THE COMPLETE WORKS OF

MENNO SIMON,

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL DUTCH OF HOLLAND.

 

Volume Two

 

Volume 1 Contains Renunciation of Popery, Foundation and Plain Instruction, The True Christian Faith, Concerning the New Birth, Cross of Christ, Pleasing Meditation on the Twenty-fifth Psalm, The Spiritual Resurrection, Excommunication, The Education of Children and Letters.

 

Volume 2 Contains Reply to Gellius Faber, A Supplication to Christians, Apology, Reply to John A’Lasco, The Triune, Eternal and True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Christian Baptism, Reason Why, A Confession, Reply to Zylis and Lemmekes, Replication, The Incarnation, Reply to Martin Micron, Jesus, the True Scriptural David, Letters, etc.

 

 

Volume Two.

 

“The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of Judgment.  The Law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”  Psalm 37:30, 31.

 

“Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.”  Hebrew 13:7.

 

 

Elkhart, Indiana

Published by John F. Funk and Brother,

1871

 

Entered according to Act of Congress,

in the year 1871, by

JOHN F. FUNK & BROTHER,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

 

 

 
 

MENNO SIMONS.

Born in Witmarsen, in Friesland, Holland, in the year 1496, and died in Woestevelt, formerly called Oldeslohe, on the 13th of January 1561, in the 66th year of his age.

 

The Complete Works of Menno Simon,  Volume 2

 

Menno Simons’ prominence as a leader of the Anabaptist movement came somewhat as a result of his prolificacy.  Being one of the few Radical Reformers who did not suffer an early martyr’s death, he had much more time to write and develop his ideas.  His complete works include his magnum opus: The Foundation of Christian Doctrine, plus essays, devotionals, letters, and tracts.  Even a brief skim of his work can lead to much greater appreciation and understanding of both early Anabaptism and the contemporary Mennonite tradition.

Kathleen O’Bannon

CCEL Staff

 

 

Digital Versions

Restored, Corrected and Reset

by

Bruce Armstrong

Central Highlands Congregation of God

Volume 2 Released

18th February, 2024

 

Published by

Central Highlands Christian Publications

PO Box 236 Creswick Vic 3363 Australia

info@chcpublications.net

chcpublications.net

 

 

Digital Edition Foreword

It is almost 500 years since Menno Simon wrote this material, and 150 years since the English translation was printed, but his work remains valuable for God’s children to read and understand.  From the moment Menno decided to truly walk with Christ, his life was in constant danger, and many of his fellow believers were cruelly murdered for their faith.

 

This edition began with the CCEL digital version.  It has been carefully corrected using the original printed translation and then ‘translated’ into modern English, as it seems inappropriate to leave it in the archaic King James Bible style English which the 1871 translators chose, rather than using contemporary language and making it more like the Dutch used by Menno.  The updates included restoring God’s nameJehovaheverywhere it is used in the original manuscripts of the Bible.

 

As Menno stressed many times, we too need to hold fast to Christ, study his Word, and follow His Instructions to the end of our days.  Menno taught baptism was only for believers, our need for the indwelling of the Holy spirit, non-violence, obedience to Christ first and then to secular rulers, separation from the unbiblical myths and traditions of Catholicism and Protestantism and the exclusion of unrepentant sinners from our congregations.  May this version of Menno’s work inspire you to deepen and strengthen your faith, especially if you find yourself threatened with the viciousness the early Mennonites faced in the coming Great Tribulation.

 

Bruce Armstrong

Central Highlands Congregation of God

 

 

Contents

GELLIUS FABER,

PREFACE.

REPLY TO A PUBLICATION OF GELLIUS FABER.

OF THE MISSION OR CALLING OF THE PREACHERS.

CONCERNING BAPTISM.

THE LORD’S SUPPER.

EXCOMMUNICATION, BAN OR SEPARATION.

CONCERNING THE CHURCH, AND AN INSTRUCTIVE COMPARISON:

THE SIGNS BY WHICH BOTH CHURCHES MAY BE KNOWN.

The True Signs By Which The Church Of Christ May Be Known.

The True Signs By Which The Church Of Anti-Christ May Be Known.

CONCERNING SOME ACCUSATIONS AGAINST US.

THE CONFESSION OF THE LEARNED CONCERNING CHRIST.

CONCLUSION.

A VERY HUMBLE SUPPLICATION OF THE POOR, DESPISED CHRISTIANS

A LETTER OF CONSOLATION, ADDRESSED TO AN AFFLICTED WIDOW.

Complaint or Apology

A BRIEF COMPLAINT OR APOLOGY.

DESCRIPTION OF A TRUE PREACHER.

A SCRIPTURAL EXPLANATION OF EXCOMMUNICATION.

DEMONSTRATION to JOHN A’LASCO,

PREFACE.

A CLEAR, INCONTROVERTIBLE CONFESSION, &c.

FIRST PART. Reply to John A’Lasco

SECOND PART. OUR CONFESSION.

THIRD PART. THE CONFUTATION.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES UPON THE FOREGOING SUBJECT.

CONCLUSION.

A CONFESSION OF THE Triune, Eternal and True GOD,

PREFACE.

A CONFESSION OF THE TRIUNE, ETERNAL, AND TRUE GOD,

The Holy Spirit

CHRISTIAN BAPTISM

MENNO SIMON’S SALUTATION.

PREFACE.

CHRISTIAN BAPTISM.

TEACHINGS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES CONCERNING BAPTISM IN THE WATER.

HOW THE HOLY APOSTLES PRACTICED BAPTISM IN THE WATER.

A LETTER OF CAUTION ON DISCORD.

ANOTHER LETTER.

THE REASON WHY MENNO SIMON DOES NOT CEASE TEACHING AND WRITING.

CLEAR CONFESSION OF THE POOR AND DISTRESSED CHRISTIANS

PREFACE.

A FUNDAMENTAL AND CLEAR CONFESSION

HEARING THE PREACHERS.

OF BAPTISM.

INFANT BAPTISM.

THE LORD’S HOLY SUPPER.

THE SUPPER OF THE FALSE PREACHERS.

THE SWEARING OF OATHS.

CONCLUSION.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

CONCLUSION.

ZYLIS AND LEMMEKES

THOROUGH ANSWER,

JUSTIFICATION AND REPLICATION,

TO THE READER.

PREFACE.

A HUMBLE AND CHRISTIAN DEFENSE.

CONCLUSION.

SCRIPTURAL DEMONSTRATION to JOHN A’LASCO

PREFACE.

A TRUE CONFESSION

OBJECTIONS.

ADMONISHING CONFESSION

CONCLUSION.

ANTI-CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE of MARTIN MICRON

PREFACE.

ANSWER TO MARTIN MICRON’S

HOW THE ‘ENGLISH’ CAME INTO DISCUSSION WITH US.

DISCUSSION BETWEEN HERMAN AND MYSELF.

FIRST DISCUSSION WITH MICRON

SECOND DISCUSSION WITH MICRON

THIRTY-ONE ARTICLES AND DIFFERENCES

FORTY-FIVE UNSCRIPTURAL CONFESSIONS,

CONCLUSION.

FOURTEEN INCONSISTENCIES,

MICRON’S FOUNDATION AND FAITH

OUR DOCTRINE AND FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST,

OF GENESIS 3:15,

MICRON’S CONFESSION,

THE SON OF GOD, ABRAHAM AND DAVID

CONCERNING THE TWO NATURES IN CHRIST,

GOD IS THE TRUE FATHER

HOW THE DIVINE WORD WAS MADE FLESH,

CONCLUSION.

A LETTER.

From Menno Simon to Margaret, wife of Rein Eden.

A VERY SINCERE EPISTLE TO MARTIN MICRON.

A HUMBLE PRAYER TO THE READER.

A PLAIN AND CONVINCING PROOF,

TESTIMONY AGAINST JOHN VAN LEYDEN.

SHUNNING AND SEPARATION

A KIND ADMONITION.

A LETTER TO A SISTER.

PROVIDENTIAL DELIVERANCES OF MENNO SIMON.

INDEX TO VOLUME 2.

 

 

A

REPLY TO A PUBLICATION

OF

GELLIUS FABER,

MINISTER AT EMDEN,

 

WHICH HE PUBLISHED IN THE YEAR 1562

(IF I MISTAKE NOT), TO SLANDER THE PIOUS CHILDREN OF GOD, AND TO EMBITTER THEIR CROSS; TO ENSNARE AND DECEIVE THE THOUGHTLESS, AND TO COMFORT AND ENCOURAGE THEM IN THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS AND CORRUPTION.

 

BY

 

MENNO SIMON.

 

Duo opposita (inquit Philosophus) juxta se posita, magis eluseunt.

(Two facts set opposite to each other, says the philosopher, become the more apparent.)

 

SECOND VOLUME.

 

ELKHART, INDIANA.

PUBLISHED BY JOHN F. FUNK AND BROTHER.

1871.

 

 

 

May God, our heavenly Father, through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, graciously grant spiritual enlightenment and salutary understanding to all the pious and unprejudiced readers of this work, of whatever class, who sincerely seek the Lord and his saving truth, Amen.

 

“For no other foundation can any man lay than what is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. 3:11.

 

 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by

JOHN F. FUNK & BROTHER,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

 

 

PREFACE.

PAUL writes to Timothy and says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trace-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; from such turn away,” 2 Tim. 3:1-5.

Further he says, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine, for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables,” 2 Tim. 4:1-4.

Again Daniel says, “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” Dan. 12:1.

Beloved reader, if you will pay close attention to the seeking, teaching and conduct of the preachers of the present day and to the deplorable condition of the common people, you will be convinced that the teachers of whom Paul speaks are here in great numbers and that the abominable time has arrived.  O reader, take heed!  It is such a time now, that if Sodom was flourishing as of old, it would compare as pious and righteous with the present, miserable world.  Yet, through the just punishment and wrath of God, Sodom was turned into ashes and suffered the vengeance of eternal fire.

“Behold,” says the prophet, “this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: Pride, fullness of bread, abundance of idleness, was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy; and they were haughty and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit,” Ezek. 16:49, 50.

But now the world lives as if they were merely born to ungodliness and sensuality; and as if God was a dreamer and his word a fable.  Say, beloved, is it not so?  My kind reader, is it not so?  Where is he who sincerely fears God and seeks after the truth?  Wherever we turn we see nothing but unrighteousness, idolatry, deceit and despising of God.  And all this is adorned with the holy name, word, death and blood of Christ; besides, with human weakness and with false freedom, to avoid offence, O Lord, as if Christ were the Redeemer of all the impenitent and Mediator of all perverse sinners.  No, my reader, no; this is not the case.  Beware!  Paul says, “If you live after the flesh, you shall die,” Rom. 8:13.

Inasmuch, then, that the world is so corrupted on every hand, that it has become a double Sodom, no, a confused Babel or benighted Egypt, under the pretense and name of christian churches; and since the great and merciful God has, in these latter days of unrighteousness, again revealed unto some the precious word of his divine grace in a pure, christian understanding and placed it as a clear light amidst the darkness.  He will yet, in everlasting love, assemble unto himself, before the dark day, an obedient and willing church through the revelation of his holy word and the enlightenment of his eternal Spirit.  Since he has chosen them as his own peculiar people, [many] from the assembly of anti-christ, through true repentance and a virtuous walk (although in weakness), under the cross of Christ, together with a salutary use of the sacramental signs according to the ordinance of Christ and his apostles and through a free, unfeigned confession of faith in the precious blood of Christ.  Therefore all the gates of hell arise and rave, so that, alas, true christians can find but little rest upon earth, as may be seen.

The rulers banish and persecute them, drag them into prisons and dungeons, torture and rob them and in many places deprive them of their manhood, possessions and even life.

This perverse and reckless people always call us anabaptists; heap one shameful lie upon another; point at us with the finger of scorn, as if we so behaved that fire and sword were too merciful a punishment for our bodies and eternal hell-fire too merciful a punishment for our souls.

The preachers and the learned “are corrupt and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily,” as the prophet says, Psa. 73:8.  Although we testify by so many tribulations that we, in our poor weakness, sincerely desire to fear and follow the Lord and that we seek and desire peace with all mankind; yet, we are infamously slandered.  We are accused, everywhere, before lords and rulers of cities and countries, that we are ungodly sects and anabaptists; that we are seducing the populace; conspire to raise mutiny and rebellion; and are falsely accused of other criminal intentions; that they may thus obscure and obstruct the precious word of God, the word of true repentance; the joyous gospel of grace; the true and powerful faith in Christ Jesus; the pious, unblamable life, required by the Scriptures; and destroy the glorious kingdom of Christ and his righteousness; lest their cause and unfaithfulness be made manifest to the world; as may be concluded from their fruits.  And on the other hand, so that the corrupt kingdom of anti-christ, the kingdom of this world, may be preserved uninterruptedly and maintained without shame unto the end, in falsehood, impenitence, open idolatry, a carnal, easy life and in unrighteousness, according to the desires of the old serpent.

Behold thus works the “prince of the power of the air, the Spirit that now works in the children of disobedience,” as Paul says, Eph. 2:2.  This may, alas, be plainly seen in the case of Gellius Faber,* if we well consider his writings, slanders, bitter, offensive words, his false accusations, his vain boasting and gross garbling and judge them according to the Spirit and word of the Lord.

Notwithstanding that it is well known to many thousands of honest and reasonable people (as I suppose) that we seek nothing else upon earth but that we may in our weakness, willingly walk in the footsteps of Christ, in obedience to his word; that we may again light the extinguished lamp of truth, may call many unto righteousness and that we may save our souls by the assistance and grace of the Lord.  On this account we, poor ones everywhere, must endure so much tribulation, misery, anxiety, cross and persecution.  Nevertheless, the above mentioned Gellius, who in this case should be our assistant and fosterer (for he claims to be a servant of the holy word), still increases our anxiety and sore persecution and the hatred and bitterness against us, by his unscriptural arguments and hostility to our foundation and doctrine, by his covert, malicious complaints to the magistracy and by his infamous slanders which he publishes, through his writings, to the world, to the dishonor of God and his holy word; to the disgrace of all the pious; to the confirmation of his own condemnation and to the deceiving of the simple.  Therefore, no well-disposed person will think hard of me, that I, by an open reply, in accordance with the Spirit and word of my Lord, defend, to the best of my ability, the honor of God, the salvation of my brethren, the foundation of my faith and the praise of Christ, my Lord, whose service I entered, unworthily, by his grace and calling, according to his divine will.

I trust, too, with the gracious help of God, that I shall be able to do this so powerfully and clearly, with so many plain reasons and Scriptures, that not only the theologians but also all reasonable and impartial readers and hearers will, by the grace of God, clearly understand that he and the preachers of his class, support deceiving lies; and that we, through the grace of God, support the sure foundation of truth.  I, with this, humbly beseech and faithfully advise all my readers, friends and enemies, that they will attentively read, assiduously examine and judge according to Scripture my forced reply and defense, not with partiality, not drowsily or spitefully but with care and impartiality.  This matter is of like importance to us all, namely, the praise of God and of Christ and the salvation of our poor souls.  Let none imagine that he cannot be accepted.

There is but one road and gate that leads to life, which is a strict road, Mat. 7:13, also, but one doctrine.  If we wish to enter with Christ into the kingdom of his glory, we must all walk the strict way and enter in at the narrow gate and be obedient to his word; of this let everyone be aware.

Since, then, it is evident that Gellius and the learned, base their doctrines, sacraments, &c., mainly upon human wisdom, garbled Scriptures, upon ideas and opinions; and that we base ours upon God’s word; that he and his followers walk upon the broad road and that our followers walk upon the strict road; that he is not persecuted, but does persecute by his writings; and, on the other hand, that we are persecuted and do not retaliate; therefore, all right-minded persons must admit that the truth and the true church is not with them, but with us.  It is an infallible rule as proven by the word of God and the example of all the pious, that where the true church is, there also are and necessarily must be the saving doctrine, true sacraments, unfeigned love, a pious, godly life and the excommunion or separation of the impenitent and perverse, according to the word of God; as may be clearly concluded, by the grace of God, from the following replication.

I would, therefore, earnestly pray for all the pious, for God’s sake, that they would assist me by their ardent prayers to the Most High, that he will bestow upon me, a poor, weak man, together with my beloved brethren and faithful servants in the Lord, the gift of his grace and the power of his wisdom; so that we may silence all opponents, by virtue of true doctrine and an unblamable walk and thus maintain to the end, the house of our God, in pure, godly zeal and christian love, to the honor and praise of his great name, to whom be praise and the eternal kingdom, Amen.

 

 
 

 

 

REPLY TO A PUBLICATION OF GELLIUS FABER.

 

Pure and clear is wisdom; strong and powerful is truth; simple and desirable is righteousness; happy is he who possesses them, for his heart rejoices in the Lord, his mouth speaks what is right and his feet are upon the way of peace.

 

IN THE first place, Gellius adduces the saying of Christ, as a warning to all his readers, where he speaks, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves,” Mat. 7:15.

Answer.  If the reader can rightly distinguish, according to the Spirit and word of God, between the nature of the sheep and the wolves and understands what this sheep’s clothing means, with which the ravening wolves are covered, then the saying would, undoubtedly, not be applied to us, but to our opponents; for in what kind of clothing he here appears, with which he keeps the simple in darkness and binds their souls to damnation, will be plainly and clearly shown, through the grace of God, to all the pious and godly readers, in the following reply, if they compare it with his writing.

 

In the second place he adduces Paul and says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there are no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment,” 1 Cor. 1:10.

Answer.  If we well consider this saying, we will find that it admonishes all true christians not to live carnally nor to be sectarian; that the one shall not boast of this and another of that; but points us to the only and true Shepherd and Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ, who was crucified for us and in whose name we were baptized; all of which we, in our weakness, would gladly and earnestly do, by the grace and help of God, as our tribulation, misery, affliction, blood and death abundantly have testified in many different instances.

But Gellius so construes it as to keep his readers from the unity of the Spirit, word, house and body of Christ and to keep them, through his deceitful doctrine, unscriptural infant-baptism, &c., in the unity of the spirit, word, house and body of anti-christ and undisturbedly upon the broad way.

 

In the third place, Gellius has addressed his writing to a nobleman, as is generally customary with the learned; thinking, perhaps, that by this means, their aim will be the easier attained, through the favor and assistance of such high officials; something which the pious testimonies, prophets and teachers of God’s truth and word, especially of the New Testament never desired and much less sought.

In the fourth place Gellius gives his two principal reasons why he has published his writing.  The first is, he says, Because I see that these anabaptists are daily coming into this country, secretly, from the imperial dominion, where they do and can do the most damage and not only sow here anew, their pernicious seed by hedge-preaching, but also by publications, writings and private letters, which we must stop and silence lest the unwary be deceived and that we may yet redeem some of them who have not yet become slanderers, &c.

Answer.  These very offensive words, like anabaptists, secretly coming, hedge-preaching, pernicious seed, &c., alas, plainly show the disposition of the man who penned them.  Yes, my readers, Gellius knows as well as I do, what Christ has commanded concerning baptism and how the holy apostles practiced it.  Again, that Paul rebaptized some who were baptized by John (although John’s baptism was from Heaven) only, because they were not informed concerning the Holy Spirit; that the worthy martyr Cyprian and the African bishops, together with the council of Nice, did not acknowledge the baptism of heretics, as baptism, on account of their being outside of Christ’s church and without his Spirit and word.

Notwithstanding all this, we must be called anabaptists; never minding that we, in our infancy were baptized, not only without the Spirit, faith, word or divine ordinance, but also without all reason and understanding, with an open, anti-Christian baptism, by such as he and the learned of his class themselves call anti-Christians, apostates, heretics and deceivers, who neither rightly understand God nor his word; who practice open idolatry; who bend their knees before wood and stone; who put their trust in idle doctrines and commands of men; who unrestrainedly walk according to the lusts of the flesh and who worship and honor a creation of God, namely, a piece of bread, as the only and eternal Son of God.

Although we have before us as a pattern, Christ’s plain word and the salutary doctrine and open practice of the apostles, besides, Paul and both the councils, as heard; yet, alas, there are no bounds to offensive words, such as anabaptists, &c., which Gellius uses against us.

We may not retaliate, Rom. 12:19, else we might call them infant-baptists with more propriety than they call us anabaptists; for we have the whole Scriptures on our side, but they do not have one word nor one example.  But his saying that we do and can do most damage in the imperial dominion, shows, alas, his stupidity and blindness.

All Scriptures teach us that idolaters and carnally-minded shall die and he well knows that in these countries, their (the world’s), worship is nothing less than open idolatry and gross abomination and that their life, as a general thing, is nothing but a reckless, impenitent and carnal life, as is the case at Emden and everywhere.  Yet he dares to write that there they [we] do most damage.  And this he does for no other reason than because they (the pious) storm the kingdom of hell with the Lord’s Spirit, word and power; rebuke open idolatry; teach the true worship; rightly confess Christ; and because they point out the true way to this perverse, impenitent and carnal generation.  If this is damaging, as Gellius calls it, then the Scriptures which speak so thoroughly of an unblamable, pious life, have badly deceived us; this you must admit.  O, what a wrong judgment.

Behold, thus does the god of this world blind such rebellious and contentious spirits, who so recklessly contend against the word of God and who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, Rom. 2:8, that they become so obdurate and perverse that they call the glorious gain in Christ, attained through his grace, Spirit and power, a loss; and call good, evil and evil, good; woe unto such, Isaiah 5:20.

I would further say that he also says, in other places, that we are the only ones who obstruct them in their doctrine of impenitence and offensiveness, by our doctrine (which is not ours but the sound doctrine of Christ) and by our humble and unblamable walk which results from our doctrine through faith; and that we are thus the cause of their not being so highly esteemed as before and that they cannot continue in their ways, as they would like to do; therefore, perhaps, he complains that we do most damage there.  But we say, It is because they serve the world under the semblance of the gospel, only from carnal motives; and flatter the rulers that they may aggrandize themselves with the property, church and cloister, which was intended (though wrongfully), as a sacrifice to the honor of God and that they may maintain the gospel of Christ by force of arms; because they flatter the people with the idea that Christ remitted our sins; that faith alone avails; that they are poor, weak sinners who cannot keep the commandments of God and other like idle consolations; so that everybody lives according to the lusts of his flesh, singing and crying, “The cord is loosed and we are free,” and turn the grace of God into unrighteousness, as Jude says, 1:4; because they live in the old state of sinfulness, without any fear of God, as if they never in their lives heard one syllable of the word of the Lord and as if God would not punish ungodliness and unrighteousness.  Therefore the just Lord who righteously judges all things, again takes from them the knowledge which they may have had, because of their ingratitude (for they only teach and proclaim the gospel of his grace according to the lusts of the flesh) and give it to those who will bring forth fruit, as Christ spoke to the Pharisee, Mat. 21:43.

Again, to the unreasonable and offensive word “secretly enter,” I reply: Moses and Christ, the apostles and prophets, as also, natural reason unanimously teach us that we should receive, comfort, help, assist and serve the miserable, afflicted and needy stranger; and it is a fact well known to Gellius that these poor children whom he afflicts, have fled in unfeigned fear of their God to a foreign country for protection, with their weak women and little children, to escape the bloody tyrannical sword.  Not on account of crime or roguery, but on account of the testimony of God and their consciences; even as the pursued doves flee from the bird of prey; and that we, through the grace of God place ourselves under the protection of this or that merciful and kind-hearted ruler; and although they, for the sake of divine truth, are bereft of their native country, possessions and earthly comforts, yet they can, through God’s grace, reasonably support themselves, as is promised in Scripture.  If he were, in fact, what he boasts to be, namely, a preacher of the holy word, then his inmost soul would be moved to compassion towards these afflicted orphans and innocent hearts; he would be kind to them and assist them as much as is in his power; he would intercede for them before the magistracy, since he may observe in them such a moving spirit and ardent zeal, that they stake their possessions and blood to the praise of their God, as may be openly witnessed.  But now, this misery and sore affliction, namely, the flight from the gaping lion’s mouth and from fire and sword, into more merciful countries, must be called by him “secretly entering.”  O, Lord!

What kind of a preacher and christian he is; how he acts according to love; and how he walks according to the word of the Lord in this respect, all reasonable persons who are not more than half blind may judge from these, his writings together with his daily cries of the same kind.

To the slanderous sentence “sowing pernicious seed,” I reply: Every seed brings forth fruit after its own kind, Gen. 1:11.

My dear reader, take heed to what I write.  God’s word, on every hand, requires a pure heart, a new mind and a penitent, christian life, dead unto sin.  John the Baptist says, “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance.”  Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Mat. 3:8; 4:17.  Again, I have come to call sinners to repentance, Mat. 9:13 and many other Scriptures of the kind might be adduced.

Inasmuch, then, that the Scriptures, on every hand, require of us true repentance and that also the sacramental signs, as baptism and Holy Supper signify, represent and teach to all true christian believers a penitent, unblamable life; and since, according to the tenor of the Scriptures, no one can be a true christian without true repentance and that every kind of seed brings forth fruit after its own kind, as already said, namely, lies, children of lies and truth, children of truth.  It is a fact well known to many reasonable persons that God has, through us and our fellow-servants, in his great power and infinite grace, turned unto the true and living God, many a proud, avaricious, unchaste, cruel, lying, carnal and idolatrous heart and has so humbled, moved, renewed and changed them that they would rather die than act hypocritically, or willingly speak or countenance any falsehood against the well being of their neighbors, as is testified in our Netherlands by the precious blood of so many pious saints.  And since the fruits of Gellius’ seed, that is, his followers, remain so entirely impenitent in their lives and unchanged in their hearts that they live in pomp and splendor, go attired in silk and velvet and are adorned with gold and silver; live in all manner of unrighteousness, avarice, carousing, hatred and envy; in short, live according to the lusts of the flesh and would, for the sake of a penny, falsely swear by the Lord or by their soul, &c.; therefore we will let all reasonable and intelligent persons judge who of us bring forth bad fruits, Gellius and his followers, or us and our followers.  Whoever sincerely seeks and loves the truth, read and ponder.

O, dear Lord!  Thus your holy and precious word, the word of your grace, the word of your love, by the power and grace of which we will live eternally with you, is called by this man and by others also, deceit and pernicious seed; and their open lies, obvious error and unreasonable adulteration of Scripture, of which more will be said hereafter, is called the true doctrine of Christ and the holy word of God.  If it be wilful slander and perverseness, then, alas, it is too bad.  But if it be ignorant blindness or misconception, then, [may] the gracious Father grant them eyes to see.  This is my sincere wish, as the Lord knows.

Again, he writes, “that we sow anew our pernicious seed, not only by hedge-preaching, but also by publications, letters,” &c.  To this I reply with holy David: We believe, therefore we speak and must suffer tribulation.  For since God, the merciful Father, has given us, poor creatures, the Spirit of faith and bestowed upon us the Spirit of his love from on high, through his Son Jesus Christ and has sprinkled our hearts with the heavenly dew of his love, has opened unto us the seven seals of the book of his knowledge; has disclosed unto us the mystery of his divine word and pleasure; has awakened us from the dead and given us life, a new heart, mind and disposition and has nourished us with the bread of life, so that we, through his grace, have found the beautiful pearl, the precious treasure and eternal peace, which we could not possibly acquire through the deceiving doctrine, subtle sophistry and false consolations of the learned; therefore we would teach, proclaim and imprint on the hearts of all mankind, to the best of our ability, this manifest grace of his great love toward us, that they may enjoy with us the same joy and renewal of spirit and know and taste with all saints how sweet, good and kind the Lord is to whom we have turned.

We preach, therefore, as much as is in our power, both day and night, in houses and in the open air, in forests and in wildernesses, hither and thither, in this and in foreign lands, in prisons and in dungeons, in water and in fire, on the scaffold and on the wheel, before lords and princes, orally and by writings at the risk of possessions and blood, life and death; as we have done these many years; and are not ashamed of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Rom. 1:16; for we are a living fruit and strongly feel the moving power in our hearts, as may be seen in many instances by the commendable submissiveness and willing sacrifices of our faithful brethren and joint-heirs in Christ Jesus.

We would save all mankind from the jaws of hell; deliver them from the chains of their sins and by the gracious help of God, win them to Christ by the gospel of his peace; for this is the true nature of the love which is of God.

He then accuses us of preaching at night and says in another place “That we secretly enter into cities and towns, from fear of the cross; that we sit with closed doors to treat with the simple; not to convert them to true christianity but to convert them to anabaptism,” &c.  To which I reply in the first place: It is true that we sometimes have to serve the Lord and preach his word at night (in the dead of night), but I fear that Gellius and the learned are the principal cause of this: For they have so embittered and still embitter all lords, princes, rulers and magistrates against us by their fiendish, unmerited upbraiding, slandering and defaming that we cannot, alas, so much move them, with Scripture, supplications, tears, misery, tribulation, loss of possessions, blood or life, that we can safely go about, verbally to defend the word of God, before these open enemies of the cross of Christ and of wholesome truth; but we must (understand, we teachers) everywhere conceal ourselves in shops and retired places to escape the persecutors and blood-thirsty, if we do not wish to be, at once, torn up and devoured by the terrible beasts which arise from the sea.

Beloved readers, observe well what I write.  Gellius accuses us of “preaching at night.”  It was in the year 1543, if my memory serves me right, that a decree was read throughout West Friesland, “That criminals and even manslayers were promised pardon, imperial grace, freedom of country (in those times banishing was in vogue) and besides one hundred earl-guilders, if they would betray me and deliver me into the hands of the executioner.”

About the year 1539, a husbandman, who was a very pious man, named Tjaert Reyndertz, was seized in my stead, because, out of pity and compassion, he concealed me in his house while I was hotly pursued; and was a few days thereafter put on the wheel, after a free confession of faith, as a valiant soldier of Christ, after the example of his Lord; although even his enemies acknowledged that he was an unblamable, pious man.

Also, in 1546, at a place where they boasted of the word, four houses were at once confiscated, because the owner had rented one of them for a short time, to my sick wife and little ones; although the neighbors were not aware of their presence.

What decrees have been issued against some of us and what rewards have been offered for our apprehension, in different dominions and cities; what imperial mandates and Roman condemnations have been resolved against us; and how we are treated on every hand, is well known to Gellius and to the preachers of his class.  That they are the very cause and the authors of these things, I unreservedly write and testify without fear.  Behold, thus they hate all those who rightly teach God’s word.

Notwithstanding this, Gellius and others are not ashamed to say, “That we, out of fear of the cross, secretly enter cities and towns, sit with closed doors,” &c., as if we were stones and blocks of wood, which neither do nor can fear any deathly evils; while he and his well know that the chosen men of God, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Aaron, besides the prophets and apostles, no, even Christ himself, so feared to die that they sometimes took to flight.

In the second place, I say that so long as I, a poor weak man, have served the pious with my small talent, I have taught more, by far, in day-time than at night.  The Lord is my witness that I write the truth.  Yet we must be upbraided by these perverse people as night and hedge-preachers, as if the word of God could not be taught anywhere but in their houses of abomination (who do not know the Scriptures) and as if God was not God of the night as well as of the day.  O, perverseness.

Say, reader, was not the night pure unto faithful Moses and all Israel to eat the Passover? Exodus 12:3-8.  Did Christ think it wrong to exhort Nicodemus at night? John 3:2.  Did he not partake, with his disciples, of the Holy Supper at night, just before his suffering? Mat. 26:26; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23.  Did the church not assemble at night, when Peter was delivered from the hands of the tyrant by the aid of an angel, out of fear of Herod and the Jews? Acts 12:7.  Did holy Paul not preach the word in an upper chamber at Troas at night and break the Lord’s bread with the disciples, just before his leaving? Acts 20:7.  Did the saints of the primitive church not sometimes meet at night to break the Lord’s bread and drink the holy cup? For which they were suspicioned and had to hear and bear many hard names.  Does not Hilarius write that the apostles met in halls and retired places and that they travelled through many countries and nations, by water and by land, against the prohibitions and decrees of the rulers.

Behold, my readers, whether that which was allowable and free to Moses, Israel, Christ, the apostles and to the primitive churches, namely, the service and preaching of the word of God at night, is free to us or not, especially in these critical times of tyranny, we will let the intelligent reader judge according to Scripture, in the fear of his God.

O Lord!  Thus they (the world) seek causes, encumbrances and complaints to offend your poor children more and more and to burden them with the cross, that they may persecute and kill them, in semblance of justice; for they are an obstacle to their works and a smarting to their eyes.

In the third place, I say that I have heretofore twice offered publicly to treat with them on Scripture, under safe conduct, before twenty or thirty witnesses or before a full meeting.  But what kind of answer I received, their message, which I yet possess, testifies.  Afterwards, in the memorable times of bishop Herman, Elector of Ceulen, at their own request, I offered this same thing again to the learned men of Bon, but my offer was rejected, on account of these kind gentlemen being dissuaded by John A’Lasco and A. H.; by their accusing me of three falsehoods, such as I never thought of and much less said or advised and which I, for good reasons will not now touch upon, for all of which I have the testimony of a manuscript of a preacher named Henricus.  But what their intentions were, in regard to this matter, I will leave to him who knows all things.  Also, the preachers of Wesel, in the land of Kleef, pretended that they would furnish me safe conduct and treat with me, &c.; but when I signified my willingness, in writing, I received an answer that they would let the executioner treat with me; and other tyrannical and unchristian words.

I will yet speak of what I asked in my “Foundation;” in the “Preface to the Twenty-fifth Psalm,” many years ago; also in my “Excuse,” in the “Supplication to the Magistracy,” and also in my “Message to the Learned and Preachers of the German Nations,” who boast of the word, concerning a free Treatise on Scripture, published in the year 1552.  And I am still willing and prepared, at all times, so long as breath remains in me, or my intellect does not fail me and so long as I can sit on a wagon or lay in a ship, to appear before Gellius, or anybody else, verbally to defend the foundation of our faith and to testify to the truth of Jesus Christ, if I can do so in safety, in good, christian faith and in sincerity of heart, to the praise of our God, to the extension of his church, to the promulgation of his holy word and to the salvation of our neighbors.  This is the main desire of my heart, that I may preach and promulgate his great, adorable name, teach his word, seek his gain and honor and exalt and defend his praise, to the best of my humble ability.

Since it is manifest that the world is, unjustly, so embittered against us that we are, alas, not allowed to be heard or seen; and that many an innocent, pious sheep, who is not a teacher, is sent hither and thither to be slaughtered by the sword, water or fire, without any mercy; and that we, miserable teachers, are not allowed to live in safety, anywhere under the broad canopy of heaven, not even in a pig-sty (so to speak), if known; but that we, through open mandates, are already judged before we are delivered and condemned before we are seized; something which never, as far as we know, transpired since the apostolic times; therefore, I pray all my readers for God’s sake, that they will, in the fear of God, thoughtfully consider what gross injustice Gellius and his followers have done us, by the use of such wrong and bitter words as night-preaching, hedge-preaching, conspiracy, secretly entering, &c., when we neither can nor dare do otherwise, as is well known.  Besides, we have on our side Moses and Christ, the apostles and also the example of the primitive church; who served the Lord at night as well as in day time, as has been already heard; and we are also prepared, at all times, to render an account of our faith and to defend the truth; if we can do so in good, christian faith, without deceit and shedding of blood, as has been already said.

I say further: It is by far more praiseworthy to teach the genuine, saving truth, at night, in a secret corner, when we can not openly meet in day-time, than to proclaim, in day-time, deceiving lies and a powerless doctrine of impenitence from the pulpit; as has, alas, been openly done these many years before the whole world; this must be acknowledged and admitted; for the disorderly state of affairs and the impenitent life of this generation testify to it.

At his saying that we should be stopped and silenced, lest we deceive the unwary (single) as he calls them, I reply: A better and surer way than the one we have by the grace of God, nobody can point out; of this we are convinced from the inmost of our soul.  For we acknowledge and feel that we have the word of God.  Nevertheless, we will always freely accept and willingly follow the instruction of any pious person who can, in the fear of God, convince us by the Spirit, word, example, commands, ordinances, prohibitions and usages of the Lord and not by tyranny and violence and point out anything that would be more useful and better; to greater honor to God, or more to the edification of his church, than we have followed and confessed during several years of manifest truth and to which we have unwaveringly testified in so exceedingly much anxiety, misery, tribulation and persecution.  For all things in Christ’s church that shall avail and stand before his throne must be judged by the Spirit, word, example, commands, ordinances, prohibitions and usages of the Lord.  I trust that those who seek and sincerely fear the Lord will agree with me in this respect.

But with this writing of Gellius he will, surely, not convince us; for it is full of brawling, profanity, defamation, false accusations, tyranny, sophistry, wrong explanations and false doctrines (if I am wrong, rebuke me); so that it does not silence the pious, as was his intention, but makes them still more active; and it will be the cause of strengthening salutary doctrine and truth and thus be the cause of his loss where he intended to make gain.  For I trust, when both our writings are compared one with another, that, through the grace of God, a glorious, clear light will be thrown on the church of Christ; while it will expose to the plain and humble whom he intends, by it, to dissuade from our doctrine, what his own nature, works, writings and fruits are, and, by comparing them to Christ’s plain word, Spirit, example, ordinances and usages prove to them how earthly and carnal-minded he and his are; how he exercises his profession; what he seeks; what are the fruits of his doctrine; what sacraments he uses; what ban he practices and what kind of church he holds to, &c.

I would, therefore, faithfully advise and pray to him, not to undertake more than he can accomplish; and not to kick against the pricks, Acts 9:5, for it will not avail him.  But he should remember that many a learned man (not that I esteem learning, if at all opposed to Christ), in past times as well as at present, has industriously tried it, as he now does; but what has been accomplished by it, the fruits openly testify.  For some of them have become such zealots against us that they have made themselves guilty of innocent blood; they have grossly offended and condemned to the judgment of the devil, so many pious and faithful hearts, who, through fear and love of their God, dared not walk with them on the broad road.  They have, besides, written and contended so much for the unity of their churches, that they have brought the poor, reckless people to such a disorderly and wild state that they, generally speaking, lead such a fruitless, impenitent life that it seems as if prophetic or apostolic doctrine had never been taught and as if Christ or the holy Spirit had never appeared on earth.

Had they, now, wisely, obediently and humbly comprehended, listened to and followed the word and ordinance of the Lord, the usage and example of the apostles; had they sincerely feared their God; had they not acted hypocritically with lords and princes and the world in general; but taught the doctrine in true zeal without any respect of persons or favors; had they faithfully, unto death, rebuked the sins of all mankind, of high and low station alike, with doctrine and with life; had they unwaveringly served God and obediently proclaimed the gospel, in such a manner as to have assembled and built up unto the Lord a truly, penitent people, that is, a true church, according to the example of the apostles; had they not sought their own gain and ease; and had they also not abused and slandered the pious and godly, by their crying and writing; then the precious word, Christ’s glorious gospel of grace never would have been profaned so light-mindedly; nor would this poor, unwary people have been degenerated into this wild and reckless state, as alas, may now be witnessed in all parts of the world.

Thus, I fear, it will be with Gellius; for of what use his preaching and church-service have been these many years, toward bringing about a pious, penitent life in the fear of God, I will let the world judge by his disciples, who are the fruit of his seed.

O, that he would take heed and not break God’s holy and precious word; that he would not slander the pious and godly, who testify to it with their heart, mouth, life and death; that he would learn to know his own envious, impure and bitter heart; his deceiving, inconsistent and infamous doctrine and his selfish, ambitious flesh; and would humble himself under the mighty hand of God, as the Scriptures teach us to do, for then he might yet be saved.  But as it is, I fear that his brawling, slandering and condemning of all the pious; together with his seeking after improper gain, favor and honor of men and the desire of an easy, careless life, will so entirely close his heart and bewilder his senses, that he will not acknowledge or desire the glorious brightness of Christ, nor the wisdom which is from God.  God grant that my apprehension is not realized and that he may yet receive grace; this is my sincere wish toward him and all of our opponents, Amen.

 

Gellius says further, that he has published his writing for the purpose of redeeming some of our followers, who have not yet become slanderers; and he says also that some have been redeemed through their faithful services, who now, with united hearts and spirits adore, praise and thank their Lord and God, at the public meetings of the church of God and Christ (these are his words), because they have been delivered from death and damnation and now feel a delight in Christ and penitence and peace in their hearts.

Answer.  If we, in true, christian zeal and unfeigned love, rebuke or reprove their false doctrine, deceiving, unscriptural sacraments and their reckless, carnal life, with the Spirit, word and life of Christ and point them to the glorious example of the prophets, of the apostles, of Christ and of all the true servants of God, he calls us slanderers.  From this it may be observed that our work of love is always interpreted to the contrary.  For if we write or speak mournfully, it is called sighing and groaning, if we reprove sharply, it is called brawling and slandering.  If we pipe, they dance not; if we mourn, they lament not, as Christ says, Mat. 11:17.  It is wrongly spoken, whatever we say to the perverse.  Although they commit abomination, yet they are not ashamed, neither do they blush, Jeremiah 8:12.

If the reproof of open sin, in true, christian love, according to the word of God, is slander, as Gellius calls it, then all the saints of God, the apostles and prophets, as also Jesus Christ himself were slanderers; this is incontrovertible; for they called the false prophets and preachers, false teachers, deceivers, dumb dogs, blind guides, hypocrites, thieves, murderers, wolves, cunning devisers, enemies of the cross, servants of their bellies, children of damnation, dry clouds, dead trees, locusts, &c., before the whole world.  But no.  To openly reprove deceit, transgressions, blasphemy of God or his word and sin in general is not slandering, as Gellius, through perverseness of heart, pronounces it against the innocent; but it is the fruit of the faithful love of those who would oppose evil and do good unto all.  I will leave it to the judgment of all pious and reasonable persons, if he is not a profaner of the church, a brawler and a slanderer and guilty of innocent blood, who calls the church of God a conspiracy; the regenerated children of God, apostatical anabaptists; the salutary doctrine of Christ, sectarianism and fanaticism; who slanders and condemns the baptism which Christ commanded and the apostles taught and practiced, as being a heresy; and falsely maintains and practices on the poor, ignorant people, the baptism of anti-christ, with many high-sounding words and phrases?  Who promises grace and peace to the proud, obdurate, avaricious, carnal and impenitent boaster, whom all Scriptures judge unto death; because he can, in appearance, talk of the Scriptures, although without Spirit, power or change of heart; who, without just cause, maliciously slanders, falsely suspicions and unjustly condemns, the poor orphans and afflicted christians who sincerely seek and fear the Lord; and thus delivers them to the magistracy to be put in dungeons and to the executioner to be killed.

But as to his boasting, that some of our brethren have again associated with them and thus others may be yet redeemed by his writing, &c. I answer, in the first place: Christ says, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there are which go in that way; because narrow is the gate and strict is the way which leads unto life and there are few that find it,” Mat. 7:13, 14.  My readers, observe that all who wish to leave the broad way and enter upon the narrow one, must enter in at the narrow gate, must forsake themselves, take up the cross and follow Christ Jesus; must become regenerated christians, dead unto sin; must crucify their flesh and subdue their lusts; must give up, through the power of faith all visible and perishable things, as gold, silver, home and goods, no, wife and children; together with all they are and have, for the victory of Christ, if circumstances and the honor of Christ require it; they must be prepared to endure disgrace, hunger, misery, pillage, persecution, bonds and death, for the sake of the testimony of God and their consciences and must adhere to the word of God, by watching and praying.  For all those who are yet laden with the burden of unrighteousness and an evil conscience, as with avarice, ungodly desires, the works of the flesh, &c.; or who feel at all doubtful concerning the word and promises of the Lord cannot enter in at the strict way and narrow gate.  Let everyone be aware of this.

In the second place I say that the edification and faith of the true christians is tempted in many and various ways, as both Scriptures and experience clearly teach and testify.  Now they are tempted by flesh and blood, which is never at rest, then by the lust of the world and the lust of the eyes, which invitingly tempt the selfish flesh in which no good thing dwells, Rom. 7:18.  Again, by the cross and tribulation, which often press heavily; and lastly, by the flattering preaching of peace and the easy doctrine of the preachers who lustily cry, Peace, peace, as the prophet says, Jer. 8:11, by means of which they console the timid in their faithlessness and disobedience to God and make an easy way for those who would enjoy the world according to the lusts of the flesh.  It is as Peter says, “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption,” 2 Peter 2:19.  For this reason, some of the seed which is sown by the way side is picked up by the fowls of the air; some is sown on stony places, where there is not much earth and although it springs up in a short time; yet it can not stand the scorching sun of persecution and some is choked by the thistles and thorns and brings forth no ripe ears, Mat. 13:4-7.

Behold, the proper reason why some timid, light-minded, carnal, corrupt and selfish spirits have again associated themselves with them, is because the way was too narrow and the gate too narrow for them and they could not withstand the storming of the flesh.  The smiles of the world were too inviting and the tyranny too oppressive.  The thousand wiles of Satan, by which all the pious alike are tempted, succeeded; because, alas, they preferred earthly to heavenly things and therefore we could no longer live in unity of spirit and peace with them.  For they would not be thus subjected, as the prophet laments, Jer. 2:17; but would follow their own inclinations in every respect and walk without the cross, on the broad way of the flesh, with the world.  But by the writings and services of Gellius, they were, surely, not redeemed, as he boasts they were.

Behold, these people of whom he so loudly boasts, were such (we regret to have to say it) as, with Demas, 2 Tim. 4:10, loved the present world and who so lived with us for some time that we, according to the divine word, dare no longer eat and drink with them.  They are not regenerated as Gellius claims, but they are degenerated in their faith and act hypocritically, with earthly-minded hearts under the feint of prayer; they have not forsaken the broad way which leads to death but the narrow way which leads to life; they do not delight in Christ but have forsaken him; they have found rest for their flesh, but not for their souls through repentance, as Gellius pretends.  For facts prove whose cause is right, theirs or ours; whose actions are hypocritical and whose are not, while our actions sacrifice possessions, blood and even life for their cause; but what theirs do is well known.

This, then, is my conclusion as to his first reason given, why he published his writing; namely, As the angel of darkness can transform himself into an angel of light; as Paul says, 2 Cor. 11:14; can feign love and make great promises; can feign true confession of Christ and can use Scriptures masterly, so also, can his servants do, as may be seen by this.  For Gellius says he published his writing that he might redeem some and save others from deceit; to silence the anabaptists, as he calls them; to root out the pernicious weeds; to serve the church of Christ; to keep the weak of the Netherlands in the right understanding of evangelical doctrine and the right use of the holy sacraments, &c.  But if we rightly consider it and judge it by the Spirit, word and example of Christ; by the usage of the holy apostles and primitive apostolic churches, we find [his writings] to be nothing but an institution of the flesh; an encouragement to the impenitent; an inducement to the broad way; a defence of the churches of anti-christ; a confusing and blind-folding of the simple; a covert instigation to persecution of the pious; a destroying of the church of Christ; a dextrous encumbering of the godly; an unreasonable, envious defamation of the saints; an adulteration of the holy word; yes, an open encouragement to unrighteousness, impenitence and carnal liberty.

Behold, this is the effect, fruit and aim of his writing; although he adorns and covers it under the semblance of good intentions and love.  If I should at any time yet meet with him and not be able to verify these assertions, by their fruits and by virtue of the Scriptures, then I will be willing to recant them and bear my shame; for I trust that I, through the grace of God, know of what I write.

 

Another reason, says Gellius, why he published his writing is because a nobleman to whom he addressed it, offered to bear the expenses of printing it, &c.

Answer.  Zeal is a good thing and highly commendable, if in a good cause to the service and glory of God.  But let everyone well consider how, why and wherefore he is zealous; lest he make himself guilty of innocent blood, which is the most abominable sin next to sinning against the Holy Spirit.

If his honor has done this in sincere zeal and with good intentions, as Paul did before his conversion and meant it to be to the honor of God and to the salvation of his neighbors, then I hope that God will give him more light and make truth more manifest to him.  But if he has done it for the sake of an idle name or fame, or for the sake of carnal profit and satisfaction, something which the learned can very adroitly portray to such high persons.  But if he contends against the people of God with a bitter zeal, which I trust is not the case, as does Gellius and the preachers, generally, then his action has become such a gross sin and great blindness that I fear he will never be brought to confess Christ.

I would therefore cordially admonish his honor and beseech him in christian love that he no more burden himself with the sin of others; for he and everybody else will have burden enough of his own, at the day of judgment.  All misleading of the miserable souls; all unbelief and idolatry; all light-mindedness and liberty of the flesh; together with all uproar and tyranny which are apt to be the result of his writing will be required, in the day of Christ, at his hands as well as at the hands of the preachers, if not repented of, because he assists and supports them in their abomination with his advice and assistance, with money and material.

Therefore, in my opinion, his honor would have better first considered the matter well and laid out these expenses to the support, assistance, consolation, nourishment and clothing of the needy, especially in these hard times; and not for the purpose of deceiving many unwary hearts and of putting more encumbrances and persecution on the pious.

Again, that Gellius has published his writing under the permission of the said nobleman, has an appearance as if he was one of those who honor and esteem a person according to the measure of his usefulness.  But for what reason he has done so; what his seeking and how his heart is in this matter, I will leave to the Lord who knows all things.

Experience sufficiently teaches of what disposition the rich are, namely, proud-hearted, ambitious and covetous of honor.  God’s wisdom did not say without a cause, “Truly, I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” Mat. 19:24.  James also says, “Go now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.  Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten; your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you and shall eat your flesh as if it were fire,” &c., James 5:1-3.  Again, Paul says, “For you see your calling, brethren, how not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called,” &c., 1 Cor. 1:26.

Since, then, the mouth of the Lord, as also his faithful servants, James and Paul, have so plainly expressed the dangers of the rich and of those of high standing; since experience teaches how proud-hearted they are, as may be concluded from their high titles, houses, shields, medals, clothes, servants, horses and dogs; and since Christ says, “Truly I say unto you, Except you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,” Mat. 18:3; therefore it would be more in accordance with evangelical righteousness if Gellius, instead, would industriously teach such proud hearts and high persons the humility of Christ, so that they may learn to forsake themselves; may learn to know themselves, of what they are born, what they are and what they will be; that they may die unto their excessive pomp, splendor, superfluity and ungodliness; may fear God in all sincerity and walk in his ways; that they may faithfully serve their neighbors with their abundance, in true humility of heart and not continually enkindle the fire of pride, fleshly security and light-mindedness, by his flattery or by high-sounding and supplicating phrases; for the inborn ambitious nature of the flesh of Adam’s children is, alas, already too apt to crave such things without being encouraged by flattery and smooth words.

I would, therefore, faithfully advise all to fear God, to strive after truth and to love their neighbors; for the time is coming and is near at hand, that we all shall hear, each one at his time, “Give an account of your stewardship, for you may no longer be steward,” Luke 16:2.  I do not dedicate my reply and defense to this or that one, as is the custom of the learned, but dedicate it, in christian humility, “To the pious Reader,” and desire to subject it to the judgment of all the godly and pious.

If anyone under the broad canopy of heaven can teach me with plainer Scriptures or with more powerful truths, whether he is learned or unlearned, man or woman, I will gladly accept such instruction and obey them.  But, by the grace of God, we are convinced that we are on the sure and true way which Christ has prepared for us.  Blessed are we if we walk in it and enter in at the narrow gate.  Let all of understanding minds, who, in true zeal and in the fear of God, seek the praise of their Lord, read and judge that which now follows.

 

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OF THE MISSION OR CALLING OF THE PREACHERS.

GELLIUS complains very much of a bitter and sneering epistle of the anabaptists, as he calls them, in which they are said to have given five particular reasons, as I understand from his writing, why they cannot conscientiously accept the preachers as true and unblamable and cannot use their sacraments as true and Scriptural ordinances, &c.  Of which the vocation of their preachers is the first reason.  Gellius assiduously tries to maintain that their calling is christian-like and according to Scripture and says that ours is sectarian and not according to scripture.

Answer.  How bitter and sneering the said epistle may have been, I do not know, for I have never seen it.  But I presume it was not so bitter as Gellius complains that it was; that it was a reproof of his corruption, his deceiving and unscriptural sacraments; something which he always, maliciously, calls brawling and sneering.

Since I did not read the epistle myself, as said, therefore I will not undertake to defend every word of it; but will undertake a defence, by virtue of my ministry of the divine word and because I have been disgracefully treated in regard to it, so far as concerns the five articles in which the preachers are reproved or accused, whose vocation Gellius maintains as evangelical and right.  And I trust that, with the gracious assistance of God, I will be enabled to defend these articles with such power and clearness of Scripture that all impartial, reasonable readers, on comparing our writings, will, by the grace of God, behold, as in a mirror, that he and all the worldly preachers are not the called preachers and teachers of the church of Christ, to whom the Scriptures point; but that they are the open preachers and teachers of the world, or of the church of anti-christ against whom the Scriptures on every hand warn us and in many places terrifies us against them.  He that has ears, let him hear what the word of the Lord teaches.

 

Gellius points out a difference between the calling or sending of the prophets of Christ and the apostles and between the calling of the bishops, pastors and other servants of the church and says, “That the sending of the prophets of Christ and the apostles was done without any means of man, solely by God; but that the sending of the bishops and pastors is done by God by means of man.”

Answer.  We do not contradict this, but agree with him in this respect.  But we contradict that the calling of which they boast is done in accordance with the apostolic doctrine and usage; and would say that we should well observe these five following points or articles, according to the Scriptures; namely, by whom they are called; what they are that are called; to what purpose they are called; what fruit the called bring forth; and what the proper desire and seeking of the called is.

In the first place, we must observe that the calling which was done in the primitive, apostolic church, by means of man, was not done by the world but by the true christians and obedient disciples of the Lord and his word.  For Luke writes, Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained elders in every church and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”  Paul also says to Titus, “For this cause left I you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I have appointed you,” Tit. 1:5, &c.  Read also 1 Tim. 3:12.

Since the preachers then boast of a calling by God, by means of man, as said, therefore I would ask without all artifice, Who is the Paul or Barnabas, or Timothy or Titus that has called and ordained Gellius and his like preachers to the service?  If they answer, the magistracy; then I would ask in the second place, Do the magistracy, who assumes this matter, have the spirit, calling, ministry, ordinance and power of Paul, Barnabas, Titus and Timothy?  If they answer in the affirmative, then I would like to see their grounds proven according to Scripture.  If they say because they are part of the church, as Gellius seems to have it, then I would ask in the third place, whether they are actuated by the Spirit of God?  Whether they have crucified the flesh with its lusts and in their weakness, walk innocently and christianly according to Christ’s example and teaching, with his followers?  Whether they have become new creatures?  Whether they are in Christ and Christ in them?  &c.  If they say, God knows and not we, then I would ask in the fourth place, Are you such trees, then, that we cannot judge your fruits and such lights that we cannot see its refulgence?  My reader, ponder well on these questions.

Scriptures plainly testify that there is no christian but he who is in Christ and has his Spirit, Rom. 8:9.  It is evident that the magistracy does not conform themselves to the example and Spirit of the Lord, as may; alas, be perceived on every hand by their fruits.  For they live in every respect according to the lusts of the flesh; seek vain honor, treasure, pompous living, &c.  They are earthly and not heavenly-minded; therefore we should consult the word of the Lord whether such people are competent to ordain preachers, pastors and servants for the church of Christ, while their fruits testify that they are yet without Christ’s Spirit, kingdom, church and word themselves, as said.

If they should say that they are not called by the magistracy, but by the church, then I would ask in the fifth place, Whether the church which has called them is flesh of Christ’s flesh and bone of his bone? Eph.5:30.  That is a church which sincerely seeks and fears God; that walks in obedience to his word; loves and serves his neighbor; controls his ungodly lusts; strives after truth with all his heart; leads an unblamable, pious life and who is prepared for the sake, of the will and word of the Lord, to sacrifice and abandon money, goods, blood and life, no, father, mother, life, husband, wife, children and everything else, if the honor of God requires it?  If they answer no, which is the true answer, then it is already proven that they are not the church and people of the Lord; for the church of Christ must be in unity of spirit with Christ, as has already been heard.  If, then, they are not of Christ’s church, how can they call preachers unto the church of Christ, as Paul, Barnabas, Timothy and Titus and the primitive church have done?  If on the contrary they answer Yes, then I say again, their open unrighteousness, slander, godlessness, avarice, pomp, drunkenness, superfluity, unchastity, hatred, envy; unmercifulness, violence, &c., testify before the whole world that the answer is not the true one.

Inasmuch as it is manifest that both the magistracy and the subjects are directly contrary to the Spirit and word of Jesus Christ, to his walk and actions; and do not have a syllable which in this respect agrees with the spirit and actions of Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, or of the primitive church; therefore I am very much surprised that he can be so imprudent and inconsiderate, or so very bold as to boast, in these times of grace in which the truth has become so manifest, that he and the preachers of his character were called and ordained by God by the means of man, as were the elders of the primitive church, by Paul, Barnabas, Timothy and Titus.

O, that God would grant that he would once consider and not compare the faithful men and dear servants of God, together with the zealous, regenerated communities and pious children of the primitive churches to this impenitent, reckless and bad world who wish to be considered the true church; and would no longer blind the poor unwary hearts who little regard the holy word, with such a semblance and quotation of the Scriptures; for it would be of infinite value to his poor, miserable soul, at the time of his dissolution.

I would now leave it to the reflection of all intelligent readers, how the calling, of which the preachers boast, can stand the test of the Scriptures, while those of whom they boast that called them, are found to be not only not regenerated, pious christians, but besides, open despisers and impenitent contenders against God and his word, as may, alas, be seen, on every hand, by their actions.

In the second place we should observe of what disposition, doctrine and conduct the called servants of the word should be, according to the testimony of the Scriptures; namely, “Blameless, the husband of one wife; vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all gravity;” not a novice; he must be holy, just, temperate, &c. “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught; that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”  “Moreover he must have a good report from them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil,” &c. “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things,” 1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1.

My reader, observe, this is not my word but the word of the Holy Spirit, which gives a true pattern of a true preacher, bishop, pastor, teacher and servant who will, in the church of Christ, bring forth fruit which will remain, John 15.

The Holy Spirit points us to such teachers, to obey and follow them.  Paul says, “Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they may do it with joy and not with grief,” Heb. 13:17.  In another place he says, “We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you and are over you in the Lord and advise you to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake and be at peace among yourselves,” 1 Thes. 5:12, 13.

Such teachers are compared in the Scriptures to the oxen that tread out the corn, which shall not be muzzled.  They are the elders worthy of double honor and the faithful laborers, worthy of their hire, Deut. 25:4; Mat. 10:10.  But how Gellius and all the preachers of the German nations, whom he esteems as faithful servants, conform to this I will leave the impartial reader to judge according to the word of the Lord.

Faithful reader, consider well that which I write.  They boast that they are called in accordance with Scriptures, as you may hear; although it is obvious and palpable that they lead a life as the [false] ones portrayed by Peter and Jude.  Many of them are so fallen in the fullness of Bacchus that they, alas, live night and day as swine in full rest; their tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean, as the prophet says, Isa. 28:8.  They fearlessly walk after their own lusts, as Jude says; and they esteem as joy the temporal, lusty life, says Peter; they are spots and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you.

Some of them, also, are open fornicators and adulterers.  How their wives, as a general thing, conform themselves to Scriptures, may be concluded from their fruits.  Others are so avaricious that they have become open usurers.  They are so intent upon perishable lucre, money and possessions that I dare truthfully say that they, through the easy doctrine of their gospel, have become lords upon earth; yet most of them are loved by the world and highly esteemed by the ignorant.  Their pomp, laziness, ease-seeking, vanity, light-mindedness, pride, &c., baffle all description, to say nothing of their tyranny, lying, brawling, slandering, betraying and uproaring against all who seek and fear the Lord.

Reader, it is as I write.  O, how willingly would I be silent and close, if the honor of God and his word and the love for your souls did not compel me to speak; but as it is I am forced to touch upon their abominable shame.  Their abominations are so gross and terrible that my soul shrinks back at the thought of them, therefore, imagine how [it affects me], if I shall treat and write of them.  How [do] their actions and behavior agree with the description of Paul, who teaches us that they shall be unblamable, have but one wife, not given to wine, not avaricious, nor covetous of filthy lucre; that they shall be temperate, modest and amiable; have a good report from those that are without?  This I will leave to all pious hearts to judge in the fear of God, according to the Scriptures.  Behold, my reader, since it is manifest that they are quite contrary to the word of the Lord in their walk; therefore it is, in fact, nothing but vain hypocrisy, to call such unfruitful, offensive actions, evangelical edification and such a void mockery, a calling.

But Gellius tries to clear himself of this and lays the blame on those who, according to his writing, lead an unchristian life after the lusts of their flesh, against the ordinance of the apostles, saying that they cannot weaken the cause of the pious by their unrighteousness; I would, in the first place, say, Since he complains of them so much in his book and says that they would better be pastors of swine than pastors of the sheep of Christ; and wishes that they would be ex-officiated, &c.; and since these constitute the majority of them, as may be openly seen; therefore Gellius should admit that, according to the Scriptures, we should not follow such, nor partake of their sacraments, even if they were the true sacraments; for he himself admits that they are useless people and wishes them ex-officiated.

In the second place I say, Since Gellius acknowledges that they are unfit for their offices; and since he and they are of one church, calling and service, why does he allow them to remain in their offices and why does he not, by virtue of his calling, excommunicate them with the advice and consent of his church?  Since they are a hindrance to the community and a reproach and disgrace to Gellius and his brother preachers, whom I would were themselves pious and unblamable.

If he says that the magistracy are to blame, he then admits that those magistrates are not true servants and members of Christ, who admit such offensive people, as adulterers, wine-bibbers, covetous, &c., as are met with on every hand, to be preachers, while they ruin the souls of the poor miserable people by their wicked offensive life, to say nothing of their doctrine; whom they might debar with a single word, without blood-shed.  And what is more, Gellius himself is a faithless shepherd and dumb watchman.  And the magistracy, which is his elector and companion in church-service, have a contempt for God and slander his word.

In the third place I would say, It would be well for Gellius to first learn to know from the Scriptures the nature of Christ and his church together with the true church servants, pastors and preachers; to rightly judge all things by the Spirit, word and example of the Lord; and to thoroughly search himself, his brother preachers and his church before contending so maliciously against the pious and accuse them before the whole world, without cause.  I would further say, Since (if I understand him aright) he admits that we should not hear the adulterers, wine-bibbers, strikers, &c., nor partake of their sacraments (something which was intended, probably, to make his cause have a good appearance); therefore we are forced to view in a Scriptural light, how he, according to Paul’s doctrine, can stand as a pastor of the church and as a servant of Christ.

Paul says, A bishop must be blameless; this applies also to a true preacher, pastor and teacher; and it is obvious that Gellius is not unblamable, but blamable in many respects; that he is a friend of the world, who seeks to please the world, contrary to the word of God and the example of Christ, the apostles and of the prophets, otherwise he would have suffered persecution, 2 Tim. 3:12 and not have exercised his service at ease, for so long a time, as is testified by the example of Christ, the apostles and by all the true witnesses.

Again, he is a hireling who has been hired as a servant at certain wages and a stipend, contrary to the example of Christ and the example of all the true messengers who have been sent by him.  He is not only not persecuted for the sake of the testimony of Jesus but he himself persecutes the godly, pious hearts who have neither injured nor harmed him nor anybody else.  He persecutes them wilfully by his instigation, advice and writings; [which is] contrary to the example of Christ and all the chosen, as may, alas, be seen by his writings here cited.  Besides this, his doctrine is wrong and deceiving.  He is an upbraider, condemner, defamer and backbiter of the innocent who sincerely fear God and are zealous for his word; yes, who would seal it with their blood, something which he does not.  This assertion is, alas, made good by his writing in which he, without just cause, accuses and condemns the god-fearing, pious hearts before the whole world as being apostates, anabaptists, conspirers, contrabands, sowers of pernicious seed, excommuned sects, servants of the devil and his tools; and thus makes them the objects of suspicion, although they sincerely seek the Lord and daily sacrifice possessions and blood for the sake of his holy word.

Besides, he is a supporter and defender of the kingdom of anti-christ, a falsifier of the Scriptures, an abuser of the sacraments, a strengthener of the impenitent, a liar, &c., as will be plainly shown, by the grace of God, each in its turn.

In the third place it should be observed for what purpose the true preachers are called, namely, that they should teach the word of the Lord; rightly use his sacraments; lead and rule in the church of God; gather together with Christ and not scatter; console the afflicted; advise those not ordained; seek what is lost; bind up what is bruised; separate those that are incurable, without any respect of person and should assiduously watch over the vineyard, house and city of God, as the Scriptures teach, Mat. 28:19; 12:30; Mark 16:15.

Behold, my reader, these are the proper reasons why the Holy Spirit has ordained in the house of the Lord bishops, pastors and teachers, according to the precept of Paul, saying, “He gave some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” Eph. 4:11-13.

But for what purpose Gellius and all the preachers of the world are called, may be concluded from their doctrine and work; namely, to preach to suit the magistracy and the world.  Again, to offer to the two golden calves of Dan and Bethel (understand what I mean); to keep the church of anti-christ, without penance and regeneration in unity and peace of the flesh, on the perverted and crooked road of darkness and death, under the name and semblance of the word, contrary to the Spirit, doctrine and example of Christ; to console the wilful, reckless world, who wish to be called the church of Christ, without regeneration and obedience, in their impenitent and ungodly nature, with the death, blood, baptism and Supper of the Lord; to violently oppose Christ Jesus and his word and Spirit, so that the world may live on in their original state and their unrighteousness unrebuked; that the preachers may continue in their improper gain and careless life; and that the ignorant people, both rich and poor may live on in the lusts of their flesh, pomp, splendor, drinking, carousing, in avariciousness and hoarding, in short, may continue in the broad and easy way of the flesh, unreproved.

This is made too manifest to be denied, by deeds which speak for themselves; yet their cause is artfully adorned with the Scriptures; they talk much; boast loudly of the grace and favor of God; they use baptism and supper under the appearance of truth, as if they were the church of Jesus Christ; although, in fact, they are nothing but a selfish, refractory, impenitent, earthly and sensual people, as is obvious by their fruits.  If I do not write the truth, reprove me.

Since, then, it is clearer than day-light that they are not called to uphold the church of Christ, which is of God and has a divine nature, with salutary doctrines, Scriptural sacraments, an unblamable life; earnest reproving, without favor or respect of persons; with faithful admonition and separation, if necessary; but are under false pretenses of the name and church of Christ; they are servants of the world; receive their reward from it; honor and love it; speak of it and please it and whom it seeks and loves to hear, for they are of the world, as John says, 1 John 4:5.

Therefore it is, in the third place, an incontrovertible evidence, that they, alas, are not called servants of the church of Christ; as they falsely pretend, but are the servants and supporters of the kingdom of anti-christ, as may be unmistakingly learned from their doctrine, walk and fruits if we closely examine them.

In the fourth place we should observe what kind of fruits they bring forth, for Christ says, “I have chosen you and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain,” John 15:16.  We confess with holy Isaiah, as does also Gellius, that the doctrine of the holy gospel, if preached in the power of the Spirit, according to the Spirit of Christ, cannot fail to bring forth fruit. “For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven and returns not thither, but waters the earth and makes it bring forth and bud,” so, also, is the word that goes forth out of the mouth of Jehovah, Isaiah 55:10.*

But Gellius and we should well consider that the sower should, by the power of true faith and the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, be changed into the Spirit and nature of Christ and should then teach or present to the people the pure, unadulterated seed, which is the word, without all abuse, leaven and hypocrisy, for where there are such sowers, there it will bud and bring forth.  The word of the prophet, which the mouth of the Lord has spoken is true and firm.  But where there are not such sowers, they arise too early or start out too late; labor and pains will be in vain; for God works not unto repentance but through those who are of his Spirit.

Inasmuch, then, that the word with true preaching does not remain fruitless as we have seen and since we clearly see that the seed of the preachers of the world brings forth no fruit unto repentance, but only hypocrisy, therefore it is an indisputable fact that they do not have the word of the Lord in power; but that they are artful workers and not true preachers, or else the word of the prophet must be false, which says, “If they had stood in my counsel and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings,” Jer. 23:22.

Since then, that preachers are known by their fruits and that Gellius and his like preachers have preached their doctrine and sacraments so many years to the whole world (which they may continue to do without fear, while they are not opposing the impenitent in their hypocrisy and uncontrolled life, but rather console and encourage them) and yet do not convert a miser nor usurer to liberality; do not bring forth their disciples further than that they profess in name and appearance.  They remain unchanged in their heart, hate and oppose true righteousness, walk upon the broad way and earnestly strive after the world, flesh, money and possessions.  The pompous remain pompous; the proud remain proud; and liars continue in their falsehood, as is manifest; therefore their fruitless preaching, vain doctrine and church-service fully prove that their calling is not from God and his word, but from the son of the abyss, anti-christ and of the world, however much they adorn and boast of their cause.  The word of Jehovah God is and will remain true, Isaiah 55:11.

 

Gellius then refers us to his fruits and says, Is not the preaching of the truth and the light of the holy gospel, which we assiduously preach and promulgate both by teaching and writing a good fruit and glorious testimony that our calling is from God and not from the devil; by which the kingdom of the devil is destroyed and by which the papistical abominations, idolatry, masses, absolutions, vigils, &c., have become a deadly stench?

Answer.  If they did not mix the dross with the silver and water with wine, that is, if they would preach the truth, without falsehood and the light without darkness in the power of the Spirit and would testify it before the whole world by a pious and unblamable life, then we would agree with them that it is a glorious light and a noble fruit.  But while they practice wrong and pervert truth into lies, the true apostolic baptism into the baptism of heretics, the church of Christ into pernicious sectarianism and conspiracy, &c. and on the other hand pervert lies to truth, the anti-christian to christian baptism and the reckless, wild world to the Lord’s church, &c., we say that their doctrine is deceiving, offensive and wrong and is not the true doctrine, as Gellius boasts and pretends.

Yes, my reader, they so preach the word of the Lord that unrighteousness and abuse yet remain in full sway; they so teach the truth that in many respects, false doctrine, lying and deceiving is not yet weakened nor destroyed; they so use and practice divine service that the high places are honored and idolatry is not avoided; they so preach the christian church, that the church of anti-christ remains in full power, as is openly manifested to the whole world both by their work and their tyranny.

In short, it is manifest that they so preach and promulgate the gospel that no repentance follows but that everyone, alas, remains as he is; yes, what is worse, that the people are not only not regenerated but are daily growing more wicked.  Neither encomiums, reasoning nor artful demonstrations will avail here, for their fruit testifies that their doctrine is faithless and false, as said before, Jer. 23.

The serpent spoke the truth when he said, “God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened; and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil,” Gen. 3:5.  But that which he promised before was a lie, namely, “You shall not surely die.”  Adam and Eve were by this deceived.  Thus, also, do those who teach the serpent’s word.  They so teach the impenitent, carnal people, concerning the death of the Lord, by their unscriptural sacraments of impenitence and so console them in their reckless, Adamic nature and life, by false promises (although they do some times speak the truth, as did the serpent, produce Scriptures, partly reprove sin and praise virtue) that there is no body to be found who truly feels sorry for his sins, who sincerely repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done,” Jer. 8:6.  Behold, says the prophet, so they practice falsehood and strengthen the wicked, that none repent of their wickedness.

That some of them have thus weakened the papistical abominations, for this they and we give praises to the Lord.  But what does it avail if they renounce the pope and they themselves step in his stead?  It is true that many branches of the tree of anti-christ are hewn off, but the roots and body still remain.  And although he destroyed some high places, yet they walk in the ways of Jeroboam and have not come to Jerusalem for the purpose of truly worshiping.

Yes, kind reader, had the learned firmly trusted the living God, faithfully adhered to his word and had they not acted hypocritically with the world and had they themselves, in power and deeds faithfully practiced, without fear of the cross and the disfavor of the magistracy, what they have, in some of their writings, pointed out, O, what a noble and clear light would have shone on the world, which now, alas, has become such a pernicious darkness and destruction and a broad way, through the fear of the cross, through hypocrisy, selfishness, desire of ease, ambition and favor of men.

 

In the second place he says, Is the whole Bible, translated (into the German language) by the memorable D. Martinus, a despisable fruit?  Are the songs or hymns composed by Luther and many others a contemptible fruit?  Is, also, the constancy, which exists in these times of peril and danger of body and possessions, as it did in the beginning of the gospel, not a noble and genuine fruit of our calling?  But such fruits are of no account in their sight or else they will not see them; although they are the surest and the best fruits, &c.  The fruits of the outward life and dealings with men, although often mere hypocrisy, only avail in their sight.

Answer.  The deceased translators, authors and composers we will leave undisturbed, for they have already found their Lord and Judge; but we will turn to the living, with whom we have to speak.  His saying that writing, translating and composing are the surest and best fruits, is, in my opinion, a very senseless assertion, for such things can be done through learning and skill in languages, without regeneration and change of heart, as he himself well knows.  Yes, as the Bible or the Scriptures are read by the greater part of the world, with impure, carnal hearts, so, also, they can, undoubtedly, be translated, through the knowledge and skill of languages, from one language into another, with a carnal, unregenerated and impious heart.

And as hymns are generally sung in God’s houses or temples, carelessly and are light-mindedly sung, here and there, in the streets and in riotous taverns; so, also, can they be composed by a light-minded heart without spirit or regeneration?  These are, therefore, not the surest and best fruits, as Gellius pretends to say, for they do not remain.  But whatever some, in by-gone times may have written, in true zeal, which is Scripture or conformable to Scripture and useful to the regeneration of the pious, we should, reasonably, praise and esteem.

However, the surest and best fruits are to so preach the word of God in power, that many may be born of him and be led to sincerely fear and love him; to cordially serve their neighbors; to die unto flesh and blood; to believe on Jesus Christ with all the heart and tremble at his word; that they may do nothing contrary to it; that they may truly worship God and conform their whole life or walk according to his Spirit, word and example, for such fruits remain.

I would further say, He boasts of the danger and constancy (as he calls it) of some of their number; now, in these times of war, which he calls a time of trial, because, (if we understand him aright), they can no longer uphold and protect their cause by force of arms; and consider it a noble fruit, although they have, perhaps, not been tempted unto death as we daily are; and therefore he so indiscreetly condemns and profanes our cause, which the Lord knows we have maintained and will maintain in spite of sword or any other deadly weapon, something which cannot be truthfully refuted.  We have patiently walked according to the example of Christ; sacrificed our possessions and blood which might have been saved by a single, hypocritical word; and at all times, for our invincible constancy, we suffer with fire, water and sword; being defenceless and without any resistance “we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter,” Rom. 8:36.

But we give praise to God, that some of them have sacrificed their blood for the sake of the testimony which they had and with James count them happy; yes, that they are joint-heirs in the sufferings of Jesus Christ; for their deeds have proven that they sought God and were faithful as far as they were enlightened.  But what will that avail them, while they close their hearts to the light of truth; contend against the Spirit, word and will of God; preach lies, pervert and abuse the sacraments and console and encourage the wild, wicked world in their impenitent, reckless life?  Something which the faithful heroes have not done, for they were faithful in everything which they acknowledged as the truth.  If they had acknowledged more they would, doubtlessly, have died for the sake of it as well as for that which they did, at the time, acknowledge.

If our opponents are of the same spirit then they may boast.  But their fruits openly testify that that they are, alas, very different.

Again, he writes that the fruits of an outward life alone, avail in our sight, &c.  Do not our sore oppression, trials, great tribulation, misery, possessions and blood; besides, our open and frank confession, openly testify that he makes this assertion without all truth?  Yes, that he openly slanders and wrongs us?  O malitiosam calumnian ac perversitatem, (O malicious calumny and perversity).

My kind reader, observe that all Scriptures and the power of true faith constrain us to zealously teach an upright, pious, godly and penitent life; for Jesus Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works.”  Paul, also teaches, “That you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”  That we might walk worthy of the Lord and his gospel.  Peter says, “Having your behaviour honest among the Gentiles;” and John says that we should walk even as Christ walked, Mat. 5:6; Phil. 1:10; Col. 1:10; 1 Pet. 2:12; 1 John 2:6.

Since Scripture, on every hand, enjoins upon us a pious life, as has been heard; therefore it is reasonable and just, if we believe the word of God, that we zealously follow, in our weakness, that which the Spirit of the Lord has so clearly taught and enjoined in his holy word.

But his assertion that such fruits only avail in our sight comes, alas, from an impure heart.  For, I presume, he well knows that we plainly teach that we cannot be saved by outward works, however great and glorious they may appear or that we can thus entirely please God; for they are always mixed with imperfection and weakness and, therefore, through the corruption of the flesh we cannot acquire the righteousness required in the commandments; therefore we point to Christ Jesus alone, who is our only and eternal Righteousness, Reconciliation and Propitiator with the Father and do not trust in our works at all.  My reader, I write the truth in Christ Jesus and do not lie.

O, that Gellius would quit his unguarded talk and speak no more than that which is true, for a liar is a disgrace and shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and that he could once feel what a true christian faith is, what it requires in its nature and what it produces in power.  He would then know what it is that brings forth such a pious, penitent and unblamable life, which he has in times gone by so disgracefully slandered and upbraided as devilish fruits, hypocrisy and a new mockery; and, as it appears, would yet upbraid, if it was not for the experience of many and the great quantity of innocent blood which has been shed.

Behold, dear reader, now you can see how they adorn and deck their abominable hypocrisy and fruitless, impenitent church-service with writing, translating, singing, &c., although generally alone, without repentance and regeneration, as heard; and how they basely construe and explain the sincere, pious fruits of true faith which are taught and represented by all the Scriptures, ceremonies and sacraments; that they may daub the wall with untempered mortar and console the poor, miserable people in their disregard of the word of the Lord.  But when Lord Jehovah’s hurricane, flood and great hailstones shall come with a great noise, then they will break down the wall that they have daubed with untempered mortar and bring it to the ground so that the foundation of it shall be discovered, &c., Ezekiel 13:13, 14.

 

In the third place, Gellius writes that the office of a preacher consists of two parts, namely, in rooting out, destroying and opposing; also in sowing and building, &c. and boasts that their fruits, especially as regards the first part, cannot be denied in many kingdoms and principalities; and that the Lord Jesus Christ (as he says), has, through their services, planted sincere repentance and such true christian faith in many hearts, that the small community at Emden, in sure expectation of a reward in heaven, willingly supports several hundreds of poor people by their alms, &c.

Answer.  We admit that the first part of a preacher’s office consists in rooting out, destroying and opposing and the other of sowing and building up and this is a proof for us that they are not the preachers to serve in such capacity.  Although they have renounced, in different cities and countries, (for which we praise the Lord), some abuses and idolatries, which were so gross that they might be plainly noticed, even without Scriptures, to be abominations; yet the root of all deceit remains untouched, namely, the false doctrine and unscriptural sacraments with which they console the world and encourage them in their impenitence and natural state or Adamic heart which is the source of all unrighteousness, as may, alas, be seen on every hand by the fruits.

If, then, they are the true preachers as they pretend to be, let them execute the first part, namely, to break in pieces with the hammer of the divine word the proud, obdurate hearts, the impure, avaricious hearts, the blood-guilty, tyrannical hearts, &c., of whom it is written that they are worthy of death; to humble them by the eternal judgment and punishment of Almighty God; to discover to them their ungodly and corrupt nature and flesh, by virtue of the commands; that they may learn to know themselves, see their shame and thus, with sorrowing and repenting hearts, in the fear of the coming wrath and eternal punishment of the just and great God, sincerely and tremblingly repent and die unto their sins, crucify their flesh, smother their lusts and walk before their God with broken and humbled hearts.  Behold, this is the true and principal rooting out, destroying and opposing to which Scriptures say the true preachers are called.

Then let such moved and humbled hearts, such penitent and sighing sinners, who are, with Peter and Magdalene, heart-broken, bitterly weep and with David confess their guilt; then point them to the only and eternal seat of grace, Christ Jesus; teach them the eternal mercy, love, favor and grace of God, according to the Scriptures; console them with the gospel of peace; carefully anoint their wounds, caused by the sharp and smarting wine, with the oil of the joyful promises of Christ, that they may thus, through faith arise with Christ from the death of their abominable sins into the new life of all virtue; that they may, in true faith and in pure, unfeigned love, always walk without all offence, according to the example of Christ and all the pious; and give thanks to the Lord for his manifest love.  Behold, all true preachers who are called by the Spirit of the Lord and are fit for his service thus sow and build.

Dear reader, observe; Since Gellius and the preachers, then, are not such destroyers and builders, rooters and planters, as their deeds testify; but destroy that which is good and build up that which is bad; that they root out truth with their offensive doctrine and plant falsehood with their false sacraments and easy life; therefore our assertion is incontrovertible that they are not the servants of Christ nor his true messengers.

 

Gellius writes, “that the Lord, through their service, has planted true repentance and such a true christian faith in many hearts, that the small congregation at Emden were comforted in expectation of a heavenly reward.”

Answer.  If this were true indeed, as he writes, it should be attested by their fruits and manifested by their works.  Paul says, “The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power,” 1 Cor. 4:20.  Let nobody falsely boast; we will be judged by one before whom nothing is hidden.  Nobody knows what true, christian faith and true repentance are, but he who has truly received them and felt their power.  If God, then, plants repentance in so many hearts, as Gellius pretends, why is he and his like preachers, yet so impenitent, so inimical and refractory to truth and so offensive and blamable in wholesome doctrine?  If those of whom he speaks are of the same mind with him, which we trust they are not, then he has not written the truth; this is too plain to be denied.

Those hearts in which God has planted true repentance and an ardent, true, christian faith cannot, especially in these times of manifest truth, long be hidden, nor remain without the cross promised by the Holy Scriptures, if even their own preachers and relations are to persecute them.  For if they would testify their faith by a frank confession, by a pious life and by works, which are the fruits of true and ardent faith, they would soon find that they have to bear the cross with Christ, their Lord.  However much Gellius may garble it in his writings, the word of Christ is and remains the word of the cross; all who accept the word in power and in truth must be prepared for the cross; this, both Scriptures and experience abundantly teach us.

This had necessarily to be said, lest we be consoled with a false boasting and idea and lest the word of our Lord Jehovah, spoken to the false prophets, be applied to us; saying, You promise life to those souls to whom you should not promise it, “By your lying to my people that hear your lies,” Ezekiel 13:19.

Notwithstanding, many are allowed in their churches who wantonly live in pomp, splendor, carousing, avarice and according to the lusts of the flesh, which service a true and faithful preacher, through which God works, does not allow, if the evangelical Scriptures and apostolic ordinances and doctrine shall avail and are true.

But, as to the alms and support of the poor, I would say that it is a good and praise-worthy work and cordially approve of it.  Also, that many pious gentile philosophers, such as Aristotle, Plato, &c., have considered it as right and just.  But we contradict that.  Sincere and true repentance, or the true seed and foundation of sincere love, which is a fruit of true faith, consists in this; for we may give in hypocrisy, as well as in love, as may be seen by the Scribes and Pharisees, by the open heathens and daily, yet, by the papists.

Paul also agrees with this, saying, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned and do not have love, it profits me nothing,” 1 Cor. 13:3.  Therefore, let everyone take heed for what purpose and with what heart he bestows his alms.  For the love which is of God and of a divine nature hates all boasting and hypocrisy, neither does it know them; of this I am convinced.

If Gellius points to the support and service of the poor, which I deem praiseworthy, as a fruit of true repentance, then I would ask in the first place, whether he finds a lack of alms with our church; although they are exiled to foreign countries and live in poverty and misery and are partly robbed of their possessions?

In the second place I would say that while he wants to boast of true repentance, he should first commence with the repentance of such faith as brings forth the love and fear of God and not with the alms for the poor.  For the Lord’s own mouth speaks, That love is the keeping of his commandments; yes that it is the greatest commandment, Deut. 6:6.

Yes, my reader, if he and his could fully comprehend sincere, true repentance and true christian faith, which he thinks has been planted in their hearts, O, how cordially would they fear their God, love and thank him for his favors and loving-kindness and how willingly would they follow and obey his holy word!  But how they do love and thank him for his loving-kindness and how they obey and follow his word, their actions and fruits, alas, too plainly testify.

If they love God and if a true, living faith and genuine repentance has been implanted in their hearts, as he boasts, why do they, then, yet walk after the manner of the Gentiles in pomp and splendor, in the lusts of their eyes, embellishment of their bodies and houses, in avariciousness, carousing, &c.?  And why do they not heed the words of Paul, namely, “If you live after the flesh, you shall die,” Rom. 8:13.

If they love their neighbors, as the Scriptures command and true repentance brings forth, why are they, then, so usurious, avaricious and perfidious among themselves?  Why do they litigate?  Hatred, envy, lying, deceit, backbiting and defamation still prevail among his followers; besides this, they curse, swear, brawl, fight, war, destroy, rob and some of them are fornicators, perjurers, &c.; to say nothing about their disgraceful upbraiding, profaning and defaming of all those who seek and fear the Lord.  What sort of repentance and faith it is, of which he so loudly boasts, you may consider in the fear of God.

O, my kind reader, it never fails that where true faith is, there, also, is the righteousness of faith; where there is unfeigned, christian love, there also is obedience to the holy word and where there is true, sincere repentance there also is an unblamable life.  According to the truth; this is incontrovertible.

Is it not a false assertion to say that the giving of alms shows true repentance, since we do not know whether it is done in sincerity of heart or in hypocrisy and vanity while he can plainly see that those who give alms generally are merely of the world and flesh, yes, without regeneration and repentance?

It would be well if he could take to hear what stands written: The alms (gifts) of the ungodly do not please the Most High; and sins are not remitted by much offering.  And he who offers from the possessions of the poor does even as if he slaughtered the Son, in the sight of the Father.  But to keep God’s commandments, is a pleasing offer and to do according to the command, this is an offering which avails.  “To depart from wickedness is a thing pleasing to the Lord; and to forsake unrighteousness is a propitiation.’ Again, “To obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken [is better] than the fat of rams,” Eccl 35:3; 1 Sam. 15:22.

I would further say that it is my fixed opinion that the before-mentioned alms, of which he boasts, are not the two mites or pennies of the widow’s necessaries; but only a small crumb of their abundance, riches and wealth.  This I frankly assert and I do not have the least doubt that if they would apply, to the support of the poor, their silk damask and the superabundance of clothes in which they go splendidly attired, the ornaments of their houses, the golden and silver rosaries, the useless, costly ornaments, gold rings, chains, silvered and gilt swords, besides the booty of the persecuted which may be found in the houses of some, then the poor would not, in the least, suffer from want.

O, my reader, yet by him, this must be called true repentance and a highly boastful work.  If such boasting of outward works was heard from our side, how soon would we hear that we are work-saints and that we want to be saved by our own merits.

O, Lord!  O dear Lord!!  Thus the ignorant people are deceived and consoled in their impenitent, reckless life with their own works and merits.  I think that such preachers may justly be called peace-preachers, bolsterers and false daubers of the Spirit of the Lord, since they praise such a carnal people as penitent and happy according to the prophetic word, while they are still quite earthly and carnally-minded; as their daily walk openly testifies before the whole world.

My faithful reader, observe the word of the Lord and take heed; for it is not always a true christian faith nor sincere repentance which the children of the world, who are prone to walk upon the broad way, sometimes teach and represent as true faith and sincere repentance.  But this is true faith; which cordially accepts all the words of God, the threatening commands as well as the consoling gospel and trusts in them as the sure and true word of God, &c.  From such faith, which Paul calls a gift of God, springs the fear of God which drives out sin and the true love which gladdens, enlivens and cheers the heart and leads it into the obedience of the word.

Where there is such a faith which brings forth a new, converted and changed mind; which makes us dead unto sin and leads us into a new life; changes us from Adam to Christ; puts off the old man with all his works and puts on the new man with his works and thus conforms all his thoughts, words and works to the Spirit, word and ways of the Lord, behold, there is true repentance to which the holy prophets, John the baptist, Christ Jesus, together with all the apostles and pious servants have so earnestly pointed us and so faithfully advised us.

All those who would rightly preach this faith and this genuine repentance and would by this bring forth fruits, must themselves first truly believe and sincerely repent; this is too obvious to be denied; and that Gellius and his like preachers do not yet, in power and truth, believe and sincerely repent, I will leave to be judged by their own writings and fruits, both here on earth and before the throne of God and Christ.

 

Gellius further writes and says, If it were true that many of our audience turn the preaching of the holy gospel to lasciviousness, as in Jude 4 and that our preaching avails but little, although many pious, penitent hearts incontrovertibly prove the contrary, then the old lamentation of the prophet Isaiah were but verified, that says, Who has believed our report, &c?  He also points to the saying of Christ, namely, If they have kept my word they will also keep your word; with which he doubtlessly means to say, as the world has not kept my doctrine, therefore they will not keep your doctrine.

He also refers to the four kinds of seed and four kinds of earth, Mat. 13:8, 19, 23.

Answer.  God has never, from the beginning, preached repentance through the impenitent.  The mouth and wisdom of God say, “Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles,” Mat. 7:16.

Since it is clear that Gellius and his like preachers remain so earthly and carnally minded and are driven by such an unmerciful, tyrannical and slandering spirit, which is, properly, the inborn spirit, nature and fruit of the old serpent; how, then, can they rightly preach the penitent, pious life and the fruitful, merciful, amiable spirit, nature and disposition of Christ, which they not only do not acknowledge, but upbraid as hypocrisy and which they sincerely hate in all the pious?

In the second place, I say that the preaching of peace and the making of cushions by the learned, as they do, will bring forth but few truly repentant persons.  For although the world is so wicked and wild that we should reasonably be terrified at their very great wickedness, yet they are so comforted and consoled by their preachers, with their infant baptism, supper, alms and with the merits, grace, death and blood of the Lord, that they presume themselves to be the Lord’s chosen holy church and people.

In the third place I would say because he speaks doubtfully, saying, If it were true that many of his audience turn the preaching of the word to lasciviousness and little fruit was brought forth by it, something which he however does not admit, &c., the reader should well mark how assiduously they defend the world and the church of anti-christ, saying, If it were true, &c.  Yet the whole German nation has degenerated to such a wild and reckless freedom, by the preaching of their free gospel that if we reasonably admonish and reprove them for their open unchastity, carousing, pomp and splendor, cursing and swearing, lascivious and foul words, we must immediately hear that we are conspirators, vagabonds, fanatics, heaven-stormers, anabaptists and other indecent, disgraceful slanders.

But in regard to the complaint of Isaiah and the saying of Christ, If they have kept my saying, &c., John 15:20, with which he wishes to cover and adorn his unscriptural practices and doctrine of impenitence, I would ask him if Christ and the apostles have received those who lived after the lusts of their flesh, such as drunkards, railers, extortioners, avaricious, fornicators, adulterers, &c., as their disciples, so long as they had not sincerely repented?

If he answers in the affirmative, then he speaks contrary to all Scripture.  For Paul says that we shall not eat with such, if he does call himself a brother, 1 Cor. 5:11 and that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6:11.  If he answers in the negative, then I would again ask why they receive them as disciples while they are not disciples of Christ, but are, according to his own words, of the world?

If he answers that they do not receive them, then I would ask him why they baptize their children before they let them partake of the supper?  And whether it would not be better if he would separate them, according to the Scriptures from the communion of those whom he esteems pious?  If he answers that he does not know of such, which he can by no means truthfully say, then I would, lastly ask if he does not know a tree by its fruits; if he cannot see a light that shines in darkness, as all true christian lights are called in the Scriptures, nor a city which is built upon a high mountain?  Mat. 5:14.

Since Gellius and all the preachers receive and allow such impenitent persons, whom he himself calls of the world, as heard, in the communion of their churches, against the practice of Christ and of the apostles, therefore they must by this acknowledge that Christ’s church is of the world or the world is Christ’s church; that they, contrary to the apostolic doctrine, ordinance and example, dispense the sacraments also to the world, which according to the Scriptures properly belong to the penitent alone; who have placed themselves in the church of the Lord, in obedience to the word; that they, by this, include the penitent (if such there be) in the communion of the impenitent; and that they are open flatterers and enemies of the cross of Christ, Phil. 3:18, who act hypocritically with the higher class and flatter the world, lest they lose their favors; and thus openly and faithlessly transgress the Lord’s word and ordinance, for the sake of their bellies and reject it as powerless and discouraging.

Again, as to his reference to the Lord’s parable, I would say that I would have him take a better view of it and not console himself with this; for it has reference to the true preachers and disciples who have been put to the trial of the cross of Christ, in obedience to the word and not to the cross-fleeing preachers and the world, as may be learned not only from the Scriptures but also from experience.

For some reject the received and manifest truth and the sown seed is devoured by the fowls of the air and does not bring forth fruit.  Some are withered by the scorching sun of the cross, oppression and misery, which proves them to be wood, hay and stubble, 1 Cor. 3:12.

Others are smothered by the cares of this world and by deceitful riches and the lusts of the flesh, so that the received knowledge dies in them and the lusts and love of this world prevail, which in our times, as well as in the times of the primitive church, is too often the case with those who, with Demas, alas, again grasp the love of the world.

But the last receive it in a sincere, pious heart and meekly bring forth fruit with patience; although they are much tempted by all kinds of trials, anxiety, oppression and deadly perils, yet they are, by the gracious help of God, so armed with a true faith, love, hope and patience or long-suffering; are so confirmed in God, that neither the fire of tribulation can consume them (for they are gold, silver and precious stones), nor sword and pain can frighten or deter them from the ways of the Lord, Rom. 8:38.

That the before-mentioned parable has reference to such christians and not to the world and its preachers, is too clear to be controverted or denied.  And Gellius and his like preachers of the world remain defenders of unrighteousness, comforters of the impenitent and servants of the kingdom of anti-christ, who not only pitifully deceive their own souls but also those of their church and support and defend them in their gross abominations and impenitent carnal lives, by their perversion of Scriptures and useless consolations, to their eternal destruction.

In the fifth place it should be observed, what the preachers’ desire and seeking should be.  The Scriptures teach that Moses and Jeremiah, Exo. 4:10, reluctantly accepted of the service when they, Jer. 1:6, were called and sent by God, as Jeremiah laments when the cross bore heavily upon him, Exo. 4:10; Jer. 1:6; Jer. 20:8.

All that the prophets, apostles and faithful servants of God always sought and desired was nothing else than that they might proclaim the name of Jehovah, their God and might point their neighbors to the way of peace.  They did not seek money, gold, honor and an easy life, but they executed their office to which they were appointed and which was, alas, not weighed [valued] by the heedless people, under many sore trials, miseries, anxieties, tribulations, beatings, poverty, oppression and tortures and at the risk of life even, as sacred and profane histories, in many instances, teach.  But why the preachers of the world have until now refused and yet refuse the service and what they seek by this, experience and the Holy Spirit plainly teach us, saying that they promise death to the pious and life to the wicked, for the sake of a handful of barley or a piece of bread; that they seek the fat and the wool, milk and flesh; that they eat but do not feed the Lord’s sheep, Ezekiel 34:3; that they preach peace for their bellies’ sake (that is, if well paid) and war if not well fed, &c.

Facts testify openly that it is true that they do not seek the salvation of souls, but a careless, easy life; for we never saw in all our life that the preachers lived where there were no rents or liens.  That, also, Gellius does not seek the salvation of his sheep, but the rents, he has testified when he left Norden, where he was called by the same calling and moved to Emden where the annual income was greater; something which the paters, in times gone-by, esteemed as unjust in their councils and decrees and punished with excommunication.

If he sought the salvation of their souls and not the rents, as becomes a good and faithful shepherd, according to the example of Jesus Christ and of all faithful servants, why, then, did he make void his first calling, which was, according to his assertion, divine and leave the first sheep who were no less delivered through the death of the Lord and bought with his precious blood, than the last, of which he now has the charge.  O, hypocrisy and feigning!

 

Again, Gellius says in regard to the sustenance of the preachers, That they have little care as to how the community, of whom the magistracy are a part, provides them the necessaries of life, while it is certain that if they serve the gospel, as he says, they shall also live by the gospel; and cites Mat. 10:10; Luke 10:7.

Answer.  If Gellius and the preachers were such servants as are referred to in these Scriptures, then it is plain that the sustenance of the gospel was promised to them.  But if anybody goes into the service and uselessly destroys and ruins the Lord’s goods, if faithless, seeks his own self in all things and does the things which are contrary to the will and honor of the Lord, should such a faithless servant receive the reward which is reasonably due to the faithful, assiduous laborer?  I think you will answer in the negative; and that he should rather receive the displeasure and punishment of the Lord: For he speaks, “Therefore when the Lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do unto those husbandmen?  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons,” Mat. 21:40, 41.

We acknowledge that sustenance has been promised by Scriptures, to the true and faithful servants.  But, since Gellius and his like preachers are unfaithful servants who destroy the Lord’s goods, steal his gain, scatter his sheep and do not gather them together; who, alas, fearlessly lead to hell his precious treasure, namely the poor miserable souls, in great numbers, as those truly regenerated can scripturally judge by the testimony of their open deeds; therefore their sustenance is not the sustenance of true preachers, but an unreasonable, shameful gain; an unbecoming livelihood and the reward of the deceived souls; this, all of sound understanding must acknowledge and admit.

O, my faithful reader, remember, so long as the world donates such splendid houses and large incomes to their preachers, the false prophets and deceivers will be numerous.

They pretend to vindicate by Scripture all heresy, deceit, idolatry, pomp, hypocrisy, tyranny and drunkenness, together with their unreasonable and shameful service of the flesh and world and make the ignorant and blind world believe that it is right.

But I openly testify, I testify it unreservedly, that the preachers of the world, to take them all in all, are Balaamites, who love the reward of unrighteousness and serve for the sake of a handful of barley and a piece of bread, whereby they profane the name of Jehovah God, Ezekiel 13:19.  “Prophets which eat at Jezebel’s table,” 1 Kings 18:20, servants and defenders of Maaz, 1 Chron. 2:27, who are honored with great rewards of Antioch, that is, anti-christ; Ahabites, who, for the sake of an acre, stone the pious Naboth, 1 Kings 21, that is, who advise and instigate the world by their speeches, writings, backbiting, complaints and permission to the killing of many an innocent, pious child of God.

Again, they are priests of Jeroboam, who, contrary to the example of Christ Jesus and his holy apostles, hire themselves, for an annual stipend, to an unevangelical service of impenitence, which is practiced, in all respects, without power, spirit, repentance and regeneration, as may openly be seen; their service is vain labor and mockery, besides an unbecoming speculation.

O, how distinctly has the Holy Spirit portrayed them before our eyes, if we would but see, saying, “And through covetousness they shall, with feigned words, make merchandise of you.”  Again, “there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.”* 2 Peter 2:3; Jude 18 and other like sayings; For that they have sought unreasonable gain and an easy life, from youth and yet seek it, is so obvious, that it cannot, at all, be denied.

Besides, their liens and properties have been obtained from anti-christ, through artful dealings, enchanting roguery and clerical robbery and are yet, daily, thus obtained from those who walk upon the broad way without repentance and who find, alas, no pleasure in the Lord’s holy word.

They act hypocritically and flatter the magistrates and those of high-standing; they console the impenitent and persecute the pious; they adulterate the plain word, sacraments and ordinances of Jesus Christ, by which the church should be gathered and maintained in Him.  They preach to suit and please the world, that they may receive, under the semblance of the gospel, the blood-reward of the poor and miserable souls, for which they assiduously strive; that they may peaceably possess it and turn it to the advantage of easy times.  Yet they console themselves with the idea that they serve the gospel and therefore should live off the gospel.  Behold, thus they give a scriptural shape to all kinds of false doctrines and works and thus they give a fine appearance to hypocrisy.

My faithful reader, I warn you in sincere love, take heed.  Again, I say unto you, the true and faithful servants of Jesus did not have such annual stipends, rents and property attached to the apostolic churches; but the greater part earned their livelihood by their own labor; yet served the church of Christ, and, in all love and humility, walked before them with true doctrines and an unblamable life.  They have diligently watched over the Lord’s house, city and vineyard; opposed all evil and deceiving spirits with the word of the Lord; admonished the disorderly, consoled the afflicted, reproved the transgressors, excommunicated the disobedient and refractory; served reasonably, left the world to the world and have patiently borne its cross; and what necessaries they needed they received, not from the world, but at the hands of their pious disciples, in humility, without avariciousness or in desire of shameful gain.  Scriptures allow this much, as said above, for they rightly pastured the Lord’s sheep, they faithfully planted the vineyard, assiduously tilled the land and stored the sheaves and fruits in the Lord’s barn, as the example of the prophets and apostles points out and the Spirit and word of the Lord command and enjoin upon all faithful servants.

I will conclude my remarks in regard to the calling of the preachers and would yet say, since the Scriptures teach that the servants of the holy word are called either by the Lord himself, or by means of the pious, as has been heard; that they shall be unblamable; able rightly to rule the Lord’s church, bring forth permanent fruits, destroy and build up; that they shall not seek unreasonable gain, but sincerely seek the honor and praise of God and the salvation of their neighbors, &c.; and since we plainly see and palpably feel that they, alas, are altogether called by such as we would wish had the Spirit of Christ; moreover that they are blamable in all things, for they are of an unmerciful, tyrannical disposition and of an earthly, carnal life; pervert the gospel and do not teach it in power and true repentance; wrongly use the sacraments without power, spirit and repentance and dispense it to those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ.  They deceive the people; do not bring forth permanent fruits, plant that which is evil and root out that which is good; they do not seek the honor and praise of God but their own profit and gain, the favor of the world and an easy, careless life.  I will let their doctrines, sacraments, fruits and life testify to this; therefore I say without any reservation that they are not the called preachers and servants of the church of Christ, whom we shall, according to the Scriptures, obey, accept and follow, as they pretend we should, but that they are preachers for the sake of gain and servants of anti-christ, against whom we are, on every hand, warned by the word of God; not to hear or follow them nor their doctrine but to flee from and avoid them as deceivers, false prophets, wicked men and faithless servants.

Yes, my reader, what can they say about their calling, preaching and church-service?  It is, briefly stated, not possible, according to the sure promises and prophecies of Christ Jesus and the prophets, that a true and faithful preacher, witness or teacher, especially in these evil times and in this wicked and tyrannical world, can faithfully teach and proclaim, without respect of persons, the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, without being exiled, proscribed or killed; much less enjoy life at ease and liberty, as they do, without persecution, yes, receive annual stipends from the world and be highly honored and loved by them.

Peruse all the Holy Scriptures and see if you can find that Christ Jesus, with his holy apostles, true witnesses and followers fared as they do and received as they do; whether persecution, cross, tribulation, anxiety, prison and death were not, generally, their lot and part.  Besides experience, yet daily, teaches this abundantly.

If, then, the preachers acted rightly, if they were walking according to the example of Christ and his apostles; if their teachings and dealings were right, as they pretend them to be, then all the Holy Scriptures must be wrong, the word of the cross be fulfilled and Christ and his prophecies must be false, this is incontrovertible.  Therefore, all their boasting and artful citations concerning their calling, office, doctrine and church-service, together with their defense are, in fact, wrong, futile, hypocritical, unjust and without truth.  “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s,” Phil. 2:21; their own ease and not the salvation of their neighbors; they are enemies of the cross; they serve their own bellies, Rom. 16.  If they would rightly reprove all the ungodliness, idolatry, abuse, pride, pomp, splendor, hypocrisy and unfaithfulness of this world, without respect of persons with the same earnestness, assiduity, heart and mind, &c., as did Christ with his holy apostles and true witnesses and in other respects would not act so freely; if they would hate all unrighteousness of the world as Christ Jesus and his apostles hated it, then they would not long remain at ease in their comfortable houses; they would not have such incomes and they would be little regarded by this reckless, wild world.  Of this I am convinced.

But they do differently; they make the garment to fit the man (as the saying is) and they so teach and act that the world may tolerate them and love them and that they may be the friends of the world, so that they may be at ease, not be persecuted and enjoy good times; this is something which is generally well understood and a sure proof that their sending or calling together with their doctrine and church-service is in every particular without the ordinance, Spirit and word of God, as said before.

With this, Gellius’ article on the calling has been replied to.  I would earnestly beseech him and all the preachers to reflect in the fear of God, for before the flaming eyes of the Lord, which search heaven and earth, nothing wrong will be hidden, however artfully it may be covered before man’s eyes and however much it may be embellished and adorned with smooth words.

 

Next, Gellius denies our calling and says before we can agree with the preachers or teachers who claim that they bring forth fruit, they must first be rightly called by a church of God and not from a collection who have been deceived by false prophets; and then come boldly forward and preach; or they must show by facts (as he says) that Christ has done wrong and that he should have rather preached secretly to avoid the cross (as he says we do) than in public, &c.

Answer.  The sending or calling of Moses, of Christ, of Paul, of the apostles and prophets was also denied by the perverse.  Moses had to hear that he had killed the Lord’s people and that he had led them into the wilderness that they might perish through want and misery.  Christ Jesus was called a wine-bibber, blasphemer and one possessed of the devil, Mat. 11:19.  Paul was called a rebel and an apostate Jew, &c.  Behold, thus in their times the sending of the faithful servants of the Lord, no, the Lord and Messiah himself was despised, although testified by many miracles.  How much more, then, shall we be despised, who are such weak and insignificant instruments and live in seven fold worse and more wicked times than those in which they lived.

Inasmuch, then, as we are accused by our opponents, the learned, that we are not called by a church of God, but by false prophets, or by a false church, therefore I would briefly advise the reader to weigh well with the Scriptures who, how and what the church of God is.  It is not a collection of proud, avaricious, extortionate, vain persons, drunkards and impenitent, as the church of the world is, by whom the learned are called.  It is a collection or congregation of saints, as the Holy Scriptures and the Nicene symbol clearly teach and represent, namely, of those who, through true faith, are regenerated by God unto Christ Jesus and are of a divine nature, who will gladly conform their lives according to the Spirit, word and example of the Lord, are actuated by his Spirit and are willing and prepared patiently to bear the cross of their Lord Jesus Christ.

Behold dear reader, such were they whom the apostles and faithful servants won unto Christ Jesus and added to his church with his Spirit and word, nor does Scripture acknowledge any others.  From such and of such they have, with fasting and prayer, chosen and called unto the service of the Lord the pious and unblamable pastors and teachers; and not of the world, as has been heard.

Since, then, the preachers of the world and their congregations are not the church of Christ, but are such preachers and churches as shown, by their spirit, words and deeds that they are of the world; and since the merciful, great Lord in these latter days of abominations, graciously gathers together, by his Spirit and word, many faithful hearts from the different unscriptural sects, both great and small and from different nations and tongues, in one faith.  He places them as an admonition to sincere repentance, with their doctrine, life, goods and blood, before the whole world, yes, as a light upon a lampstand; therefore these must be the Lord’s church and people; or else the word of God, which is and remains true, must be wrong and false.  And some from these and of these are chosen with fasting and prayer and ordained to the service of the Lord by the laying on of hands according to the example and doctrine of the apostolic churches; now, all of sound mind may judge and weigh, according to Scripture, whether such a calling or choosing is consistent with Scripture and according to the usage of the primitive churches; and whether it can stand before the Lord and his church as divine, holy and just.

Further, it is a fact well known to me, that the preachers tell the simple and which Gellius’ writing, if carefully read, also insinuates, that I should have received my faith, doctrine and calling from a deceiving, refractory and corrupted sect, by the secession of whom the Lord intends to purge his church.  For this reason I am necessarily forced to explain my actions briefly, which I, under different circumstances, would, for the sake of modesty, remain silent; namely, how I first came to the knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and how I afterward, unworthily, became one of his servants; and I by this beseech all my readers, for God’s sake to consider well my narration and that they will not think hard of it, nor consider it as vain boasting that I tell it here; for the honor of my God and the love for his church urge me to do so.  Let all judge me as they will.  He who has created me and has until now graciously delivered me from my enemies knows me; he knows what I seek in this life and what my greatest desire is.

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Here follows in the original works of Menno Simon his Renunciation of the Church of Rome.  See it in the First Volume, commencing on Page 2.

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Again, that Gellius wants us to preach publicly, has been sufficiently replied to above, as I trust, in treating of night preaching.  Yet I would propound these three questions.

In the first place, Whether a person would not be guilty of blood, if he would persuade somebody by artful words or force him into a deep water or by such means get him to take poison, if he knew beforehand that death would be the consequence?

In the second place, Since he boasts to be a called preacher and preaches in public, I would ask, Why he is not moved to love and compassion for his own country?  Why he does not, among the papists, openly proclaim his faith, sacraments and doctrines, contrary to the emperor’s decree, tyranny, persecution and ill-will as he would have us to do?

Thirdly, since he will admit, as I suppose and must admit, if he judges according to the Scriptures, that the avaricious, proud, haughty, drunkards, vain, extortioners, liars, unrighteous, &c., can not inherit the kingdom of God and that they therefore are not christians; I would ask him why it is that he does not lay aside the fear of the cross (of which he blames us) and separate, without all respect of person, the impenitent of his church, from the communion of his sacraments, according to the doctrine and ordinance of the Holy Spirit, since it is God’s express word and ordinance?  He would have us preach publicly, notwithstanding that he well knows that we can no more do so without the loss of life, than to go on the water without sinking, or to take poison without dying.  For he and the learned have brought about such a state of affairs, by their disgraceful slanders and preaching, that we are, alas, already judged before we are caught.  Besides he advises the magistracy to stop our doings; and he well knows how he treated a certain person, about ten years ago, who would gladly proclaim to the people the testimony he had, in sincerity of heart and that he refused me a discussion of Scripture twice, as has been heard.  Yet he says, if we are true teachers we should preach in public; while he himself, for the sake of a livelihood and the fear of the cross does not preach his doctrine (whatever it amounts to) in his own place but has moved to another and more safe place and there, although he can freely practice his doctrine and sacraments, he neglects separation, scriptural reproof and the ordinances of God from the fear of the cross.  Now the reasonable reader may conclude from all this what kind of a christian, not to mention preacher, he is; since he would have us, miserable ones, to do that which he himself dares not do nor touch, as you may see.

If Gellius could take these three questions to heart and would consider them in a scriptural light and in the fear of God, he would be ashamed all his life that he so indiscreetly attacks us, against all love, reason, intelligence and the Scriptures and that he, under such a semblance, so tyrannically strives after the ruin, blood and death of the pious.

But in answer to his writing that the prophetic and apostolic doctrine and sacraments should not be taught and dispensed in secret, retired corners and shops, but in public, I would say, We admit that Christ Jesus, generally preached in public, however with such discretion that he sometimes avoided the raving, mad people, after they had resolved upon his death, until the time of his suffering had arrived (which time was known to him beforehand) and the prophecies were fulfilled, Luke 21:32.

Also, that although Jesus Christ sent his disciples to preach the gospel to all people, to Gentiles as well as Jews, he did not command them, nor would he, that they should serve and dispense his sacraments, namely, baptism and Supper to the enemies of his word, Mat. 28:19; Mark 16:15.  Therefore it is obvious that he accuses us of this without any truth or foundation of the Scriptures.  He does not only accuse and reprove us but also Christ Jesus, God’s eternal word* and wisdom himself; for he has celebrated his Holy Supper at night in a secret place, with a separate people; he also accuses and reproves Paul and the primitive, apostolic church, who oft held their brotherly meetings at night, in retired places, as has been sufficiently adduced above.  Observe how openly he speaks against God’s word.

 

He writes further, that our calling is not testified by anything, further than that we not only fill the hearts of many with a mad and irreconcilable hatred of all church ordinances and true servants of the church, however pious they be, but also inspire them with a contentious, envious spirit.

Answer.  If animosity and bitterness of heart had not so entirely blinded him and if but a small spark of a true, christian spirit were in him, then he would soon acknowledge the precious fruits of true repentance.  But as it is, he has become so blinded that, alas, he calls the glorious fruits of the Holy Spirit, the fruits of the devil and new monkery; and the burdensome, pressing cross of so many pious saints, the cross of evil-doers or heretics.  Which is in my opinion an abominable sin and gross slander.

The Pharisees said, “This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub, the prince of devils,” Mat. 12:24, although they strongly felt in their hearts that it was the finger and power of God.  Christ said that it was blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, Luke 12:10.  But what Gellius does against us I will leave to the Lord.

God knows that I wish that I might deliver him and all the preachers from their sore damnation, even at the cost of my own life.  Behold, this is how I hate him and all those who seek my life; although we must hear so much evil spoken against us; and I trust that all who fear the word of the Lord will be of one mind with me in this regard.  Notwithstanding this, he writes that we fill many hearts with anger and irreconcilable hatred against them, &c.  By no means.  And this for no other reason than that we in sincere and faithful love, earnestly reprove the hypocritical deceivers, whom he calls the true and pious servants of the church and the unscriptural infant baptism, together with all the abuses which he calls church ordinances, not only by the Spirit and word of the Lord, but also by our possessions and blood and because we point them to Christ Jesus and him crucified, to his Spirit, word, ordinances and to the doctrine and usage of his holy apostles.

I truly believe that a spiteful, envious person has no part in God’s city.  And if we, who are daily killed for our love, are yet spiteful and envious, then much suffering is in vain.  I trust that I write the truth when I say that I am more terrified of hatred and envy than of fire and sword.  Yet we must hear that we are spiteful.  Behold, thus good is always turned to evil and our love to hatred.  What sentence the Scriptures pronounce against such may be seen in Isaiah 5.

 

He also accuses us That we are not unanimous, but quarrel among ourselves in regard to many articles of christian religion; namely, in regard to obedience to the laws; to the justification of man; to the Godhead of Christ and his becoming man and in regard to the powers of the magistracy, &c.

Answer.  I trust that I can write with a clear conscience that we, who are grains of one loaf, are also of one mind in Christ Jesus.  But as in the times of the apostles, false teachers arose in the apostolic church who started and taught false doctrines and who were, after faithful admonition, separated from the communion of their church, if they did not repent, as may be learned from many Scriptures; so also it is in our times.  Satan is always at work.  Paul says, “There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you,” 1 Cor. 11:19.  And if such be deaf unto truth, reject admonition and start perverse sects, then we may no longer receive them as brethren, as the Scriptures teach us.  So long as we continue to do this in obedience to the holy word and in the true fear of God, we are convinced from the inmost of our hearts, that we will be clear of all sectarianism as also of blasphemy and perversity; although we must innocently hear such charges from the world.

Since it is a fact well known to Gellius and his fellow-preachers that peace-breakers and sectarians are not allowed in our communion at all, but are unanimously separated from us, according to apostolic doctrine and usage, Rom. 16:17; Tit. 3:10, therefore it is very wrong of him to call so many pious persons contentious and cause them to be of such bad report with the world, without truth; while they hate discord and strife and seek nothing but that they may humbly follow the crucified Jesus, in the peace of their hearts.

If he should say that he accounts them as of us because they have received the same baptism with us, then I would say again that Peter, Simon, Paul and &c., were also one.  Then all papists, Lutherans and Zwinglians besides all thieves, murderous wizards, buggerers, fornicators and rogues are one; for they have received one baptism; this is incontrovertible.

Again, in regard to his accusation that we dispute among ourselves in regard to obedience to the laws; the justification of man; the power of the magistracy &c., I would say that I trust I can testify before the Lord and his church with a clear conscience, that I never but once to my knowledge, disputed, or as Gellius calls it quarreled with anyone in regard to the justification of man and this one has already ran to ruin.  Nor have I ever discussed the questions of obedience to the laws or the power of the magistracy other than by way of brotherly instruction.  What our confession and grounds are concerning the before-mentioned articles, may be clearly concluded from our writings.

O, dear Lord, that Gellius would once consider his own words when he writes that the calling of the pious should not be nullified on account of the impious and would have sufficient fear of God in him to feel concerned about the lies, violence and injustice which he unreasonably practices on us.  For what else does he but wilfully defame the pious, perhaps against his own sentiments, that he may oppose the word, may uphold his cause by making ours [appear] false and suspicious, lest his pharisaical faithlessness be made manifest.  Yes, he writes as if he would say, Judas was a traitor and thief, therefore all the other apostles are traitors and thieves.  Again, Simon was a rogue, therefore all the members of the apostolic communities were rogues, &c.  For he well knows that we do not, may not suffer heretics, peace-breakers &c. in the communion of the peaceful and pious, as already heard.

O, that he would leave off slandering the peaceable and could rightly see into the angry quarreling, bitter hatred, division, rupture and brawlings of all those who uphold infant baptism; could see how dreadfully they are divided among themselves; that they are so inflamed by envious zeal one against another that they not only slander and adjudge each other to hell by calling each other fanatics, profaners of the sacraments and anti-christians, but that they also take up the sword against each other, as is the way of sectarians; that they utterly destroy countries and inhabitants, cities and towns, against the meek nature, doctrine and example of Christ Jesus and his apostles.

Besides their learned men are so divided among themselves that we can scarcely find five or six in one country who agree in doctrine.  One includes everything in the providence and predestination of God, Quasi necessarium (as an implied necessity).  Another disputes it; the third includes Christ’s flesh and blood in the bread and wine; the fourth understands it spiritually; the fifth baptizes the children on their own faith; the sixth on the strength of the covenant with Abraham and its promise; the seventh says that faith is no obstacle to persecution; the eighth denies it; the ninth believes in faith without fruits or work; the tenth says that faith through love shall be active; the eleventh says that the sacraments may be dispensed to the impenitent and perverse; the twelfth denies it; and other like differences exist among them.

Notwithstanding this, they call the godly, pious hearts and peaceable children of God, who are zealous for God and his righteousness, as much as is in their power and who do not countenance quarreling, a contentious sect and ungodly, deceiving conspirators, while they, on the contrary, are peaceable, teachers of one mind; besides they call the impenitent, wicked world the church and people of the Lord.

Behold, so manifestly the Lord “will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent,” 1 Cor.1:18, yes, that to them Christ Jesus is Belial and Belial is Christ Jesus; light is darkness and darkness is light, 2 Cor. 6.  Alas, they consider the doctrine, life, power, confession and the sacrifice of possession and life of the chosen as nothing; but they judge everything perversely, unfavorably and with partiality, according to the flesh and thus construe everything to offensiveness.  They seek all kinds of excuses to offend the pious, to blaspheme truth and to uphold unrighteousness, that nobody is converted, repents and sincerely seeks and follows the word of the Lord.  O, Lord!  Grant that this may be made manifest unto them.

 

He further writes: “Nor is it a desirable fruit, but a shameful disgrace, that they, contrary to the example of Christ and the apostles, constitute themselves a church, desecrate the Lord’s Sabbath, leave the open assembly and service, hate and upbraid the servants and not only do not examine the solicitous labors and prophecies of the servants but also boldly despise them, contrary to the command of the Holy Spirit and the doctrine of the command of the Sabbath.”

Answer.  Observe, reader, how adroitly they can adorn lies and how frightfully they can suppress and despise truth under cover of virtue.  All the evangelical Scriptures teach us that the church of Christ was and is, in doctrine, life and worship, a people separated from the world.  It also was in the times of the Old Testament, 2 Cor. 6:17; 1 Peter 2:9, 10; Exo. 19:12.

Since the church always was and shall be a separate people, as has been heard and since it is as clear as the