« AnteriorContinuar »
holy men, fell victims to the themselves, but which were, hatred of their enemies, between however, acceptable to them; the years 1524 and 1660, merely and, as the result of my frein consequence of coincidence quent travelling, I was enabled of opinion, on the subject of to communicate information baptism. This testimony, of a which gratified them.— I was, dignified clergyman of the one day, sent for by the counchurch of Rome, in favour of tess of Samaido, whose lord the orthodoxy and purity of these filled several offices under Sigisdespised followers of Menno mund III. On my entering Simons, may be fafely depend the court, where I had freed on, and may serve to coun- quently been before, I found it teract the obloquy that has been full of pages and servants of frequently cast upon them. different noblemen; on seeing
Bartel Louwer, or, as his which, I was retiring; but the name is sometimes spelt, Lau- servants of the countess obren, was born at Goch, in the serving it, desired me not to go duchy of Cleves, somewhere away, as their lord had strictly about the year 1600; but the charged them to inform him exact period of his birth is not when I arrived. They did this, ascertained. In the early part and I was directed to go to the of his life, he travelled in dif- count immediately. I excused ferent countries, and resided, myself on account of the nobles, for a considerable time, at who, I observed, were with Wilná, the capital of Lithuania. him; but they so urged me, Later in life, he entered into the that I was compelled to go into ministry among the Baptists, the palace. and, finally, became preacher « On entering, I found a at Amsterdam, and was an number of noblemen surroundelder in the church of the ing a long table. The count united Flemmings, Friesland was obliged to withdraw, in conand German Mennonites, and sequence of being seized with colleague with the venerable indisposition. I made my obeiT. G. Van den Wyngaard. sance, respectfully, to the noble
During his residence in Wil- assembly; and the countess na, in 1617, a singular inter- beckoned to me to approach view took place, between him her, which I did. The nobles and some Polish nobility; the looked at me, and seemed struck substance of which he has pub- with my dress and outlandish lished in the Dutch language, appearance. Their first inof which the following is a quiry was respecting the place translation:
of my nativity, which I informed “ During my residence at them was Goch, in the duchy Wilna, I became pretty gene- of Cleves; with which town, rally known, even among the two of them said they were acnobles and leading people in quainted. I was then asked, the province, in consequence of how I came into Poland ? how my sometimes selling to them I knew their language and certain wares, of little value in what was my religion? Was it
the Catholic, Lutheran, or Calcision with which he expresses vinistici I said, My lords, I himself on religious subjects. agree with none of these. This Well, to what sect does he beexcited their surprise. They long ?- The prior replied, The asked, Do you attend no place Anabaptist;
and assigned, as of worship? I replied, Yes, his reason, They have no other frequently.-Where do you go? catechism than the scriptures, With what people do you at- which they accustom their chiltend? I said, Where I am the dren to read much; and that nearest; sometimes in the Ca- reading produces, in young pertholic churches, sometimes in sons, a habit of reflection, and the Russian or Greek churches, likewise exposes them to a vaand also among the Lutherans, riety of errors, and of such Calvinists, &c. This informa- rents, I believe, he is a son. tion caused some expressions The question was then put to both of surprise and disappro- me, by two or three of the bation. They asked, With nobles at the same time, Whewhich of these communities do ther I had such ancestry, or your views coincide most?-I still belonged to that party ?said, I know not. All these I said, They are called so. communities preach the gos- Upon this, the nobles began to pel, in their own opinion; but, exclaim, Oh! that is a most considering their communities horrible doctrine ; for they decollectively, none of them la- ny, contrary to the sentiments bour to live as the gospel re- of all Christendom, the eternity quires, and as is our duty.- of the Son of God, and yet af. This still increased their sur-firm, that a Christian must folprise, that I, a lay person, low his example in all things, should insist on the lives of which is impracticable, which Christians corresponding with also none of them do, for they the gospel.*
live as we do, or, at least, there « There sat
at the table is but little difference; they two monks, one of whom was deny the satisfaction of Christ, the prior of a cloister in that and maintain that the resurrectown, which contained, at least, tion will not be universal; and, 150 brethren. The nobles, who likewise, that young children had been examining me, ad are not Christians; and they dressed themselves to him, and went on to say, And is it a fact, said, Reverend father, do you that you will compare Chrishear what this German says ? tians with the doctrine of the What is your opinion ?-The gospel?- They continued, in prior said, My lords, I have this way, to administer reproof heard the whole, and not with- to me. Some of them exhorted out surprise ; but I will venture me to become a Catholic, or, to affirm, from what stock, he at least, class myself as one. I has sprung, merely from the de- stated the difficulties, such as
.* What a display of the ignorance of that age !
occurred at the moment. They fered once for all; and, as to aimed to convince me, there the resurrection, they believe, were much greater difficulties as the holy church and all true in persisting in what they con- Christians have ever believed, cluded I believed; enlarging that it is universal, both of the much on the denial of the Son evil and the good, the righteous of God, and opposing the sen- and the unrighteous; and that, timents of the whole Christian in the day of the resurrection, world.
every one, in his own body, “ But the prior, who had shall be rewarded according to been listening to all this, said, his works; and hence it is their My lords, I have paid attention aim to keep themselves froin to you, as well as to the Ger- sin, in order to obtain a reward, man, and have heard the many and a gracious Judge.* _0 charges you have brought hearing the prior speak in this against him, relative to the de- way, the nobles were not a little nial of Christ, which, in a cer- astonished; and one of them tain sense, might apply to our said, Sir, you speak of this Polish Anabaptists, but, by no people as if they were orthodox, means, to those of the Nether- and you do not conceal your lands ; although, in the opinion attachment to them. The monk of some, these are in the con- replied, I am not at all surfession of Christ, which, by no prised, gentlemen, that what I means,
sentiment respect- have stated has thus excited ing them; for they firmly ad- your astonishment; but I have here to the words of the scrip- my reasons for thus bearing my ture, and reject all glosses on testimony in favour of this the same, and exclusively place people, and I will give them to dependence on the Lord Jesus the company. Christ, and not on their good
I travelled works ; deriving all their hopes to the Netherlands with Mr. and consolation from him ; nor Samatolsky, who was sent, by do they the less maintain it to be his majesty, as ambassador to the duty of a Christian to obey the court of Brabant. On my Christ with all his might, and arrival, I was so charmed with submit to his commandments. the country, and its inhabitants, He continued: They do not that I resolved to continue there deny the satisfaction of Christ, for some time, without, for the but place all their hope of sal- present, going any farther. I, vation in and upon his grace, accordingly, wrote to my father, and the sacrifice which he of- for permission to study at Lou
6 Some years ago
* It is certainly a matter of surprise and regret, that the true history of a people, whose orthodoxy in faith and practice is thus attested by an enemy, should be unknown in this country. As to the garbled accounts of the Mennonites in Mosheim, and some other ecclesiastical historians, they come to the real state of the case, just about as near as we may conceive the popish writers do, in their description of the Paulicians, Cathari, Petrobrusians, Waldenses, &c.
vaine, and he granted my re- the way by his placatęs; but I quest. I lodged at Louvaine, considered the emperor was with an old man, of great ob- no theologian; that, therefore, servation and experience, who it did not so much rest with had attentively investigated the him as with those who would tumults which had happened pass as divines, who ought to in the Netherlands. This old have attacked the errors of this gentleman was used to relate people with the word of God,
me many astonishing ac- if, peradventure, God may give counts; and, among other things, them repentance for their erinformed me of these Anabap- rors, if they were indeed guilty tists, that they contended for of them. And as the clergy their faith, with such decision, had not acted thus, or conductthat they regarded neither fa- ed themselves in a way adapted ther, nor mother; wife, nor to the nature of the case, I felt children, nor any thing in the a great concern to converse with world: but, such was their some of the remaining members steadfastness, that, rather than of their churches, with the view apostatize from their profession, either of rendering assistance to they would yield up their lives them, or, that they might show to the fire, the water, or the me a nearer way to heaven. sword. These things he him- I made inquiries of my worthy self had observed, in numerous host, if he knew any of these instances, to the great asto- people, who informed me, they nishment of the spectators, who were all driven to those prowitnessed how cheerfully, and vinces which had revolted from with what purpose of heart, the king, where they were tothey went to their fate, without lerated, and protected. On discovering any inclination to my asking him, if there were seek for revenge on their perse- any at Antwerp? ' he said, he cutors.* This information, con- had reason to believe there tinued the monk, exceedingly were, but they were very consurprised me, because I never cealed and unknown. I had
nor had ever heard of occasion, continued the prior, such steadfastness, since the of going from Louvaine to Antpersecutions of the primitive werp, on business; and I church. I began to think, whe- availed myself of the opportuther that could be the true nity, to make inquiry after the church, which so violently per- Anabaptists; I was told, at secuted others, especially such first, there were none; but, in believers in Christ as these. It consequence of earnest and was, indeed, observed to me, persevering inquiry, a person that the emperor had prepared | privately told me, he knew one,
* The second part of the Dutch Baptist Martyrology is intirely composed of the accounts of the apprehension, trials, and cruel deaths of ihese excellent martyrs, to the amount of several thousands; but being written in the Dutch language only, the parrative of the sufferings of these worthies, is almost wholly unknown to their brethren in England,
but that they did not like for they never lie. I then requestany person to make them known; ed him to inform me, in what but, at my request, he went to manner they conducted their the man, and succeeded in ob- worship? he said, We sometaining for me, an interview. times read, in secret, a chapI went to his house, and found ter, and then expound on it; a person of a very grave and and added, the Lord Jesus, he modest appearance, who, after is our only priest and pastor. the interchange of the usual But, said he, in Zealand, and, courtesies, inquired into the particularly in Holland, there object of my wishing an inter- are many, for we have public view with him. As he knew, a congregations in those parts. little Latin, and I a little Dutch, Thus closed my interview with we could understand each other this man. On parting, he retolerably well; I proceeded to quested me, in conformity with state to him, that I had heard, my promise, that I would keep with surprise, of the conduct secret the place of his abode, of bis brethren, and that, from and the discourse I had with this circumstance, I was de him. I took my leave, with a sirous to know, what was the mind fully occupied with rereason of their leaving the flections. church, and why they adhered « On my leaving Antwerp, to their opinions with so much continued the prior, it was pertinacity? To the first ques- told me, that Klubomiersky tion, he replied, that our church was arrived at Brussels again, was so corrupt, that very few with a commission from His symptoms of Christianity re- Majesty, to announce his will mained; and this, he demon to the revolted provinces. On strated to me, with so many this I altered my intention, and, reasons, that it caused me no instead of returning to Lousmall concern. On the second vaine, I proceeded to Brussels. question, he said, they were On my arrival, I met my counafraid of a defection from their trymen, with all those emotions faith ; in the first place, be- of pleasure, on both sides, which cause that God was acquainted are usual in natives of the same with all things, even their country, meeting in foreign thoughts; and, secondly, be-parts. We forthwith applied cause whoever loved any thing for his excellency's permission better than Christ, was not to travel, under his protection, worthy of him.
That there in the other provinces; and remained no more sacrifice for having obtained it, my comsin to apostates. I was greatly panions used me as their interastonished at his acquaintance preter, from my knowing somewith the scriptures; and asked thing of the Dutch: my object, him, if he were a minister among however, was to obtain some his
party ? he said, No; and in- farther information of the faith formed me, that there was no and doctrines of these Anabapone at Antwerp. I believed tists. On our arrival at the him readily, for it is known that Hague, I left my company,