THE WONDERS OF THE MOST HIGH (A 125 YEAR HISTORY OF
THE UNITED NETHERLANDS 1550-1675)
Indication of the causes, ways and means whereby the United
Provinces, against the expectation of the whole world, were elevated
in such a marvelous way from their previous oppression to such
great, awe inspiring riches and acclaim.
As related by several eminent historians, and which after the manner
of the time are compiled to a necessary and profitable use,
ABRAHAM VAN DE VELDE
During His life, Minister of the Divine Word of the Congregation Jesu
Christi at Middelburg
With commending introductions by the Reverend and Celebrated
Eminently Learned Sirs,
REV. J.W. FELIX
DR. J. D. DE LIND VAN WIJNGAARDEN
Ministers at Utrecht
Esteemed Reader by Rev. de Lind van Wijngaarden
Foreword by Rev. J.W. Felix
To the Reader by the Author Rev. A. v.d. Velde
1 Remarkable Situation In Holland
2 Holland After The Armistice (1609-1621)
3 The Rise Of The Republic
4 The Union Of The Provinces
5 God's Glory Advanced In All This
6 Iconoclasm I
7 A Righteous War
9 The Time Of Our Rejection
10 A Covenant With The Potentate Of Potentates
11 The Situation Of The Fathers And Of Us Their Children
12 Comparing The Republic With Switzerland
13 Our Hearts Encouraged I
14 II (Admiral Pete Hein)
15 III (Leyden)
16 About Frivolous Living And Pagan Feastdays
17 Our Hearts Encouraged IV (The Zuiderzee. The Armada)
18 V (Don Pedro. Nieuwpoort)
19 VI (Maestricht. Den Briel)
21 The Death Of William The Silent
22 The Leicester Faction
23 The Wealth Of Spain
24 The True Cause Of Our Prosperity
25 Iconoclasm II
26 The Horrible Death Of King Philip II
27 Hypocracy, Treason And Perjury
28 The War Waged For True Religion
29 "This Is The Lord's Doing"
30 Comparing The Republic With Israel
31 A Call To Be Grateful
32 Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice
33 The Union And Its Leaders
34 Holy Scripture And Satan's Deceptions
35 Conventicles (Field Preaching)
36 Know The Scriptures!
38 The Organ In The Worshipservice. The Singing Of Hymns
39 Beware Of False Teaching
40 The Sabbath
41 In Defence Of Sound Doctrine
42 The Three Forms Of Unity
43 No False Unity
44 Church And State
45 The Christian And The Law Of The Lord
46 The Civil Magistrate
47 The Christian Home
48 The Law Of The Lord In Our Life
49 Turning The Hearts Of The Fathers To The Children
50 1672. The Year Of Disasters
History is said to be His Story. If this is true of any nation it
is certainly true of the Netherlands. In particular of the times this
book was written. The following pages deal with the period (appr.)
1550-1675. It was written during the latter years of that period. The
original book appeared under the title, "De Wonderen des
The author, Rev. Abraham van de Velde was born in 1614 and died
in 1677, and was a witness of many of the things that happened during
It follows that the book was written well over three hundred
years ago about a period that began more than 400 years ago. It
deals with the time of the Reformation and 125 years following that
great event. The times were different, the people were different, but
the God they served is still the same. He is the One Who never
By reading and translating the book it was my privilege to
become aquainted with a period directly after the Reformation, before
the rationalism of the 'Enlightenment', and the Nadere Reformatie
(second or revised reformation) had influenced the landscape. About
the latter, we may not deny that initially the 'Nadere Reformatie' was
a true revival and a blessing for the nation. On the other hand it
cannot be denied that the pietistic movement it turned out to be was
no match for the spirit of the French Revolution which came over
Holland shortly after that time. The Church of that period could not
resist that godless movement. It was not until Bilderdijk and Groen
van Prinsterer, by the grace of God, led the Dutch people back to the
faith of the Reformation, that the people of Holland revived from
their slumber (see the Introduction by J.W. Felix on page 11.
The faith of our fathers was a biblical faith. It did not waver.
They had learned to appreciate the Word as it came to them in the
conventicles, from which places they came with great rejoicing as the
book tells us (see page 141). From the bondage of Roman Catholicism
they came to understand the liberty of the children of God.
As was the faith of the people so was the faith of its great
leaders. First of all Prince William (the Silent), who, when everything
failed, and no other state or prince would take the government of
this country upon them, made, as he said, "A firm Covenant with the
Potentate of potentates". He put his trust in that great Potentate,
until in 1584 when he died by the hand of an assassin. He was
succeeded by his sons Maurice 1585- 1625 and Frederick Hendrick
To describe the difference between the spirit of the Reformation
and the Church of today is not as difficult as it is astounding. Most
Evangelical Churches of the present, Reformed and Presbyterian
included, have lost that spirit. Present day Christianity is
predominantly a religion of Sunday and of the soul. In preaching, the
emphasis is mainly on Christ as Priest and Prophet of His people,
seldom on Christ as King. That former emphasis is absolutely
necessary, for Christ cannot be King of His people without being
Prophet and Priest first. It is nevertheless also true that He cannot
be the former without being the latter. This was well understood by
Dr. W. Aalders in an interview with the Dutch "Reformed Daily" of
September 28, 1996, gives his opinion about what happened in the
Netherlands that brought about the change.
In the interview Dr. Aalders states, "In 1796, two hundred years
ago, the National Assembly accepted the official separation of Church
and State. That is when it came to a head. At that time, the two,
Church and State, faith and politics, confession and life were
separated. Each went its own way. It was no improvement for either.
The State suffered, so did the Church. At that time public morality
began to go its downward way. It was a way without God and without
religion. We have seen the results: anarchy. In Russia: the Goelag
Archipelago. Concentration camps in Germany. In Holland a permissive
Dr. Abraham Kuyper summed it up as follows: "There is no inch in
all of human endeavour of which Christ does not say 'It is Mine'."
This, in a nutshell, is what the fathers believed.
What we lack is their view on Church and State. According to the
book, "We cannot say how close the well-being of Church and State are
joined together; they can be seen as body and soul; the health of the
person is subject to the well-being of body and soul. When the body
is sick, the soul is often oppressed also. Confusion in the State is
harmful to the Church, for when politicians quarrel, they are not
alert as to what is happening in the Church and lack the power to
protect religion." Again, "When there are troubles in the Church and
false teachings, the State is disturbed, yes, even corrupted, for
religion is the soul of the State. As a rule, religion is the first to
be lost, and as a result the State is lost also. The Church is first,
after that the nation. There are no greater revolutions than those
that start with religion" (pages 182-183).
This does not mean that Church and State should not be
separated, they must, for they are different entities. It does mean
that as God cannot be separated from the Church, so God cannot be
separated from the State. "He is the Governor between the nations"
(Ps. 22: 28). "He shall judge between the nations" (Is. 2: 4). He is King
of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19: 16). When the laws of the Lord
are not obeyed, nations are in trouble. When a people honours the
Lord by keeping His statutes that nation is blessed.
This is what the fathers experienced in their great struggle
against Spain, which lasted for eighty years. They saw in these great
occurrences the hand of Almighty God. That is why the book was
written, that is why it was translated. It was written, that we, the
children, should remember the things "We have heard and known, and
our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from our children,
shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his
strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Ps. 78: 3 and 4).
All this for the purpose, "That they might set their hope in God, and
not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" (verse 7).
Keep His commandments, at home, at Church, and in the nation.
In translating the book, again and again, I was struck by the
faith of these people. Theirs was a faith strong enough to face
death. As it was with William of Orange who made a "firm Covenant with
the Potentate of potentates", so it was with those who faced the
scaffold. The Word of the Lord was enough for them. It was so with
those that made war, whether on land or on the seas. They did not
waver. Not for a moment they doubted; they were fighting the Lord's
battles. That is why they were fearless. When, with a few ships, they
were confronted by a great fleet, they attacked, for they were
fighting the Lord's battles. There was no reason whatsoever to waver.
It had to be done, they went and did it. Not for a moment did they
think of what was in it for them, it was their duty.
Our religion is different in that we have withdrawn within the
walls of the Church. In Canada over one hundred thousand little
children are aborted annually, and we are absolutely silent about it.
Just recently (June 30, 1997), on the Lord's day, thousands of gays
paraded through the streets of Toronto, in open defiance of Almighty
God. To my knowledge there was no reaction by any of the Churches.
These things that bring God's well-deserved wrath upon the nations,
were absolutely unthinkable during the days of the Dutch Republic.
The book in the original contains no chapter headings or
divisions of any kind. In order to make the whole somewhat better
accessible chapter headings were added. Since the fathers made sure
their writings were well understood they tended to repeat themselves.
In translating, I have attempted to omit this as much as possible,
therefore not everything in the book is translated. The organization
of the material is not always clear, but be assured that in reading
the book you will find rich gems hidden in many places. All italics are
mine and added for emphasis.
Last, but not least a word of thanks to my good friend Jake
Schaap of Bowmanville, who, when overwhelmed with the intricacies of
the computer and its accompanying hardware and software, extricated
me many a time. Without his help The Wonders of the Most High would
not have been translated.
Newcastle, June 7
The Publisher Mr. H. ten Hoove asked me to write a few words as
introduction for this well-known work of Van De Velde! This was
already done in a previous edition by the Reverend Felix, and his
name on the title page is guarantee that the contents are priceless.
I had never seen the book, safe in a real old edition and will
honestly say that I did not know of a fore-word by Rev. Felix. Had I
known, I would not have conceded to the request of the publisher, for
it would have the appearance that I would improve on the work of an
old well-known Teacher; I, who freely admit that he is a far better
Teacher than I am. However, I promised the publisher, and therefore
will proceed, and ask your attention for a few matters concerning this
Rev. Felix has in particular shown the circumstances why this is
such an eminent work. He showed the readers the frame surrounding
the painting. Concerning the painting he says that it is known well
enough to stand closer scrutiny. He is right. Yet, there are readers
who before they begin reading the book look at the fore-word, to see
about the contents. It is for them I write this.
Van de Velde's work deals with some memorable facts from the
war with Spain. Of the Spanish Inquisition, and of the cruelties by the
Church of Rome done to the Reformed several examples are given.
But what is so remarkable about this little book? That it deals
with all these matters in the light of God's Word! When for instance
the book deals with the mournful dying and death of Philip II, it
points thereby to God's finger. When it deals with the siege and relief
of Leyden, in this too the disposing hand of the Lord is seen. That is
why it is so good that in the present time when a modern spirit does
not reckon with God's finger anymore, this little book is read.
We live in a time that men look for many causes, but the highest
Cause is not seen.
But the book does more than this. When describing the liberation
>from the Spanish yoke, it asks the question, "Why was the Lord so
good to our country?" Here the author proves the truth of the word,
"I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy
name's sake" (Ezek. 36: 22). The author makes clear that God's goodness
was altogether forfeited! We were a small and contemptible people, but
the Lord made His name great in the history of our country. It was
His free and sovereign love that made us great! He stopped the
mouths of those who mocked the God of the Reformed. The book also
points to the fact that we must be humble for so much good the Lord
gave us; let it stimulate to search God's Word! It warns us not to
know anything outside of the Word. In particular it warns for the
novelties of those days. It is certain that the book has been a
blessing for many.
Are there no shortcomings in this work? Certainly! nothing here
on earth is perfect. There are too many references in Latin, which do
no harm because they are translated, but would have been better left
in a footnote on the bottom of the page, and not in the text. Let it
not be a hindrance for the inquiring mind.
The book does not contain meditations for the soul, but history!
Beside the prophets and psalms we find in the Bible the books of
Samuel and Kings. Well on, like the choice meditations of a C.H.
Spurgeon, also published by H. ten Hoove speak of the life of the
soul, and are therefore at a place where David liked to move, that is
how van de Velde in his book moves in the area of History. The one
complements the other.
Worthy Reader, that the Lord by reading about the wonders of
His ways, grant you a spiritual blessing is the prayer of
DE LIND VAN WIJNGAARDEN, Minister
Utrecht, August, 1897
The subsequent words of Asaph in Psalm 78, are worthy of our
consideration: "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark
sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have
told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the
generations to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and
his wonderful works that He hath done. That the generations to come
might know them, even the children which should be born; who should
arise and declare them to their children. That they might set their
hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his
History is the cord that connects us with our ancestors - the
beacon that points to the rock where at one time we ran aground and
suffered shipwreck - the light house that illuminates the safe
harbour to which we have directed all our hope. She is the teacher,
who declares the Word of God, and applies the first principles of His
ways. That is how it was understood by Asaph, that is how the
Fathers perceived it.
Our modern age, after kindling its so called new light, was aware
that it had to cut the cords of history prior to making a beginning with
the reformation of history. They were well aware that the deep
impression of God's name and image in history could not be removed from
the nations, unless God was deposed from history. That is why an
attempt was made to separate the school from the Church, for history is
the soul of the school; the Church wages in the school (which is its
vanguard), its first and often deciding battles. For a long time the
nation was not aware of this. The most precious was taken from us, and
we did not defend the truth.
It was not until excellent men, in the first place Mr. Groen van
Prinsterer, blew the trumpet with no uncertain sound and gradually
those who loved to sleep, awoke, and prepared for battle. His
excellent, concise, rich in content manual of the History of the
Fatherland, caused a certain blessed Reformation. Many authors,
mostly teachers, did their utmost to show from history how the Lord,
with His own hand, wrote the pages. Gradually our people began to
appreciate the long forgotten writings of our Fathers. Again, the honor of
the Synod of Dordt was maintained. "ZION'S WRESTLINGS" by
Rev. Fruitier was read anew, and especially "THE WONDERS OF THE MOST
HIGH" by A Van de Velde received again the place it had with our
people two-hundred years previously. A new printing attended to by
"Jonkheer" Mr. A.C. van Ash van Wijck, was readily received, even
though it was subject to several changes. In general, our people do
not appreciate changes, and we praise them for it. That is why I
rejoiced when publisher A. Fissher told me he was planning to reprint
the book in its original form without any changes in the text, but
only translate the foreign (French or Latin) words into the Dutch, and
the spelling in agreement with the now existing.
For those who have read the WONDERS OF THE MOST HIGH, I don't
have to write words of commendation. The things which in these days,
in connection with its tri-centennial, draw the special attention of
the Netherland public: the history of the Beggars, the capture of De
Briel, the naval battle on the Zuiderzee with Bossu, the siege of
Alkmaar, the relief of Leyden, etc., is here written by the hand of a
faithful witness. From the time that the Reformation penetrated the
Fatherland and the conventicles, to the memorable year of 1672, "the
praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works are
here told to "generations to come.":
May this work receive a favorable reception, and many a home be
the recipient of the sanctified fruit which Asaph describes, "that they
(the children) may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of
God, but keep His commandments.
UTRECHT, J.W. FELIX
TO THE READER
Our God is glorious and marvelous above all we think, in all His
works which He shows in nature, and it gives us cause to cry out
with the psalmist, "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast
thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches" (Ps.104: 24). It is
nevertheless, not without reason that the Prophet says, "His name is
great in Israel" (Ps. 76: 1). For if the Lord's doing is majestic and
glorious, it is in and about His people, His congregation, His
inheritance, to which He shows Himself in all His glorious attributes;
over which He soars like an eagle over its young, to which He shows,
His love and goodness, whom He leads and wonderfully rules.
Although it seems that the Lord forsakes them at times,
nevertheless, His bowels are troubled concerning them; wherefore in
their greatest need, the Lord renders them the most of His Fatherly
help and assistance. Their enemies to the contrary experience His
wrath and awful power, as we read in 1 Sam. 11: 2; 2 Kings 7, and Is.
37; also by what happened in the days of Queen Esther, as in so many
other instances, of which we read in Scripture. But when "The earth
mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is
like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits" (Is.
33: 9), then the Lord is wont to rise up and glorify Himself in
delivering His people through marvelous deeds.
Did any nation or country ever experience such gracious
wonderful works of the Lord; was any people ever taken through water
and through fire, by a high hand, above all expectation into an
abundant refreshing, as was our dear fatherland? We become aware of
this when we consider the deep misery, the physical and spiritual
slavery in which our Fathers were under Antichrist, and under Spanish
tyranny, to which they were subject; how they set the knife on our
throat, and we were esteemed as sheep for the slaughter, how
graciously, and marvelously, the Lord led us, and how He delivered us.
How He made our enemies the tail, and us the head, and how He
went before us, and His glory was our rear-guard. Never may we
forget what He did for us. For now, yes, at this time we have cause
to sing the hymn, and the praises of God's people:
Now Israel may say and that in truth,
If that the Lord had not our right maintained,
If that the Lord had not with us remained,
When cruel man against us rose to strive,
We surely had been swallowed up alive.
Yea, when their wrath against us fiercely rose,
The swelling tide had o'er us spread its wave;
The raging stream had then become our grave;
The surging flood, in proudly swelling roll,
Most surely then had overwhelmed our soul.
Psalm 124 st.1 and 2 from the Psalter Hymnal (No. 266).
Yes, our God has dealt with our fatherland in such a way, that
it seems He has chosen it among many nations to be an object of His
favor and marvelous deeds. And taking note of this, we cry out with
Moses the man of God, "O United Netherlands! Who is like unto Thee! O
people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the
sword of thy excellency" (Deut. 33: 29).
Again with King David, "And what one nation, is like the United
Netherlands, whom God went to redeem for a people unto Himself, and
to make Him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for
thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst from the most
horrible slavery, driving out from before them idolatrous popery, and
their gods" (2 Sam. 7: 23).
The Lord gave us such great and deciding victories, delivering
us from the power of the enemy by giving their armies, cities,
strongholds, fleets and ships into our hands, that the nations of the
world wondered greatly when it was told them. When there is any place
where the right hand of the Lord is highly exalted, or did great
deeds, it is in the delivery, rise and prosperity of our dear
That is what we want to show you in this Treatise, in order to
exalt the name of our God, that all of Zions children, and could it be,
even the coming generations would see the wonders of our God, and
awaken them to their beholden duty.
It is to that end we have shown the wonders of our God to the
Fatherland, composed by several historians, gathered, and briefly put
into writing. The reader has here, if not all, but at least the most
important flowers from the garden of Netherland history, and will be
able to find them without great difficulty.
Those who desire further instruction in these matters, can find
them in the works of historians to which we made reference. The
historian in the foreword to his "Apophteg, Christian", says, and
rightly so, "Many a student spends half a day with his nose in the
books; and when, sooner or later, he finds a few fair proverbs or
lessons from history, he is of the opinion to have made good use of
his time." He thinks to have done a profitable work, by gathering many
important proverbs and lessons from history.
That is how it is with Netherland history; not everywhere
sensational matters are found, but one must often read long and much
to find the sweetest and best, especially when the historian gave his
subject ample treatment. Added to this we make the observation that
when the most important matters and stories are gathered in one
work, they make a deeper impression, just like the best flowers and
herbs spread finer fragrance, when they are found in a small area. I
judge that especially those who in public office must divulge these
things to others, will find here much relief. For the things they
already know are here brought together to aid the memory; and
depending on the occasion of time and affairs, they may be better
enabled to impart the right impression to the student.
This also applies to the father in the home, who would teach his
household about the wonderful works of the Lord (for that is his
duty, Deut. 4: 9), shown to the Netherlands, and will find this very
convenient, allowing him to do so in an orderly fashion.
While in this treatise, dealing with the marvelous rise of the
United Netherlands, it is in order that we answer a question or
objection. Some think, that this is no time to write of our successes,
for it seems that we are on our way to ruin, seeing we are subject
to many trials sent by the Lord. Someone could say, at this time it
would be better to deal with God's oppressing hand upon this nation,
and its causes.
Are we not aware that we have lost the more than royal
possessions in Brazil; yes, have lost almost the whole of the West-
Indies, and also that the East Indies Company is under pressure? It
is apparent that water and fire, together with other plagues, sent
immediately from the Lord a few years back, caused much destruction,
of which several Teachers (ministers), have dealt in their discourses.
Furthermore, many calamities made the State tremble. Beside
this, the Lord has begun to attack us on water and land, and has put
us to the fire, whereby thousands have been destroyed by the sword,
and perished in prison. Yea, the one fire is not quenched and another
is started; there is a general impoverishment of the nation, and
commerce also has clearly diminished. It would be better, some say, to
write of our undoing, instead of our rise to prosperity.
We would answer that we like to admit, that as the Lord has
blessed us in the past, and made us great, He has again from great,
made us small, and chastened us for our transgressions, sins and
atrocities, and by so many plagues and as many grievous signs, His
righteous wrath against the Fatherland has been discovered. It is
therefore not untimely but very needful, to make the inhabitants of
this nation aware of this, and warn them to repent and seek His
But to say that it is untimely to speak of the mercies
wherewith the Lord has favored us, is to deceive ourselves. For as
holy men of God, and the holy prophets, in times of prosperity
remembered to complain about earlier miseries and sins by which the
Church was especially punished as we have seen from 2 Sam. 22; Ps.
30, 66, 78, 124 and others, so they used to remember earlier
prosperity, see Ps. 44 and 89; Neh. 9; Lam. 1: 7. How can it be
untimely to deal with that which is the cause of our pressing misery?
For truly, if there is a sin that is hateful to the Lord, it is that
we fail to remember His mercies. That we like courageous Judah, and
beautiful Jerusalem, do not remember the days of our youth; see Ps.
78: 42 and Ezek.16: 43.
Besides this, like when two contrasting matters are compared
with each other and again opposed to each other, are better known (as
darkness and light are better seen in each other's company), so must
we remember past mercies in order to be desirous to return unto the
Lord. Yes, we are hereby driven to accurately search the ways,
causes and means, whereby the Lord made us great; and how the
Fathers lived, who inherited these blessings. That in this way the
heart of the Fathers may be turned unto the children, and we
(remembering from which we fell away), would return unto the Lord, and
do the first works.
Furthermore, we would like to admit, that as we have for many
years by the word that was preached, and public writings not
overlooked to warn the nation; we have also, nearly a second volume
ready, which speaks of the decline of the Fatherland and its causes;
and also the means of foregoing a total ruination. In the meantime we
hope it may bear fruit.
It may seem strange to some that this treatise which deals with
the history of the Fatherland, and the marvelous deeds of the Lord,
shown in the rise of the United Netherlands, we deal with matters
regarding religion. Let the same such know that this is exactly the
reason why it was written, that it may be known that the true
Reformed religion is the foundation of this nation, and also a cause
of its rise and growth. For it cannot be doubted with any reason that
what is said by the Lords States General, in their pious foreword to
the Synod of Dordt, "that as the Union is the foundation of our
Republic, so the foundation and steadfastness of this Union is the
true religion; and the Lord our God, after dwelling among the same,
blessed us with great and incomprehensible benefits which He did not
give to other nations." When books that deal with nature or such like
subjects treat of religion, how much more when we deal with matters
in which religion cannot be avoided without failing to do justice to
It was Paulus Colonius, Teacher of Theology, in his "Contrasting
Report Concerning the Sabbath" page 136, who wrote that the times are
changing, religion is undermined, and godliness is wounded and
frustrated. Professor Nicolas Arnoldus writes that because of this we
must fear difficulties, even more profound than those with which the
Arminians oppressed the Churches of the Fatherland. From their
writings it is apparent how great a bitterness those, who are for
innovations, have in their heart toward the orthodox. Although we are
certain that some of them are displeased with this bitterness. It is
certain when religion, and therefore the State, which is based and
established on religion, is undermined, it cannot be judged untimely
that we hasten to discover dissent, and oppose dissenters when we
deal with the rise of the Republic, and make an attempt to promote
Moreover, I did not intend to do the work of an historian, but in
the first place fulfill and accomplish the duty required of a Teacher.
That is why in these unhappy times in which we live, we are required
to deal with religious matters and disputes. In our day, under the
name of theology and philosophy, the Socinians, Papists, Remonstrants,
and others filled with the same leaven, have taught our people many
things, of which we make mention in this Treatise.
Many receive these errors with desire, or will find an excuse,
after the measure that knowledge and love to religion is less,
prejudice and affection are greater, and also the extent to which the
mind is muddled. What are Teachers to do in this situation? If they
are faithful and watch over the flock, they must in speaking, in
writing, or in both these manners, discover and refute these errors
and as much as is possible deliver the Congregation from these
pernicious errors, that as Chrysostomus says, we shall not betray
the truth by remaining silent. Especially, when some, and often those
of which least expected (as experience teaches), do not perceive the
errors. We will attempt to do our part. I will not repeat what special
reasons moved me; for while by the resolution made August 18, 1668 by
the venerable consistory of Middelburg, the source of our complaint
was taken away after the first printing of the Treatise, such is not
I have learned not only to stand up for the truth, but also for
peace and charity which are dear to me; and that whenever I must
defend the truth, I rather keep silent; mainly in order that the
defense of God's truth will not be seen as private quarreling. It
follows then that it shall suffice us, in addition to relating the
Wonders of the Most High, to point out and refute some serious
And, O, if all sprouting and growing weeds were eradicated from
God's Acre! But alas, we see them multiplying. And that which threatens
the Congregation mostly is that the errors find their patrons, where
least becoming. It seems that some are working hard to weaken the
authority of Holy Scripture, and having turned the foundation upside
down, that which is built thereon must fall too, and all the articles
of our faith must be doubted; yes, and in as far as they are not in
tune with human reason, rejected.
According to Cartesian philosophy, which teaches to doubt
everything, this is what they aim for. This philosophy is promoted,
that it also may dominate in matters concerning Holy Scripture; that
is why Franciscus Ridderus in the foreword to the second volume of
his "Apollos" writes, and rightly so, "The dignity of Holy Scripture is
not attacked by public enemies only, but also by those who pretend to
But praise God, there are still learned and godly men, who are
willing to discover offenses in order to refute them, as the afore
mentioned F. Ridderus in the foreword to which we alluded; but also in
his learned book, "Scriptural Light", in which these strange, foolish
objectionable, yes, slanderous teachings, are by him refuted.
We hope that the eyes shall be opened for this, and that the
Congregation may refute these religious novelties with a holy zeal,
according to the Decree of the National Synod of Dordt alluded to by
us in this Treatise. For "if it be not in the interest of State and
country to make the least changes in our religion", as was rightly
stated by the Lords Regents of Amsterdam in 1616, according to
Professor Trigland in his Church History, page 754, it is much more a
disservice to the Church and its members. That we, to refute these
teachers, make use of the words of Reformed teachers, the Belgic
Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism, is not to convince the
sectarians, (for with them these citations are no proof), but to
contradict them, who with us have the same confession and the same
religion, nevertheless teach and write things which we deny.
As much as possible we do spare every one's name; we do not
begrudge anyone the honor which is his due, but errors may not be
excused, and in as far as they join the deceiving spirit, they, and
that spirit should be rejected; for the doctrine is not for the
person, but the person with the doctrine is to be received or
rejected. Love for truth must conquer love for the person, according
to an old proverb, "Amicus Plato, Amicus Aristotelis, sed magis amica
veritas", that is, "The truth must be dear above Plato and Aristotle
although they are worthy of our respect and honor." What is more,
even though in these days of luxury and frivolity, many are
indifferent as to what is said or written, we attempt to show our
people the great and soul destroying evil, caused by these heresies
and errors, in order that they should esteem Divine truth much more
and higher, and their faith and godliness will not suffer shipwreck.
For as godliness cannot be separated from the true faith, so they
contradict one and the other; and those who rebel in the matter of
faith, will neither dread to speak lightly of things that pertain to
the faith, or make them suspect as being legalistic.
One thing is marvelous, it is this: that some time ago, in the
academies and in other places much has been said against the Sabbath,
or Christian Day of Rest - which for the Christian must be a feast
day and a spiritual market day - so they would not continue by what
was decided at the Synod of Dordt.
The teaching of the Apostle in 1 Cor. 16:1,2, is not believed by
some, and in order to weaken the same teaching, they have the
apostle speak against himself, and they allude to Gal. 4: 10, 11; Rom.14:
5, 6: Col. 2: 16, 17; as if the Christian Day of Rest, which the apostle
commanded to be kept in 1 Cor. 16: 1, 2, and ordained and commended to
the Galatians, was one of the days which he opposes with great zeal
in Gal. 4: 10, 11, or as one of the days by which some Christians were
offended, Rom.14: 5, 6; or as one of the ceremonies, which, now the body of
Christ has come, must cease; and may be easily seen by those
who are impartial, to be a mistake.
(In short, some were mistaken in the idea that the first day of the
week of which Paul spoke in 1 Cor. 16: 1, 2, and ceremonial feast days
(Gal. 4: 10 and 11), also called sabbaths in the Old Testament, are one
and the same). Tr.
This way of teaching and writing is well liked by those who would
shake off the light yoke of the Lord, which to them is burdensome,
under the pretext of Christian Liberty. It is difficult to believe that
among those who were so zealous to begin the dispute about the
Sabbath, are those who make a mockery of punishing sin in small and
great. Also of those who would exactly examine the causes of God's
judgments over nations and cities; just as if the commandments of the
Lord, which we find in Is. 58: 1; Ezek. 16: 2; 1 Tim. 5: 20, are no more
valid, and as if it were a sign of a faithful teacher, to be a
respecter of persons, which of course is another lie, Mat. 22: 16. To
have an idea how careful men of God were to search out the causes
of God's judgments, just read, Jos. 7: 2; Sam. 21: 1; Job 10: 2 and 13:
Professor Johannes Hoornbeek wrote against the Jews, "As health
cannot be restored as long as the evil cause is not taken away, so
the Lord does not take away His rod before sin is acknowledged and
repented of." And he advised the Jews to look for the cause of the
judgments that the Lord laid upon them. We cannot be any less careful
than was godless King Saul, yeah, the blind heathen and Philistines,
who were careful in searching out the causes of God's judgments, as
we read in 1 Sam. 5, 6, and 14.
From this we can see of what kind were the spirits that started
the dispute about the Sabbath, which moved the Churches and
Academies to such great extent.
We will not accuse all those who agree with the above, to have
had a part in the afore mentioned mockeries. In no way. We have no
doubt that many have a great aversion to such behaviour.
Furthermore, among those, who wrote so keenly against the
Lord's Day of rest, are some who spoke with contempt against family
visiting, discipline, catechizing, and other duties which have been
seriously recommended by Teachers, Synodical decisions and Church
Orders. There are others who show that they cannot endure that some
walk uprightly, speak sound words, and do not follow a multitude, Ex.
23: 2; whose sinful behaviour is seriously derided by a certain
learned man. Vide, Notas Isaaci Hermanni in postremam thesin A. H. de
It is to be feared in our day that more of these pernicious
documents will be published. Let everyone, who holds his salvation
dear, be warned.
You my dear reader! let go of all prejudice and one-sidedness,
and attempt to profit of our scant labour, and so work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling, unto which we wish you the Lord's
THE WONDERS OF THE MOST HIGH
SHOWN IN THE MEMORABLE RISE OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS
1 Remarkable Situation In Holland
The learned historian Hooft, speaking of the Netherlands has
witnessed, (see his book in the year 1655), that for many Centuries no
history was written, richer in instruction concerning worldly matters,
or more wonderful and dignified to serve the teachings of princes and
nations. That is how it came about that a great multitude, by writing
Dutch history, have attempted to leave their name to be remembered
by posterity. Yes, like Alexander the Great by the wars he fought, and
his uncommon heroism has fascinated eminent minds, that (as is said)
above fifty have worked diligently to describe his acts and life; that
as many authors, friend and foe, as also impartial, in high and low
Dutch, French, English, Italian, and Spanish may be found, who spent
days and nights, to write of the disturbances and affairs in Holland.
But whatever was, or is written, the events and wonders that
took place, cannot by pen nor intellect be enveloped, conceived or
expressed. That is why in our day new accounts of Netherland history
are written. Each of them is of the opinion to add to what was
written, or give a better account of what others have written. We will
no one begrudge the praise due to him. But one thing is to be
lamented, and that is that the devil knows how to use the marvels of
history to direct his hellish feet and poison the emotions. There are
some writing of the beginning of the Reformation, who seek to make
the doctrine of the Reformation or its teachers suspect, defend the
sects, promote Popish religion, even the free expression of their
idolatrous religion. That is to say it in one word, to speak of the
disturbances in Holland in order to disturb the United Netherlands,
the Reformation, the Reformed religion and destroy the same. For when
these indicate (what in this Treatise shall be refuted), that the war
was not fought for religious reasons, they fight religion; for they
open the road to a mixture of sects in the nation, yes, and attempt
to bring us under the dominion of the Pope again.
We deem it necessary to tell you, and warn all good patriots and
lovers of the truth to be careful when reading and researching the
history of the fatherland, not to harm your souls but avoid such
books and pamphlets. More so because in these histories and
pamphlets, the most important matters are darkened, yes, taken out.
That is why we must read our Netherland history. For we must not
only read our history for curiosity's sake just to know what
happened; but in the first place we must learn to know the grace,
faithfulness and mercy of the Lord shown to the fathers, and in them
to us. Also His great might, the manifold wonders, which our God
wrought on our behalf, that we may use it to our advantage. For, as
we said before: as in previous ages no more dignified or wonderful
matters expired, than what happened to our nation, so we may say in
truth that the God of heaven in many ages has not shown His terrible
might and stretched out arm, in ready assistance and wonders, to make
a "drowning nation into a remnant, and those who were despised into a
mighty nation", as His Majesty did to this country and to this
Among several eminent historians who wrote about this, highest
praise must be given to Mr. van Sande, whom I rather praise, because
his History of the Republic is short, concise and generally his work
may be had for little money; also because his history of the
fatherland is completed until very recent times.
Which things show clearly how our great God led our Fathers as
through a Red Sea of long and bloody wars, but in which the Lord
fought for them, and brought them in a blessed Canaan, where He
blessed them with all material and spiritual blessings, yes 'loaded'
them as we read of the Psalmist in Psalm 68: 19; and of which we the
children enjoy the fruits.
It is not our intention to relate what happened in these wars,
for that can be read from other historians who wrote about the
Netherlands. We shall not attempt, but briefly, to justify our right to
go to war, for that has been done by several eminent men, even in
special treatises expressly published to that end. It is a known fact
that our Fathers were pressed by unbearable oppression, to which the
King of Spain, as a tyrant, against his oath and promises and
legitimate rights of the country, subjected them; especially through
his cruel placards and still more cruel execution of the same.
In his "Frightened Lion", D.P. Pers relates that the King of Spain
asked Mr. Montingnij on his departure what was the chief cause that
made the people complain; he answered that he doubted not that the
King was fully aware of this. He was convinced it was the secret
inception of the inquisition, and that this was also the chief cause
of "the Alliance of the Nobles." That is how Pers speaks in his
"Frightened Lion" in the years 1562 and 1566.
This also appears from the introduction to the Religious Peace,
which was made July 22, 1578, where our Fathers spoke thus:
"Every one knows that the bloody placards which were made in
the matter of religion, by dictation, counsel and help of strangers
and especially of the Spanish nation, without hearing the States
General (government) of the Republic about the same; and since that
time were maintained in rigid and unbearable severity, are the sources
of all our present difficulties; that at this occasion the rights,
privileges, and praiseworthy customs of this people were broken and
trodden under foot, which finally caused this wretched war."
The bloody placards, and their execution are justly seen as the
cause of the war in the Netherlands. For from the placards sprouted
the inquisition, from the inquisition the new bishops, and from the new
bishops the bloody Council, and from the bloody Council a general
breach of the nation's privileges, which the King of Spain under dire
oath had promised to maintain.
In his "Happy Entrance", article 58, the King "relieves his
subjects from obedience when he would do the least against the nation's
privileges, or permitted others to do so." It is also important to
remark that the Prince in his "Apology" page 59 and 60 testifies,
"that the States had not sworn an oath, before the King had promised
The historian Hooft, writing in his first book, page 3, remarks
that those of Holland swore their oath only after the King made his
promises and swore to keep them.
It is thus that the King passes judgment upon himself, and his
oath makes the war of these lands against him a righteous war.
Moreover, the arbitrary oppression of privileges, persons and States,
tends to plead for us.
However, it is our intention to point out the results of this
war, how and why the Lord helped us, and His help was as wonderful
as it was merciful. For it seemed at the beginning of the war, and
certain times after, that the ship of the Republic was running
aground, unable to weather the storm and the waves of the Spanish
Ocean. But the Lord, in spite of that, during the first part of the
war, which was fought with the utmost violence, helped us in such a
way, that we were only not destroyed, but exhausted the riches of
the mightiest potentate of Christendom, the King of Spain, Philip III.
Exhausted him in such a way that his banks (financial establishments),
were insolvent up to three times, not able to pay the interest, until
finally he was pressed into requesting and promoting all means to
establish an armistice, which was granted after much difficulty and
the help of others, for the duration of twelve years (1609-1621). The
war which began in 1568, had lasted forty years.
Writing his 'Netherland History', van Sande in his fourth book in
the year 1609, remarks that the duration of wars mentioned by Greek
and Roman historians, are: the Peloponesian war, which lasted 27
years; and the Punisean wars which lasted respectively 23, 17, and 3
During the years of the armistice (1609-1621) the land was filled
with quarrels and confusion, whereby Spinola had his hands free to
take de Paltz, Gulik, Wezel, Rijnberk, Aken etc, and Spanish arms were
brought again close to our borders. The founding of the West-Indies
Company was also hindered by the armistice. At the time it was said
that the King was much afraid of the Company, and that because of
its threat he was pressed into requesting the armistice.
It is undoubtedly true that he was sore afraid of the Company,
for it threatened to hurt him in his silver mines, and that while his
finances were exhausted as we mentioned before.
But how did we fare after the armistice, in our second war,
which lasted from 1621-1648?
Again the Lord was on our side. But before we say more of this,
we cannot refrain from saying a few words about what took place just
after the armistice, of which the enemy took great advantage.
2 Holland After The Armistice
When the armistice came to an end (1621), the King of Spain after
his manner attired with a fox-skin, sent Peter Peckius, chancellor of
Brabant to the Hague, that with sweet flowing rhetoric he would move
the States to acknowledge and receive him (the King) as their natural
Lord; pretending that it would be the right means to enjoy desired
The Netherlands would be united into one body under their King;
he would make fair conditions. This sweet tune of the King of Spain
was not unknown to Their Highnesses, and they not only rejected, but
charged their ambassador to emphasize, "that all those who by any
suggestions, or other ways attempt to doubt the sovereign rights of
these lands, contest them in any way, or attempt to play into the
hands of other princes, or something pointing in that direction, should
be seen as unqualified to receive a hearing from their Highnesses."
The King, observed that there was not the least hope that his
plume-striking words, which did not cost him much, made the least
impact. In order to deceive the United Provinces, he again showed his
old nature in forcing these lands into subjection by exercising the
use of arms. In spite of the fact that during these days the Spanish
government was subject to considerable change due to the death of
Philip II, the lust for power, and hate of Spain against our country
was so great that they sent Spinola against us with an army of
40,000. In following years the Spanish attempted anything to amass
great armies and great fleets, sparing no people or money to bring
against us the best of their forces on land and on sea.
In spite of all this, the Netherland Republic stood like a rock in
the midst of the waves of the Spanish Ocean. Moreover, everything in
this war, all the ravings of Spain seemed to lead to nothing but its
own shame and destruction; the reputation, fame and increase of the
Republic, whose army after 1590, at the wish of William of Orange, did
not only defend, but also attack; the Prince declaring that hereby
more than half was gained.
The Republic increased by taking strongholds, cities and lands of
the enemy which made the whole world marvel. Goch, Lingen, Oldenzaal,
the capital city of Twente, Grol, 's Hertogenbosch, by the enemy named
the "Invictissimum adversus haereticos propugnaculum", "the most
invincible bulwark against heretics". There was Wezel the lock to our
land, and key to West-Phalia; Maastricht, Rijnberk, Breda, 't Huis te
Gennip, Dalen, s'Hertogenbosch-Raden, Valkenburg, Gemert, Sas van Gent;
Hulst, the door to Flanders with all its forts, almost 30; besides
them, several other places and strongholds became pearls on the
triumphal crown of this Republic. Besides all this what we took from
the enemy in East and West, as: Guinea, Malacca, Columbo, Olinda Elmina
etc. Above that, many victories at sea whereby numerous ships were
taken or destroyed, yes, mighty fleets and invaluable treasures fell
into the hands of the Republic. Think only of the capture of the
Spanish silver fleet by the brave Peter Hein in 1629. How ten years
later an awe- inspiring Spanish fleet was destroyed near Duins by the
famous Admiral Tromp, when in few days such a multitude of ships
sailed from these shores to fight the enemy, it seemed to rain ships,
by which fact surrounding countries and kingdoms were greatly
Commelin in his book "Frederick Hendrick", volume 2, 1639, relates,
"how at the marvel of everyone, in the time of 36 or 37 days the
fleet grew from 13 ships to 90 warships, 13 burners and 6 supply
ships, well armed and manned with crews and soldiers." In short, for
some years they organized thanksgiving days, rang bells, fired cannon
and expressed their joy by other signs, because of enemy armies
defeated, or captured fleets, cities and strongholds.
It may be truly said of these two warring parties what at one
time was said of the houses of David and Saul, "Now there was long
war between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David
waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and
weaker" (2 Sam. 3: 1). The wars between Spain and the United Republic
lasted a long time, but the latter increased and waxed great. The
mighty Spanish monarchy on the other hand, which boasted that at no
time the sun set within its boundaries, marvelously weakened. Yes, her
pride and haughtiness so diminished, that our arch enemy, who would
never listen to our pleadings, whose commander (Alva), with a grand
statue made us know that he had his foot on Satan's neck, became so
mild that finally he fell down at our feet, calling and pleading for
peace, for no longer was he a match for the Republic. The Spanish
(southern) Netherlands to the contrary, were generally of the opinion
that peace must be made at any price, that otherwise they were lost.
The King, whose servants had called us beggars, rascals and
traitors, as Bor relates in his 24th book (page 73), had sworn and
said, rather to rule only the earth, trees, animals, woods, water and
fishes, than to endure one person in his realm contaminated with
heresy. The King also told Count Charles, Maximillian's brother, sent
to soften the King's bitter mind, that he rather lost the land, than
to allow the least harm to come to the Roman Catholic religion. The
same Spain, that declared we forfeited life and goods was pressed
into beseeching our ambassadors who met at Munster to deal there
about the peace, was told to address ours with the title of Your
Excellencies and to declare us a free Republic. They also requested
us to mediate in their differences with other princes, and so to be
assisted by us.
(Somewhat surprised to see these people deal with omens, I have
omitted the next chapter (3 pages), except the last part which follows
In these and other such like matters which in themselves are of
no great importance, the Lord made the pride of our enemies into a
mockery to the beholder and gave to many an impression of great
That the matter was feared by the enemy, but turned out
according the hope of the oppressed is seen by what happened. From
these matters our Fathers were able to predict what would happen in
subsequent times. For what they hardly dared hope, the Lord made into
reality. For He called our oppressed people to be conquerors of the
conqueror, and to place our feet on the neck of the mightiest King of
Europe, as Israel once was charged concerning the Kings of Canaan.
Josh. 10: 24.
Moreover, the arms of the Republic spread from East to
West, to South and North unto the ends of the earth, and the
gentiles brought us their riches and treasures, as being the
mart of nations, (Is.23: 3). In riches they are very much the
superior of all of Christendom. Our merchants are like princes,
and our traders like unto the most glorious in the land. Yes,
anyone who wants to see gold mines above ground, just come to
Holland; we have become great in riches and our
name is known in far-away lands. Even our enemies testified to this.
Lipsius, in a letter, counsels the King of Spain to confuse us by an
armistice, adding: 'they are all at their best and especially those who
govern, are all rich and mighty, like little kings'." See Bor in his 32d
book of the year 1595.
3 The Rise Of The Republic
What is the origin of all these wonders? How and why did we
become so great? Who must we give the honor? Is it because of our
might and wisdom? In no way! It would be detestable, thinking what
took place in the country to kiss one's own hands, or even give our
princes the honor, for it too would be a crime before the Lord.
It is only flattery when in the year 1629, in a certain book,
entitled "Mardochai", page 68, Prince Frederick Hendrick is pictured on
an altar, with the cities s'Hertogenbosch and Wezel under his feet, as
if we had turned into papists, who place their saints upon altars, and
give them divine honor. And it is especially an abomination that they
wrote in the poem: "for the Prince's divinity the Meuse river inclines
its horns." Away with such idolatry, flatterers who set flesh to their
arm! The gentiles shall at one time rise up against such, for they
gave honor, not to man, but their gods. A Christian must be certain
that the horse is made ready for battle, but the (victory) is of the
The ambassadors of the States General said it so well to the
Queen of England in the year 1598, "The God of hosts is so named, for
He does not give victory to the mightiest party, but to those who
are well pleasing in His sight."
That is why we will give all the honor, fame, and the future of
this Republic into the hands of His Divine Majesty and no one else. To
Him Who from our beginning, in the most difficult times, with many
wonders, a stretched out arm and His divine might was on our side.
Who above all understanding dealt graciously with us, that when all
other nations were by war consumed, this nation - as was noted by
the Jesuit Strada Lib. I de Bello Belg - was so hard contested, as if
all of Europe was part of it in the midst of a burning war, but like
the burning bush of Moses' day was not consumed, and indeed has
increased like a grand and growing tree. Yes, in riches, commerce,
multitudes of people, greatness and might, increased unto the
uttermost parts of the earth, and fear fell on all peoples, the
mightiest potentates sought to unite their power with ours. This is a
matter of which even our enemies, and among them the Jesuits could
not but marvel. All this, and we must confess it, is from the Lord;
"Who", as van Reyd wrote (1570), "in the rise of these lands, against
and above all expectation, even of the wisest, has dealt thus with us
in His Divine Providence, in order to keep all honor to Himself and
will not share with others."
We do not say this, to keep praise from the wise, pious and
brave rulers, regents, the military, especially the Princes of Orange,
or be ungrateful in forgetting their deeds. We know that beside God,
we must thank them for our prosperity, for nothing is more despicable
for a people than ingratitude towards its pious regents. It is true
what Rev. N. Bijfield testified from Col. 1:12: "that as it is a great
sin not to give honor to the Lord, so it is a great sin not to
acknowledge the instruments, of whom we received any good thing."
That is why the States of Holland and Zeeland in a letter to
Friesland in 1597, made notion of the praiseworthy resolutions,
glorious expeditions, done by the Prince of Orange and his children,
without sparing life, goods and blood; adding that ingratitude in these
matters is displeasing to God and all honest men (see Bor. lib. 34, fol.
17). This is true especially of the Prince of Orange, who by his
continuing care, loyalty and courage has earned the title of Father
of the Fatherland. As was the time when Prince William went through
Holland (1577), and the multitude called out, 'Prince William has come',
with such warmth as Hooft wrote (1577), and Bor in his 18th book
(1584), "it could be seen from the faces of the people that they could
not look enough at him, who beside God, was the one who delivered
them from Spanish slavery." Even the States, in their great confusion,
put their trust beside God in the Prince and his wisdom, understanding
and carefulness; entrusting to him the care of everything. Bor writes
of this in his 7th book, page 40. As the States General also honor
him on his epitaph: "That as a Father of the Fatherland he judged the
welfare of this nation above his own and his family‚s welfare and
prosperity, and how from his own means he raised, and put (two times),
an army in the field and that therewith, and the help and order of
the Lords of State, conquered the tyrant from Spain." Anyone who
looks for more information about the services rendered by the Prince,
can read of them in a letter written by the States of Holland to
those of Utrecht in 1580; see also Peter Bor in his 15th book of the
The Prince did not only serve the country with his means, but
that he also gave life and blood with three of his brothers may not
be forgotten, but must always be recognized with gratitude by all
patriots. Van Reyd in his 3d book compares the Nassau brothers with
the five Maccabees, and rightly so!
The heathen have a true proverb, it says, "the earth can bring
forth nothing more loathsome than an ungrateful man." It is also not
enough to be grateful, but as it was understood by Aristotle, "A
benefit must at all times be in such esteem and remembrance by the
receiver, as it was at the time he first received it."
Those who know but little about the history of these lands, are
not aware how miserable and helpless the nation was, how we were in
a pit of misery, when gallows, wheels, racks, stakes and trees were
loaded with beheaded, hanged, scorched and burned corpses; when the
earth was swollen as it were with those buried alive; when water and
fire were tired of tormenting the innocent, and the air was
contaminated by their corpses. When it was esteemed a blessing to be
able to leave the Fatherland and to flee; as Prince William says in
his 'Considerations' concerning the State of the Netherlands, published
in 1566, "It was so difficult for the common man, that he would rather
The inhabitants of these lands left in so great numbers, that by an
express edict, the Princess of Parma prohibited the people to leave
the country. According to Hooft lib. 5, page 100, more than 100,000
families had fled the country. Every day the dead clocks, by their
sound, announced the death of relative or friend, while there was no
end to confiscating of goods and possessions.
We all know how the cry of the Netherlands rose to heaven, and
everything was colored with blood, there was no hope of relief. We
will not forget how the Princes of Nassau, and among them especially
Prince William, made our cause his own. We cannot forget that he lived
in rest and quiet at his estate in Germany, where he dwelt in honor
and state, nevertheless he entered the ship of our Republic when it
was shaken by the tempest and storms of the Spanish fury.
It is well known what a joy it was for the complaining, miserable
Netherlanders when such an illustrious Prince came to their rescue.
The earlier consternation caused by his leaving for Germany teaches
this. When the cry went up among us, as Hooft writes in the year
1567: "Woe you Netherlands". The Prince had risen to such high esteem,
that they were of the opinion there was no counsel if he did not know
of any, his presence was like a safe harbour, and no sea of adversity
went too high while he was in our midst. The cry of Northern Holland,
mentioned above, expresses sufficiently how great esteem our fathers
had for him, end what joy his presence caused among us. When his
presence was required in Braband, all the Churches in Holland were
required to pray for his safekeeping and welfare. According to Bor, in
the year 1573, the States covenanted to make no alliance with the
King (of Spain), or decide and decree anything concerning the State,
without making the Prince confederate to their plans.
We would be degrading our forefathers, when we esteem little,
what they esteemed great, of which we now enjoy the fruits. By so
doing we would justify the Jesuit Strada when he attempts to blame
the Netherlanders for appreciating benefits as long as they are
fresh, the way flowers are appreciated. We must admit that it would
be the basest kind of ingratitude not to acknowledge those, from
whom, beside God, we have all our dignity, power and authority.
Erasmus speaks very justly concerning this when he relates how
Pompejus accuses Marcellinus of speaking sordidly of Pompejus, in
spite of the fact that all he had was given him by Pompejus (see
Eresmi Apoph. in Pompejo Magno).
We must beware lest we give these prominent people occasion to
accuse us, since the Lord used them as instruments to lift us from
this great oppression to such might and respect, as to which Prince
William and his sons have exalted us.
Hooft, when dealing with this in the preface to his HISTORY
writes, "Prince William not only laid the first stone of this State,
but he also built this great building up to the roof, and above this
left his two sons to cover the same, and establish it with courts and
We have much to thank William for, but we cannot deny that his
sons completed what their father began, and they must deserve well of
us. The States of Zealand testified of this, "Not only William executed
praiseworthy resolutions, glorious expeditions, and heroic deeds, but
his children also gave living, good and blood, to ward off Spanish
tyranny, and promote Holland's liberty and well-being. "In all this they
counted no difficulties and dangers, but bore all these with the
utmost bravery and valour, faithfulness and courage and so they
conquered. "Let us not forget that on these the foundations of this
State are built, and that during the eighty years of war they
remained immovable by God's grace against all attempts of bribery"
(see Deductions of the State, 22 June 1654).
Van Reyd, in his HISTORY (1600) writes, "These Princes of Nassau
did more for the well being of the country, which was not theirs, than
the King (of Spain) and his brother for their inherited lands." In
short, they merited so much, that Pastor Jacobus Lydius testified, "I
am certain that our dignity and glory began under Prince William,
increased under Maurice, and expanded under Frederick Hendrick;" and
he adds the words, "it would be better to keep silent about them,
than not to say enough and decrease the praise due to them by lack
of understanding; unless, he says, God Himself would not be pleased to
be glorified by the stammering tongue" (see Glories Belg. 117).
Therefore, those who show they are ungrateful to these Princes, may
also show ingratitude to God. For it is true of them what is written
in I John 4: 20, "for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath
seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen"; yes, Who made the
arm of His power go on their right hand, to make unto Himself an
4 The Union Of The Provinces
We must therefore admit that the eminent deeds of these princes
are among the principal causes of the original rise of the Republic.
Above this there are several matters which we can point to, and must
be given as additional causes.
Among these Van Sande numbers the following:
1. The several causes with which the King had to deal at one and the
same time; Spain was among others involved in different wars at this
2. The good order in which the States executed the war and their
3. The willingness with which the people paid their taxes.
4. The excellence of the Nassau war heroes, their mutual trust and
Others would add, the lay of the land, its fortifications, the
experienced soldiers and sailors, alliances, trade and shipping etc.; we
cannot deny that al these were important.
However, the mutual Union of the Provinces was as it were the
soul, the vital power of the State, whereby they saw each other not
as strangers, but as brothers and members of one body, and also
clung together. It was in this way that each province was not first
of all interested in its own well-being, but looked for the well-being
of the others as well. Satisfied with the provisions, which were sent
to each by the Council of the States General, as the stomach is
satisfied; to each of them according to the counsel and words of
Prince William (see Hooft in the year 1587, and the Apology of the
Prince, page 108). They agreed with the deputies of the States of
Utrecht, who said in the meeting of the States of Holland in 1587
that, "hate, harm, honor and shame concerned the salvation and
destruction of one as well as the other." They knew that Leicester,
however instigator of many divisions, had said, "On the salvation and
ruin of one Province, depends also the undoing and preservation of
The importance of mutual unity and union is emphasized by the
States of Holland in their address to Leicester, where their lordships
spoke as follows, "We can say in truth that the States of Holland and
of Zealand have not been conquered by foreign powers for at least
800 years, we do not know whether this can be said of any other
power, unless it is true of Venice. The only reason that can be given
for this, is that steady and good co-operation, love and mutual
understanding were maintained between Princes and States." That is
why the present enemy has no greater aversion, but against the
mutual Union, established in Utrecht in 1579, from which first article
it becomes clear that all Provinces have covenanted, in all forms and
manner, to remain forever together as if they were one Province.
Prince William refers to this in his Apology (page 45), where
addressing the States he says, "This it is that keeps them my Lords!
it is the abscess and the discharge that hurts the Spaniard so much."
That is why he says a little before this, admonishing the States, "We
acknowledge that we started first with the union, and after that
ordained that it must be kept under all circumstances. We want to add
to this, yea, say it loudly that not only the Spaniard, but all the
world may hear: 'Preserve your Union, keep your Union well'." "But
consider my lords, not only in word and writing, but enact with the
deed what is signified by the little bundle of arrows bound together
in your seal." So the Prince, in his Apology urged them to be serious
in maintaining the union. The States have followed his advise, and the
richest of the Provinces did not lord it over the smallest and most
insignificant; much less would the one rule over the other, neither
exercise authority according to their size. Only the desire to do so
was judged to be very objectionable.
Reason taught us that all these things were important, and were
rightly judged to be basic to the rise of the Republic. But we may
never forget to see all these things as second causes, for we know
that God is the first Cause, the great God, Who, when lands and
nations are ruined, "His anger will divide them" (Lam. 4: 16); "divide
their hearts and they shall be found faulty: he shall break down their
altars and spoil their images" (Hosea 10: 2).
5 God's Glory Advanced In All This
In His grace God kept the Provinces together by a wholesome
Union. He granted them wisdom, tact and prudence; the subjects were
willing to sacrifice money and possessions, made by their flourishing
trade and shipping, that were needed for the war. The Lord never
allowed that they lacked wise men and illustrious Princes. These are
all benefits from the Almighty, Who gives strength to gather wealth,
and can give at all times strong men to redeem His people, see Deut.
Moses, the man of God wanted God's people to remember this.
We have just experienced the little value of fortifications and
other means on which we built our hope. Let us also remember the
loss of Schenkeneschans, yes, the whole of Brazil, where we had
strong fortifications, better than in this country, but where all help
of soldiers and sailors disappeared in smoke and fear. Let us
therefore speak of God's hand when our army did something that was
beneficial to our freedom. We are of the opinion that if ever the hand
of the Lord was revealed, it was here.
We know how the Lord rules over the great waters and rivers,
which can be turned into bulwarks in this country as we have seen in
Stavoren and Arnemuiden; also what happened on the 29th of October
1657, when the waters were so low before Rotterdam, that people
walked through the river the Meuse without getting wet feet at a
place where normally stood at least four to five feet of water.
Concerning our alliances with foreign powers. It is known that
England and France helped us most. And yet, England's demeanor was
most unbecoming when at some occasions they looked for borrowed
money at the most inconvenient times, and placed the State in
difficult situations, as van Reyd reveals in his HISTORY OF THE
NETHERLANDS, where he wrote, he doubted if mention could be made of
help from England. All know how much harm was done by the Leicester
faction, when the country lived through the period of its greatest
As for France, it is true what was said by the States of
Zealand in 1648, "France did much for us, which will hardly be believed
by posterity, while nevertheless, Jan Velij has truthfully written
about the same, "We all know how France assisted us when the bishop
of Munster attacked us in that same year." Although van Reyd in 1598
wrote that when France kept on breaking its word with us; we first of
all should have paid attention to the covenant that Prince William
made with the Potentate of potentates.
The Lord led matters with us in such a way that we had the
most help of men, as at the time when together with France we had
50,000 men and 10,000 horses in the field in the battle of Thienen.
For it was at that time we could have suffered our greatest defeat,
had not the Lord in His grace given us the generalship and conduct of
Prince Frederick Hendrick, by whose hand the Lord, at that time,
spared the fatherland great loss and injury.
There are those, who, when searching for the cause of our good
fortune in the war, think of how the King of Spain perjured himself by
breaking one promise after another, as was brought to the attention
of the Polish Ambassador in 1579, and was related by van Reyd who
ascribes all our help to God, Who is an avenger of all perjury and
willful falsehood; Who, as someone said, "keeps two things for Himself,
i.e., avenging the evil, and the honor of what is good." The Lord says,
"To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence" (Deut. 32: 35); and, "I am
the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another"
(Is. 42: 8).
There is no denial of the fact that the nation was greatly
enriched by commerce and shipping. This is also one of the wonders of
the Lord Who made our Republic into a green and fruitful tree. The
Lord can also most suddenly make an end to all trade, as we
witnessed during the last two wars with England, (1652-1654 and 1665-
Van Sande, in his second book (1588) wrote most aptly, "All this
must be ascribed to Almighty God, Who orders rulers after His own
good pleasure, and changes them from one to another. It has pleased
God in these last days to bless this free Dutch government with such
men, after small despicable beginnings. And by this little nation to
humble the great King of Spain and the house of Habsburg." Again in
his 4th book, "We must acknowledge that the hand of Almighty God has
wrought visibly and marvelously and that after His habit He did break
the great might of Spain by little means, so His glory does shine that
much better." Truly, it is when the Lord by small means does great
things, which are much greater than the power of the means, that the
works of the Lord are most visible and clear. That is why the States
of Holland in their missive to those of Utrecht wrote they had seen
that it was clear the Almighty had been on their side, as Hooft had
also said. In his Apology, Prince William testified, "The Spaniards must
acknowledge, whether they will or not, that we (himself) and my Lords
of Holland and Zealand have slain more than 60,000 with very small
means, yes, with only 4 or 5,000 men," which he acknowledged to be the
work of the Lord, more than a work of men.
Certainly and visibly this was a work of the Lord, and friend
and foe have here seen the arm of the Lord at work. When Hooft
wrote about the siege and relief of Leyden in 1574, he burst out with
the words, "God's providence was at no place and time insufficient, but
both parties were convinced by themselves that the Lord of Hosts
made His glory appear on earth with a miraculous hand."
In order that the true cause of the rise and greatness of
these lands may be better seen and understood, the present
generation, as well as those to come may show forth "the praises of
the Lord, his strength and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Ps.
78), we must pay attention to two things. First, how the situation in
these lands was at the beginning; in the second place, how, and why it
rose to such hight and prosperity. And truly, when we come to
appreciate this with an understanding mind, we will acknowledge that
the Lord is our Praise, Who did these great and terrible things
before our eyes.
This glorious Republic was in greatness terrible to the kings of
the earth; whose arms spread out into East and West, South and
North; where gold-and-silver-mines, not as in Peru are found under
the earth, but above the earth; and whose friendship was sought by
all nations. This Republic was according to the Apology of Prince
William (page 53), dumbfounded, oppressed, powerless, despised, rejected
and desperate. Philip II, King of Spain who lived in incest, and above
that killed his own wife and son; provoked, tormented and aggravated
the Republic, looked for nothing else than that by resisting him we
would give him cause to continue his wretched regime, so he could
take our liberty from us and continue to rule us indefinitely.
According to the witness of Hooft and van Reyd (1567), Alva, in his
letter concerning the business in Holland, made clear that to this end
he was sent here. And as became evident from letters of the Spanish
ambassador to France, this was the purpose of the Spanish
government. The King did every thing in his power to make his
intention to stand. Among these were the bloody and terrible cruelties
of the Inquisition, the continuous shedding of blood what moved the
nobles to plead with the King to relax the laws against the Reformed
6 Iconoclasm 1
It was the 24th of July, 1566, that the gospel was openly
preached. The power of the discovered truth had great effect, and the
Ark of the Covenant which was now established did so much harm in
Dagon's temple, that the images all through Holland - in which the
finger of God was clearly seen - were speedily cast down as if struck
by lightning, broken in pieces by the iconoclasm that started in
Yperen and continued in almost all towns and cities. It was February
16, 1568 that King Philip declared this nation guilty of lese-majesty,
and again confirmed the inquisition's edict, as can be found in Bor's
fourth book (1568).
Holland was now a convicted criminal, and could expect nothing
but death. The sentence also declared that possessions and life were
forfeited. Very few were seen as still innocent, for not only those
who had taken part in the iconoclasm, but also those who had not
hindered the devastations were declared guilty by this cruel tyrant.
Vargas, the president of the Blood Council, who spoke only Latin
was wont to say, "Haeretici fraxerunt templa, boni nil fecerunt contra,
ergo debent omnes partibulare", i.e., "The heretics destroyed the
Churches, the Roman Catholics did not stop them, so all of them shall
hang." Concerning the sentenced Catholics, they were said to pretend
to be Roman Catholics, but they came much short of the reverence
they owed the King and their religion, and should therefore partake of
the same punishment as the heretics. In short, all had sinned, and it
was the oppressor's purpose to exterminate the inhabitants, or to
make them into slaves, as Prince William wrote in his Apology (page
72). He also testified that the Spanish commanders clearly said that
this was decreed in the Spanish Council long before this. In executing
that cruel command, they decided to send Alva with a strong army into
the Netherlands. Alva was a man of whom it was alleged he was so
cruel, that his evil intent not only surpassed the human, but also the
demonic. He was therefore a fit person to oppress these lands. He
also advised the King to destroy all evidences, as seals, alliances,
covenants, and cast them into the fire; make new laws, establish a new
order, and by so doing put these realms a bridle in the mouth, and in
that way subject them once and for all time.
7 A Righteous War
Alva was a man who agreed with the King's plans, and had the
character to accomplish the King's aspirations. After entering these
lands he left nothing undone that could feed his cruelty, please the
bloodthirsty Inquisition and rob the Netherlanders from their riches
and liberties. Establishing the Inquisition was the first thing he did,
he renewed the edicts against freedom of religion, established a new
Blood Council to which everything had to submit. As said before, Jan
de Vargas was president of the latter, (see Hooft, book 4, 1567),
after the testimony of his own countrymen he was cruel, wrathful and
irate more than all people. He was therefore fired from that office in
his own country. He declared that the Nobles, who had presented the
petition, and all who had been in its favor; all those who had been in
favor of the conventicles (open air preaching), officers, managers, and
subordinates had forfeited life and goods. He carried out the edict of
the Inquisition of 26 February, 1568, and the warrant that
Netherlanders without respect of persons, young and old, men and
women, without any hope of acquittal were to be punished. And so they
were hanged, burned, buried, drowned, beheaded; rich, poor, nobles and
counts not excluded. The Counts Egmond and Hoorne too, had to ascend
It was as Prince William testifies in his Apology (page 72), "that
all over, blood was shed in such abundance that it could be seen to
flow in the streets of cities and towns. And who could without
sadness and heartache tell of the pain and sorrows endured by these
poor inhabitants who were tortured by the tyrants of the nation"? No
"granted rights and privileges", could stop the Spanish fury. Prince
William continues, "They have trodden under foot our rights and
privileges, and all that still remained of our glory and greatness
>from the past in such an audacious and haughty way, as if we were no
humans anymore; yes, they spoke of us as animals." According to Bor
(1573), the States of Holland, speaking of this in a certain letter,
sent a petition to King Philip, telling him that Alva without heeding
rights and privileges, which the King had sworn that he would keep,
killed the majority of landlords and administrators, or banned them
>from the country. Declaring that all rights and privileges were
forfeited, and that the nation was seen as a nation newly conquered
by force, which fell to him and his friends to do with as they would
In the letter they let the king know that he was still bound to
his oath, that he was no unrestricted ruler of the country, and was in
no position to deal with these people as he saw fit. It was also a
crime that Alva's Blood Council went to work without paying any
attention to the by the King granted privileges and rights.
We will note here, that in this letter, the States of Holland
made the comment that the cruelties and abuses were perpetrated to
commit the utmost in oppression, that the Spaniards repeatedly
boasted that they would torture and provoke this nation until its
inhabitants would be pressed into rebellion, and so have sufficient
reason to subject the country and rob it of its possessions. They
showed from some letters which proved that this was their intention.
The States, in a short and dignified manner, wrote about the cruelties
that took place in the country at that time.
In order to know what happened, and how terrible were the times,
it is necessary to read these letters. There was nobody who could
save his goods from the tyrant's avarice, wife or daughter from their
lewdness, or his life from the blood-thirstiness of the Spaniards.
Many a time it happened that a man would attempt to save his
wife from their violations, that they howled like dogs, calling: Spain,
Spain, and so killed several people. Many pregnant women were ripped
open, and the fruit of the womb they killed; yes, some men were
skinned alive, their skins they put on their drums; others were burnt.
Some were burned with red hot fire-tongs until they died, and
others were tortured in many ways unto death. Parents lost their
children, children lost their parents. Many bodies were exhumed and
hanged in spite of God and nature.
Married woman were taken from their husbands under the guise of
saying they were heretics; and against all divine and human
institutions some of the richest and most beautiful of them were
given to the soldiers for loot.
In short, we are told, all love and reverence that we owe one to
another was brought to nought, or openly defied by killing children
who helped parents in their great need with some money, or had
written them a letter for their comfort. How could a people be more
oppressed, and suppressed then in this manner?
Dutch historians, and among them in the first place, Emanuel
van Meteren, relates that in Maestricht a father was killed because
he lodged a son who had been away for a long time; another because
he gave some grain to a widow whose husband had been killed for his
faith; still another, because he had sent a little money to a relative
Hooft, in his fifth book (1567), remarks that listening to a
sermon was considered to be a great crime. Yes, Prince William says in
his Apology (page 48), if one looked at an image with less than a
reverent look, it was enough to burn at the stake.
As the Jewish midwives in Pharaoh's day had to drown the male
children, so the midwives in Holland were committed by oath to take
newborn children to the R.C. priest to be baptized before the children
were 24 hours old.
In the midst of this, the Blood Council found much cause to
condemn the innocent to death, and torture them in many ways. Many
inhabitants became insane and desperate, they fled into woods and
other out of the way places.
Hooft also relates, that there were many who "steadfastly and
firmly faced the fire, and spoke with boldness of the faith and the
hope that was in them."
However, the enemy invented a frightful tool to stop them from
speaking. The tongue was pinched in between two red hot irons, until
it swelled and no more sound could be made. This caused the most
excruciating pain. Hooft continues, "the chained wretches writhed like
worms, and lowed like cattle."
The tyrant, Alva, after he ruled these lands for six years
(1567-1573), boasted that he killed 18,600 people by the executioner,
except those who died by the siege and capture of the following
cities: Antwerp, Mechlin, Maastricht, Doornik, Valenciennes, Yperen,
Oudenaarden, Aalst, Dendermonde, Heerlen, Rotterdam, Oudewater,
Zutphen and Deventer. Yet, Spanish cruelty was not satisfied, for
Vargas, president of the Bloody Council was of the opinion, "that the
Netherlands were lost (for Spain) by 'charitable folly'."
"The wretched inhabitants were given over into the hands of
these ferocious brutes, and cast in the fiery and iron oven of
oppression", according to Hooft (1573). According to Prince William in
his Apology (page 54) "this is how this poor country lay languishing
and pining away in the abyss of misery and contempt, and the waves
of sorrow went over their heads." If ever, then a voice was heard as
of a woman in travail; the voice of the daughter of Zion in these
lands saying, "Woe is me, for my soul is weary of the slayer".
Not only were they taxed out of measure, and their possessions
confiscated, but their life and soul was in the hands of these roaring
lions, in the power of these cruel people. This was the time that they
beat upon their breasts with fear; the time that strangers had their
feet on the necks of Holland's Mighty Ones.
There was no power, nor counsel to redeem; and Alva, the
scourge of the Netherlands, after the description of Bor (4th. book),
in order to make a mockery of this nation, established a grand iron
statue of himself, with the nobles and the States under foot. He
wanted to say that he had all power, the privileges and the rights of
the nation under foot in such a way that it would never rise again.
The Prince writing of this in his Apology states, "Could there be
a clearer and more certain proof of how our rights and privileges
were trodden under foot, and of intolerable contempt for these lands,
in view of the whole of Christendom, than this ambitious, godless,
pagan, and also foolish show of his own image, which was in the castle
at Antwerp? Without shame treading under foot the lords of this
State, and all the people of this nation, as a memorial to his
tyranny, a testimony to his pride."
And truly, humanly speaking, it was so with the wretched and
ruined state of this nation, that its inhabitants ware slaves of the
tyrant, because the strongholds (castles) of the country were in his
hands, and he kept the cities in their place from these powerful
castles. Our Gideon, Prince William, said of this in his Apology (page
54), "In spite of all this we did not see any thing that could relieve
the land from its misery." There were no means to liberate the
country, there was no help to relieve the country in any way.
That is why the Prince left Holland, and went to Germany. But
what was impossible with men, was possible with the great God, Who
would show His might and power, and by our little strength made us
mindful of His all-sufficiency, His wonderful ways and abundance of
blessings. For when the Prince had given everything he had, how little
was our strength. It is said that money is the strength of war, and
Prince William called it the "most important buckle of the harness,"
but we had nothing of all this. Bor relates in his 6th book (1572),
that he saw a letter from the Prince, in which he wrote among others,
"Had we money, we could with God's help hope for something positive,
for according to what we hear from many places, now is the time that
we can do something with less money, than with much at other times."
He also spoke of a proposal he made through Sonoy to some nobles
and other persons, and could not execute because not only had he no
ready cash, but had used all his goods for the good of the nation
before this, and had nothing left to give than life and blood to
promote the good cause.
The siege and capture of Middelburg is seen as one of the
greatest and most important military acts of Prince William; for
Maurice it was the battle of Nieuwpoort, for Frederick Hendrick when
he captured Maastricht. But exactly at the place where our rise
began, did the Lord bring our impotence to light, for no one could
bring the needed money together to continue Middelburg's siege. They
had to promise to repay double the money after the city was taken.
That is how some people gave what was necessary to bring the siege
to a desired end, after they intercepted some letters from the
besieged city, telling of the situation within its walls.
In earlier days, Prince William required only 6,000 guilders for
the relief of Bergen (in Belgium), but according to van Reid's
testimony (book one), these cities, nor the merchants were able to
bring this sum together.
Hooft, in his eight book, writing of the siege of Haarlem, states,
that 10 or 12 Spaniards disguised as merchants approached the Prince
and offered him the city for 14,000 guilders. But the Prince saw no
way to bring up that little sum; he thanked them, and let them go.
Truly, the Lord showed us that the gold and silver are His, that
He makes dry land into water pools, the thirsty land into springs of
water, and that whomsoever He blesses, is blessed. For what country
is there in all the world that can be compared with this Republic?
(appr. 1670). Remarkable things are written, in which we learn why the
Spaniards wanted an armistice with the Republic (1609-1621). It was in
these early days difficult to raise 60,000 guilders, but now we spent
sixty times 100,000 guilders for one fleet, as happened in 1656. Those
who calculated the cost of the war effort for the year 1621, came to
the sum of 794,910 monthly, or an annual sum of 9.509,666 Karolus
guilders, which sum increased significantly, since that time. And who is
able to calculate the sum we spent in 1629, when, according to the
Political and Military Manual we had 120,877 man in military service
who ware paid by the State? It is a marvel to think where all this
money came from. According to van Sande in his tenth book, there were
not only the men to be paid, but also the transports, the long-lasting
sieges, excavations, fortifications and artillery, all of which took
great sums of money. All these were paid for by the States General
without any help from outside.
O marvelous increase of such a helpless people. In this we see,
how our great God, filled us - who were like castaways in a field,
destitute of everything - with riches, made our wilderness into Eden.
Remembering our impotence and poverty, we can so much better see how
the Lord has poured out over us His abundant blessings.
That is why the Lord humbled us. He humiliated us exceedingly,
to show the fame of our increase and the glory of His name so much
better. For according to the testimony of Samuel's mother, "He raiseth
up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the
dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the
throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's and he
hath set the world upon them" (l Sam. 2: 8).
But what was our glory and esteem? Truly, if a nation ever was
despised in the eyes of its enemy, and esteemed lightly by its
friends, it was this nation.
In his first book, van Sande relates how Suring, a Spanish
historian mocked the Dutch about their great presumption and
recklessness in that they dared to resist such a great Potentate,
and wrote, "What can the Dutch do against the King of Spain"? Nothing,
but what Sanballath, the enemy of God's people against the Jews, said,
"What do these feeble Jews?"
To Alva, nothing seemed more likely than to conquer this
country, and to force its inhabitants with his army. In a speech to
the King's Council in Spain he said, "when the King would send an army
to the Netherlands, everything there would collapse. They were nothing
but a handful of farmers and grocers, picked up from farm and store,
wild, without brains, having eyes nor ears to stand against the
thunder of cannon, and the entering of a company of spearmen."
The Princess of Parma, advised him against coming to the
Netherlands, for she wrote that for the most part these lands were
now submissive, and that his arrival would likely raise more tumult.
Alva haughtily answered, "I have tamed a people of iron before this,
would I not be able to tame a people of butter"? The inhabitants of
the low lands were so despised in his eyes, that he did not think it
necessary to put troops in the cities. He was of the opinion that
these people had as much experience of fighting a war, as a cow of
dancing. In the eyes of that tyrant we were what Hezekiah was in the
eyes of Sennecharib, who called out to God's people, "Now therefore
give pledges, I pray thee to my master the king of Assyria, and I will
give thee two-thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set
riders upon them. How then wilt thou turn away the face of one of my
captains." (Is. 36: 8, 9). What was more, we were reckoned by our
enemies as beasts for the slaughter.
9 The Time of Our Rejection
We cannot ascribe all this low esteem to Spanish pride or
enmity, for let us see what reputation and esteem we had with our
friends who envied Spain for its prosperity, but favored us. Van Reyd
in his 12th book gives proof of this when he writes (1573), that the
Queen of England did not dare to receive the envoys of the States,
but in secret and only at night. Again in 1585, our ambassadors were
sent to France to offer their King the rule over these lands. The
King did not grant them a hearing, did not let them come to Paris, but
answered them through Brulart, his secretary. How can a people be
more despised than in such a manner! Even the Lapland and Finnish
peoples, the lowest and smallest, find an open ear with Kings and
Emperors when they send them their delegates.
This was seen by the States, and justly so, as an intolerable
outrage. A nation cannot be offended and insulted more severely than
by refusing its ambassadors a hearing. A councilor of Cartage
formerly reprimanded Hannibal when he would not receive the
ambassadors that were sent to him by allies and friends, for, "thereby
he took away and destroyed the rights of nations." We sent no
ambassadors to France to speak only for others, but to cast
ourselves into their arms and submit to their rule. Not to grant a
hearing to a nation in a case like this is disdainful, and more so,
since there existed a continuing and natural jealousy between France
But all this was only play in comparison to Spanish pride and
the barbaric unreasonableness and cruel manner in which they behaved
against our people in torturing and despising its envoys. When
Markgrave van Bergen, and Baron van Montigny left for Spain (1566),
they were at first received under the pretension of to be
appreciated; but later they beheaded one, and poisoned the other. This
was much worse than the Ammonites did to David's servants; they were
insulted, but their lives were spared, 2 Samuel 10. This Tyrant, the
King of Spain, violated the utmost rights of nations and of the lands
over which he was the ruler, after the testimony of D.P. Pers, in his
FRIGHTENED LION (1584).
According to Cicero's testimony, the right of embassies is holy
and divine even among pagans; and to show in what esteem they were
held, were kept from offending, even those envoys that were sent to
their enemies. When Alexander the Great conquered the city of Tyre,
he found in the city ambassadors from Cartage to encourage the city
against him; but did not suffer them to be hurt, even though he
threatened Cartage with war. More than this, when the ambassadors
>from Tarquinius had committed treason in Rome, they were not dealt
with as enemies; although according to Livius they merited to be dealt
with as enemies, nevertheless, the right of nations was maintained.
This right of embassies was therefore so important for ours, because
there is among humanity nothing more expedient than the use of
ambassadors to promote mutual trade and commerce. But all this was
by this Tyrant not kept in honor, as the States General according to
van Reyd in his 14th book declared to the Polish ambassador in 1597.
This Republic was first brought down to hell and thereafter
exalted to the heavens. It may justly be said of us, what the Lord
said to the prophet, "And I will gather her that was driven out; and I
will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put
to shame" (Zeph. 3: 19).
The Lord not only gave us a name and praise, but made us so
great that our ambassadors were not just highly regarded by the
mightiest potentates, but were esteemed above the envoys of kings.
Mighty nations and kingdoms honored this nation with their
ambassadors. It was in 1642 that in the Hague there were ambassadors
>from several different nations at one and the same time. They were
among others, Francisco d'Andrado, ambassador of Portugal, Cressy of
France, Thomas Roo of Germany, and Strickley, from England. It is
especially remarkable that from 1609-1630, more than 200 ambassadors
representing Kings, Grand Dukes, Electors, Dukes, Princes, Counts,
Lords and Republics honored the Republic with their presence.
What is more, courageous Spain, that formerly ill-treated and
killed our envoys, later sent ambassadors to request an armistice;
thereafter they sent envoys to pray for peace. Spain then requested
>from us to send some ambassadors to Munster, where they were
received with reverence, and with much flattery were requested to
mediate between them and their parties. Baudart writes of this in his
"Memoirs" (book 4, 1612); Montenue in his, "Life and Works of Frederick
Hendrick", of the same year; and Ernestus Brink in his introduction to
These wonders and marvelous acts of the Lord must be judged
with a sound mind. For what is it to make light from darkness, glory
>from oppression, if it should not be such? We were servants of those
who ruled over us. But at the present see us exalted, yes, greatly
exalted; even kings take care when speaking, and princes bow down to
Let us not forget that many were upset by looking at us, for so
hopeless was our plight, more than that of any other. Others are now
astonished seeing our might and glory, and respect us highly. For our
name went out throughout the world because of its beauty which was
perfected by the glory which the Lord laid upon us. This may be read
in the "Dedication or Introduction of Vossius" by Eduard van Reyd.
Truly, these things are of such a nature, that a learned man
has said that our descendants, seeing the greatness of this Republic,
will hardly believe what has been written by historians about the
small beginnings of this nation.
We have seen how this nation was despised in its ambassadors.
When we look at succeeding times, it seems unbelievable that the
kingdoms of England and France refused to accept the rule over this
country, which we, when we were oppressed by Spain's great might, by
stately embassies at several times presented to them. According to
Hooft the rule of the nation was offered to England in 1575, 1585, and
1587; and to France in 1585. We all know how desirous monarchs are to
enlarge their domain; and how often they do this at the cost of the
blood and goods of their own subjects. The emblem of Emperor Charles
V was, "Plus Ultra." Others had the symbol of a waxing moon with the
added words, "Donec totum compleat orbem." The King of Spain, in his
pride, established an emblem of a painted globe in the sea, out of
which ascends a horse, above which the inscription, "Unis non sufficit
orbis", (One world is not sufficient for me). This can be found in van
Meeteren's 25th book (1602). All this to feed the King of Spain's
arrogance and pride.
But see, here Kings refused the rule that was extended to them,
even though they were humbly asked to accept this rule. Prince William
used to say, "The Netherland Virgin would never be without a suitor,"
however, it is clear from these instances that the Netherland Virgin
was disdainfully rejected, as was done by the Queen of England in
1587. Van Reyd in his book (1587), writing of contempt and scorn that
were heaped upon us by Denmark states, "Such were the circumstances,
that they had to endure this treatment with much patience."
The cause why our request was refused, was on the one hand our
miserable and wretched state; on the other hand the great and
terrible might of the King of Spain. Had the King of kings dealt with
us in that way, we would have long since perished. But here was
repeated what the Lord at one time spoke to the Jewish nation, "None
eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion
upon thee, but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing
of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by
thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when
thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in
thy blood, Live" (Ezek. 15: 5 and 6).
It is the way of our God to help when there is no help of men,
and the gathering of straw is added to the number of bricks made (Ex.
5: 7), to send deliverance. Or as it was said by the ancients, "In the
mount of the Lord it shall be seen (Gen. 22: 14), meaning that the Lord
waits until the utmost before helping out, and the Lord is seen to
work in marvelous ways for the escape of His people at times when
there is no more hope. All this has been the experience of the
Netherlands during the rise of this Republic. The miserable state of
this nation can without doubt be seen by what we have related thus
However, we draw your attention to something to which we have
not touched upon as yet.
We will now deal with one remaining cause we have not touched
upon as yet. It is that these lands descended in such deplorable
state, in such a miserable and wretched condition, with the
impossibility to save themselves, that the most desperate proposals
were made by the most prominent and stouthearted among us. If in our
Netherland history someone was ever praised for wisdom, extraordinary
bravery and valour, and unswerving loyalty, it was Prince William,
whose cheerful countenance encouraged the States General during
these most trying and difficult times. His motto was, "Saevis
tranquillus in undis" (calm in the midst of the tempest). But so fierce
were the winds, so brutally high the waves that beat against the ship
of the Republic, that this pious Prince, and Father of the Fatherland
became so discouraged that seeing the ship was sinking, he advised to
forsake the country, and give the land back to the sea.
According to Hooft in his 10th book, the Prince advised that men,
women and children who loved liberty, board ship with whatever they
could take with them, burn the wind mills, break dikes and dams, spoil
the country by flooding, and like other peoples had done before them,
go to another place in the world where they could live in freedom.
O sorry situation of the nation! This must, by us, their
descendants, never be forgotten! The Prince suggested this when
North- and South Holland, by the fall of Haarlem were separated from
Zealand by the fall of Zierikzee. It is important to know this, and
therefore we will look into it.
Bor, in his eight book (1576), writes, "We cannot deny that
Holland and Zealand have been attacked, and are in danger as never
before. And although Prince William was one of the wisest, bravest and
most careful princes of his time, and full of courage, he was in spite
of this so greatly concerned, that he hardly knew what would be the
best thing to do. I heard from a trustworthy nobleman, who was in the
government at that time, but who died 38 years ago, that when
Zierikzee was lost, the Prince seeing that the Queen of England did
not want the offered sovereignty over Holland and Zealand, in order
not to have continuing war with Spain, that the Prince was afraid to
take on the same. Also that the other States did not know how to pay
for the cost of the war anymore, because the flat lands of Holland
lay unused. They had proposed, that as last resource, in order not to
remain under the Spanish yoke forever, and to maintain their religion,
that all ships would be seized, that all those who wanted to leave go
on board with whatever they could take; break dikes and dams, burn
the wind mills, flood the land, and take another land by force and
settle there, as others had done before this." Thus far Bor.
10 A Covenant with the Potentate of potentates
But how! Prince William! The Lord's Hero! Father of the
Fatherland! Be not discouraged, for this is the Lord's time to show
His great power and His outstretched arm. Your clever brain may not
know of help or counsel, our God has plenty of both! nothing is too
great and marvelous for His infinite wisdom and incomprehensible might!
You are depressed that England's Queen refuses to be the
nation's sovereign, but do you not remember that the Potentate of
potentates took our government upon Himself? Did you forget you made
such a sure covenant. Were you not assured that you and all that
trust in Him would be relieved by His mighty hand, in spite of all His,
and your enemies? You want to leave the country, but note, before
long the enemy shall leave the same, and "the desolate land shall be
tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by"
(Ezek. 36: 34).
You want to make the good land into a salty sea, but our God
shall yet make it a garden of Eden, "for the Lord shall comfort Zion,
He shall comfort its desolate places." You intend to look for another
country, but this land shall yet be a haven for other nations, in
particular those who are persecuted for the faith; "thou shalt surely
clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee
as a bride doeth" (Is. 49: 18). You would take of the best of the
country and take it unto other lands. Not so; for as from now on,
>from the ends of the earth shall come the finest merchandise to
enrich these lands. "Thus saith the Lord, the labour of Egypt, and
merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall
come over unto thee"; yes, even the treasures of thine enemies; "and
the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together,
gold and silver, and apparel, in great abundance" (Zech.14: 14). That
decree is the counsel of the Holy One, the Lord has such intended, He
shall execute it, and nothing shall hinder His decree.
You acknowledge that the change of religion is much more a work
of the Lord than of men? Do you think the Lord will not prosper the
sake of His Son, that His adversary, the anti-christ, may rule? No!
No! but they all shall be ashamed that are bitter against the Lord.
The Lord saw that Israel's misery was very bitter, that Israel
had no helper, and He never said that He would take our name away
>from under heaven. The measure of shed blood was full, the affliction
of God's people was accomplished. "Awake, awake, stand up, 0 Jerusalem,
which has drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou
hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out"
(Is. 5I: 17). God has afflicted you in His anger, but in His good
pleasure He has been merciful to you.
Thus says the Lord your God Who pleads the cause of His
people, "Behold I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling,
even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it
again. But I will put it in the hands of them that afflict thee; which
have said to thy soul: Bow down that we may go over: and thou hast
laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went
over" (Is. 51: 22, 23). Now, your eyes shall see the salvation of the
Lord, and the arm of His power. For as the Lord has pulled up, and
broken down, so shall He now plant you and build you, and the Lord's
servants shall dwell in Zion. "So shall they fear the name of the Lord
>from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the
enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up
a standard against him" (Is. 59: 19).
This nation shall devour its enemies, "Therefore, all they that
devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, everyone of
them shall go into captivity, and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil
and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey" (Jer. 30: 16). All
the earth shall know there is a God in Israel, and the Lord does not
redeem by spear and sword, for the battle is the Lord's. "And I will
feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be
drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall
know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One
of Jacob" (Is. 49: 26).
He is an everlasting Rock, He can be trusted. Rejoice you
heavens, for the Lord has done it. Shout for joy, you nether parts of
the earth, you mountains and forests make a great noise with singing,
for the Lord redeemed Jacob, made for Himself a name in Israel and
made His wonders known to the Provinces, yes, the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God.
Let us see what the historian Bor adds here, for it is
remarkable. "Consider the great need of the nation during that time. I
say this for those who come after us, for they must know that we had
nothing of which to boast, that it was not by our, or the father's
wisdom that we resisted and endured that greet and mighty Potentate
(Spain). We have come to this prosperity only by the grace of God;
Honor and praise is due to Almighty God, and to Him alone. He helped
and stood by us, protected and redeemed us while we were devoid of
all human aid and there was no hope of relief. It will be made clear
by the following and other books that will be written after this, that
it was God Who redeemed and helped this nation in its great and
extreme need. It was clearly seen that when we built our hope on
people and mighty armies, we achieved but little. Let us therefore
never forget, that to God alone belongs the honor and the praise for
our deliverance, our prosperity and our blessings."
Thus far the historian Bor. We quoted him here because they
were truly remarkable matters that came to pass in the Netherlands.
They are so great that they still fill us with gratitude and wonder
for God's love.
We refer to this, because Bor made it his work to give God the
glory, and his precious books cannot be bought by the common man.
The nation realized what David testified of himself, "Though I
walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch
forth thy hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand
shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me" (Psalm
138: 7 and 8b), and "They compassed me about like bees; they are
quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the Lord I will
destroy them" (Psalm 118: 12). And 2 Chron. 20: 12, "0 our God wilt thou
not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that
cometh against us; neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon
thee". And, "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may
Israel say, . . .they had swallowed us up quick, . . .then the waters
had overwhelmed us; Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a
prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare
of the fowlers; the snare is broken and we are escaped" (Ps. 124).
Our Fathers who were so greatly oppressed, could they only see
our present blessings, how amazed and filled with wonder would they
be for all that the Lord did for us; they would cry out with the
Exultantly they ask: "Who Lord, within Thy dwelling,
Who of the kings of earth, in carnal strength excelling,
Can be compared with thee, Jehovah great and glorious,
In all Thy wise designs triumphant and victorious?"
Psalm 89 st. 3b. No 172 of the Psalter Hymnal.
"He remembered all our woes,
Snatched us from the clutch of foes.
For His mercy will endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure."
(idem; Psalm 136; st. 9b. No 283.
This, of course is written for us now living, who are witnesses
of what the arm of the Lord has wrought. With David, we sing:
"The wondrous works that God has wrought,
His people ever keep in mind,
His works with grace and mercy fraught,
Revealing that the Lord is kind."
(idem; Psalm 111; st. 3. No. 222).
The following is left in the Dutch for those who can read the
language, for you to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of this
poem in the original:
Heere God! Uwe werken zijn wonderlijk;
Gij denkt op ons, Heer goedertier,
Soo dat niemand in 't leven hier
Uwe gaven kan melden sonderlijk.
Uit den slijk seer onreine
En den afgrond niet kleine,
Met kracht Hij ons uittoog.
Hij heeft ons voeten vast
Tot Sijn wegen gepast,
Op een' steenrots seer hoog.
Which in the English reads as follows:
Lord God Thy works are marvelous and great,
Thou thinkest on us in Thy grace,
For no one from this very place,
Can e'er Thy precious gifts appreciate.
>From deep, foul and filthy mire,
And that great abyss entire,
His great power drew us out.
He established falt'ring feet
Now on His way they meet,
Upon a Rock, great and stout.
11 The Situation Of The Fathers And Of Us Their Children
Comparing the situation of the Fathers with succeeding times,
differs not less from comparing an abyss with protruding rocks, cliffs,
and high mountains. Those were the days that the heat of persecution
fell on the fathers, while we are permitted to sail in the calm of a
summer breeze. Their cities were under siege, conquered, plundered and
burned. The walls cast down, the land ruined, the inhabitants tortured
and killed; the nation perishing in smoke, fire and blood.
We see the cities relieved, delivered from force, many enlarged.
The cast down walls, towers and bulwarks rebuilt, the inhabitants
blessed, the nation living in peace, commerce and prosperity.
The fathers experienced times when all human reason and modesty
were absent, blood was running down the streets; true religion was
not allowed, privileges and rights were trodden under foot, the States
were muzzled, and all the country was nothing but a prison, a
scaffold, and a scene of murder.
We live in times that the police protects the citizens, laws are
in force, the government esteemed, the State is free, the Church in
honor, and true religion is adhered to. We live in times that people
are free to go wherever they will; and all Provinces are like a garden
of Eden, filled with all spiritual and material blessings.
These are often the ways of the Lord, our great God; those He
will bless are brought into great distress and misery, those He exalts
to heaven are first humiliated to hell. "Thou hast caused men to ride
over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou
broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Psalm 66: 12).
When the time was there that God would lead His people in
the blessed country of Canaan, the ornament of all lands, He
made Egypt into an iron oven for them. Before giving them their
own government, and making them a free people, he made them
submit to unheard of servitude. When He would revenge Himself
on His enemies, and fill His people with blessing upon blessing,
they first were subjected to affliction upon affliction, the aged among them
succumbed under heavy
labour, the children were drowned like cats and dogs.
The Lord dealt similarly with His people during the reign of the
Roman Emperors, when He brought them through a sea of suffering to a
desired haven of rest and liberty. We know from Church-history that
when Emperor Diocletianus raged against Christianity, it seemed they
all had perished. That evil Emperor had money coined with the
inscription, "I have destroyed the name of Christians who overturned
the Republic." This persecution continued in the East under Galarius,
under Maximus in Africa, and Maxantius in Rome, in the West. After
their miserable deaths (Galerus was eaten by worms and Maxentius
drowned in the Tiber), the time of persecutions came to an end. Now,
the Christian Emperor Constantine the Great delivered the Christian
Church from bondage into liberty; banished idolatry, and Christ
subjected the kingdom of Satan under His feet, as we can read this in
the summary of CHURCH-HISTORY by Hornius (page 104).
In Germany, before the Lord our God, under Emperor Ferdinand in
the alliance of Passau, ordered freedom of religion and the
Protestant nations came to live in peace, Maagdenburg had to come
under the brute force of Charles V. The Lord also gave the Count of
Hessen and the Elector of Saksen into his hands, and made them into
showpieces wherever they went; this can be read in Sleydanus,
Cluverus, Laetus, and others.
Before the blessed times began under Queen Elizabeth, England
underwent the terrible persecutions of cruel Queen Mary. Many burnt
at the stake. There is, according to the book of Martyrs, from the
time of the Apostles, nowhere so much blood shed as there was in
this kingdom. A great multitude of people: Nobles, Teachers, Doctors,
Bishops and Preachers died for their faith. At times there were 10, at
other times 12 who burned in the same fire. Some died of hunger,
others perished in prison. Thus far, the Book of Martyrs which was
recently improved by placing each matter at its right time and place,
by our colleague Joshua Sanderus.
During this persecution the following persons were burnt for
their testimony: Roeland Taylor, John Bradfort, John Hopperus, bishop
of Glouchester; D. Nicolas Ridley, bishop of London; Hugo Latimer,
bishop of Worchester; Thomas Crammer, bishop of Canterbury. King
James in his Apology testifies that they tortured a pregnant woman
until she lost her child, and then burned her with the child. But when
it seemed that the sun of true religion was sinking, God made it rise,
to the joy of all those who loved Zion. Here is established what
certain martyr, Midas Busseay, who was glorified by suffering for the
truth said in 1557, "God is known to help His people when the barbaric
persecutions are at their height; to show thereby, that such
deliverance and aid, is from nowhere, but from Him alone", (Hoornbeek
OF SPIRITUAL FORSAKINGS, page 173).
12 Comparing the Republic with Switzerland
While writing of these things we are reminded of the Swiss
Cantons, or Republic; the sad situation and unbearable oppression
under which they lived before they came to their long desired
freedom. More so, because this was done to them by the House of
Austria, from which dynasty the Kings of Spain descend. The Swiss
came to gain their liberty in much the same manner as we gained ours.
After Albertus, successor to Adolf van Nassau, had established a new
rule and principality, he began this rule by wretchedly oppressing the
Swiss, without respect of person or class.
The complaints were many, but without success; they were more
oppressed all the time. One of the rulers, Landenberg, without reason,
forced the people to give him their possessions. Those who resisted
were heavily punished. He put out the eyes of a rich man because the
man's son prevented him from driving away his father's cattle. The son
fled. He had farmers pull the plow, as we have horses to work the
land. There was a men by the name of Gessler, who was so arrogant
and proud that he had his hat placed on a stake at the side of the
road to Altorf (others say it was at the Altorf marketplace), and
commanded that all who passed by must pay homage to the hat as one
is used to give to a prince, thus making himself a prince. Some are of
the opinion he did this to find out those who would revolt against
him; others, that he wanted to try those who were not sufficiently
submissive to his rule. According to Bzozius, Gessler placed some
guards near the hat to see who dared to neglect his orders.
But what happened? William Tell, a stouthearted and steadfast
men, being sad about such ridiculous servitude, passed the hat
without greeting. He was accused and sentenced "to shoot an apple off
the head of his youngest and most beloved son." Tell, who was greatly
skilled in handling the bow, accomplished this without mishap. But since
he had one more arrow with him, Gessler asked him for what purpose
he kept that second arrow with him. He promised that when he spoke
the truth, he would not be persecuted. William Tell answered, "Had I
hurt my son, I would have given you the other arrow, I would not have
missed and thereby delivered my people from your tyranny." At this
Gessler became so angry that he forgot his promise and sentenced
William Tell to everlasting imprisonment. But Tell on the way to
prison, cast away his bands by killing the tyrant.
This happened in November of 1307, from this act and the time of
the tyrant's death originated their liberty. An alliance made in secret
between three persons increased in power in such a way, that the
Swiss were free in short order, drove away the enemy, ruined the
castles of the usurpers, and cast off the yoke of the House of
Since that time Switzerland has been a free country, and the
Swiss are still a free people.
The parallel which exists between the liberation of Holland and
Switzerland reminds me of what was said by a great Historian
(Rohanus, dejure Princip. at Statuum Reipub. Christianae aprt,
discurs.6). He writes, "Two great Republics emerged, one on each side
of Germany: Switzerland and the United Provinces.
Both nations, for courage and bravery, position and location are
important to other nations. They can be seen as the two arms of
Germany. The one is located under rocks, cliffs and precipices; the
other between seas and moors. The one rules the mountains, the other
the seas. The nature of both peoples agree with the land in which
they live. It seems the Swiss are born to live in the mountains, and
the mountains to feed them. So can it be said of the Hollanders that
they are born in the proximity of the sea, and the sea feeds them.
Every town in Switzerland, and every province in Holland is a
13 Our Hearts Encouraged I
The foregoing examples make clear how the Lord at times sorely
humiliates those He intends to exalt and lift up. "He turneth the
wilderness into standing water, and dry ground into water springs"
(Ps.107: 35). Van Sande, in his first book, states, "Many a time the
Lord allowed us to sink very low, and when there was no more hope of
human aid, He delivered us in marvelous ways."
For now, we will pass by particular instances as of Joseph,
Jephtah, David and others, all of whom went through great affliction,
before the Lord lifted them up to greater state. We can also see how
we were turned into a wilderness before the Lord made us into a
garden of Eden. How He made us call from the depths of misery, before
"making thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and
in name, and in honour" (Deut. 26: 19). Our Fathers, to express the sad
state of the fatherland, had coins made on which was pictured a ship
without sails and broken masts; the ship was hurled to and fro, and
almost devoured by the tempestuous sea. The following inscription was
on its edge, "Incertum quo fata ferent," i.e., "We don't know what will
become of us." (Boxhorn, HISTORY OF ZEALAND, vol.1 page 120).
By effecting this great change for us, the Lord sanctified His
great Name, did everlasting reproach to His and our enemies, and gave
us cause for rejoicing, wherefore we must remember this with
Marnix van St. Aldegonde who observed much of the wonderful
works of the Lord, wrote in his introduction to the Psalms in metre,
published at Middelburg in 1591:
Yes, it seemed when by tempest we were castigated,
And facing these tumultuous seas, sore agitated;
With no more hope we would safely come on land,
The Lord arose, redeeming us with mighty hand.
0, marv'lous counsel! Almighty God of wonders great!
0, Wise and deepest judgment! 0 God of grace and state!
Who can search Thy work, the way Thy feet have gone,
Fathom Thy wisdom Lord, that which Thy might has done?
From these poems, and others like it we obtain an understanding
of the emotions that moved the hearts of our fathers, when they
experienced God's wonderful works done to our nation.
Truly, Israel was regularly admonished to remember the days of
its youth, the sad days of slavery in Egypt, that they should learn
to praise Him for His goodness, that they might love the Lord and to
tell His praises to children, and children's children. The United
Provinces have abundant reason for praise when they remember how
the Lord saved them not only from physical slavery, but also from the
most horrid spiritual oppression, when there was no more hope for
deliverance. Moreover, the Lord did not deal with us in secret, but
openly He showed His stretched out arm, not one time, but many times
and in divers ways; of which I intend to say a few things.
I do not intend to deal with everything that happened in the
Netherlands during these days. Nor will I touch on all the places and
matters in which the hand of the Lord was clearly seen, that would be
too much for me. I also acknowledge, that I do not have the
references from all historians. As I have said before, the nature of
these things was so extraordinary that all nations and tongues have
written about the memorable events that came to pass here. It will
suffice to give you a cross section of what happened.
The Lord, in order to make this Republic great, first of all,
gave us men with heroic spirits and stout hearts. We maintain this in
spite of the fact that at one time the Prince was so discouraged
that he left the country as we have shown above. We believe this
happened so the nation, by the impossibility of the situation, would
depend so much more on the Lord for deliverance; yes, as we read by
Bor, "give Him all the praise." We can truly say that the Lord gave
our men stout hearts, and under the most fearful situations they
showed invincible courage. In his introduction, van Reyd writes,
"Searching the history of nations we come to the conclusion that what
happened in this nation has no example. There is no other instance in
history that such a small country cast off the yoke of a mighty nation,
of such a mighty King as the King of Spain."
"All civilized nations, even Russia and Turkey, speak well of the
arms and war in the Netherlands, and desired to know what would be
the end of such great a matter." And no wonder, for this conflict
seemed to be between a flee and an elephant, between a lamb and a
lion, a sparrow and an eagle, a child and a giant. The outcome seemed
hopeless, there was no expectation but the greatest misery, tyranny
and slavery, for the inhabitants of these lands.
Surius, as we related before, mocking the Dutch for their daring
and recklessness, said, "What do the Dutch think to accomplish against
the King of Spain?" So little appeared our might against this Goliath,
that hardly anyone dared to offer any help. Again, let us see what
van Reyd has to say in his first book, (1575):
"As often, as I think of the matters belonging to Holland, it
seems marvelous that such a little country, broken and weakened by
so much misery, never lost courage to continue the war with that
mighty giant, especially because they stood all alone."
It followed that for the duration of five years, Holland, and a
part of Zeeland, held out against the King of Spain, then the
mightiest Potentate in Christendom. The words of a letter sent to the
King of Spain by the Prince and the States of Zeeland in this respect
are remarkable. This is what they said, "We were compelled to take up
arms, and by all means to deliver our oppressed fatherland from such
horrible tyranny; and rather die several deaths than submitting to
such a tyrant; we know that death which no man will escape, is but
the way to everlasting life."
Furthermore, rejecting the forgiveness proffered by Alva, they
said, "We know, in God's providence, that our days are numbered, a
number, which in spite of Alva's pardon, we shall not exceed." Again, at
the end of the letter, "We want to be known as a people that took up
arms against the Duke of Alva and his cohorts, to deliver ourselves,
our wives, children and our possessions from him and his bloodthirsty
crowd. When he should prove to be stronger, we would rather die an
honest death, and leave a good name to our children, not bow the neck
to such a tyrant and have our dear fatherland submit to such
shameful servitude, whereby we would not be able to hold up our
heads before any man.
"Therefore, the cities have mutually as well as each in
particular, covenanted, if necessary, to commit the utmost, even life
itself; yes, rather set fire to our dwellings than to submit to this
tyrant. For we are well aware that we cannot expect any mercy; but
that he rather colors streams and rivers with our blood, and use all
trees and gallows in the country to hang us, than not to satisfy his
thirst for blood."
From this we know that the fathers were steadfast in their
intent to continue the war to gain freedom, and how courageous their
hearts were in spite of all dangers. We know from experience that
what the cities decided were no idle words.
Some were of the opinion (1584), - for what reason we do not
know - it would be better to make peace with the king of Spain, and
acknowledge him as our ruler; and when this was not in good taste, to
convince the Provinces to end the conflict some other way.
According to Hooft in his 21st book, Gouda did not at all agree
with this, declaring, "These evil counselors are advised to come to
Holland for stout hearts. Witnessing that three years of siege were
patiently born by the poor inhabitants of Gouda. The little city of
Alkmaar had broken the back of Spain's force. For it was at Alkmaar
that defeat changed into victory. And Leyden, where one half of the
population died for the sake and love of freedom, is a model and
example of constant piety."
While we mention Leyden we must say something of the dedication
and invincible courage of Burgomaster (mayor) Van der Werf, for we
must keep that in everlasting remembrance. When some citizens
complained to him of the great need and terrible hunger, he told them,
"I must keep my oath. I know that I must die at some time, and as far
as I am concerned it makes no difference whether by your hand or
that of the enemy. If you gain anything by killing me, kill me, cut my
body in pieces, and distribute it among the people, I am satisfied."
Because of his great courage, the fathers coined medals with on
the one side the emblem of Vianen, on the other side was the
inscription: "Par Flammes et par Feu," i.e., "through flame and fire,"
declaring that they did not consider flame nor fire for the sake of
freedom. It was also remarkable that this courage was not only shown
by men, while it is assumed that women are the weaker vessels.
Nevertheless, it is said that during the siege of Leyden, women
encouraged the men to call out to the enemy, that they would rather
than submit, thereto pressed by hunger, eat their one arm and have
the other left to fight. The women showed the same courage when
Alkmaar was under siege. The Princess Espinoy was also an example of
courage when Doornik was surrounded by the enemy. Hooft (1551), writes
that when the enemy attempted to overrun fort Ter Voorn, some women
put on men's apparel, and went to the soldiers on the walls; others
showed their courage by bringing on led and gunpowder, others by
carrying on big timbers. That was in 1637. Van Meteren in his 23d book
(1602), tells of "women, in men's clothing, who served as soldiers in
the war." What courageous deeds they performed, especially at Bergen
op Zoom (1625), he relates in his 27th book. We may never forget the
courageous deeds of these Amazones.
By the courage, with which it pleased the Lord to equip many of
our people of all ranks, few have neglected to fight the enemy until
death, or until, by the grace of God, they gained the victory. In 1570,
24 Dutchmen fought 150 Spaniards, fighting till death. In 1573, 18
footmen attacked a detachment of 150 Spanish cavalry and finished
them off. It was the lion hearted Prince Maurice, who in 1593, with
5,000 men dared lay siege to Geertruideberg, in spite of the fact
that the enemy came against him with 14,000 man. In 1598 he defeated
the enemy who had 28,000 men in the field, with 6,000. In 1597 he
defeated with 800 horsemen, 4,000 of the best and most experienced
soldiers of the King of Spain. We must not forget his unflinching
gallantry in the battle of Nieuwpoort, for in spite of the fact that
the enemy had already beaten 17 companies of his best soldiers,
Maurice was not discouraged, but by a heroic decision attempted to
encourage his soldiers. According to van Reyd (1600), and Bor in his
28th book, "he commanded that all ships in which the Prince and his
soldiers could escape, must depart from the seashore. So standing
between Pharaoh and the Red Sea he attacked with so great courage,
that historians described this victory, which was so important for the
country's well-being, beside the mighty hand of God, to the wisdom,
valour and prudence of Prince Maurice. But who girds Princes with
valour? Is it not the Lord? Psalm 18."
When the English admiral in 1588 had contacted the terrible
Spanish fleet, he wrote to the Queen, (van Meteren in his 15th book),
that it was God's work that dared them do it, and it was their desire
to give God the glory for their bravery and courage. What happened in
1606 at Sluys is even more amazing. When the enemy succeeded and
went with 3600 men over the bridge into the city, only 16 soldiers
kept back this multitude with great courage until the rest of the
army had time to compose itself, and expelled the enemy who lost four
or five hundred men. God had, as it were, in that battle confounded
the enemy with blindness, for although the bridge was full of soldiers,
they did not use their muskets, but no other than javelins and
swords. See van Meteren in his 27th book. How manfully, and with what
extraordinary courage the garrison of Rijnbeek expelled the enemy,
who were already in the city, master of the walls and the artillery,
can be read by van de Sande. For time's sake we will not relate what
happened during the siege of Bergen op Zoom in 1621, and what
happened when in 1629 Wezel and Maestricht were taken.
We will testify that as our lion-heart was marvelous at land,
the Lord our God did not less for our heroes at sea, and blessed
them with the same undaunted spirit of bravery. To relate everything
is not possible, and not necessary for proof. But we must say
something to remember the wonders of the Lord, and boast of His
What van Meteren relates in his 4th book (1573), is almost
unbelievable. Those of Vlissingen (Flushing), he says, had the 14th of
January taken some ships from the harbor of (Spanish) Antwerp; yes,
few took men from their beds in Antwerp, and compelled them to leave
the city and come with them. They also took the young son of admiral
Bouwen Ewoutsen from the house of the sheriff, where he was
prisoner, and took him to their ships in full daylight. Through these
and similar courageous acts, relates the same author, the Vlissingers
were respected by most. The Zealanders showed by these acts of
heroism that the old saying, "they must be appreciated not for their
money, but for their courage", is not without reason used by them.
See Oomy, WAR-TRUMPET, page 14.
How great courage was shown by the Zealand fleet when they
attacked the mighty Spanish fleet, can be read by the same author in
the year 1574. For although, the enemy came with two mighty fleets
filled with soldiers, the Zealander admiral Boisot attacked him with
such courage, conquered, and after a cruel and bloody fight captured
the admiral, the vice-admiral, and took besides those which they
burned, 9 or 10 of his best ships. D.P. Pers says the following
concerning this battle: "The greet courage of the Zealanders was
exceedingly praiseworthy, for mainly by their courage, the land was
They knew very well that it was the hope of the Spaniards to
win the war by remaining masters at sea. Had the Spaniards been
enabled to execute their intention, the country would have been lost.
However, in all this, the Lord was willing to show His marvelous
leading, it was the Lord Who gave lion hearts to the Zealanders that
they feared not death, but subjected themselves to many dangers. This
in spite of the fact they were not at all times sufficiently paid, and
complained about this. This victory aroused in the hearts of the
allies a general rejoicing, they thanked God, in many places bonfires
were lit. By all this the Hollanders and Zealanders were again
encouraged, as if they had been re-created.
At the same time the city of Middelburg came into our hands; and
that because of among other things also the prayers of our Prince,
who, to have all things ordered well, traveled from Delft to
Vlissingen, where he, according to Press was in great anxiety, for he
feared that the two enemy fleets would unite, and so gain the
victory. Having done all he could, he went to his room, to give himself
to prayer and wrestle with God for good success. This prayer was
heard before he prayed. For when according to Hooft in his 4th book,
the Prince received the message that the Spanish fleet was anchored
before Breskens, anxiety left him, and he went to the harbor to be
convinced of the truth with his own eyes. When he noticed the mistake
of the enemy, who made no use of the favorable tide, he thanked God
for His grace.
In these special circumstances it may be seen that anxiety and
courage, humiliation and bravery, pleading and fighting, prayer and
victory went together. The first is cause of the second; the second
cause of the first. The one demonstrates what is proper for princes
and rulers when their country and their subjects are in danger; the
other, which is the duty of those who for the good of God's people
under their government attack the enemy in a just war, and how both
together are a blessing for the people. Fervent prayer and courage in
acting, are as a rule successful, and are followed by rejoicing and
thanksgiving. 2 Chr.13-16; and 32: 6, 7, 20, 21; Neh. 4:9.
When in 1573, the Lord blessed the courage of the Zealanders
and they gained the victory; the Prince, filled with joy, wrote to all
the cities in Holland and admonished the people, to "fervently praise
and thank Almighty God, and furthermore pray that God would bring
their cause to a good end; that after so many afflictions, the Lord
would grant them to live in peace." (See also Bor in the same year).
In 1601, three Dutch ships commandeered by Wolphert Hermansz.,
partly destroyed, and partly forced a mighty Portuguese fleet to
flee, near Bantam (East Indies), consisting of several galleys and
other ships, thirty in number. (Dyonisius Sprankhuizen in his TRIUMPH,
1629). He adds that this was such a great wonder, as of four or five
mosquitoes gaining the victory over an army of elephants.
Our mariners, according to van Sande, showed the same courage
in 1612, when eight of our ships on their way to the East Indies,
attacked 17 Spanish galleons near the Salt Islands. They destroyed or
captured all but four ships that escaped.
14 Our Hearts Encouraged II (Admiral Pete Hein).
Admiral Pete Hein, according to van Sande, attacked with eight
big ships and five yachts, under the city Salvador in Brazil, twenty-
six Royal ships, of which some were tied to the houses or stone walls
of the city, and surrounded by forty pieces of heavy artillery on
these city walls. Without considering this, the Admiral went in between
their biggest ships, so close that they were no more than a stones
throw apart. After a valiant fight under the artillery of the enemy,
twenty-three ships were conquered, except those that were sunk. The
Portuguese lost courage, in spite of the fact they were protected by
their own city walls and artillery.
Martin Tromp was of the same courage when with twelve ships he
occupied Dunkirk, in which city were twenty two Royal ships ready for
battle. The governor of the city had received liberty to attack our
admiral, "For" he said, "it was a shame that so great a royal might
was restrained by so few ships", the Spanish ships were received by
ours in such a way, that they surrendered two ships, each with 250
men. The ship of their vice-admiral with 24 guns stranded, and was
set ablaze by the enemy themselves. Eight or nine ships were so
damaged that they could not reach harbor. This fight, v.d. Sande says,
was terrible. Commelin in his book entitled "Frederick Hendrick" vol. 2
(1639) states, "Concerning this battle there went up a great cry in
the city, for the number of dead, wounded, and those taken prisoners
was estimated to be 16 or 1700." In this fight which lasted from eight
in the morning until three in the afternoon, Tromp was at one time
surrounded by five large Dunkirk ships, against whom he fought alone
for three hours, and according to the witness of the mentioned
author: the Spaniards were well aware of his courage.
From this and other examples we are well aware that at sea, and
on land, our heroes were endowed with admirable courage, whereby they
did not fear death.
This virtue was especially true of the Princes of Orange, no
danger was ever too great to keep them from performing the duties of
good commanders. The ancients may boast of their heroes, Troy of an
Aeneas, Macedonia of Alexander, Cartage of the great Hannibal, Rome
of a Julius Caesar; we have no less reason to boast of the courage
of our Princes. According to Bor, in the beginning of his 28th book,
the State was much concerned about the fact that they were not
careful in caring for their own lives, but entered into dangers above
the call of duty. They could be found in places most dangerous. God's
marvelous Providence was here visible in that they were spared time
upon time. It is said that Prince Frederick Hendrick never became the
slightest wound. Of Prince William (the Silent) it is known that when
the enemy fell into his army camp at Bergen in Hanault by night, he
was saved by his dog scratching him on the face. The animal started
to howl and the Prince escaped. Hooft relates this in his seventh
Let us say a few words of a grandchild of this hero. We must
admit that this virtue emanated to him from his ancestry. I will say a
few words of his grandson the late William 11. Montanus writing in "The
Life and Acts of Frederick Hendrick" states, "He (William II) attacked
the army of Cantelmo at Burgerhout with some hired troops in such
good order and with such unflinching courage that the Spanish
lieutenant Jan de Borger, ascribed to him the title of perfect
commander. It seems that this noble virtue by special Divine
Providence was added to that admirable dynasty of Orange as part of
their inheritance. The same virtue is most commendably seen in the
only son of this Prince, by whose hand, William III, it pleased the Lord
to deliver us in such a wonderful way.
I bring these things to your attention, not to show what these
heroes did for the Fatherland, but what the great God gave us in
them and through them. The dauntless courage of our Princes and
other heroes is not natural, for it can be taken away from them as
we have seen in Brazil, when according to Van Sande in 1648, 50
Portuguese soldiers, near the city of Olinda, drove 900 of ours from
their forts that they fled. We must see in all this the hand of the
Lord, Who not only grants the Spirit of Counsel, of wisdom, and of
understanding, but also of strength and courage (Is. 11: 2). By the
light of nature, even the pagans have acknowledged this. Much more
must we see the hand of the Lord in the more than usual courage of
ours, and acknowledge that it was the Lord Who granted them hearts
of lions, whereby they did great things with little means.
14 Our Hearts Encouraged III (Leyden)
Why did the enemy depart from Leyden, yes, take to flight as if
he was conquered? Nothing but the collapse of a part of the city
wall. According to van Reyd this was something that should have put
fear in the hearts of the besieged, because the city-wall, their
defense, was now gone. Nevertheless, the enemy was so frightened
when they heard the noise of the wall collapsing and falling in the
water of the moat in the darkness of the night, that they left their
siege, and even the castle of Lammen. They were in so great haste
that they never took time to investigate what happened. In his ninth
book (1574), Bor remarks that all that was brought to play to relieve
Leyden, would have been lost, had not the Lord given a faint heart to
Van Reyd relates how remarkable the Lord dealt with the siege
of Leyden, matters that seemed to be to their disadvantage turned by
God's Fatherly Providence into advantages. 1. The most eminent
citizens had left the city. 2. There was only a small garrison. 3. The
city was visited with the plague. All these things, he wrote, were to
aid the city; for the citizens who left the city could do much more to
aid the city, than when they had remained. The English sent by the
Prince to aid the city, but through carelessness left outside, without
a doubt would have hastened its surrender. They gave sufficient
evidence of this, when after having received powder and bullets from
the burgomaster, they threw away their arms as soon as they saw the
Spaniards approach, and went over to the enemy. Concerning the
plague: the death of so many citizens saved enough food for the city
so they were able to hold out that much longer. As we mentioned
above, the collapsing wall, whereby the city lay open for the enemy,
frightened them so much, that they fled.
But what is much more miraculous, and in which our God bared His
arm, is that again the Lord used wind, weather and water, like He did
in 1572. For the only way to deliver the city was by way of the fleet.
At Prince William's command the Meuse and Ysle dikes were broken
through, the sluices opened, and the land inundated. In spite of this,
only nine inches of water covered the land. The boats needed at least
>from 15-18 inches. Again this was the time for our God to work. For
what happened? The Lord sent a storm from the North-West, the water
went inland and rose from nine inches to twenty-eight inches.
After the Lord sent His host, the water, into the land, the
water could not reach Leyden. Then the Lord sent a storm from the
South-West and now the water flowed straightway to Leyden, in spite
of the fact that the Spaniards attempted to stop the flood. Now our
fleet could reach the Spaniards, but the Spaniards dared not wait for
them, for when they saw the fleet and the water, the Lord made their
hearts into water, and so the city was delivered. Now the cry was
heard in the streets, "Leyden, Leyden is relieved! For ever praise our
God!" God was thanked in all Churches. The Prince who seemed so far
that same morning, was that same afternoon in the French Church (in
Delft), where he received tiding of Leyden's relief. After the service
he had it announced and the Lord was instantly glorified with
thanksgiving. According to Hooft, "The emotions released by the shock
of such a sudden and great joy was unbelievable. The sound of bells,
the flames of bonfires, and young people's shouts of joy, prepared
>from all places a way up to heaven."
According to Bor in his seventh book, the States of Holland
testified to those of Leyden, "That the relief of Leyden, was
paramount to victory over the rest of Holland." If ever our God
showed that He fought for us, and used His waters, winds and terrors
to redeem us from the Spanish yoke, it was here.
However, to relieve the city, holes had been made in the Meuse
and Isle dikes, whereby thousands of people received damage, and now
there was great concern how to relieve this fertile land that was
made into a great sea, of this surplus water. But what happened? The
day after Leyden's relief October 4, the State was again favored with
another work of wonder and benefit, of which Bor said, "We may not
forget to tell of God's wonderful works so clearly revealed; for on
that day, the fourth of October, the wind turned from South-West to
North-East, while it blew so hard that it was difficult to travel from
Leyden to Delft, whereby the water that had served its purpose,
flowed back to sea.
"O wonderful God! who is like unto thee, there are no works like
unto Thine; great and mighty Thou art, O Lord! and faithfulness is Thy
cloke. Thou art a very present help in time of trouble unto Thy
people. Thou hast redeemed the broken hearted from one that was
mightier than he, and set the oppressed in a high tower."
What compelled commander Taxis to leave Friesland, which he had
suddenly occupied in 1586? Nothing but heavy rains, which began to
fall when he was still gaining on ours. The rains made him so afraid
that he fled the country as if he were defeated; he left his dead
with the conquered guns; he did not take time to plunder the higher
land where was much wealth. Emanuel van Meteren in his 25th book
wrote of this, "We can see what great things the Lord does by little
What drove the enemy from the Catherine entrenchment in
Flanders? Nothing but the shouting of sailors who had lost a gun in
the morass, that they attempted to retrieve. The enemies became
faint-hearted, and were frightened so much so that they left the
entrenchment, and it came into the hands of the Prince.
What was it that made the enemy in the winter of 1624 leave the
Veluwe, where according to van Sande the enemy terrorized the
population with an inhuman thirst for vengeance, and had already
shelled Arnhem? Nothing but fear. It was the Lord Who in His grace
heard our prayers, and gave marvelous relief. Baudartius in his
"Memories", book 16, 1624, states, "As long as the enemy was in the
Veluwe, daily prayers were sent up in all cities. Publicly in the
Churches, and particularly in the homes by families. He wrote, "Daily
in the Churches, in the homes and on the walls they called upon the
Lord with groanings, offering our prayers unto the Lord, sad about
the misery of our neighbours." It is said of Spinola that he used to
say, "Watch out for the geuzen (beggars or Lutherans) when they
pray," because the Lord often so noticeably heard us.
It was then that the Lord truly 'put a bridle in the jaws of the
enemy (in the Veluwe), causing them to err' (Is. 30: 28). Baudartius
continues, "During the night they became so frightened, they left food
and drink, even silverware at their tables, and fled in the greatest
confusion. Baggage and arms were found in the houses, and on the
roads on which they fled, in order to get away faster. There was no
one that persecuted them, except the hand of the Lord. Van Sande
writes that the cause of their flight was none else but a trumpeter,
who had blown the national anthem.
(Van de Velde interrupts his story to give a view of how some lived
in those days and of which he does not approve, in chapter:
16 About Frivolous Living And Pagan Feast days
Baudartius wrote about this in a little book, "Veluwe's Carnival
Evening". for it was the very evening that Count v. d. Berg went
toward Arnhem. "This Carnival evening", he says in his Memories, "we
must remember, as long as we live, for this is now the second time
that God the Lord visits us with the sword of war; for in 1606
Bredevoort was also surprised and taken. I hope that from now on we
will forego this frolicking that is usual at Carnival Evening, we and
our neighbours. "
Wassenaar relates that the torture and cruelty of the enemy at
this time was such that a woman became so discouraged she drowned
herself in the river. Four children were found dead in an empty house.
He says, "This was no Carnival Evening play." It is truly remarkable
how the Lord our God, when ours, keeping these idolatrous feasts,
sinning against His Majesty, sent us the idolaters to be a scourge to
us. The bloody attack on Sluis in 1606, as mentioned above, took place
in the night of the Lord's Holy Day of Rest, when they spent the day
celebrating Carnival. This should have moved us to do away with the
names and days of Baal, as we read in Hosea 2: 16.
The Lord has commanded to separate from idolaters, and not to
have communion with the unfruitful works of darkness, but we must
punish them with words and works. Eph. 5: 11. That we forsaking ungodly
and worldly lusts, should walk worthy of the Gospel, righteous and
holy in this world as we read in Titus 2: 11 and 12.
It is necessary that all Reformed Christians follow old and
faithful Christians, who never stained themselves with pagan feastdays
and habits, they were very careful in keeping themselves from all
these things. They even abstained from things indifferent, so as not
to give the impression that they were like the idolaters. It was
forbidden to send each other gifts on New years Day, as this was
usually done by the heathen.
Tertullus testified, "that a Christian was known by a holy life".
Minutius Felix wrote in the year 230, "We keep from your pagan
sensuality's, for we know they originate in idolatry, we see them as
harmful temptations to make us sin."
17 Our Hearts Encouraged IV (The Zuiderzee. The Armada)
Let us now return to the previous subject, for we must never
forget the wonderful works of the Lord. The following is one of God's
wonder works in the Zuiderzee. The whole fleet of Northern Holland
was solidly frozen in the ice, and they expected the enemy to come
and put fire to our ships. Alva's son came with a strong army to
Naarden and ours already talked of leaving the ships and sinking the
guns. But our God wonderfully supplied in our need, and how? He sent
a strong North wind which split the ice, and there was water for the
fleet to escape. Neither was this the end of the Lord's wonder works,
for a second followed the first. The waters rose so much that the
ships could sail through the Zuidergat, near Enkhuizen, in spite of the
fact that there was never enough water in that place for ships of
war. All this to the great joy of ours in Northern Holland.
Our Fathers saw this as a great wonder work of our God, for
such was never seen before or after. Yes, they concluded that the
Lord would maintain their cause since He put His attendants, wind and
water, so clearly at our disposal. And what made this wondrous work
of the Lord so much greater is the fact that as soon as our ships
were in a safe haven, the ice immediately closed itself. That is how
the Lord added a third wonder to the previous two. It was clear that
this wind, thaw, and flood was sent by His Majesty. Emanuel van
Meteren writes, "This was such a great wonder for those of Enkhuizen,
that they doubted not but the Lord had adopted them, and would
lawfully protect and bless them." By proclaiming Days of Thanksgiving
our people joyfully glorified the Lord for the many times He delivered
There was great fear for this Spanish fleet (Armada) in Holland.
The year was 1588. The fleet consisted of 145 or 150 mighty ships (110
were as big as castles). That fleet was put together with unbelievable
sums of money. Nobility, and the greatest lords of Spain were part of
its entourage. A particular description is found by Bor, Reyd, van
Meteren, van Sande and others, in the year 1588, and is almost
unbelievable. Strada, the Jesuit writes, "There never was anything in
preparation to which more nobility joined themselves, and more sure of
victory than this fleet." Historians testify that there were 20,000
soldiers and 10,000 sailors on board. Pamphlets were printed and said
that the fleet was manned with 40,000 soldiers, who regarded men,
neither the devil. They were the same who in India, Portugal and in
other countries made the blood of its inhabitants flow like water;
they were experienced, they understood how to destroy countries and
cities, torture and plunder its citizens (Lydius in gloriose Belg. pag.
55). The King had to lay out 30,000 ducates daily, for this fleet.
The Prince of Parma had above this, thirty-two ships of war, and
many others ready to move his army of almost 40,000 men from Holland
to England. He was planning to join the mighty fleet, which the Spanish
For a long time rumors of such a great fleet did the rounds in
Holland and England, it seemed almost unbelievable. Van Meteren wrote,
"but when they saw what was almost unbelievable, the population,
greatly upset, called upon the Lord. In particular the Dutch
Congregations in England, who felt threatened above others, held
continuous days of fasting and prayer and entreated the Lord to turn
His wrath from them". Days of prayer were held in Holland also.
Let us now see what happened. The so-called invincible fleet,
shortly after lifting anchor, on the 29th of May 1588, was met by the
Lord with His winds, and they were compelled to put into port. From
thence it went under sail again and was seen by the English on July
22. The English attacked with such courage that the English Admiral,
in a letter to the Queen, praised it as a special work of the Lord.
The courage of the English was as great as the fright of the Spanish.
When lying at anchor near Calais, they saw seven or eight fire-ships
coming their way, and were taken by such great fright that they
lifted anchor, cut the cables and sailed into the North-Sea. Here, the
Lord sent another storm, which lasted two or three days. They did not
only suffer much damage, but were driven off course along the coasts
of Flanders, Zealand, Holland and Friesland, to the river Eems. Van
Meteren wrote of this, "The Lord wanted to show this great fleet not
only to England, but also to Zealand, that they should acknowledge how
little they were over against such a great force."
It can justly be said with Bor in his seventh book, page 40, "God
used this little country against such a great power, that His great
power should be so much more glorified. For the King of Spain was
such a great potentate, he was not only feared in his own country,
but by nearly all potentates in Europe; even in the other world, I
think in India, he was feared."
The Lord was gracious to this nation, for he showed the enemy's
great force, not to fear them, but to show us the evidence of His help and
our own impotence; yes, He brought our enemies to the stage
to give them over to death. As if the Lord said, as Moses spoke of
Pharaoh's host, "Fear not, stand fast, and see the Lord's salvation,
you see them now, but you will not see them again for ever." And how
did they fare after this? The English who pursued the Spanish for
some time, by lack of powder and led, were compelled to return to
The Spanish fleet sailed again to England, and hoped to unite
with Parma's fleet. However, the Zealanders and Hollanders prevented
Parma from leaving Dunkirk, whereby all hope to unite was taken from
Medina Sidonia and the latter decided after having lost twelve great
ships and 5000 men, to sail around Scotland and return to Spain. At
that time especially, Almighty God showed that He fought for us, and
could destroy the courageous Spaniard; for He ordered His winds and
they so disjointed the fleet, that the fleet was dispersed. Near
Ireland about thirty-two ships were shipwrecked, ran ashore or were
taken by the Irish, at which time almost 1000 men lost their lives.
Some ships were lost and never heard from again.
It is said that of the whole fleet only 31 ships, among which
only one ship in good repair, returned to Spain under Duke Medina
Sidonia who was witness of God's judgment and the general mourning in
Spain. The story goes that he said after he came back, "The King told
me to fight his enemies, and not the elements."
It was here that our God walked on the high places of the
earth, and broke this Spanish Moab as an undesired vessel, humiliating
Castilian pride down to hell.
In all of Spain was mourning and lamentation, the country was
like a graveyard. There was almost no high born family or it mourned
a father, son or brother. Just like it was in Egypt after all the
firstborn were slain. The mourning and lamentation was so great that
the King publicly disallowed mourning, but for a short period. In
Lisbon a rich merchant was hanged at the King's command, because he
displayed some joy over the loss of the Spanish fleet. Either laughing
or crying about the state of the fleet was prohibited. Then our
haters were compelled to say that the Lord did great things for us.
Our enemy, that child of perdition, Antichrist, who sold mighty
indulgences to promote his endeavours to conquer England and Holland,
could do nothing but gnash his teeth.
Their pride concerning this fleet was so great that they openly
sang of its victory before it sailed. But here they should have
remembered the words of 1 Kings 20: 11, "Let not him that girdeth on
his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off".
18 Our Hearts Encouraged V (Don Pedro De Toledo. Niewpoort)
Before we go back to land, we will relate one more remarkable
story from the sea. In 1632 Don Pedro de Toledo appeared
unexpectedly with a strong fleet in the English channel. This was most
likely to hinder our ships from passing between England and France
through the narrow channel. But again the Lord was on our side and
that fleet was destroyed by violent winds and thunder storms. The
same thing had happened before this (1626), when the King of Spain
sent 20,000 men, a million of gold and forty-two small ships to
Dunkirk, according to van Sande in the same year.
Much was attempted by the Spanish in 1631, for they intended to
separate Holland from Zealand by taking Willemstad. No cost was
spared. A fleet was brought together consisting of 50 big barges with
sail, ten pontoons, eighteen other ships, besides them a large number
of row boats without sail. According to Commelin they worked with such
great zeal that they laboured on this fleet during Sundays and other
holy days. Beside a lot of guns of divers descriptions, they had
about 6 or 7000 men on board. On September eight of that year they
sailed in presence of Infante Isabella, the Queen mother Maria de
Medeci and the pontifical Nuntius, who blest her with the words, "Go,
thou blessed, and slay the cursed ones". But this Balaam cursed those
who were blessed by the Lord. That is why their curse returned upon
their own pate, and the Lord, for our good, dealt wonderfully.
For what happened?
1. It was fair weather when the enemy sailed, the sea was calm and
the wind from the east. That is why our fleet which was toward the
west could not harm him.
2 When he came to the land of Bath, some of his best ships ran
aground, and moved no more. Here is where the Lord began to work
against their might.
3. The Lord deprived our enemy of wisdom, for they remained to
wait for their ships that ran aground; had they continued on their
course they would have been twelve hours ahead of our fleet. About
11 o'clock they could have been in Stavenisse, and next in Willemstad
to complete their mission. Or by failure they could have escaped to
Prinsenland where they had 7000 men in garrison.
4. Although high tide waters were receding, the Lord gave a very
strong current, so that all our ships sailed through the land of Bath;
yes, some say that there was a stronger current than at other times.
5. What the Lord did from hereon was mostly to their destruction.
It was first of all their intention to continue their journey and
execute their attempt; they avoided contact with ours, instead of
attacking our fleet. But see, toward evening the Lord sent a fog,
which according to Commelin came up fast and prevented them from
continuing their journey. When they became dispersed because of the
fog, it added greatly to their fears. Ours attacked their fleet on
September twelve in such a way that several of their ships sank, many
of their men jumped ship and drowned. The rest of the fleet escaped
to Nieuw-Vossemeer, where the multitude sought to escape on water
as well as on land, but all the enemy ships with the commanders and
4000 prisoners, and all that pertained to that fleet fell into our
hands. That is how they who were cursed by the pontifical nuntius,
were truly blest.
But did the Lord contend for us only at sea? Let us relate
what the Lord did for us on land in 1600, at the battle of Nieuwpoort.
It was judged at that time that success in this battle was paramount
to the salvation of the country. That is the place where the Lord did
battle for us with sun, wind, sand and smoke; where He took wisdom
and understanding from the enemy, when he neglected to do that which
would have defeated our forces.
According to Van Sande, "This battle took place July 2, 1600,
exactly 302 years after Adolf van Nassau was defeated by Duke Albert
of Austria. He continues, "The glory of this victory belongs to
Almighty God, Who worked above what we could think and delivered our
army when it was caught like Israel between Pharaoh and the Red Sea."
The States were poorly prepared and knowingly they went into a place
that was a trap, there was no food, no means to cover a responsible
retreat, neither means to fight. Had the enemy known this and not
risked to fight a desperate enemy, but had kept his ease (as was the
counsel of some of the best experienced commanders of the day), ours
would in few days have been defeated by hunger and thirst. According
to van Reyd, ours had by lack of drinking water already dug holes and
pits. Ours were in great danger, and this was aggravated by the fact
that the enemy was assisted by the counsel of the most experienced
commanders. But our God turned Ahitophel's counsel into foolishness.
Prince Maurice had given command for our ships to leave shore and
lay at anchor some distance from shore. The Spanish seeing this
attacked ours without delay. They did not heed the counsel of their
advisers, and God Who turns the hearts of men like water courses
made this a cause to reject good counsel, and they began the battle.
According to Bor in his 37th book in the year 1600, the States
were in Ostende, they could see nothing but the future of the
fatherland hanging on a thread, and called fervently upon God. They
did as it were force heaven, showed their strength in prayer and
inclined the Almighty to help them. The Lord did more for them, for
the enemy rejected the best counsel given him and began the fight.
The situation was grave indeed, yes, it was already gone so far, that
our cavalry was retreating, and by other disorders the enemy was
certain the victory would be his. But Prince Maurice did his duty by
admonishing his men, pleading with them rather to die fighting
courageously, than drown in the sea. Whenever he saw some of his
horsemen together he would send them wherever he thought they were
needed most, calling on them to do their utmost, for it was not
hopeless; and so he continued to encourage his men.
Bor is of the opinion that if the cavalry of the enemy would
have fought as valiantly as his footmen, he would have been
victorious. "But" he continues, "it was God Who turned the battle to
our good; He is the God of hosts, for nobody could ascribe the
victory to people who were already confused and fleeing." Truly, it is
God to Whom all glory is due; it was He, Who through sun and sand
bared His arm for our good, for He sent a favorable wind and used
His sun to blind the eyes of the enemy. Van Meteren wrote, "Prince
Maurice marched to the East, he had the sea on his left, and since
the wind blew from the West, it was on his back; and since it was
midday when the battle ensued, -- by which we could see God's
Providence,-- he had the sun also behind him, all these things kept
sand, dust, smoke and the sun from our eyes, and all this was of
great advantage to our troops."
Bor wrote, "All these things were a great hindrance to the
enemy, the sun in his eyes, while the wind blew dust and sand in his
face; and more than this it was our God Who showed mercy to His
Through all this our State became a great victory, while the
enemy was sure the victory was his. The Infante had said she was
curious to know how Prince Maurice would act when he was brought
before her as a prisoner. Several thousands were killed during the
action, and among the 600 prisoners was the Admirant of Arragon, yes,
even Albert himself was in danger of falling into our hands. There was
unbelievable joy throughout the land. The Lord was thanked with tears.
Van Reyd wrote about this in a touching way.
It is remarkable what van Meteren related of Prince Maurice;
"When the battle was won, Prince Maurice descended from his horse and
bursting out in tears said, "O Lord, we are poor sinners, and who are
we, that today, to the glory of Thy name, Thou shouldest impart so
great happiness to us? To Thee be glory and thanksgiving for ever."
He continued saying that if darkness had not come upon them, so he
could not gather his troops, he would have ordered a general
thanksgiving that night. This was observed the following day in the
city of Ostende, in the presence of the Prince and all the lords of
the States General.
The States General ordered that a special Thanksgiving Day
should be observed in the United Netherlands. Bor relates how the
States General being assured of this glorious victory, had Rev.
Uytenbogaard lead in a service of thanksgiving to God Almighty; and
the Prince coming into Ostende on July 3, desired that again another
thanksgiving service should be held, which was done in the French
language, from Psalm 116. From this it is evident how thankful the
Prince was, and how he ascribed all the glory to God.
19. Our Hearts Encouraged VI (Maestricht, De Briel)
Thus far we have seen how the Lord ruled wind and rain, frost
and warm weather, fog and sunshine, smoke, sand and sea for our good.
In this account we see God's mighty arm dealing with the rivers, the
walls of our country, to stop the power of the enemy. That is how
the Lord helped us in 1632 when we besieged the city of Maestricht.
When Prince Frederick Hendrick came to the city of Maestricht,
the river Meuse was so low that a man could ride or walk through the
river. However when the enemy came to the river and desired to cross
it, to the end to relieve the city; as Van Sande says, "by God's
decree, the water rose to a hight of seven feet." The water was too
high and the enemy could not cross it. Commelin in his book "Frederick
Hendrick", in the year 1632, states that much rain had fallen, whereby
the water level so increased, that the Spanish could not cross the
river, and the State troops had time to strengthen and secure their
battlements and they were without danger. The same author writes
that in 1641 the Spanish under commander La Fountaine came to
Aardenburg, as it was their purpose to go to Cadzand, and how
unfavorable weather frustrated their purpose.
After seeing all these things, we understand that the true
Netherlander and lover of God's Israel has reason with the Psalmist
to call out, "Who is a God like unto thee? Thou art the God Who doeth
wonders; thou hast made known Thy strong arm among the nations. Thou
hast redeemed thy people by thy arm, the children of Jacob, Sela. The
waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the
depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out waters: the skies
sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy
thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the
earth trembled and shook. Thy way was in the sea, and thy path in the
great waters, and thy footsteps are not known" (Psalm 77: 14-19).
To think of these things, whereby was this nation truly saved?
Was it not by God's arms of water and wind? When Count van der Mark
sailed (1572) into the river Meuse, it was not at all his intent to go
there, but at that occasion he took De Briel (little port city on one
of the islands in the south of Holland). Which is marvelous, for when
he intended to leave the city because he was afraid to wait for Alva,
it was the same wind that kept him there, and he was compelled to
stay. Our God was willing to break the pride of the enemy, and to
deliver the nation. He did this against the counsel of the wisest, for
even Prince William did not like what van der Mark had done, thinking
it was untimely, according to Bor in his 6th book, page 266. And thus
the nation was delivered and kept by God's hand.
This is especially true when we think of how the deliverance of
the nation was so closely tied up with the relief of Leyden in 1574,
according to the acknowledgment of the States General, as we
mentioned before this. It is marvelous how the Lord through weather,
wind, water and other marvelous deeds, worked out this great
I must admit, I do not understand. How is it possible that so
little is said of these great deeds of the Lord? How is it possible
that we don't show anymore thankfulness. Why is it that we see the
outward means, but put so little trust in our God? He has shown that
He loves this nation. He has through wonders and great deeds
revealed Himself visibly to this nation, and for our sakes to the
whole world. How is it that we so little appreciate His holy truth, for
it is for the glory of His truth that the Lord did these things for
us, Isaiah 42: 19, 20.
Do some believe that all these stories of wind, weather, sea and
rivers are no more than the workings of nature? I answer, "It is God
Who has nature in His hand, and He makes use of it by special
occasions and important situations for the good of a nation, by
showing His help and great might to the same. In particular when they
1. Unusual works that were at other times not seen, like that
marvelous work of the Lord in the Zuiderzee in the year 1572, and
2. When they follow times of fasting and prayer, as happened on
3. When the workings of nature turn in an unknown direction,
agreeing with the desires and designs of a nation, as we have seen
with the siege of Leyden and others we have mentioned. When even
pagans see in such disposal the hand of God, how much more must we
Christians see them, for we know, "Are not two sparrows sold for a
farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your
Father" (Matt. 10: 29). How visibly the Lord heard our prayers, and
showed His wonders in the rivers of our country, is emphatically
related by N. Wassenaar in the year 1627.
But also things that happen in a natural way can show God's
particular help and power, as we see in Josh. 10: 11; 1 Sam. 7: 10 and
12: 17; Job 37: 11-13. Truly, the Lord did things among us which must be
seen as wonders. He has shown His Providence to this nation in such
marvelous ways, that I must say, it is above many great wonders!
21 The Death Of William The Silent
They were anxious days for the Fathers when the Tyrant of
Spain, who was out to kill the Prince, finally succeeded in
assassinating him by the hand of a murderer in the year of 1584, at
the city of Delft. It was as if his death were the death of the
nation. All eyes were directed to God, but after God to the Prince.
Even the most fearful took courage from his example of gallantry,
understanding and resolution. According to Bor in his 7th book, page
40, the people entrusted him with everything; and according to his
18th book, page 423, "he was the most trained Prince in all of
Christendom in matters of state." At the youthful age of 21 he was
General in the army of Charles V, where he was chosen above all
experienced lords, because the King had already seen what he could
do. The same writer continues, "From his discussions, speeches,
counsel and warnings that are found in history, it can be seen that
he was very intelligent." His courage was not less than his wisdom,
and they both were less than his love and loyalty to the Fatherland
and its well-being. He expresses this in the last words that came
>from his dying lips, "Lord! have mercy on me, and on these poor
The King of Spain was of the opinion that it was only necessary
to kill the Prince, and he would gain his purpose with this nation, i.e.,
bring these lands back into slavery. That is why he set a price of
80,000 crowns on the head of the Prince.
Truly, it is as the States General witness in their 'Deduction',
Chapt. 1. Sect. 20, "By his murder this country is deprived of its most
prominent support. It seems that the tender building of this new
nation is ready to collapse and the inhabitants ready to return to
their previous slavery, yes, it seems they must submit to the tyrant
once more." Hooft in his 21st book, page 6 and 7, states that at the
news of the Prince's death, many inhabitants fled the city of Antwerp
which was then under siege; and that those in the government, for two
or three days, did not seem to have any will or sense left.
There was uncommon joy with the enemy, although the people kept
them from lighting bonfires. It is in this respect most remarkable what
was done by the Lord. Monks in 's Hertogenbosch who were hindered to
celebrate in public, gathered in the Dome-Church to sing the Te Deum
Laudamus. However, the Lord changed this singing into mourning, and
their joy into sorrow. That same evening the tower of the Church was
hit by lightning and burned to the ground, while nothing else was hurt.
The same happened during the time of Charles V, when the Elector of
Saxony, a Protestant Prince, was imprisoned. The monks in Meissen
sang Te Deum Laudamus at seven in the morning to celebrate the
occasion. That same afternoon at five o'clock the towers of the
Cathedral Church where this took place, were hit by lightning and
burned down to the ground, the great heat melting even the bells. See
Hooft, in the year 1584. fabrit. Annal. Urb. Misen, page 97. Wolf. tom.
2. Memorab. page 516. Gerard. Confess. Catho. lib. 2, part 1, page 1291.
To return to the Prince's murder, it can easily be seen by what
we know how great the joy of the enemy was, and what they had
promised themselves when the Prince would be dead. But the
consternation on our side was just as great for the need and unhappy
situation of our dear Fatherland.
But even from this affliction Jacob was delivered, and the
Tyrant saw that his hope was gone. From the cut off stem of the tree
of Orange new sprouts arose, which were an honor to its name.
Although Prince Maurice was still very young, the Lord granted him a
hero's spirit, and under his hand the nation increased. We will note
the words of the States General, in their answer to the Polish
Ambassador in 1597, when they said, "That the Prince was murdered in
a barbaric fashion, with a reward openly promised, not in battle, but
treacherously killed while at home, and gave the enemies hope that
these lands were altogether lost. But in spite of this, with the help
of Almighty God (Who was the hope of these States), under the leading
of his illustrious son Prince Maurice, the provinces were not only
protected but at the same time increased in number." See Bor , lib.
34. page 30.
Truly, our God has called unto our enemies what He proclaimed
at one time to those of Palestine, "Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina,
because the foe of him that smote thee is broken, for out of the
serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a
fiery flying serpent. And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and
the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with
famine, and he shall slay thy remnant" (Is. 14: 29 and 30).
It is remarkable that in the Providence of God, He took our
Prince when the people trusted him the most. In Holland
especially, the people were thinking of making him their
Sovereign, whereunto they also attempted to move the other
provinces. To that end they evaluated his merits, although they
did not give him anymore credit than what was true of him, and known by
anyone. See the letter to
those of Utrecht, of May 6, 1583, which can be found by Bor, in his
50th book, page 201. But our God wanted to teach the country not to
lean upon a man, but only on His help and power, for our God is very
zealous of His honor. Our wise Prince, being convinced of this, used
to complain that the people trusted him as if he were God. There is
no doubt that the vain trust of people in their Princes is often the
cause that the Lord suddenly takes them by death.
That is what we read of the famous King of Sweden, Gustav
Adolph, who in the last years of his reign made Germany tremble.
Shortly before his death there was a great multitude of people
around him by his entrance that honored him by shouting, "Long live
the King." It seemed to them that when he was around they did not
have to fear a thing. According to Frederick Spanheim in his 'Swedish
Soldier', page 440, the first volume, the King had said, "We are doing
well, but I fear that God will punish me for the foolishness of the
people that honor me too highly, for I am just a man. God is my
witness, that it displeases me. The Lord do what is right in His eyes;
I know that He will finish this work." Good and princely words, which
were a prophecy, as the result has taught us, and will possibly teach
us in the future. Likewise, the Lord, by the dead of the Prince, has
not left his work incomplete, but glorious, of which we all are
witnesses. He grants us freedom in a measure that we have to submit
to no sovereign, but that of the States General.
22 The Leicester Faction
Let us now turn our attention to the sad times during the reign
of the Leicester Faction, of which Reyd says in the year 1588, "There
was in the nation no head, nor counsel; and government rested with
traitors and others who were corrupted." Soldiers who were hired to
protect the country caused uprisings in most places; not only in
border-cities, but even in the centre of Holland. No one was
satisfied, and those who were supposed to fight evil were in cahoots
with it. Government which is to promote the general well-being,
because of disunity and these inner difficulties, was so busy, it had
no time to watch the enemy. There was now, like in previous days, no
contention with malcontents or the Roman Catholics, but with them of
the same religion, and among them with persons of the Church.
Above this, the Queen of England was angry with us, and in
cutting letters she threatened the States she would call back her
soldiers, for she received bad tidings from the Netherlands. In short,
the nation was in great confusion, one citizen contended against
another, subjects against their rulers, the Church against the State,
and all that because of poor government.
Leicester did all he could to aggravate the situation. He set
the garrisons up against the States, and planned several
insurrections. Lydius, in his "Belg Gloriosum", tells the story of this
Leicester and he writes of much unchastity, hypocrisy and cruelty;
but others spare him. However this may be, it is true that the
Knighthood of Utrecht accused him by the States General of
obstructing justice by sending people from the city who were not
allowed to defend their case, which, according to them, was not heard
of, even under the cruel Alva. See van Reyd in the year 1586.
Parma, who in the meantime sought to make use of the strained
relations, sent several traitors to feed the flames of disunity. But
did the Lord leave us in this confusion? In no way! For first of all
He gave the enemy work in other places, according to van Reyd, and
left us unmolested. In the second place the Lord gave the States
courage to frustrate the insurrections of Leicester and his friends.
Finally, the Lord ruled matters in such a way that the secret schemes
of the enemy were revealed. Leicester abdicated his rule, and gave it
back to the States. Rest slowly returned to the nation, the authority
of the Prince and the States General were restored and the people
Van Reyd, in his eighth book, in the year 1588, testified "that
for posterity this is striking evidence and a lesson, that never, even
in the greatest dangers, when everything seems lost, one must despair
when contending for a just cause. But that such is a good time to
trust the Lord, and rather die an honest death than abandon a good
cause. Those who show little heroism, but are courageous when
everything progresses well, who trust the Lord only in times of
prosperity, show little genuine Christianity."
23 The Wealth of Spain
Let us now see how the Lord, for their good, vindicated His
people of their enemies. We find three things worthy of serious
reflection, and also worthy of thanksgiving and praise. The first is
that the Lord has visibly broken the power of the enemy. The second
that He has hindered their resolve in a remarkable way. The third,
that their victories as well as deceptions turned to their
disadvantage, but changed unto us for good.
We would like to examine the reasons and causes why God so
wonderfully delivered, how He marvelously blessed these lands, and
point out what use we must make of it.
It is a well-known fact that the King of Spain by subjecting the
West-Indies, and the ownership of its gold and silver mines, became
far more powerful than any King alive. He was then the owner of an
inexhaustible fountain of unbelievable treasures; it is also true that
hereby his heart became very proud, and that he wanted to be called,
"Lord of the Islands and the Continents of the Sea-Ocean; "Ruler of
Asia and Africa", boasting that his kingdom could not perish, for the
sun shone on it day and night. And yet, it seems as if the Lord, our
wonderful God, made him so mighty to make known unto him, so much
more, His Divine Power and to show that He can use the least
esteemed among the nations to make the most feared among nations
This was already clear shortly after he conquered this new, with
gold and silver filled world. For, when after killing and cruelly dealing
with the helpless Indians, he loaded his fleet with immeasurable
treasures, the Lord persecuted it with storms that it was swallowed
up by the waves. It went the same way with the treasures which Philip
II took with him to Spain. According to Hooft, in the year 1559, and
Thuanus, lib. 23, "not only the Royal furniture, but all the one
hundred and forty four treasures which Charles V had gathered from
the ends of the world were lost." This resulted in the saying that,
"Charles and Philip had plundered the earth to enrich the Ocean." In
the Lord's Providence, these gold and silver ships of the King of
Spain have been the object of plunder many a time.
Van Reyd on the end of his thirteenth book made a list of the
King's disasters; van Meteren in the year 1606; Van Sande in his
seventh book of the year 1623. Beside the fact that the King's
commerce was in sore decline, it seems that the Lord also took
vengeance for all the unrighteous blood he shed, and the cruelties in
the West-Indies committed by the Spanish. The Spanish were so cruel
that we marvel that the earth did not swallow these monsters alive.
But our God does everything at His time gloriously, and His ways are
not our ways.
Barthel. de la Casa, a Dominican monk, testified that the
Spaniards killed more than 20,000,000 Indians, and predicted that God's
judgments would come over the Spanish for this.
It is a marvelous thing that the Lord used this small and in the
beginning so powerless nation to consume the inexhaustible riches of
this Monarch. In order to promote the relief of Middelburg, which
miscarried, the enemy spent 7,000,000 guilders, or seventy tons of
gold. On top of that came the pay of the soldiers and the cost of
ships and guns, which must have been a great sum also. In 1585, the
Duke of Parma told the representative of Antwerp that the war had
cost the King at that time already 60,000,000 (?) of gold. On top of
that he said the Spanish nation was bankrupt. Van Reyd, in his ninth
book, relates that according to friends of the Spanish, the King spent
300,000 dukates monthly for the war with the United Provinces.
According to Van Meteren in his 26th book, a well known person
admitted in a certain pamphlet that the King's means in the
Netherlands melted like snow before the sun. It is almost unbelievable
that this in riches, all Kings surpassing Heliogabalus came to such
reck and ruin that he could not pay his soldiers; that all the gold
and silver mines of the new world were not sufficient to pay for the
war with us. While our finances were such that we had no difficulty
paying the militia. See Van Reyd in his tenth book, 1593.
But most marvelous is the fact that our past archenemy, to his
shame, was not able to repay his subjects, who aided him with their
goods and means. In 1596 he was compelled to declare bankruptcy. At
that time Archduke Albert sold all his wealth to find money to
continue the war. The same thing happened in 1627, as Van Sande wrote
in his ninth book. On page 104 of the "Spanish Tyranny", the writer
relates that it happened twice that the Spanish banks could not pay
interest under Philip II; the same thing happened three times under
Philip III. That is how the great riches of Spain were wasted, and the
Lord's curse, Lev. 26, rested on them. Some made careful calculations
to find how much the war cost Spain until the armistice that was
signed on April 9, 1609, and came to the sum of 400,000,000 crowns.
Here, it could be seen that the Lord, "plentifully rewardeth the
proud doer" (Ps. 7: 23b). Truly, the Lord not only revenged Spain's
covetousness and cruelty, but returned it upon his own head. Marnix
van St. Aldegonde, who was sent to the Diet of Worms in 1578,
declared there that the Duke of Alva exacted 360 tons of gold, or
36,000,000 guilders from the Netherlands. But what is that compared
with the foregoing? Campanella, a popish cleric, testifies in The
Monarch. Hispan. Cap. 27, that, "The King in this war wasted more gold,
then there are stones in these lands."
Furthermore, the Lord took vengeance for the robbery and greed
of this tyrant by destroying his recourses. The Lord also took
vengeance on him for his cruelty and bloodshed, by shedding
abundantly of the enemy's blood. Some have said that before the above
mentioned armistice the enemy lost 300,000 soldiers. And who knows
how many died since that time? What is more it has been calculated
that in 40 years 100,000 people died for their religion, and that in
42 years of war 2.000.000 people could have died, and that these were
mostly Spanish. According to the testimony of Prince William in his
Apology we learn that in the beginning of the war 60,000 Spaniards
were slain by 4 or 5,000 men. Campanella wrote, "that in the
Netherlands more blood was shed than there is water," and he judges
that it will take a long time for the King of Spain to be even.
That is how it became known that our God is a God of justice,
Who remembers blood guilt, and does take vengeance on those who have
persecuted His people. The witness of Cardinal Bellarmin in this
respect is remarkable, i.e.,"that in few years more Romanists have
perished, than ever were killed of those who apostatized from the
Roman faith." Truly, if this is true of a nation, it is ours; "let him
be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood
of thy servants which is shed." (Ps. 79: 10).
Yet, at this time, no one in this nation is persecuted or
examined for the faith, as long as they live quiet lives.
When the learned Foxe speaks of persecutions among Christians,
and of God's judgments, he asks the question whether God's people
suffered more than those who were their judges.
In his ninth book van Reyd relates how the cities of Deventer ,
Nijmegen and Zutphen became models of destruction after they were
taken by the Spaniards. Hardly they were in our hands and they
prospered again. The Prince of Parma, after he took the mentioned
cities, said, that as soon as they were under the king's reign they
were desolate and forsaken. While in the cities of the states
commerce continued its course without hindrance in the midst of war
and fighting. These are remarkable events, in which we can see the
Lord's goodness over us; Yes, the Lord showed Himself to be the
Enemy of our enemies. He followed them with His curse, us to the
contrary with His blessing. It is still fresh in our memory how the
city of Breda prospered greatly while ours, but when under the king
of Spain it was in no time depreciated and dilapidated.
Our God commanded the curse over the Spanish (Southern)
Netherlands. It wasted away and became very poor. As Van Meteren
wrote in his 16th book, in the year 1590, "Their decline was cause for
our rise and prosperity." We will add here what the same writer
states of the year 1587, for it establishes what we have said before
and is therefore important, "The misery, poverty, famine, pestilence,
by which they were visited is unbelievable. The cities of Brugge,
Yperen, Kortrijk and many other cities and towns in Flanders and
Brabant, were almost completely destroyed by the war, and died out by
famine, poverty and pestilence. "Many towns in which were up to 3000
houses were completely left desolate, the best houses served as
living quarters for wolves and other wild animals. Beasts of prey
multiplied so much in Flanders and Braband, that they not only
devoured animals, but by lack of them also devoured children, and
even attacked men and women. It is said that in a radius of two miles
>from Gent, 100 people were torn in pieces by wolves. "The roads were
unsafe, and by lack of people the wolves were not killed. Dogs ran
around the country in great packs, attacking men and beast. Fields lay
waste, so it was difficult to distinguish fields from forests, neither
could ditches beside roads be seen anymore. People could not find the
place anymore were their house had been. "Everything was wasted and
overgrown by weeds and brush. The famine was so great, that by
evening, well to do people begged for bread in the bigger cities."
"Rich people begged for bread and sold their jewels and
furniture to buy bread. People looked for peelings and anything edible
in the piles of garbage. The price of grain was never so high. In
Antwerp, a quarter of rye (120 lb.) was sold for 20, 22 and at times
for 24 Guilders, at the rate of three guilders for a French crown. A
quarter of peas cost 13 guilders; wheat a lot more in comparison. In
Brussels they paid 24 guilders for a bag of rye, and 32 for wheat.
Meat was also very expensive."
In the other (northern) provinces however, the prices remained
stable as long as they had an open sea for their shipping. They were
busy with fishing, shipping and commerce which drew a multitude of
people from other countries. There had never been so many people
living together. Houses could not be bought, so great was the demand.
The war was also a great blessing for the inhabitants, in spite of it
they increased so much and became rich. The great tributes, taxes,
and excises caused by the war effort -- they supported more than 100
warships, 20,000 soldiers and 2000 horses, did not change this.
Posterity will believe this when they see the fortified cities, the
beautiful buildings, the harbours, the extended cities, and so much
more we obtained during the war, that was never seen before. May God
make them grateful!
To establish what we have said of the great commerce of the
United Provinces, it is noteworthy that in April of this year (1587),
580 ships sailed from North Holland, more than 200 from Zealand, all
East India ships, together almost 800. Thus the Lord took the
blessing from the enemy, and made it flow our way. The Lord vexed
them; us to the contrary, He made to increase.
24 The True Cause Of Our Prosperity
To conclude our considerations for the true cause of the Rise
of this Republic, of all we have said thus far, it is clear that the
Lord is our Praise and to Him we must give all the glory. At the same
time we confess that the Lord kept us in His tender Fatherly care. It
is the Lord Who led us by the pillar of fire in the wilderness; He
hovered over us like an eagle over its young. Rejoicing in doing us
good, making His name known and glorious over all the world, all
nations having seen the salvation of our God.
I know that many more things could be added, such as: how
marvelously we came to know the secrets of our enemies, and how
during the war, letters of the King of Spain, mostly to our advantage
came into our hands. How the Lord gave some of ours wonderful wisdom
to decipher their cipher code. And according to Van Read, it seldom
happened that our letters came into their hands.
It was never our intention to write of everything that happened.
We will give others occasion to write of even better things, in order
that our God Who is to be praised, may be glorified and His fame be
set forth from one generation to the next.
All this came to pass, that our enemies should be the tail and
we the head, "That the sons also of them that afflicted thee shall
come bending unto thee; and all they that despise thee shall bow
themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee,
The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Is. 60:14).
Finally, they were so humbled, that they pleaded with us for
mercy and peace. For both, the King of Spain and the Emperor of
Austria, saw that the Lord was with us, it was He Who so marvelously
helped us and made us great.
Our enemies themselves were compelled to testify to that. An
Italian, Guido Ventiviglio, Cardinal and Archbishop of Rhodus, writing
to Cardianal Borghese about the Republic of these United Netherlands,
called her: "A mighty Republic, at sea as well as on land, which is
suddenly increased, yes, marvelously almost more increased than come
into existence." The Jesuit Strada calls her, "A new Republic which in
short time raised its head; which becoming stronger daily, tolerates
no others that are mightier; that with fleets at sea extends it
inhabitants to the utmost shores and makes new places for them to
live. They send ambassadors to all Princes, making mutual agreements,
whose attitude is not less than that of Kings and made for
themselves a new empire in Europe" (Lib 1. de Bello Belg).
A certain monk writes of our fleets, "These lands not only have
a multitude of ships, but also able and experienced sailors, better
than all other nations" (Companella lib. de Monarch. Hist. Cap. 27). Well
may we use the words of the Divine song, "For their rock is not like
our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges" (Deut. 32: 31); and
in testimonies like that call out throughout all the world the
marvelous deeds the Lord wrought for our good, but their ruin.
But what moved the Lord to do such great and marvelous things
for this nation?
To know the real cause has its own profit. It is much to
acknowledge that it is the Lord Who made us great, but we must also
know why the Lord did so, for unless we know this we cannot thank
the Lord uprightly, but shall look to ourselves and others. We read
that the prophets attempted with great zeal to teach the Israelites
concerning this, see Ps. 105: 8-11; 106: 8, 45; Is. 42; 21. Moses the man
of God dealt with this more than once, as we read in Deut. 7: 8, 9: 4;
10: 14, 15. The words of Deut. 9: 4, 5 in this respect are very
remarkable, "Speak not thou in thine heart, after the Lord thy God
has cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the
Lord has brought me in to possess the land: but for the wickedness
of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee. Not
for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost
thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these
nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and
that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers:
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." The Lord shows here what was not the
cause of God's benefits which they received and would yet receive;
after that He points to the true cause. Following, we will deal with: 1.
What were not the causes of our rise, and 2. What were the real
In the first place we must acknowledge that the Lord did not do
these wonders and great deeds, because we were righteous or worthy,
or deserved them. For we do not deserve the least piece of bread,
but we by our sins deserve hell. It is not for our righteousness or
might, for we were the least of all nations, and just a handful of
people, despicable in the eyes of our enemies; and so the cause
cannot be looked for here, we must look elsewhere. There is nothing
for which God's people must be more careful than for pride, seek the
cause for the Lord's blessings in self, as though we gave the Lord
reason to bless us, "These people have I formed for myself; they
shall show forth my praise; But thou hast not called upon me O Jacob;
but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me
the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured
me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an
offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet
cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy
sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast
wearied me with thine iniquities" (Is. 43: 21-24). With Jacob the
Patriarch we humbly confess, "I am not worthy of the least of all the
mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shown" (Gen. 32: 10).
In the second place. We must not think the Lord helped us, so
that from it He could enjoy some advantage; in no way! Here we think of
the words of Moses, "Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens
is the LORD'S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Only
the LORD had a delight in thy Fathers to love them, and he chose
their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day"
(Deut. 10: 14, 15). The Lord is owner of everything, nothing can be
added to Him whereby He would become greater or richer.
Israel was undoubtedly exalted above all other nations, but the
Lord did it not to advance Himself, but out of free and sovereign
love, rejoicing over them for good, Deut. 30: 9. It is God, Who gives
all, Who has all, and Who is all, as someone said. "For of Him, and to
Him, and through Him are all things, to Whom be glory for ever. Amen"
(Rom. 11: 36).
In the third place must we not think that it is by necessity, or
demand whereby our God, as by law is constrained to work in one
certain way, as some say.
Please forgive me for remaining with the topic for a while and
cite a few more errors, which we will refute.
We must never think that the Lord should do anything because it
is unavoidable. Theologians say, and with truth: "The Lord is a God,
Who does everything by His own Sovereign good pleasure in such a way
that His good pleasure is in no way bound;" but like someone has said,
"His free and Sovereign good pleasure is the only and uppermost
cause, rule and law of all things, of all that is outside of God's
Being." For when we think of the generation of the Son, whereby the
Father communicated His Being and Divine attributes, nevertheless
without compulsion to the Son, it is answered, that this is no work
outside of God, but inside of God's very Being; and also that this is
not a work of God's will, but of His nature (character?). That is to
say, that the generation of the Son does not anymore depend upon
God's good pleasure that He is God; or that He is infinite in His
Being, or Almighty, Holy and Unchangeable etc. while He is not God
without the Son or the Holy Spirit, just like the Son or the Holy
Spirit are not God without the Father. This generation occurs not
>from God's good pleasure, as something which precedes it, but
concomitant to it, or accompanying God's good pleasure.
But of all other works outside of God, it is true that they flow
>from God's free decree and good pleasure, without being naturally or
morally connected with it out of necessity; be it the work of creation
or re-creation, and all other works of God, as the Reformed claim
over against the Socinians. See Maccov. proton. pseud. Socin. cap. 5 en
ejus Method. Disputandi, cap. 9. Thes. 10.
Concerning the work of Creation, the holy in the high places cry
out, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power:
for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and
were created" (Rev. 4: 11). These words spoken in heaven, discover
three errors which are found on earth.
The first is that the world is, or could be from eternity. When
created, the earth came into being out of nothing, and at one time
was not and is not eternal, for the eternal has no beginning. The
latter is one of God's attributes, only of Him it can be said, "from
everlasting, to everlasting, thou art God" (Psalm 90: 2). Aristotle's
teaching that the world is eternal, is justly refuted by Christians. As
also our theologians refute the teaching of the Socinians, who say
that the first matter (materia prima), from which God made the world
is eternal, and not created by God. See Volkelius, lib. 1, de Vera
Religione cap. 4. Jac. Martin, in Synop. Photin. pag. 49. Yet, the
Socinians defend their teaching most vehemently. However, the
Professors of Leyden write that the question whether the world is
eternal, is not worthy to be contended by Christians. Augustine in his
12th book on the City of God writes, "How can it be said of the
angels that they always existed, when they were created?"
To say that which is made from nothing, is infinite and without
beginning, is wholly without foundation, for eternity is distinguished
>from everything in that it has no beginning, as is said of the Son of
God, "having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (Hebr. 7: 3).
That is why He is also called "The everlasting Father" (Is. 9: 6).
The Socinians teach the above to escape the truth that the
Reformed prove hereby that the Son of God is from everlasting, and
therefore the Divine Son of God.
The second error refuted by the holy mentioned in that place
(Rev. 4: 11), is that God, according to some heathen would be the soul
of the world. When God is the Creator of the world, He is not the
soul of the world, like the carpenter who built the house is not the
soul of the house. Then the world (reverently speaking) would be God's
body, and God would have created Himself; and since He is an infinite
Spirit, He would have enclosed Himself in a finite body. What is more,
in the world God would have to seek and create His own perfection, as
a man is not perfect until body and soul are united. It is an
abomination to think like that of God, for He does not receive any
perfection, for all perfection, of all things, flows from Him, Acts 17:
25. The Lord could have created the world millions of years earlier,
but He created it later to show thereby, that He did not need the
world for His well-being and perfection. It is like William Teelinck
wrote in his Treatise, "Gaining Time", "It was the goodness of God,
that at some time He created the world", from which he draws a sweet
conclusion which is well worthy to be read. It is as Calvin states,
"This pagan teaching that God would be the soul of the world is the
right way to sacrilege and godforsaking, and all it leaves us is a God
Who is a shadow."
The third error refuted in heaven is that God was constrained
to create the world. We read that in heaven it is emphatically said,
"And for thy pleasure they are and were created", attempting to show
clearly the free and sovereign will of our God in creating all
creatures. Truly, there is nothing higher than the will of God, which
has no cause without itself. As Augustine in Tenes. contra Manichaeos,
lib. 1. cap. 2. says, "If they ask, why did it please God to make the
heaven and the earth? We must answer them that they must first
learn the power of the will of men, who desire to know the will of
God. For they want to know the cause of God's will, while the will of
God itself is the cause of all things. For if the will of God has a
cause, there is something which precedes the will of God, which is
godless to imagine. When someone asks the question, 'Why did God make
the earth?' we must answer: because He willed it. For the will of God
is the cause of heaven and earth, and therefore the will of God is
greater, and more than heaven and earth. But when one asks, 'Why did
He will to make heaven and earth', such a one seeks for what is
greater and more than God's will; while nothing, more or greater can
be found." Let human foolhardiness and frolicking be constrained, and
let them not seek for that which is not, that they be not hindered in
finding the things that are.
Without this world our God is happy and glorious; the world
cannot increase neither decrease God's glory, just like the sun is
glorious whether we see it or not.
Let us again return to the history of the Netherlands. We have
seen what are not the causes of our blessings; let us now see why
the Lord blessed us so marvelously.
1. It is purely the Lord's mercy, goodness, pity, grace and kindness.
The same as the congregation of Israel confesses the manifold
deliverances, prosperity and blessings, see Neh. 9: 17, 25, 27, 28, 31,
and Psalm 136. The basis of God's mercies, in destroying His enemies
is that, "His mercy endureth forever". The people do not boast in
their piety, but in the Lord's unmerited favour. As we read in Lam. 3:
22, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed; because
His compassions they fail not". He helped us, because He loved us, and
heard our prayers, "That our mouth would be filled with praise, all
the day with His glory," Ps. 71: 8, 15 and 24.
2. We were a little and powerless people, and the Lord helped us
against such a mighty enemy, that we may see and know, consider and
understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and
the Holy One of Israel hath created it, "that he might make his mighty
power to be known" (Ps. 106: 8); that our God should receive more
glory, that the world would see that the victory is His. He is a God
not in need of mighty horsemen and great armies, "but the least of
the flock shall draw them out" (Jer. 50: 45b). Here we are reminded of
the words of David, "He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from
them which hated me: for they were too strong for me" (Ps. 18: 17).
3. The Lord did it to stop the mouth of our enemies, that they
would not say anymore, "Where is the God of the Reformed?" Ps. 79: 10.
"The (Spanish) Assyrian oppressed them without cause. "Now therefore,
what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for
nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD
and my name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore my people
shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am
he that doth speak: behold, it is I to help and redeem you" (Is. 52: 5,
6). The LORD hath done great things for them" (Ps. 126: 2). Truly, the
Lord convinced the enemy that He was near to us with His help. The
whole world as it were, knew this. It is said of the Turks that they
marveled that this little country could contend for such a long time
with a great and mighty Potentate like the King of Spain.
There was the Emperor Amurath (Turk), who could not understand
that such a little country as Holland and Zealand, as was shown him
>from maps, could resist such a mighty King as the King of Spain. His
counselors could not answer him. He then asked the ambassador of
Venice, he did not know either; however to say something, he told the
Emperor that the Queen of England greatly encouraged this nation. But
the Emperor was not at all satisfied and said, "Oh, that woman has
enough to do in her own country, her little help cannot do much to
harm Spain. The ambassador continued and said that we were much
assisted by France. "Oh", said His Majesty, "that nation fights a civil
war and has enough in its own country." The ambassador continued and
said, "These lands have great and strong fortifications, which are
surrounded by rivers." But His Majesty was not impressed, and said,
"The King of Spain is so mighty and has enough people that he can dam
the rivers with human flesh, and make of them a bridge to safely walk
over." When there were no more reasons the Emperor said at last, "I
will give you my opinion about the matter: "It is God! It is God!" he
called out, pointing with his hand to heaven, "Who fights for these
lands, otherwise it would not be possible." See Pers, in his
"Frightened Lion", the appendix.
"Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God
hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righeousness the
LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness
of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee"
(Deut. 9: 4).
25 Iconoclasm II
The Lord wrought these wonders for us to show the enemy that
their idols and images did nothing to save them. Every nation, yes
every city had its own patron saint. Saint Jacob was Spain's patron
saint; St. Dionysius and Saint Michel of France; St Martin of Germany;
St. Stanislaus of Poland; St John of s'Hertogenbosch, etc. This was
exactly the way of pagans who had their special idols to protect
them. Those of Troy were of the opinion that their city could not be
conquered as long as they had the images of Pallas or Minerva with
them; they called it Palladium. That is why Ulysses and Diomedes took
them from Troy, after killing the guards.
We related before this how those of s'Hertogenbosch thought it
quite impossible for us to take their city. Saint John was their
patron Saint, and they had his image, made of silver. Written above
the city gate was the following:
"Keep people, home and place of sacrifice,
O Saint John, our Patron Saint, from sore demise".
Above the gate of a cloister for nuns were the words:
"Be he, who he may be,
And came this place to see,
Do not pass, and fail
To say aloud, 'Hail Mary, Hail'."
During the siege they carried the image with them around the
city and rendered it all possible honor, they expected it to deliver
them. And yet, in spite of all their ravings the city fell into our
hands. It is as Augustine wrote against the heathen, "Images do not
keep the people, but people keep the images. Why are they than
honored? To keep the nation and the inhabitants, who cannot be kept
by their keepers. What else is that but trusting in devils, instead of
the living God?"
It happened to Romish Babylon what is written, "Every man is
brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven
image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in
them. They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their
visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them;
for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his
inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name" (Jer. 51: 17-19). The desire
of God's people is fulfilled, "Confounded be all they that serve graven
images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods"
(Psalm 97: 7).
Right at the beginning of the irregularities in this nation, we
previously saw the hand of the Lord in the iconoclasm which took
place in all cities and villages of the Netherlands. From Churches,
Chapels and Cloisters: images, paintings and ornaments were cast out.
As we have said, in this we saw God's finger. Truly when something is
marvelous in what happened in our Fatherland, it is this iconoclasm,
and that for many reasons.
1. Reason number one is that it went so fast. Hooft writes in his
3d book, that it went through the Netherlands like lightning; for in
the time of three days, more than 400 churches were plundered. It was
not like an infection that slowly destroys the body, but like the
Jesuit Strada wrote, it was like an earthquake, where everything is
destroyed at once. Bor writing in his second book in the year 1566,
relates, "that before they knew who did it, it was done." Strada
writes that in the great Church of Antwerp all images and altars were
broken down by less than 100 people, from evening until midnight,
although the building was full of images, and contained more than 70
altars. Following this, according to Van Meteren, they went to the St
Franciscan church, St. Jacob, St. Andries, St. .Joris, St. Michiel in
Peter Pots, de Borght, Fakens, White Sisters, Black Sisters, the Third
Order, the Nonnen, to Bogaarden, to Prekaars, and to all the church
buildings and chapels of the city, and had most all of these destroyed
That is how it went in other cities. Lydicus, in "Glorios Belg"
relates that carpenters openly acknowledged that fifty experienced
men could not have done in eight days, what a few boys and children
performed in one, or mostly two days.
2. It is also a wonder that although this work of tearing down
images and altars was largely the work of boys, women and children,
mostly from among the common people, nothing was done by the
authorities to stop the abuse. The Reformed as well as Popish
citizens, were silent onlookers. Both parties were evenly concerned.
The Papists were afraid they would be blamed, the Reformed that they
would be accused and attacked, as related by Emanuel van Meteren.
3. It is also a wonder that no one was hurt during the
performance. The Churches were filled with onlookers, and great
statues, made of stone, were hurled down from great hights. We should
remember it was night and therefore dark. According to Van Meteren in
his second book, 1566, "With regard to the circumstances, it was a
great and strange work; for no one knew the culprits, no one was
known to boast about it later; there was no fighting among them, no
one was hurt, which was a wonder, because it was dark and there was
so much wood, stone and other building materials that were sent a-
All these things that happened during the iconoclasm are very
remarkable. The Lord showed hereby the insignificance of images.
Furthermore, the iconoclasm was a sign of things to come. It was a
sign of how fast new truth would break forth, and the idols disappear.
So was the breaking of idols a preparation for the Reformation in
Scotland. See Letus in Compend. Hist. Universel. page 563.
4. The Lord also delivered us for the blood they shed, the unheard
of barbarity and the most terrible cruelties they committed. Elsewhere
we related these cruelties and will not repeat ourselves. But for all
the cruelties of these barbarians, the Lord stretched out His hand
against our enemies; for He is a God Who hates cruelties, and He is
wont to punish them with horrible afflictions. "For they have shed the
blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink;
for they are worthy" (Rev. 16: 6). This was prophesied of the Roman
beast, and its servants. The Lord brought forth our righteousness,
and proclaimed to Zion the vengeance of His temple: for the Lord is a
God of vengeance.
26 The Horrible Death of King Philip 11
Very remarkable in this respect is the horrible death of King
Philip II of Spain. For, as the Lord is wont to punish tyrants as He
did Pharaoh, Saul, Ahab, Jezebel, Haman, Herod, Nero, Julianus etc.;
this tyrant, whose blood especially called out against the
Netherlands, was horribly smitten with disease as is acknowledged even
by our enemies. It was Oct. 26, 1598 that a certain Master John
Boucher gave an address in honor of the King, which was later
published in Antwerp, and according to Emanuel Van Meteren printed by
order of the Secret Council at Brussels. In it he speaks of the
misery and sickness of this Tyrant, who in his own eyes died like a
martyr, as follows: "There was on his whole body no place where he
was without pain, but only his shoulders. He could not move, he was
full of boils from the soles of his feet to his armpits. He had seven
open, continual running sores on two fingers of his right hand; he
could not stand that anyone touched him; this lasted for a whole
year. For the duration of six years he was plagued by rheumatism in
his limbs, the extremities of his body. Above that he suffered of a
consuming fever, which during the time of two years consumed and
dehydrated his limbs. Furthermore, during the last of his life he was
plagued with dysentery, which was so bad that during the last 22 days
of his life they could not bathe him or even put clean sheets under
his body. His stomach was upset in such a way that he suffered
unquenchable thirst. He suffered continually of a headache, especially
his eyes, which was caused mainly by the stench from his bed, which
also caused foul-smelling breath."
Emanuel Van Meteren and others wrote of these judgments of God
in the year 1598. Van Reyd compared the cruel death of this Tyrant
with the death of King Herod.
It is said of Philip that in this great suffering, under the
oppressing hand of the Lord, he said to his son, "Look and see the
great of this earth, look upon this sea of misery"; also that he
wished he would not have been king, but the lowest shepherd of the
realm, or that he would have died as soon as he was born. Petr.
Matth, in Hist. Hend, iv, lib. 1. Narrat. 4.
G. Hornius, in his "Church History", page 455, relates with what
terrible torments Arch Duke Albertus ended his life; it was he who had
Anneken Uytenhoven cruelly buried alive for her faith.
Very remarkable is what Emanuel van Meteren wrote in the
History of the Netherlands, (1577 and 1588) of Martyn Huttyn, who was
inquisitor and judge during Alva's reign, and Jacob Hessel, member of
the Bloody Council. The first was accused by his own clerk, that he
had used false witnesses, whereby many rich people where executed,
for which he was sentenced to death. Of the other it was said that
he usually slept during the sessions when they counseled about life
and death of miserable Netherlanders, but when he was aroused to
speak his meaning, he only said, "Ad patibulum," that is, "To the
gallows." According to Hooft in his 41th book, his wife told him, "Your
mouth is so full of hanging, grant God it never happens to you". These
words seem to have been a prophetic, for without process this Hessel
was hanged on a tree near Gent, and so ended his life.
Pers, in his "Frightened Lion", page 242, relates how Mr. Elbert
Huik, priest in Alkmaar, born in Amsterdam, was full of envy against
the Reformed, and made their teachers flee from many places; the
Churches particularly in Leyden and Alkmaar were by him persecuted.
He was slain by the Lord in that he died after having been for 25
years in the madhouse. That is how the Lord in general, and in
particular, punished many for their evil deeds and cruelty.
27 Hypocrisy, Treason And Perjury
Furthermore, the Lord also avenged their vile breach of trust
and perjuries; which vices became public, so that our Fathers saw
Spain as a school of hellish works. That is why Prince William in his
Apology page 27, 52 and 57, accused the king of Spain of many sins,
as incest, cruelty and in particular of perjury with the words, "there
is in the world no kind of hypocrisy, treason and perjury that was
not found with the Spaniards. They did not object to make a mockery
of their promises; yes, there was never found a more cruel tyrant who
with less shame broke his sworn oaths then did Philip II, King of
All this was said by the Prince and rightly so. It was
overwhelmingly established when the King broke the rights and
privileges of the people, which he had sworn to maintain. Also breaking
the religious peace that was made with the Princess of Parma, but
was shamefully broken by her. Which according to Hooft in his third
and twelfth books, pages 500 and 508, is held by some as the
touchstone by which we defend our right to take up arms against the
King. The Peace (Pacification) of Gent, with an oath established by Don
Juan, was broken. The Marquis of Bergen, and the lord Montigny,
ambassadors of these lands, were murdered, of which the States
General testified in 1573, that this was done against the oath of the
King and the right of nations.
These deceptions had taught them so much that they did not
want to go into peace negotiations at Barburg, in spite of the fact
that the Queen of England had friendly and earnestly requested the
same, and these lands desired peace for several weighty reasons.
According to Emanuel van Meteren in his 14th book in the year
1587, the reasons for their decision were mostly as follows, "That all
the offers of this Spanish peace were nothing but intended to divide
these lands, make the people unwilling to pay the costs of the war,
set up the papists against the reformed, draw the people away from
this country, suppress the Reformed religion, suddenly attack these
lands, separate the watchdogs from the sheep; and it would be so much
easier for the wolf to have his prey."
They also speak of Spanish disloyalty against other nations. The
English Queen experienced this; she wanted to continue the
negotiations, but at the same time she heard the cannon of the
Spanish fleet (Armada), which was sent to conquer England and after
that, these lands. No wonder our fathers did not trust such a
treacherous enemy. Luther said of the Spaniards, "They write not what
they read, and they speak not what they think in their hearts."
But in order to make clear what we want to say, their deceptive
ways and perjuries, made the Lord Who is Truth, and abhors liars, and
is jealous of His honor, avenge Himself on them.
According to Hooft in his fourth book, in the year 1567, "By all
this deception our Gideon, Prince William was encouraged to employ his
talents in a much better way, and set himself against this faithless
tyrant, Philip II, as Agesilaus did against the Persians; yes, this gave
him hope in the most difficult times. When, after the loss of Haarlem,
Sonoy briefed the Prince about the sorry situation of the fatherland,
the Prince, to encourage Sonoy, said "Seeing what is the aim of our
enemy, how he breaks all promises and alliances, keeps faith with God
nor man, but delights in suppressing the truth, we must take courage,
defend our righteous cause, not doubting that God Almighty shall
finally confuse the enemy and make a mockery of him." This can be
read by Bor in his 6th book, page 328.
The Prince in his Apology, page 53, speaking of the evil
behaviour of the Spanish, in particular their great sin of perjuring
themselves, says, "Our God would show that He will chastise His own
for a time, but that He will not allow the sin of perjury to go
unpunished but has punished it in a remarkable way; to the end that
the whole world should know that the Lord said not without reason,
that He will not leave unpunished the sins of those who take His name
in vain". Remarkable words!
It must also be noted that even his own godless counselors were
compelled to acknowledge that this unfaithfulness was the undoing of
the king of Spain.
Truly when there is something whereby God's wrath is kindled, when
there is something that ruins nations and peoples, it is unfaithfulness,
covenant breaking, and committing perjury; Ezek. 17: 16, 18; for thereby
they appear to say that the Divine Majesty is of little consequence.
That is why our Fathers always have been careful in faithfully
keeping covenants, promises and alliances; yes, they held disloyalty in
these matters for one of the greatest shortcomings of a people.
Hence the testimony of the enemy, "that we would rather suffer
everything, than to be found faithless, or commit perjury."
Our faithfulness brought such favor upon this nation, that kings
believed us at our word, while in the same business they required
hostages from other kingdoms and republics. When the ambassadors of
France, England, Russia, the Republic of Venice and ours, promised to
support the King of Sweden with finances in his war against Germany,
he desired hostages from all the other countries, but our State he
believed at their word. This according to the popish writer
Wassenberg, in Floro Germanico, page 224.
Oh, if this heart of the Fathers was found in their children! How
sad it is when they publicly dare to accuse us of unfaithfulness,
deceit and treason, as the writer of the "Short story of the
Reformation" did in 1657. For where such sins break through by great
and small, the blessing will depart and turn into a curse according to
the warning of our God, Malachi 2: 2. We will deal with this again in
the second book.
But to continue, there is one more matter with which we will
deal, this in order to find why our enemy did so sorely test us, and
the Lord to the contrary blest us. To speak with van Reyd in his 9th
book, the Lord favored our designs, because the rage of the enemy
was against the Lord Himself; against Whom the Romish Babylonians
rose up, for "thou hast striven against the Lord" (Jer. 50: 24). With
our Fathers they persecuted God's holy truth, faith and the pure
confession of the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ.
Not only this, but He also did it to glorify His truth and His
precepts, which He gave them above all other peoples.
Therefore, we can read the text as follows: "He made His law
great". It was the glory of Israel to have God's Word, His rights and
precept, and so the perfection of His law (Hosea 8), which the Lord had
not given to other nations, and which therefore is the inheritance of
Jacob, Ps 147 and Deut. 33.
They sought to serve the Lord according to His Word, and the
Lord by doing them well, would glorify and make Himself great. That is
how our God, by blessing the Fathers, glorified His holy truth, for
this was by them not only accepted and believed, but they esteemed it
to the extent that they did not love their own life by defending the
same. It was for God's truth that William of Orange testified in the
presence of the Princess of Parma and the States, that they received
the death sentence like an invitation for a feast, and they
approached the fire rejoicing; this can be read by Hooft, in the year
28 The War Waged for True Religion
What was the leading cause of the bloody wars, which lasted so
long? Was it not religion? One who knows about our history is no
stranger to this. It was in the first place the aim of the King of
Spain to enforce the Roman religion upon us by all means and might;
this is admitted by the Jesuit Strada, lib.4,Hist. de Bello Belg. He
says that the King in secret letters to the Princess of Parma
desired from her to maintain the Roman religion; he tells her how she
can best get her hands on the heretics (the Reformed). After that he
sent Alva to Holland with an army to force the Inquisition upon us, of
which the States General, according to Bor in his 16th book, page 36,
by the abjuration of the King, in 1581, said "that the Inquisition in
these lands was as terrible and offensive as slavery itself."
According to van Reyd in his 6th, and Hooft in his second book, the
King was so determined to maintain the Romish religion, and cause the
complete ruination of the Reformed that he said, "rather to lose his
people and country than to give in the least concerning religion; yes,
he rather lost 100,000 lives, than to allow the least change in them."
When the representatives of the government of Antwerp
requested Alva not to deal so harsh with the Reformed in their city,
but give them, in connection with a promise of the Princess of Parma,
one month to leave. Angrily he answered that he was amazed to find
such insolence in those of Antwerp that they dared to speak up for
heretics. They should not do that again, otherwise he would punish
them and make them an example to others. His Majesty would rather
see these lands without inhabitant and turned into a wilderness than
to allow erring spirits therein. See Hooft in his fourth book, in the
Cardinal Granvelle, who, like the Jesuit Strada himself, reveals
in his book that he was an unchaste man, and was added to the
Princess for help, boasted that he came to the court of the Princess
to establish the Roman religion in all places, even if he had to burn
100,000 people within one hour. Caspar Grevinus, Sua Institutione, page
The States General in a letter in the year 1584, written to
those of Gent, testify, that neither the intercession of the Emperor
(Maximilian II), nor those of France and England, nor of the States
General, could change the heart of the King, but that he declared
rather to see the country go to ruin, than to allow but the least of
another religion. Pers, Frightened Lion, page 888.
Like our enemies in their blindness were zealous against the
true religion; like that, and even more so, the Reformed were zealous
for the freedom of their religion and be able to freely exercise and
experience the same; which light was kindled in these lands now many
years ago, and for which many thousands have shed their blood. It is
remarkable that when it pleased our God to let the light break
through, as on a second day of Pentecost in the deep darkness of
Popery, the Netherlands were the first to accept the truth, but also
the first who suffered for it.
Luther, in a letter written to the faithful in Holland, Braband
and Flanders admits as much. See Oper. Luther, tom 7. edit. Wittenberg
1558, in farragine Epistol. fol. 484.
Van Sande in his first book, in the year 1566, testifies that
already before the war, 300,000 people were cruelly murdered for
When during the reign of the Princess of Parma the persecution
began to increase, the Nobles of the nation, under Hendrik van
Brederode, a prominent Protestant, presented a petition to the
Princess (Margaret) for relaxation of the edicts, and toleration of the
Protestant religion. When this had not the desired effect, the
Reformed, by Count van Hoogstraten sent a petition to the King and
desired of His Majesty the free exercise of religion, with the
proposition to grant the King a gift of thirty tons of gold, above all
other burdens of taxation. But when all failed, the States under the
leadership of the Prince of Orange, in order to stop the cruel
persecution, and to open the way for the Protestant religion, began
the war which was to last for 80 years. This was the objective of
Prince William, as he testifies in his Apology, page 46, where he says,
"We rejoice that it has pleased God to grant us the grace, that we
should check immodest tyranny, and by these means make it possible to
gain freedom of religion; which true Reformed religion, he says (page
47), only is worthy to have the name of religion."
Then in 1568, from an appeal by the deputies of the Netherland
Reformed Churches, with a promise of financial support, he began the
war, and in a public letter made known why he took up arms. He
emphatically mentioned as the most important cause, "the glory of God
and the increase of His Word." In another letter, August 30, he
testifies to take up arms, "to the glory of God in defending His Word,
and the exercise of true religion." He encouraged everyone to assist
him, if they would, "not be deprived of the Evangelical doctrine."
Concerning the Letters of Instruction written by the Prince, it
will be clear that the Prince had no other intention, but, "to promote
the service of God, help the persecuted Christians, and to protect
the liberties of the country". In 1570, he wrote to the Admiral and
sea-captains, "that above all things he had sought to serve and
glorify God;" and he had not left off, "to use all good means, by
which, with the help of the Creator, the pure Word of God may return
to the Netherlands; to which end he had prepared himself for war." One
other of the points of instruction is the following, "That each captain
on his ship must have a minister to proclaim God's Word, and pray to
God that the soldiers, with the skippers, uphold good Christian
morals." See Bor, in his fifth book, page 233 and 234.
It is remarkable that in the most difficult times, already in
1570, the finances needed for the war, were almost wholly raised by
Reformed people, prompted thereto by their ministers, as we learn
>from Hooft in the same year.
Furthermore, it can be seen from Prince William's Apology that he
saw freedom of religion and the conscience, as the first and most
prominent basis for our righteous war.
Does someone raise the question did we fight for the Popish as
well as the Reformed religion; and did the Roman Catholics contribute
to the cost of the war? We answer, "In no way", for no one had to
fight to exercise the Popish religion. It is true, both religions were
in the beginning, by the State and the Prince tolerated. But when the
Papists always shielded the King of Spain, committed all kinds of
treason, they finally had to forbid them the free exercise of religion.
The Prince in his Apology states, "The papists swore another oath to
the Pope, which they esteemed higher than the oath done to the
Prince William further testified that, had they not banned the
popish religion, the country would have been destroyed in no time. He
esteemed it highly necessary to have only the Reformed religion, "that
without the Reformed religion and its exercise, the country could not
exist for three more days." See page 107 of his Apology.
From what we have said, it is clear why we fought this war, and
that was for freedom of religion. It is true that some of the
provinces hesitated. In most provinces the name of the King was for a
long time used in all business pertaining to the State, and the King
acknowledged as Supreme Ruler. But since the institution of the
Republic of the United Netherlands, in 1581, when finally the yoke of
the King of Spain was cast off, both religions were not allowed
anymore. Although no one was burdened in his conscience, as can be
read from Hooft in his book written in 1581.
However, we must distinguish between the provinces, they were
not always united in their judgment concerning this matter. At times
some would maintain the Romish, and others the Reformed religion.
Because of this the States of Holland and Zealand together, have for
five years fought the King of Spain by themselves, laid the foundation
of the Union and tolerated no other religion but the Reformed; which
only they maintained, for which they gave their all. See Hooft in 21st
book page 33, and in his 27th book page 322.
Just like the Spanish in their war against us used the name of
the King and religion, the Lords of the State of Holland declared in
1573, "to have taken up arms, because the Spanish wanted to dominate
our souls and consciences, and punish our faith and religion; while
some of them did not know whether there was a God in heaven, yea,
hardly ever read a word of the Son of God the Lord Jesus Christ."
See Bor in his 6th book, fol. 338. That is what the States of Holland
testified in their answer to Leicester, that they with those of
Zealand, under the leading of the Prince, had started the war against
Spain, "chiefly to maintain the Christian Religion". See Hooft in his
27th book, in the year 1587. Again, according to the same source,
"they hoped to persevere in maintaining the Reformed religion for
which they began the war." Writing to the States of Utrecht they said,
"that with Zealand, only to keep their religion, they had fought for
five years; for which they had suffered and did so much, also to help
those of Utrecht." What they said was true, for this was the
condition under which they had commissioned the highest authority of
their States to the Prince, i.e., that he would maintain the Reformed
religion and fight all religions that were in conflict with the
evangelical, under which the two provinces were also united, and
renewed their union in 1576 under these conditions.
The foregoing is also acknowledged by the author of a "Short
History of the Reformation", although he favors the Papists, by
saying, "that not only would they have freedom of conscience, but
also freedom to discharge their Romish religious duties." However, the
States of Holland and Zeeland had decided not to let in any refugees
but those who with an oath would promise not to do anything against
the Reformed religion, and that they would not import or exercise any
That is how these things, with the Lord's blessing, were executed
in Holland and Zealand; and as the States of Holland and Zealand
acknowledged in their missive to Utrecht, "after conducting the war,
the other provinces united with them, when they, as was reported,
abjured the King of Spain."
They were not only united in accepting the Reformed religion,
but according to Bor in his 20th book, page 872, the States General
decided in 1583, "to allow no doctrine or public exercise of any other
religion in the United Provinces." Prince William testifies in his
Apology, "the Lord did not only enlighten the eyes of our leaders, but
He made them experience that like He blessed the house of Obed-Edom
for the ark's sake, He blessed us marvelously."
The States General in their authorization and approbation of the
Synod of Dordrecht, addressing all kings and princes of Christendom,
testify as before the whole world, that like the Union is the
foundation of the famous Republic, so true religion is the foundation of
The States General declared thereby that they did not take up
arms under the appearance of doing this for religion's sake, of which
the arch-heretic Socinius accuses them, but that for them religion
came in the first place. Touching are the words of the States of
Zealand concerning this as found in their considerations of the 21st
of January 1647, in which they testify, "that the Reformed religion is
the soul of the State, the foundation on which this Republic is built,
and the most important, yes, only connection by which the respective
provinces remain united with each other."
Truly, every word in this declaration has a place, and will
establish what has been said by us, viz., "it was not an irresponsible
desire for freedom of all religions that made us conduct this war, but
the one way to maintain the only and pure religion, and that
therefore the Lord blessed this nation."
Lord de Vrij, at one time Burgomaster of Amsterdam in his
essay, "Origin of the Ecclesiastical Disturbances", writes, "the
Reformed religion is the foundation of liberty, the salvation and
marvelous increase of this Republic."
We would not have said so much about this, were it not that
Arminians and other muddle-heads are attempting to have us believe
that the war was not fought for the sake of pure religion, and that
therefore all religions, yes, even the Papists must have freedom to
exercise their religion.
On top of this, there are Popish writers who acknowledge, yes
attempt to give evidence that it was a religious war. Cornelius
Jansenius, at one time Bishop of Yperen, endeavours to show that this
war against the King of Spain was a religious war. According to Bor in
his 4th book, in 1567, the Spaniards themselves called this war a holy
war, undertaken to maintain the Romish religion, to destroy the
heretics, thereby supported by the Inquisition and the clergy.
All this was not sufficient to silence sects and other free-
thinkers. In the latter part of 1657 a harmful little book was
published with the title, "Short History of the Reformation and the
War against Spain". It seems the writer had one purpose, i.e., to
promote the views of the Remonstrants. We will evaluate a few of the
matters we find in this book. The author rejects the decree of the
States-General made in 1583, which we here reproduce, "That the
Evangelical Reformed Religion, the exercise of which is accepted and
publicly allowed, and at present publicly preached and exercised, will
be maintained and protected in the United Provinces; without allowing
the teaching of any other religion; and furthermore not to receive
others into this covenant, as is agreed upon." What does the afore
mentioned author has to say about this?
1. He answers that this was no decree of the States General, but
only of the States of Holland (province).
2. Who is to say that this decree was made only by Holland?
The most important historians as Bor and Hooft do not agree
with him; and he cannot deny this. Grotius says, "this decree was
only made by Holland." We answer, we do not have to believe
Grotius, against the truth of history. We believe those who did
not look for their own advantage, and did not hate true religion
like Grotius did. Over against Grotius who was Pensionnary of
Rotterdam, we place lord de Vrij who was burgomaster of
Amsterdam, and testifies to the contrary. But let us see how
Grotius defends his point. "It is obvious", he says, "that this
was not decreed by all the Provinces, since Gelderland, Utrecht
and Overijsel were not represented at the meeting." That they
were not represented seems to be the opinion of Hooft also,
nevertheless he holds it for a decree in which all of the
Provinces agreed. I would like to say that those provinces that were
not present at the aforesaid meeting when the decree was made, do
nevertheless honor the Reformed religion not less than any of the
other Provinces, and shut out the popish religion. Not to speak of
the mandate given in 1585, and 1586 to Leicester and Prince Maurice,
"That they should, defend, promote and maintain the Christian religion."
Grotius also objects that when by the decree of the States all
public exercise of religion was banned, it was understood that such
exercise may not take place in public Church buildings, but was
allowed in other places. We answer that according to this opinion the
Papists may meet in the streets and markets, as long as they do not
make use of church-buildings in the city.
It is true that Lutherans and Ana-Baptists are allowed to
exercise their religion. We must see this as a relaxation of the
decree, but not that it was rendered null and void, or that other
sects like the papists received the same freedom. Especially with a
view to the latter the States in 1644 declared to the French
ambassador with great zeal, "that the desired leniency (desired by the
French), would be against the well-being of the Reformed religion,
against the basis and order of the State, also against the
tranquillity of the Christian Church, and is therefore not to be
reconciled with the constitution of the State," See the Remonstration
>from the Utrecht Consistory, 1651.
Had Grotius attempted to prove that the papists were entitled
the freedom of conscience, we would agree with him, for that is what
Emanuel van Meteren in his 16th book in the year 1650, writing
of the United Provinces says the following: "Concerning religion, which
is dear to the heart of the Government, they have always sought to
follow the decree of the States General of the Netherlands, during
the time of the late Prince of Orange, relating to religious liberty;
disapproving of binding consciences, other than with good works,
prayers, or a good life; wherefore they would not bind the conscience
of any, no matter how strange their opinions." In this we differ from
Romish countries, where people are compelled by dire punishment to
believe what they cannot believe.
29 "This Is the Lord's Doing"
To advance from here, and hasten to the object in view for this
Treatise we conclude from the foregoing that it is the great God Who
wrought all these things for us. "For thou also hast wrought all our
work in us" (Is. 26: 12b). I do not doubt that if God would call
witnesses, it would be like we read in Isaiah, "Is there a God beside
me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Is. 44: 8b); and all the
inhabitants of Zion, and true Netherlanders would answer, "Yes, Amen,
it is so!" It is the Lord God, Who took the yoke of our burden from
off our shoulders as it was in the days of Midian, "For thou hast
broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod
of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian" (Is. 9: 4). Wherefore, "The
Lord awakened as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that
shouteth by reason of wine" (Ps. 78: 65).
The Lord fought for us immediately, and like the Regents said at
one time, "did nothing in the usual way, our enemies being judges." Our
enemies could say nothing, but that the Lord was with us, that wind
and weather, as they said, were soldiers of the Lutherans.
A certain papist, speaking about what happened to the Spanish
fleet in 1588, said that the Lord had behaved like a real Lutheran.
But the name of the Lord was glorified by the slander of God's
enemies, and our fame increased and they admitted that the Lord was
But let us take this further, was it the Lord, the Lord alone,
Who made us so great and dreadful? Did the Lord also make His Word
great, on account of His great Name? "For thou hast magnified thy
word above all thy name" (Ps. 138: 2). Did the Lord glorify us by and
for His law, His word and pure religion; so we are called upon to:
1. In the first place to remember how the United Netherlands are
committed to praise and glorify their God.
2. In the second place, the Lord's Word must be highly esteemed,
maintained and advanced by us, so must His holy truth and the
3. In the third place we must search for the cause of the sad turn
in events concerning our glory, our prosperity and commerce, these
last few years. And especially why the Lord's curse is among us since
the proclamation of the Spanish Peace, June 5, 1648, for that curse
continues among us, and has brought so much misery.
Concerning number one, we know from the Word, that to whom much
is given, much shall be required. When the Lord's blessings to a people
are manifold, the Lord expects sincere love and gratitude from that
nation. We know that the Lord elected Israel from all nations to be
His people, to demonstrate to them His love, faithfulness and
benevolence. "For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of
his inheritance" (Deut. 32: 9). The Lord made Himself known unto that
people, and established His covenant with them. "When the Most High
divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons
of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of
the children of Israel. He found them in a desert land, and in the
waste howling wilderness; he led them about, he instructed them, he
kept them as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest,
fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them,
beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead them, and there
was no strange god with them. He made them ride on the high places of
the earth, that they might eat of the increase of the fields; and he
made them to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty
rock; Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of
the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and
thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape" (Deut. 32: 8-14).
The Lord God was like a fountain unto them, made them flow with
material and spiritual blessings. But why? That they too, above all
other nations should glorify their God. "This people have I formed for
myself; they shall show forth my praise" (Is. 43: 21). But remember, "I
said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a
pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said,
thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me" (Jer.
But when this people departed from the Lord, the Lord punished
them not only for their disobedience, but mostly for their
The Lord called heaven and earth to witness for such base
ingratitude, and showed they were worse than beasts; "Hear, O
heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have
nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel
doth not know, my people doth not consider" (Is. 1: 2, 3).
30 Comparing The Republic With Israel
Did God well by Israel, did He draw them with cords of a man,
with bands of love? In this our dear fatherland we can say that the
Lord no less than to them, was a Rock of salvation to us also. We
will use the words of a man of God, a Teacher and See-er in Israel,
"Great", he says, "Yes, very great is God's favor toward us. Truly,
when we consider this, it is not certain whether Israel in such a
short time was delivered, had such great victories, received so much
>from the Lord as we did these past fifty or sixty years." See William
Teelinck in "David's Gratitude", page 6.
It is remarkable that not only teachers in our country speak
and write thus, but foreigners who know about our fatherland compare
the great deeds done to us, with God's acts and wonders shown to the
people of Israel.
I hope it will not annoy you, but to prove this I will quote you
>from Mr. Castres, minister at Paris, who, June 2, 1654, in presence of
our ambassador held a thanksgiving service in connection with the
proclamation of peace between England and the United Netherlands. At
the occasion he said, "It seems to me that the Republic of the United
Netherlands, in this Century, in a special way bears the likeness of
the old State of Israel. Israel was captive in Egypt for a long time,
under tyranny of Pharaoh, until the time that God saw its oppression
and came down to deliver them. The United Netherlands sighed for a
long time under a constraint that was not less. The barbarity of the
Duke of Alva against them was certainly more than the harshness of
Pharaoh against the Israelites. Israel, after leaving Egypt was for a
long time in the wilderness in continuous difficulties. The United
Netherlands fought a war, two times 40 years. Israel was marvelously
assisted by the Lord during their long travels through the wilderness.
They lacked bread, but the Lord gave them manna; they had nothing to
maintain their clothing, but by a great wonder their garments did not
wear out. "The Netherlands likewise, saw their finances devoured by
the war, but at the same time they saw their wealth increase, the
number of their inhabitants grow and their cities enlarged. "What
wonders! They sowed blood, they harvested gold; the war brought them
plenty of the latter, which usually is seen as the fruit of peace."
"Israel finally came to possess the land of Canaan, a small but
happy country, where Solomon by way of shipping brought home the gold
>from Ophir and it was like the stones of Jerusalem. The United
Netherlands do not posses great stretches of land, but the blessing
>from heaven made these lands happy. Their shipping made them great in
the eyes of the inhabitants of the East and West-Indies. Their
shipping, I say, made gold and silver common among them, and filled
their cities with great wealth. Like Baalam, when he saw the many
thousands of Jacob, I cannot refrain from saying, "How goodly are thy
tents, O Jacob! and thy tabernacles O Israel!" (Numbers 24: 5).
"What more could I say about their marvelous deliverances, which
are so much like those which God wrought for Israel. As the United
Netherlands had their Pharaoh, they also had their Moses. As they had
to fight the Cana-anites, so God gave them their Joshua."
"That great God, Who protected Israel, protected the United
Netherlands. And we must pray Him for grace, that in the future He
will pour out over them His most precious blessings; that He more and
more will show the power of the gospel, the power of the scepter of
Jesus Christ and direct their hearts to the obedience which they must
give in return. That in those countries where His name is not known,
by sweet reasoning they may subject them to Christ. Pray in this
manner my Brethren! Pray for peace in this new Jerusalem. This is in
the interest of us all, for they are not only our brethren in grace,
but also our allies in the interests of the State." Thus far Mr.
Gasches, in this in the French language printed sermon.
31 A Call To Be Grateful
That is how the marvelous deeds of the Lord were evaluated in
foreign countries and by nations far and near. But let us listen to a
teacher from our country and our time. "We are", states Franciscus
Ridderus, in his "Necessary Time Limit", page 6 and 7, "to be compared
with Canaan of old, where great things were told of the blessings
upon the Jews. The Lord told that people, "And I have given you a
land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, of the
vineyards and olive yards which ye planted not do ye eat" (Josh. 24:
The godly and highly learned Professor Herman Witz (Witsius?)
writes very concisely, but briefly about the wonders and kindness of
God. In his, "Conflict of the Lord with His Vineyard", chapter 12, he
writes, "Our country consists only of a handful of land; it is
compared with other countries like a drop in a bucket. However, I
think that from the rising of the sun unto the place it sets, hardly a
spot can be found supplied with all kinds of comforts like we enjoy.
The far off East and West, the hot South and the cold North send us
the best of their treasures. Many ships can be seen, daily entering
our harbours, laden with the wealth of these places. Strangers are
amazed about this, their admiration yielded the proverb, 'The Dutch
would get their merchandise from heaven itself if only they could go
there with their ships.'
And assuredly, further than ever Bacchus, further then ever
Alexander took his armies to India, our fleets shipped the terror of
the Dutch name, and with the best products of these lands enriched
ours. When the Kingdom of Juda, under King Hezekiah, flourished, that
King could not contain himself but showed his glory to the
ambassadors from Babel. But it is much more what the United
Netherlands could show, not just to ambassadors of foreign Kings, but
to the greatest Princes and Queens of Europe, and with admiration
they viewed the wealth which flowed to us from the utmost corners of
Who could ever think that a land with such small beginnings, so
emaciated, could come to such wealth that in one year they paid
9,509,660 Karolus Guilders to compensate for the cost of the war?
The ancients used to say, "Gratia gratiam parit," that is, "Where
the Lord is thanked for His grace, more grace and blessing is
enjoyed." The Lord testified of the true Israel, "But when He seeth
his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall
sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear
the God of Israel" (Is. 29: 23). When they will fear the God of Jacob,
the Lord promised more blessings. Where is a people that has seen so
much of the works of God in its midst as the United Netherlands?
How much must we offer the sacrifices of praise unto the Lord,
that is the fruit of our lips, of those who confess His name. How
much must we cry out, "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is
within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget
not all his benefits" (Ps. 103: 1, 2). "The Lord liveth and blessed be my
Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that
avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me, He delivereth me from
mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up
against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore
will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing
praises unto thy name" (Ps. 18: 46-49).
The inhabitants of Zion must stimulate each other and say with
the Psalmist, "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name
together" (Ps. 34: 3). "For, what is better for the soul than to
meditate, for the mouth than to praise, for the pen than to proclaim
the Lord's goodness? There is nothing that makes time go faster,
nothing sweeter to hear, nothing more pleasant to comprehend; yes,
nothing we can do is more fruitful." August. ad. Marcel.
At one time David asked the question, "What shall I render unto
the Lord for all his benefits" (Ps. 116: 12); so the people of the
United Netherlands should concern themselves how to make His name
great, "talk ye of all His works" (Ps. 105: 2b). Our Fathers glorified
His Majesty by thanksgiving for every blessing; how can we not be
grateful? Must we not remember how often, during the sad days of the
war, our good God delivered us and destroyed our enemies?
We must take care that our children remember these many blessings,
and they must be a source of continuous thanksgiving. God's people
always took care that their descendants remembered the Lord's goodness.
What is more becoming than doing everything in our power, that
the Lord at all times may be, "Our strength and song, and is become
my salvation" (Ps. 118: 14); "He is thy praise and He is thy God, that
hath done for thee great and terrible things, which thine eyes have
seen" (Deut. 10: 21).
All this is of great importance, for the Lord gave explicitly
commandment by Moses to His people Israel, "And when thy son asks
thee in time to come, saying, what mean the testimonies, and the
statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded
you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondman in
Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And
the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon
Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: And he brought
us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land
which he sware unto our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to do all
these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that
he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day" (Deut. 6: 20- 24).
Is it great wonder that as we have seen, God's people were
zealous to keep His statutes, and labored to teach them to their
children? It is so true what the Author of the "Mirror of Youth",
states in the beginning of his little book:
"Those who do not remember our History are not worth to be
born and called Netherlanders; they are no good fathers when they do
not tell their children."
We would add that those are harmful to the fatherland; for by
not telling their children about God's great and marvelous deeds they
are forgotten, our trust in Him decreases and our hope in Him
weakens. We left our first love and are ungrateful to the Rock of our
salvation. What else can follow than that the Lord despises us,
turning His blessings from us, yes, change them into a curse? We are
already experiencing this.
It has become clear that our complaint is just, for where are we
lacking more than in the duty of parents concerning their children?
This is the cause that we forgot the Rock of our Salvation Who
did such great and marvelous things for us. Our descendants having no
knowledge about these matters, will turn to an easy and worldly
lifestyle that leads to disaster. A famous man said of this, "We can
find them by the hundreds who know nothing of what happened in our
country, of the works of God concerning us, to the extent that we
may ask the question if they are strangers in a free Netherland.
Others neglect to do this, they are inferior citizens who refuse to
read good books in which they can read about the marvels of our God
in the days of the Fathers. Could we not have an annual day of
solemn thanksgiving, in the house of God, to praise the Lord, by
commemorating the deeds of the Lord and singing His praises?" Thus
far this Author, whose vision is ours.
32 Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice
But what? Is it enough to acknowledge that the Lord is our
Deliverer; praise Him for it and make that known to a following
generation? In no way! Our God is not pleased by lip-service; those
who go not beyond this service are reckoned with pretenders. The
Lord expects more of His people. "That they might be called trees of
righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified"
(Is. 63: 3b). The question is asked, "Who can utter the mighty acts of
the LORD? Who can show forth all his praises?" And the answer,
"Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness
at all times" (Ps. 106: 2, 3). David knew this. It was his holy intention,
not only to praise the name of the Lord, "but also to walk before Him
in the land of the living" (Ps. 116: 9). That intention is the important
and essential doctrine of gratitude to our God, Who will be praised
with the deed, with all of life and with all the strength of body and
It is not only the fruit of the lips, the fruit of the hands will
be required also. It must be a truly new obedience and childlike
submission to the Law of the Lord. Someone said, "Qui bene vivit
semper orat", that is, "Who lives well, prays always". We can also say,
"Who lives well, gives thanks always." Then our life is like that of
John the Baptist, a voice that cries. John 1: 23. Truly, like sins call
for vengeance, so a thankful and godly life calls for new blessings and
When we look into the matter a little closer, we will find that
we are bound to show God true gratitude. Why did the Lord deliver us
>from the yoke of Spain? Is it not that we should serve the Lord with
gladness, all the days of our lives? Luke 1: 74, 75. Why did the Lord
destroy our enemies before us? Was it not that we should mortify the
body of sin? Sacrifices do not please the Lord, it is not that with
the servants of Moloch we should sacrifice our children; but we must
mortify our earthly members, namely fornication, uncleanness,
inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is
idolatry; for which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the
children of disobedience" (Col: 3: 5, 6). Now we must tie up our sins
like animals, and offer them as a sacrifice unto the Lord. Why did the
Lord bless us with so many victories? Is it not that we should obey
>from the heart; and fighting the world, the devil and the lust of the
flesh, would be conquerors? Why did the Lord grant our desires, was
it not that we should obey His voice, keep His commandments and do
His good pleasure?
We owe so much to our good God, Who has exalted us to such
great honor. We must say with the man of God and see-er in Israel,
William Teelinck, in "David's Gratitude", page 47, "It is if the Lord,
our good God, speaks thus to us:
"Hear, ye inhabitants of the United Netherlands! and ye
inhabitants of the mighty cities which I planted, of the fair fields
which I made fertile, have I not marvelously dealt with you for such a
long time? Did I not wonderfully protect you, cared for you, that
some of you scarcely know where you came from and where you have
gone? Have I not for every one of you, at several occasions, done
what you desired of Me in your prayers? Think of this, if I desired
anything of you, could you refuse Me? If I desired your heart, all
your strength and all your goods, would I demand too much? Is it not
"Must we not acknowledge that all we have is the Lord's, do we
not owe Him all He desires? And so we are guilty to do all that He
requires. Hear what Moses the man of God says, 'And now Israel, what
does the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God,
to walk in his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God
with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of
the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy
good?' (Deut. 10: 12, 13). This is every one's duty, we must make this a
matter of the conscience; this comes before anything else!"
Teelinck continues, "Since the Lord our God so graciously heard
our prayers, is it too much four our households that we morning and
night, with bowed knees and folded hands call on the name of our God?
"Again, since the Lord has overwhelmed us with wealth, is it too much
for us to take upon ourselves to undertake for widows, orphans, the
oppressed, the destitute and improve their situation as much as is in
our power? Is it too much for the office bearers in the Church to
re-establish discipline, that sin may be better restrained among us?
And the powers that be, use the sword thereto, as occasion shall
require? Oh, if we had known this duty in our dear Fatherland, 'our
peace would have been like a river, and righteousness as the waves
of the sea' (Is. 48: 18). But now, to the contrary, we countenance a
sad turn of affairs."
Until now we have seen how unspeakable much the United
Netherlands owes the Lord, and how much we are bound to show Him
true gratitude. With heart and mouth, words and works we must
sanctify the Lord of hosts Who did such great things for us. In
particular must we maintain and esteem the Lord's Word and true
religion. It follows without doubt, that we must be stimulated to
esteem highly, lift up and maintain the Word of the Lord, His holy
truth and the Reformed religion, with all our strength. This is so
necessary when we love our own salvation. There is nothing more
important than undertaking to practice God's holy truth, for it is the
cause why and wherefore the Lord blest the other means.
33 The Union And Our Leaders
Who does not know what this blessed Union has meant for our
well-being? That is why the Union was so highly recommended by Prince
William. All the provinces were tied together as one province. "Unity
makes for strength", as the proverb teaches, that is what the Fathers
said. Their coat of arms depicted a lion with a cluster of arrows in
one claw, where they added the above mentioned proverb. Old medals
used to have the words "Rumpitur haud facile", that is, "that cord is
not lightly broken", coined on them. "Concordia Frisiae Libertas", that
is "Unity is Friesland's Liberty". They knew that according to the
words of the Prince of Peace, "a kingdom divided against itself cannot
stand", and "contentions are like the bars of a castle" (Prov. 18: 19).
When different opinions and quarrels arise in a nation or
republic, the stronger are soon ready to take up arms, while the
weakest look for outside help; and as a rule, according to Cicero,
"one party will be oppressed, or both perish." According to the fable,
when the mouse quarreled with the frog, the stork came and devoured
To conclude: We must remain united in order that unity and peace
may be maintained. But what unity can there be if we are not united
in serving our God? What peace, if we adulterate His holy truth and
religion? When a nation departs from the Lord, He is wont to send an
evil spirit to divide the country.
Another means which the Lord gave us were the leaders, who
were mighty in means, noble, above suspicion, excellent in wisdom,
invincible in courage, tireless in labour, they had no equal in loving
the well-being of the fatherland. We must highly esteem their
descendants, and forever remember, that it was they, who by the hand
of God were used to save us out of the hand of all our enemies.
According to the proverb, "Ingratum qui dicit omnea dicit," that
is, "Mentioning an ungrateful man, is mentioning it all". Even the
pagans gave it the name of sacrilege. It is therefore beneficial to
keep such persons and their families in high esteem.
34 Holy Scripture and Satan's Deceptions
Satan always labours to bring the Word, wholly or partly into
discredit. He attempts to take away this treasure from the
Congregation, or degrades it. That is how the Sadducees accepted the
five books of Moses, but rejected the Prophets. Some Rabbies rejected
the book of Job, others rejected Ecclesiastes or The Song of Solomon.
Sebastian Franck wrote a treatise with the title, "A Devotional
Treatise Concerning the Kingdom of Christ", and claims that we do not
need Scripture nor preaching, but that the Holy Spirit is everything:
Scripture and Teacher. See also Gisb. Voetius about the Catechism of
the Remonstrants, page 575. There were the following rulers who
through the ages have ordered the Scriptures burnt: Maximilian, about
340 A.D. In the days of Arias there was Genserik, King of the Vandals
who gave his commanders orders, besides torturing believers, to burn
We find the same with the son of perdition, Antichrist (Pope), who
wherever he can, takes Scripture from the people. For he has
experienced that nothing is more detrimental to his rule than the
light of God's truth, the Holy Scriptures. We see that since the art
of printing was invented, the papacy has received a deadly wound. He
hates the Word and all who love the same. He hates it so much that
he has ordered his inquisitors and judges to persecute by fire and
sword all those who confess that the knowledge of the Gospel is
necessary for salvation.
Satan has taken the Socinians so far, they claim the Holy Spirit
did not drive some of the men of God who wrote Scripture, and so the
Scriptures are not infallible. Some of the Ana-Baptists teach that not
the books of the Old Testament, but the books of the New Testament
are a rule for our life. In short, Satan rages all-over against the
Scriptures, to make them suspicious in the eyes of men, and so to rob
God's people of their treasure. That is why the Congregation must
keep that treasure with so much more zeal.
Truly, it is not without God's glorious Providence, that the
intellects of many nations, above all other writings, have submitted
to the Scriptures. Other writings never had the same influence. It is
like the old Teacher Irenaeus stated, "As by the will of God, they who
preached to us the gospel have given us the Scriptures, that they
may be a pillar and foundation for our faith." Also mark the words of
Augustine, who said, "First by the prophets, than by Himself, after
that by the Apostles, our Lord Jesus Christ spoke as much as He
judged necessary, and had them written down, which are called the
Canon of the Scriptures, being of the most glorious authority, which
we believe and without which we are incompetent." That is why the
Apostles would have us careful in maintaining not only what they said,
but also what they wrote.
That is why the Apostles emphasized that what they wrote should
be attended to with the same care as the words they preached. 2
Thess. 2: 15. The Lord Christ commanded them to preach as well as to
write. There are many such express commands, to write, given to
Apostles and prophets. In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John
receives twelve times the command to write.
We believe that the holy Prophets, Evangelists and Apostles were
inspired when they wrote the Scriptures to edify not only those who
then lived, but also those who are living now, and shall live after us.
We are all one Congregation, build on the same foundation of Apostles
and Prophets. Eph. 2.
According to Chrysostomus in Homil. 15 in Genes, "Great
treasures can be found in one word of Scripture." That is why he
pleads with us in Homil. 24, "to despise nothing from Scripture, or
think lightly of it, even if only names or histories; but that we shall
look for the treasures hidden in them." The Jews used to say that
there is not "one dot or verse in Holy Scripture on which do not hang
mountains of mysteries." Hieronymus, also witnesses that all words,
syllables and dots in Holy Scripture are full of meaning. Hieron. in
Eph. cap. 3.
We believe that "whatsoever things were written aforetime were
written for our learning, patience and hope", Rom. 15: 4. 1 Cor. 10: 11.
Even what happens to the ungodly is written in Scripture for our
profit and the salvation of God's people, as the learned Rivet remarks
in Isagog. ad script. pag. 870.
The Socinians claim that the holy men of God who wrote
Scripture were like other authors, not always infallible, not always
moved by the holy Spirit. The Socinians also opened the door of
salvation to those who know nothing of the mysteries of the faith as
they are contained in God's Word.
The question is, were these holy men always infallible when they
wrote Holy Scripture, and moved by the Holy Spirit?
Every Reformed person answers, Yes; and proves it with 2 Tim. 3:
16; 2 Peter 1: 21; Rom. 10: 18; Gal 1: 12; 1 Thess. 2: 13; Gal. 6: 16; Eph.
2: 20 and other Scripture places. See P. de Wit, Rejection of the
Socinian Errors, vol. 1 page 13.
The Socinians object by saying that Paul in 1 Cor. 7: 12 and 25,
writes "but to the rest speak I, not the Lord;" and, "Now concerning
virgins I have no commandment of the Lord", etc. According to Voetius,
the Arminians and others advance the same reasons. They claim that
the Apostle was not moved by God's command and inspiration.
The Apostle says here in vs 12 that the Lord gave no express
command; but that he (Paul), as having the Spirit, vs. 40, and "as one
that had obtained mercy from the Lord to be faithful" in the present
need and circumstances in the Church, (one of the members having an
unbelieving wife), it did please the Lord to teach the Church through
him what was becoming and seemly. Paul gave here further explanation
about the divine commandment of which he wrote in verse 10. What
Christian would dare counsel the unbeliever to leave his/her spouse?
For even the Socinians acknowledge that no one may leave his wife
but only after adultery. And why? Because conscience teaches us,
what the Apostle says is the Lord's will.
Concerning verse 25, it is clear that the Apostle says that
there is no command of the Lord for virgins to marry or not to
marry, he wants to say that the Lord left her free in this. In spite
of this he gave her the best advice for the time in which they lived.
And in counseling them, Paul has without doubt spoken by God's Spirit,
since he tells her what is true and good, as he says here and also in
verse 40. That is why Professor Hoornbeek writes against the
Socinians, and rightly so, that "These men of God Who wrote Holy
Scripture, had always and in all things the infallible leading of the
Holy Spirit. Contra Socinian. tom.1, sect. 2. See also our Belgic
Confession of Faith, Art. 3, 5, 6, 7.
We believe that the above denies and weakens the infallible
leading of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles, although the same is
without doubt in God's Word and confessed by the Reformed.
To speak like that is ascribing to the apostles no more than to
any particular Teacher. For they too must be obeyed and followed in
that where they speak God's express will and command. But there is a
great distinction between the Apostles and the present Teacher; for
what the first command, is the Lord's command, as they were infallibly
inspired by the Holy Spirit. The others must prove that what they
teach is from the Apostles and Prophets. The present Teacher has no
other calling than to exegete and teach what is written and
established in Scripture.
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which
ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15).
All Reformed Teachers should be able to say in truth and deed,
what one of us testified in writing, "I declare in truth that I have
never written anything that could lead to the detriment of God's
Majesty, and power of the Holy Scriptures." In as far as they glorify
the Word of God, they magnify their office, "For I speak to you
gentiles, in as much as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify
mine office" Rom. 11: 13).
It is another question whether those who are devoid of the Word
of the Lord, or the mysteries of the faith, can be saved through
their natural knowledge? In spite of the fact we have dealt with this
somewhat, seeing the Word of the Lord is such a valuable treasure,
and since Satan seeks to diminish it by false claims, we will dwell on
this a little longer.
Some fanatics like Caspar Koolhaes and Dirk Herberts teach, that
men of any faith can be saved. Their feelings agree with those of
Pelagius who used to trouble the Church. It is Socinius who excels
them all when he wrote, "that someone who does not know that God
exists, can please the Lord." The Remonstrants also teach that
without knowledge or faith in Christ, one can be saved. This opinion
agrees with that of the Turks and their Koran, which teaches that,
"Anyone taught in his own religion, shall be saved" (Azora, 2). Or as
Mohammed who promised paradise to everyone who lives a decent and
honest life. With Augustine we must say "that the offense of the
cross has ceased" (Gal. 5: 11), when they say that we can come to
righteousness and eternal life any other way, not only by the mystery
of the cross.
To believe this is in conflict with all of Scripture which teaches
that man is wholly corrupt before regeneration. It is also in conflict
with Scripture where it teaches that we need the Lord Jesus Christ
and faith in Him, in order to be saved.
Ambrosius was concise and powerful when he said concerning this,
"Without serving the true God, even that is sin which seems to be
virtue; for no one can please God, without God." See de Vacat. lib.1,
cap.3. After this it should not be difficult to give an answer to the
question whether the natural knowledge of God and of religion only
differs in levels and degrees, or in essence? One truth cannot
contradict another; as a result natural knowledge cannot be in
conflict with supernatural knowledge. We do not deny, as also our
Theologians teach, that this natural knowledge is profitable for many
good and necessary uses. This natural knowledge shall witness against
many reckless Christians in the day of judgment. We confess, it is an
excellent gift of God; yes, God's Word to be of no use to us, if we
were without reason. But the real question is, if there is only a
gradual difference between natural knowledge and the true knowledge
According to God's Word, with Reformed theologians, we answer,
"No, there is not only a gradual difference with the religion practiced
by pagans, but there is an essential difference."
To bring this to a conclusion: All religion that is not from true
faith in Jesus Christ, according to God's law and to God's glory
cannot please God, as is taught by our common Confession and
Catechism, it can bring no one salvation. For like Calvin notes, "There
is no other God, than He Who lives on Mount Zion, Who is served only
in His Temple; there is no other holiness than is found in His House.
This Zion, this Temple is the Congregation of the living God, "and is
also the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3: 15). And is "built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
himself being the chief corner stone" (Eph. 2: 20).
We have been somewhat more elaborate about this subject, than
our treatise could demand. But the times and other special reasons
serve to esteem the Divine truths greater. More so because the
neglect of the same is not one of the least sins in our people.
Remarkable is what Rev. Wm. Teelinck has to say concerning this in a
solemn meditation, 'Gaining Time'. No 53. "The Lord God" he says,
"created the world with all that is in it by His word (Gen 1: 3); and
after that He made a book, in which He wrote His Word, 2 Tim. 3: 15,16.
"From this I understand, that on the one hand all of creation, and on
the other hand God's written Word are the two great works of God,
the Opera Dei. I understand the written Word of God to be equal to
the whole world, and that we may also say that the rest of all
created things are equal with created light: the sun. For if all things
that are now in the world were without light of the sun, we could not
see their beauty. From this I gather, that surely, our people who
have the Scriptures, have a greater gift of God, which is better than
all the beauty of created things which other peoples have. I marvel
therefore about our ingratitude and disinterest of not esteeming that
great gift more than we do. I understand Christ saying, "that it shall
be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who have
the word of God, fail to make use of it, and do not walk in that
I acknowledge that these words have often made a deep
impression on me; for, without the Lord's Word we are in this world,
although the sun shines, like bats in a dark place. Take from us the
knowledge of creation, the fall, misery and redemption, the Holy
Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, His offices; regeneration,
justification, adoption, sanctification, the resurrection of the dead
and glory to come; also what the Lord commanded us concerning
religion; and who does not see that the sun is taken from our souls,
that we are still in darkness? Luther says, "How great a treasure
and precious the Word of God is, no heart can understand, no mind can
comprehend. This Word is the only and clearest light in the very deep
darkness of this world. It is the Word that brings life, comfort,
blessing and salvation. Where this is not, there is no more than a
hellish and terrible darkness; there are errors, sects; there is death,
misery and cruel tyranny of the devil."
The prophet speaking of the blessedness of God's people
existing in the joy of having God's Word, and proclaiming the gospel of
Jesus Christ, calls out to the people of the Lord with great
rejoicing: "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the
Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the
earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon
thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the gentiles shall
come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Is. 60:
1-3). That light is rightly called a great light. Is. 9: 1; Matt. 4: 15, 16.
The light of the sun cannot be compared with it; for the light of the
sun is only a physical light, but this is a spiritual light, and does
not illuminate the eyes of the body, but those of the mind and of the
soul. 2 Cor. 4: 6. By the light of the sun we can see the creature,
but by this light we see the Creator and the glory of our great God,
not only in His Divine attributes as shown in nature, but which is
more important, as He reveals Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ and in
the covenant of grace. 2 Cor. 3: 18; Psalm 36: 10.
35 Conventicles (Field Preaching)
When our Fathers were yet in popery; at the time the pure
gospel began to be preached, they were so filled with joy that they
were not sufficiently capable to express themselves in praise and
J.H., writing his "Netherland History," in the year 1566, has this
to say, "When in Flanders, by Oudenaarde, they preached in public, the
people were so full of joy that he marveled at their abundant joy in
the Lord. Their mouth was filled with singing, filled with joy and they
were like the people of God who were delivered from Babylon, they were
like those who dream. They were so happy, they could eat nor drink.
They went together, with their Bibles, Testaments and Psalm books, to be
taught in the truth. At times they had to go for three or four hours to
the place where the Word would be preached."
Preachers were sent from Germany, Friesland, England, Embden and
Wezel; at times they preached three or four times a day.
The testimony of J.H. is the more remarkable, for he lived during
those days and he himself attended the meetings of the Reformed. He
relates that the Reformed, before they enjoyed the freedom to do so,
met with thousands and by night. Bor also testifies that the Reformed
at first met secretly in forests and unknown places, until at last
they went more publicly to their meetings. At times they carried arms,
>from fear to be attacked. Although they were often harassed, this was
not enough to quench their zeal, as he relates of the year 1566, lib.
2, fol. 47; where he writes that the Reformed went on foot and on
horseback, and met outside of Antwerp, not without arms. At different
places they had guards at the entrances; at one time there were
three preachers, and each preached three sermons. This shows the
great zeal of our fathers to hear and enjoy the Word of God.
Especially when we remember that in those dangerous times they were
not a few who came together, but several thousands, as we gather
>from the above.
We are the more convinced of their zeal when we note what the
enemies of God's Church testified of this. According to the Jesuit
Strada, there were at one time more than eight thousand gathered at
Doornik to hear the Word. A still greater number gathered in a
district near Rijsel, in Flanders. Near Antwerp were thirteen thousand
gathered on one day (see Strad. de bell. Belg. lib. 5, ad annum 1566).
Prince William, in a letter written to the Princess of Parma, in which
he attempts to move her to give consent to have the Reformed meet
within the walls of Antwerp, testified that no less then 20,000 people
went without the city to hear the preaching. (Strada. Ibid).
It is remarkable what we read from Pers in his "Frightened Lion"
in the year 1566, page 242, "When it was decided to preach outside of
Haarlem's city walls, the burgomasters attempted to keep the people in
the city. Carts and boats were filled with people, and there were
hardly enough lodging places, so that multitudes slept out in the open
"Amsterdam warned Haarlem, and they closed the gates. Two
preachers who were in the city and lodged with a certain Ysbrant
Staetsz, were smuggled out of the city.
"Since the gates were now guarded, some climbed over the walls,
and swam the moat; others took to boats and rafts, and so came to
the other side. When the authorities saw that all efforts to keep the
people inside the city failed, they opened the gates, and a multitude
forced its way through the gates. They found a mighty gathering of
people, but no preacher. It was told the multitude that a preacher
was coming, and when he appeared around midday, a platform was build
on sticks that were put in the ground, from which he preached. They
sang their psalms, and after prayer was made, they listened to the
preacher for four hours. The preaching was done with so great zeal
that most returned full of joy, with tears running down their face.
Next day this was repeated, in a company of approximately 5,000
Who will not marvel at the perseverance of our Fathers, how
they conquered the greatest handicaps to hear the Word? More so,
because just then it was the time that martyrs burned at the stake,
but they nevertheless went to hear the Word preached. While they saw
the flames rise, and the light of the fires of their persecutors, a
holy fire was lit in their hearts that burnt in the service of their
God. It is said of Fransiscus Junius, that he taught and educated the
Church of Christ in Antwerp when the reflection of the light of the
flames that burned the martyrs at the marketplace were almost enough
to light the room in which they met (J. Lydii, glorios. Belg. page 32).
By this, their zealous bravery, and their brave zeal, the truth which
glorified the name of the Lord advanced with power, and in all this
the Lord manifested that He is ever mighty in His saints. This is
sweetly expressed by the learned Hofferus when he praised the Lord
"Not the sword, nor flaming fire,
Could make Thy Church retire;
Nor did the heat of flame,
Quench their lawful claim.
Counts of noble birth and high,
Judged by Alva, were condemned to die.
But in spite of all his clamour,
He raised nothing but a tremor.
Lord our God! so strong in might,
Thy works are true and right!
The ways of Him who doesn't sleep
Are like still waters, very deep.
(see his 'Nederduytse Poemata,' page 169).
The Fathers have shown how precious they considered the Bible,
this light and pearl of God's holy truth to be, and with how strong
desire they were filled to possess and enjoy the same. In this way
the descendants, like their ancestors, should esteem the Lord's Word
36 Know The Scriptures
But some will ask the question, how must we do this, and what
must happen that it may be evident that we esteem and value this
light of Divine truth, that we may follow it?
We could say much about this, but in short we will answer this
in three ways. In the first place we must diligently inquire into the
knowledge of Divine truth. Secondly, we must reject all that is in
conflict with this truth. In the third place, we must live accordingly.
The prophet Isaiah admonishes us concerning this when he says,
"Rise shine: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen
upon thee" (Is. 60: 1). As if he would say: Receive God's grace not in
vain; but as you learned the light of His holy truth and the blessed
gospel, be desirous to be enlightened in the knowledge of the Lord.
Truly, it is necessary for God's people in the days of the New
Testament to be thus minded; for the Sun of Righteousness, and the
saving grace of God are so clearly revealed to us. This is the time
that the shadows are past: "But we all, with open face beholding as in
a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3: 18).
Whose are these glorious prophecies, "that the earth is full of the
glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Is. 11: 9); that one
does not have to teach the other anymore (as used to be necessary),
saying, "Know the Lord; but that they all would know the Lord, from
the least to the greatest; and he that is feeble among them at that
day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, and
the angel of the Lord before him" (Jer. 7: 34 and Zech. 12: 8). Whose
are these prophecies, I say, is it not for us who live in the day of
salvation, in the favorable time of the New Testament?
The first Christians lived like this, for they esteemed nothing
higher than the light of Divine truth. They were therefore rich in
knowledge, and daily increased in that knowledge. Col. 3: 16; 2 Peter 3:
18. Children had knowledge of Holy Scripture. 2 Tim. 3: 15. It is
remarkable what we read in the History of the Martyrs (A.D. 335), how
a child of seven years shamed the tyrant by his confession of the
truth. These Christians gave evidence that the Word of the Lord was
not only in their homes, but in their heart also. Professor Hoornbeek
writing about this, calls out, "O, Martyr! who took the words of the
apostle to heart, to have the law of the Lord not only on tables of
stone, but upon the table of the heart! See his 'Euthanasia' page 103.
Martyr Saturninus confessed a like confession of himself, (Mellin, in
his great book of Martyrs).
It is said of the old Waldenses that the knowledge of God was
to them so precious, that men and women trained themselves night and
day in the Scriptures. Some among them memorized books of the Bible
and the letters of Paul the Apostle. It has been said that they had
the custom to let no one on the Lord's Table who had not memorized
the gospel of Matthew, the letters of the apostle Peter, the letter
of Jude, and the three letters of John, with parts of Paul's letters,
(this from Alting, Theolog. hist. page 155).
There is a remarkable story in the book of Martyrs by Jan
Crispijn, and in the Treatise of Professor Hoornbeek on the catechism,
page 27. They give evidence of the spirit of Constantine the Great,
who wrote to his children to esteem the knowledge of God and holy
religion above all riches, yes, even above the kingdom. What was it
that made the Word of God so precious in the time of persecution,
that the numbers of those who received the truth were above all
human reasoning, as our Fathers testified in their petition to the
King of Spain, in 1566?
It was among others that they diligently read the Word of God,
besides giving heed to the teachings of their ministers, as can be
read in the same petition, (see Bor in book 3, fol. 86). And as they
attempted to gain a right knowledge of God's truth in their own lives,
so they desired this for their children, and it can be said of them as
the learned Besa writes in a commentary on John 9: 39, "Let come
forth all learned Pharisees of our day; God's congregation has by the
grace of God children of seven year old, who as the whole world can
testify, cannot put to shame these Pharisees (for this they lost long
ago), but only to madness and rage."
(It appears that the present Church is diligently educating its members
in Sunday Schools, many divers clubs and organizations; all are good and
necessary; but we have left off teaching our children in the home, the
first and most important place where they must be taught the things of
the Lord. The above makes clear this is what the Bible commands, and
how it was understood by the Fathers. Tr.).
Why did they suffer so much? Did they want to keep their money
and possessions, and leave them to their children? In no way; they
could have left their earthly possessions to their children, but
instead they left them the truth to enjoy.
When at the peace talks at Cologne in 1575, the King was willing
to give them all they demanded except their religious demands, Prince
William and al those with him answered, "That they rather lost life and
possessions, than to give in the least concerning their religion" (Pers
in his "Frightened Lion", pages 514, 515).
In our day we enjoy abundance of grace and truth; the righteous
Lord grants us daily His grace, and we can read His Word without any
hindrance; but much and gross ignorance is found among us, even with
elderly persons who are members of the Church and do not know how
many gods there are, Who is their Mediator, or Who is the Person of
Christ; let alone have any knowledge of His offices and other
mysteries of the faith, or could teach these to their children or
households. In stead of being teachers of the Word, "they are in need
that one teach them again which be the first principles of the oracles
of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong
meat" (Hebr. 5: 12).
This state of affairs cannot be sufficiently lamented! For these
give evidence of being altogether degenerated and estranged from
their godly ancestors who burnt at the stake because they heard the
preaching of the Word, or had a Bible in their home, while their heart
burned to know the Lord, and they looked with all their heart for the
pearl of wisdom in the midst of a thousand dangers, as we have seen
>from the above.
Therefore they shall rise up against this generation, because
this generation despises the Word for which their parents gave good
and blood to leave it for an inheritance to them and their children.
What is more, even the heathen, Turks or Jews shall rise up against
them in the great day because they served their idols with more zeal
than Christians the true God.
What is more, to put them to shame, the Lord teaches in His
Word, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but
Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider" (Is. 1: 3). Yes we
are in danger that the candlestick of God's truth shall be taken from
us, and darkness shall take the place of present light. We must marvel
at God's patience and long-suffering that the Lord has not made an
end with us, but that we still enjoy so many blessings and benefits
>from the Lord. "Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also
reject thee" (Hosea 4:6). More so because such ignorance is the
mother of all ungodliness, as can be seen from Is. 1: 4, "A sinful
nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers".
When we do not repent we are worthy of the rebuke of the Lord,
"Woe unto you lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge:
ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye
hindered" (Luke 11: 52).
The Word of God must be heard in the worship services, prayers
sent up to the throne of grace; not according to men's desires, but
according to the Word and as occasion may require. The famous
theologian John Calvin teaches this admirably from the prophet Daniel
and the following twelve prophets. He finishes every particular lesson
with a special prayer applicable to the subject he dealt with. The
Word must be applied to the hearers, and the prayers made applicable
to the Word preached. Without the first the preacher is guilty of
negligence, the other could give rise to suspect him of lack of
gravity, or even ability.
Therefore those who will bind the minister to forms for
preaching and prayers are a hindrance to the power and fruits of the
ministry. These also are a hindrance to the Spirit of prayer. The
desire of hearts, the special needs for which is prayed, must be
expressed in appropriate words when laid before the Lord. In all these
things the minister must be an example to the congregation; that the
congregation may make known her desires before the Lord in connection
with the circumstances of the day in which she lives; Phil. 4: 6. We
know that we cannot move the Lord by eloquence, nevertheless He
wants us to show in our prayers, that we know our needs and desires.
We may not make the congregation depend on a book of Service,
or any such like thing, as it is in England under the bishops. For the
latter is the invention of men, and as we know has been the cause
that true knowledge and godliness has decreased among them. However,
it is not our intention to criticize the work of learned and faithful
men who seek to edify the congregation with their writings. But it is
wrong to leave our assembling together, and on the Lord's day read
these writings in the home, as is the custom of some.
Furthermore, edifying books and meditations can be read where
the preaching of the Word is missed, as for example on board of ships
and boats. The Comforter for the Sick is of use at special occasions
to read a printed sermon, and concludes this with a prayer from a
form, which use of forms we will condone. But we do not like to see
ministers bound to these. Anyone who likes to know more of these
things is advised to read Wendelinum, in System. Theol. lib. 2, cap 5,
thes 7. Imprimis Gisb. Voetii Polit. Eccl. 302 part. primae lib. 2 tract.
The godly Teelinck rightly admonishes not to cling to forms, he
says, "Adult men must not cling to forms; this would be shameful, and
not worthy of men; we must desire to have the Spirit of prayer within
us and pray from the heart. See also Ridderius, Men of God, pag. 303.
38 The Organ In The Worship Service And The Singing of Hymns
With one word, we judge this and other novelties in these
carefree days a useless hindrance. This we also say of the
introduction of new hymn-books, and present day ditties, which we do
not find in God's Word; as also the playing and peeping of organs in
the Worship service. The former are all against the decrees of our
Synods. See about singing in the Church, the National Synod of Dordt
held in 1578, art. 76; the National Synod held in Middelburg, 1581, art.
51; the National Synod held in the Hague, 1586, art. 62; at which
gatherings hymns not found in Scripture are expressly forbidden. In a
footnote, (those who would like to know more about singing of the
Psalms, from the Old as well the New Testament, can read the learned
treatise by S. Omius, called, 'Dissertation', the first book, chapter 5,
It is known from Church history, that those who are after
novelties by introducing man-made hymns and errors have corrupted
the Congregation. Although these people have no wrong motives, it is
nevertheless not advisable to follow in their steps, since we may
receive from them copper instead of gold as the pious Peter Martyr
witnessed about the time hymns were introduced into the Roman Church.
See Peter Martyr on 1 Cor. 14: 26. The words of lord van Aldegonde in
this respect are remarkable. In the introduction to his book of Psalms
he says, "The experience of earlier days has taught us that it is
often harmful to introduce something which is not based on the
Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments."
The Synods of Dordt, 1578, art. 77; of Middelburg, 1581; of
Gelderland, 1640, art. 3, have all dealt with terminating, when
determining the place of the organ in the Church. The statement made
by the Synod of Dordt, 1574, art. 50, needs our special attention; we
read, "Concerning the use of Organs in the Congregation, we hold that
according to 1 Cor. 14: 19, it should not have a place in the Church;
and where it is still used when people leave the church, it is of no
use but to forget what was heard before".
They witness that it is nothing but frivolity. It is also
remarkable that lord Rivet, contending against the papists, mentions
several of their authors, who condemn the novelty of the Organ, and
point out that it is without profit. Rivet, Cathol. Orthodox. tom. 1,
To know the reason why Organs should be kept out of the Church,
read our learned theologians and their polemics about Organs against
the Lutherans and Papists; see Faukee, about Psalm 45, pag. 20. Also
Lodoc. Larenus, in cap. 12 Esa, pag. 47, where we find the story of
the duty of Middelburg's consistory to do away with the Organ;
Hoornbeek disput.2, de Psalmodia. thes 7; Rivet, in Exod. cap.15 vs 12.
Imprimis Gisb. Voetii. Polit. Eccl. part. 1, pag. 548. Hospiniamus de
Templis, pag. 309. It would be better if this and other novelties were
39 Beware of False Teaching
To return to our subject it must be said that no one has need
to complain that he is bereft of the means to know the truth, or
experience of the Word of the Lord, and the basics of religion. The
sin of neglecting to know the ways of the Lord is a great sin. William
Teelinck in his "House Book", page 86, states the following, "We cannot
deplore sufficiently that so many name Christians, who in spite of the
fact they are mature people, don't know enough to be able to say
that Christ is their Saviour, and know no more of His Person and
office of Mediator than do unbelievers. This ignorance is great and
testifies against them; they never take heed to the things of Christ,
while they call Him their Saviour. Their condemnation shall therefore
be just; if they do not awaken in time, even though they lead lives
without offense; yes, if they had a whole life without greater sins
than that they did not learn to know the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was
sent into the world by the Father to be the propitiation for our
sins; only that, I say, were enough for them to lose their salvation.
Joh. 17: 3; 1 Joh. 5: 12. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great
salvation" (Hebr. 2: 3).
"For no one", Calvin writes in his Institutes, "has communion with
Christ, than those who have the right knowledge of the Word of the
Gospel" (book 3, cap 6).
Will someone promote his soul's salvation, and be assured that
his conversation is well-pleasing to the Lord? During all his life he
must attempt to increase in the knowledge of the Lord, then he will
be one of those of whom the prophet says, "Then shall we know, if we
follow on to know the Lord" (Hosea 6: 3).
True knowledge of God is not just memorizing the 12 Articles of
the faith, they must be rightly understood. Our catechism includes all
doctrines of our religion in three chief articles: knowledge of sin,
redemption and gratitude. We also know that above these articles, the
Reformed Churches teach that more things are necessary to know our
salvation. A true Christian must not just have a literal knowledge of
the matters of the faith, but must attempt to gain spiritual
knowledge, know the beauty of these matters and the wonders of God's
Word. They must make an impression upon his heart, that with wonder,
desire and love, he will seek for them; "That ye may approve things
that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till
the day of Christ" (Phil. 1: 10).
In 2 Thess. 2: 9 and 10 the Apostle writes about Satan, "who will
come with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;
because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be
saved." As we see, his power is found in false wonders, in lies,
deceiving the unrighteous; the power of deception, of which the result
is that Satan deceives and murders souls, he still does so today.
John admonishes us very seriously in John 8: 44, to watch for false
teachers when they come in sheep's clothing. Their only aim is to lead
astray and bring us into perdition. The Saviour Himself calls them
'ravening wolves.' By their false teaching they are as it were hounds
in service of the father of lies, seeking the prey for him. And Who
knew better of the harm these teachers did than our Saviour Himself?
In another place speaking of them, He says, that not only their
number will be great, but adds the serious warning, "Take heed that no
one deceive You" (Matt. 24: 4).
These grave warnings make us understand how important a matter
this is. In another place speaking of deceivers the Apostle uses the
same manner of speech, for in 2 Thess. 2: 3, he writes, "Let no man
deceive you by any means." He warned them under tears as we read in
Paul's letter to the Ephesians, "Serving the Lord with all humility of
mind, and with many tears" (Acts 20: 19).These warnings make us
understand how very important this matter is.
Faithful teachers among you must be highly esteemed, for they
are God's messengers. In as much as they bring a doctrine according
to the Word of the Lord they are worthy of our love, honor and
obedience; for that is of great benefit for our salvation.
But those who subvert the truth and go against God's truth,
make themselves corrupt, "Moreover it is required in stewards that a
man be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4: 2). Those are no pastors, and as
their errors become more grievous, they are corrupters of the
We know that Christ is the truth; those who are Christ's must
hear only His voice, receive His Word and hate all things that are
otherwise. The early orthodox Christians showed special zeal
concerning the truth. The apostles and their successors are our
examples. The church father Irenaeus, who lived around A.D. 150, tells
the story of the apostle John, who, when he was going into one of the
bathing houses in Ephesus, met the heretic Cerinthus who was inside
the building. But John, without bathing, left in haste, stating he was
afraid that the building could collapse with a man like Cerinthus
inside. He testifies that in his time there lived Christians who had
known Polycarp who had been one of John's disciples, and he had told
Our Savior when writing to the angel of Ephesus testified of the
Ephesians that they could not bear lying apostles. When Polycarp met
the heretic Marcion he told him, "I know you are the firstborn son of
Satan." It was Irenaeus who told this, and he added, "The apostles and
their disciples had great fear not to speak to those who changed the
truth into a lie."
So let us avoid meetings, books and the company of those used
by Satan where he seeks to ensnare the souls of believers.
It is true that the Socinians claim they have a sound mind when
Smalcius writes, "Everything that does not agree with sound reasoning
must be corrupt an deceptive; it is also true that they say this of
the mind of people in their natural state. This is not in accordance
with God's Word, for it teaches that the carnal mind is enmity against
God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
The cross of Christ is to them that perish foolishness, etc. However,
some proceed under the name of philosophy, and continue with this
foolishness of the Socinians. But God's Word teaches the opposite. Men
is inclined to lift himself up, led by his corrupt mind. The mind is of
the opinion that it is fully able to judge in these matters, but in
reality it is blind. For judging in its own matters, it likes to think
all is well that is after its liking, and it distrusts matters not to
its liking. We must say of natural reason and rightly so, that it is a
false light that blinds the eye, "Having the understanding darkened"
(Eph. 4: 18). "Every man is brutish in his knowledge" (Jer. 10: 18).
Therefore, and because the carnal mind is enmity against God,
men rise up against the mysteries of the faith and against the Lord's
commandments, and many think that such is wisdom and good reasoning.
They say, "We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us; they have
rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?"
The Synod of Dordt, in the third and fourth articles against the
Remonstrants, who with the Socinians allow their reason to rule over
Scripture, and will not accept what is not in agreement with their
reason, teach (Vedel. Rapsodus. page 28), "that men, by sin, fell in
terrible darkness, vanity and wrong judgment of mind, which false
judgment reveals itself mostly in spiritual matters and the mysteries
of the Gospel."
In a footnote, (The wisdom of this world sets itself over against
the wisdom of the Spirit, and we see that what men claim without the
enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, must be reckoned under the wisdom
of this world. This is condemned by God, and is useless in
understanding spiritual wisdom. Calvin on 1 Cor. 1: 20).
The Apostle warns not to make our own wisdom to rule our
lifestyle, yes, he points out that it is true wisdom to esteem our
own wisdom in the mysteries of the faith as foolishness, "Let no man
deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this
world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise" (1 Cor. 3: 18). Faith
(religion) must not be dominated by reason, but rule over it. Religion
places everything under its rule and demand; the mind under faith,
Hebr. 11: 3; the will under grace, Phil.2: 13. He sanctifies reason and
the will to be His servants, and makes the soul by a new light into a
lamp of the Lord. Prov. 20: 27.
It is true that the Reformed teach that there is no conflict
between the mysteries of the faith and sound reason, but they
understand reason as it was given at creation, and in as far as it is
sanctified in the believer.
It is God's righteous judgment that where "they hold the truth in
unrighteousness" the truth will be lost. Wherever men do not walk
worthy of the Gospel, men will lose the Gospel. Where the candlestick
spreads its light in vain, it shall be taken from its place, and there
the glory of the Lord will disappear from His temple, and God's kingdom
shall be given to a people that brings forth fruit.
This is what happened to the Jews, this also happened to
Christians. For ere darkness came over the Christian world, east and
west, God's Word had fallen into disuse. Even spiritual people gave
more attention to reading comedies than the Gospels. Noble women
showed more interest in listening to the heathen poet Flaccum. They
were better trained in the 'arts' of the unchaste poet Ovidius, than
in reading the epistles of Paul, as came to us by the learned
Hottingerus, an early writer. Godliness decayed to such an extent,
that those who sought to fear the Lord were hated.
Very much the same thing happened in England. When in England,
Israel waxed fat, "he kicked against the pricks". The servants of the
Lord were despised and the true religion lightly esteemed. The famous
Tyme wrote in the 47th year of Queen Elisabeth's reign in his "Silver
Gate Clock", as follows, "The Lord invites us all the time, like a
father his son, as a mother her daughter, that we should be His
people, but we refuse this by our disobedience. We are therefore
afraid that the Kingdom of God shall be taken away from us, and be
given to other nations where it shall bear fruit. For I am assured
that nothing shall estrange us from the Lord, and bring punishment
over us faster than our ingratitude in the misuse of His Word and
It is with us as it was with the Israelites in the wilderness,
after their redemption from Egypt, who liked their manna so much that
they would gather it on the Sabbath day, but soon after they got
tired of it. It was so in the beginning of the happy reign of Queen
Elizabeth, when we were like people who by lack of the Divine Word,
almost died of hunger. At that time our souls truly rejoiced in that
manna, and we grasped every occasion to hear this message in the
English language; the message of our salvation in Christ, and of our
justification in Him; yes, how did we rejoice when we heard that God
was served in our mother tongue. But now, be it from laziness or
indifference, we remain at home. When we do go to Church it is to
hear something new, to hear some good saying from the pastor, maybe
to catch up on our sleep a little, or to speak to someone. What
regards religion, many are of Gallio's disposition, and think there is
no difference, but just the name; or Pharaoh's disposition, who
thought it only a vein thing; or mostly like Agrippa of the inclination
to be half a Christian. And what regards His service, it is at the
present day nothing but a whetstone to sharpen the tongue of the
people; 'come they say, let us slay Jeremiah with the tongue, and not
heed his words'. God's servants have cause to complain that they are
judged, sent to the doors of the houses of the people, to a corner in
the hearth; and like John the Baptist, by Herod's talk at the table,
receive their sentence".
The Lord repented, and therefore He smote this blessed people
with several plagues. The learned Bolton writing about the first
Psalm, mentions a series of plagues. After acknowledging God's
goodness over England these fifty years, which they did not take to
heart, he writes, "This land was punished with many and terrible
plagues; I do not doubt that our eyes have seen heralds of the great
and terrible Day of the Lord. In the sky we have seen strange and
marvelous appearances. We have seen strange and unheard of counsels
and dealings against our State. Our nation has sighed under a long
and extra-ordinary, sad plague, which has come into this city. The sea
has burst its bounds, and many are washed away, people who were as
righteous as we ourselves. We have felt such excessive heat and cold,
as was never heard of in these parts of the world; it is certain that
God's hand was in this. The poor inhabitants of this nation are much
and sadly plagued by the present famine. Let us examine ourselves,
did we take these judgments to heart?"
A little later, after showing how God, when He sent Israel many
plagues and threatening them with destruction for their unrepentant
hearts, he writes, "Truly, this is the state we are in; for to call
peace, peace, where is no peace, is no good for anything. We have
come to the utmost point by our manifold sins; and our unrepentant
hearts pressed from the Lord this question, "Why shall I slay you
more seeing you make your unrighteousness greater? Is. 1; or much
more this decision, "Therefore thus will I do unto you", Amos 4. O
people that are not worthy to be loved, He has already treated you
with so many judgments, so often, and everything in vain. So we may
expect and fear, that the last judgment that shall come over us shall
truly be the end of us, unless we repent, truly, and in time."
What would this man (Bolton) who died in 1631 have said, had he
lived to see when Ireland became a place of murderers, and the three
kingdoms burned from civil wars, and wallowed in their own blood?
Do we not see what has happened to the Churches of late? It is
with us as a godly and learned man lamented in confused times, "Thou
Lord expected good grapes from Thy vineyard, but see it brought
forth wild grapes. Thou hast blessed Thy people, but they despised
Thee, and therefore Thou hast not helped us, and rightly so." See the
Oratory of Balthazar Lydius, at the Synod of Dordt, Session 1.
Despising God's holy truth, and scorning His admonitions, yes the
hardening of our hearts against the same, are not our least sins. We
think little of God's loyal servants who have no intention but to
follow their conscience, obey the Lord in their service and attempt to
lead their people from the way of destruction to serve the Lord. This
is not appreciated by our people and often seen as a wrong zeal, as
harshness in the Lord's servants. It seems to be fashionable to do
the opposite of what the Lord commands, which can be seen many
times, and in many ways. An example is that men wear women's dress
and hair, the showing of bare body-parts by women. Are they
admonished, we see that it does not improve but embitter them.
A learned theologian, Rivet, asked the question at one time,
"Where are they who believe God's Word to be God's Word indeed?" Some
would call out with the Athenians, "What will this babbler say?" (Acts
17: 18). It is true what a learned man Simon Oomius, a pastor of a
Congregation had to say, "Dikes and dams are not able to keep this
people back from sinning in these evil days. For they have no shame,
their consciences are seared with a hot iron; "Thou hadst a whore's
forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed" (Jer. 3: 3). The Lord can also
judge us like He said of Israel, "It is a stiff-necked people." We are
ashamed to say that many of our people do not repent, but to the
contrary, hate their ministers for their admonitions and warnings.
Especially when they preach against public sins, such as the
F. Ridderus in his "Tri Weekly Preparations" states, "They hate
everyone who preaches against unrighteous gain, just like Paul was
hated, and had to leave Ephesus with the uprising in connection with
the silversmith Demetrius, (Acts 19). This was also why Jesus had to
leave the land of the Gadarenes when they suffered loss because of
the swine that plunged from the cliffs into the lake." (Matt. 8).
This is the cause that since many years we have not only been
visited with many plagues, but Divine truth is in danger, and the
candle of the Gospel will lose its light, yes, threatens to be taken
Truly, many are attempting to start novelties, or something
In a footnote, (As a rule these three go together, viz., faith,
serving the Lord, and morality; the decline of one, usually causes the
decline of the others).
So much is done contrary to sound doctrine that even the
mysteries of the faith, the exercise of a godly life and the church-
order are violated. It seems that some in our academies are planning
to reform the Reformed religion, the Church-order and open the door
to a worldly life-style. This leads so far, that God in His Being and
Attributes is affected, and with respect to God's Omniscience they
speak like the Socinians. They laugh at faithfully catechizing the
children, visiting and admonishing church-members who live like the
world and at those who faithfully keep the Lord's Day of Rest. Also
at people who walk in a precise and simple way, seeking to please the
Lord in all they do. They see nothing wrong with men who wear long
hair. We must not think of what the Church of God must expect of
these Doctors and professors, and from what spirit they proceed.
The Lord grant all the academies in the nation that love for
truth and godliness, as also our faithful Ministers and Teachers who
love the same, that they may zealously guard and defend God's holy
40 The Sabbath
It is remarkable that for some years this commandment which
belongs to the first table of the law has been in disrepute. More so
because it is a special day set aside for serving the Lord in His
house. In England the Day of Rest was in disrepute shortly before
great calamities overcame them, that is how it was with the Jews. It
is likely that is how it will go with us. People rather shortchange the
law of the Lord then that they will cut out their worldly pursuits,
saying there are only nine moral commandments that bind us. They dare
to write "It is no virtue to rest from one's labors on the Sabbath."
Why do they say this? "Because", they say, "God does not command it
as being a virtue in itself." Even as if someone said it was no virtue
when Abraham made himself ready to go and sacrifice his son; because
killing his son in itself was no virtue. What will their answer be?
When they agree with us, they take from the Patriarch the praise
which the Lord Himself gave him (Gen. 22: 12) for being obedient to His
commandment. 1 Sam.15: 22.
And truly, if there is one virtue it is obedience. Without
obedience there is no virtue. Not even in that which men thinks to be
the best way to serve the Lord. Works of disobedience are an
abomination. 2. Sam. 6: 6; Is.1: 12, 29; Matt. 15: 9.
Do we not see on the day of Rest that the faith of many is
truly exercised in a glorious way, and is that not a great virtue? A
buyer, a store-keeper, a tradesman could probably make a handsome
profit on the Sabbath, but when with his house he observes it as the
day of Rest, because the Lord commands it, he gives clear evidence of
his faith "that in the keeping of them there is great reward" (Ps. 19:
11). He declares that it is a profit he would have missed by working
on the Lord's day. Those who rest like this give evidence they love
the Lord above self and the desire for profit and advantage. If this
is no virtue, what is? We do not want to say that this Rest is
commanded by the Lord as a means to good works; that is why the
analogy they use of the rest for animals and lazy people is invalid.
Professor Hoornbeek is right when he states that not enough can be
said against superstition, the Jewish doctrine of the Sabbath, and in
favor of Christian liberty. At the same time we must be careful not
to neglect God's commandment and the example of the godly, but
establish it by our acts. (J. Hoornbeek in Irenico, page 39).
It is not our intention to deal with this extensively, others did
that before us. But we showed you a little of the novelties that
gained entrance among us in that many write and teach against the
Lord's Day of Rest. It is as if they attempt to give more liberty to
worldly people; at the same time we would point out how people are
Truly, we can say nothing but what was said by Jacobus
Breitingerus, a prominent theologian from Zurich, Switzerland, who was
a delegate at the Synod of Dordt, when in his Treatise concerning the
"Christian Day of Rest", he states, "Keeping of that Day is well
pleasing to the Lord, because the devil and godless people agitate so
vehemently against it."
Theologians from England (1647) speak in the same vein, in a
communication with Parliament concerning an interpretation of the
fourth commandment. "Remember" they say, "Satan and his instruments
work diligently to destroy the honor and memory of that Day, and at
the same time introduce all kinds of irreligion and impiety." You know
too well the sad fruits which such writings and preaching have
produced among us. It is to be feared that by the agitating of some
theologians against the Lord's Day of Rest, the sad consequences,
viz., the corruption of many souls, will increase. It is remarkable that
among those who agitate against the Sabbath, some think it an honor
to make an open mockery of catechism classes, family visitation, and
the admonishing of sinners in the congregation. From this it may be
clearly seen from what spirit this agitating against the Sabbath
May the Lord grant that at this time the citation of the
Churches of Zeeland made in the year 1620 may be heeded. We will
include this Citation:
Synod, held at Goes in the year 1620
"In the third article of the third chapter of our minutes, this
Synod petitioned Your Honors that it may please them to pass laws
against the desecration of the Day of Rest and of Roman feast days
in this nation. In the first place the Fourth commandment is publicly
disobeyed; (being nevertheless of the same value as all other
commandments), against which transgression the Lord has threatened in
His Holy Word to punish not only persons, but in general whole
nations. This is the Day of the Lord which came in place of the
Sabbath of the Jews, and was ordained by the apostles. Augustine
writing about this, states that if the unhappy Jews kept their
Sabbath with so great devotion, how much more must Christians keep
this day to the Lord alone.
"We know from Church History what Constantine the Great
decreed, and how zealous he was to keep the Day of the Lord sacred
in all his empire. The Church before him kept the Lord's Day well, but
the Emperor ordained that pagans and sectarians should also keep
>from doing ordinary labours, and spend the day in public and solemn
rest, so the religious services of the Christians would not be
hindered by public works and other irregularities. The same Emperor
eliminated pagan feast days, although in many instances their place
was taken by Romish feast days. Synod judges that it would be
edifying to take the remains of the latter away from Reformed
nations. For many spent these days in reveling and frivolities, which
at times lead to gross sins. It is also no secret that the godly
among us, and foreigners visiting this nation from other Reformed
countries are offended by the way the Sabbath is desecrated, and
other filth and smut remaining from popery is seen.
"There are, besides the license given in these lands to
desecrate the Sabbath, many, who work for employers, hindered from
hearing, or reading God's Word to exercise godliness to which they are
heartily inclined. The fourth commandment also clearly dictates the
powers that be, to persuade (aanporren) civil servants to hallow the
Sabbath. Moreover there are some who noticeably defy the Day of Rest
in that they make an open show of their travels, hard work and other
vain dealings on the Lord's Day. It is our hope that The Honorable
Lords will seriously ponder this, and in their pious wisdom and zeal
find ways and means, to truncate the above mentioned faults."
To conclude: these troubled times must make us careful for the
many temptations in doctrine and life, that we shall not be corrupted,
and suffer loss to our souls.
41 In Defense Of Sound Doctrine
Rivet, in his "origine erroris" remarks, and rightly so, that in
connection with the above, pastors and teachers must carefully watch,
for they must not only give account to God for their own souls, but
also for others that are entrusted to them. They must see to it that
no weeds are planted in God's acre, and when they are planted, keep
them from growing by pulling them up by the roots. By this indicating
that they "take heed unto themselves, and to all the flock, over the
which the Holy Ghost made them overseers" (Acts 20: 28).
They must discover errors and strange doctrines, show the
dangers and warn the congregation; refute the gainsayers, and
according to the apostle "stop their mouths", Rev. 2: 2 and Titus 1: 9,
11. With one hand they must hold the trowel and build, but with the
other they must use the sword of the Spirit, like in olden days when
the Jews built the walls of Jerusalem.
We know how a good farmer not only plants good seed, but he
also removes the weeds. That is how a faithful servant of Jesus
Christ must not only preach sound doctrine, but also refute errors.
That is also what they promised, according to the Form of Ordination.
The apostle also admonishes thereunto when he wrote to Timothy, "I
charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who
shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke,
exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4: 1, 2).
In a footnote: When error is not refuted, it is not seen as error. When
truth is not defended, it is refuted. The heretic must be refuted, if
not , truth is made powerless.
That is why according to the teaching of Scripture, refuting
errors is reckoned as being one of the necessary and profitable
elements of the perfect teaching of Holy Scripture; 2 Tim. 3.
Pastors must show that they are, "guides of the blind, a light
of them that are in darkness, instructors of the foolish, and
teachers of babes" (Rom 2: 19, 20). We add, that if necessary they
must suffer, like our Great Shepherd, the Prophets, the Apostles and
Evangelists suffered before them. When Alexander, Bishop of
Constantinople, was threatened if he would not let Arias into the
congregation, he would be cast out from his diocese, he was in no way
taken aback but persevered in his zeal against Arias. It is remarkable
that he, and others with him, would not suffer the truth to be
corrupted in any way. It is well to confirm the truth, but it must
also be kept undamaged and whole. It was said by Evagrius that the
devil seeks to corrupt the gospel by changing one word, yes, one
letter. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal. 5: 9). As Rivet
writes in his "origine erroris", "The devil thinks to have gained much,
when he can stain in the least way, that which is pure and simple."
Satan may use means, sometimes he works immediate; at times he
works in public, at other times in secret; at times he uses
theologians, at other times those who teach philosophy. Tertullian
used to call philosophers the patriarchs of heresies. It makes no
difference to the devil whether he plants weeds with the right hand
or with the left, as long as he achieves his end. That is how before
this he made long condemned Pelagianism re-appear.
Someone wrote about this, "When again a wrong and exaggerated
study of philosophy began to dim the simplicity and uprightness of
true faith, and the Pelagian error increased, it was Thomas
Bradwardinus (died 1349), who again felt called to defend the truth."
The devil does not change his tactics; what he did during the time of
the early Church, he still does today. That is why the Apostle not
without reason warns against the wrong use of philosophy, Col. 2, and
the rhetoric of worldly wisdom. Our theologians must keep this in mind,
and not give place to the devil. I hope that the following pernicious
errors will never be made public:
1. That Scripture is not always true in what it states.
2. That God's existence and the works of God are not sufficiently
evident from creation.
3. That the size of the world is infinite.
4. That the soul of man is nothing but a being that thinks, nothing
is in her but the ability to think.
5. That we must doubt everything, even the existence of God.
6. That God's Being exists in thought (ideas).
7. That after His Being, God is not Omnipresent.
8. That men's free will is without limits.
9. That Arminians and their folly should be recognized
10. That the soul of animals are brought forth like the souls of
men; their souls have the same potentiality for immortality as the
souls of men.
11. On the other hand animals have no feeling nor life.
12. That angels are no spiritual beings.
13. That Moses is not the author of the first five books of the
14. That eternal life will be on the earth.
15. That sinful lusts are movements by themselves (bewegingen van
uitwerking), just like the turning of wheels inside a watch.
Besides these there are many more errors that are against
God's truth, and the articles of our faith. See "The Convinced
Cartesian", printed in Leyden, 1656. Also "Differences concerning
Cartesian Theology", printed in Utrecht, 1666; and "Mistakes in the
Cartesian Philosophy", printed in the same year. - Wolzog. de
scriptuarum interprete, cum animadversionibus Ecclesiae Gallo Belgicae
Medioburg. Item, Lettre en forme de Requeste, avec la Réponse du
Consistoire de l'Eglise Walonne de Rotterdam. -
Whether these errors are publicly defended under the name of
philosophy, or theology, what is the difference? More so while the
academies openly defend the idea that philosophers may deal with
cases of conscience just like theologians, and that philosophy should
not serve theology or be subject to it. We can see where this leads
us. The highly learned Rivet says of this, "True philosophy is
subservient to theology, and is subject to her like a servant girl is
submissive to her mistress. But vain philosophy will rule, and take
the place of the other, and leads its followers astray. This so-called
wisdom proves to be foolishness, unable to distinguish between things.
We could say of those philosophers who are so proud of their wisdom,
as Clemens Alexandrinus said of them: "Puffed up by vain conceit
concerning their own wisdom they quarrel continuously, and are more
concerned to seem philosophers, than to be such." Stromat. lib. 7.
While these and similar errors are being distributed throughout
the country, the bishops of the congregation must watch against these
misconceptions, discover and refute them.
While the weeds of harmful novelties have been planted among
the students by philosophers as well as theologians, the governors
and board of control (Leyden) have finally resolved the following:
Extract from the Resolutions of the Curators of the University
and Burgomasters of the city of Leyden against harmful novelties.
January, 6, 1676.
The Curators of the University, and Burgomasters of the City of
Leyden with sadness take note that for some years, and from time to
time in the aforesaid University thesis and declarations have been
made concerning the Word of God, which cannot be found in the three
Forms of Unity. The above mentioned Curators and Burgomasters, after
several deliberations decided to forbid that the academy, be it
privately or publicly, shall teach directly or indirectly the following
1. That to the Fathers in the Old Testament were not given the
true and eternal goods, and that to them salvation itself was not
2. They could not have had a quiet conscience.
3. That the Holy Spirit wrought in them no exercises that made God
their Father, nor they His children.
4. That all their (the fathers of the O.T.) lives they were subject
to the devil and the fear of death.
5. That only the law of the ten commandments was given them in the
Old Testament for a covenant of grace, but that the law was not
written on their hearts.
6. That it is a rule and measure of truth, that matters which
concern the faith are clear and distinct.
7. That Holy Scripture speaks according to the mistaken prejudices
of the common people.
8. That God's omnipresence is the most powerful will (attribute?) of
God, whereby He supports and rules everything; which must be
explained from the working whereby He creates something outside of
9. That angels are omnipresent and can work in different places at
the same time.
10. That all philosophy is without religion, and it is men's highest
good to be satisfied with his state and condition.
11. That the world came forth from certain origins such as seeds.
12. That the same (world) is infinite in size, it is therefore
impossible that there are more worlds.
13. That the soul of men is nothing but an idea; that men can live
and move without it.
14. That the nature of man only exists in ideas.
15. That men's will is truly free, indefinite, and concerning objects
as infinite as God's will.
16 That God could deceive if He so decided.
17. That we have the power to keep us from error, error exists only
in the will.
18. That we must doubt all things, even God's being, and the things
which we doubt must be seen as false.
19. That we have a view of God that expresses His being as it is.
20. We must see philosophy as an exegete of God's Word.
In general all theses and positions, that depart in some way
>from the aforesaid grounds, or make them dubious.
I must admit that much in the above 20 points is unclear. It is
extremely difficult to analyze the phraseology our fathers used for
these statements. It would help if we knew the fine points of the
errors against which they reacted in these statements. Tr.
It was decided that the above could not anymore be published or
taught in the foresaid academy. Not to obey this meant to be relieved
of duties, and deposed of offices and administrations.
It is evident from the above, how theologians and philosophers
as well, were most corrupted. Albeit that novices, after their habit,
said that these theses were not set forth in good faith, and that
they were unjustly accused, it later appeared from published
treatises, that the Curators and Burgomasters had been well informed
concerning the former's intentions.
While the regents showed their godly zeal to forego these
novelties, pastors and teachers must so much more do their part in
preventing heresies from being advanced.
We have cause to thank the Lord that He raised up eminent
theologians, and among them professors to counteract these novelties.
We have cause to thank the Lord that He gave us eminent
theologians to refute these errors. Above all that He gave His Royal
Highness (William III) in his heart to help the Churches with his
authority, and so protect the orthodox truths. Yes, the zeal of His
Royal Person did so much that when in Middelburg many were moved on
account of the aforesaid novelties, when they were in the process of
calling a minister, His Highness sent a letter from The Hague to the
classis of Walcheren, in which he manifested his sincere grief
concerning the unrest and disturbances of the Church in general, and
the Congregation of Middelburg in particular.
We agree fully with His Royal Highness, Prince William 1 when he
made the remark that rest and peace in the country is inseparably
tied to rest and piece in the Church. This moved the States General
in their instruction to His Highness Prince Frederick Hendrick, of
praiseworthy memory, to add the words, "that the High Prince must
defend the Christian religion, and protect the same against all
molestation, error, disorder, disunity, demolition and harm;" at which
the Prince was bound to take the oath.
(the above is a good example of civil magistrates coming to the
aid and protection of the Church.) Tr.
As we have said that there is reason to thank God that many
watch against novelties, there is also just reason to humble
ourselves under Gods vengeful hand because he poured out the viols
of His wrath over this nation, the sad fruits of which we hear daily.
We all know that the Churches are increasingly disturbed by several
different matters, until as the prophet says, "our breach" by all the
novelties "became like the sea, and can scarcely be healed." It is like
Professor Maresius complains, "Oh, our sins must be vast, that God's
wrath against the Church and the Republic is so great."
These novelties are promoted under the pretext of producing
more light and truth, and those who defend them will not listen to
those who refute their new ideas. This would not do much harm if the
multitude was not so desirous to hear these fashionable notions, but
"having itching ears", they have a craving for them. Melanchton said
at one time, "Curiosity is the mother of errors; teachers who wished
to bring something novel were the first to corrupt religion, and the
people being curious despised the old teachers and doctrines, craving
some new thing."
The apostle makes mention of this when he warns Timothy, "O
Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane
and vain babblings and oppositons of science falsely so called" (1 Tim.
Among those who were chief among the heretics, we must mention
David Joris, who in his zeal pretended to be the Lord Himself;
teaching that good and evil angels were nothing but good and evil
thoughts; that no one is bound to a woman by marrying her. In spite
of this he dared to boast that it was given him to understand such
matters and teachings by a deep and great understanding of the living
God, things and reasons, never heard nor seen. See the introduction
to his "Book of Wonders".
Many things that bear the name of new lights, are nothing but
old errors, picked up from the manure pile of heresies, which were
rejected by the Church, and buried in shame.
Coccesians and Cartesians work together, and Descart is
glorified as a "great light". It was he who paved the way to exegete
Scripture. Yes, they boast so much of these people that some say
that since the apostles we did not see in the Church such learned
people as Coccesius (Coccesius, 1603-1669, a Dutch theologian). Also
that the least disciple of Coccesius knows more of Scriptures than
all the Reformers. But these teachers of new doctrines appear to
take a multitude of people away from our Churches. For experience
teaches that many embrace anything that is taught by these people.
According to Franciscus Ridderius, one of the followers of Coccesius
wrote, "that Coccesians and Cartesians agree because their respective
truths embrace and agree together."
This new theology is especially in conflict with the dignity of
the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. As is apparent from the
1. That Christ, in the Old Testament had companions and helpers to
rule the Church, but now in the New Testament era He alone is Head
of the Church.
2. That the law of the ten commandments, and consequently the
Covenant of Grace (for according to Coccesius the law of the ten
commandments is nothing but the covenant of grace), proceeded from
the Council of angels, of which Council Christ as Head Angel was the
3. That the Lord Christ was not the Mediator of the Old Testament.
4. That God did not covenant with the Lord Jesus, that He should
be the direct surety of God's people.
5. That the security of the work of Christ was at that time of no
great consequence, the sins of the Fathers of the Old Testament were
not fully forgiven, like the sins of the New Testament saints by the
blood of Christ.
6. The Lord Christ had to be careful not to be unjust, acknowledge
folly, pray for grace and healing for His soul like any sinner. Certain
words from Psalms 18, 64 and 41, they applied to Christ.
7. That Christ paid for our sins in His own Person, is no fruit and
effect of His suffering.
8. That in the incarnation, the Divine nature united with human
nature, like the nature of angels was united with the bodies in which
they dwelt at times.
9. That according to Col. 2: 15, Christ having spoiled principalities
and powers, He triumphed over them (the angels). They take this from
Coll. 2: 15.
10. That the Lord Christ at one time was subject to the rule of
11 That the promised Saviour of Is. 19: 20 was not the Lord Christ,
but Gustav Adolph, King of Sweden.
These people assert that the foregoing does not belong to the
essentials of the faith, that they are not in conflict with the three
forms of unity.
The leaders of the Remonstrants declared the same when they
disturbed the Church. Mr. de Vrij wrote in his "Short Story of
Conflicts in the Church", "They affirmed that their articles in no way
touched the faith, or our salvation. The difference was of no
consequence, and ours showed themselves very intolerant." Page 19.
Also that they were not afraid to say that they were defenders of
the true Reformed faith. They said it were the Reformed who were
seeking to introduce novelties. They boasted to the contrary, that
they were holding to the old doctrines of the Reformed Church. See,
"Church History" of Uitenbogaert; fourth book, page 172.
During the The Hague conference they used the Catechism and
the Confession of faith of the Dutch Congregations as well as of
other Reformed Congregations. In their foreword to the States of
Holland they testified "they did not look for changes in religion, but
would be satisfied, when classis would justly deal with such as were
not satisfied with the Catechism or the Confession of Faith." When
Arminius was asked about his novelties by the deputies of the North
and South Holland Synods, he testified, "he was faithful to Scripture,
the Catechism and the Belgic Confession. He declared not to teach
against them." See T Trigland, 'Church History', volume three, page 300.
Without doubt, if these novelties were known at the time that
the Three Forms of Unity were formulated, they would have mentioned
them. Professor Maresius states, and rightly so, "There were several
checks made against these curiosity seekers, but these are easily
circumvented by those who suffer from pride to be somewhat" (Indisput.
contra surrepentes errores). D. Witsius truly says that the forms are
not directed especially against the Socinians, because they were
written before that heresy was universally known; he applies this to
the novelties that presently stir the Churches in his book,
"Objectionable New", page 75.
42 The Three Forms Of Unity
What are these Forms that are accepted by the Churches of
these lands, which give liberty to teach anything that is not in
direct conflict with these forms? Or what forms forbid these Churches
not to counteract those novelties that do not agree with Divine truth
revealed in God's Word? Is Holy Scripture not the foundation of all
the Forms of faith and unity? Following this we make the inference
that which is in conflict with Scripture is in conflict with the
Confession, for by the Forms we acknowledge that Holy Scripture is
the only rule of faith and life, and so the foundation of all
Pray, tell me, where are the Forms, or where could there be
forms that explain every difficult utterance in Scripture? It is
obvious that the errors of the new theologians are especially that
they wrongly explain Scripture, often in a way that makes a mockery
of the Bible. F. Ridderius rightly states, "If it is true that we may
preach and write the way a heretic understands a certain passage
>from Scripture, if not in conflict with the Forms of the Church, then
it is permitted to bring most Jewish teachings in the pulpit." He gives
evidence of this in the second volume of his, "Light from Scripture",
But this appeal by the Remonstrants to the Forms of Unity was
a pretext, and as experience has taught, only to deceive the world.
What they teach is altogether different, for at the present time they
testify openly that they cannot sign the Forms of Unity with a good
conscience. A. de Raat testifies of this in his book "Apologia
Veritatis", page 34. What is more, the same Alaradus de Raat writes
that having them (Remonstrants) sign the Forms of Unity is one and
the same as "following the whore of Babylon". He declares further that
if they had to write the forms, they would look much different. In his
afore mentioned book, he seems to work with all his might to destroy
the truth, or to use the words of Daniel the prophet, "cast down the
truth to the ground" (Daniel 8: 12).
But do these theologians really think that these novelties do
not touch on the foundation of our salvation? Why do they undertake
to stir the Congregation to such great extent, as A de Raat
acknowledged has happened? Justly may we use the words from the
Professors of Leyden, in their learned book "Censura in Confessionem",
page 333, against the Remonstrants:
"They should remind themselves that they are guilty of this
great sin, and how they take upon themselves the wrath of God in
troubling so many flourishing Churches, offending so many of the weak
and making others sad. We think of the serious warning of Jesus, "Woe
unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that
offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!" And,
"But who shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it
were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and
that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matt. 18: 7 and 6). We
must pray God in all humility that it may please Him to take from
them this terrible sentence. That His Spirit may call them to
repentance, and that the wound which they inflicted to Christ's Church
may be healed by their return, and that those hurt by them may also
be healed. This is our prayer.
Could it be that these new theologians took this to heart.
Instead of grieving the Congregation with more of their novelties,
(they boast to have more new truths which they have kept to
themselves until now. Wittichi Theol. pacifica in praefat), they should
do their best to sanctify and edify the Congregation in the old
truths. But since this does not happen, the faithful servants of God
have to watch against all strange teachings, errors and heresy,
according to the mandate given them in the Word of the Lord, the
Synod of Dordt, and the promise given by them before the Lord at
While we are dealing with this subject, we deem it appropriate to
ask some questions, chiefly while some in our Churches as well as
some outside the Church give occasion thereto. The first question, "Is
it right to give liberty to prophesying in the Church, and that it be
allowed for the Preachers to explain Scripture after their feeling,
whether it agrees with the accepted doctrine or not?" The Socinians
who are not much concerned about dissimilarities in the faith, are of
the opinion that Preachers should have the liberty to deal with this
according to their own mind and conscience. This was also the meaning
of Borstius in his book written against Bellarminus. Also of Acontius
in his book "Stratagemata Satanae". The Remonstrants agreed with this
under the pretext that we must constantly progress in knowledge. In
their "Apologia", chapter 24 and 25, they say that, "One day teaches
And all of us would agree that we must strive to increase in
the knowledge of God's Word. Our knowledge is incomplete, but the
Lord's Word is filled with mysteries and divine wisdom; at all times we
will remain learners. But this is their poison, that under the pretext
of searching Scripture they seek to make people stray from the right
path of God's Word and from the accepted truth.
1. Such liberty is nothing but corrupted license, which should not
be tolerated within the Lord's Congregation. The apostle warns "not to
be carried about with divers and strange doctrines" (Hebr. 9: 13). The
Congregation should not be like children "tossed to and fro, and
carried about with every wind of doctrine; "but must earnestly
contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints" (Jude vs 3); and
be careful, "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, neither by spirit,
nor by word, nor by letter" (2 Thess. 2: 2).
2. If the Congregation must be 'tossed to and fro' with such great
uncertainty about the right meaning of Scripture, even in matters of
the faith as the Remonstrants assert, it would follow that Holy
Scripture is dark and ambiguous in these matters; of which the
contrary, on good grounds, has been asserted by orthodox theologians,
3. Through such liberty in prophesying, preaching will lose its
power, God's Word its splendour, and faith its steadfastness. The
Congregation has no more peace while disputes, quarrels and strife
ensue; one follows one teacher, and the other the next, just like in
the Church at Corinth, 1 Cor. 1.
4. Such things may not be tolerated in the Church, for in this way
the deceivers receive occasion to sow their seeds of error and
heresy among the people, and deceive the Congregation.
We could wish that with the confusion raised by the
Remonstrants the issues at hand were terminated and laid to rest.
We gladly acknowledge that preachers at all times were allowed
in all modesty to make known their viewpoint concerning different
matters, without making the theologians of the Reformed Churches
suspect. However, these people are intent on teaching new ideas about
many texts in the Bible, from grounds that were never accepted by
the Reformed Churches.
These people pretend to have found new and wonderful mysteries,
and these to be discoveries of truth; they also do not refrain from
acting against the general marginal notes of the Authorized Version
of the Bible (Staten Vertaling).
The following heresies are taught by some of these new
teachers: S.o.S. 5: 7b, "the king is held in the galleries", is applied to
the Duke of Saxony, who in 1547 was imprisoned and bound between two
rivers. Hosea 12:11, "they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal", is read as
follows, "At the Council of Constanz they killed John Huss, and Jerome
of Prague." The Words of Hos. 10:15, "In a morning shall the king of
Isra-el be utterly cut off", are seen as a prophecy speaking about
Charles 1, King of England, when he was beheaded in 1648. See
Coccesius about these texts.
Calvin too had to wrestle with such people who desired freedom
and said that all power in the Church was supported by Popery. D.
Capito wrote to Farel, Calvin's colleague: "They tell you, that you are
tyrant over a free Church, that you will be a new pope; and more of
these things are spoken against you. O Brother! I must tell you, I am
struggling with the same problems." (literally, O Brother! I wish, you
knew with how much sweat I am turning the same stone).
My dear reader, these and other heresies are brought in against
the Reformed Churches, as if the yoke of popery being cast off, we
should not be subject to the kingdom of Jesus Christ and live without
the rule of law. These are the words of Calvin himself.
Another question is if it would be better not to refute, but
keep these differences in matters of the faith from the pulpit, only
preach the simple truth, and it will be easier for Christians to unite
one with another?
I answer, No; and for the following reasons:
1. Because we have a contrary demand and burden from the Lord, as
we have seen above.
2. Because the Great Teacher, and all the men of God, prophets and
apostles, have taught us differently; men who knew very well how we
must promote the kingdom of God, as they have attempted to do in all
3. Because by opposing error, the truth may shine so much clearer,
and is so much better established. Just like by taking out the weeds,
the good seeds may grow better and root deeper.
4. Because the simple have to be armed against heresies, and the
Word must be preached with greater clarity where ignorance is so
5. Because the mouth of heretics must be stopped, also those who
are of the opinion there is little difference between the several
43 No False Unity
A prominent Socinian wrote of himself and his followers: "We
believe that Lutherans, Calvinists and others who fell away from
popery, could be members of one Church. There were many who would
unite several religions. A certain learned man mentions the following
people, who were so inclined: "Cassander, Cornelius, Gualteri, Johannes
Metellus, Franciscus, Balduinis, Thuanus, Georgius, Vicelius, Johannes
Friccius, Modrevius, Marcus Anthonius the Dominis, Theophilus,
Militierius, Andreas Dudithius, Dirk Coornhert, Jacobus Adonitius, Hugo
Grotius etc. But the Reformed Churches have always, and rightly so,
rejected the deceitful machinations of these people. The truth cannot
be used to play with; there is no communion between light and
darkness, truth and falsehood, righteousness and unrighteousness.
When at an earlier time the Socinians sought to unite with the
Reformed Church in Poland, the Synod of Belziciensi answered them
rightly, "Heaven and Hell will sooner unite, then that we shall be one
with you, therefore depart from us." Refert. Laetus ad annum 1612 et
de inceps usque, 1619.
If the religion of sects allows them to bend over to others, not
so the truth; truth like a pure virgin may not be violated or defiled.
We say to them what Tertullius said of the heretics of his day, "Let
them depart, and have peace among themselves." Concerning God's
Church, she must watch for deceivers, and not have any communion with
them. Faithful watchmen must warn God's people for errors.
William Teelinck in his "Eubulus", chapter 32, writes, "If it is
right for a political person who is hindered by others to exercise his
duty, to do all in his power to resist these persons; it must be just
when theologians resist with all their might those who attack the
Lord's flock! Truly no one will judge differently, but those who have
no heart for the truth. That there are many who seem so mild, so
modest and tolerant in religious matters, is not because they are
more modest and peaceable than others, but the reason is that they
have no esteem for religion, they have no heart to strive for truth.
They look for something else, do not touch them there, for they will
show what they really are like.
The famous Roelof Pietersz., at one time Minister of the
Congregation of Jesus Christ at Amsterdam, said very much the same,
"Scripture", he says, "recommends not all kinds of peace, not a peace
which is coupled with rejecting truth and godliness; not the kind which
puts many in danger to be deceived and carried away; but peace which
promotes truth, righteousness and holiness. Zech. 8: 19; Ps. 8: 5; Hebr.
12: 14." Many strive for outward peace in such a way, that they give
away God's holy truth, as if God's truth did not matter in the least;
it seems that they will attempt to have peace and unity in our time;
the Lord may do with His doctrine, His truth, His Word, as it pleases
Him. As far as they are concerned, they will not quarrel about these
things or live in disharmony with others. But such peace is nothing
but a public declaration of war on God the Lord (as the friendship of
the world is enmity against God), about which the Lord is highly
Someone will ask, "but in the matter of religion, for the sake of
peace we may afford to be a little broad-minded"? Answer: Truth is
the Lord's, over which men have no right nor power. The Lord gave His
Word, and commanded us not to depart from it. We have to be very
exact, like Moses, "who left not an hoof behind" (Ex. 10: 26). In general
there is nothing better to resist evil, than to fight it with proper
Christian means; nothing is more dangerous than to leave room for
evil. To undo one link in the chain of salvation, is like losing the
whole chain. We must follow the apostle's example, "To whom we gave
place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel
might continue with you" (Gal. 2: 5); and as he teaches "Let us
therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things
wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14: 9).
It is true, we must pray for unity and peace among all
Christians, but unity in, through, and with the truth; "that the Lord
may be One, and His Name One" (Zech. 8: 19). Before all others, we must
not seek unity, but the salvation of the erring ones, which is not
attained by receiving them into the bosom of the Church, but by their
conversion. When the good is mixed with the bad, as a rule the good
is corrupted, while the evil still persists. "A little leaven, leaveneth
the whole lump" (Gal. 5: 9).
It is necessary for the congregation to strive for unity and
peace among all, as much as is possible; and it is just as necessary
for the congregation to watch thereunto, that all love and unity be
in truth, that she may grow up in Him Who is the Head, namely Jesus
Christ, and not in erroneous doctrine. There is no other way to build
the body of Christ; and the prayer of all those who love Zion must be
in agreement with the apostle that all Christians may be one; that is,
according to the truth of the faith of the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ; "that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in
the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1: 10).
To unite on other grounds is like defending error, and the
Congregation and the conscience which were redeemed by the blood of
Christ, are again put into bondage. Someone said, "It is impossible
that error when established, will refrain itself from persecuting those
who speak against it".
To conclude, it is, as we have shown, paramount that Teachers
at all times must be very careful in paying attention, and expose all
errors in doctrine and the Church Order, whether they are brought
into the congregation by theology or philosophy, that they be dealt
with according to the decisions of the Synod of Dordt whereto we
include the following from its 138th Session, as follows:
"Furthermore, the Synod admonishes all Church meetings seriously
to guard the flock as they are commanded, expose all novelties in due
time and remove them from the Lord's acre. They must also watch the
schools and those who are its leaders, that they do not implant
novelties and evil ideas into young people that will be harmful for
Church and State at a later date."
Note, Synod wants all Church meetings, of which ministers are
the most prominent members, to seriously watch against all novelties,
be it in doctrine or the on God's Word founded Church Order, which
are like a fence and a wall around the truth. Further, Synod decides
that all such meetings in order to forego problems, shall watch not
only what happens in the Church, but also what happens in the
schools; without distinguishing between seminaries, academies and day
schools. Truly, when the schools are not closely watched, the Church
will suffer, for schools are the nurseries of the Church, in which
those who shall lead Church and Nation are educated. "In short",
according to Synod, "it is the office of all faithful shepherds, that
either by word of mouth or correspondence, they will expose all new
feelings or heresies; that the evil will not gain the upperhand, and so
corrupt the whole Body of the Church". See the Synod of Dordt,
44 Church And State
Synod admonished the civil magistrates to legislate against all
origins of errors, heresies, and suppress restless spirits. We must
admit that the labour of faithful shepherds shall bear no fruit when
the government does not attend to this labour, and do not show
themselves to be "nursing fathers" of the Lord's Church, as they were
promised to the Congregation, (Is. 49: 23).
In this the civil magistrate must follow the examples of early
godly kings and princes, such as Ezra, David, Hezekiah, Josiah and
others, who destroyed error and idolatry, and restored the true
When the government defends the truth, "Wisdom and knowledge
shall be the stability of thy times" (Is. 33: 6). It is like Job said at
one time, "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me" (Job 29: 14). He
maintained righteousness, and righteousness maintained him, and it was
him like a garment against inclement weather.
That is how the Lord will establish Governments who maintain His
cause, and honor those who honor Him. 1 Sam. 2. Those who despise His
Word, to the contrary, shall be lightly esteemed, vs. 30. Then He is
wont to loosen the bonds of kings, and to lead their princes away
spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. Job 12: 18, 19.
The learned Vedelius remarks, and rightly so, that when strange
and new doctrines are set forth in God's Congregation, three evils
arise. In the first place that by this the people lack peace, but are
filled with dispute and wrangling. In the second place true religion is
mocked by unbelievers and suffers loss. In the third place that the
Lord is wont to visit His Church with judgments and vexations, of
which he gives remarkable examples from Church History. Prudent. vet.
Eccl. lib. 3, cap.2.
It is difficult to say how close Church and State must be joined
together for their well-being; they can be seen as body and soul, and
in the well-being of body and soul lies the well-being of the person.
On the other hand a distressed soul and body are cause for
sickness, yes, even death. Again, when the body is sick, the soul is
often oppressed also.
Confusion in the State is harmful to the Church, for when
politicians quarrel, they are not alert as to what is happening in the
Church, and lack the power to protect religion.
Factions may favor sects to seek their own profit, or an enemy
>from outside may be tempted to make use of the disturbances and
attack the country. When the Jews quarreled, Vespasianus fell into
the land to punish their rebellion, whereby the city of Jerusalem and
the temple were destroyed.
On the other hand when there are troubles and false teachings in
the Church, the State is disturbed, yes, even corrupted, for religion is
the soul of the State.
As a rule, religion is the first to be lost, and because of that
the State is lost also. The Church is first, after that the nation.
There are no greater revolutions than those that start with religion.
When the soul is taken out, the body dies and soon corrupts. When
religion changes and disappears, the State as a rule is affected and
there are changes in the rule of government.
Even the Heathen, by civil and natural wisdom, judged that
nothing was more necessary than to leave their religion constant. The
Jewish historian Josephus relates that to introduce a new god by the
Athenians was punished by death; yes, they were inevitably punished
who spoke a word against existing laws. From Holy Scripture we can
learn how the Greeks and Romans were careful in this, see Jer. 2:11;
Acts 16: 21 and 17: 18.
That is why it was an exceptional work of God when the Apostles
proclaimed the gospel among the Heathen, and promoted God's truth
among them. For the Romans had magistrates, named Aediles, to watch
that no other gods were served than Roman gods, and in no strange
manner. They have, I say, by wisdom in statesmanship endeavoured to
forego all difficulties and confusion. See, Schoonbornerij, Polit. lib. 3,
cap. 11. Rofinus de antiquit. Romanor, cum notis Demost. lib. 3, cap. 33.
If the Heathen who have nothing but the light of nature, saw how
dangerous it was to condone changes in their religion in order to
save their false religion undamaged; how much more must the
government of the Lord's people watch for this.
In a footnote we read, (The Civil Magistrate must especially watch
that its subjects are not deceived by false, erroneous doctrines, but
attempt to keep an appreciation of true religion by all its subjects";
>from the Acts of Synod of Dordt).
Moreover, since our God is very jealous concerning His honor,
that is why at certain times judgment soon followed this sin. In their
song of praise, Barak and Deborah sang, "They chose new gods; then
was war in the gates" (Judges 5: 8); that is to say, as soon as they
departed from the truth and commandments of the Lord, the Lord came
upon the people with His judgments. Of this there are many examples
in the book of Judges. When Jeroboam changed pure religion for the
golden calf, he laid the foundation for the destruction of his house
and kingdom. 1 Kings 14: 9, 10. The kingdom of Judah experienced the
same. When they fell to committing idolatry, they lost their State,
their Kingdom, and their liberty. The Temple was burnt first, then the
King's house, and after that the city, while they became slaves of
their enemies; 2 Kings 25.
Our fatherland experienced sad consequences, when in earlier
days some sought to establish grounds for a free will, and to that
end blasphemed God's holy ways in His Sovereign good will and
blameless justice. What a wretched confusion resulted in the affairs
of State. In our dear Fatherland, province was divided against
province, city against city, and people against people. Constantine the
Great used to say that disputings and discord in religion were a
greater evil than other miseries and wars that came from beyond. That
is why he refused to give his subjects liberty to read books written
by Arias. Ceasar Justinus was so convinced of this, that he disallowed
his subjects, under no pretext, to doubt one syllable of the true
religion. A certain jurist has said and proven from law that it is
robbing the Church to doubt the rights of a prince. We believe it is
even more Church robbery to quarrel seriously about the things which
are commanded us in God's infallible Word. See: Paulus Voet, de
Jurisprudent. Sacra. lib. 3, cap.1.
Truly, if any government must care for religion, it is the
government of our dear Fatherland that suffered so much, that has
fought bloody wars for many years for freedom of religion. Our
government admits that the Lord so miraculously blessed us in the
cause of religion, that He made us great not in an ordinary way, but
did most everything in an extraordinary way, so that we were a marvel
to other nations, even to our enemies.
In two footnotes we read: ("We were supported by the power of
Him, Who dwelt among us, and blessed us with innumerable blessings,
such as He did not to other nations;" (Introduction to the Acts of
Synod of Dordt.) "This is much more to be admired, because the war
exhausted other nations, while it made the Hollanders rich." Guil.
Camdenus, annal. part .3.
Knowing all this, our first government maintained and esteemed
the Reformed religion highly, because they saw that happiness came
our way from the Lord; Almighty God elevated this nation to such
prominence in the eyes of the whole world because she had kept and
protected His Word and His Church. If we want to prevent God's
blessings to depart from us and our posterity, we must follow the
same road as our ancestors did.
Truly, we shall stand or fall with our religion. The esteem and
maintenance of religion is our rise and steadfastness; its contempt
will cause our downfall.
To conclude: when those who do not confess the true religion
come to might and honor, they do great harm to religion. The civil
magistrate must at all times be on guard.
In Harlingen, at a certain occasion, a meeting of the papists was
disturbed, and some papers and documents were found from which it
was learned that Jesuits and papists living among us were allowed to
hear our sermons, and eat meat during the fast. This was allowed so
they would be elected to the government, and under these
circumstances promote the Popish religion. These documents were at
the direction of the Deputies of Friesland published in 1616. Other
sects learned this art also; these are the little foxes that spoil the
Lord' s vineyard.
We must watch against these if we would maintain God's holy
truth and the Reformed religion. Our regents must have a zeal to
"keep that which is committed to thy trust" (1 Tim. 6: 20). They must
show the same zeal for the truth of which the States General speak
in a letter they sent to the Synod of Dordt, in which they testified,
"that during the fifty years of war with Spain, they treasured nothing
better then that the true Christian religion would be taught, kept and
promoted in every province." It is the whole truth what they from
Switzerland: Zurich, Bern, Basel, Schafhouzen and Geneva wrote in their
letter of 23 May 1630, "That the glorious and far-famed name of the
United Provinces, to which, beside God the eyes of all Christendom
were directed, would be found wanting, if they did not with the same
care seek to keep the purity of which they had done confession, and
which they had thought worthy to defend for so many years with arms,
possessions and their blood."
This letter was printed in Leeuwarden in 1655, and is found by
Van Sande at the end of his eleventh book. Prince William speaking
with Lord van Aldegonde, answering him like a manorial regent, said,
"Aldegonde, let us suffer, even when they would trample on us with
their feet, if we only may protect and shelter God's Church."
Hoornbeek in Theol. pract. tom. 2, pag.118.
1. It is therefore in the first place necessary that Rulers are
careful not to admit into government and other prominent offices, any,
but those who are confessors of the truth, as far as can be reasonably
History of the Netherlands witnesses to the fact that our
fathers not only refused admittance to those of a different religion,
but only admitted to Government and high offices those who were
known for their religion, and love for the same. (see Grotii, Annal.
Belg. lib. 2 and Hist. lib 5; Van Reyd in the year 1586).
2. It is necessary that rulers take care that no schools are kept
other than Reformed, and that in these nothing is taught that is in
conflict with the truth.
3. It is necessary to forbid all harmful and slanderous books, as
was done in earlier days. (See Hooft, 1581). The Curators of Leyden's
Academy must be commended for the provisions they made, when by
several decrees and commands they prevented Cartesian philosophy to
be taught in that Institution; as also the zeal of the States of
Friesland when they seriously mandated against a Cartesian book
named "Philosophia S. Scripturae interpres", by a special mandate,
dated November 10, 1666. Such degrees were also given in other
provinces and academies, as we learn from the Treatise, "Detriment of
Cartesian Philosophy", published by J. Du Bois.
4. The City of God, that is, the Congregation, must be protected
>from ruin, and therefore Rulers must pay special attention to two
matters by which Satan is gaining entrance. One is the error of the
Socinians, the other the superstition and idolatry of Popery. In the
one he is assisted by Cartesian philosophy, the Ana-Baptists and
Arminians; the others are the many Romish missionaries who wander
about our country, and many other people who agree with them.
A footnote on the bottom of the page states, ("Windwood, the
English ambassador said in 1611, and rightly so, that religion was the
catalyst of our Republic, and that to preserve it wholly, was to
preserve the Republic in its purity." He continued by saying, "that
this could not be preserved when our Rulers would allow our religion
to be turned into sophistry by the deception of doctors, or falsified
by cunning craftiness." Memories of Baudartius, lib. 2, in the year
Added to this, we see that the Lord's acre in our good
fatherland was never before overgrown with weeds like it is now, and
it looks that the good seed will yet be choked out. If our godly
Rulers ever had occasion to be careful, was God's Church ever in need
of their help against Socinian as well as Popish leaven, now is the
time. Was the fatherland ever in danger of God's awful judgments, it
is now, because of these deceptive doctrines of whom both are
ruinous to the State. The one for the terrible blasphemies, the other
for detestable idolatry; for both of these, the fire of God's wrath is
being poured out over the nation and its cities; without saying
anything about the conspiracy of Papists and Jesuits against the
Grotius relates how the Spanish in their peace treaty dealings
in 1608 desired that the papists should be left free in the exercise
of their religion, but the States judged that this was a pernicious
evil, and capable of upsetting the foundations of the Republic. He
related further that the German and English ambassadors had judged
the same. (Hist. Belg. lib. 17). According to their custom, Papists and
Jesuits who do not refrain from inciting the population against their
lawful governments, bring us again under Spain and as a result under
Let all Rulers who love Zion, watch against the harmful foxes,
and use against them the power given them by the Lord, to the end
that our nation be not guilty of blasphemy, but that its government
and inhabitants may live in peace and enjoy the Lord's blessing.
Augustine said at one time, "the Powers that are ordained by
God, serve the Lord when they promote the good and prevent evil in
their realm, not only in things politic, but also in matters belonging
to holy religion." August. lib. 3, Cont. Crese.
In the hour of death it will be to them a special comfort, when
with Prince Nehemiah they can say, "Think upon me, my God, for good,
according to all that I have done for this people; ...and wipe not out
my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the
offices thereof" (Neh. 5: 19 and 13: 14). Yes, at one time they shall
bring their glory into the Holy City. Rev.21: 24.
45 The Law Of The Lord In The Life Of The Christian
There is one more thing that, as we have said, must be
practiced in order to glorify God's truth, and show that this is our
honor, namely, that our conversation be such as becometh the gospel.
Phil. 1: 27.
We must walk, "worthy of the calling wherewith we are called"
(Eph. 4: 1). Truth is honored when its confessors live that truth, and
this must be the practice and purpose of all true Christians.
For as the statutes and mysteries of the Lord are the
inheritance of Jacob's Congregation, and the glory of God's people
whereby they are exalted above all other peoples; so again is holy
religion glorified when God's people subject to these, and keep the
Lord's statutes. As also Paul insisted in his letter to Titus, when he
desires, "that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all
things" (Titus 2: 10).
It is the Apostle's desire that Christians live according to
sound doctrine; for in the first place it is the Doctrine of God; in
the second place it is the doctrine of God the Saviour and in the
third place it is the doctrine of God our Saviour. It is as much as if
the Apostle is saying: that while Christians boast justly that their
doctrine originates with God, and the doctrines of pagan and other
religions originate with the spirit of deception and the flesh,
Christians must live in holy submission by showing clearly that they
serve their God, unless they despise His Majesty before the eyes of the
So much more must we do this, not only because God's Majesty is
worthy of this, but His goodness invites us thereto. Our Lord is not
like the idols who will be honored by painful service, where men must
cut and carve their own flesh, burn or kill their children.
Keeping His commandments is glorious and lovely; by giving us His
ordinances the Lord had in mind nothing but our salvation and eternal
While this is the doctrine of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour,
Who gave Himself into death for us, to abolish death; and bring to
light, life and immortality through the gospel; so must all believers
give themselves to Christ and live for Him, Who died for them; and
show to the world that our Saviour is a King of righteousness and
peace, that His subjects are a holy people, separated from the world
which lieth in the evil. We must show the opposite of what we are
falsely accused of by unbelievers, in order that by word and dealings,
those who are outside may be won for Christ. That is how the Apostle
speaks to the believers of his day, and how with great conviction he
impressed on their mind the duty of which we speak.
It is not enough to be enlightened; the believer must be a light,
a light in the midst of a "crooked and perverse nation"; altogether
different from those who are satisfied only to speak or quarrel about
The pagan Seneca said at one time, "It is an innate disease of
people's minds that they rather quarrel about things than live them
out". We find this abundantly true in matters of religion.
All those who love the Lord, must be on their guard; for it is
their prayer that God's Word and name be glorified, and this must be
seen in their lives. 2 Thess. 3: 1; Matt. 6: 9. Teachers and Shepherds
of the Congregation in particular must be good examples of these
things. They received this treasure in earthen vessels, and the
gospel of Christ was entrusted to them. It must be their first
concern to adorn the gospel they preach. As the Apostle says,
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may
be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the
gainsayers" (Titus 1: 9). See also, Titus 2: 7, 8; 2 Cor. 2: 17: 2 Tim. 2:
15; 2 Cor. 4: 2; 2 Cor. 2: 17.
They may not have respect to persons, but preach all the
counsel of God, and not be guilty of the blood of those who will be
lost. As Paul wrote to Timothy, "Preach the Word; be instant in
season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering
and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4: 2).
It is their duty to feed the flock faithfully, "not by constraint
but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind" (1 Peter 2: 5).
They must separate the clean from the unclean, in order that sins and
errors may disappear, and God's Congregation may be, "A habitation of
justice, a mountain of holiness" (Jer. 7: 23).
46 The Civil Magistrate
"Be ye followers of me, even as I am also of Christ" (I Cor. 11:1).
This is also true of governments and magistrates. For if someone has
occasion to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, it is they who are
given authority in this world. They will do this when they exercise
themselves in the Word of the Lord, and read it all the days of their
lives, Deut. 17: 19.
They do this when they subject themselves to the gospel, in
obedience kiss the Son, serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with
trembling. David calls upon them to do this, as he did with his whole
heart, Psalm 2: 11. David was anointed king three times, first by
Samuel, 1 Sam. 16: 13; after that by those of Judah, 2 Sam. 2: 4; the
third time by all of Israel, 2 Sam. 5: 3; but he did not rejoice in it
the same, as when he felt in his heart that the people were ready
and willing to serve the Lord, 2 Sam. 6: 14, 15, 16 and 19. David is
here an example for all regents, who only then adorn the doctrine,
when they, while more prominent than others, attempt to excel in
dignity, and also follow the King of kings and lead the people in being
just. Someone has said, "No one should rule over others who is not
better than his subjects". Xenephon de Paed. Cyr. lib. 8. "Outward
decorations are not the best" says Chrysostomus, "but a courageous
and godly walk with the Lord."
It is not the office that adorns the doctrine, but the piety of
those who hold the office. Like a candle or light shows up better on
a high place, than when it sits on the floor, so these exalted persons
who live godly lives adorn the doctrine better than those, who do not
with fear and trembling, serve the Lord. The former can do much good
for the people by their example, since people are inclined to follow
the example of their magistrates. "Magnatus Magnetus", says the
proverb, i.e., the great draw the people to follow their example, like
the magnet the iron." "If a ruler hearkens to lies, all his servants
are wicked" (Prov. 29: 12). To prove the truth of this proverb, van
Reyd wrote in 1579 about the immodest life of Filips, Count of
Hohenlo, "All colonels and captains followed his example. He who was a
master in drinking, cursing, and fornicating appeared to be the most
heroic soldier." It is like Silvanus, lib. 7 de Provid writes, "When the
head is sick, all the parts are sick, and no member does all its duty."
Times have taught us that when the magistrates were evil, the
citizens were no better. It was said of Jeroboam that he made Israel
to sin, 1 Kings 14: 16.
When magistrates were solid, god fearing, veritable men, hating
covetousness, Ex. 18: 21; they said with Joshuah, "Me and my house we
will serve the Lord," Josh. 24: 15; and the people also said, "We will
serve the Lord, for He is our God". When the Judges were
conscientious men, and the governors god fearing, Jerusalem was
called, "The city of righteousness, the faithful city" (Is. 1: 26).
It seems that god fearing magistrates not only draw, but much more
constrain their subjects by their example; their example like their rule
is attended by power.
"When the Prince is faithful, the laws are well kept, but where
the Prince is evil they are but poorly kept" said Xenephon, Lib. 8, de
Paed. Cyri. Furthermore, wherever the righteous flourish, the Lord is
wont to give abundance of peace, so that peace is like a river, and
thy righteousness like the sea", Psalm 72: 7 and Is. 48: 18.
To gain this end, the magistrate must give religion the first
place in everything, and promote its proclamation. Van Reyd relates
how the Spaniards in their address at Cologne in 1559, told the
Princes, "Let the Federation of the House of Burgundy, Cleef and
Munster, with the Counts of Embden and Oldenburg be searched, and
you shall find that they stress to keep the Roman religion, and help
each other in the effort." When idolaters think so highly of their
false religion, how much more must the Regents (governors) of God's
people, be the nursing fathers of the Congregation, maintain God's holy
truth, just like our fathers have maintained the same. Grotius
testified that Prince William, when in Cologne they discussed a peace
treaty with the Spaniards, gave charge for them not to compromise
anything concerning religion. Annal. Belg. lib. 3.
All pious fatherlanders rejoiced when the States General in the
great Assembly of 1651 declared, "That each in his own province must
keep and maintain the Reformed religion, as is presently preached and
taught publicly in our Churches, as was established by the National
Synod held at Dordt in 1619. They also decided that, "The afore
mentioned religion, by the provinces, as well as by the States General
in the provinces under their jurisdiction, shall be maintained with the
laws of the land, without allowing anyone ever to make any changes."
Synod of Dordt, Article 1 and 2; Restored Lion, printed at Amsterdam
in 1652, page 217.
During these difficult times the truth was as it were brought to
new life when His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, (who according
to Rev. Henricus Ruyl, minister at Amsterdam, was given us from God
in heaven in such a marvelous way), was chosen to be our Stadtholder,
and upheld in prayer by the Deputies of the Churches. When the cause
of God's Church and religion was commended to him he answered, "that
he not only would keep what was left in the provinces by the arms of
the State, but he hoped to restore what was lost; and concerning the
Church, he would keep, maintain and defend all that was established by
his forefathers and the Synod of Dordt." See Henricus Ruyl, "Brandt's
Furthermore, Christian Magistrates must glorify God's Word, and
by good laws and strict execution of the same, refute evil and check
public sins. "A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for
the fool's back" (Proverbs 26: 3), is what Solomon says.
The sinner has no greater allurement to sin than the hope of no
punishment. When there was no king in Israel to punish evil, everyone
did what was right in their own eyes, Judges 19: 1. "And all the men of
this city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put
evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear; "Then
shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his
brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you" (Deut. 21: 21,
and 19: 19).
We add, that when a father does not seriously admonish his
children, he is guilty in the eyes of the Lord, for the Lord would not
condone that Eli the priest did not seriously admonish his sons, and
in spite of the fact he was a godly man, was greatly afflicted for his
sin. That is how it is with Magistrates, when they look upon evil and
leave it unpunished, they are guilty before the Lord, and kindle God's
wrath against the country and its people; also against their own
houses and persons.
If ever, so at this time the old zeal of the Reformation must be
restored which was shown to our nation by the States of Holland,
when they came with the following suggestion to the States General,
(as is said) in 1625:
"Since the United Provinces cannot exist without the help of Almighty
God against the great power of the King of Spain, so is this our
salvation that Almighty God is not against us, but for us. For when
the Lord is against us it shall go with us as with the children of
Israel when Joshua and the elders, who had seen the great works of
God had died, to the effect that they could not withstand their
enemies, and in whatever they did, found the hand of the Lord against
them. Let us like King Josiah take away from among us all these great
sins. Among which sins that are seen in these lands the following are
the most principal:
1. "The four prominent vices of the kingdom of antichrist which are
still found among us. In the first place the carnivals, Three Kings and
the St. Nicholas days, and other feast-days which are held among us,
not without a show of public idolatry.
2. The unlimited meetings of Jews and other sectarians.
3. "The theaters with their unchaste comedies and tragedies that
tempt good citizens to idolatry and impiety.
4. "Condoning the idolatrous meetings of papists.
5. "Allowing Jesuits, monks, and anti-christian priests to roam the
country and deceive its citizens, and hold collections, for which some
laws were established, but not in a manner as required by the Word of
6. "The cursing, blaspheming and taking in vain of God's name, even
by children. Lev. 19: 12; Matt. 5: 37.
7. "The irregular publishing of blasphemous and seditious books,
against which some laws were made, but not maintained.
8. "The desecration of the Sabbath, against which some edicts were
enacted, but not executed, with the result that only one half of the
Day is kept, while God will have all of His Day kept.
9. "The murders which happen in great number among us, that are
pardoned, directly against the Lord's commandment; Numbers 35: 31.
10. "The existence of so many brothels and whorehouses; Deut. 13: 17;
1 Cor. 10: 8.
11. "That whoredom is not, or only lightly punished, and fornication is
punished by fines, which God the Lord wants punished by death; Deut.
"Your Honorable Great Lords are respectfully requested and
supplicated, as you love the honor of our God, your own salvation,
and the welfare of our dear fatherland, that Your Honors be pleased
to demand that these and such like sins and disorders, which press
the country and will set the hand of the Lord against us, be averted.
For as long as we do not convert to the Lord, and show with this and
other actions that our conversion is upright, we may not imagine that
the Lord's hand for evil be turned away from us. When the looked for
Reformation is seen to move the inhabitants of these lands to more
humility, we may expect that the Lord's displeasure will be turned
>from us, and the power of the general enemy destroyed, whereto the
good God, for the merits of Christ Jesus, may graciously grant us His
An eminent man and see-er in Israel, speaking of this
Reformation, has well said, "See here an excellent testimony of the
necessity of the Reformation, also in our day. There is no doubt that
if all this was attended to, our present condition would be so much
better. We must know that as long as we do not repent and do the
former things, our difficulties will not disappear. For it is certain
and sure that the confessors of the true faith must excel in
godliness, or they shall meet greater difficulties; for such is God's
way with His people." see "Necessary Remonstrance" by Willem Teelinck,
page 410. May the Lord our God give such an heart to our
Magistrates, that uprightly and diligently they seek the God of our
Fathers, that it may be well with us and our children.
47 The Christian Home
As in the great common house of the Republic rulers must
promote godliness in order to be blessed, so must fathers in the
homes adorn holy religion. They must attempt to adorn religion, and
not only teach their families the basics of the faith, but according
to the apostle's admonition in Eph 6, arouse and awaken them to all
Christian virtues. See also Exodus 12: 26; Deut. 6: 6, 7, 20 and 21; Ps.
78: 3-7; Is. 38: 19. The example of the Father of all believers shines
brightly here, according to the praise the Lord accords him in Gen. 18:
19. From Salomon's testimony we learn how King David educated his
children in the fear of the Lord, Prov. 4: 3, 4. The apostle relates
the same thing concerning the godly Timothy, especially of his mother,
and grandmother, 2 Tim. 1.
Truly, it is difficult to say how much our families and people
would be improved when this was diligently practiced. To the contrary,
we see our young people running wild, breaking out in all kinds of sin,
because the parents neglect their calling. All this in spite of the
fact that parents at one time solemnly promised, before the Lord and
His congregation, to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the
Lord. Unless they repent it will bring a heavy condemnation upon such
parents; the blood of the children shall be required of their hands.
The Lord our God sharply threatened and punished the
unbelieving Israelites, because they sacrificed their children to the
idol Molech, Jer. 19.
Are we different?
What do present day parents other than sacrifice their children to
the devil, make them ready for eternal fire, which is altogether
horrible to contemplate! Whether they know it or not, they expose their
own children, their own flesh and blood to the greatest cruelty that can
And although many educate their children and caution them to be
virtuous, it does not do much good. Why is this? Because the children
often see that the parents do not live what they preach, and so make
their own admonitions of none effect. It is like the Jews say,
"Doctrine without accompanying life and work, is no doctrine." And
again, "A word without work is like a cloud without rain, and like a
bow without a string." 1 Cor. 8: 11. Because of this they are an
offense to their offspring, and as it were murderers of their own
children, such parents are severely threatened by the Lord. It were
better for them that a millstone were hanged about their necks and
they were cast into the depths of the sea, as the Lord speaks in
Mark 9: 42.
All parents, fathers, mothers, must take care that they are a
good example to their children and families, that they express God's
holy truth in their lives. Godly examples are like the soul of the
doctrine to children. Are parents desirous for their children to be
religious, love God's Word, pray much to the Lord, be humble, sober,
friendly, modest, righteous; let the parents be a good example, for
therewith God's truth will be pressed into their hearts. "For", says
Plutarchus, "the life of the parents is like a mirror, and by its light
the children will refrain from evil." Plutarch. de liber. educat.
A particular powerful method to gain this end is that family
devotions are well taken care of in the home, as reading of God's
Word, fervent prayers, singing of psalms, necessary reprimands,
teaching of the catechism, and summarizing sermons. We must take care
that our families are little Churches, like those of Priscilla and
Aquila, of Cornelius and others, Rom. 16: 5; Acts 10. For by continuous
exercise the hearts of the members are influenced to love and obey
the Word of the Lord.
Even the hardest hearts may be won, just as by a continuous
dripping the hardest stone is hollowed out, and by a steady rain
saline soils are made fertile. Especially in these New Testament days,
family devotions should be practiced with great zeal in our
households, of whom it is prophesied that they would serve the Lord,"
Psalm 22: 27. The word "Mispachot," wich is here translated by
"generations", can also be translated as "families", or "households."
To make an end of this: it is necessary for all, in Church and
State, small or great, rich or poor, master or servant, to bring to
expression that they love the truth, that they know the truth and its
blessings; also the special benefit that grants us the light to walk in
the Lord's ways, and thereby manifest the will to adorn God's truth.
It is required of God's people, not only to know God's Word, we
must also love to speak about these things. When God's Word is in the
heart, it must also be in the mouth. Deut. 6: 7.
It is our duty to incite each other, to admonish, teach, and
when possible edify each other with the Word; Ps. 119: 46; Eph. 5: 19:
Col. 3: 16. We must demonstrate that we despise everything for the
pearl of the Gospel, Matt 13; and also follow the example of our
fathers, of which we wrote before.
The Word is glorified when we give evidence that we believe it,
and especially when the waves of life's troubles, miseries and
difficulties overwhelm us, we must just like the Hebrews - during all
adversity, supported by God's Word - rejoice in the Lord. Hebr. 11 and
12. It must be apparent in the life of the Christian that he believes
the Lord when He said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee"
(Hebr. 5: 13). The Christian must believe that all God's promises are in
Him, "Yea and Amen". God's Word shall never fall to the earth.
For there is nothing by which the holy doctrine, and as a result
our God is honored in the day of visitation, than by proving the
power, the fruit, the trustworthiness of God's Word, and hope against
hope, believe and depend fully on the promises of God and by giving
evidence that, whether in life or death, they are sufficient for us. 1
Peter 2: 12; Rom. 4: 18, 19. Without this, our fathers would not have
been able to withstand the cruelties of their enemies, which they
conquered with much courage and full of faith; whereby they even
gained the victory over those who killed and tormented them.
The psalmist comforts himself and others, when he says, "The
Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou,
LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee" (Psalm 9: 9, 10).
48 The Law Of The Lord In Our Life
In particular we must be careful to walk in Christ, "As ye have
therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:
6). We may never give ourselves the liberty to dispose of God's
commandments as we see fit. This concerns the first as well as the
second table of the Law, the internal and the external man, our
special and our general calling. We must have God's law in our hearts
in such a way, that at all times we walk diligently in the Lord's ways,
and practice the Lord's commandments, Deut. 11: 2, 18, 22; Keep them as
the apple of our eye, Prov. 7: 2; like Hezekiah, with all our heart, 2
Chron. 7: 21.
We must be careful in following all the Lord's commandments,
"And in all things that I said unto you be circumspect" (Ex. 9: 13). And
the better our life is expressing the doctrine we confess, the better
is the doctrine by us adorned and glorified. We are called upon, to
"Walk honestly, as in the day" (Rom. 13: 13). "My foot hath held his
steps, his ways have I kept, and not declined" (Job 23: 11). Walking
according to some of the commandments, and not all, is as Augustine
says, "a false balance".
It happens too often that instead of submitting our will to Gods
Word, we submit God's Word to our will. A Christian must have a
hallowed conscience, sensitive to the least sins in his life, even an
idle word, or wrong thoughts; Matt.12: 36; Eph. 4: 5; Ps. 19: 14.
Here we think of the words of the Lord Jesus, "Whosoever
therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments, and
shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
heaven" (Matt. 5:19). That is why the apostle admonishes us to "abhor
that which is evil" (Rom. 12: 9), without making any exceptions. It is
remarkable that he uses a word which has as root "Srycx", which means
as much as hell; as if he would say, to flee from all sin, like one
would flee from hell itself... Sin only can make separation between a
man and his God, and as Basilius rightly says, "it is worse and harder
than hell itself". (See Ascis, Cap. 1). If we do not like to fear God in
truth, we make exceptions; make great sins look small, and small sins
as if they are no sins. The devil took the Socinians in this so far,
that they say the first desire to sin is not a sin, and anger,
drunkenness, debauchery and evil-speaking, are little sins. It is so
with the Reformed; those who are not truly Reformed doubt everything.
They allow anything, whether or not the Word of the Lord forbids it,
and calls it sin a thousand times.
"That is how people become doubters, determine nothing, and
never practice the things they should. Much is doubted by those who
frequent the worship service, and know much, but do nothing. They
doubt whether they shall keep the Sabbath, or just serve the Lord in
the forenoon, or in the afternoon. Whether they can work after the
service, and if that is perhaps the end of the Sabbath. They are not
sure when one is drunk, or when one makes a show of apparel. They
say, "If I knew this was a sin, I would not do it; but I cannot see
that it is wrong. Finally they doubt whether the Bible is the Word of
God, and if there is a God. God's word is not well preserved by those
hearers, and the knowledge they have is without profit; the only
profit they have is that their condemnation is made the heavier." (See
"Spiritual Medicine" by J. Borstius, printed at Dordt in 1653, page
We are afraid that many of these are Christians only by name.
Instead of adorning the doctrine, they are a scandal and an offense
to the unbelieving world. They are cause that the fame of external
morality, humility, Christian gravity in attire, by which Christians
were known is now granted to the sects. At one time the Waldenses
were known for their high morals, dignity, and did not show pride or
pomp in their attire. It is furthermore lamentable that people who
belittle sin, at times become mockers of those who seek to please the
Lord. Just like the orthodox in England are denounced as Puritans. It
was the name used by Arminians for the Reformed.
It seems, the exhortation of the apostle that we must seek to
walk in godly ways has lost its value. It is true that the great
commandment is fulfilled in loving God and the neighbour, but it is
also true that love to God must be seen in all we do; in particular
duties and manners laid down in God's Word. We must edify our
neighbour in all things, and be their example in modesty, gravity,
humility, purity, godliness, all virtues. Aversion to fads, flashy dress,
and worldly morals.
I have met several who in their dress were slaves to the world.
Those who have their eyes opened, cannot marvel enough that some
Christians do the things expressly forbidden in God's Word, such as
men wearing long hair, or women in men's attire, or men in women's
dress. These are the people who despise Christians who walk with a
good conscience, but make them out for stiff-necked and hypocrites.
Some time ago I met a man and admonished him about his long
hair and general feminine ways. I reasoned with him and told him not
to sin against the Lord like that and offend the brethren. He
answered that he would like to change his ways, for it was difficult
to live like that. His long hair, for instance, was a hindrance,
especially when he had to go against the wind. But this was the
present mode and style, but he hoped it would change.
I argued with him that we must not submit to worldly fashions,
that we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, from servitude
to the world which is enmity against God. We are Christians and must
show we are Christ's free men in order to prove what are the ways
well pleasing to the Lord, if we will not be lost with the world.
However, this poor man rather remained a slave to the world, and
continued to follow the lifestyle of the world. See 1 Cor. 11: 13-15.
The Christian must give evidence of much generosity of heart in
a holy walk, fear nothing but sin which makes us hateful in God's
sight. When Empress Eudocia threatened Chrysostomus, he answered,
"Go, and tell her that I fear nothing but sin." A true fear of God
teaches the believer to despise the mockery of the world, for without
a holy courage it is not possible to keep the hand to the plow. Luke
9: 62. Those after the flesh have always persecuted those who live
after the spirit. Without affliction we cannot enter the kingdom of
heaven. Augustine said at one time that the Christian has no greater
foe than the name-christian.
O world, world, how true is the word of Scripture when it says,
"that you lie in the evil one, and the friendship with the world is
enmity with God." I must tell you, that when lying on a deathbed (how
soon can this be), you will not be able to take any of these things
with you, but all the honor, pride of life and lust of the flesh, will
be ready to leave you in the bitterness of your tormented spirit,
when all these things are ready to sink with you into the grave
Let all God's true children take care, that the devil and the
children of this world are not more careful in their worldly habits,
than they in following the Saviour Jesus Christ.
49 Turning The Hearts Of The Fathers To The Children
There is no doubt that when the hearts of the fathers were
turned to the children, we would inherit the blessings of our fathers,
and instead of judging, as He did these many years, the Lord would
bless us. In spite of some difficulties, the Lord would not forsake His
people; but we would be courageous like young lions, and trust the
Lord, the hope of our fathers, as they trusted; who declared thereby
not to trust in the help of men, but in God Who was their refuge.
And truly, if our fathers had one virtue, it was that they
trusted the Lord, which is plain by what we related from the history
of this nation. What else prompted Prince William, Blest Memory, but
his unswerving trust in the Lord, that supported and encouraged him?
He made a covenant with the Potentate of potentates and was assured
that His help would relieve him of all difficulties. This is plain from
the letter he wrote (1573) to Sonoy, in the sixth book of Bor. In his
Apology he also testifies, "that he never lost courage facing the
mightiest enemy, however many and great they were, not for the
80,000 men with which Alva came; not for so many fleets at sea, not
for so many betrayals of that Duke, or his successors. Why was he
like that? "Because", he said, "Life and Death are in the Lord's hands,
Who also counted all the hairs of my head; of Whose help we have
tasted, and hope that He shall keep us unto the end." These are truly
royal words, words of a Prince, as were seemly for such a Hero and
Father of the Fatherland.
The States General of the nation possessed the same strong
faith and unswerving trust. They decided to risk everything for the
freedom of religion, and never to submit to their enemies, or have
them take away that freedom. Although we discussed all this before,
we cannot omit what Bor relates of the year 1573. He describes the
situation of the nation, the attitude of the fathers, and shows how in
the midst of despairing circumstances and so many deteriorating
conditions, there was in their spirit a marvelous courage; and their
hearts, in spite of the fact that all in the land was torn apart by
enemy arms, were nevertheless one in untiring courage, and heroic
Let us listen to Bor, "The Prince of Orange", he writes, "had
many cities of Holland and Zeeland in his power, although Holland was
almost cut in two, and the North could not assist the South, because
the enemy took Haarlem. Besides that, Leyden was besieged and in
danger of falling into the hands of the enemy. Other cities were in
the hands of Spain, even the city of Delft. Hollanders from the South
could hardly go from one city to another, but with the greatest
danger. In spite of the fact that Holland and Zealand were in so great
danger, the Prince had with their help, with unbelievable courage and
at great cost, laid siege to the cities of Middelburg and Arnemuiden
A remarkable story. If you will know with how great courage they
suffered these many difficulties, and on top of that undertook other
great things, read the letter that the Prince and the lords of the
States General sent to the King of Spain in 1573. In that letter they
declared, "We intend to risk the utmost in order to gain our liberty,
for we know (Praise the Lord), His Word sufficiently and are persuaded
>from that Word that life and death are in His hands; and death which
no man can escape, is only a passage from this life to the next." With
these and other words they declared that their cause was the Lord's,
that they experienced His divine assistance, and felt assured that
the Lord would not forsake the works of His own hands. We do not know
exactly how much courage and steadfastness we may rely on when we
fight the Lord's battles, and with how great trust we may hold on to the
Lord, even when the possibilities of a good outcome are minuscule.
Those who went before must be our examples, that even in the
most difficult times, we may look to the Lord for our support. Van
Sande, in the beginning of his book "Netherland History", calls upon
us, "Never to forget the great deeds the Lord did for us
Netherlanders, but always to acknowledge them with thanksgiving." The
parents must tell them to their children, that the memory shall be
planted from parents to children, that they too, in sad and happy
times take their ancestors for examples and trust in the Lord their
God, never lose courage, but rather trust Him, and die a glorious
In whatever circumstances God's people may be, Samuel's word
shall always be true, "For the Lord will not forsake His people for
His great Name's sake" (1 Sam. 12: 22). It happens that the Lord leads
His people through the fire and through the water, but He will also
send them an abundant refreshing, as history has taught us, of which
the United Netherlands are a glorious example. In our fatherland we
can sing with God's people, "God is our refuge and strength, a very
present help in trouble" (Ps. 46: 1). And we may conclude, "therefore
will not we fear, though the mountains be carried into the midst of
the sea" (verse 2). The godly Hofferus speaking with the Psalmist in
his "Nederduitse Po'mata", page 168, wrote:
"Enshrined in our memory
Is the care and misery
Heaped upon the Fatherland,
Ere the war came to an end.
I believe that Thy great might,
Has brought all this into light.
What yet may be in store,
Thou wilt not leave us evermore."
That is truly how a people may conclude, which has learned to
lean upon the Lord, the Rock of its salvation.
50 1672 The Year of Disasters
The last years have shown how the Lord not only saved us, but
the greater the need, the more He showed among us the wonders of
His mighty arm for our good. With emotion we think back to the sad
Two mighty kings, of France and England, together with some
mighty German Princes declared war, and the armies of the enemy
penetrated into he heart of the country. No rivers or strongholds
could bring them to a standstill. In less then forty days they took
forty cities, Utrecht, in the heart of the country among them.
We were much afraid. The wisest among us could see nothing but
the end of the famous Republic. There seemed to be nothing that could
be done, but submit to the triumphant enemy. Like our fathers in the
worst of times attempted escape with wives and children in boats, so
now many spoke of making a covenant with the enemy, and submit to
their rule. What is more, this was not only heard from the common
man, but even the great and mighty in the land saw no other way out.
The learned Oomius relates that even the States of Holland and
Zeeland wrote that they judged ambassadors should be sent to the
King of France to negotiate. See Oomius, War Trumpet, page 33.
Notice that the States of Holland not only judged that they
must negotiate with the King of France, but that it was urgent. They
also urged other provinces to do the same. Could it be more serious?
But what? Did the Lord forsake them? In no wise! When the ship of the
Republic was sinking and it seemed to be nearly wrecked; when our
freedom and our religion, and all glory seemed to turn into constant
slavery; exactly then the Lord became our light, our strength and our
salvation. After all His previous wonders He brought light into our
darkness, and gave the provinces cause to sing with Israel of old, "He
is my God and I will prepare Him an habitation; my Father's God and I
will exalt Him" (Ex. 15: 2).
What were God's deeds other then a living declaration of His old
faithfulness, and goodness shown to the Fathers? And why? To bind us
to Himself by these new wonders and so turn the hearts of the
fathers unto the children; to teach us to trust Him as the only Rock
of our salvation, to praise His name.
The Lord gave us a clear sign when in one year (1673), our fleet
fought three battles with two Royal fleets of England and France.
They were on the seventh and fourteenth of June, and the twenty-
first of August. It pleased the Lord to give us the victory. Admiral
De Ruyter witnessed "that the Lord had been signally with them, in
saving officers and sailors."
In the second battle not one officer went missing, and few
others were lost. A Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer was called for at
the fifth of July 1673, to praise and thank the Lord that He had so
clearly sustained and supported us.
And like the Lord renewed His wonders at sea, so He aided ours
in the war on land. We will only remember when the French attacked
the little city of Aardenburg. They came with 6,000 men, and were not
only thrown back by a handful of ours, but in such a way that they
left behind 400 prisoners, 500 killed, and retreated taking 20 wagon
loads of wounded with them. See "The Netherlands in Distress", page
312. The French did not think there would be any resistance, they
were certain of victory as was said in a letter, July 24, from
The author of this letter from Middelburg says very well: If the
great God had not armed the defenders with so remarkable courage,
the city would have been lost to the enemy. It is difficult to
describe the zeal of tender women and children. They kept on bringing
gunpowder and led; they dried wet gunpowder between their hands; most
women wore hats so they appeared as men to the enemy when they
showed themselves on the ramparts. They loaded the muskets for the
men; the artillery instead of using grape-shot and bullets, used cast
iron pots which the women had hammered into pieces. See "The
Netherlands in Distress", page 287. By delivering this city the Lord
worked out His Counsel to aid the fatherland.
In another city there was at that time just one constable. He
did not live in the city, and was there visiting friends, but did
extraordinary work to aid the city. Before this we spoke of such
wonders of the Most High, used in the outworking of His infallible
counsel. All things are in His service, and with Him all things are
It was August of 1672 that the English were attempting to
intercept our merchant ships that were returning from the East
Indies. The Lord kept ours in a wonderful way in that the enemy did
not see ours, and when they were finally spotted by them, the Lord
hindered them by storm winds and tides to attack them in such a way
that they were forced to look for shelter in their own harbours. When
the Duke of Luxembourg was told this, he is said to have remarked,
"It is good to hear those pirates missed this time". It was said this
was so remarkable at the time, for these skippers coming from the
East-Indies did not know there was a war being fought.
What prevented the English to take De Briel in 1672, when their
fleet was before the Meuse river? Nothing but a heavy fog. It is also
said that the ebb tide continued a couple more hours than is usual.
See the Holland Mercury of 1673. It seems to us that this too must
be reckoned with the wonders. Truly remarkable matters. The Lord
showed here that He can use several ways and means to work out His
As the Lord helped us at sea, so He also showed His Providence
against the enemy armies on land. For by His Providence the Lord
hindered the French to enter Holland (province). When in the latter end
of 1672 they pulled out of Utrecht with 14 or 15,000 men, and after
they took Leyden and had plundered The Hague their joy was so great
that they were certain all of Holland was in their power. It was
winter and the rivers were frozen over, the Prince was with his army
at Charleroi and they were sure to have gained their objective.
But little they remembered the ways and means the Lord used in
the past to help and assist the United Netherlands. See what
happened. While the enemy advanced, the Lord suddenly sent mild
weather, and the French being afraid that the ice by which they
gained entrance would not be able to carry them much longer, returned
with great haste to the place whence they came. That their fear was
grounded was seen when the Duke of Luxembourg fell with his horse
through the ice, and could not be saved but by much difficulty, while
he was also slightly wounded. Hereby was their attempt frustrated,
and they were greatly disappointed. It was said that the French,
because of their disappointment aimed their pistols at the heavens,
blasphemed God, and behaved like impatient mad men. But when people
rage in this manner, "The wrath of men shall praise Him"; and, "He is
terrible to the Kings of the earth". Psalm 76.
As clearly as the Lord fought against the French with a sudden
thaw, He assisted us with His winds against the armies of the Bishops
of Munster. When they were minded to lay siege against Coevorden,
they laid dams in the river Vecht. The water rose and was already
running over the city moats. The dam built by the Bishop's men was
well built. It was 90 feet wide at the bottom and 24 on top. He also
planted 60 pieces of artillery on the dam. The garrison of the city
could not think of attacking such a formidable bulwark. When the
Bishop was certain of the victory, and his friends boasted that the
city would come into his hands, the Lord sent such a terrible wind-
storm on the 1st day of October 1673, that the dike gave way in
three places. Hereby, the Lord our God frustrated the designs of the
Bishop, and the work on which they had laboured all summer fell apart
like cob webs. Two hundred farmers who were compelled to work on the
dike, all drowned, along with 4 or 500 soldiers who were guarding the
dike. Lieutenant-Colonel Hostmar who traveled with some ladies in a
coach also drowned.
To their great joy, Coevorden was relieved, and they came from
Groningen to help with all kinds of provisions. A History writer
rightly remarks that it is only the Lord Who must receive the glory
for such relief.
Ph. Doktor, in a Treatise concerning "Theological and Political
Considerations" relates that among the Wonders of the Lord and the
means of our deliverance was the elevation and promotion of the
Prince of Orange at that time. Truly, if we take notice of any matter
whereby the Lord worked our deliverance, and in which He dealt
marvelously, this is it. We will first let the author speak, and then
say our opinion. He writes:
"Our country was in great confusion and perplexity, and the
three provinces, Gelderland, Overijsel and Utrecht were already
overpowered, and the inhabitants like formerly Israel 2 Kings 19: 26,
were afraid and trembling and there seemed to be no deliverer. But
the Lord remembering His faithfulness and the blessings given this
nation by the hands of the illustrious house of Orange Nassau in
previous days, called upon the youthful sprout of that dynasty His
Highness the Prince of Orange (William III), girded him with the courage
of a lion, and with his small army gave us thus far the victory.
"When this heroic branch of the House of Orange was despised by
gross ingratitude, the God of wonders did a great thing before our
eyes in that He turned the hearts of the Regents in a moment to
elevate this young hero to Captain General of army and navy, and
also to Stadtholder of Holland and Western Friesland. He, the Master
Builder of all things took that stone rejected by the builders of our
country, and made him into a head of the corner." See also page 12 of
the same Treatise.
Taking further note of what the Lord wrought, it is known that
one wonder followed another. For the Lord did not only deliver us
>from our enemies, but with the prophet we can say, "the Lord has
cast out our enemy" (Zeph.3: 15). After the Lord gave into the heart
of our Prince to take Bonn, he put terror in the heart of the enemy
that they fled the country with the same haste as they took
possession of the same a little earlier. See the Holland Mercury of
When we were down in deep distress, the Lord dealt with us as
in days of yore. For as He gave us Prince William 1, Blest Memory, to
deliver us when the waters rose above our heads, He also gave us
this our noble Prince, by whose hand His Majesty gave us marvelously
in His good will, relief and glorious deliverance. Our enemies who
mockingly said, "That we had nothing but prayer and the Prince", came
to experience to their shame, that they were conquered by both.
To come to a conclusion we have seen how the Lord was merciful
to us in the hour of despair, and that in spite of the fact we
provoked Him by our sins, He did not destroy us.
It is as if the Lord spoke to us as He did by the prophet, "How
shall I give thee up Ephraim? How shall I deliver you Israel? how
shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zebôim? mine
heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will
not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to
destroy Ephraim: for I am God and no man" (Hosea 11: 8: 9).
Let us put our trust in God, as our fathers put their trust in
Him. We must also live godly lives, we must follow in the steps of our
fathers who esteemed nothing higher than God's holy truth, for which
they gave everything they had and whose conversation convinced their
When with them we appreciate the holy doctrine, God shall not
leave us alone in our needs, but shall above this enrich us with many
blessings, and shall do us good by and through His Word. Do we so
adorn our holy religion, we shall "increase and wax great, and come to
excellent ornaments" (Ezek. 16: 7). Yes, our country shall be an
ornament before all nations. With one word, if we glorify, and make the
name of our God great; according to His promise, He shall "Raise us
to praise and a name, and the heathen shall see our righteousness,
and Kings our glory."
May the great God turn our hearts to love and fear His name,
to the end that we may walk in His ways, enjoy all prosperity in this
life; and hereafter inherit eternal salvation, according to the riches
of His grace in Christ Jesus, our Lord, Amen. So be it!
"O, Holy and Great God! As is Thy name, so is Thy fame unto the
ends of the earth. Thou art the Most High, for ever the Lord, Who
does with the host of heaven and all the inhabitants of the earth
what pleases Thee. It is in Thy hand to abase and to exalt; Thou
changest times and years; Thou deposest Kings and establishes them,
thou also fillest all lands throughout all ages with Thy wonders. Thou
makest the green tree dry, and the dry tree Thou makest it green.
Thou madest the wilderness into waters, and the dry land into rivers:
these wonders thou hast shown to our fatherland, of which we all are
witnesses. For Thou, O Lord! looked upon us in our low estate, and
knew the miseries and difficulties, put upon us by our enemies. To
thee the Fathers called from the depth of their miseries, thou
heardest them and their voice came unto Thee in thy sanctuary.
Therefore Thou brought us up also out of an horrible pit, out of the
miry clay, and set our feet upon a rock, and established our goings.
They indeed came into water and fire, Thou made men ride upon their
heads, and laid narrow bands upon their loins; but thou leddest them
out in an abundant refreshing. Thou hast delivered us from the cruel
enemy, because they were mightier than we, Thou hast broken our yoke
in two, so we walked upright. Our enemies shouted, "We have conquered
them, this is the day we waited for, break down, break down to the
ground"; But Thou hast to the contrary taken our right hand and
established us, yea we prospered; but thou hast afflicted them. Our
enemy became the tail, but we the head; thou hast put everlasting
scorn upon their heads, but Thou hast made us great and glorious. O
God! thou hast done this for Thine own self, o Lord! not for our
righteousness, but according to Thy mercy, because Thou didst love
us. Thou hast blessed us with blessings from heaven above, and with
blessings from the earth beneath, and made us into a fair tree which
spreads it branches unto the sea, and his shoot unto the rivers; so
that we reached East and West, South and North with the arms of our
State, and all the ends of the earth brought us their riches; even
the most excellent fruits of the sun and the most excellent produce
of the moon. Hereby we were filled with might, riches and honor, yes
made perfect in fame, to the rejoicing of our friends and fear of our
enemies; so that the Kings of the earth deemed themselves happy to
hide under our shadow, and were allowed to add their arms to ours. O
God! these are Thy wonders, Thou hast bared Thine arm for the eyes
of our enemies, yea for the nations of the world, and all the ends of
the earth have seen Thy salvation. Yet, all this was too little for
Thee, Lord! Lord! that Thou shouldest enrich us with temporal
blessings, but Thou hast above that given us abundance of grace and
truth; so that when our Fathers met in forests, holes and caves of
the earth, with a thousand dangers for life and limb, Thou hast given
us the means of salvation in such rich measure. Thou hast planted our
candle stick glorious over us. In great congregations Thou hast given
us liberty to serve Thee with our religion, now these many years, in
spite of Anti-Christ and all his followers. Therefore o Lord! Thou art
great, and there are none like Thy wonders; Thou art a Rock, which we
may trust; men are vanity, and less than vanity, wherefore the wrath
of men shall praise Thee. In their most arrogant rage, Thou Lord, art
most highly praised. Grant us, o God a wise and thankful heart, that
we, rightly evaluating Thy benefits, may glorify Thy great name, that
is exalted above all praise. Grant that we never forget Thy blessings,
but that the fathers may communicate Thy great acts and wonders to
their children, and they again to their children, that posterity may
know them, and that Thy name may be proclaimed from child to child;
that they may know, love, fear, and obey Thee as their God. And since
Thou hast glorified Thy holy truth in all this, o God! grant that we
may esteem it highly, and keep the pledge that is entrusted to us. Do
not suffer, O God, that it will be undermined, changed or corrupted,
as we rightly deserve because of our sins, of which we already see
the sad signs. Grant courage to the servants of Thy Word, that in all
uprightness, carefulness and candour, they may proclaim Thy saving
Word in all purity; discover and expose all heresy. Let them also show
Israel their trespasses and the house of Jacob their sins. That they
may be fruitful in teaching Thy people Thy statutes, and Israel Thy
law, and conform their word with their walk. Let the governors be
found fathers of the fatherland and nursing fathers of Thy Church.
Fill them with zeal for Thy honor and Thy Holy truth, that they may
promote Thy Kingdom with all their might. Lord, sanctify them in Thy
truth, that they may sanctify Thee, their God, in faith and in
obedience; ban sin and scandals as they abound in these evil times;
but make them good ministers of Thy people. Grant them in all this,
obedient subjects and a prosperous rule. Let the families be like
little Churches, and let all the inhabitants in the nation fear Thy
great name. That everyone may walk worthy of the calling wherewith he
is called, and adorn the holy religion; that it may be to us and our
descendants a land of ornaments and a lovely pleasure-garden among
the nations. O God, forgive the nation's great sins; look upon us in
the Son of Thy love; that great Highpriest over Thy house, Who with
thee and the holy Ghost, one only God lives and reigns forever. Amen.
END OF BOOK
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Calvin, Close Communion and the
Coming Reformation (a book review of Alexander and Rufus... by
John Anderson ) by Reg Barrow (Shows how Calvin
practiced close communion and how the biblical view of this ordinance is
intended to purify the individual, church and state. Refutes the Popish and
paedocommunion heresies [regarding this sacrament], as well as all views
of open communion. Also argues that Arminians, anti-paedobaptists, anti-
regulativists, and all those who openly violate the law of God [and are
unrepentant] should be barred from the Lord's table -- as a corrective
measure ordained of God for their recovery.)
Corporate Sanctification: Holding Fast
the Attainments of Reformation by John Brown (of Wamphray; Samuel
Rutherford's Disciple) (An overview of the Covenanter doctrine of
reformation attainments by one of the great Covenanter theologians.
Helpful in dispelling false charges of Anabaptism and perfectionism laid at
the feet of faithful Covenanters.)
What Is A Moral Person? How God
Views the Church and the Nations by David Scott, John Cunningham,
and George Smeaton (A clear and concise summary of the biblical
doctrine of the moral person; i.e. that God regards churches and nations as
moral entities separate from the individual members of which they are
composed. No Christian can afford not to understand this vital teaching!
In many ways this is a crux of the Covenanter position, underlying as it
does upon the issues of separation, civil government, the Covenants,
Strictures on Occasional Hearing
An inquiry into Song 1:7, "Why should I be as one that turneth aside by
the flocks of thy companions?" This book sets out to demonstrates the
proposition that one should not hear the public preaching of those he can
not take communion with (i.e. it proposes a ban on occasionally hearing
those with whom you can not maintain organic fellowship with). The
implications contained in this truth are immense; especially when one has
adopted the Biblical doctrine of close communion and is set upon upholding
the covenanted reformation. The duty to separation and to true visible
unity are all encompassed here. A review of this book, written in 1818,
notes that the "treatise may be viewed as a complete repository of all that
has yet been said on the subject." It is filled with Scriptural, as well as
historical testimony, and is a welcome tonic to the weak and compromising
books of our day that so often sacrifice the truth of the altar of some other
man made expediency (such as unity for political or ecclesiastical
advantage). For as the introduction notes, "It is the revealed will of God,
and not saintship, which is the only rule of a visible profession." That
Christians exist in other denominations is not denied, but that they are
faithful to the covenanted reformation (already historically obtained) is.
The arguments set forth here are reminiscent of those found in
Rutherford's Due Right of Presbyteries. If you are struggling with questions
related to separation, the unity of the visible church, close communion, etc.
this book may be exactly what you've been looking for. A massive
appendix also lays out the historical testimony concerning this matter.
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $39.95-80%=7.99
Concerning Close Communion
An strong little book that should be considered by all those seeking the
purity and peace of the church. Holds to the strict old covenanted
Presbyterian position. Justifies the maintaining of the separate existence of
a denomination that will faithfully testify against sin, and the excluding
from the Lord's table those that do not so testify. Gives numerous
examples of backsliding in regard to specific truths of Scripture. Proclaims
that "the Word of God teaches unequivocally that the Commandments are
equally binding." This includes the first commandment as it relates to
Christ's Kingship over the nations (and dissent from immoral civil
governments which will not recognize and obey Christ as King and law
giver); and the second commandment concerning purity of worship (as
against "all devising, counselling, using, and any wise approving, any
religious worship not instituted by God Himself," such as the use of songs
other than the Psalms and the Popish use of musical instruments in public
worship). Maintains that violation of these commandments are grounds for
barring a person from the Lord's table. Shows how close communion is
nothing more than the old Presbyterian view, in keeping with the
Westminster Confession of Faith and John Calvin when he stated "We are
only contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church,
required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which are the signs
of profession) but also especially of doctrine" (John Calvin, Institutes
2.12). Also includes an excellent discussion of essentials and non-
essentials, as they relate to the Lord's supper and salvation. The best short
book on the Lord's supper that we have seen. Written by an RPCNA
minister in large easy-to-read type.
(Rare bound photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.99
How Best to Secure a Return to the Use of the Psalms in the Ordinance of
Superb, strongly worded, Biblical teaching on the proper method of
lovingly bringing peace and purity to the body of Christ. The author
contends that "hymn-singing in the service of praise is in its ultimate
analysis a species of idolatry," and thus must be strenuously opposed.
Numerous practical methods (and the rationale) to promote Psalmody and
oppose the use of man-made "hymns" in the public worship service are
given. From McNaugher's The Psalms in Worship.
(Rare bound photocopy) $6.95-72%=1.95
The Westminster Confession of Faith
":The product of Puritan conflict," stated Shedd, reaching "a perfection of
statement never elsewhere achieved.""All that learning the most profound
and extensive, intellect the most acute and searching, and piety the most
sincere and earnest, could accomplish, was thus concentrated in the
Westminster Assembly's Confession of Faith, which may be safely termed
the most perfect statement of Systematic Theology ever framed by the
Christian Church," writes Hetherington in The History of the
Westminster Assembly of Divines (p. 345, emphasis added). "These are
worth an hundred victories on the battle field. We do not fear to say of
them that they are the finest transfusion into uninspired language of the
sublime, awful, blessed truths of the Word of God which the Church has as
yet been honored to make... Never can the Covenanters be robbed of the
immortal honor of having, while at the summit of their power, published
this great principle to the world" noted J.A. Wylie, in praise of the
Westminster Standards (cited in Johnston's Treasury of the Scottish
Covenant, p. 101). Concerning the Shorter Catechism, which is one of the
items also included in this book, Mitchell, in his Westminster Assembly: Its
History and Standards, notes: "...it is a thoroughly Calvinistic and Puritan
catechism, the ripest fruit of the Assembly's thought and experience,
maturing and finally fixing the definitions of theological terms to which
Puritanism for half a century had been leading up and gradually coming
closer and closer to in its legion of catechisms" (p. 431). The WCF is the
greatest of all the creeds of the Christian church. The church of Christ
cannot be creedless and live. Especially in an age of doubt and confusion, it
is her duty to define and proclaim the one true faith. Nowhere has the
Reformed church done this so effectively as in the Westminster family of
documents. This book represents Reformed thinking at its purest and best.
It was intended, as part of the covenanted reformation taking place during
its compilation, to be adopted as the binding confessional standard for
every individual, family, court, church, and legislature in the British Isles.
Study it carefully and we think that you will see why this same goal
should be covenanted to by all serious minded followers of the Lord Jesus
Christ. This is the definitive edition of the WCF and its many related
documents. It contains Manton's "Epistle to the Reader," the Larger
Catechism, Shorter Catechism, "The Sum of Saving Knowledge," "The
National Covenant (1638)," "The Solemn League and Covenant (1643),"
"Acknowledgment of Publick Sins and Breaches of the Covenant (1648),"
"The Directory for the Publick Worship of God (1645)," The Form of
Presbyterial Church Government (1645)," "The Directory for Family
Worship (1647)," an extensive index and more! "Every effort has been
made, by sparing no expense or labour... to render it the Standard Edition,"
note the publishers. An essential book for every Christian home, church,
and state! Next to the Bible itself, no other book can furnish you with as
much necessary spiritual information. Related items: Robert Shaw's
Exposition of the WCF ($29.95 - 60% = 11.98/bound photocopy) and
William Hetherington's History of the Westminster Assembly ($24.95 -
(Hardcover) $29.95 - 50% = $14.98
(Softcover) $19.95 - 40% = $11.97
(Pocket edition, just the Confession: without scripture proofs, the
Catechisms, etc.) $4.95-20%= $3.96
(The Confession on cassette) $7.95 - 80% = $1.59
(Larger Catechism on 2 cassettes) $15.90 - 80% = $3.18
(Shorter Catechism on cassette) $7.95 - 80% = $1.59
An Explanation and Defence of the Terms of Communion, Adopted by
the Community of Dissenters, etc.
Defends the inescapable necessity of creeds and confessions, while
promoting a fully creedal church membership. Shows how the law of God
obliges all Christians "to think the same things, and to speak the same
things; holding fast the form of sound words, and keeping the ordinances
as they have been delivered to us" (Col. 3:13). After laying some basic
groundwork, this book proceeds to defend the six points of the "Terms of
Ministerial and Christian Communion Agreed Upon by the Reformed
Presbytery." These six points are the most conservative and
comprehensive short statements of consistent Presbyterianism you will
likely ever see. Besides the obvious acknowledgement of the alone
infallible Scriptures, the Westminster Standards, and the divine right of
Presbyterianism, these points also maintain the perpetual obligation of our
Covenants, National and Solemn League, the Renovation of these covenants
at Auchensaugh in 1712, and the Judicial Act, Declaration and Testimony
emitted by the Reformed Presbytery. In short, this book sets forth
adherence to the whole of the covenanted reformation, in both church and
state, as it has been attained by our covenanting forefathers.
(Rare bound photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.98
(NEW!) Unity and Uniformity in the Church (1881)
This item lays out the case for unity among churches, proving its assertions
from: (1.) throughout Scripture; (2.) from our Lord's declaring His will both
in precept and prayer; (3.) from apostolic practise; and (4.) from the
covenanted Reformation's "Solemn League and Covenant" which lead to the
production of the Westminster standards. Houston notes that in the
Apostolic church "the government of the church was one and common
wherever churches were planted. It was Presbyterian, and neither Prelatic,
a system of monarchial despotism, nor Congregational, a system of popular
democracy." This biblical and Presbyterian uniformity was considered the
apostolic, visible and doctrinal manifestation of the scriptural injunction to
"one Lord, one faith, (and) one baptism." Houston also points out that "the
only true and safe way of union is based on the platform of Scriptural
uniformity; while that which is framed on allowing diversity in doctrine,
and differences in government and worship, is a mere human contrivance,
and its effect is to sanction and perpetuate divisions (which is to sanction
schism under the false pretence of unity--RB), and to mar the prospect of
an ultimate happy union in the church of Christ." Biblical union and
uniformity is shown to be based on "agreement in doctrine, worship,
discipline, and government." Moreover, the author contends that, "this is to
be constantly sought after by men united in mind and heart, pledged to
God and to one another; it is to be externally manifested, and to be
diligently labored for, that it may be generally and universally prevalent.
It is never to be viewed as impracticable. This was the main design of the
convocation of the Westminster Assembly." The eschatological aspect of
visible unity is also noticed, shedding valuable light on such postmillennial
strongholds as, "The watchmen on the walls of Zion shall see eye to eye,
they shall lift up the voice together, and together shall they sing" (Isa.
52:8) and "The Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day there shall
be one Lord, and His name one" (Zech. 14:9). This book is full of faithful
encouragement and is one of the best introductions to this topic we have
(Rare bound photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.98
Act, Declaration, And Testimony, For The Whole Of The Covenanted
Reformation, As Attained To, And Established In, Britain and Ireland;
Particularly Betwixt The Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive. As, Also, Against
All The Steps Of Defection From Said Reformation, Whether In Former Or
Later Times, Since The Overthrow Of That Glorious Work, Down To This
Present Day (1876)
Upholds the original work of the Westminster Assembly and testifies to
the abiding worth and truth formulated in the Westminster family of
documents. Upholds and defends the crown rights of King Jesus in church
and state, denouncing those who would remove the crown from Christ's
head by denying His right to rule (by His law) in both the civil and
ecclesiastical spheres. Testifies to the received doctrine, government,
worship, and discipline of the Church of Scotland in her purest (reforming)
periods. Applies God's Word to the Church's corporate attainments "with a
judicial approbation of the earnest contendings and attainments of the
faithful, and a strong and pointed judicial condemnation of error and the
promoters thereof" (The Original Covenanter and Contending Witness, Dec.
17/93, p. 558. Write for a sample of this highly recommended publication
at: P.O. Box 131, Pottstown, PA, 19464, USA). Shows the church's great
historical victories (such as the National and Solemn League and Covenant,
leading to the Westminster Assembly) and exposes her enemies actions
(e.g. the Prelacy of Laud; the Independency, sectarianism, covenant
breaking and ungodly toleration set forth by the likes of Cromwell [and the
Independents that conspired with him]; the Erastianism and civil
sectarianism of William of Orange, etc.). It is not likely that you will find a
more consistent working out of the principles of Calvinism anywhere. Deals
with the most important matters relating to the individual, the family, the
church and the state. Sets forth a faithful historical testimony of God's
dealings with men during some of the most important days of church
history. A basic text that should be mastered by all Christians.
(Rare bound photocopy) $19.95-70%=5.99
Biblical Civil Government Versus the Beast; and, the Basis for Civil
This is the best modern testimony for the biblical principles of civil
magistracy -- which were so prominent during the height of the second
Reformation -- that we have seen. Price documents the teachings of many
of the major Reformers (and some of the church fathers) and in an easy
reading manner simplifies what can at times become a very complex
subject. This particular Reformation message, proclaiming Christ's Kingship
over the nations (and the practical outworking of the same), has been
buried from the view of the general public for some time now, but is once
again being brought to light in this very helpful introductory book. A
sobering appendix has been added (written by a friend of the covenanted
Reformation) which shows why it is unlawful for a Christian to swear any
oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. This appendix also
compares the points of difference between classic (or historic) Reformed
teaching and modern Reformed teaching regarding magistracy and religion.
Special attention is payed to the OPC, the PCA and the RPCNA and the
changes that these groups have made to second Reformation confessional
standards (concerning matters related to the civil magistrate). Statements
by B.B. Warfield are also contrasted to the older Reformed views. You
won't find a better easy-to-read and easy to understand introduction to
this important topic -- a topic which impacts directly on every Christian's
testimony for the crown rights of King Jesus!
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $19.95-65%=6.98
This book is also offered FREE of charge on SWRB's web page at:
WYLIE, SAMUEL B.
The Two Sons of Oil; or, the Faithful Witness for Magistracy and
Ministry upon a Scriptural Basis (1850 edition, reprinted 1995)
A Covenanter classic opening Revelation 11:3-4 and Zechariah 4:14. It has
been hailed as the "best presentation of the position of the Covenanter
Church that has been written." Noting that the "[t]ime has been, when the
whole body of Presbyterians, in Scotland, England, and Ireland,
unanimously subscribed" to these principles, "[f]or civil and ecclesiastical
reformation" and that thousands bled and died for the glorious covenanted
cause of civil and ecclesiastical reformation; Wylie sets out to explain and
defend "that cause. Not because it is an ancient cause; not because many
have sealed it with their blood; but, because," as he says, "I thought it the
doctrine of the Bible, and the cause of Christ." This book explains how to
tell if a government (especially a civil government) is faithful to Christ and
thus to be obeyed for conscience's sake. It also gives direction regarding
when and how to resist (and disassociate) yourself from governments
which get their power from "the beast." Moreover, this book gives clear
testimony as to what the Bible requires of civil magistrates, noting "that
civil rulers should exercise their power in protecting and defending the
religion of Jesus." It also gives plain reasons why dissent from the
government of the United States (and other covenant breaking nations) is
the legitimate Scriptural pattern.
ROBERTS, WILLIAM L.
The Duty of Nations, in their National Capacity, to Acknowledge and
Support the True Religion (1853)
Excerpted from the Reformed Presbyterian Catechism below, this book
deals with the inescapable necessity, of the demand found in the Word of
God, for the Civil establishment of Christ and King and Lawgiver over
every nation on earth. If you are sick of the cease-fire with humanism, set
forth by the syncretistic, Satanic and pragmatic pagan politicians of our
day, (those who bargain with votaries of Antichrist [the Pope], publicly
tolerate all manner of false religions (e.g. Islam) and idolatry, and compose
their policy and draw their pretended authority from the beast [and not
the Word of God], this book is for you! For all pagan politics is summed up
in the words of the Cameronian (Covenanter) political philosopher
Alexander Shields, as "rotting away under the destructive distempers of
detestable neutrality, loathsome lukewarmness, declining, and decaying in
corruptions, defections, divisions, distractions, confusions; and so judicially
infatuated with darkness and delusions, that they forget and forego the
necessary testimony of the day" (A HIND LET LOOSE, 1797 edition, p. 20).
Pick up this book and begin the political walk in the "footsteps of the
flock," traveling the covenanting road of Reformation and Scripture (with
the magisterial Reformers of the past)!
(Rare bound photocopy) $5.95-70%=1.78