrecht and one of the most important monuments in The Netherlands.

Growth of the church

The growing town of Dordrecht continued to cherish its Minster church. Ancient city accounts show that in 1284 and 1285 extension were built onto the north side of the Lady Chapel. Costs are also given for the construction of the tower. However, it is unlikely that first tower was on the same site as the current tower. The church also underwent a re-building, which was so important that the Archbishop of Utrecht consecrated it in 1367 and the church was raised from the status of parish church to Minster.

 This also lead to further major building extensions. However, details of this are scarce and one can only surmise over the size and range. Probably the Sanctuary was rebuilt and a choir gallery was installed. The construction of the current tower probably commenced in 1339. The four tower clocks have sent out their well-know sounds since 1460. About 1470 the Minster reached its current form. A great fire in 1457 delayed further progress, but did not destroy existing building.

The Tower

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The tower at present day

toren tekeningDrawing of what the tower originally should have looked like.

There is an interesting story to be told about this tower, and church towers in general. A few centuries ago, when most churches were built, the size of the church's tower was an indication of the city's wealth. You might notice that many towers look like this one: as if it was suddenly cut off, with the last bit added on hastily. (in this case the 4 clocks) This is usually because the town turned out to be less wealthy than they would have liked to think, and they ran out of money before they were finished.

But this was not the case in Dordrecht. Dordrecht was a fabulously wealthy city, as it was positioned at a crossroads of some main rivers and played an important part in trade, so they could easily have afforded to make it 125 meters high, as was intended.

Unfortunately, Dordrecht's position in between rivers also meant that the ground was very wet and spongy and due to the St-Elisabeth flood of 1421 the ground became unable to support a structure so high. The tower started leaning over 2,5 meters, which it still visibly today, and the building had to stop, otherwise it would simply have fallen over.

The Carillon

The famous tower of the Dordrecht Minster has the largest Carillon of Europe, recently has been added 16 bells to the carillon and now the Carillon consist of a total of 67 bells.

Hear the Bells during the "vijfgelui" (pealing 5 bells at once).

If you like Carillon music you can download a nice example of the sound of this famous carillon (7,416 kb) in CD quality HERE.

Panorama views from top of the Tower

The tower can be visited whole year and after you have walked 275 steps you have a wonderful view at Dordrecht from a height of 75 meters.



View to the west, the Old Meuse river with the road and train bridges View to the west, Korenbeurs and Kalk harbors


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 View to the west, Prinsenstraat View to the south-west, Voorstraat harbor


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View to the south-west, Voorstraat harbor View to the south, Voorstraat harbor


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View to the south-east, Voorstraat harbor View to the east


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View to the east View to the east-north-east with the New harbor


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A panoramic view to the east-north-east with the river Old Mease A panoramic view to the east-north-east with the river Old Mease

The Reformation

Dordrecht sited with the Watergeux (Watergeuxzen) and on June 25, 1572 Dordrecht declared William of Orange their leader in the war against Spain. In July 1572 the first assembly of the States of Holland was held at Dordrecht in which the Seven United Provinces under the leadership of William I the Silent of Orange declared themselves independent from Spain.

This ended five centuries of Roman Catholicism in the United Provinces. Altars and holy sculptures were removed in that year but the wall paintings required a different method of removal. The chalk bush was the weapon used to attack the colored illustrations of the church patrons. Fortunately the choir stalls, made about 1540, were saved. In 1609 these already began to attract the attention of tourists. After 1572 the pulpit replaced the altar in order of first importance. A new pulpit was constructed in 1597 and placed in the Nave. It was used until 1756 and then replaced by the present one with marble steps and body and wooden sounding board. The beautiful organ which nowadays adorns the church was installed about 1678 and replaced one from about 1400.

Maintenance and restoration

From the 1600’s major maintenance has been carried out from time-to-time. Due to constant shortages of money sometimes only the most necessary work was undertaken. However, in 1982 the last major restoration took place after detailed preparation which required considerable funds. This restoration lead to the church being re-established in its former grandeur. Those who visit the Minster will see this for themselves.


The Dordrecht Minster outside

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The Big Church backside at the Voorstraat harbor  View at Dordrecht from the river Old-Meuse  


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Maria Chorus dated 1283 and partly rebuild after the great city fire of 1457 High Chorus seen from the Grote kerksplein


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Buildings before the tower  The Pottenkade at the Voorstraat harbor


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The characteristic clocks on top of the tower Voorstraat harbor side


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Tower dated 1339 seen from the Voorstraat Voorstraat harbor side Voorstraat harbor backside


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Close up of the characteristic clocks High Chorus (Nave) outside


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High Chorus outside, close up Voorstraat harbor side


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Southern Transept The chapels


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Grote kerksbuurt side Roof of the Sanctuary


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Grote kerksbuurt side

The Story of Dordrecht

The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht

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Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

The Story of Dordrecht

Dordrecht is common as the oldest city of HOLLAND. Dordrecht, also called DORT, South-Holland province, south-western Netherlands, Dordrecht is situated on the left bank of the Maas (Meuse) River, at the point where a long arm of the North Sea cuts deeply into the Dutch coastline at the divergence of the Merwede, Noord, Oude Maas (Old Meuse), and Dordtse Kil rivers.

Dordrecht is situated on an island (formed in 1421) and is surrounded by 5 rivers (Dordtse Kil, Hollands Diep, Lower Merwede, New Merwede and Olld Meuse) with several buildings older then 600 years and 1,100 buildings older then 300 years, Dordrecht is also called Venice of the North with idyllic old harbors and canals, so a wonderful city worth a visit.

Dordrecht was founded in 1008 by Count Theodore or Diederic (Dirk) III of the house of Frisia/Holland and was given city rights in 1015, it was the residence of the Counts of Holland until 1203 and was chartered in 1220 and fortified in 1271, it was the capital of Holland and the leading town during the 11th to the 17th century and one of the most prosperous medieval ports in the Netherlands, although severely damaged by the St. Elisabeth flood in 1421, Dordrecht stayed the leading city of Holland until it was surpassed as residence by The Hague in the 17th century, as seaport by Rotterdam in the 18th century and as Capital of the Netherlands by Amsterdam in the 19th century.

In 1572 Dordrecht welcomed the "Sea Beggars" (Water geuzen), when the Seven United Provinces of the Northern Netherlands rebelled against Spain, and was the scene of the first assembly of the United Provinces. It was the seat (1618-1619) of the important Synod of Dort, an international assembly of the Reformed Church (for which it had declared in 1572). Many of its medieval houses, courtyards, gates, quays, and canals have survived to contrast with spacious modern housing areas.

The full history of Dordrecht you can read on my Dordrecht History pages

 Adam Willaerts-Dordrecht

This portrait of Dordrecht was painted by order of the city. The painting gives a good picture of the activity on the waters at Dordrecht, which brought the city prosperity for centuries. In the painting is seen fishing boats, timber rafts and in the middle a war ship, which fires a salute-shot to Dordrecht. The main gates and buildings of Dordrecht, which Riedijk gate, the "Groot hoofd" gate (Oude Hoofd) and the Dordrecht Minster (Grote Kerk), are clearly recognizable. On the ship in the foreground Willaerts depicted himself with a sketchbook.

 Adam Willaerts-Dordrecht-close-up

Dordrecht - In a glance

Inhabitants: 119.324 (01-01-2008)
Size: 98.30 km3
Location: Between the rivers Merwede, Oude Maas (Old Meuse), Noord (North) and Dordtse Kil, on the so-called 'Eiland van Dordrecht' (Island of Dordrecht). Distance to other cities, Rotterdam 20 km, Delft 35 km, The Hague 45 km, Leiden 70 km, Amsterdam 100 km. Belgium 50 km, Paris 450 km.
Position: About 20 km southeast of Rotterdam, roughly 50 km north of the border with Belgium. Dordrecht lies at the southern tip of the province Zuid Holland (South Holland) (see arrow on the map below)
Famous for:
  • The Oldest City of Holland, one of the oldest cities of modern Netherlands.
  • The Financial center of Ancient Holland.
  • The first assembly of the States of Holland in 1572 in which the Seven United Provinces under the leadership of William I the Silent of Orange declared themselves independent from Spain.
  • The Synod of Dordrecht (1618-1619, an important religious institute of the Reformed church.
  • The birth-place of the brothers de Witt, Johan de Witt, a 17th-century Grand Pensionary of Holland, and his brother Cornelius were natives of the town. Important men of state and the first republicans in the 17th century, who were later lynched in The Hague.
  • The 17th-century Dutch painters Albeart Cuyp (the most famous), Ferdinand Bol, Aeart de Gelder, Samuel van Hoogstraten, Benjamin Gerritz Cuyp, Abraham Bloemaert, Nicolaes Maes and Ary Scheffer.
  • Museums with collections of paintings by old Dutch masters and local medieval antiquities.
  • Both the brothers de Witt and Ary Scheffer have a statue in the center of the town. A strange fact is that Albert Cuyp, one of the most worldwide famous painters, have no statue until this day. (it is said that there are now pictures of him).

Dordrecht on the map of the Netherlands


Flag of DordrechtThe city flag of Dordrecht has three horizontal stripes colored red, white, red. The later flag of the United Netherlands (including Belgium and Luxemburg) in the 16 century, colored orange, white and blue was derived from it, even as the modern flag of the Netherlands colored red, white and blue.

WapendordrechtThe Dordrecht arms consist of two griffons holding a crowned shield of red, divided by a central, vertical bar of silver and was derived from the coat of arms of the Counts of Holland as a sign of the importance of the city and already in use during the early middle ages.

On the next pages you can read the whole story of the Ancient Capital of Holland and the historical evens that took place from the early middle ages until the 18th century in Dordrecht.

Index of pages about the history of Dordrecht with a short description


In page

The history of Dordrecht from  993 to 1222

History part 1

The history of Dordrecht from 1222 to 1299

History part 2

The history of Dordrecht from 1299 to 1356

History part 3

The history of Dordrecht from 1356 to 1417

History part 4

The history of Dordrecht from 1417 to 1433

History part 5

The history of Dordrecht from 1433 to 1555

Coming soon


Stories of the last Martyrs of Dordrecht, before 1572






Photo presentation Dordrecht Minster (Grote Kerk) outside

Buildings part 1

Photo presentation Dordrecht Minster (Grote Kerk) inside

Buildings part 2

Photo presentation of other old buildings part 3

Coming soon

Photo presentation of other old buildings part 4

Coming soon


Jan Woutersz van Cuyck

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

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Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

Martyrs, Jan Woutersz van Cuyck


The abundant grace of God, the love of Christ, and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, be constantly multiplied with you beloved, my dear brother-in-law and brother in the Lord, and your much beloved wife our dear sister, with all pious saints, who are zealous for righteousness, so that through this zeal and desire the name of God may be magnified; for they that are such are a light in the world, and a joy and pattern to their neighbor, for they constantly seek to please their neighbor in that which is good unto edification, that they may with all the God-fearing be found diligent followers of Christ. If we do thus, I have hope in the Lord, that we shall all get where Christ our Lord is, who strengthens us, and helps us to triumph, as may be read hereafter.


 After this cordial salutation out of a pure heart, I unworthy one, and least member in Christ, can not forbear to write you briefly, for a remembrance to you all, and for your comfort and encouragement; for I cannot keep this unspeakable joy of the Holy Ghost to myself alone, but must impart something to your love. But how can joy be a remarkable thing, if one has not experienced anxietssy; but I unworthy one have tasted this, the Lord be glorified therein.


 First, when I was apprehended for the obedience of Christ, I was interrogated concerning my faith, which I plainly confessed; but afterwards they asked for certain names, namely, for my wife, my mother, my master, and who baptized, and married me, and for other things. Thereupon I replied, that I had resolved in my heart not to name any one, for I intended to answer for myself, and would not be a traitor. The bailiff threatened that he should make me tell, etc.

 Having been confined there all the time during the cold winter, I was brought, the Saturday after St. Peter's day, up to the torture loft, where the instruments stood in readiness. The bailiff asked me first of all concerning my master, and then regarding others, and said, that I should also have to tell him what he should ask me. They entreated me; they threatened me; and said, "Though we know nearly all, and your ma Eter is possibly gone already, we will nevertheless hear it from your lips; hence do not suffer your limbs to be broken, but tell it voluntarily; else we shall deliver you to the executioner, and then you will have to do it."

 When they could obtain nothing from me, the upper part of my body was stripped, in the bitter cold, my hands were tied behind my back and made fast to the loft, and also my feet were bound, and I was thus, with my eyes blindfolded, drawn up by my hands, after I had been entreated to have a regard to my fine trade. And he said, that I should spare my members, my members which God had given me, for I had no power over one hair of my head.

 As I kept silent, I was scourged with rods, and the stripes fell mostly on my abdomen. Having been thus treated, I was let down and again asked; but the Lord be praised, they obtain e~d nothing from me, though I had drank that bitter cup. I was then drawn up again, and scourged as before. O flesh, you must suffer now, I thought. While I was thus suspended in agony, a halberdier ran from the loft and said, "I would rather be dead than that man;" because he only stood there and beheld it.

 When I did not reply in regard to anything, the executioner said, "What, will you not answer my lords? Reply to my lords; or have you a dumb devil in you?"

 They asked me whether I would advise with myself until Monday, and then tell them the truth (as they call it), in regard to all. I kept silent and thought, why should I advise with myself; I do not want to tell you anyway. I prayed within myself, that the Lord should not suffer me to be tempted above that I was able. I also openly called upon the Lord, and prayed that He would forgive them. The jailer once thought that I was beside myself; but I know nothing about that. The executioner imagined he would make me tell; he had had [he said] so many of our people under his hands, who eventually had to tell everything; but the faithful Helper in distress kept my lips.

 They then released me, and themselves gave me a respite that I should advise with myself until Monday; but if I should then not do it, I should be dealt with in an extraordinary manner; and they threatened me much, so that it was dreadful to hear. They said this was yet of the least, that it was only child's play compared to other, future tortures. But when I looked at myself, and beheld my body which was bloody from the scourging; for that was certainly one of the severest pains, I thought to myself: Is this only child's play? The jailer went away, and said to his wife, "They will torture the man to death." In short, I was so tortured that they had to dress and undress me. All this the vile flesh had to bear, which has so often grieved me, and would constantly walk in the crooked path, to gratify its lusts; it had deserved yet more. This having taken place in the afternoon, I was not well able to sleep in the night, but Counted the striking of the clock all night, and during the night I moaned most lamentably. But afterwards I received a great, peaceful joy and gladness of the Holy Ghost, so great that I cannot adequately describe it; because the Lord had so faithfully kept my lips, and not suffered me to be confounded in my confidence, which I poor, simple servant had already before I was apprehended; but herein the Lord proved me unworthy servant, praised be His name for evermore.

 Now when my sufferings became noised through the city, there were worldly people who rejoiced that I had kept my lips sealed: and if such people can rejoice, how much more shall the God-fearing rejoice, and praise God.

 Further, the appointed day drawing nigh, I earnestly prepared myself for it, and made supplication to my God, that He would not chasten me unworthy servant according to my sins, according to His justice, but according to His fatherly mercy, that He would keep my lips, and alleviate the pain, as He had done the first time.

 When the hour approached, my flesh feared, and my soul was afraid, for it had tried it; but I comforted myself as much as I could, thinking, "You will not suffer hereafter, where it will last forever; and this is but a little time." When I came upon the torture loft, on Tuesday (it was delayed a day), I was asked, to what conclusion I had come. I said, that my conscience would not allow it; I could not do what they requested.

 They said, "You can; we take that upon ourselves." I said, "Everyone must stand for himself." They said, "How can your master or your wife get into trouble; for they are gone already; what harm can it do the place where you were baptized?""I think," said the bailiff,"that it took place at your master's; but I do not know it for certain; and he that baptized, and he that married you, has left the king's Country, for it was so long ago." The secretary's servant also said to me, "Why will you conceal it? the pains are too great and in the end you will do it after all, as those of Breda."

 They concluded, that they would send me a learned man. who should prove to, or instruct, me with the Scriptures, that I could do it.

 When they were assembled together in another place, the bailiff asked, in what I was troubled. Thereupon the prior said, "You can well do it, and name your neighbor, for if you are the true people, thev will then with you receive the crown of martyrdom; but since you are not, then also hate the wicked, even as God hates them.".

O abominable expositor! whose exposition tends only to destruction. O Lord God, convert their hearts, who thirst so greatly after innocent blood. As we could not agree, we separated.

 The following day (which was Wednesday) I was brought forth again, and asked as before. I said, that I could not do it; my conscience did not allow it; if I did it, I think my heart would never be at rest; hence I would rather die with a peacefulheart, than live with a troubled conscience. The Scriptures teach us, "Do to men as you would have them do unto you; love your wife; love your neighbor as yourself." Matt. 7:12; 22:39.

 The bailiff said, "You love your neighbor more than yourself." I rejoined that one ought to lay down his life for his brother. I John 3:16. When with many words, entreaties and threats they could get nothing out of me, the executioner again seized me, and I again humbly entreated my God, as before in the first conflict.

 I was then stripped, and my hands tied behind my back; and I was much entreated, that I should do it. Thus I was drawn up, but not fastened below; I expected to be laid upon the rack.

 When I had been drawn up and could not answer according to their will (for the seed of God remained in me), he scourged me upon my lacerated skin, which caused me great pain. And he said, "How does this suit you? thus I will tear open your old wounds;" and he threatened me in an extraordinary manner. He then let me down again, and placed me before the lords, upon the rack, sitting with my eyes blindfolded, as an Ecce Homo.* And he asked. whether I would not yet tell it to my lords. I replied, that I could not do it; hence he drew me up again, which caused me great pain; and when he shook me, and jerked the rope, the pain was increased. When they could obtain nothing from me, they let me down, and gave me time for consideration till the next day. But while I was suspended, the bailiff said, "Your face is as sweet as that of an angel. but your heart is harder than Pharaoh's heart." I said, "This is not so: and the Lord will make it manifest hereafter; I have in my simplicity sought my salvation."

 And when the executioner began to dress me, I said to him, "O friend, how you have treated me; you have not for a long time thus treated a rogue, who felt it so long afterwards as I." Then he answered, saving, "They confess, but you will not confess: and the weather is cold, and it cannot come so quickly."

 When the bailiff heard this, he said to me, "You are worse than a rogue;for these have sinned. but you have apostatized from God, and denied Him; hence He forsakes you in your distress." I said, "If this is true. I am a poor man; but I have a better hope.""Yea." said he,"you are a strayed sheep: the wolves have taken you away, and devoured you," etc. He also told me, that we people did not get baptized until we were first tried between two nuked women. I said. that no such thing obtained with us. They also talked to me about David Toriss. I disavowed him and all his adherents. The executioner said that we held the belief, that infants that died in their mother's womb cannot be saved. I denied it. Another said, we had to give a pound Flemish when we were baptized. whether we had it or not. I think the bailiff said * Behold the man I John 19:5. this, for besides he said that in the church only three stivers or thereabouts are given, when one has a child baptized. I denied that too. O offense, offense! what have you done already, whereby the innocent have had to suffer? for the wicked soon take cause, though they should hear false testimony, even as was the case with regard to our Lord Himself, and Stephen. In short, the number of the infamous things said was exceedingly great, and, I suppose that to some the infamous speeches and their threats, are almost as grievous as the tortures. Hence patience is especially needful, in order to overcome in this conflict. Christ may therefore well say, "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matt. 11:29. That this is a true doctrine, I indeed now experience. He, the Lord Himself from heaven, who was mightier than all men, suffered shame, reproach and contempt, and thus took possession of His own kingdom (Luke 24:26); how then should we not bear it, who are but for a litle time subjugated by our enemies.

 Hence I unworthy servant beseech all the Godfearing, that you forget not, constantly to learn of Christ, for He is meek and lowly in heart; and also possess your souls in patience, and you shall find rest, for patience is our strength. To be patient, and thus wait for the help of the Lord, is a good thing; for in Proverbs it is written, that a patient man is better or greater than a strong man. Lamentations 3:26; Prov. 16:32. Take for an example, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the three youths, Daniel, the seven brothers and their mother, job, the prophets, and the end of our Lord.

 Thus, my most beloved, trust God, and believe in Him, He will help you since He has promised it. But if you do not trust Him, consider whether you also believe, that God is almighty and true, even as you believe, that by His Word He created heaven and earth, and the sea and all that in them is. David testifies, and rejoices in it that He is a God who is ready to help. He further says, that He is a buckler to all those who trust in Him. Yea. His angels encamp round about us, to keep us. But if we do not trust Him, how then shall He help us?

 When I again expected the hour of my temptation, I, unworthy servant, besought the Lord my refuge, that He would also keep me the third time, as He, through His grace, had done twice; so that I should not be confounded, and that they should not deprive me of my boast (that is, the good purpose of my heart in the beginning), so that I might keep the faith in a pure conscience. Then I hope to praise, glorify and magnify Thy holy name, to the joy of the pious saints, and to the babes, as a comfort and a sweet savor of life, that, smelling it, they may thereby be refreshed and strengthened, to become the bolder in the truth, which is the strongest of all, and will always conquer (I Esd. 4:38); and not regard what men, who must perish like grass, may do to us. since it is manifestly found, that the Lord's hands are not shortened, butthat He also assists the pious, as David testifies. For, dear Lord, if I did not continue valiant, what a great sorrow would it be for the young babes, and to what great blasphemy it would give rise. I beseech Thee, O heavenly Father, have compassion on me, poor sinful man, and remove from me the rest of the cup, if it is possible; and if it is not possible, Thy will alone be done. Lord, help me to triumph, for Thou knowest how the stripes of men taste. I commit myself into Thy hands; though they exceedingly threaten me, they have not power to harm one hair of our head, Thou must first permit them; but Thy holy will be done to my salvation. O Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Acts 7:60.

 Now when I had thus prepared myself, I heard that they were torturing our beloved sister, my fellow prisoner. It seemed to me, that she was also drawn up, and let down again. When she would not confess, she was drawn up again, and was then also made fast below by her feet. When she had suffered the anguish for a while, she was let down again, and carried away. Then thought I: Now comes my turn; now they will come and take me poor lamb out of the pen, to the slaughter. While thus waiting, I much consoled myself, thinking, how soon a man is unmade; for it seems to me that she scarcely suffered the torture half an hour.

 When I had thus with Abraham delivered up my only son, that is, my flesh, the Lord suddenly interposed and turned my tribulation into great joy. In the first place by this, that the Lord had also kept the lips of that weak lamb; and in the second place. that it seems that they are satisfied with the sufferings which I have undergone before my sacrifice.

 I have written this, not to cast you down, but for the reason that you saints of God should rejoice with me in the Holy Ghost. and help me thank the Lord, that He has so faithfully helped me; and that you may know how wonderfully God works in His elect; as also a pious witness of Christ, Karstiaen L., has testified in his letter, and Joris the dyer, who was a witness of the truth with me here; and would not name those that were dead, for he said in himself, "If the devil comes upon the first step, he also comes higher." Oh, I think one loses his strength, in a measure, thereby; for I thought, though they do not know my master, and though I also know that he is gone, together with my dear, beloved wife, and others, yet they would not be satisfied, they are determined to torture me, and I want to be silent in regard to the one as well as to the other; it will now be made manifest, how the Lord helps those that trust in Him. Oh, what a joy is the victory through Christ; now my faith in Christ is tried, my fear of God, and my confidence which I had already before I came into bonds, my love to God and to His holy church, as the gold in the furnace and upon the touchstone; for other trials can be borne tolerably well, when one has enough and can go where he pleases; but when one, with job, is touched in his skin (Job 2:4, 5). when the skin is lacerated, so that the blood flows, and this is repeated after four days, that touches the quick. O thou daughter of Zion, thou bride of the Lamb, be not dismayed, the Lamb shall gain the victory; be of good courage in the short conflict that is set before you, for all things are promised to him that overcometh; he that continueth faithful unto death shall receive the crown of life, and shall not taste eternal death, or the everlasting torment. I do not know that my torture lasted over two hours in all; but the threatening, the contempt, and the tormenting lasted somewhat longer. My most beloved, is this not a small torment? should one therefore forsake the truth? should one therefore deny the Lord, and burden his conscience by mentioning names? nay, when one is nevertheless frequently subjected to suffering. Oh, no; the Lord Himself fights the battle for us; to Him alone be praise forever. Amen.

 Thus, you beloved and saints of God, who have become partakers of the heavenly calling through Jesus Christ, despond not, nor be afraid of them that kill the body, for they have no power over the soul. I unworthy one, have espied for you the help of the Lord; hence I bear witness of Him, that He is a faithful helper in distress, as is written of Him; yea (He says by the prophet), though a mother forget the son of her womb, whom she brought forth, yet will I not forsake nor forget thee. Isa. 49:15; Heb. 13:5.

 Hence, all you that believe the Lord's promise, continue steadfastly. Oh, that no one from despondency may keep back for any calling or ministry of the saints, according to ability; for no one may live to himself, or withhold himself; so that the work of the Lord may always be carried on with readiness; and help bear one another's burden; if it goes thus, it is a joy, and the work can be carried on without murmuring; and know, whatsoever good thing any one does, the same shall follow him. Eph. 6:8.

 Excuse me for writing in general; I hope that the fainthearted will hereby gain a little courage and confidence through my bonds; yea, I hope, that the afflicted will become more cheerful because such great help is found with the Lord, who is nevertheless not seen, for I testify to you with the apostle, "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." II Cor. 4:16-18. Now I can write and testify to the same with regard to this, that the suffering is light, because it is short; for when all my tortures were over, I do not know that I felt as much pain afterwards as I once suffered for a time from a little ulcer, of which my dear wife well knows, and that I had to bear and found no promise for bearing it. But if we bear this suffering for the Lord's sake, all the principal promises are ours; yea, there are no more glorious or greater promises than these, amely: that they who submit to the sufferings of Christ, and through Christ overcome, to them the crown of life is promised; and there is also this testimony in our hearts, that we are not bastards; yea, we shall be honored and crowned by Christ Himself. For this holy estate I know that I am not worthy; but the merciful, good God does nevertheless Count me worthy to bear this reproach for His name's sake; praise to Him forever. Amen.

 Herewith I will conclude this, asking you to excuse my simple letter; and I will commend you all, and particularly my most beloved brother-m-law, and my dearest sister, to the Lord, who is able to finish the good work which He has begun in you, that you may receive a full reward with Jesus Christ our Lord, whither I will go before, and await you there, that we may then live together in eternal joy.

 To this end may the good God grant His grace, so that no one, because of this little torment, may forsake the way of eternal life, and thus become like the fearful and fainthearted servants (Judg. 7:3), who cannot go into battle with Gideon, who do not believe in God, nor can set their seal to it, that God is faithful, almighty, and true. What there is promised to such in the Scriptures is manifest, namely, eternal torment, as to sorcerers and idolaters. Rev. 21:$. What will it avail them to have borne the name of a Christian, if one does not continue steadfast? then we must ignominiously perish, like the ten unbelieving spies. Num. 14:37. What does it avail to have been delivered out of Egypt, if one does not believe; for the unbelieving will all be destroyed? What did it avail Lot's wife to have gone out of Sodom: for she looked back? Hence, all you beloved saints of God, strive valiantly for the truth unto death. And always have such a mind in you; and the Lord shall fight your battle, and you shall then, if you wait with patience for it, rejoice in the end, even as I do now. For a confirmation of the truth, read the holy Scriptures; there you will find how the Lord fought for Israel. for Daniel, Gideon and Jehoshaphat, and for others; though they had but little people, yet such great numbers were slain, that they could not take away the spoil in three days. II Chron. 20:25.

 Furthermore, it is necessary and verv profitable, to write comforting letters and send them to the miserable, forsaken ones, for they are greatly comforted thereby. Let everyone do his diligence in this resoect, as much as possible, and put forth your best endeavors herein. and pray the Lord for suitable means. without detriment to any one; likewise also, to visit them: but above all, constantly to prav for them, and to lift up holy hands with Moses, till thev have finished the fight, and overcome their flesh. against the stint of sin, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world. wherein Satan works. Hence let everyone lay to heart what the apostle says, "Remember them that are in bonds, as though ye were in bonds." Heb. 13:3."When one member suffers, the other members suffer with it." I Cor. 12:26.

 Herewith adieu on this earth to all the God-fearing; be of good courage; for courage lost, battle lost, I cordially greet you all in the Lord, but particularly my dearest brother-in-law and his beloved wife I thank you heartily for all your great friendship.

 Commenced the last Thursday in February, and finished the first of March. I unworthy servant bear the marks of the Lord above both my hands and on my body; the name of the Lord be praised forever.

 By me confined as a prisoner in the Vuylpoort, for the obedience of the gospel, I said to the jailer, "Though I could knock the jail into pieces with my fist, I should not want to do it, lest he should get into trouble on my account.



The eternal and merciful God grant you, my only brother and my beloved sisters, His grace through Jesus Christ, that you may together get a desire, taste and longing for your salvation, unto the end of your life. Oh, that this would happen, dear Lord, what a joy would it be to us hereafter; which I hope will be so, that our old, venerable beloved father, and our venerable mother and their children, will find one another in life eternal. Amen.

 In the first place, I hope in the Lord, that you with me have received a desire, taste and longing for salvation. Hence, I now exhort you a little, that you will increase therein, since the Lord has granted you His grace, and opened your eyes, so that you can discern good from evil.

 Thus, my dearest, beloved brother, since you have received this grace, that you know and believe (as I trust you do) that God hates evil and loves righteousness, thank the good and omnipotent God for it, and particularly, that He has delivered us from the hands of Satan through Christ Jesus, and has according to His mercy begotten us again by the word of life, and has helped us in this acceptable time; in which time He has caused His saving grace to shine upon all men; and you, my dear brother, have taken heed to this saving grace, you have received, as I trust, this light, which is Christ Jesus. The Scriptures testify that to them that have received Christ (that is, who believe in Him), power is given to become the children of God. John 1:12. Hence suffer yourself constantly to be governed. directed and guided by Him, through His Spirit; for these are the true children of God, that are led by His Spirit; they are Christ's.

 Now, my dearest brother, be careful all your life, to guard well this good and most precious treasure: that you may live of it, and ever followwhat the saving grace of God (namely, Christ Jesus who is our light), teaches us.

 In the first place, the saving grace of God teaches us to deny the ungodliness of this world, and its lusts and desires; as Paul says, "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that is, after the mind of Christ." Tit. 2:11, 12; Rom. 12:2. If you do this, you will walk in the light, and not in darkness, wherein the world walks. Beware, my beloved brothers, of the works of darkness, and have no fellowship therewith, but always separate from them, and touch not the unclean thing, namely, all evil; and you shall be a child of God and remain one if you abide in Christ unto the end. Eph. 5:11; II Corinthians 6:17.

 I unworthy one imprisoned for His name's sake, affectionately beseech you, always adhere to the Word of the Lord, and you shall never fall, and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in His name, that will He give you; though one thereby incurs suffering, we must not faint on that account, for it is made manifest thereby, that the. way is narrow, and the gate strait, which leads unto life eternal. But this suffering is transient, and if we suffer with Christ, we shall also be glorified together; for the sufferings which men can inflict upon us, are short and light, and work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for though our outward man perish, which at all events must perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. II Cor. 4:17, 18, 16, and when the faith has been kept, and we have overcome, all is sweetened by Him who strengthens us, which is Christ; He helps us to triumph; this I experience best now that I am in the trial; to Him be praise forever and ever.


 But, my dear brother, think not that something new has happened to me, just as though it had not always been thus. Read of righteous Abel, and you will understand the Word of Christ, that the servant is not better than his lord. Matt. 10:24; John 13:16. Dear brother, the head, which is Christ, suffered Himself; the members must follow; and it is a special sign of love, that He sends me this chastening, to prove me, whether I indeed fear, love, and trust Him from the heart. In short, I deem it to be for my salvation; His holy will be done to my salvation.


 Hence I now declare to you, my dearest brother, that this is and shall ever remain the only right truth, for which I now suffer for a little while. Thus, my dearest brother, diligently read the Word of the Lord with devotion, and meditate well upon it, and always pray the Lord in every concern, with prayer and supplication in the Spirit, with perseverance; for if you live according to the Word of the Lord, you shall prosper, and never fall (II Pet. 1:10) , for in the Word of the Lord is our light, which is Christ Jesus. Let us follow Him, and we shall get to Him where He is; by our High Priest Christ Jesus, there I will await you, my dear wife, my daughter, our father, and mother, and sisters, if you all die in the Lord, namely, if you adhere to the truth unto the end and follow the Lord, as I hope that you with all the saints of God will do, I will. go before, and herewith write to all of you in this short time. Adieu; the Almighty God grant you all His grace, that you may always have good courage to obtain your salvation through Christ Jesus; and be diligent in love, and be a pattern to one another in every good work unto life eternal.

 Thus, my only, dear brother, I have now written you a little, for your remembrance, and to stir up your minds (II Pet. 3:1) , and for your consolation, that you fear not men, but only the Almighty God, who is eternal. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone. Ps. 103:15, 16; Isa. 40:6. Men are perishable; they cannot harm a hair of our head, unless the Lord permit them. And He will not permit them more than we are able to bear and keep the faith.

 Oh, it affords such peace, when one by the help of the Lord has kept his lips. Praise ye, all my friends, our strong and faithful God, who kept my lips in the first torturing. I hope and trust that He who helped me first is able to help me again, for He has promised it to us unworthy creatures (His words are yea in Him; He is a faithful helper in distress, as David says, "With the Lord help is found, he is our shield, our fortress, and the strength of the poor"). But we must also trust Him; who was ever confounded, that trusted in the Lord? Hence cease not to seek your salvation, and be not slothful in your business, but be fervent in spirit, patient in tribulation, and continuing instant in prayer. Rom. 12:11, 12. But if you feel no fervor in you, pray the Lord for it, and He will give it you, if you only sincerely seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, as I trust you do. But beware of trusting in the world; possess your souls in patience; the Lord can easily in due time give you a God-fearing person for a companion; but first diligently pray the Lord, to so order it that you will first unite with the God-fearing. Write my brother-in-law a letter some time, and he may be prompted to write you also, and to advise you wherein you may need advice. I thank you for the friendship which you have hitherto shown me.

 Written the second day after Matthew, in Lent, on which day I was again suspended twice and once scourged; but, my only brother, the strong God again kept my lips. Hence I pray you, rejoice with me, and praise the Lord, since I have great joy now; and be not dismayed in your mind because my flesh has suffered a little while; for now the good heavenly Father has tried my faith, as gold in the fire, whether I would also trust and fear and love Him in the severest conflict. And now that He has found me faithful, from one tribulation to the other, so that through the grace of God I have overcome the rulers of this world (wherein I have greatly rejoiced from the heart), and this by the prayer of the faithful, and the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of eternal life, to receive the same from Christ through grace. Thither I will now go before (and first put off this mortal clothing of the flesh), with the prepared burning lamp; for I have kept, and trot denied, the faith, nor love, nor Christ. The faith is the oil, a pure heart and conscience the wick; and fervent love .the light.

 Do you also daily adorn yourself therewith, to meet Christ our Bridegroom; and take possession of the promised land, that is, the everlasting kingdom of God. But be not afraid on the way because there are many enemies, robbers and ~volves in the wilderness, namely, in the world; and be not dismayed on this account, for I have passed through it all by the help of the Lord, and have spied out the Country in advance for you and many of the Godfearing, so that I can now write you that you need not stay back on account of the peril, and this because the Lord Himself conducts our conflict; He fights for us, and He is certainly the strongest; for He said to Abraham, "Fear not; for I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Gen. 15:1. Was this said to Abraham alone? Paul says, it is written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Rom. 15:4.

 Consider former examples, how God fought for Gideon, David, Jehoshaphat, and others; the people [the hostile army] were slain without their having to lift up a hand. Oh, my only dear brother, put your whole trust in the Almighty, for with Him help is found, He is a true helper in distress, He does not forsake His own in all their tribulations; so that we may say with the apostle, "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31, 32. If He has manifested such great love towards us, how should He not preserve us in every extremity.

 Believe this, that the good God is our debtor; if we unwaveringly continue to walk in His way, and cleave to Him, and not forsake Him, He will also not forsake us.. This is certainly a sure promise; but if we deny Him, He also will deny us. II Tim. 2:12; Luke 12:9. O how thoughtless, how unwise, yea, how unmerciful toward their poor souls, are they, who, because of this little, short suffering, through fear, forsake the way of life and choose another way according to their own mind, to escape the cross of Christ, and comfort themselves with a vain consolation in the way which they have found according to their own views; whose end is destruction. But, my only dear brother, do not follow these, for they that are such do not believe that God is almighty and true. Hence the Scripture says, "Woe unto the faint-hearted 1 for they believe not; therefore shall they not be defended. Woe unto them that persevere not! how will it go with them when the Lord shall visit them? (Sir. 2:13, 14), yea, their part will be with sorcerers in the lake that shall burn forever." Thus, take courage with Joshua and Caleb; but you must firmly believe in God's promises, even as you believe that God has created heaven and earth by His Word; and you shall then devour all your enemies like bread, and through patience finish your conflict with the help of God, and take the promised land by force, for the violent take it by force. Num. 14:9; Matt. 11:12.

 But, dear brother, the apostle testifies, and I unworthy one also, that we wrestle not only against the rulers of the world, but also against the spirits that are under heaven (Eph. 6:12), and as Christ says, that in the latter days many false Christs shall arise. Matt. 24:5, 11. This I have also espied for you; for in the time of my faith many false prophets or false Christians have assailed me; now they came with this fair appearance, now with another. But the Lord, who would have all men saved, delivered me from all this and I cleaved to the Word of God, as I heard and accepted it in the beginning; and my faith weakened not, though many apostatized who had seemed to be the most valiant. See, thus our faith is tried in many ways, and besides by the daily conflict that never ceases; for it is a lasting conflict; the Spirit wars against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit. Gal. 5:17. Herein I find myself troubled the most; my own sinful flesh was my most inveterate enemy, which has cost me many a bitter tear. Satan thereby sought to sift me as wheat; but now falling, now stumbling, I have come thus far through the grace of Go( f; for I always struggled up hard by the grace of the Lord. But what was it, I would so fain have been perfect, but this weak flesh was always in the way; which must now suffer, and I hope to offer it up as a burnt sacrifice.

 Thus, my dearest brother, I have explained to you a little what conflict a Christian must wage, namely, against flesh and blood, against false spirits, who have laid their subtle arrows upon the bow, to shoot in secret at the pious. Hence take unto you the armor of God; that you may be able to stand against the subtle assaults of the devil; and be girded with the girdle of truth: above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and have your feet shod so that you may always be well prepared for the Gospel of peace; and take the helmet of salvation, the living hope, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; and pray always with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:13-1$. Behold, with these weapons of the Spirit we can overcome, and then the crown is promised us. But forget not that Jesus Sirach says, "My son bast thou sinned? do so no more, but ask God for pardon for thy former sins. Flee from sin as from the face of a serpent: for if thoucomest too near it, it will bite thee: the teeth thereof are as the teeth of a lion, slaying the souls of men. All iniquity is as a two-edged sword, the wounds whereof cannot be healed." Sir. 21:1-3. Paul, too says, "Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. In short, live according to the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the works of the flesh." Col. 3:5; Galatians 5:16. To this end the good God grant His grace, that you may grow up in faith, in love, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that you may become a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, and thus wait for the coming of Christ. Eph. 4:13.

 O my dear brother, take care for your salvation; the time here is so short, and eternity is at hand. O heavenly Father, I humbly beseech Thee, that Thou wilt keep my only brother from all evil, and sanctify him in Thy name through Christ Jesus, and ever guide him by the Holy Spirit, that we may rejoice together hereafter.


 Adieu, my only brother on this earth; with Christ I will await you. I wrote the first page just after I had been tortured; hence it is somewhat badly written. Now my hand is a little better, but I still have the marks of the sufferings of Christ; His name be praised forever.

 This I have written you in my bonds, the second day of March, A. D. 1572'. By me your only brother, unchanged in mind, imprisoned for the testimony of Christ: hence be of good cheer; the faith is kept, I have striven unto blood, in the Vuylpoort at Dortrecht.


To the scattered saints and the others at Dortrecht, grace and peace from God our heavenly Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, and the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, ever be multiplied to you all, for consolation on your pilgrimage, so that ,you may be patient in your tribulation, that patience may have her perfect work in you, so that you may neither weary nor faint in that which you have accepted for the salvation of your souls, which has come and been brought to us by Christ; therein we are glad, so that we can rejoice in our temporal affliction. Remember Christ's prophecy, where He says, "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy, which no man shall be able to take from you." John 16:20, 22. O dearest, if we could enter the kingdom of God with ease, how could we speak of the narrow way and the strait gate; but because of the tribulation we can say this, that one must walk in the same, and press through the strait gate, and take the kingdom by force, through much affliction and adversity; which confirms the word that the servant is not better than his lord. If our Head had to take His own kingdom through much suffering and contempt, if they called the master of the house Beelzebub, should they not call them of His household likewise? Luke 24:26; Matt. 10:24, 25.

 In order to pass through all this, and to continue steadfast unto the end, trust in God, and believe His Word, even as you believe that He has created heaven, earth, the sea, and what therein is; and He will help you, and fight the battle for you, so that you will not be confounded. For if God be for us, says the apostle, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? The almighty, good God grant His grace to this end, that you may neither waver in nor doubt God's promises; and fear shall depart from you, and you will not care what men can do to you, and will possess your souls in patience till the day that shall comfort you.


 After this cordial wish to all you beloved, I unworthy servant could not forbear, though my gift is small, to write your love a little, to strengthen the older, and to give courage to the younger, so that every one may persevere steadfastly in the conflict that is'set before us, always to make sure, by the fruits of your faith, your calling and election; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. II Pet. 1:10, 11. What more would you have?

 Therefore, thou beautiful daughter of Zion, fear not, since your entrance is prepared so abundantly.

 O thou fairest among women, therefore the filthy wrinkles that disfigure thee must be put from thee. Cant. 1:8. O thou fair bride of Christ, constantly adorn thyself more and more with the wedding garment of righteousness, and also trim your lamps with glorious faith and imperishable love, that you may not lack these, as did the foolish virgins, but that you may ever possess them abundantly, that thereby the light of Christ may shine in you, and be manifested by you, to the praise of God, the edification of your neighbor, the salvation of your souls, and as a light to the world, and for a testimony unto them. Although they then hate you, because the bright, morning star, Christ Jesus, has arisen in your hearts, bear it, and be not surprised at it, for Christ, who is the light Himself, was hated and cast out by the darkness before you. II Pet. 1:19; John 1:5.

 It does not care for your person, but because the truth is in you, which the darkness, that is the world, tramples under foot, wherefore you become a prey to every one. But fear not therefore; O thou warrioress, go on to your promised reward; the truth that is in you shall overcome, for it is the strongest. O thou fair queen, remember at all times, how loathful and unwashed thou didst lie in thy blood as an outcast, and that the most mighty, richest and eternal King, the fairest above all men,chose thee, washed thee, purchased thee with His own blood, and accepted thee as His queen. And if we always think of our redemption, it is, or ought to be, an admonition, to cleave to the royal Bridegroom alone, and not to forsake Him through wantonness or presumption, and run to others; for he that forsakes Him, him He will also forsake. His jealous love cannot bear or tolerate it, that one loves another more than Him; such a one is not worthy of Him. Oh, not so; not for anything; though you be surrounded as a lily among thorns, and though the bramble has usurped the government of the world (Cant. 2:2; Judges 9:14), cease not thE.'efore to give forth your sweetness, the fair fragrance of the lily, your beautiful grapes, and your fatness as olive branches; so that everyone may be found a sweet savor of Christ in His calling; the poor, that they be diligent in their labor, if they can earn a stiver or a half, so that they may have a clear conscience before the Lord.

 Again, that those who have abundance give abundantly; but those who do not have it in abundance, that they communicate the same with a faithful heart. If this is done, and every one proffers his assistance, the ministers can serve with a joyful heart, especially if there are few ministers.

 Further I write, unto you, you threescore valiant men (Cant. 3:7), always have strong courage, always be well prepared with the sword of the Spirit at your side, to protect this lovely bride from all harm or nightly terror, bringing into captivity every thought that exalteth itself against the obedience of Christ. II Cor. 10:5.

 Guard well, with a faithful heart, this pleasure garden of the Lord, that the cunning foxes that creep in may not nestle therein, that the rooting swine do not come and dig it up, whereby the young sprouts often lose their strength and wither. Psalm 80:13. Though you then may sometimes have to meet false brethren, turn not back on that account, nor faint; for if you turn back, what should the others do?

 Hence be of strong courage in the Lord; since the Spirit of the church r..s chosen you for the work of the Lord, offer your heads, and take your life into your hands, and go forth in the name of the Lord. If they threaten you, think, "We are in the hand of the Lord; you are but dust and ashes; the Lord will preserve us." Think, "We are not better than our brethren." Though it then comes to pass, that one's time is fulfilled, that his course is finished, that he must be tried as gold, before kings, lords, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, to praise the name of the Lord; go forward nevertheless, and take for your example those valiant heroes, as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Samson, Gideon, David, the prophets and the apostles and consider the former times, how mightily the Lord trampled upon the necks of their enemies, as Joshua said to his valiant men, that the Lord should do to all that did set themselves against them; hence He said, "Fear not." Josh. 10:25.

 Most beloved, excuse my simple letter; though it is very simple, yet, whatever its defects, think that I hereby manifest in a measure my boldness and my affection towards you, which, I unworthy one, have had and still have towards you; yea I have this confidence by the grace of the Lord, that no one shall be able to separate me from the great love which I have towards you and the Lord.

 Hence I am of good cheer in all that comes upon me, for I find our Lord very faithful; that He is a true helper in time of need, who does not forsake His own; for 1 have now by the help of the Lord striven unto blood, kept the faith, and received great consolation in my heart, so that I can rejoice in my suffering, and this through the aid of your prayers, and by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit. Yea, I cannot tell you the great joy which I now have because the Lord has kept my lips.

 Hence I beseech you all most affectionately, rejoice, and praise the Lord with me, that He has so faithfully succored His poor servant, and has alleviated my pain, and made a way to escape, so that I was able to bear it.

 O most beloved, is this not a great consolation, that the holy and good God has made Himself our debtor, and has promised us (mark, by promising an obligation is incurred), saying, "Though a mother forget the son of her womb, yet will I not forget thee?" says the Almighty Lord, if we do not forsake Him, and do not Sell our birthright as lightly as did Esau, for a little life; concerning which Christ says, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it." Luke 17:33. Alas! he loses it badly that-will not find it again; but well does he lose it who will again find an imperishable one.

 This is certainly the promise of Christ, this He has merited for us by His righteousness and suffering; but we must also faithfully strive unto death for the truth, and purify our souls by obedience to the truth, to persevere in this short conflict, "Therefore take unto you the armor of God, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery and subtle darts of the wicked. Gird your loins with the girdle of truth; put on the breastplate of righteousness; have your feet shod with the gospel of peace, so that you may be ready in all things; above all, take the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation [that is, the living hope] and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; and always pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." Eph. 6:13-18; Luke 12:35; I Thess. 5:8. With these weapons you can overcome all your enemies, in patience and meekness.

 To this end you have many testimonies in the Scriptures, and also I unworthy one, your known weak brother, bear witness, that these are the true weapons; for I can now write of this because of the victory that I have gained through Christ Jesus,who always helps me to triumph. To Him alone be praise, honor and might forever and ever.


 Herewith I will commend you my dearest fellow helpers, brethren and sisters to the Almighty God and the rich Word of His grace, who is able to strengthen you all, and to finish the good work that He has begun in you, and to bring you into His everlasting kingdom.


 Herewith I bid you all adieu in this evil world full of all wickedness, with Christ Jesus our bridegroom I will await you, and there meet you again in fullness of joy; the Lord grant His grace hereunto.


 Finally I humbly make this request, that if I have grieved any one by word, conduct, or deed, you will heartily forgive me; I likewise do so from the heart, but I wish that it had been better with me in this respect. Farewell, be of good courage.

 Written by me, your weak brother and humblest member, imprisoned for the testimony of the Gospel of Christ, at Dortrecht, on the 3d of March, in the year 1572.


 I was tortured a week ago Saturday, and again the following Wednesday. Thus I now bear in my body the marks of the sufferings of Christ; which I might have easily escaped, had I been willing to tell what was demanded of me. I should in that case have acted contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to love and my conscience, and should die with a troubled heart; many hearts should have been grieved; but now I trust that many will rejoice with me, and be glad and bold, and praise God.

 Thus, let all of you firmly resolve in your hearts to do those things that are of good report, honest, and pleasing to God (Phil. 4:8); call upon the Lord for strength, and be assured in your hearts, that He hears your prayer. Ps. 145:19. Present to Him in your prayer His own promises, and you shall not be confounded, for He hears the prayer of the poor, says David. Also rejoice together, that our enemies obtained nothing by the torture from our dear sister, my fellow prisoner. Therefore praise the Lord, ye saints. Ps. 147. I unworthy one cordially greet you all in the Lord, in His name, with the love and peace of Christ. I thank you all for your Christian fellowship. O most beloved, let that which you have heard and accepted from the beginning abide in you, and beware of those that would take it from you; for I unworthy one testify that you stand in the unadulterated truth; fulfill the same in the fear of God, and you shall have peace.

 Writen by me, in bonds,



Grace and peace from God our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost constantly be multiplied in you my most beloved wife, for consolation in your pilgrimage, for the strengthening of your faith, for comfort in your tribulation, to the praise of God, and the salvation of your soul.


 After this my cordial salutation to you my chosen sister and most beloved wife my love towards you is great, but my love for the eternal truth is greater yet; the same helps me to overcome all my enemies. In this great victory I greatly rejoice, since I have now been in the conflict twice. For the sake of this victory: in which Christ alone, who is the genuine truth, helps us so valiantly to triumph, heartily rejoice with me, and magnify and thank the name of the Lord. I now know how the cup of suffering tastes, but I did not know that the good God works in us with such wonderful power; for I received such peaceful joy in my heart that I was amazed. This was shortly after I had been tortured; yet I was greatly threatened that I should be tortured again the following Monday, but I thought that the faithful God could keep my lips also a second time; and I prayed and entreated Him greatly to manifest it on me (as it is a small matter for Him), that I should not be confounded in my first boasting, or purpose of my heart, so that my neighbor should not be grieved, nor any one open the mouth of slander on my account.

 And the eternal good God kept my lips in the second torturing; and I was threatened again, but my determination never weakened, such grace did the Lord give me; but when I earnestly prepared myself for it, and with Abraham offered up my only son, that is, my flesh, that he should do His holy will to my salvation, the Lord turned my anxietssy into joy; yea, that my eyes overflowed for gladness, because the Lord had kept the lips of our sister, my fellow prisoner, and, in the second place, that they were satisfied with my suffering. I also, a few days before I was tortured, had received the glad news that you were able to say with your mouth, though you could pull me out with your arm, you should not do it if I were valiant or resigned; which rejoiced my heart, that the good Lord thus strengthens and comforts you by His Holy Spirit. The eternal, good God be praised forever, that He shows to us unworthy ones such great tokens of mercy and love. O my dearest lamb, how shall we be able sufficiently to thank the Lord for it? Yes, I have joy in my heart, that the Lord has Counted me, poor man, worthy to suffer so much reproach, and contempt, and so many threats and stripes. Herewith the Lord proves me, even as He proved His dearest chosen ones, as to whether I fear Him, sincerely, trust Him in the greatest distress, and love Him from the heart. My heart leaped up in my body, as it seems to me, for joy, because we have such a good dear God. I thought that I loved Him, but now that my skin is touched, He proves this best Himself. Job 2:4, 5.

 But, my chosen, be not dismayed on this account; this vile flesh has merited yet much more, but theLord chastens us according to His mercy. Thus my faith is tried as gold in the furnace; now all the glorious promises of the Lord belong to me; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of eternal life; yea, our King, Christ Jesus, will honor me Himself. Luke 12:37. Oh, alas! of this I know myself that I am unworthy; but our Lord has obtained it from His heavenly Father, that He may do this to us, our joy may be full, and that we should console ourselves with His promises in our tribulation.

 O how inconsiderate are all those who lightly esteem, yea, reject all these glorious promises because of this brief suffering. Yea, what is this suffering when it is over, it is not to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Rom. 8:18. I wrote the foregoing letter yesterday, and now I have just been before the bailiff and two judges and the secretary. The bailiff asked me whether I would not yet tell the truth. I said that I had done so."Yes," said he,"as much as you wanted to." Then the demand of the bailiff was read to me, setting forth that I had apostatized from the Christian Catholic faith or Roman Church, and had been rebaptized by the Anabaptists, and married my wife. That having been admonished by divers learned men in regard to this error, I persisted in the same; and he further added, that the royal decree prescribed that I should be punished by being burnt alive at the stake; but if I recanted, the sword, possibly also the churchyard should be my portion.

 Then I replied that I had not (or never) apostatized from the Christian faith; nor do I know [said I J any Anabaptists; I have been baptized but once upon my faith; infant baptism I do not regard as baptism, and when I was a child I did as a child, even as my parents led me.

 Further, I desire grace from the Most High, for if I apostatized from my faith, I think that I should be eternally lost; but if I adhere to it I hope to be saved by the grace of the Lord.

 All this was written. I told them, that they should do as they expected to answer for it before the Supreme Judge. I demanded that they should tell me whether I had wronged any one; that I might defend myself. Then he said that I had seduced my wife, and my child, and had helped to seduce still others, and had held meetings in nooks and corners by night, and at unseasonable times, contrary to the royal decree. I said, "Who was injured thereby?" And I was led away again, for they could not bear my words My fellow prisoner was also brought forward then, but she too remained valiant.

 I now hope that we shall soon be released from all our labor and vexation. Thus, my dearest upon this earth, I hope that you shall soon be rejoiced still more, when you will hear of my deliverance. What more can they do? they connot harm the soul; what more have they then, than that which must remain here? It is certainly very profitable to me to be present with the Lord. Though this earthly house or habitation perish, we expect a better in heaven, which is eternal, yea, which is like unto Christ's glory. What greater eternal joy shall we then have, when we shall shine like sparks among stubble, yea, like the sun; then shall we leap like calves of the stall for joy. Wisd. 3:7; Matthew 13:43; Mal. 4:2.

 Hence comfort yourself with these and other promises, and hold fast that which you have heard from the beginning, as I trust with all my heart that my most beloved lamb will do.

 And when I have fallen asleep, then, my most beloved wife and dearest sister, you are released; conduct yourself in your widowhood to the praise of the Lord, to the edification of your neighbor, as a pattern to our most beloved, only daughter, and as a light to the world, and to your soul's salvation. Endure and persevere in the unadulterated truth wherein you stand; though you be tried so that one conflict succeeds another, Count it all for your salvation; always prepare your heart for patience, and the day shall come that will comfort you.

 The promises are thus, "Here tribulation, hereafter joy." Further, consider how joyfully you would have taken my hand, had my parents loved the truth; but now that you and I have seen the day that they love the truth, it is a special joy.

 Hence I pray you, show them as much honor and friendship as lies in you, for my, for our little daughter's, and for the truth's sake, as I trust you will do; and if you engage in any traffic, see that you keep yourself 'unspotted from the world. Jas. 1:27. If they assail you with words, so that you are constrained to tell how much the goods cost you; tell it simply, without adding any further words, by yes, or by no for that would not become us. But if you do not find yourself strong enough herein, abandon that traffic, for you can get along with a little; if it is not fat it is lean; the godly are soon satisfied. But if you continue in any business, take care that it does not get too large, lest your heart become surcharged, so that you can ill perform your prayers. Luke 21:34.

 Thus, remember what the Holy Scriptures counsel you for the best, and you will prosper according to the soul, as I trust you will. And continue instant in prayer, as becomes holy widows; pray for faithful laborers, for all the saints, for prisoners, for apostates, for kings, princes, the rulers of this world; especially when you see sects or contention arising in the church, which must be, in order that they that are tried may be made manifest. Although the elders should lose courage (which God forbid), continue in earnest prayer to God, as you have an example in the holy widow Judith (Jud. 8): and always adorn yourself with a meek and quietss spirit, which will adorn you more than all jewels, as Peter and the Scriptures teach you (I Pet. 3:4), and as you are taught of God Himself; and possess your soul in patience, and you shall find peace in the Lord, and in your heart. Be alsoof good courage your chief Captain and best Bridegroom still lives, and He will keep and feed you and our only daughter; for though 1 should have to wander about with you for a while yet, it must all come from Him nevertheless. My most beloved, I have shown you a little faithfulness in my bonds, by having applied my hands to labor, so that I might not be an expense to you, and that you might have a little left to meet you in your labor; which is a great joy.

 For I hope and trust concerning you, my dear, chosen, most beloved wife, that you will not change your state; for the good God has given you a special gift for which praise be to Him forever.

 But not, my most beloved, that I would cast a rope around your neck, as though I would forbid you it. Oh, no; the apostle counsels you what is best. I Cor. 7:40. I married you for;life, and thank you as affectionately as I can for your dear, good companionship, faithfulness and . love, of which I deem myself in a great measure unworthy. Now the only good, merciful God has called me, unworthy one, to a higher state, and you can offer me, your most beloved on earth, for no higher state to the Lord. Thus console yourself with the others, for your tribulation shall last for a short time only.

 Thus I will write you, my dearest, adieu in this evil world, and will commend you to the faithful Almighty God, for He alone is able to keep you from the evil, and to bring you into His eternal kingdom.

 O holy Father, I, Thy weak servant, humbly beseech Thee in my bonds, that Thou wilt keep my most beloved wife, and my only daughter, and all the God-fearing, from the evil, and sanctify them in Thy name. O heavenly Father, hear me, unworthy one, through Jesus Christ; that we may all enter into Thy eternal joy, and no one remain without. To this end, may the good God grant His grace.


 Adieu, my only daughter; your beloved father shall be crowned ~a king by our dear Lord. Hence be resigned and be an obedient daughter, and diligently read the holy Scriptures. Live according to them, and we shall meet again and rejoice forever, without end.


 Finished on the fourth day of March, A. D. 1572, by me, your dear husband, imprisoned for the testimony of the Gospel of Christ, to the praise of God.



 I salute you cordially in the Lord with the love and peace that shall endure forever.


The unfathomable grace and mercy of our heavenly Father, the abundant love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the co-operation of His Holy Spirit, always be multiplied to you beloved, my chosen on earth, for consolation on your pilgrimage, for the steadfastness and confirmation of your faith, to the praise of God, and to the salvation of your soul; that you may always be a light in this world, and also edify your dear, only daughter, and your neighbor, in that which is good; so that you may always be like unto fruitbearing branches, for to this are all believers appointed. if another decreases and becomes weary, do you constantly increase, and let your increasing become manifest before God and men, knowing that the good works will follow you; and it will be an ornament to your wedding garment when you shall appear before the supreme Bridegroom; when the slothful, the sleepers-who are sufficiently awake to seek that which is perishable only too much-shall stand naked, then you shall be gloriously appareled.

 Therefore, my dearest sister above all men weary not, though you must still walk in this pilgrimage; always trim and fill your lamp in simplicity with oil, and keep it constantly burning, and thus with patience wait for your Comforter and Bridegroom. Then He shall for a little season of faithfulness bid you a glorious and joyful welcome; for He has opened the way, for you and all believers, who use diligence, and add to their faith, virtue; to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to temperance, patience; to patience, godliness; to godliness, brotherly kindness; to brotherly kindness, charity. If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Hence Peter further admonishes: Wherefore the rather give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things (mark), ye shall never fall (mark still more): for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. II Pet. 1:5-11.

 Oh, it is very evident from this, how one falls, and how one gets into the way of life; hence, diligence is a good thing. For David says, "Thou hast commanded us to keep the precepts diligently!" Psalm 119:4. And Paul says, "Be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit." Rom. 12:11. He further writes, "These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God may excel in good works." Tit. 3:8.

 Oh, how well it goes when one heeds this! He further also says, "O that it were the will of God, that those whom I have instructed might minister to the furtherance of the truth of the Gospel, and become diligent in the works of eternal life." O they who lay to heart these divine Scriptures of admonition and warning, will not easily grow weary; when others will halt, they will go on with a faithful heart, as long as they can draw breath, and constantly make no account of what they do, because of the divine nature that is in them, which love is without measure. Namely, when one considers in his heart, that Christ, by His great agony of death made us dead men alive, and aelivered us from the power of the devil, and translated us into the kingdom of Christ; that fie has taken and chosen us poor sinners from so many thousands, and enlightened us. W hen they shall go into eternal fire, we shall go into everlasting joy, and our vile body shall be like unto Christ's glory. Oh, who can tell that great joy which shall endure forever? Everyone who truly tastes said love and goodness of God does not easily weary in well doing; the same, Paul also says, shall reap without ceasing. Gal. 6:9. And Christ says, "A good tree bringeth forth good fruit." Matt. %:N. He also says, "'They that have done good shall arise unto the resurrection of eternal life." John 5:29; Dan. 12:2. O my very dear and beloved wife, though I must now leave you, and see you no more, yet by the grace of the Lord I hope to see you in the resurrection, but with a glorious and incorruptible body. Therefore, my dearest lamb, always go on in virtue, according to your ability, as I trust with all my heart, my dearest, you will do. Hold fast the truth wherein you stand through the grace of God; for it is the rignt truth, and there shall no other be found; of this I am sure in my heart. Hence be firmly rooted therein, that you may be able to stand against all tempests, and not fall through persecution, or through being robbed of your goods, or your beloved, nor through false Christs, of whom, alas! there are many abroad, who disturb and deceive many hearts and minds, under the semblance of truth, which is adulterated by them; so that much bitterness has sprung up, and love has waxed cold in a very great measure.

 Yea, I fear, that it will go yet as Christ says, "When the Son of man shall come, will he find believers on the earth?" Luke 18:8. O my most beloved wife, I can no longer watch over you by the help of the Lord, nor strive for you; strive now for yourself, with earnest prayer to God. He will not forsake you, though I must leave you. Trust firmly in Him, and always adhere unwaveringly to the doctrine of Christ. Fulfill that which you have heard and accepted, in the fear of God, and you shall have eternal life; for God is able to perform and to accomplish the same good work which He has begun in you, without delay.

 Finally, be strong in the Lord, through the power of His might, and be well armed against all adversity, and you shall triumph by the help of the Lord. Set your affection on divine things, and overcome that which is human. Col. 3:2. And I beseech you as affectionately as I can, be resigned in the Lord, and constantly be mindful of your redemption, and of the treasure that surpasses all treasures, which has been given you out of grace; and have in constant remembrance the glorious promises; and I hope by the grace of the Lord, that the bitter cup and the bitter water Mara, which you must now also drink for the Gospel's sake, will be, in a measure, sweetened. For, my dearest, you are certainly well aware that these are our meat and promises, and that ever since we accepted the truth we expected to become a spoil to everyone; for the servant is not better than his lord, and we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And consider, from Abel to the present time, how the righteous had to suffer. The Scriptures must certainly be fulfilled; for if I were not apprehended, nor another, how should the number of the martyrs under the altar be fulfilled? for they wait for the fulfillment. Hence console yourself, my dearest, and comfort one another; for I suppose when one weeps the other weeps, too. For I can comfort you with the holy Word of the Lord; and I am still more assured that I am not a bastard, because the merciful Father has been pleased to chasten me poor sinful man, and to receive me unworthy one as His dear son; His will be done. Therefore pray, and cause prayer to be made for me, that I may with my death praise the name of the Lord, to the edification, emboldening and joy of my neighbor, for a light to the world, for the awakening of those who are still in the sleep of sin, and to the salvation of my soul.


 I must also inform you, my dearest on earth, that it is a great alleviation to me in my bonds, that you are not in custody. Oh, I also cannot fully thank my God on account of our poor little daughter, who saw her father bound, as though he were a murderer; however, the strong and faithful God gave me such grace, that I was hardly frightened at all, only I said, "O my lords, why do you bind me thus, as though I were a wicked man?""Oh," said they,"you inflict this upon you yourself;" hence there was much lamenting among them. When he asked me concerning you, I spoke in a very loud. tone to the bailiff, in order that you should flee, so greatly was I concerned for you. The Lord be praised, that He so graciously chastens me.

 O dearest lamb, you were certainly very near, as may be imagined, if one leaves the cloak behind and flees without it. Now, dearest, be of good cheer; true, you leave more yet; but if you leave much you shall receive much. And always possess yourself in patience, and you shall by the grace of the Lord overcome everything that comes upon you; for patience is a special gift of God. Patience is the Christian's strength; this I, unworthy one, have discovered indeed, and I also experience it best in my bonds which I suffer for Christ's sake. I cannot fully thank His grace for His consolation. I experience how a man feels that is not imprisoned for any evil doing. I experience the Lord's faithfulness, which He has promised His own. I trusted in His Word, that He would keep it, before I was apprehended; for the Lord says, "Though a mother forget the son of her womb, yet will I not forget thee." Isa. 49:15. He is certainly the strength of the poor, .and a true helper in time of need.Oh, I was in hopes that I should alone seal it with my blood; but another weak lamb has fallen into the hands of the wolves, and this very strangely. One would have thought that she was certainly not in much danger. She came into my master's house, and was held. When my time was fulfilled, I also fell into their hands; I believe that the good God has ordered it so for my salvation; for He knows better than I, what is necessary for me; hence His will be done. O my dearest, be also resigned thus, and offer me up, your most beloved, into the will of the Lord, as is our daily prayer; for I had many times before prayed the Lord, that He should give me, and let come upon us, what is for my salvation. I therefore see that the Lord wants to take me away from the evil to come, and to bring me into rest; for he that loves the Lord and the church from the heart is. seldom without sorrow of heart, but frequently in travail. But now, I am also ofttimes, it seems to me, like a woman in travail, when I think of your and my daughter's grief, and of the sorrow of my old father and my old mother; then I indeed could cry, but the Lord gives me consolation again by His Holy Spirit; praise to Him forever.


 I further cannot forbear, but must greatly thank you, my dearest, only wife, for having been such a dear, faithful wife to me, for more than nine years; the time has passed away so rapidly, that I am surprised. I have had such joy in my heart because of your love, that I could never fully thank the Lord for His grace; yea, I thought, that though the hairs of my head and the grass of the earth were tongues, I could not fully thank His goodness; I should remain His debtor. But however much I loved you, I had to limit it, in order that if it should come to what it has now come, I might overcome the parting.

 Again, I loved my daughter rather more than I showed; I dared not set my affection too much upon her, in order that when I should have to part from her, as the Lord has ordered in regard to me, unworthy one, the bitter parting should not overcome me. But now that the Lord has called me to this state, I will commit you both, my dearest lambs, to the Lord of lords, and beseech His grace to keep you both from the evil, and to bring you into His everlasting kingdom.


 But, alas! I have often regretted, and do still regret, that I, miserable man have not walked more holy and perfectly with you. Do as I would, I always fell far short; so that I did not struggle through all the years of my faith without stumbling or falling. But the rich God, seeing my good intention, according to His mercy lifted me up again, for He is willing to forgive, as I also gladly forgive and His promise is sure, "If we forgive men their trespasses, he will also forgive us our trespasses." Matt. 6:14. When I thus felt my own deficiency, it caused me to keep myself in humility, and to bow myself under the mighty hand of God, and it was an admonition to me to be zealous in my calling. While I was in a good determination, the Lord of lords came, for which eternal praise be to Him; and I often pray Him to forgive those who named, delivered, and apprehended rne; I forgive them all. O my beloved wife, this I must also heartily pray you yet, will likewise thus forgive them that have sinned against me, and caused your grief; for if you forgave not, I think you should prevent the Lord your and my God from forgiving your debt; hence I beseech you to forgive it from the heart. And pray for them that afflict you, and you will be a good sister in Christ. Make God your debtor, and He will also forgive your debt; for we need daily forgiveness, because we are frail.

 But I am also daily afflicted in this, that our dear church-many poor souls-are scattered so, and must wander about in foreign Countries, yea, some of them having nothing to lay hold of, and yet the poor children must be fed. Oh, there is a lack of cheerful givers in this distressing time.

 Nothing special further for this time; but I commend you now and forever to the Lord, and to the rich Word of His grace, who is so able to keep you from the evil, and to bring you into His everlasting kingdom. Amen. I greet you most affectionately in the Lord with the kiss of love and peace, and this in the heart, as present with you in spirit. Bid our beloved daughter much good night in my, name., and tell her to comfort her mother, and if she is an obedient daughter, learns diligently to read, and then also to write, and then helps her dear mother to gain a livelihood, I shall love her. Greet much in my name, in the Lord, all the God-fearing that ask you concerning me; tell them to be of good cheer all of them, and to hope and trust in the Lord, for His hand is not shortened, this I now realize. Let therefore no one fear mortal man, but much rather the immortal God. I have confessed the faith, not sought my life, freely and openly confessed Christ before this sinful people, for a testimony unto them, that they may have no excuse to make in the day of Christ.

 The bailiff asked me, whether I would not renounce my faith; that they would then give me back my liberty, -so that I could gain a livelihood for my wife and child as before, "you are yet a young man," said he,"you can raise children yet, and increase the world." I answered, that .I did not wish to renounce. The bailiff said, "Do you not want to live then?""Yes, my lord, but I will not renounce my faith for anything in the world." In going he said that I erred; he would prove to me from history, that the doctrine which I said in the time of the apostles was called the sect of the Nazarenes, is openly contradicted; you must see that our faith has existed for so many centuries, and been handed down from generation to generation. I said,"I do not look at the years, but at the truth." Thus we parted.

 Go not around much with my letter, lest I lose my liberty [of writing]; the Lord be praised for it. If any one feel constrained by love to write a little, send it; put into it, a little color, and soil it a little, and it will be noticed the less. Write me how you and my daughter are; send it with color, or some spice, if it be only fennel seed, or a piece of cake; it shall be acceptable to me. Salute cordially your brother and his wife.


The eternal, almighty, good God, who by His word created heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that therein is, be with you. Because I sought Him in my simplicity, for the salvation of my soul, I am imprisoned by His enemies, which I will forgive them.- But though I am imprisoned, and have also suffered for it, 1 have never yet regretted that I sought, in my simplicity, my salvation; for unto salvation I am created through Jesus Christ, unto good works, that I should walk in them, and hereafter arise to everlasting life, Eph. 2:10; John 5:29. Therefore, my only daughter, attend to the instruction of your beloved father. Thus, what I tell you according to the Scriptures is this, "Consider the wickedness of the world, the learned with the magistrates, and their adherents, how they shed the innocent blood; they are called spirituals and Christians." Hence I beseech you, my dearest daughter, do not follow them, for they walk not in the right way, to this I bear witness. And read the holy Scriptures, and when you have attained your years, consider and ponder it well; and pray the Lord for understanding then, and you shall be able to discern good from evil, lies from truth, the way of perdition, and the narrow way that leads unto eternal life. And when you then see pomp, boasting, dancing, lying, cheating, cursing, swearing, quarreling, fighting and other wickedness, such as drinking to intoxication, kneeling down before wood, stone, gold, silver, or bread, think then, "This is not the right way, these are not the works of Christians, as the holy Scriptures teach. Such works proceed not from the Spirit of God, but from the spirit of Satan." The Scriptures testify that they are Christ's who have the Spirit of Christ or are led by the same. Rom. 8:9, 14. And in order that you may be found a true Christian, do not follow those people; follow them not, though they allure you in an inviting manner, and promise you fine things; do not regard that, but depart from the broad way on which they are, that you do not become a partaker of their eternal plagues. Consider the examples of the Scriptures in regard to this, which happened in the first world; for all who had departed from God, and did not believe Noah's preaching, and did not regard his words, were drowned. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah, who daily vexed righteous Lot; they who would not go out with him, were burned. Thus it shall also go with those who do not believe the true Noah, that is, Christ Jesus; for He preached it in this world, saying first, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Mark 1:15. Even as Noah had warned and preached, before the flood came, so Christ preached, and caused His apostles to preach, repentance, and still causes it to be done daily, by rye, unworthy one, your beloved father, and by other servants of Christ. But what does it avail them? not many repent; they remain with the great multitude; we are lightly esteemed, for we are a plain, small and unlearned people. But Christ could well foresee the hardness of the people; hence He says in the Gospel, "As it was in the days, or times, of Noah; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until Noe entered into the ark; so shall it also be in the coming of the Son of man," that is, Jesus Christ. Matt. 24:37. Then shall the day of the Lord be as a burning oven. Mal. 4:1. Crying and lamenting will then avail wicked, unbelieving men nothing, for then there shall be no time to obtain grace. But now is the acceptable time, the day of salvation, now is the time of grace, the jubilee of the Lord, until the terrible day of the Lord comes. Isa. 49: 8; Deuteronomy 15:1. Then He shall say to those who would not believe the Gospel, but followed the multitude: Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. But to those who followed Him in this life unto the end, He shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matt. 25:41, 34.

 Thus, my dearest daughter, lay it to heart, despise it not, for it is of great importance to you; and diligently search (when you have received understanding from the Lord) the holy Scriptures, and you will find, that we must follow Christ Jesus, and obey Him unto the end; and you will also truly find the little flock who follow Christ. And this is the sign: they lead a penitent life; they avoid that which is evil, and delight in doing what is good; they hunger and thirst after righteousness: they are not conformed to the world; they crucify their sinful flesh more and more every day, to die unto sin, which wars in their members; they strive and seek after that which is honest and of good report; they do evil to no one; they pray for their enemies; they do not resist their enemies; their words are yea that is yea, and nay that is nay; their word is their seal; they are sorry that they do not constantly live more holily, for which reason they often sigh and weep. Let not this, however, be the only sign by which you may know who follows Christ; but [they are] also these, namely, who bear the cross of Christ, for He says, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23. For He has said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." John 15:20. But now someone might say, and persuade people, that He said this to His apostles. But the apostle Paul declaresto them and says that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 11 Tim. 3:12. The prophet, also, says that he that takes up the truth becomes everyone's prey; for that which is pure and clear cannot come forth. Isa. 59:15. Hereby you may understand, my dear daughter, who follow Christ, to be saved through Him. Beware of sin, that you do not commit it; and join these cross-bearers, that you may come to Christ, who bore the cross for us; for we must follow His footsteps, and be like our Lord, the disciple like his master; and as we suffer with Him, so shall we forever rejoice with Him. But, my only daughter, whom I love from the heart, I beseech you, fear not this present suffering, so that you do not, on this account, forbear to seek your salvation; this would be too great a folly; for now that I have suffered the same, I say with the apostle, that the suffering which comes upon us for Christ's sake is light and temporal, and works for us an exceeding weight of glory. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ, and He always helps us to triumph, so that we keep the faith in a pure conscience; for it is blessed, says the apostle, if we endure stripes for well doing. Hence rejoice, that your dear father has suffered and endured threats, contempt and stripes for well doing; I say for well doing, because I would not with the world walk the broad way to everlasting torment, which all shall receive who do not turn and follow Christ in the narrow way. The Word of Christ is always the judge; hence let no one think hard of me. John 12:48.

 In the second place I also suffered because I loved my neighbor as myself, and would not name him. Be therefore resigned, and always think that your beloved father did not suffer as a thief or murderer, but as a Christian, of which I need not be ashamed, nor need you; but let them be ashamed themselves who do evil; one needs not be ashamed of that which is good. Though we are despised of men, .who perish like grass, and vanish as a vapor, what care we for mortal man: if w e only please the immortal God, all is well, for He will praise us. The praise of men is perishable. Hence we do not regard it, and look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; after these we follow and strive, and choose with Moses rather to suffer affliction with the children of God, than to live in the lusts of the world, for we have respect to the reward of Christ. Thither I will now go before, and wait for you and your dear mother a little while. Hence I pray you very affectionately, my dearest, only daughter, take the words of my letter to heart, so that you seek your salvation with all your heart, in following Christ. He will help you as well as He helps me, and has helped others who lived in my time and before. Christ is the way to eternal life; hence keep His commandment, which is life everlasting. John 12:50.

 I further pray you, my dearest daughter, that you first of all love and obey your dear, beloved mother. If your beloved mother gets to be an aged woman, always show her great honor; and always do your best with her; it is a commandment of the Lord which has a promise. For if you do not love your dearest, beloved mother, how can you love our dear Lord, whom you do not see. But I hope and trust, my only, dear daughter, that you will do the best; and I was very .glad to hear in my bonds, that you conduct yourself so well, and are so resigned. Thank the Lord, that He has spared your beloved mother, so that you should get along better. But, as the time of the saints, of the prophets, of Christ, the apostles, and other saints, is fulfilled, so my time is also now being fulfilled, according to the providence of God, that I should henceforth rest in Christ. Thus I go the way of the prophets and apostles, believing what the holy Scriptures say, that Christ Jesus alone is our Saviour, and seeking to be saved by His blood, His merits, and His sufferings alone. Many evil things are said of us, of not one of which are we guilty; but we must suffer all for Christ's sake, and take His kingdom by force, for the violent take it by force. Matt. 11

 12. Our enduring all things is our power and force, and by patience, meekness and longsuffering we

 Tt through everything by the help of the Lord. ayMe grant you, my beloved daughter, and your dearest mother, the same patient, good spirit, to overcome in all tribulation which you have together, or may yet have, for the name of the Lord, to His praise and your soul's salvation. Amen.

 Herewith, adieu in this wicked world,- and be of good cheer together. Written and completed this 4th of March, A. D. 1572. By me your beloved father, imprisoned at Dortrecht for the obedience of Christ, and this to the praise of God. Amen.

 O merciful heavenly Father, who hast so specially chosen and loved me unworthy one, I, who am but dust and ashes, commend to you my dearest wife and my dearest, only daughter.

 Written by me in bonds, at Dortrecht.



The eternal merciful God, full of all comfort, grant you, my dearest, beloved father, and my dearest, venerable mother, His grace through Christ, and confirm the love of you both through His Holy Spirit; so that you may pass this short time to the praise of God, as a light. to the world, a pattern to your children, and to the salvation of your souls.


 After this my cordial wish. I beseech and exhort your love, that you henceforth yield your members as weapons of righteousness, and not as formerly in the old man; but mortify the old Adam; that is, put off the old man with his evil deeds, and put on the new man, in true righteousness and holiness, asthe holy Scriptures teach, which serve us to eternal life. Rom. 6:13; Col. 3:9, 10.

 For His commandment is life everlasting. And remember, how diligently you walked in the commandments of men, by which they have made the commandment of God of none effect for themselves; they also worship God in vain, teaching and observing the commandments of men, which have no promise in the Scriptures, but shall be rooted up, because our heavenly Father has not planted them. Yea, the same is accursed by Paul. Gal. 1:8. Oh, that you may now also be found very diligent, yea, much more diligent yet, in the unadulterated truth of God, which is revealed to you both through the grace of God, through Christ, in your old age.

 Oh, this is such a great joy to me, that the Lord has spared you both so long, and that I have seen the day that my beloved father, and my beloved mother, and my only brother (I hope the best in re gard to my dear sisters) have had their blind eyes enlightened, so that they are now able to distinguish light from darkness, that is, evil from good, and are determined to forsake that which is evil, and do what is good.

 If you go on together in this, and persevere unto the end, I hope that we shall rejoice with one another in the resurrection of life.

 When the righteous shall be raised up, Oh, consider what great gladness and joy we shall then have, when the dear father, mother, and their children, shall hear the voice of our Bridegroom, saying, "Come, ye beloved, and possess the kingdom of my Father." But, dearest father and mother, brother and sisters, you must first think that Christ before that said, "Narrow is the way and strait is the gate which leadeth unto eternal life." As the prophet Esdras testifies, who speaks of a city full of all good things, to which leads a way which is but the width of a man's footstep; on one side is water, and on the other fire; how is one to receive this city for an inheritance, except he first pass through the strait? II Esd. 7:6.

 Hence Christ, the supreme Prophet (who could well foresee the wickedness of the world) said, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake, and this because they have known neither me nor the Father." Matt. 10:22; John 16:3. He further says, "Because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you, for the world loveth his own." 15:19. Further, "If they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also; if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call you?" 15:20; Matt. 10: 25. For the servant is not better than his lord; hence, he that would follow Christ in order to get where He is must deny himself, daily take up his cross, and follow Him in affliction, for He further says, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33. Ye shall (He also says in the same chapter) weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy, which no man shall be able to take away.

 From this it is sufficiently obvious, that the way is very narrow for the flesh, which must remain here; this must be ventured, or one cannot be worthy of being a disciple of Christ.

 But I trust that with Jacob we shall all desire the beautiful Rachel, namely, the kingdom of heaven, but this cannot be, we must first have Leah with her running eyes. For our trying, also the head was tried, who had done no sin; how then should not the members be tried? for then only He thoroughly sees whether a man fears, loves and trusts Him from the heart; whether he does not love his life more than his salvation. Concerning this necessary trial to which many saints of God were subjected, we have many examples in the holy Scriptures; as Abel, Jacob, Moses, David, job, the three young men in the furnace, Daniel, Susannah, the seven brothers with their mother, many prophets, apostles, and many saints after them, and also in my tithe.

 Now it is my time, the Lord be praised, for I know that I am unworthy that I should place myself among this number, but the good, merciful God Counts me worthy, to fulfill the number of the martyrs who rest in Christ, and are waiting for their number to be fulfilled by those who should also be slain as they, for the testimony of Christ which was in them, and is in me, through Christ; which Christ has always, from the beginning of the world, been despised, evil spoken of, and cast out. Therefore I suffer for a little while; otherwise there is nothing for them to take exception to in me; they know nothing evil to allege against me, the Lord be praised. Hence I suffer now with Christ, as a Christian, for well doing, that my faith may be found much more precious than gold which pensheth. Thus does God try His chosen; but in time of need He faithfully helps us; this (how wonderfully God works in His chosen) I have experienced in my distress. Yea, I have very great joy, that He has kept my lips from beginning to end, this alleviated my sufferings, when my filthy, stinking carcass (evil in its nature) was suffering, being suspended and scourged two different times; but now that it is over, I have joy in my heart. The first time that I was tortured, was the last Saturday in February; and the other the Wednesday after. But, dearest father and mother, be not dismayed on this account, but rejoice with me, that we have such a strong God, who so faithfully helps us; for He fights our battle, He will not let us be confounded. For, consider the ancient times, whether any one was ever confounded that trusted in Him; for He hears. says David, the cry of the poor, and their heart is sure that His ears attend unto their prayer. Thus, firmly believe God's Word, and trust in Him, and He will keep His promise; for this you must know, that though the outward man perish, yet the inward man is re ewed day by day. Moreover, our temporal affliction is brief and light; of this I can now write; and it works for us a far more exceeding weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

 We endure the visible, and wait with joy for the invisible, eternal joy, in firm confidence and a living hope, which shall not make us ashamed.

 Then shall they who were faithful unto death in the truth, confessed the name of Christ before the world, and put off the mortal clothing be crowned; these shall be honored by the young man, Christ Jesus, as Esdras testifies. II Esd. 2:43. Hence, I am of good cheer in the Lord, be also of good cheer. For when the suffering was over, I was as though I had had a fall; so that I can say,"What is suffering when it is over? it is not to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18. Oh, how joyful we shall be when we shall see that the children of God are such glorious kings, shining forth as the sun. Then shall the rulers of this world see whom they have pierced, whom they have mocked, despised and tortured; then they shall bewail it, but it shall then be too late. Hence I beseech you, be resigned, and thank the Lord, that you have raised such a son who is called to such a holy state.

 It is no wonder, that this happens to me; consider John, than whom a holier has not been born of women, and who lived so austere a life, but yet was imprisoned and put to death; yea, Christ Himself, Stephen, Peter, James, who did so many miracles, and so many good works, and were nevertheless put to death. Hence Christ says, "The servant is not better than his lord." Thus there must be striving, and the kingdom of God must be taken by force, for the violent take it by force; for we are called, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for Him, and to help bear the sufferings and reproach of Christ. Though our earthly tabernacle perish, we doubtless expect a better in heaven. We are as sheep for the slaughter; who are not worthy of the world, we are to them filth, offscouring, and fools, for Christ's sake; but we are God's elect out of grace, through the blood of Jesus Christ, which alone cleanses us from all our sins, who alone by His sufferings and merits makes us worthy of His eternal kingdom; to Him be praise, glory, honor and power for ever and ever. Amen. By me your beloved son, after I had striven unto blood against my enemies, this first day of March, A. D. 1572.

 My suffering sounds fearful, but I do not think that it lasted more than two hours in all. I do not know that I was in torture two hours; should one therefore deny the Lord? God forbid!

 Finally, I pray your love, that you mourn not for me, but rejoice from the heart, and praise God, that He separated your firstborn son from the womb, to bear His great and glorious name before the rulers of the world, and that the faithful God has so faithfully helped me, for I was scourged thrice, and suspended four times. But Christ had suffered still more. And after the suffering I received great joy of the Holy Ghost, yea, that I wept for joy, because He has kept our lips, and does not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear. I have deemed it necessary to write of those wonderful deeds of God, and to spread them, in order that you should also become bold in the truth; and I leave you this as a testament in remembrance of me, that the Spirit of God, which makes me strong and bold, may also thus confirm and lead you according to His will, who created you, and that you may love each other: for if you loved each other, and lived peaceably, when you were in blindness, how much more ought you to love each other, and to live peaceably, now that your eyes are enlightened through the grace of God. And always pray the Lord, to give you still more grace, which He will also do; if you are found faithful in the little which you have already received, He will trust you with still more. Yea, He will give the Holy Ghost to all who ask Him for it; but one must first depart from evil, deny himself, and say with Paul, "Lord, what wilt thou have me do?" When the heart is thus entirely surrendered, the Lord will further work and fulfill in you, because there is a good will in you. And always humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He shall exalt you in due time, as He has promised in many places; so that we may together be exalted by Christ our eternal Saviour, whither I will now go before, and will much rather first give the mortal mantle of flesh, than that I should consent to the whore of Babylon. I will rather be slain by Cain, than on his account leave undone that which is pleasing to God. I will rather be stoned with Naboth, than sell my heavenly Father's inheritance, as Esau sold his birthright. Rather be stoned with Susannah, than do the will of the false rulers. Rather go with Daniel in the lion's den, than that I should kneel down before wood, stone, gold, silver, bread, wine or oil. Rather go with the young men in the fiery furnace, than worship the image, which was set up, since it is written, that the Lord God alone is to be worshiped. Deut. 6. May the same purify you, my much beloved father and my much beloved mother, and through Christ His beloved Son, and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, make you meet for His eternal kingdom, so that we may hereafter in the future world see one another with eternal joy. O heavenly Father, I who am but dust and ashes, beseech Thee here in my bonds through Jesus Christ, grant hereunto Thy unfathomable grace.


 Adieu in this transient world. Oh, that you knew what joy I have; you would, I hope, be still more resigned. Finished this second day of March. My hand is somewhat better again; I bear in my body the marks of our Lord. The faith is kept. I have striven unto blood; in this the holy name of the Lord be glorified forever.



Imprisoned in the Vuylpoort, at Dortrecht.


Affectionately written to you, my much beloved sister Neelken, Jacob's daughter, mother in the convent: I Jan Wouterss van Kuyck, your beloved brother-in-law, imprisoned at Dortrecht, not for any evil, but for the obedience of the Gospel of Christ; which is no shame before my supreme Lord, who created us, but a great honor to Him, that one for His name's sake, yea, for well doing, endures contempt and bloody stripes; such are accounted blessed by the holy Scriptures, which blessedness [salvation] Christ has merited by His great sufferings.

 And since I sought my salvation in Christ, I have fallen into affliction, but I do therefore not regret it, for salvation is dearer to me than this transitory life, and I will give my life for it, knowing and believing that I shall, according to God's promises, which will not fail, receive an eternal one, which is better.

 Hence, I beseech you most affectionately, grieve not on my account; I thank you very kindly for all the great friendship you have shown me and my dearest wife, and also my only daughter, and which you may have further shown while I have been in bonds.

 Henceforth I know of no greater friendship to show you, my beloved sister; than that I must at my end invite you yet to the marriage of the Lamb, which is Christ; yea, heartily entreat you, to prepare yourself for it during this short time. Hence put off the old man with his evil deeds, and put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge of God, of Him that created him. Put off the old Adam, and put on the new, and walk therein, and you shall henceforth not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Col. 3:9, 10; Rom. 12:2.

 See, beloved sister, I declare to you with the holy Scriptures, that you cannot come to Christ, the Bridegroom, unless you sincerely follow Him in His footsteps, in the narrow way which He walked; and I pray you, lay it to heart, for it is of great importance to you. I say and declare unto you, that neither you nor any one (I do not mean infants) can follow Christ, except you first deny yourself and deliver up to Him your own understanding, reasons, opinions, and your own life, even as He delivered up His life for us, that all who believe in Him, and do not live to themselves, should not perish, but have everlasting life through Him. Suffer to be told and have mercy on yourself, and trust not in the learned or that you bear the name of a Christian; to the learned, God's wisdom is hid. and the name does not make a Christian. But if you would nevertheless trust in the learned, perceive by their fruits what kind of trees they are, as Christ taught, that every tree shall be known by his fruit. Consider how Christ condemns them in the Gospel, and how they were enraged against Christ and His apostles, and how they laid hands on them; and though the heathen judges found no cause of death, yet they had to put to death the innocent, if they wished to remain the friends of the scribes and of Caesar. Thus it is still; think not that it is better now; they fill up the measure of their fathers, that the righteous blood may be found.on them. I have worked or labored for my. necessities, for my widow, and for my orphan child; they will not work themselves, and rather live off that which is other people's and cannot bear that another works; hence the bailiff forbids me to work, on their account. Again, when I was to be tortured the second time, in order that I should betray my neighbor, which I could not do, on account of my conscience, they brought to me the superior, who was to prove to me the Scriptures that I might do it. The superior said that I might do it, for; said he,"If you are the true people, your fellow brethren will with you receive the martyr's crown. How can one attain to greater honor:.hence you may name them. But since you are not the true people, you ought to name them, for. God hates the wicked." This the superior said to me. -O dear, consider in your heart what spirit actuates these learned men, how they expound-the ultimate object is nothing but murder. O dear Lord, forgive them. Thou teachest us better, namely, to love our neighbor as ourselves, yea, to lay down our lives for the brethren.. Hence separate-from them, you have long been one with them; lest you partake of their sins and abominable plagues.

 It is now, out of great love, declared to you beforehand, by your very familiar brother-in-law, before that day comes upon you as a thief in the night; as the warning came in the first world, so it does still. Hence, if you would with Noah and his house be saved and protected, betake yourself under the protection of the true Noah, and observe His commandment, which is life everlasting; He calls you and all men; He knocks; He stretches- out His hand to you; refuse Him no longer, and do not rely on this, that you are called a Christian, and that God is merciful. Remember with it, that neither the name, nor the water, nor the sponsors make a Christian, but he that doeth righteousness is righteous; they that are led by the Spirit of Christ are His. And remember also that God is just, as-David declares, saying, "God is a righteous God, or a righteous judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword, he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors." Psalm 7:11-13. Attend well unto every word, for he is a strong archer when he lets fly his arrow, none can evade him. Hence consider his arrows which he let fly at the first world, at Sodom, Gomorrah and others. These accounts have been left us in writing that we should fear the Word of the Lord more than the aforesaid learnedmen; and if we, through fear and love, observe His commandments, then the Word, that God is merciful, will avail for us. For His divine nature is such; that His wrath and His mercy proceed together from Him, and this on this wise, that if the righteous forsake the way of the Lord, his righteousness shall not be mentioned, but he shall die for the sake of the blasphemy. Ezekiel 18:24.

 Again, if the sinner turns away from his evil ways, does that which is good and right; and walks in the way of the Lord, his sins shall be remembered no more, for the Lord has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but that he turn from his way and live. Ezek. 18:21; 34:11. Hence I beseech you, that you will free yourself from all the ways of the world, of the carefulness, and of the old things, of which your heart may be full; so that the Word of God may be planted in you with meekness and you may be found good earth bringing forth fruit abiding unto life eternal. God's judgment is now declared that every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. Matthew 7:19. Let therefore the hammer of the divine Word break your heart into pieces; remember the words of the prophet, "Rend your hearts; and not your garments: for God is longsufffering and merciful and of great kindness, who forgiveth sin." Joel 2:13; Ps. 103:3. Hence, dear sister, remember that the longsuffering and daily kindness invite you to salvation; refuse it no longer,.for thereby you would wrong your own self.' Therefore amend your life and ways, and believe and obey the Gospel and you shall be saved through Christ for this is the promise, even eternal life. I John 2:25. But if you want to continue in the ordinances of men, and to be led thereby as the ox to the slaughter; you will find yourself deceived in the end; for in vain do you observe the commandments of men, which have no promise from the Lord, as I also said to the superior. He said that what God has not forbidden he permits. Oh, is this not a feeble reed in which to trust; but Christ teaches differently, saying, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up." Matt. 15:13. And the apostle says that no other foundation can be laid, than Christ alone. I Cor. 3:11: In the second place the anostle has declared all the counsel of God and withheld nothing from us. Acts 20:27.

 In the third place, he says, "If any preach any other gospel than I have preached, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:8. Yea, though it were an angel from heaven (mark well) yet his doctrine must not be received, if it is anything different. How should we receive for the purpose of honoring God with it, that which has proceeded from men, who are prone to wickedness from the cradle, and drink iniquity like water? Hence, what man institutes is like 'the labor of the spider; it can be used neither for covering, nor for clothing; but everyone that hears a.n~d keeps the Word of God for his salvation need add nothing to it.

 Finally, I declare unto you once more in the name of my Lord, "Amend your life and ways, believe the (zospel, and flee idolatry." But if you yet think that you do not worship them, it is at least evident, that you serve them, kneel before them, and honor them, which God has forbidden, who requires His true statutes to be kept, and says by the prophet Jeremiah, "Obey my voice, and I will be your God and ye shall be my people." Jeremiah 7:23. And another prophet, "A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if I then be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear?" Mal. 1:6. Hence, if God is our Father, we must obey Him more than men; if He is our Lord, we must honor Him with that which He commands us. Then if we be reproached we will think, "The servant is not better than his lord; if they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, why should they not call them of his household so?" In short, he that would follow Christ to His marriage feast, must deny himself, take up the cross, and prepare his heart to suffer with Christ, in order afterwards to rejoice with Him. And this suffering is short, hence it is light

 do not on this account remain behind. The Lord will help me and all the God-fearing through, and He will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able to bear, but will help you to triumph, though your enemies be never so many; God is our shield, who can overcome Him? Dear beloved sister, it is nothing strange that I suffer; it is a sign that the Lord loves me, and I Count it for my salvation. He tries me as gold is tried in the fire; thus He tried many chosen saints of God before my time, as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Caleb, Joshua, Daniel, John the Baptist who was the holiest of those born of women; Christ Himself and His apostles and others, were tried, as Job; but if we adhere to the Lord in temptation, the crown of eternal life is ready for us.

 Herewith I will conclude this letter, kindly asking you not to reject my humble labor to you, which I have done out of great friendship. Search the Scriptures in regard to these things, and see whether they are not so. If you cannot understand or comprehend it, I kindly ask you, love your dear sister nevertheness, for she has been to me a very affectionate and faithful wife, so that I cannot thank her enough for her friendship and good company. Likewise love our only daughter, for I think that she has prolonged her beloved mother's life, the Lord be praised. But do not lead our child to dumb idols; by so doing you would sin still more against God. Take my letter in good part; for it has been done out of a faithful heart. O Lord, grant our beloved sister Thy holy knowledge, as Thou didst to Saul, who also had a zeal without knowledge.

 Herewith I bid you, my beloved sister, adieu. Farewell.

 Written in my bonds, on the fifth day of March, A.D. 1572. By me, your beloved brother-in-law, (in the Vuylpoort at Dortrecht).



Affectionately written to you, my three beloved sisters, by me your beloved imprisoned brother, imprisoned for well-doing, and for the obedience of the Gospel, which is no shame to me before the Almighty, who has created us, but is a great honor to Him, for His power is made manifest, through us poor men, who suffer and endure stripes and contempt for His name's sake, and adhere nevertheless to the truth. Hence we do not regard these wicked men, who are nothing but dust and ashes, and shall vanish away as a vapor; but they that do the will of God shall abide forever. Though our earthly tabernacle perish, which must perish once, we look with patience for a better one in heaven, which is imperishable. And since we are assured of this in our hearts, we faint not, willing to be freed from this vile flesh,.which is prone to sin from infancy and to be at home, resting with Christ our Lord. But before we attain to this rest, we must first labor a little and fight against our enemies, who have been, and are still, very many. Understand this well, we get through this, and this through Him who strengthens us, which is Christ our Lord, who fights for us, so that we keep the faith, and see our desire upon our enemies; and we can rejoice in our sufferings, because of the victory which we obtain through Christ. And striving thus, we enter into rest. Yes, our dear Lord so strengthened me, that I was not disturbed by all the torturing. It seemed to me that I could embrace the bailiff, so friendly was my heart towards him, when I was not yet dressed after the torture.

 See, my dear, beloved sisters, I have discovered it for you in advance; that the Lord of lords is a faithful helper in time of need. Hence I beseech you together, fear not men but this almighty Lord; for they cannot harm one hair of the people of God, except they first receive the power from our Lord on high, and He will not permit them more than we are able to bear, and will always with the temptation make a way to escape so that we shall be able to bear it. I Cor. 10:13. The souls of the righteous are ever in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. Wisd. 3:1. He is able to alleviate the pain, as He did to me. Praise to Him forever for. His great faithfulness.


 Mark thereby the wonderful deeds of God, that He so faithfully helps them that believe and firmly trust in Him, whom they yet do not see.

 Hence I know of no greater friendship to show you for this time, than to reveal to you the wonderful deeds of God, that you may rejoice therein with me, and that you may also be awakened to your salvation, to seek it alone in Christ Jesus, through His holy Word, which teaches us, in the first place, repentance, and to believe in the Gospel, in which Christ has said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink for nought. He that believeth on me, as the Scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This spake he of the Holy Spirit which they that believe on Christ should receive." John 7:37. Hence I entreat you most affectionately, to betake yourselves to the clear wine Christ Jesus; you shall receive it without price. Hence, constantly lead a penitent life, and pray with a longing heart for saving faith; so hunger and long to receive it from Christ, as you would long to receive bread, when you are hungry; and you shall receive it, and shall bring forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit, namely, love, peace, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance and thus in all the virtues you are to approve yourselves in obedience and in a meek and quietss spirit, as dear children of God, and always prepare and adorn yourselves thereto, and not with gold, silver, or costly apparel, for thereby one conforms to the world, to please her. But I counsel you for the best, that you do not do these things, lest you be punished with the world by the future judge, Jesus Christ, whom they despised and cast out, together with the prophets, apostles, and many saints, and also your brethren. Hence do not seek to please the wicked world, but Him who created you, that you may be saved through Jesus Christ.

 Hence exercise yourselves and read the Word of the Lord, which will profit you in all things, how you may walk circumspectly in order to please the living God, and to be saved. And then the Spirit of Christ will guide you into all things, and you shall yourselves be taught of God. And He shall with the finger of His Holy Spirit write inwardly upon the tables of your heart.

 Therefore always hearken to Him, and you shall be His friends, yea, He shall be your brother; and if you follow Him to the end, you shall possess what Christ possesses. Thither I will now go before, and wait for you there a short time, hoping that you will follow for your salvation's sake. When then our beloved father, and our beloved mother, my dearest and beloved wife, and my dear, only child, my only brother, my dear, beloved sisters, and other familiar friends, when we shall meet together (as I hope) in God's kingdom, what greater joy could we have? Hence take heed that this do not fail us, and that none of us be found to remain without. Love one another; set one another a good example; let each seek to be the first in good works and in the fruits of faith. Be diligent in reading, and warn one another against sin, for the other, crooked serpent* is very subtle in drawing off, and in exhibiting the lusts of the world, thereby to allure you, in order to keep you from God. He will lay his ambushes and manifold nets and snares; but continue always steadfastly in the

 * Evidently an allusion to Isaiah 27:1, where (see German version) two serpents seem to be indicated.

 fear of God, and do not listen to him, and he will flee from you; and think how he deceived Eve and Adam, and the whole first world, with the exception of eight persons. And it is still the same spirit: hence keep diligent watch, often resort to fasting and prayer, and always live soberly, that your flesh do not overcome you; for this is the worst enemy, for wherever we be, he is always with us, and is constantly advising us to evil. He ever strives against the Spirit; for it is very painful to the flesh, that it cannot fulfill its lust, and that it is subjugated by the Spirit. But, dtiarest sisters, if it should happen that Satan should take you una,%~ares (since he never rests, but is always seeking whom he may devour) always rise again, and do not yield yourselves to become servants or handmaids of sin, but take better heed;1it is for your warning. Hence humble yourselvles under the mighty hand of God, and seek henceforth to purify your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, and run henceforth in the conflict that is set before you and all the God-fearing; that you may not be found as those who become weary and dissatisfied in the way of the Lord, as I have known many to do. For by conflict all the God-fearing are tried; for how should they overcome, if there were no conflict? but to them that overcome the kingdom and an eternal crown are promised as a reward. And the holy Scriptures also teach you to honor father and mother; hence do not forget this, but help them in everything wherein they may need you, and always proffer your willing service; for this will be pleasing to the Lord, and our dear, beloved, venerable father, and our dear, beloved, venerable mother, can then rejoice, because their children have found delight in keeping God's commandments, whereby one can escape the future wrath of God. And when their days are fulfilled, they can depart in peace and tranquility, and commit the keeping of their souls in well doing unto a faithful Creator, and this because this good Lord has also called their dear children to the faith, and they have lived to see that they have found delight in the truth, to take it up, which has so long been trampled under foot, even as the whole world still does in its ignorance. Again, because they leave behind them believing children, for a child that fears God is better than a thousand that are ungodly; for children that do not fear God are to believing parents an affliction from the Lord, which cannot well be healed.

 Thus, my dearest, beloved three sisters, I will commend and trust to you and my only brother, that you will fear and love God all your life which will last but a short time when compared to the ages of eternity. The fear of God teaches to beware of evil; and to love God is to keep His commandments, as Christ says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

 The Scripture also says, "The fear of the Lord driveth out sin; it is also the beginning of wisdom."

 Sir. 1:21, 27. Hence I entreat you all, love the wisdom of God above gold, and it shall come and meet you; and when you have received much understanding and wisdom, do not exalt yourselves therein, as though you were somebody; but thank the Lord for it, that He gives it into your keeping, and always apply it for the purpose, for which He has given it you, for He appoints you only stewards over it. And when the Lord then sees that you are faithful over His property, that you do not suffer it to lie idle, nor squander it, but that you are lights in the world, as pleasant, olive twigs of Christ, pleasant branches, beautiful stones in the temple of the Lord, He can entrust to you much more still, so that you may bring forth fruit more abundantly, bride of Christ, as a people of God, as members, as sisters and brethren of Christ, yea, as a royal priesthood. But when the other, crooked serpent sees this, he will envy you most, and work against you through the children of unbelief, in whom he now works, and in whom he has always worked. But, my dear sisters, always be of good courage, and take faith for a shield, with which always to protect yourselves and you shall quench and resist his fiery darts; and be armed also with the other spiritual weapons of God, as the apostle teaches, Eph. 6, and you shall remain steadfast, and be saved. May the good, eternal, almighty God, who lives in eternity, who rejoices with His holy angels over one sinner that repents with all his heart, make you all, my beloved sisters and brother, meet and perfect for His heavenly kingdom, through Jesus Christ His only Son, and by the co-operation of His Holy Spirit, that you may always have your delight in the right way of the Lord as David says; for they [His judgments) are true and righteous, and more precious than fine gold, and sweeter than the honeycomb (Psalm 19:9, .10); use all diligence to perform this, and this to the salvation of your, souls. Amen.

 Herewith I will bid you my much beloved three sisters, adieu in this sorrowful, transient world, and I thank your love for all your friendship.

 Written in my bonds, and finished on the, sixth day of March, by your beloved brother, for a remembrance to you all. A. D. 1572.

 J. v. K.


Grace and peace from God the heavenly Father., through Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord and Saviour, and the co-operation of His Holy Spirit, always be multiplied to you both, for the confirmation of your faith, and for consolation ,on your, pilgrimage, that you may not weary in the only way of life, but may unwaveringly go on to your rest, so that you may together receive.the end of your sure faith, namely, the salvation of your souls. Amen.After this my cordial brotherly salutation and good wish, be pleased to know, my most cordially beloved oldest brother-in-law, and my most heartily beloved sister, that in this conflict I have constantly remained unchanged in the faith of the truth, once delivered to the saints; for which I now suffer vexation from mortal men, enduring it with a patient heart.

 I cannot fully thank the Lord for this great grace that He has thus preserved us as the apple of His eye. Hence I beseech you both, be not dismayed on account of my transient tribulation, but be the bolder in the living faith, which worketh by love, knowing that your labor will not be in vain, but that it will follow you, clothing and adorning you in the day of Christ. Hereunto look constantly, and always follow His footsteps, in humility and meekness of heart; and be ever resolved the longer the more to live still more holy, remembering that we always fall short in many things, as I also experience in my own case; but my hope and refuge is Christ Jesus, who is our salvation, righteousness, perfection, eternal priest, propitiation, and intercessor. I would further inform you my specially beloved brother and sister in the Lord, that I your beloved brother-in-law and weak, unworthy brother, could not well refrain from writing your love a little, though I am conscious that my gift is simple and small, and you have an abundance of Scripture, and also the anointing, which always teaches you what is right, so that I deem it unnecessary to write you much; but I feel nevertheless constrained thereto, in order that I may, in some measure, show you my unchanging love before I put off this tabernacle; it serves for your consolation and for the strengthening of your faith, and I am confident in my heart, that it will be acceptable to you, though it be little. Thus, my dearest, I present to you nothing new, but beseech and exhort you both, that you take diligent heed to keep the pearl of great price, and to preserve the precious treasure in your earthen vessels. For you know how much it cost you, before you found and obtained it; and in confirmation of it that it still is and remains in you; let your light shine before your enemies, who are terrified thereby, and vanquished before your eyes by the Lord, without your help, as we have an example in Gideon, and others, wherein it is fully shown to us, that the Lord fights His people's battles. And since it is certain that the almighty Lord is with us, who can be against us? He that spared not His onlv Son. how should He not with Him give us all things? Thus He is a shield to them that seek and trust Him with all their hearts, and believe His Word to be sure, that He will not forsake us, but [that the Lord Almighty will be with us unto the end of the world.

 But if we do not trust Him, and forsake Him, and are afraid of the manifold enemies of the truth, and flee on this account, as did the ten spies, He will also forsake us. But if we have a manful spirit. with Joshua, Caleb and David, and remember in our hearts, that God is true, that His hand is not shortened, that He is a faithful succorer of the miserable, who has delivered us from the hand of Pharaoh, from the specious deceptive and insinuating sedition of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, from the strange fire, and from other enemies and perils, and who, according to His promise, for His name's sake, and for our salvation, will help us further; not only in the beginning, or in the middle, but unto the end will He bruise the head of our enemies, so that through the help of the Lord we shall overcome our enemies. Hence have good courage, and be of good cheer; He who through His great grace began the good work in you, the same is also able (this is certain) to perform it in you, and in all that believe in Him and are of good purpose. And consider, do we not see our desire upon our enemies, that, however they stir, labor, strive, despise, beat, threaten, and slander, we through the grace of our Lord nevertheless remain unchanged and undisturbed? I certainly believe that steadfastness is the desire of Christians for it has the promise of salvation. Thus I unworthy one, in a small degree hereby minister to you, that I may spread and magnify the name of the Lord, and His faithful daily help and power. I also counsel all Christians, when they go walking in their pleasure garden, namely, in the holy Scriptures, that they forget not the Psalms of David, which are left us by the Spirit of God, they serve us especially to righteousness, boldness, a firm confidence, a living hope, and for consolation in our pilgrimage. In short, all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. II Tim. 3:16, 17. Again, "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Rom. 15:4. Hence adhere thereto; you will therein find all that will be necessary to your salvation, as I trust from the heart that there will abide in you that which you have heard and accepted from the beginning, nothing strange, but as declared in the holy Scriptures. For you know what it has wrought in you, how through this heavenly trial you are delivered from your vain conversation, in which the whole world is still sunk; how you have turned from dumb idols to the living God, yea, are passed from death unto life, so that you are enlightened, and your hope made alive, and all this through Tesus Christ. And loving His appearing, we patiently wait for Him in good works, which live in us, so that we love our neighbor as ourselves, seek his advantage more than our own, yea, when necessary lay down our lives for the brethren. This is a seal and sign that we love Him whom we do not see, and that we yet believe in Him, as though we saw Him. Again, if we did not love the brethren, whom we see, how could we in truth love God,whom we do not see? But that we from the heart and fearlessly love the brethren and sisters, by this it is known that we are Christ's disciples; and they that are Christ's disciples are sometimes tried, as gold in the fire; yet not to destruction, but to purification and greater perfection, for He chastens every son whom He wants to receive and loves. Heb. 12:6. And it is nothing strange to us, that this now in these latter days happens to us unworthy ones; for it has always been so from the time of Abel-darkness has always hated the light, for they will not be reproved in their darkness, but resent it, and in order to defend themselves, and to continue in their own way, they say,"Judge not, that ye be not judged;" but what the apostle says, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11); this they passed by.

 Thus drunkards, idolaters, and the like, know how to help themselves with the Scriptures; but alas! with such fig leaves they wrong themselves, and suffer themselves to be led by the learned like the ox to the slaughter. O dear Lord, I heartily pray Thee, enlighten the eyes of our enemies, as Thou didst to Paul, who also persecuted the church of God. Take this brief letter in good part, for I trust that you are yourselves taught and strengthened. Be manful therein, watch, stand fast in the faith, be strong in the faith, and let all your things be done in love, and as I sincerely trust concerning you both. Herewith I will commend you, my much beloved brother-in-law and brother in the Lord, and my greatly beloved sister in the Lord (and by marriage), to the Lord of lords, and to the rich Word of His grace-, which is able to keep you from all evil, and to make you zealous in that which is good, and meet for His eternal kingdom, to give it to you, the incorruptible inheritance among them that are sanctified. I also thank'you both as much as I can, for your great friendship and affection to me unworthy one.

 Herewith I bid you adieu; there in the presence of Christ Jesus I will await you, and my very dear wife, and all the God-fearing left behind.


 Written shortly before Easter, when I hourly expected to be notified that I was to offer up my sacrifice, to the praise of God, and to my salvation. Amen.

 Herewith I bid my nephews and nieces adieu on this earth. Oh, that they would also follow Christ, when they have attained to understanding; then they would also come where He, namely, Christ, is; and they that repent and keep His commandments, these are His friends and disciples who follow Him.

 Hence I beseech you, my dear, beloved niece, to shun evil, diligently to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and to work to satisfy her hunger with bread, and quench her thirst with drink. If you do this, my dear niece, you will be one who with Mary has chosen the good part; and I will then await you there with Christ Jesus, whither I will go a little beforehand; and all that love the truth will follow. To this end may the good Lord grant His grace, that this my heartfelt wish may be realized, to the salvation of my nieces and nephews.


 Written in my bonds, by me,



Grace and peace from God the Father through Jesus Christ, and the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, be multiplied to you, my much beloved brother, and to all that seek their salvation with all their heart, in the name of Jesus Christ; that we may be able to stand, by the help of the Lord, in this last conflict that is set before us, and may patiently finish it, for an example to our neighbor, for a light to the world, to the salvation of the soul, and to the praise of God.


 After this my heartfelt wish, I cannot forbear to write you a little, if peradventure I and you may be refreshed somewhat thereby. In the first place, know that I cannot fully thank our God for His grace, that He has called me, unworthy, poor vile man to this state, whereby I perceive the great love which He has to me, unworthy one; He chastens me according to His mercy, thereby confirming that I am not a bastard. O what great grace is this, that the good God seeks my salvation, which salvation has been, and still is, the sole object of my seeking and praying, as I wrote to you before my imprisonment, to help me to pray; that the Lord would give and let come upon me what is for my salvation, which I trust His grace that He, out of great mercy, does, and will do according to His promise and goodness, and not according to my righteousness, for His grace knows better than I what I need. Hence His will be done for my salvation, to take me away from the evil, which frequently arises through the work of Satan, which he works in the children of unbelief; for I have found from my youth, that one trouble and difficulty follows upon the heels of another. And he that from the heart seeks his salvation and the welfare of the church, often has to suffer the pains of travail. Moreover, one has much to die unto and mortify in himself, and constantly to fight, so that one is seldom without conflict, even as Paul and also many pious witnesses of God; but all who do not become weary, and who overcome, shall inherit all things, and to them that overcome the crown is promised. Let therefore no one become faint or weary, knowing and believing that we have such a strong champion, who cannot be conquered, but from whom the wicked must flee. Paul says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Rom. 8:31. The Lord said to Abraham, "Fear not; I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Gen. 15:1. The Lord said, yea, commanded him, that he should be of good courage, and not be afraid ordismayed; He promised always to be with him, wherever he should go (thus He was also with His faithful servant Moses), and [told him] that he should meditate day and night on the law of God. (Oh! herein I fall far too short, which I heartily regret), that he should not depart therefrom either to the right or to the left, and his way should be prosperous and full of blessings, and he should trample his enemies under foot and devour them as bread. Yea, God sent His angel, as He had promised, as a champion, so that the Lord Himself fought the battle. Oh, is this not a faithful God! who should not trust in His powerful Word? And though we do not see Him externally, yet we daily behold His creation, which through the power of His Word still stands in its strength, though it be but a little flower out of the earth.

 Hence, though a storm come upon us occasionally, let us firmly rely upon the word and promise of the Lord; that we do not sink with Peter, but pass over this raging sea to the Lord, always praying Him, in faith, and with firm confidence in His Word, for strength, as those that are never sated. I, unworthy servant, now in this state well experience His faithfulness, praise to Him forever. He has promised to assist us, and not to forsake us, as He says by the prophet, "Can a mother forget the son of her womb, that she should not have compassion on him? though she do this, yet will I not forsake thee." Isa. 49:15. He is also the strength of the poor, a sure refuge, and a true helper in time of need. Yea, He preserves His own as the apple of His eye, in water, in bonds, and in the fire; hence, he that afflicts His chosen afflicts Him, as the Lord said to Saul, "Why persecutest thou me?" and he that does good to His chosen in His name, does good to Him. Hence let everyone persevere steadfastly, and do good cheerfully without wearying, for in due time we shall also reap without ceasing; and the good shall arise unto everlasting life. We are created unto good works through Christ. Hence let everyone bring forth good fruit, unto which he is appointed; and God our heavenly Father will be honored, and purify us still more, that we may bring forth fruit still more abundantly, and grow up unto the [measure of the] stature of the fullness of Christ; and so doing we shall wait for the coming of our Lord and Bridegroom, and this with patience, for patience is the strength of the God-fearing. Nothing special further for this time, but hold fast what you have, and be faithful unto death, for your and my faith is the unadulterated truth, which perform in the fear of God, by the help of the Lord, and you shall have peace with the Lord, according to His promise. Be of good cheer this short time of your pilgrimage; sorrow not for me; and though I am now baptized with the baptism of suffering, and drink the cup of affliction, it is for my salvation. Henceforth I expect through the grace of the Lord the crown of life. What does it signify? once we must part; if I had died of the pest, or of something else, all to whom my person is dear would certainly have to miss me; and it is manifest that I do not suffer as an evil doer, but because I have accepted Christ Jesus, and this I do not at all regret. I salute you, my dear wife, and yours, and all the God-fearing, cordially in the Lord. Pray for me, and cause prayer to be made for me.



To my honorable lord the bailiff, and my honorable lords the burgomasters, aldermen and the council of the city of Dortrecht. I, Jan Wouterss, your prisoner, not for any crime, but for the sake of my faith, which is nevertheless right before my God, wish you, you ministers of God, that He would grant you all a prosperous, peaceful, healthy, long life, and understanding rightly to use your office, in punishing the evil (that is, evildoers), and protecting the good. Rom. 13:3.

 Further, the reason of my writing is, that I briefly confessed my faith, but did not add the explanation. Hence I put this in writing, in order not to summon my honorable lords again, and cause them trouble. I confess that I was a zealous papist in my youth, which I heartily regret, for then no good fruits proceeded from me. Afterwards God opened my blind eyes, to serve no longer dumb idols, but the living God alone, who created me. And He revealed to and gave me, poor, sinful man, the faith of the truth, by which' we are saved. This faith is, as- the Scripture says, "This faith and the inward baptism constrained me to the obedience of his word, to fulfill his righteousness." Hence I confess, that I was baptized upon my faith, and this with desire, according to the command of Christ, renouncing the devil, the world, the Pope, and his adherents.

 I confess Christ Jesus alone as the way of the truth, and the life. And there is none other name given to men, whereby we can be saved, except through Christ alone. I further confess that it is certain that the customs of the priests and of all the"shaved" are the broad way to damnation. They are human institutions, an abomination to God, and plants which our heavenly Father has not planted; hence they are also cursed, for there can no other foundation be laid, than that is laid, which is Christ alone. Those of the Pope's adherents who undertake to be leaders are blind leaders, and if the blind lead the blind, says Christ, both shall fall into the ditch. Everyone that will not believe it, or cannot, because of his sins, the same must know it after death by pain (II Esd. 9:12); hence repent truly now. Further, my honorable lord bailiff thinks that I am in error, or that my faith is of no account. To this I reply, "If this were true, then my fruits Would be evil, which always prove more than'mereconfession; but now I have by the help of God walked therein for so many years, from my youth, even until now, according to my weakness, avoided all bad company, diligently and quietssly earned my living, and eaten my own bread, from which I am now taken away, as though I were a murderer." O Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do; I forgive them, O my dear lords, repent, for he who touches us touches the apple of the eye of my God.

 I also confess that I have attended the assembly of the believers, so often that I cannot Count it. For the supreme King has given us a promise therein, saying, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20. The apostle commands us in His name, not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but to exhort one another, and to provoke unto love and to good works. Heb. 10:25, 24. I confess that I have never been in an assembly to harm any one (think on this). I confess that I have not for many years been to the priests' confession and their sacrament, and .this because I do not think anything of it; moreover, I confess, that I am a sinful man, and need every day to confess my sins before my God, and daily to die unto sin, more and more, which I regard as the best confession. But the sacrament I recognize as a little baked cake, and wine, till it is consumed by the afore-mentioned of my [other] men, and nothing else, but, not as the flesh and blood of Christ; He comes no more into the hands of sinners. He dwelleth not in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48), but in heaven, whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead, that is, believers and unbelievers. But I confess that I am well satisfied with Christ's breaking of bread, the practice of the apostles among the believers, in remembrance of the body and blood of Christ, and this not with drunkards, proud, strikers, adulterers, murderers, idolaters, harlots, rogues, etc.

 I also confess that I did not marry my wife secretly, that no one should see it, but before the church of God; for marriage is honorable, but whoremongers and adulterers God will punish. Heb. 13:4. O my God, Count it not sin to him who took me away; for it is a bitter cup to me to part from wife and child, because we love one another so much- I also confess that my child has not been baptized by the priest, neither by any one else, for thereby I 'Would despise the holy blood of Christ.* But this is my firm belief that Christ has made atonement for infants, and that Christ's baptism belongs to none but those who believe with all their heart, as Cornelius with his family, Paul, and others; of this afore-mentioned faith I am sure through the grace of God, and know certainly, that there is no other, nor ever will be. I have not founded myself upon the wind, but solely upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus

* Then I should sacrifice my child to the devil, the author had written, but this reads a little too harsh.

 Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, to the wicked an offense, and to the good a defense and salvation. If I must innocently suffer for this unadulterated faith, I can think, that my Lord Jesus Christ, whose servant, I poor, sinful man am, fared no better at the hands of the authorities of that day and this through the instigation of the learned. O my honorable lords, repent, amend your ways and your doings. Jer. 7:3. And I also proclaim repentance to all my lords still living, who are guilty of the innocent blood of Joris de Ve.,* who shall soon come forth, shining in God's glory, with great joy. For the day of the Supreme judge is at the door: this is apparent from the pestilence, dearth, rumors of wars, and many other signs. O my honorable lords, be cordially warned of the evil which is to come upon you, for it is done out of love and friendship, and not through bitterness, for beyond doubt, we must all appear before the Supreme judge; there every one shall give account of himself, and receive according to that he hath done; there excuses or regrets will not avail. Rom. 14:12; II Cor. 5:10. Oh, reflect; it will soon come to pass, and none can escape it.

 Further, I did not reply to all the questions of my honorable lord the bailiff, who demanded of me that I should tell the truth, which I have done in the confession of my faith, of this I am certain; but the other questions I dare not answer, for Christ has taught me, "Do to men as you would have them do to you; love your neighbor as yourself; love your wife, honor your parents," etc. For this reason I have foreborne, and I am sure that in this my Supreme judge will justify me, when we shall together appear before His judgment seat; for I have not done it out of any disregard for my honorable lord the bailiff. I also have refused your learned men the presentation, for I am so sure of my faith, that [I am convinced that] all those who speak against it are in error. Hence do not regard it as proceeding from obstinacy on my part, but from the assurance of my faith.

 Finally, deal mercifully with me innocent one, and think that I too am a man; for hereafter he"shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy." Jas. 2:13. I confess one Lord, one faith, one God, one Father of all, who is above all, and in all believers. I believe only what the holy Scriptures say; and not what men say. Farewell. Written in my bonds.

 * Hereby is meant Joris Wippe, who was put to death at Dortrecht, A.D. 1558.


Letters of Martyr Joris Wippe

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

Martyrs, Joris Wippe

The first letter of Joris Wippe, written to his wife, when he was sent from Dortrecht to the Hague

The eternal joy and gladness which ear has not heard, nor eye seen, nor has entered into the heart of man, this same joy and gladness I wish you my dearest wife and sister, whom I love in God, for a heartfelt salutation.


 My most beloved wife and sister in the Lord, I wish you the joy of the Holy Ghost in your heart, for a heartfelt greeting in God our Saviour and Lord; which joy of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law; and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Gal. 5:22-24.

 Therefore my dear wife in the Lord, take heed to yourself, that you abound with this precious Spirit; for of that with which one is filled He will bring forth. Regard not the joy and pleasure of this world;"for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Gal. 6:7, 8. O dear sister in the Lord, let us"no be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:9. Hence, pray always with all prayer, watching and supplication in the Spirit, in all your requests to the Lord (Eph. 6:18), and let your modesty and obedience, and your love to God, be an example and pattern to all our dear obedient children, whom the holy Lord has given us, to the praise and glory of His Father. And use diligence in teaching and admonishing them; and chastise them, lest the Lord requires them at your hands. Do your very best, so that I may see you all again at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:14. Be well content, and always fix your heart and mind upon the living God; for He will not forsake the widow and the fatherless; but His eyes behold the afflicted widows and fatherless, and His ear is open unto their prayer. Hence, be patient, and commit all your concerns to the Lord; He will be a kind Protector to you. If you remain faithful to Him, He will be faithful to you; He will not be wanting on His part.

 I further let you know, that my mind and heart are still fixed upon the living God, and I trust by His great mercy not to separate from Him, and I daily wait for my redemption. I thought that your sister had just come in time to witness my offering. I knew nothing to the contrary for a time; but my hour had not come yet- the Lord knows how to reserve His own for the proper time. O dear wife, pray the Lord for me as long as I am in this poor, weak flesh. I trust to remember you also in my prayers, and I most affectionately thank you in the Lord for sending me so kind an exhortation, which is food for the soul; I also thank you for the temporal things.

 Herewith I commend you to Almighty God, and to the Word of His grace. Amen. Greet all the brethren and sisters much in the Lord.

 Written by me, Joris Wippe, your husband and brother in the Lord, imprisoned at the Hague, in Holland, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The second letter of Joris Wippe, written to his wife, when he, through those of Dordrecht, lay imprisoned at the Hague

Everlasting joy, grace and peace from God our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, and the joy of the Holy Ghost in your heart and conscience, be with you, my most beloved wife and sister in the Lord;J wish it to you as an affectionate salutation in the Lord, and to all our dear children, whom God has given us; to Him be praise forever and ever.


 My most dearly beloved wife and sister in the Lord, I salute you with a loving heart in the Lord with the salutation of Christ, and also all my dear obedient children, whom the holy Lord has given us to the Oraise .and glory of His. Father. My most beloved wife in the Lord, I also inform you with joy that my mind, heart and soul are still fixed upon the living God and Father, through Jesus Christ His dear, beloved Son, our Saviour; and I trust, through His fatherly lave, which He shows to me poor, unprofitable servant, through His great mercy, not to separate from Him and His holy Word; for His Word is truth, and His commandment, life everlasting. He went before us with much misery and tribulation; we must follow His footsteps, since the servant is not above his Lord. For He has so kindly admonished us with regard to this, saying, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you, if they have excommunicated me, they will also excommunicate you; and all these things will they do- unto you, becausethey have known neither me nor my Father." John 15:20, 21.

 Hence, my dear wife, whom I love in God, be well content, and fix your whole heart and hope upon the living God; He will not leave you an afflicted widow, with all your fatherless children; for His eyes are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry, and He will succor the cause of the widow and the fatherless. Ps. 34:15.

 Therefore, my dearly beloved wife, take the Almighty God for your Protector, and plant a valiant spirit into your heart, like the Maccabean mother with her seven sons. II Macc. 7. Pray the holy Lord for wisdom and understanding, and in all your concerns pray God with supplication in the Spirit, that you may bring up all our olive plants (Ps. 128:3) to His honor and the magnifying of His holy name, so that they may not be required at your hands. So far you have done your best with admonishing and chastising; keep them thus with the Lord's help. Always submit yourself to the elders of the church; for they watch for your souls [as they that must give account] that they may do it with joy. Heb. 13:17. And if you need counsel or help in any matter, consult with the elders, as we have hitherto done. Use hospitality and forget not to communicate. I Peter 4:9; Heb. 13:16. Think often of the poor, afflicted widow (Matthew 12:42; 43), who threw but two mites into the treasury;-Verily, said Christ, she hath cast more in, than they all-that you may be found a true widow before the Lord, who has washed the saints' feet, relieved the afflicted, brought up children in the fear of God, and diligently followed every good work. I Tim. 5:10. Pray the Lord diligently to rule you with His divine Spirit, since He is the true Comforter of all the children of God; that you may live your widowhood to His praise and honor, as long as it is His pleasure. I sincerely thank you people much for the love you have shown me in the kind exhortation you have sent me. I have also very earnestly prayed the Lord for you, and hope to do so .as long as I shall be in this temporal life. Remember me also in your prayers, until I have put off this mortal clothing. II Esd. 2:45.

 Herewith I commend you people to Almighty God, and to the Word of His grace, and take leave forever until at the resurrection of the just. Then, I trust, we shall meet in. one fold. Then shall we hear the sweet voice of our Bridegroom, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matt. 25:34. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power. But we shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years; for Christ is the resurrection and the life, and we must be partakers of Him, if we are to hear that voice. Rev. 20:6; Rom. 8:11.

 Salute me the friends much in the Lord, especially those of Meenen, and Claes Moykaert and Janneken his wife; and greet Victor Martens- I saw him at Dordrecht, when I lay in the den of lions-and greet all that fear the Lord, and exhort them to diligence, that we may all meet together in the new Jerusalem. The God of peace be with you. Phil. 4:9. Greet your sister much and all that are with her.

 Written by me, Joris Wippe, your husband and brother in the Lord, in bonds at the Hague, in Holland.


My dearly beloved and obedient children, I wish you an honorable, virtuous and godly life in the fear of God, all the days of your life, to the praise of the Father, and the salvation of- your souls, as an affectionate greeting. Amen.

 My most beloved sons, all three of you, you are well aware now, I trust, that I am in bonds here for the testimony of Christ our Saviour, to the praise of His Almighty Father, and wait with patience daily, when it pleases Him to offer, up my body and soul to the magnifying of His holy name. I entreat you, my dear sons, with aged Tobias, that you will honor your poor bereaved mother, who is deprived of everything for the name of the Lord, all the days of your life; for she brought you forth with great suffering and pain, which I well know, and has with great care and diligence helped to bring you so far with the help of the Lord. Tob. 4:3. I have also been your protector hitherto, with great care and diligence to bring you up in the fear of God, to His honor. Now it is the will of the Lord, that we must part; but let it not grieve you. For if you pursue virtue, and walk in the fear of God, and keep His commandments all the days of your life, we shall hereafter, meet in one fold (John 10:16) with all God's chosen children, at the resurrection of the just. And I admonish you with Tobias, that you will fear God all the days of your life, never consent to sin, nor transgress God's commandments; and that you will eat your bread with the hungry, and give alms of that which the Lord gives you. In short, I give you the same testament which Tobias gave his son; you are able to read. I pray that you will often read it. And all that our holy fathers commanded their children, I also leave unto you; may you diligently observe it. And I now bless you all my obedient, most dearly beloved children, with that God with whom Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all God's chosen friends, blessed their children. Further, I admonish you Joos, as my eldest son, that you and Hansken, my second son, will be the protectors of your poor mother, in the fear of God, all the days of your life. And I also charge you, Barbertgen, my dear daughter, to be obedient to your mother, and to help care for all your little sisters, and for Pierken. Learn also to read, and be diligent in every good work, that you may, spend your life in holiness and in all thefear of God, like Sarah, the wife of young Tobias (Tobit 3:15), and associate not with the wanton and frivolous daughters of this world, whose end will. be destruction; but be sober, honorable and just in all your dealings, so that you may be prudent, being adorned with every virtue, and that where Christ our Bridegroom comes you may be ready with the five wise virgins, to enter with the Bridegroom into the kingdom of His Father. And now I charge you, Joos and Hansken, that together with Barbertgen, your obedient sister, you will care for your three little sisters, and for Pierken, and teach them to read and to work, so that they may grow up in all righteousness, to the honor of God and the salvation of their souls. Be diligent to work with your hands that which is honorable, remembering the words of the apostle, "It is more blessed to give than to receive;" so that you may not be burdensome to any through idleness. Eph. 4:28; Acts 20:35. Remain with your mother as long as it please the Lord, and in all things show yourselves a pattern of.good works. Tit. 2:7. But if ye be servants, I exhort you, to be obedient to your lord or master, and to please them in all things, not answering again, not purloining, but showing good fidelity in all things; that you may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God .f that bringeth salvation] hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Tit. 2:914. I admonish you all, my dear children, that you will do this; and comfort your mother, and often, when you have time, read to her a chapter or two. And spend the -time which God gives you, in all sobrietssy and righteousness, with prayer and supplecation to God, that He would keep you from the evil. Have no fellowship with the children of this world, that you may not become partakers of their evil deeds; always walk with wise men, and you shall become wise, namely, strong and very bold, so that you may eschew evil. Do all things according to the law of God, and depart neither to the right nor to the left; neither add nor take away therefrom, so that you may walk wisely whithersoever you go. Be not terrified; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go, and will be your Protector. Always speak the truth, and let not your mouth become accustomed to lying, for the mouth that belietssh, slayeth the soul; but when you speak, speak the Word of God, and .the Lord your God will bring you from righteousness to righteousness; for nothing is hid before Him; His eyes are as a flame of fire. Zech. 8:16; Lev. 19:11; Rev. 1:14.

 Herewith I take leave from you forever, my dear children, until at the resurrection, and commend you all to Almighty God and to the Word of His grace. Amen. And may God's Spirit ever be present with you, to comfort and strengthen you in all righteousness.

 Written by me, Joris Wippe, your father, imprisoned at Dordrecht, in the huylgate, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Martyrs of Dordrecht

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

The last Martyrs of Dordrecht

Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

Even as most cities in Western Europe and the Lowlands Dordrecht was a Roman Catholic city until 1572.. But also the Lowlands were influenced by the Reformers Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. A lot of citizens had already chosen for the Reformers but most local Councils of the cities still ruled in accordance with the religious laws of the Roman Catholic King Philips II, rules without mercy towards "new" religious thoughts.

Also the Council of Dordrecht was still Roman Catholic and they still judged the people in accordance to the laws given by King Philips II. This resulted in the pursue of Protestant citizens until 1572.

The story of the last martyrs of Dordrecht

Joris (Joostenszoon) Wippe was an Anabaptist martyr drowned at Dordrecht, Dutch province of South Holland, on 1 October 1558. He was a native of Meenen in Flanders, Belgium. Van Braght's statement that he had formerly been a burgomaster of Meenen has proved incorrect; in the list of burgomasters of Meenen his name is not found. After his conversion he emigrated to Dordrecht in the Netherlands, adopting the trade of cloth-dyeing. He was a charitable man who dealt generously with the poor, widows, and orphans. On 28 April 1558 he was arrested at Dordrecht and soon sent to The Hague for trial. After some time he was returned to Dordrecht, where he was sentenced to death by drowning on 4 August 1558. The execution was postponed because the executioner refused to put to death a man who was renowned for his goodness. Not until October, after much hesitation, was he secretly drowned in a wine cask. The Dutch martyr books have preserved three letters by Joris Wippe: the first two were written to his wife from prison in The Hague; the third, a striking letter to his children, was written from the Vuylpoort prison at Dordrecht after he had been sent back to Dordrecht. All the letters are undated.

The Martyrs Mirror, the classic 1660 Dutch religious history, memorializes the godly lives and glorious deaths of thousands of early Christians, especially European Anabaptist martyrs between 1524 and 1660. The book shines a mirror on ordinary people who experienced a spiritual reality that few today can even imagine.

Like the more famous Foxe's Book of Martyrs, this compilation attempts to be the voice, beginning with the martyrdom of Christ's apostles, of those willing to stand alone for a simple, obedient faith.

I gathered some stories that took place in Dordrecht between 1558 and 1572, here are the stories of Joris Wippe (1558) and Jan Woutersz van Kuyck and Adriaenken Jans (1572):


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Joris Wippe, when he still lived in the darkness of Popery, was a burgomaster at Meenen in Flanders, his native place; but having subsequently come to the knowledge of the Gospel, he had to flee the Country, and went to live at Dortrecht, in Holland, where he established himself as clothdyer. When he had lived there for a while, and was becoming known, he, through the instigation of the enemies of the truth, was summoned to appear before the lords in the large church. Somewhat alarmed on this account, Joris consulted with several drapers, for whom he dyed, and who were men of influence, as to what he should do. They, placing entire confidence in the magistracy, deemed it advisable that he should appear before them, and hear what they had to say to him.

When he came there, and the lords saw him, they were filled with consternation, and would have preferred that he had taken their summons as a warning to secretly make his escape, since they did not thirst much for innocent blood; but as he had appeared, the bailiff, when Joris was about to leave the church, seized him as one who, according to the imperial decree, had forfeited life and property. This happened on the 28th of April, 1558.

After his apprehension, the lords tried every means to save him from death; he was sent to Gravenhage (that is, to the court of Holland), and there examined; but as he was a resident of Dordrecht, and had been apprehended there, he was sent back thither, and ultimately put to death there.

He left behind him a good testimony as regards his liberality to the poor; for when he was sentenced to death, the executioner lamented with tears in his eyes, that he had to put to death a man who had so often fed his wife and children, and would rather forego his office, than put to death this man, who had done so much good to him and others, and had never harmed any one. Hence he was finally drowned, in the night, in a wine cask filled with water, by one of the thiefcatchers, who, at the command of the lords, performed the executioner's office on him, pushing him backward into the water. Thus he offered up -his life to the Lord, on the first of October, being forty-one years old. The next day he was hung by his feet to the gallows, in the place of execution, as an object of derision to the people, being thus, like his Master, numbered among the malefactors. The day following, several criminals were scourged and banished; whereupon the executioner, after he had executed this punishment, still lamenting the death of Joris Wippe, said, "They have crucified Christ, and released Barabbas."

He wrote several letters in prison, three of which have come into our possession. He doubtless would have written more; but great watchfulness was exercised that he should have no ink, so that he wrote his last letter (to his children) with mulberry juice.

NOTE.-Inasmuch as we, after long search in the archives of this city, found the sentence of death of this friend of God, Joris Wippe, and copied it ourselves from the criminal records of this city, we deem it well to add it here, so that the truth of the above account concerning the death of this man may appear the more clearly and incontrovertibly.

Sentence of death of Joris Wippe done and pronounced in the chamber (of justice), the 4th of August, 1558

Whereas Joris Wippe, Joosten's son, born at Meenen, in Flanders, has dared to have himself rebaptized, and has held* pernicious views concerning baptism, according to testimony and truth, and all the evidence which the judges and the council have seen and heard with regard to it, and according to his own confession, therefore, he shall, to the honor of God, and the edification of the lords and the city,*** be drowned in a cask, and his body then be brought to the place of execution, and there be hung to the gallows, and his property shall be confiscated, and placed in the lord's exchequer.

Extracted from the book of criminal records of the city of Dortrecht, commenced on the last of October, 1554, and ended on the 16th of June, 1573

This is the first sentence of death publicly pronounced upon any one with regard to matters of faith, which we found in this book. As to whether it was pronounced in the chamber of justice, in the presence of the lords alone, or publicly proclaimed in court, before all men, is not expressed; nor is it of much importance to know. This much is certain, that his death resulted in consequence.

But since, according to the testimony of old writers, the executioner was not willing to execute this man, and the lords of justice themselves were not a little troubled in this matter, though they had allowed themselves to be persuaded by the priests and monks, the execution of the sentence pronounced was postponed for over seven weeks, namely, from the 4th of August until the first of October, A. D. 1558.

The following night, having commended his soul into the hands of God, he was drowned in a wine cask, by one of the thiefcatchers, as related above, in the Vuylgate at Dortrecht, where he was imprisoned.

Further Observation.-According to John van Beverwijck's account of the government of the city of Dortrecht, the following persons sat in court when sentence of death was passed upon this pious man

Adriaen van Blyenberg Adriaens (who also sat in court when sentence was passed upon Digna Pietssers), bailiff of Dortrecht; together with nine judges: Mr. T. Schoock Sir Pietssers; Cornelis Krooswijck Jans; Frans Anthoniss; Mr. Aert van der Lede Sir Staess; Willem Boucquet Blasiuss; Adriaen van Nispen Gerrits; Frans Adriaens; Heyman van Bleyenbergh Adriaens; Cornelis van Beveren Claess. ****

But whether they all unanimously passed this sentence, is not stated; however, it appears that the majority concurred therein, which can not have taken place without grief and compunction of conscience on their part, since but a short time before they had sought to get rid of the doomed man, and for this purpose had sent him to the Hague, to the court of Holland, that he might be judged there; but when he returned they sentenced him to death -certainly a lamentable matter on their part; but on the part of the martyr a matter of rejoicing, since death was for him the entrance to an eternal and blissful life.

*Has held," etc.; an error of the writer of this sentence; for Joris still held these views at that very time.* How can God be honored by what lie has forbidden?
** What edification could the lords derive therefrom, who, by doing this, made themselves tyrants, yea, murderers?
**** A shocking idea that just the names of the executioners are used in modern Dordrecht as street names. A street called Joris Wippe street would be a better idea.

Letters of Joris Wippe to his relatives you can read HERE

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In the year of our Lord 1572, the lords of justice at Dortrecht in Holland, laid their hands on two very meek and dear friends Of God, who followed their Saviour, the slain Lamb of the cross, Jesus Christ, and were not of the least of the members of the church of the Lord scattered abroad in all Countries, in showing forth, as lights in this world, their eminent virtues among this evil and perverse generation. They were both taken out of the fold like lambs for the slaughter, the circumstances being as follows

First, Adriaenken Jans' daughter was suddenly apprehended. She resided at Molenaersgraef, in the Papendrecht district; which was under the jurisdiction of the city of Dortrecht, and because she was said to be a heretic, she was seized and imprisoned in the Vuylpoort (Dirty gate). (Vuilpoort) (demolished in 1864, near the New Church, present Noordersluys, Noordendijck) ---

No pictures are survived of this "dirty gate", only on some paintings of Aelbert Cuyp we can see this gate from a distance. See the middle of the painting left of the windmill.

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The Large Dort (CUYP, Aelbert 1620 - 1691), Oilon canvas 157.5 x 197 cm. about 1650. (National Gallery London)Full title: 'A Distant View of Dordrecht, with a Milkmaid and Four Cows, and Other Figures ('The Large Dort')'
The painting shows in the background the town of Dordrecht (Dort) from the south-east. The skyline is dominated by the Grote Kerk with the Vuilpoort, one of the town's water gates (demolished in 1864), beyond the windmill to the left. A similar view appears in another National Gallery painting by Cuyp, known as 'The Small Dort'. The church and the water gate are seen from another angle in 'The Maas at Dordrecht in a Storm' by Cuyp, also in the National Gallery's Collection.This landscape is a mature work, probably of the late 1650s, demonstrated by the exceptional quality of the monumental representation of the cows, three at rest, and one standing placidly observing the milkmaid at work.

--- After that the plan was formed to capture Jan Wouterss van Kuyck, who resided in the city, but frequently changed his abode, so as not to be so easily recognized. To this end, the bailiff, having learned where he resided (namely, in the street leading to the Rietssdijck, near the New Gate, in a room which was reached from the street by a flight of stairs), came with his beadles and unexpectedly, and without asking anything, ascended the stairs, where Jan Wouterss met him just as he opened the door. The bailiff said, since he did not know him, "Does Jan van Kuyck reside here?" to which this good, upright and very sincere man, not willing to speak contrary to the truth, answered yes, adding that it was he himself.

These words he spoke very loudly, in order that his dear wife, who was back in the room, should hear it and flee, which she did: his only daughter, however, a child of only about seven years, remained in the room and saw her father apprehended, to which no attention was paid. The ministers of justice immediately laid their hands upon this friend of God, and forcibly bound him, whereupon he said, "O my lords, how you bind me, as though I were a wicked man; however, you bind not me, but yourselves." Then a great lamentation arose among them; however, they proceeded, and led him, as a defenseless lamb that is overcome by wolves, from the Rietssdijck to the Vuylpoort, about half an hour's walk through the city, where they put him into another cell than the one in which Adriaenken Jans was confined, though within the same walls and under the same roof of said prison.

In the meantime both had to suffer much temptation, according to the body as well as in regard to the soul; several times they were severely tortured, stripped, and scourged, so that almost the entire city spoke about their sufferings and misery, as Jan Wouterss subsequently also indicated in one of his letters.

The papist clergy also assailed them much according to the soul, in order to deprive them, by many wiles and snares, of the treasure of a true faith; but they were not able to accomplish anything with either of them; hence they [the two martyrs], were finally sentenced to death in ~~pen court, to be executed with fire, on the water front of the city, near a certain lime kiln, where now the new fortification is, between the mill that stands upon the bastion, and the rampart; however, with the condition, that Adriaenken Jans should not really die by fire, but should prior to her burning be strangled at the stake, which lesser penalty of death we do not find to have been executed on Jan Wouterss.

In the meantime both prepared themselves for death with great desire and inward joy, unable sufficiently to praise God that they had been Counted worthy to deliver up their bodies as a sacrifice for His holy name's sake.

When the hour of their departure had come, both were tied together; however, they fell upon their knees, and quietssly offered up, before they were led forth, an earnest prayer to God the Lord, that He would strengthen them in their impending suffering, to persevere unto the end.

Thereupon their mouths (for fear that they should speak something to the people), were gagged with a piece of wood, or some other instrument made for this purpose, and they were thus led from the prison which presented a pitiful sight. Jan Wouterss, however, pulled out the piece of wood, or instrument, with one hand, which it appears was not bound, and cried with a loud voice, "O Lord, strengthen Thy feeble servant: and Thy poor handmaiden. It is for Thy name's sake that we have come to this for which we have willingly prepared ourselves."

When he had said this, one of his fellow believers, whose heart, as it seems, had been set aflame hereby mightily pressed his way through the people, and coming before him, said, "Strive valiantly, dear brother, you will suffer no more hereafter."

Thereupon Jan Wouterss instantly pulled open his jacket and showed him his breast bloody from the scourging inflicted upon him in prison and said, "I already bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus;" and he lifted up his eyes to heaven, looking longingly as it were to the heavenly resting place.

In the meanwhile, before all this was properly noticed, because of the surging crowd, said person went out of sight and disappeared among the people; whereupon some of the servants of justice murmured and sternly asked, where this man was. This occurred near the swine market, close by the New Haven.

They went on and soon arrived at the place of execution, where two stakes stood erected near, and around which an innumerable multitude was gathered.

Having arrived there, they ascended the height, or erected scaffold, where they on their knees again quietssly prayed to God, though Jan Wouterss only was able to speak, since the mouth of Adriaenken Jans was well gagged with the previously mentioned piece of wood, or instrument.

When they had risen, preparations were first made to strangle Adriaenken Jans, whereupon she placed herself at the stake.

Then Jan Wouterss said, "This is the day of salvation." But the underbailiff, hearing this, sternly cried, "Be silent." Thereupon Jan Wouterss said, "Why should I keep silent; I certainly speak nothing that is evil."

In the meantime Adriaenken Jans was strangled, who, according to the testimony of those who witnessed it, previous to her burning, remained standing at the stake a little while, dressed in a red petticoat.

The servants of justice then turned to Jan Wouterss, who cheerfully, yea, with a smiling Countenance, placed himself at the other stake, which stood close by, where he while being fastened to it, noticed that some of his fellow believers stood among the people, to see his end; to whom, without naming any one, he cried aloud, "Adieu and farewell, my dear brethren and sisters, I will herewith commend you to the Lord, to the Lord who shed His blood for us." With this he made haste and prepared himself for death, commending his soul to God in these words, "O God, who art my strength, I commend my spirit into Thy hands."

Then fire was set to the wood piled around him, and this friend of God was burned alive, as it appears, with his dead sister, to the great sorrow of many that stood around and were filled with commiseration at the sight of it.

This was the end of these two dear favorites of the Lord, of whom no one spake any evil (touching their life), but whom every one praised on account of their virtuous walk.


When said two persons were led forth to death, the hall bell was rung (as was generally done at executions that took place in the name of the city), in consequence of which a great concourse of the common people gathered to the place of execution.

The gates of the city were closed, or at least guarded, that no one could get out or in, except with the consent of those who kept watch there, and their names were written down after they had stated whence they came, and whither they were bound.

When they had arrived at the place of execution, which was on the northwest side of the city, close by the water's edge, and had ascended the height,or scaffold, some among the bystanders called to these two valiant persons with a good intention, and comforted them, because of their courage, in their impending death. Jan Wouterss turned to them and exhorted them to amend their life, and to accept the true faith, declaring that they both were of good cheer and longed for this holy sacrifice.

Thereupon he was harshly reproved by the underbailiff, which displeased many, notwithstanding they had not attained to the true enlightenment.

Both of them were then stripped of their upper garments and also of their shoes, which were thrown among the common people, but picked up and taken away by a certain brother named Dirck Wouterss.

Forthwith Adriaenken Jans was first placed at the stake, and strangled without delay, seeing which and recognizing her, a certain sister of the church, whose name is well known, and who had come in the market boat from Rotterdam, fainted away, and was therefore not able to witness the subsequent death of Jan Wouterss.

This took place as already stated. In the meantime the hall bell was still rung, until about the time that the (so-called) justice was finished.

NOTE.-We went to no little trouble to obtain at the archives of this city of Dortrecht, the old records of their examinations and death sentences, but were not able to procure them, as they are no longer extant; they were also, as it appears, never put on record in the ordinary's book of criminal sentences, which we searched for this purpose. It is our opinion that these sentences were simply put on loose sheets of paper and thus read in court and then destroyed, so that no remembrance of it should remain, as it seemed that the city should soon change her government and religion, as actually took place about three months afterwards, through the arrival of William I, Prince of Orange. Nevertheless, we are not without other legal testimony in regard to this matter.

Johan van Beverwijck, first physician and judge of the city of Dortrecht, writes concerning it, in the history attached to his description of Dortrecht, in the Dort edition, p. 348, for the year 1572, as follows :

"In the city proper there was imprisoned, accused as a heretic, a man of blameless life and conversation, as I learned from those with whom he resided, by the name of Jan van Kuyck Wouterss, a skllful writer upon glass and painter., "The authorities, seeing the disposition of the people, were not in haste with his trial; yea, the bailiff, Jan van Drenckwaert Boudewijnss, who was still young and beardless, had himself painted by him, in the attitude of Solomon, where he pronounces his first sentence., "But the monks did nothing but vehemently preach against this slackness, and hesitated not to proclaim from the pulpit, that the bailiff had apprehended him merely. to have himself painted by him.

"Hence, this poor man, after many tortures, inflicted upon him in order to extort from him the names of his master and comrades; was burned on the 28th of March, A. D. 1572, on the New Fortification, together with Adriaenken Jans, a woman from Molenaersgraef."

Thus far, Johan van Beverwijck.

Hence the account of the death of these persons is certain and reliable, nor is it doubted by any one that we have ever heard here in this city; the well disposed will therefore be satisfied therewith.

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.


Jan van Drenckwaert Boudewijnss, aged between twenty-nine and thirty years, being then bailiff of Dortrecht.

Arent van der Mijle Sir Corneliss, burgomaster of the community, who had gone out of office about the close of the year 1570, but had now, the 6th of March, been re-elected.

Together with (according to the law of said city) nine judges: Cornelis Sir Hendricks; Adriaen van Mosyenbroeck Sir Govertss; Adriaen Koninck Dirckss; Arent Hendricks; Gijsbrecht Janss, treasurer; Michiel van Beveren Sir Pietsserss; Mr. Jan van Muylwijck Sir Franss; Pietsser Kool Sir Huygenss; Damas Sir Wouterss, surrogated by Jan Adriaenss.

There we have extracted from the register of the lords of justice of the city of Dortrecht, who reigned in the year 1572, according to the account of the aforesaid Johan van Beverwijck, in the book referred to, where he treats of the government of the city, for the year 1572.

But whether they all together concurred in this sentence, or only some of them, by a majority of votes among them, is not expressed, nor do we consider it of much importance to know, since it is sufficient for our improvement and edification to have learned the unwavering faith and steadfast death of the aforesaid martyrs, who died under their reign.

Concerning the death of these friends two hymns were composed at that time, in the first of which the following words among others were sung, touching the cause and time of their imprisonment

Old Dutch (Dietssz) English

Terstond daer yaa zijn Brieven gekomen,

Right after, letters came

Te Dordrecht aen den. nieuwen Schout,

To the new Bailiff at Dortrecht,

Die seer jonk is van jaren, etc.

Who is very young of years, etc.

In the other this is sung concerning,their death:

Old Dutch (Dietssz) English

Adriaenken Jans is eerst omgebrocht,

First Adriaenken Jans was put to death

't Welck Schout Jan Drenkwaert heeft versocht.

Who requested the bailiff Drenkwaert.

And afterwards:

Old Dutch (Dietssz) English

Java Wouterss sprak, met goed bescheyd,

Jan Wouterss clearly spake

Dit is den dag der saligheyd.

This is the day of.salvation.

Swygt, sprak den Underschout.

Be silent, said the underbailiff.

Waerom soude ik (seyde hy) 'tspreeken laten,

Why should I, he said, forbear to speak?

Myn woorden zijn niet quaed, noeh stout.

My words are neither bad nor bold.

Adriaenken look haer oogen voorwaer,

Adriaenken too looked forward,

Om haren Bruydegom to behagen klaer;

To please her Bridegroom.

Die rust nu in den Heer,

She rests now in the Lord,

En is de pyn van den brand ontgaen,

And has passed the fire's pain,

Aileen door sijn genade meer.

Through His bountiful grace alone.

Jan Woutersz heeft hem aen den pael garecht,

Jan Wouterss placed himself at the stake,

Doen lachre by [van vreugd] als een vroom knecht,

Then laughed for joy, as a pious servant,

En beval soo God

And thus commended his spirit

Synen geest in Syne handen,*

Into the hands of the Lord,

Die was sijn Toevlucht, Borgt, en Slot.

Who was his Refuge, Fortress and Castle.

Oorlof heeft by geroepen aldaer,

Farewell, he sweetly called

Aen Broeders en Susters in't openbaer,

To the brethren and sisters openly

Met woorden soet,

With sweat words,

U wil ik den Heer bevelen,

I will commend you to the Lord,

Die voor ons heeft gestort sijn bloed.

Who shed for us His blood.

Dees twee schaepkens zijn door, voort tempeest,

These two lambs have now passed through,Away tempest!

Wat heeft al [haer] hjden nu geweest?

What were now all their sufferings?

Sy hebben de Kroon, Der Martelaren verworven,

They obtained the martyr's crown,

Die hebben sy nu voor haer loon.

Which now they hold as their reward.

In the same hymn is also mentioned, how their mouths were gagged, how they prayed to God, how they prepared themselves for death at the *"In's heeren Handen, seyt den Schrijber."place of execution, etc.; but we deem the foregoing sufficient for a memorial of their sacrifice.

NOTE. As there have come into our hands all the letters, testaments and confessions, twelve in number, of Jan Wouterss van Kuyck, as also a letter of Adriaenken Jans of Molenaersgraef, with the answer of her husband, J. A. of Dort, all of which we have, upon perusing them, found to be full of sound and edifying teachings we have deemed it well to add the same here for edification and perpetual remembrance, so that every one may see the active and living faith upon which the afore-mentioned friends laid down their lives.

Survived letters from Jan Woutersz van Kuijck and Adriaenken Jans.

Dordrecht, Anabaptist and Remonstrant city

In 1572 the Council of Dordrecht was forced by the Sea-Baggers and the citizens in June 1572 to choose the site of William of Orange. He was later baptized in Dordrecht and stayed often in Dordrecht because of the strong Calvinistic belief of the town until 1613. Later Dordrecht became one of the most important cities of the Remonstrant belief in the 17th century.

By order of Prince Maurice (Maurits) in 1618-1619 the Synod of Dordrecht, known as The Dordtsche Leer Regels, was held despite the city had became Remonstrant.

Dordrecht is still a stronghold of the Protestants until this day.


Letters Martyr Adriaenken Jans

Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

Martyrs, Adriaenken Jans


Grace and peace from God our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord and Saviour, and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, be multiplied to your love, and to all the God-fearing, for consolation in your pilgrimage, to the praise of the Lord, and to the salvation of all your souls.


After this my cordial salutation and good wish, please know, my dearest and cordially beloved husband and brother in the Lord, that your dearly beloved wife and sister in the Lord, called Adriaenken Jan's daughter, am still of good cheer in the Lord, and I can never thank the Lord of lords enough for His daily greatness in showing His grace, is to me unworthy one. Eternal praise and glory be to Him, for ever and ever.


Please know further, J. A., my cordially beloved husband, that I your dearest, beloved wife and sister in the Lord, could not well forbear, but must leave your love, a few lines in remembrance of me, on account of the great love which we have had to each other, and which I hope will abide forever, and that no one shall separate us from it, and though we are separated from each other according to the eternal body, yet love remains. And, in the second place, to comfort you a little, that you would moderate your grief, as one that well knows, that these are the costs of our house which we have founded upon the rock Christ, which house will now certainly continue to stand, through the grace and power of the Lord, though many a storm beat upon it, wherein we rejoice that we have such a faithful Helper in distress. But it is not expedient, that we keep this joy to ourselves alone, but that we spread the same, so that you, my dearest on this earth, and all the God-fearing, if it were possible, might also rejoice, in order that you, my especially beloved husband, and all the God-fearing, may steadfastly persevere, and not be afraid. Though our enemies are so many, we say with the prophet Elisha, "There are more with us than against us," II Kings 6:16. As also Paul says, "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:31, 32. And the prophet David says, "The Lord is an invincible shield to all that trust in him; and a faithful helper in distress, for he hears the cry of the afflicted." Hence, my dearest, go on in the confidence in the promises of the Lord, for He is a faithful, true God: there is none like Him; all His promises are yea in Him, and not nay, as well to help us in distress in this present time, as to give eternal life hereafter to them that believe in Christ.

We two unworthy lambs of Jesus Christ go now quite near the city full of all good things, which has become our inheritance through the merits of Christ; yea, we are going out from tribulation, out from all difficulty and peril, and leave you and all the other dearest brethren, sisters and friends, in this dismal wilderness, even in this wicked world full of all unrighteousness where on every hand of evil examples, to the detriment and sorrow of our soul, for one cannot well touch pitch and remain undefiled therewith. Hence it is our conviction that it is the Lord's pleasure to take us two weak lambs away speedily, that we may not be deceived, like Eve, but saved in and through faith in Jesus Christ. And that the only-wise, good and merciful God first tries us somewhat in this one chastisement; this is a token of grace and of special love, for He now deals with us unworthy ones, as a dear father deals with and bears affection to His children, whereby He confirms, according to, His great mercy, that He does not know us as bastards, but as true heirs. Heb. 12:8.

Hence we are of good cheer; whatever the Lord suffers to come upon us, is all for our good, for in tribulation He forgives sin; therefore His holy will be done for our profit, that is, for our salvation, which is our greatest desire, wherefore we endure everything, and are patient, according to the example of job, prophets, the apostles, and the end of our Lord, and other martyrs after them. We now go steadfastly forward, to finish our conflict by the help of the Lord with a faithful heart, even unto death, for we know and believe that the crown of eternal life is prepared for us. Amen. Thus, my cordially beloved husband and dearest brother in the Lord, I your specially, cordially beloved wife, Adriaenken Jans, your dearest sister in the Lord, who have married each other before the Lord and His church, I will herewith bid your love adieu, and await you there with your and our dearest Bridegroom, Christ Jesus. Therefore hold fast that which you have, for it is the only and unadulterated truth, that no one take your crown, for Satan works wonderfully in his own. '

The superior of the Franciscan convent said to me, "Give me Jan Wouterss, he at least said that he is sorry for it." O villain, thought I; I well know your trickery, Thus the Lord kept me, that we may always triumph in Christ: He will still, according to His promise, help us on further in the way to the promised land of our rest.

Herewith I will commend you my dearest husband and beloved brother in the Lord, to the Almighty God, and to the rich Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, to keep you from evil and to bring you to the eternal inheritance; there I hope to see you with eternal joy, to which end the good God grant His grace. Amen. Take this, my brief letter, in good part. To write much I do not deem necessary, for the God-fearing have left us, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, anabundance of writings, for correction, for doctrine, for consolation and strengthening.

I Adriaenken Jan's daughter, your cordial and dearest wife and sister in the Lord, greet you my most beloved husband and dearest brother in the Lord, affectionately with the kiss of eternal love and peace of Christ, with the mouth of my heart, present with you in spirit.

Finally, I herewith bid you adieu once more, and thank you as much as lies in me, for your good company and faithfulness.

Written by me your beloved wife Adriaenken Jans, imprisoned for the testimony of the gospel of Christ, to the praise of the Lord, to the comfort and joy of our neighbor, for a light to them that are yet in darkness, to the confusion of those who have condemned us as apostates, and to the salvation of our. souls. Amen.

I and my fellow prisoner greet you and all the God-fearing much.

We had hoped to offer up our sacrifice on Monday before Mary, and thus to enter into rest; but we were not so fortunate. Hence we hope that it will soon come to pass, if the Lord has so ordered it; but if our tribulation is to last a little longer yet, the will of the Lord be done for our salvation. Amen.

Written in my bonds, the day after Mary in Lent. A. D. 1572, by me,



To the dear wife of my heart, Adriaenken Jan's daughter, out of love, to strengthen your heart. Amen.

We-ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29.

Grace and peace, wisdom and comfort, be with you, my much beloved dear wife and sister in the Lord, from God our heavenly Father; through the great love of His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and through the power of the Holy Ghost, and patience in your bonds; this I wish you, my beloved wife and sister in the Lord, as an affectionate salutation, to the praise of the Lord, and to your soul's salvation. Amen. Possess your soul in patience.

After all cordial salutation, my much beloved wife and sister in the Lord, I affectionately pray you, that you will prove valiant in your tribulation and distress, and ever look unto Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith, who, when the joy was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame. Heb. 12:2. Mark, he says, despising the shame. Hence go forth without the camp, and help bear His reproach. 13:13. For when Christ suffered, He had to suffer without Jerusalem, and there took upon Him our sins, and became as a worm, greatly despised, says the prophet Isaiah. 53:3. And Paul says, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but delivered himself unto death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2:6, 8. And Peter says, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin: that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." I Pet. 4:1, 2. Paul also says, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12); as he also tells the Hebrews (chap. 11) of so many pious witnesses, who through their faith suffered so much, having respect unto the recompense of the reward; they were stoned, cut asunder, tempted, slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins: being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy; and thus they took the kingdom of God by force, hoping only from afar for the promise, which they did not yet possess, as Christ says, "Blessed are the eyes which see what ye now see; and the ears which hear what ye now hear: for many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye now see, and it could not be." Luke 10: 23, 24; Matt. 13:16, 17. Paul also says, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power." Heb. 1:1-3. See now, my dear lamb, how many pious witnesses we have; hence let us not become weary, but see that we may with Caleb and Joshua enter the promised land. For you have already passed through the wilderness, and stand now before the Jordan, which though it is terrible to behold, you will pass over; only waver not, all you need do is to pass over. Be valiant, my lamb; the Lord will help you; put your trust in Him, for He is our captain, our strong fortress and castle. My dear lamb, be of good cheer in the Lord; such a glorious crown is awaiting you, for the Lord says, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for the truth; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:10.

See, my fair one, you will be one of that number whom John saw under the altar, who were clothed in white robes; and will help fulfill their number, and the great multitude of whom the angel told Esdras, II Esd. 2:45. For when the number, or the company of the righteous is fulfilled, the rewarding will soon take place. Then shall all your tears be wiped away; the heat of the sun will hurt you no more, for you shall with all the chosen children of God rest under His shadow. My dear lamb, if you now only strive manfully for the truth, it is but for this life; after this time there is no more time. No man is crowned, except he strive lawfully. II Tim. 2:5. And James says, "Dear brethren, we Count them happy that have endured." Jas. 5:11. And Solomon says, that His [God's] people are tried as gold in the furnace, and when He finds them acceptable, he receives them as a burnt offering. Wisd. 3:6. Confess now the word of the Lord before this evil generation; for if we confess Him, He also will confess us before His heavenly Father, and before His angels; if we deny Him, he also will deny us; if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Matt. 10:32. II Tim. 2:12, 13. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,"The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." v. 19.

Behold, my dear lamb, here the sentence is already pronounced. Take heed now, that in your bonds, as you have begun, you remain faithful for the word of the Lord; that you may receive a full reward, and lose not that for which you have so long labored by faith; for whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God; he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. II John 8, 9.

Dear Jan's daughter, we expect such a glorious crown, if we abide in the truth; how we will rejoice when we get into the new heavenly Jerusalem, where the streets are of pure gold; and her gates are not closed against the penitent, but they are not open unto the ungodly, for without are dogs and sorcerers. Rev. 21:21; 22:15. See, my dearest lamb, for none but the God-fearing; for them His grace is always ready, and He will give them to drink of the beautiful river, which flows through the fair city; these are the living waters of which the Lord told the Samaritan woman, that if she should drink of them, she should never thirst. John 4:14. Behold, my dear rib, of these waters did all the righteous drink. They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. I Cor. 10:4, 5.

Behold, dear Adriaenken Jans, what virtues the Lord has shown us, and how richly He has bestowed gifts upon His children, and how He shall endow them when He shall come to judge all the nations of the earth. Then shall we tread down all our enemies, and shall sit with all the elect of God upon twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; and shall stand in great boldness before the face of those that have afflicted us; and we shall shine as sparks among the stubble, and leap as calves of the stall, in that day which the Lord has appointed. Matt. 19:28; Wisd. 5:1; 3:7; Mal. 4:2, 3. We also read that Esdras saw in the spirit, upon mount Sion, how the Lord went and gave palms into the hands, and set crowns upon the heads, of those who had confessed Him in the world. II Esd. 2:42. Peter also says that we shall be made kings and priests, that we should shew forth the virtues of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Rev. 1:6;1 Pet. 2:9.

Ah! Jan's daughter, my dear wife and sister in the Lord, if we were to reCount all the glorious promises which the Lord has promised them that continue faithful in their temptation, it would take too much time to write it all.

Herewith 1 commend you my dear wife and sister in the Lord, to God, and to the rich Word of His grace, which is able to keep us from all the subtle wiles with which our adversary the devil walks about us as a roaring lion, as Peter says. I Pet. 5:8. He could assail the Lord; should he then not assault his people? for we are not ignorant of his devices (1I Cor. 2:11), for he works also through his emissaries, that is, the children of unbelief, who will possibly come to assail you; but we can well overcome them, we can do all things through the grace of the Lord, which grace may God grant you and me, and us all. Amen.

Farewell, and pray the Lord for me, that He may keep me in this evil time, that I may always walk in the way of the Lord. I also pray for you, that the Lord will grant you strength, that you may be an acceptable offering unto Him, and that through your bonds and through the voluntary surrender of your body into the tyrants' hands, many may come to the truth. Though it is somewhat hard for the flesh, the Lord can give strength to them that trust in Him. Yes, dear Jan's daughter, my dearest, beloved sister in the Lord, let us take heed and pray the Lord, that we may well guard ourselves, that we do not dishonor the temple of God; for thus says Paul (mark well), "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." I Cor. 3:16, 17. If we guard ourselves well, it will be well with us, for we have a precious treasure in earthen vessels, the Spirit of the Lord, the Comforter, which will not be taken from us, if we fear God, depart from all sin, and do good.

O my dearest, dismiss from your mind that you went there to get the bed, for possibly the Lord wants thus to prove you; and let us not tempt the Lord; He does all for the best; I would not give you for all the treasures of the world; this the Lord knows, for He knows every heart. Now that it is so, let it be so in the name of the Lord. You may readily suppose that Abraham was sorrowful that he had to offer up his beloved son; for he was dear to him, and the Lord had told him that his seed should be as numerous as the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven. But, my dear lamb, he feared the Lord, and dared not disobey His command. Thus we, too, have courage, my dear wife; think, it is only for one evil hour, or half an hour, and all is over, for much may be done in half an hour. See, my dear, he that overcometh shall inherit all things; he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Rev. 21:7, 2:11. Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. I Pet. 4:19. Let us pray for them that afflict us (that is, the Pope and his adherents), that they may see how blind they are; and also for the magistrates, that they may no longer seek innocent blood, but be satisfied, and see wherein they are sinning before God.

Adieu, be resigned in the Lord, my dear wife and sister in the Lord; take my simple letter in good part, for it has been written from a good intention.

Written with much sorrow and labor. Nothing more for this time, only the Lord keep you in a godly life, and preserve you from the second death. Amen.

By me, your dear husband and weak brother in the Lord, who am not worthy of the name; but by the grace of the Lord we can do all things.


Written on the 18th and 19th of January, in the year 1572. Whatever I can do for you is at your service; do not spare me. Adieu, farewell; put your trust in the Lord alone, and you will find rest for your soul. Amen.

Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. John 16:2, 3.

The history of Dordrecht part 4

 The history of Holland and the story of its ancient Capital and Residence Dordrecht

Part 4 

From the year 1356 to 1417

Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

Holland and Zeeland ruled by the House of Bavaria 1356-1417

Hainaut-Bavaria Arms svg

Coat of arms of Holland-Bavaria


William V was now in possession of the entire Holland-Hainaut inheritance (July 1356). His tenure of power was, however, very brief. Before the close of 1357 he showed such marked signs of insanity that his wife, with his own consent and the support of both parties, invited Duke Albert of Bavaria, younger brother of William, to be regent, with the title of Ruwaard (1358). William lived in confinement for 31 years.

William V 1329-1389 "the Insane", Stadtholder 1347, as William I Duke of Bavaria-Straubing, as William III Count of Hainaut, as William IV Count of Zeeland and as William V Count of Holland 1356-1389

Guillaume III de Hainaut

William was born Frankfurt am Main, May 12, 1330,

son of Margareth II and Emperor Louis IV of Germany, William married 1352 with Mathilde (Maud), 1339-1362) daughter of Count Henry of Lancaster and sister of Blanche of Lancaster), due to insanity he was replaced by his brother Albrecht of Bavaria in 1358.

IAfter his father's death in 1347 William ruled Bavaria, Holland and Hainaut together with his five brothers until 1349. With the first division of the Wittelsbach possessions in 1349 he received Hainaut, Holland and Lower Bavaria together with his brothers Stephen II and Albert I (who after him became Count of Holland). After the next division of Bavaria in 1353 he ruled together with his younger brother Albert I in Bavaria-Straubing, Holland and Hainaut. William had engaged in a long struggle with his mother Margaret, obtaining Holland and Zeeland from her in 1354, and Hainaut on her death in 1356. In 1357, he began to show signs of insanity, and his brother Albert assumed the regency in Holland and Hainaut in 1358 as Ruwaard Albert I. Hr had only one daughter, who died in 1356. Also, he had illegitimate children :

  1. Wilhelm, married 1398 Lisbeth Hughe
  2. Elisabeth, married Brustijn van Herwijnen, lord of Stavenisse

1357 About the reign of William V (1330-1389), Count of Holland and Zealand (1354-1359) we find only a few events worthy to arrest our attention, since the only transactions in which he was engaged, were a petty warfare with the Bishop of Utrecht, unattended by any important results, and the mediation of a peace between Wenceslaus, Duke of Brabant, and Louis II of Male (1330-1384) Count of Flanders (1346-1384). As a price for his interference he received from the former the lordship of Heusden, and having afterwards adjudged the town of Mechlin to Louis of Flanders, whereby Brabant was deprived of both these possessions, gave rise to the old saying common in the Country, "Heusden mine, Mechlin thine.

1358 A great fire in Dordrecht destroyed many houses and because of that William V granted to the Capital of Holland, the privilege of storing goods not only transported by the rivers Meuse and Lek (Stapelrecht) but now also those goods transported by the other major rivers in Holland, called Maasrecht. In the second half of the same year William V went to the court of England to pay a visit of ceremony to King Edward III and his aunt Queen Philippa because the king had acknowledged him as Count of Holland and Zealand.

1359 After his return, he began to show symptoms of aberration of intellect, which soon increased to uncontrollable frenzy. He killed with his own hand, and without any cause of offence, Gerard van Wateringen, a nobleman highly esteemed in the Country in consequence of which act he was deprived of the government and placed in confinement at the Hague, whence he was removed to the Castle of Quesnoi in Hainaut, where he continued a hopeless lunatic until his death, which did occur in 1389.

It was thought that the remorse which William V endured for his conduct towards his mother, was the occasion of this calamity but as he is represented to have been naturally of a fierce and cruel disposition, it is probable that the seeds of his malady had always lurked in his constitution.

William V and his father Emperor Louis IV of Bavaria, had declared Albert (1336-1404), younger brother of the William V, heir to the County, if he should die without issue, the government in the present case appeared naturally to devolve on him, as standing next in succession.

The Cods (Delft), however, thinking that Albert was inclined to the party of the Hooks (Dordrecht), and that they should consequently be deprived of the authority which now rested wholly in their hands, used their utmost efforts to obtain the nomination of Matilda, Countess of Lancaster, the wife of William V to the regency, although, their principal objection against the government of the late Countess Margareth, had been the dislike they felt to be ruled by a woman, which was called "vervrouwd".

As, however, they found it impossible to sustain the claims of Matilda upon any plausible ground, since she was a foreigner, and had no children to succeed, they yielded to the wishes of the nation in general, and acknowledged Albert as governor in 1359, securing a pension of 12,000 schilds to the Countess Matilda.

On assuming the administration, Albert pledged himself to govern during his brother's incapacity, with the assistance of the "good towns" and according to the advice of those whom he and the good towns should appoint and to do justice in all cases according to the laws and customs of the land.

Albert of Bavaria Governor (Ruwaard) of Holland , Zealand and Friesland

Albert of Bavaria 1336-1404, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing, Ruwaard 1358-1389, Count of Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland and Friesland 1389-1404

Albert de Bavaria

Duke Albert I or Albrecht (July 25, 1336, Munich – December 13, 1404, The Hague) was a feudal ruler of the Counties of Holland, Hainaut, and Zeeland in the Low Countries. Additionally, he held a portion of the Bavarian province of Straubing.

Albert was the third son of Empress Margareth, daughter of William III, Count of Holland and Hainaut, from her marriage with Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor. He was only 10 years old when his father died, leaving most of his Bavarian inheritance to his eldest half-brother, Louis V, Duke of Bavaria.

Albert married in Passau, July 19, 1353, Margaret of Brieg from Silesia (1342/43 – 1386), and had seven children :

  1. Katharina (c. 1361 – 1400, Hattem), married in Geertruidenberg in 1379 William I of Gelders and Jülich
  2. Johanna (c. 1362 – 1386), wife of Wenceslaus, King of the Romans
  3. Margaret (1363 – January 23, 1423, Dijon), married in Cambrai in 1385 John the Fearless
  4. William VI, Count of Holland (1365–1417)
  5. Albert II, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing (1369 – January 21, 1397, Kelheim)
  6. Joanna Sophia (c. 1373 – November 15, 1410, Vienna), married on June 15, 1395 Albert IV, Duke of Austria
  7. John, Count of Holland (1374/76 – 1425), Bishop of Liège

He also had several illegitimate children.

Albert contracted a second marriage in 1394 in Heusden with Margaret of Cleves (c. 1375 – 1412), sister of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves, but they had no children.

Ruwaard of Holland Zeeland and Friesland 1359-1389

1360 Albert's first care was to diminish somewhat of the power of the Cods, by bestowing the offices of the County upon the nobles of the Hook party, the principal of these, Reynold van Brederode, he invested with the office of Bailiff of Kennemerland, of which he deprived John van Blomestein, a Cod nobleman. On Reynold's first journey as bailiff through Kennemerland, he was attacked by a party of Cods, who lay in wait for him near Castrichem, three of his retinue were killed, and he escaped with his life only by taking sanctuary in the church of the village.

1361 Immediately after this outrage, the Cods shut themselves up in the fort of Heemskerk, where they maintained a siege of eleven weeks, chiefly by the assistance of the citizens of Delft, who themselves broke out into open rebellion, chose Henry van Woerden, Gilbert van Nyenrode, with other nobles, as their leaders, and making an irruption into the Hague, threw open all the prisons, and carried the inmates with them back to Delft.

Albert was at that time in Zealand, but on the news of these commotions, repaired immediately to Holland, raised a general levy of troops, and laid siege to Delft. The citizens withstood the powerful force which he brought against them in person, for the space of more than ten weeks. At length they were obliged to surrender, on condition that the town should pay a fine of 40,000 schilds, that its walls should be thrown down, and that the inhabitants should humbly sue for pardon, from which their leaders and the strangers found among them were excluded. Only one of the nobles, Henry van Woerden, suffered death, the rest made their escape to Heusden, which they held out during a twelvemonth, and, in fine, obtained a pardon, on promise of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

1364 Edward III of England, although he had acknowledged William V as Count of Holland, Zealand, Hainaut, and Friesland, perhaps from his being too much engaged in the wars with France to enforce his pretensions, was yet so far from having surrendered the claim of his wife Philippa, that, after her death, which happened in 1364, he bestowed the portion to which she was entitled on his son Edmund (1341-1402), Earl of Cambridge, between whom and Margaret (1348-1405), daughter of Louis II of Male, Count of Flanders, a negotiation of marriage was then on foot.

It was upon the knowledge of this fact, probably, that Albert summoned an assembly of the nobles and towns at Geertruydenberg, and obtained from them a decree, that the late Queen of England had no right to any portion of Holland, which being one undivided County, had lawfully devolved upon Count William, in right of his mother, and upon himself as governor.

1366 Fortified with this declaration, and provided with full powers from the towns, Albert set out for the court of England, accompanied by several nobles in order to terminate the affair, which, nevertheless, was not done until six years after. The good fortune that had hitherto attended the arms of Edward III in France, had then so far deserted him, that he was no longer in a condition voluntarily to provoke an enemy, or lose an ally and he therefore gratified the Governor of Holland by a final surrender of all claims in right of his wife, to a share in the inheritance of William V.

After his return in Holland Albert, to further develop Holland as an independent state and to further expend the trade with Germany, France, Flanders and England, Albert ordered to establish "The Mint of Holland". At that time Dordrecht was the most important trade centre of Holland and The Good Towns decided to choice Dordrecht as the seat of The Mint.

1375 In Dordrecht the first coins were stamped at the Mint for use in the Lowlands, Burgundy, Germany and England and the Florin, or Guilder (Gulden), was stamped for the first time and would be in use until 2002 when the Euro was introduced.

Civil war in Flanders 1379-1382

1379 Although the continual struggles between Holland and Flanders had now ceased, the former found herself still involved in the affairs of her former enemy, though in the midst 1370s a somewhat different manner and, on the present occasion, the feelings of the people and government were arrayed in opposition to each other.

The extravagance and rapacity of Louis II of Male (1330-1384), Count of Flanders (1346-1384), had excited discontent and hatred among his subjects, especially the inhabitants of Ghent, who, weary of his extortions, at length flatly refused to contribute another farthing. The Count, deeply offended, quitted Ghent, and retired to Bruges, the inhabitants of which town having accommodated him with a moderate sum, obtained permission to dig a canal from the river Leys, above Ghent, to Bruges.

To these causes of discontent was added the imprisonment of a burgess of Ghent by the court's bailiff in contravention of the privileges of the city. Irritated by these circumstances, the Ghenters broke out into hostilities assumed the white hood the usual insignia of revolt drove the pioneers from the canal at Bruges; murdered the Count's bailiff, who, with two hundred men, had been sent to arrest the ringleaders and plundered and burnt Adeghem, a favorite Country residence of Louis II, near Ghent.

1380 From this beginning, the revolt soon extended itself to the other towns, the burghers chose leaden from among themselves, and, under their command, laid siege to Oudenarde, and made an assault on Dendermonde, which still continued faithful to the Count. They were foiled in the latter enterprise by the courage and conduct of Theodore van Brederode, a Holland nobleman, whom Louis II had placed in command of the garrison but the siege of Oudenarde in 1381 lasted until a compromise was effected between the Count and his subjects, which, however, was soon broken, and Louis II, in 1982, having subdued Courtray and Ypres, laid siege to Ghent.

Albert of Holland constantly supported the cause of Louis II of Flanders, and afforded him such assistance as he was able, which nevertheless was but trifling, since he himself was cut of from funds because the "good towns" of Holland and Zealand, with Dordrecht at their head, were unwilling to spend any money in oppressing the insurgents of Ghent with the argument that the good relations with the cities in Flanders and Brabant were of more importance.

1381 In defiance of his express prohibition, he continued during the whole war to send them stores of provision, ammunition, and other necessaries, especially during the siege of Ghent, when the inhabitants, having secured the conveyance by water from Holland and Zealand, received from thence regular supplies of meal and bread, when shut out by the besieging army from the resources of their own Country. But their aid, however liberally afforded, was insufficient to prevent scarcity among the immense multitude collected within the walls of the town and it became at last so excessive, that the men of Ghent besought the mediation of Joanna (1322-1406), Duchess of Brabant (1355-1406) and Albert of Holland, to procure peace and pardon from their sovereign.

Six of their number, therefore, with the ambassadors of the two princes, repaired for this purpose to Louis II, at Bruges, who, well knowing the straits to which the town was reduced, haughtily replied, that "he would consent to no peace unless the whole population, both male and female, from the age of fifteen to sixty, came out to meet him on the road to Bruges, barefoot and bareheaded, with halters about their necks, when he would pardon or put them to death, according to his pleasure.

This answer being reported to the citizens, it was determined to select five thousand of their choicest troops, and to send them, under the command of Philip van Artevelde (1340-1382), to attack the Count in Bruges. They accordingly marched thither, when Louis II no sooner heard of their approach, than he collected his troops, to the number of forty thousand, among whom were eight hundred lances, and advanced about a league beyond the town to give them battle.

The host of enemies in front, with ruin and starvation behind, gave to the Ghenters the courage of despair, at the first fierce onset, they drove back the citizens of Bruges, the lances, though composed of the flower of the nobility and knights of Flanders, made not the smallest resistance, the flight soon became universal. The Count, with about forty more, hurried back to Bruges, closely pursued by the Ghent men, who entered at the same time with the fugitives, and speedily made themselves masters of the city of Bruges. Count Louis II himself escaped capture only by means of a poor woman, who concealed him in her hut, whence he fled in disguise, and by night, to Lille (Rijssel), in Brabant.

The battle of Rosebeke 1382

1382 After this victory, all the towns in Flanders, except Oudenaarde and Dendermonde, submitted to the Ghenters. In this distress, Louis was forced to supplicate the aid of his liege lord, Charles VI (1368-1422), King of France (1380-1422), who, at the age of fourteen, marched into Flanders in person, at the head of a powerful army, and defeated the insurgents in a battle near Roosebeke, where their leader, Philip van Artevelde, was slain. This event restored, in some measure, the affaire of Louis II but the Ghenters obtaining not long after the assistance of a large body of English troops, under the command of the Bishop of Norwich, Louis II was unable to effect the pacification of his states during his lifetime, he died in 1384.

1383 The Weavers of Ghent (the progenitors of the revolt), an important group of merchants fled their city and settled in the trade centre of Holland, Dordrecht and they founded the famous Gothic Market Hall of Dordrecht, this market was used for the wool trade and would be used until the 16th century, from 1544 to present it is in use as the Town Hall of Dordrecht.

Rise of the house of Valois (Burgundy) in the Southern-Lowlands (Flanders and Artois)

1384 Louis II's death, which happened in January, 1384, made way for the succession of Philip II "the Bold" (1342-1404), Duke of Burgundy in right of his wife, Margaret III (1350-1405), Countess of Flanders (1384-1405), the only legitimate child of Count Louis II, to the Counties of Flanders and Artois and these rich and flourishing provinces thus became a portion of the Burgundian state.

Count Margaret III was heiress to the duchy of Brabant, through her aunt, Joanna, the present Duchess, (widow, of William IV. of Holland, and afterwards of Wenceslaus of Luxemburg) who, in order to extend still further the influence of her family in the Lowlandss, labored effectually to promote an union between the houses of Burgundy and Holland.

1385 Through her means, a double marriage was concluded between William (1365-1417), Count of Oostervant, who later became Count of Holland and Zealand in 1404, eldest son of Count Albert of Holland, and Margaret (1374-1441), daughter of Philip II of Burgundy and between John "the Fearless" (1371-1414), eldest son of the Duke of Burgundy, and Margaret (1363-1423), daughter of Count Albert. Their weddings, attended by King Charles VI of France in person, were celebrated at Cambray, in a style of unparalleled magnificence.

After his accession to the County of Flanders, Philip of Burgundy made a reconciliation with his new subjects, granting to the citizens of Ghent full pardon and restitution of all their franchises and immunities, on condition only of their return to obedience.

Albert sides to the Cods party

1386 The marriage of William and Margaret was followed early in the next spring by the death of their mother, Margaret (1342-1386), daughter of the Duke of Brieg, in Silesia, an event which caused a great change in the state of parties, and much confusion in Holland. Albert, after the loss of his wife, formed an illicit connection with Alice van Poelgeest, the daughter of a nobleman of the Cod party, whose youth, beauty, and insinuating manners, soon gained such an ascendancy over the mind of her lover, that the whole court was henceforward governed according to her caprices.

The Cod party, in consequence, daily increased in power and influence, to the great dissatisfaction of the Hook nobles, now long accustomed to enjoy alone the favor and Countenance of their sovereign; and instigated at once by ambition and revenge they resolved upon a deed of horror and blood, to which, it is said, the Hooks induced Albert's son William van Oostervant to lend his assistance.

1390 A number of them assembled at the Hague, where the Lady Alice was then residing at the court-house, and on the night of the 21st of August forced their way, completely armed, into her apartment. On their entrance, William Kuser, the Count's steward, threw himself before them to defend the terrified girl from their violence. He was slaughtered on the spot; and, a moment after, Alice herself fell dead, and covered with wounds, at their feet.

The murderers betook themselves to flight. However Albert was deeply grieved, but did not take action against the Hooks and he took no measures to bring them to justice until he was urged by the importunate solicitations of Conrad Kuser, the father of the murdered man, when he at length determined to cite the Hook nobles, to the number of fifty-four, who were supposed to have had a share in the transaction, before the supreme court of Holland.

1394 As not one appeared, their lives and estates were declared forfeit. William van Oostervant repeatedly besought his father to pardon the criminals but, finding him deaf to his intreaties, William retired in anger to the fortress of Altena, and thence to the court of France, whither he had been summoned to do homage for the County of Oostervant.

War with Friesland

1395 Duke Philip II advised William of Oostervant to seek a reconciliation with his father, by proposing an expedition into Friesland, that he might at once avenge the death of his uncle Count William IV, and re-conquer his inheritance; an enterprise which the present condition of Friesland rendered it highly probable would be successful. Since the death of William IV (1345), the Counts of Holland had not attempted to interfere in the government of Friesland, or even to get themselves acknowledged as lords of it.

1396 In Holland, two factions had sprung up of the nobles and people, analogous to those of the Cods and Hooks which persecuted each other with unrelenting fury. Albert, therefore, was readily induced to favor the designs of his son William of Oostervant, and to entrust to him the conduct of the proposed expedition against Friesland, he solicited succors from France and England, who each sent a body of troops to his aid, the former under the command of the Count Waleren de St. Pol, the latter under the Earl of Cornwall, these joined the army of Holland, strengthened still further by a number of German auxiliaries at Enkhuysen.

From hence the allied troops set sail on the 22nd of August 1296 in a fleet of four thousand and forty ships, and arrived in safety and good order at the Kuinder, where the landing was to be effected. The Frieslanders, meanwhile, had not neglected to take measures for their defense, they made an alliance with the Bishop of Utrecht, preventing by this means the passage of the Holland troops into their Country by land and assembled together in arms the number of thirty thousand men.

The Frieslanders however refused to follow the wise counsel of one of the chiefs of their nobility Juwo Juwinga, who advised that they should shut themselves up in their fortresses, allowing the enemy to land unmolested, and to waste their strength in sieges, when hunger would soon compel their retreat out of a Country totally destitute of the means of supporting so vast a multitude.

Heedless of his monition, the Frieslanders advanced to meet the invaders in three divisions, and declaring that they would prefer to die "free Frieslanders" rather than submit to a foreign master, they determined to make their stand at the dyke nearest the landing-place. They were full of spirit and courage but being ill armed, and clad only in coats of leather or coarse cloth, they were ill able to withstand the well-tempered weapons and heavy armor of their enemies, who were said, moreover, to have amounted to one hundred and eighty thousand strong.

In spite of these disadvantages, they maintained a fierce and obstinate contest for some hours, fourteen hundred were slain, and the rest forced to take flight, numbers more perished in the pursuit, in which only fifty were made prisoners, since they persisted to the last in their resolution rather to die than yield.

The victorious army carried fire and sword through the Country, but on the other hand suffered much injury from the frequent skirmishes in which they were engaged by the Frieslanders, until the approach of the rainy season obliged them to retire into winter quarters, they carried with them the body of Count William IV, which had been taken up from the place of its sepulture. Count Albert was, for the time, acknowledged Lord of Friesland.

1398 Little more than a year elapsed, however, before the Frieslanders again threw off their forced subjection, surprised Staveren, and forced the garrison to evacuate. At the same time, the people of the Ommeland of Groningen made a treaty of union with the town, one of the articles of which purported, that they should mutually assist each other to keep the Hollanders out of their Country. From henceforward Groningen and the Ommeland remained permanently united.

1400 William of Oostervant once more conducted an army into Friesland, and forced the inhabitants to do homage to his father, and to promise a subsidy of sixpence for every house but no sooner had he departed than they again revolted and at length Count Albert found himself obliged to make a truce with them for six years, without insisting upon their acknowledgment of him as lord of Friesland.

Stadtholder John, Lord of Arkel

1401 John, Lord of Arkel, had long filled the office of Stadtholder of Holland, Zealand, and Friesland, as well as that of treasurer of the Count's private domains, without having given any account of his administration of the revenues. This was now sharply demanded of him by the Count but Arkel, a man of an ambitious and insolent temper, instead of obeying, declared war against his sovereign, and endeavored to take by surprise the strong frontier town of Oudewater but failed in this attempt, them he made an irruption into Krimpen whence he returned with considerable booty to Gorinchem, a town confided to his government by Albert some time before.

1403 The warfare had lasted two years, rather to the advantage of John of Arkel, when William, of Oostervant, himself took the command of an army, composed of native troops and auxiliaries from England, Cleves, and Utrecht, for the raising of which the towns once more contributed funds, and laid siege to Gorinchem. Although the immense number of his soldiers enabled him to surround the town entirely, and cut off all communication from without he could not, after a blockade of twelve weeks, force it to a surrender.

He therefore listened to the terms of accommodation proposed by the mediation of his brother, John III "the Pitiless" (1374-1425), Bishop elect of Liege (1389-1418), that John van Arkel should retain all his possessions, but be obliged to sue for pardon on his knees, and permit the Count's flag to wave a whole day on the tower of Arkel. As Arkel's principal object was to evade the inspection of his accounts, he gladly acceded to any terms of which that was not made a condition.

Albert's latter years

Despite outbreaks from time to time of the Hook and Cods troubles, Albert was able to make his authority respected, and to help forward in many ways the social progress of the Country. The influence of the towns was steadily on the increase, and their government began to fall into the hands of the burgher Patrician class in the cities who belonged to the Cod party, opposed to them were the Nobility and the lower classes, belonging to the Hook party.

In Albert's latter years a fresh outbreak of civil war (1392-1395) was caused by the Counts espousing the side of the Cods, while the Hooks had the support of his eldest son, William. Albert was afterwards reconciled to his son.

1404 This was the last event of importance which occurred under Count Albert's administration. He died on the 15th of December, at the age of sixty-seven, having governed the County for forty-six years, first as Ruwaard, then as Count. His son William of Oostervant succeeded him as Count William VI of Holland, as William IV of Hainaut, as William V of Zealand, and as Duke William II of Bavaria-Straubing.

William VI 1345-1417, as William II Duke of Bavaria-Straubing, as Count William IV of Hainaut, as Count William V of Zeeland and as William VI Count of Holland and Friesland 1404-1417

Guillaume IV de Hainaut

William was the eldest son of Albrecht of Bavaria and Margaret of Brieg, he was born in 1365, he married in c. 1400 with Margaretha of Burgundy (1374-1441) the daughter of Duke Philips "the Bold" (1342-1404), they had only one child :

  1. Jacqueline (Jacoba), born 16 August 1401

As William had for along period before his father's death performed all the more active functions of the government, it might have been supposed that his accession to the title of Count would have caused little or no change in the state of affairs, nevertheless, the animosities between the Cod and Hook parties, which appeared to have been mitigated for a few years, now revived with increased fury. The Cods had regained their ascendancy with the rise of Alice van Poelgeest, and though many of the Hook nobles, suspected of a knowledge or participation in her murder, had been included in the reconciliation between William and Albert in 1395, they were never admitted to any share of power. On his accession to power William upheld the Hooks, and secured their ascendancy over the Cods party.

The Hooks, by the favor of Count William, were advanced to offices in the County, and to a participation in the government of the towns, which the Cods being as unwilling to lose as the Hooks were eager to obtain, for neither party yielded to the other in cupidity or ambition, their rivalry caused violent commotions in several towns, particularly Delft, Haarlem, and Amsterdam, where a number of the most respectable burghers lost their lives.

The Hooks and Cods struggles in Dordrecht

1405 Dordrecht narrowly escaped a general massacre. Half of the senate of this town was changed on a certain day in every year, the Count appointing the new members from a double number, nominated by the great council of forty, but this year, William VI, fearing lest any change might be the occasion of disturbances, left the same magistrates in office, a proceeding as yet unheard of in the towns. The majority of the members of the senate at that time were of the Cod party, and, after this unexpected mark of favor from their Count, they began to guide affairs entirely according to their pleasure, and to exercise acts of oppression on the Hooks.

This excited murmurs of discontent among the people, mostly inclining to the Hooks, and they took occasion to present frequent petitions for the reformation of abuses, which they alleged to exist, a course of conduct so deeply resented by the cods, that, with a view of keeping the citizens in check, they passed a resolution in the senate, that a fort should be erected within the walls of the town. The burghers, hardly [believing they would carry so bold a measure into execution, made no movement, but quietssly allowed it to be finished, provided with ammunition, and garrisoned with the adherents of the Cod party.

Numbers of the people then assembled in arms around the fort, and were no sooner perceived by the Cods within, than with a loud shout of " Assault, assault!" they sent a shower of arrows among them. The burghers in return attacked the fort with such vigor, that they forced the Cods to evacuate it, and retreat on every side. Many of both parties were killed but the leaders of the Hooks stopped the slaughter upon the retreat of their adversaries, securing only the persons of their chiefs.

The Bailiff and Treasurer of South Holland, the Schout of Dordrecht, two Burgomasters, and four Sheriffs, all Cods, were committed to the city prison where they remained for some time in considerable danger of being sacrificed to the popular vengeance. On the arrival of Count William VI to appease the tumult, he testified high disapprobation of these lawless proceedings but at the same time appointed new magistrates, and gave the senate permission to banish a certain number of persons from Holland. The remainder of the Cods effected a reconciliation with the new government early in the following year, and peace was by degrees restored to Dordrecht.

In the meantime, John the Lord of Arkel, dreading, probably, that he should now be forced to surrender his accounts, again took up arms, and made himself master of Woudrichem, which he plundered and burnt. But John of Arkel having besieged and taken his forts of Gaspen and Everstein, repaired for assistance to Reynold IV, Duke of Guelders (1402-1423), whose sister he had married and, in order to bind him, more closely to his interests, he surrendered to him his Lordship of Arkel in 1407, on condition that it should never be dismembered from the Duchy of Guelderland. Arkel shared the usual fate of the feeble who seek the protection of the powerful.

The disturbed state of the towns was not the only difficulty with which William had to contend in the first years of his government. His reign was much troubled with civil discords, but he was a brave soldier, and was generally successful in his enterprises.

The war of succession for the French crown

1406 William VI, had formed an alliance between his only daughter, Jacoba or Jacqueline (1401-1436), and John (1398-1417), Duke of Touraine, dauphin of France, son of King Charles VI (1368-1422) of France, and involved him in some degree in the cabals of the French court.

The insanity of King, Charles VI, most probably schizophrenia, and the weak and vicious character of his wife Queen, Isabella of Bavaria (1370-1435), had rendered the royal authority in France utterly inefficient, giving unrestrained license to the ambition of the nobles, and leaving the kingdom a prey to the fury of the rival factions, so celebrated in history, of Burgundy and Orleans.

It was during the ascendancy of Queen Isabella that her son John, Duke of Touraine, and second son of the King of France, had been betrothed to Jacoba of Holland, niece of John "the Fearless" Duke of Burgundy. John had, since that time, resided chiefly with his future father-in-law but owing to the youth of the parties, the marriage was not completed until 1415, when Jacoba was declared heir to Hainaut, Holland, and Friesland; which, after the death of William, were to be governed by her husband John, Duke of Touraine, and to descend undivided to the eldest son, or, in default of heirs male, to the eldest daughter, of this marriage. The ancient laws, privileges, and customs of Hainaut and Holland were to be preserved unimpaired, and no offices conferred on foreigners.

1407 The internal politics of the bishopric of Liege were more than problematic, the powerful guilds of the city seeking to take control of the government, simulating the cities in Flanders and Holland. The bishops were forced to give up many of their powers until John of Bavaria, younger brother of William VI, became bishop. He refused outright, and on the contrary sought to re-establish many of the old Episcopal rights. He was driven out of the city of Liege, and sought refuge in Maastricht, the only city to remain loyal to him.

The battle of Othee 1408

1408 The Liegois, however, were baying for his blood, and they laid siege to Maastricht twice, first in 1407 (24 November-7 January), and again in 1408 (31 May-22 September). Both sieges were unsuccessful.

In August 1408, John II "the Fearless" (1371-1419), Duke of Burgundy (1404-1419) marched from Flanders and joined with the Count of Namur, together they entered the lands of Liege near Dinant. Count William VI of Holland also came with an army, but as his forces came from the north (Holland), his men were not united with those of John II of Burgundy. Anthony (1384-1415), Duke of Brabant (1406-1415), brother of Duke John II, was not officially at war with the Liegois, yet he kept a strategic reserve at the borders of Brabant and Liege in case his brother needed his assistance.

On 22th September, the Duke of Burgundy and his army approached Liege, Henri of Perwez, leader of the Liegois, abandoned the siege of Maastricht and immediately headed back to Liege, taking with him all the men at his disposal. His first stop was at Liege itself, where he left his wounded men behind and replenished his ranks with reserves and inexperienced raw recruits.

The following day the Liegois marched out of their city, towing along their mighty artillery train, in the hopes of surprising their enemies off-guard. They were unlucky, the forces of Hainaut-Holland had already joined up and were ready for battle. The open plains and fields of the area could not hide the rebel force, and they realized they could not return to Liege and took up a defensive position. The Liegois were attacked and were totally defeated. The bloody battle of Othee (near Tongeren, Tongres) became a great military victory for the Bishop and his allies.

Relations with Guelders

1412 After some ineffective hostilities during the last years Duke Reynold IV of Guelders and Count William VI of Holland agreed to a truce, which was followed by a treaty of peace, wherein the interests of Arkel were wholly sacrificed. Reynold of Guelders surrendered Gorinchem and the Lordship of Arkel to the Count of Holland for 100,000 French crowns, on condition that the castle of Ayen, and the Lordship of Born, should be conferred on William, son of the Lord of Arkel, with a pension of five thousand guilders during his life.

This treaty was concluded, as may be supposed, without the intervention or consent of the Lord of Arkel, who was then in Brabant. He was afterwards seized by the Lord of Zevenbergen, and brought prisoner to the Hague: thence he was conducted to Gouda, and finally to Zevenbergen, where he remained in confinement until 1426, when he was released, and died not long after.

War with Friesland

The Hollanders, under the government of William VI, entirely lost their footing in Friesland, Staveren only had remained in the actual possession of the Count, by the truce made between Albert and the Frieslanders in the year 1400. The truce had since been renewed from time to time, and the last, made in 1412, now drew to a close.

1414 The Frieslanders, observing that but negligent watch was kept by the garrison of Staveren, suddenly surprised the city, drove out the Holland troops, and forced them to evacuate the whole province. William, enraged as he might have been at this loss, made no attempt to repossess himself of Staveren but, on the contrary, concluded a truce with the Frieslanders, who thus at length found themselves free from all foreign dominion.

1415 By the death of his elder brother, Louis (1397-1415), Duke of Guyenne, without issue,  John, Duke of Touraine, husband of Jacoba, succeeded a few months after to the title of Dauphin, and thus became heir-apparent to the French crown. Immediately upon that event, ambassadors were dispatched to Hainaut to invite him to the court of his father, but the state of France was not such as to induce Count William VI to risk the safety of the young prince, the husband of his only child Jacoba, by sending him thither.

That Country, besides being desolated by civil dissensions, was now engaged in a dangerous and ruinous war with Henry V (1386-1422), King of England (1413-1422), nine thousand of her bravest knights lay dead on the field of Agincourt (1412), and the hope of arresting the progress of the conqueror appeared almost chimerical. The Orleans faction had now entire possession of the courts and viewed both William and the young dauphin with dislike and suspicion, on account of their close connection with the Duke of Burgundy.

These feelings were still further increased on finding that the deputies sent by the Duke of Burgundy to Valencienne, during the stay of the French Ambassadors there, had been admitted to more than one secret conference with the Count, while the latter were obliged to content themselves with a public audience. In consideration of these circumstances, William persisted in retaining the dauphin under his own protection.

1416 While matters were thus pending, King Sigismund (1368-1437) of Germany, later Emperor, arrived at Dordrecht, on his way from the court of Paris to that of London, whither he was accompanied by the Count of Holland, for the purpose of negotiating in concert a peace between France and England and Sigismund further would solve the problems with Friesland regarding their independence from Holland.

King Sigismund had never been sincere in his endeavors to effect a reconciliation, or that, finding it impossible to bring the belligerents to reasonable terms, he thought it best, considering the enfeebled and distracted condition of France, to consult his own interest by siding with the stronger, he abandoned ere long the character of mediator, and concluded with England a treaty of alliance against France. William, disgusted at this selfish policy, abruptly left England, without waiting for the emperor, having succeeded only in effecting a truce between England and France for five months, which was afterwards prolonged.

Repose being thus for a season secured to France from without, William determined to use his endeavors to allay the distractions prevailing within the kingdom. He therefore yielded to the reiterated solicitations of the French ambassadors, and conducted the Dauphin as far as Compeigne, he himself proceeding to Paris to arrange the terms of his reception. After long contestations with the members of the Orleans faction in that court, William declared, formally, that the young prince should either come to court in company with the Duke of Burgundy, or return immediately to Hainuat.

1417 The Frieslanders obtained in 1417 from King Sigismund of Germany a charter, confirming the entire independence of their state. William VI was the less inclined to undertake any expedition into Friesland.

William's reign was marked by internal strife within the County of Holland. In particular, Lord John of Arkel supported William's enemies in Holland. Arkel became a part of Holland in 1412 at which point John accepted his defeat at the hands of William. The herring fishery, a source of such immense national wealth to Holland, began rapidly to increase. In 1414, Jacob Beukelson, of Beervlietss, discovered the new and excellent method still in use, of drying and barreling herrings, and two years after, the first large herring sein was manufactured at Hoorn.

Prior to his death, William ensured his nobles swore allegiance to his only daughter, Jacoba (Jacqueline). However, on William's death in 1417, a war of succession broke out between his brother John, Bishop of Liege and his daughter Jocoba (Jacqueline) of Hainaut.

He died in 1417 of a dog bite, leaving an only child, a daughter, Jacqueline (or Jacoba), who had in her early youth been married to John, heir to the throne of France. At a gathering held at  The Hague (August 15, 1416) the nobles and representatives of the cities of Holland and Zeeland had promised at Williams request to support his daughters claims to the succession. But John of France died (April 1417), and William VI about a month later, leaving the widowed Jacqueline at 17 years of age face to face with a difficult situation.

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