SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
The Love Of A Martyr
Janneken Munstdorp, and her beloved husband Hans Van Munstdorp
were apprehended by the church and sentanced to death for there love and faith in Christ in 1573, at the time of the arrest Janneken was pregnant .
Her husband was put to death right away, Janneken was allowed to give birth to her daughter before being put to death.
Bellow is a farewell letter Janneken Munstdorp wrote to her baby daughter. In this letter there love and faith is clear
The true love of God and wisdom of the Father stengthen you in virtue, my dearest child. I commend you to the Almighty, great and terrible God, who only is wise, that He will keep you, and let you grow up in His fear. You who are yet so young, and whom I must leave here in this wicked, evil, perverse world. Since you are here deprived of father and mother, I will commend you to the Lord, let Him do with you according to His Holy will.
My dear lamb, I who am imprisoned, can help you in no other way. I had to leave your father for the Lord's sake. We were apprehended, and they took him from me. And now that i have borne you under my heart with great sorrow for nine months, and given birth to you here in prison, in great pain, they have taken you from me. Here I lie, expecting death every morning, and shall now soon follow your dear father. And I, your dear mother, write you, my dearest child, somethiug for a remembrance, that you will thereby remember your dear father and your dear mother.
Since I am now delivered up to death, and must leave you here alone, I must through these lines cause you to remember that when you have attained your understanding you endeavor to fear God and examine why and for whose name we both died; and be not ashamed of us. It is the way wich the prophets and the apostles went, and the narrow way wich leads into eternal life.
Hence, my young lamb, for whose sake I still have, and have had, great sorrow, seek, when you have attained your understanding, tbis narrow way, though there is sometimes much danger in it according to the flesh, as we may see and read. if we diligentIy examine and read the Scriptnres, that much is said concerning the cross of Christ.
And there are many in this wodd who are enemies of the cross, who seek to be free from it among the world, and to escape it. But, my dear child, if we would with Christ seek and inherit salvation, we must also help bear His cross ; and this is the cross which He would have us bear : to follow His footsteps, and to help bear His reproach for Christ irnself says : Ye shall be persecuted, killed, and dispersed for my name's sake." Yea, He Himself went before us in this way of reproach, and left us an example, that we should follow His steps ; for, for his sake all must be forsaken, father, mother. sister, brother, husband, child, yea, one's own life.
I must now also forsake all this for the Lord's sake. which the world is not worthy to suffer ; for if we had continued in the world, we would have had no trouble. For when we were one with the wrorld and practiced idolatry, and loved all manner of unrighteousness, we could live at peace with the world; but when we desired to fear God, and to shunn such improper ways, well knowing that this could not please God, wherefore we sought to shun all this, and turned from idolatry to the worship of the living God, and sought here in quietness and gentleness to practice our faith, then they did not leave us in peace ; then our blood was sought ; then we had to be a prey to everyone, and become a spectacle to all the world. They seek here to murder and to burn us; we are placed at posts and stakes, and our flesh is given as food to the worms.
Thus, my dear child, it is now fulfilled in your dear father and mother. It was indeed prophesied to us beforehand, that this was awaiting us; but not everyone is chosen hereunto, nor expects it ; the Lord has chosen us hereunto. Hence, when you have attained your understanding, follow this example of your father aud mother. And, my dear child, this is my request of you, since you are still very little and young; I wrote this when you were but one month old. As I am soon now to offer up my sacrifice, by the help of the Lord, I leave you this: "That you fulfill my request, always uniting with them that fear GOd; and do not regard the pomp and boasting of the world, nor the great multitude, whose way leads to the abyss of hell, but look at the little flock of Israelites, who have no freedom anywhere, and must always flee from one land to the other, as Abraham did; that you may hereafter obtain your fatherland; for if you seek your salvation, it is easy to perceive which is the way that leads to life, or the way that leads into hell. Above all things, seek the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness; and whatever you need besides shall be added unto you. Matt. 6:33
Further, my dear child, I pray you, that wherever you live when you are grown up, and begin to have understanding, you conduct yourself well and honestly, so that no one need have cause to complain of you. And always be faithful, taking good heed not to wrong any one. Learn to carry your hands always uprightly, and see that you like to work, for Paul says : "If any will not work, neither shall he eat." II Tbess. 3:10. And Peter says: "He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil." I Pet. 3 :I0.
Hence, my dear Janneken, do not accustom your mouth to filthy talk, nor to ugly words that are not proper, nor to lies; for a liar has no part in the kingdom of heaven ; for it is written : "The mouth that lieth slayeth the soul." Hence beware of this, and run not in the street as other bad children do ; rather take up a book. and learn to seek there that which concerns your salvation.
And where you have your home, obey those whose bread you eat. If they speak evil, do you speak well. And learn always to love to be doing something; and do not think yourself too good for any thing, nor exalt yourself, but condescend to the lowly, and always honor the aged wherever you are.
I leave you here; Oh, that it had pleased the Lord, that I might have brought you up ; I should so gladly have done my best with respect to it; but it seems that it is not the Lord's will. And though it had not come thus, and I had remained with you for a time. the Lord could still take me from you, and then, too, you should have to be without me, even as it has now gone with your father and myself, that we could live together but so short a time, when we were so well joined since the Lord had so well mated us, that we would not have forsaken each other for the whole world, and yet we had to leave each other for the Lord's sake.
So I must also leave you here, my dearest lamb; the Lord that created and made you now takes me from you, it is His holy will. I must now pass through this narrow way which the prophets and martyrs of Christ passed through, and many thousands who put off the mortal clothing, who died here for Christ, and now they wait under the altar till their number shall be fulfilled, of which number your dear father is one. And I am now on the point of following him, for I am delivered up to death, as it appears in the eyes of man ; but if it were not the will of the Lord (though it seems that I am delivered up to death), He could yet easily deliver me out of their hands and give me back to you, my child. Even as the Lord returned to Abraham his son Isaac, so He could still easily do it; He is still the same God that delivered Daniel out of the lion's den, and the three young men out of the fiery furnace; He could still easily deliver me out of the hands of man.
Now, my child, if this be not so, I know that He is faithful and faithfully keeps His promise. Thus, my poor orphan child, always be resigned; though I and your father are now taken from you ; know that you have a Father in heaven, who will doubtless well provide for you. And when you are old enough, give diligence to learn to read and write, since it is very convenient, and most profitable in this distress, for him that fears God, that you may sometimes read this letter ; as also the other letters, which your father left you; do read them, and remember us both thereby.
Dear Janneken, we have not left you much of this world's goods, and I have now not much to give you, but what I have I give you. However, we leave you a good example to fear God, which is better than much of the temporal goods of this world. Only follow us, and you shall have wealth enough ; true, you are poor here, but you shall possess much wealth, if you only fear God and shun sin. As the apostle says to the Hebrews : "My son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; for they that would be without chastisement are bastards, and not sons or heirs." Heb. 12:5. Hence, my dear lamb, cease not, because of the cross, to fear God, for a Christian is not made meet except by much tribulation and persecution upon this world, and we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God ; for Paul says : "All that will live godly in Christ .Jesus shall suffer persecution." lI Tim. 3:12. And Christ says: "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me; for the servant is not better than his lord, nor the disciple above his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household." Matt. 10:38, 24, 25. If they have persecuted the Lord, they will also persecute us ; if they have hated Him, they will also hate us; and this they do because they have not known my Father, nor me, says the Almighty Lord. For His kingdom was not of this world; had His kingdom been of this world, the world would have loved Him; but because His kingdom was not of this world; therefore the world hated Him. So it also is now: since our kingdom is not of this world, the world will hate us; but it is better for us to be despised here by the world, than that we should hereafter have to mourn forever. But they that will not taste the bitter here, can hereafter not expect eternal life; for we know that Paut says, that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted and be a prey to everyone.
Thus, my dear child, this way the prophets and apostles and many thousands of other God-fearing persons went before us, for an example unto us; and Christ Himself did not spare Himself for us, but delivered up Himself unto death for our sakes ---how then should He not give us all things? Hence, my dearest lamb, seek to follow this way, this I pray you, as much as you value your salvation ; for this is the only way which leads to eternal life, yea, there is no other way by which we can be saved than only throngh Jesus Christ, as Paul says : "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cot. 3:11); by whose stripes we are healed, and through whose blood we have been dearly purchased; for we have not been bought with gold or silver, but through His bitter death, and His precious blood which He shed for us. And we were as erring sheep in this world, but now are we redeemed through His precious and dear blood, and He has now called us to be heirs and first-fruits of Christ. All those that have died unto sin, and amended their lives, and are thus risen with Christ into newness of life, these no longer desire to live to themselves, but their life belongs to the Lord; if they live, they live to the Lord ; if they die, they die unto the Lord ; they are so resigned that whether they live or die, they belong to the Lord. For, my dear lamb, what shall it avail them that Christ died, who still continue in their sins
, and do not turn from this improper life in which they are stiI1 sunk, as, drunkards, murderers, adulterers, idolaters, liars, backbiters, or railers, who cannot please God, whose works proceed only from the devil, all of which the Lord prohibits and says that except they anaend their lives, they shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
A LETTER WHICH HANS VAN MUNSTDORP WROTE TO HIS WIFE, WHEN THEY WERE BOTH IN BONDS IN THE PRISON AT ANTWERP, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST
An affectionate greeting to you my beloved wife whom I love from the heart, and greatly cherish above every other creature, and must now forsake for the truth, for the sake of which we must count all things loss, and love Him above all. f hope, though men separate us here, that the Lord will again join us together in His eternal kingdom, where no one will be able to part us, and we shall reign forever in the heavenly abode. Hence I inform you, my beloved wife, that my mind is still unwaveringly fixed to adhere to the eternal truth. [I hope] by the grace of the Lord, that this is also the purpose of your mind, which I would be rejoiced to hear.
I herewith exhort you my beloved lamb, with the apostle : As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, and suffer yourself not to be moved from your purpose through philosophy or vain deceit of men, whereby they seek to seduce the hearts of the simple, showing them in fair colors the apple of pleasure, whereby they are deceived, even as there are some here, as you know. Pierijntgen has also tasted of the apple, as I understand; hence, my faithful lamb, take heed and lust not after evil things. I Cor. I0:6. And look not back with Lot's wife, lest you become like her. Gen. 19:26. Remember the word of the Lord: "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Lnke 9:62. Hence, my beloved lamb, always remember, as the prophet says, the crown, which shall come in the end, and of the vengeance that shall come upon the ungodly. The prophet says: "Woe to the rebellious children that forsake the Lord, the fountain of life; woe unto them for they that depart from him shall be written in the earth." Isa. 30:1 ; Jet. 17:13. Hence, my beloved, hearken not to them, for their work shall be found wood, straw, and stubble in the day of vengeance, and it shall be burned with fire, as is written. I Cot. 3:12, 13. Therefore, my beloved lamb, whom I so affectionately love and cherish as my own soul, persevere steadfastly, this I pray you, till you are taken away, as I trust you will do. And do not regard flesh or blood, for it must all pass away.
Though we have here a rejected and vile body, the Lord shall fashion it like unto His own glorlous body, on condition that we adhere to the truth unto death. Phil. 3:21; Rev. 2:10. Take this in good part. Always remember the eternal riches. I herewith greet you in the Lord, out of cordial love, and also your companions; rejoice one another in the Lord, be glad in the lions' den, and trust in the God of Daniel.
Herewith adieu and farewell. Bide the time with patience; be patient in the conflict, and rejoice in hope, Let me know, if you can, whether you have received it. Always remember me kindly in your fervent prayers. I hope also not to forget you, whom I would carry in my heart, if it were possible. This butter, it seems to me came from Grietgen Wevels.
I greet you most cordially therewith. Adieu and farewell, my lamb, my love; adieu and farewell, to all that fear God; adieu and farewell, until the marriage of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem. Be valiant and of good cheer; cast the troubles that assail you upon the Lord, and He will not forsake you; cleave to Him, and you will not fall. Love God above all; have love and truth ; love your salvation, and keep your promises to the Lord.