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

By Hermina Joldersma; Louis Grijp | Go to book overview

LIJSKEN DIRCKS
(drowned February 19, 1552 in Antwerp)

Here Follows another Letter from Jeronimus Segersz to his Wife (excerpts):

Grace, peace, a joyful heart, through the confession of Jesus Christ, be with you, my dear wife Lijsken in the Lord. I wish you, my dear Wife Lijsken, a passionate love for God, and a joyful spirit in Christ Jesus. Know that I remember you [Rom 1:9] day and night in my prayers, beseeching and sighing to God on your behalf; I am in great sorrow on your account because you will have to be imprisoned there for such a long time. I would have wished, had it been the Lord's will, that you would have been out of your bonds, but now the Lord's will was different, because he wants to test you, and to reveal his power and might through you, against all those who stand against truth. Therefore I cannot go against the Lord's will, so that I might not tempt him, but rather I will praise and thank him all the more because he has made us both [Acts 5:41] worthy to suffer for his name; for those whom he has chosen for that are all especially selected Lambs, for he has [Rev 14:4] redeemed them from among mortals as the first fruits of God.

Further, my dearest one, therefore I have been very joyful up to this time, thanking and praising God, that he has made us fitting for this. But when I heard from you that you were more sorrowful than your tongue could express, that caused me to shed many a tear, and to have a downcast heart, for that is a great sorrow. I also understood that this might be so because you had told me so often to stop heeding Assverus,1 and I didn't do that; this has caused me many a tear, and I am very sorry about it. [Rom 9:19] Still, I can do nothing against the will of God, and if it had been his will, he would have given us a way out. But he has given us [Job 14:5] our measure, and we will not exceed it. Hence we cannot escape [Tob 13:2] from the Lord. Therefore let us not be sad because of the workings of the Lord, but much rather (as [Mt 5:12] Christ says) rejoice and be glad. […]

____________________
1
Assverus van Gheemont, silversmith and likely a leader among the Anabaptists, was arrested with Jeronimus and Hendrik Beverts, but executed only on January 22, 1552; he allegedly confessed under torture to the names of those he had baptized (Cramer, Het Offer, pp. 152, 184). Not surprisingly, he was not canonized in the Martyrs' Mirror.

-95-

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