Elisabeth's Manly Courage: Testimonials and Songs of Martyred Anabaptist Women in the Low Countries

By Hermina Joldersma; Louis Grijp | Go to book overview

CLAESKEN GAELEDOCHTER
(drowned March 14, 1559, in Leeuwarden)

This is the Confession of a woman named Claesken, who gave her life for the witness of Jesus Christ, in the year 1559.

Questions and Answers between the Commissioner and Claesken.

The Commissioner first asked me for my name, where I was from, my age, and some more of that kind of thing.

Then he asked me: “Have you been baptized?”

Claesken: “Yes.”

Commissioner: “Who baptized you?”

Claesken: “Gielis van Aken.”1

Commissioner: “That deceiver! He has already renounced those beliefs himself. What did he do when he baptized you?”

Claesken: “He [Mt 28:19] baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Commissioner: “Where did you receive this baptism?”

Claesken: “In the fields at Workum.”2

Commissioner: “Were more people there?”

Claesken: “Yes.”

Commissioner: “What people?”

Claesken: “I've forgotten.”

Commissioner: “What was the reason you went there?”

Claesken: “I've forgotten. I am able to say that truthfully both times.”3

Commissioner: “Haven't your children been baptized?”

Claesken: “Not my two youngest children.”

Commissioner: “Why haven't you had your children baptized?”

____________________
1
Gielis (Gillis, Jelis) van Aken, supporter of Menno Simons, was an early and important Anabaptist teacher; from 1549 to 1558 he is named as baptizer by at least 15 martyrs in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Around 1555 he was disciplined (banned) by Menno and others, possibly for his beliefs about the divinity of Christ, possibly for adultery; nevertheless, he was executed for his Anabaptist beliefs in Antwerp in 1558 (S. Blaupot ten Cate, Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht en Gelderland. Vol. 1 [Amsterdam: P.N. van Kampen, 1847], 2122).
2
A town in Friesland near the shore of what was then the Zuider Zee, now the inland body of water called the “Ijsselmeer.”
3
Claesken is making the point that though her answers are brief, they are not false; like all Anabaptists, she took seriously the Scriptural injunction against lying, regardless of the circumstances.

-75-

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