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exposed to the most terrifying persecutions, he, without the least concession, indefatigably pursued his vocation. This heavy trial I have never yet experienced, notwithstanding which I feel myself armed with the resolution, if God would allow such to be the case, to remain, with his help steadfast to the end: and this also, must be the mind of all christians. (1 Pet. 4, 1.)
If our author, occasionally, uses severe expressions against the unrighteousness of the world, the misleaders of the people, and blood-thirsty priests and governments, it is no more than what Christ, the instructor of all, himself did, (Matt. 23; Luke 11) likewise the apostles: (Acts 8, 20 to 23; Chap. 13, 10; Rom. 1; Gal. 1; 2 Pet. 2; James 1; 2 John; Rev. 21, 8; Kev. 22, 15; &c.) So also did the prophets, and all faithful messengers of God, continually, represent his threatening judgment to the perverse and unregenerated, whence, they, likewise, were, incessantly, more or less hated and persecuted by the world.
Oh! all ye, who profess to be peaceable christians, read this book carefully, in which you can perceive, with the direction of scriptures, what properly constitutes a true and pacific christian, and conduct your lives accordingly, showing, in truth, that you are lovers of peace. Take upon you the disposition of the dove, and the innocence of the lamb, and evidence that you are branches in the vine Jesus, and made partakers of his divine nature. Let every one read for himself: For all scripturo given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim. 3, 16, 17.)
Let us not any longer, after the fashion of our indolent flesh, say: Yet a little sleep, a little folding of the hands to sleep, &c. (Prov. 24, 31) for the messenger is before our door, calling upon us to give an account of our stewardship, O it is dreadful to fall into the hands of the living God! he is a consuming fire to all who believe not, and whosoever has his name not written in the book of life, will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Therefore, awake every one, and be converted to the Lord, learn of Christ, as the true prophet and teacher, accept his word and follow him, as Menno clearly inculcates, and your soul shall triumph over all that is sin, death, devil and hell, and shall reign with Christ forever and ever, Amén...
But should you despise, for unjust reasons, the doctrine herein set. forth, take heed that the judgments of God fall not the more heavily upon you; for our author had, while yet living, many enemies and persecutors on account of what he taught, and so, also, did Christ and his apostles suffer for truth's sake. Yea, my God, work thou, with thy grace, in the hearts of those, who read this book, give them enlightened eyes, and open understandings to perceive thy holy will, and prepare them to do in every thing, as is pleasing in thy sight, in these perverted and confused times, for the glory and honor of thy ever praised name, Amen.
JOHN HERR, near Strasburg, Lancaster Co. Pa..
March 25th, 1835.
TO THE READER.
PIOUS, BELOVED READER: Since I perceive that our work, called, "THE FUNDAMENT OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE," which I published a few years ago, has been productive of much good, through the grace of God. to whom be eternal praise and thanks; and God's holy word which was obscured for such a long time, has been again a little explained, through our limited talents; and many well disposed children, requested and entreated me, to revise and correct such parts as were obscured through the negligence of the printer, and which deprived the reader of the sense; I was prevailed on, and did so. In some places I made additions; explained the obscure parts, and corrected those that were defective, and omitted all redundancies; the style, language and form I improved, in order to be better suited to aid the reader, to make known and acceptable, the rejected truth.
Not my reader, that I altered the first ground and contents; by no mcans! I have not altered, but as appears to me, improved its form, and confirmed it with more power and plainness. Those who fear God may judge. The former, as well as this is God's word; and all what the first teaches, this teaches also. May the almighty, merciful Father grant his grace, to accompany our little work, that it may produce much fruit in many thousands, Amen.
NOTE. The following Preface shows to whom this book is addressed, and was written at the time when the errors of Muntzer yet prevailed.
To those in authority and all others, of whatever condition, Menno Simon wishes them the illumination of the spirit, and the pure knowl edge of the kingdom of God, of God our heavenly Father, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who has loved us and washed us from our sins with his blood. To him be praise, honor, glory and thanksgiving to eternity, Amen.
Dear Sirs, friends and brethren, since we teach from the scriptures, and from experience find, that the prediction of the prophets, Christ and of the apostles, is in full power concerning oppression, misery, want, persecution, danger, anxiety and false doctrine, in this last time. (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 3; 2 Pet. 2; Jude 1) and this so powerfully, that the gracious Father must shorten these days, otherwise none will be saved. Therefore, we poor miserable men entreat and admonish every one, and that through the mercy of the Lord, that he would for once candidly read our Ground and belief, lay it well to heart and understand it, that you might know what kind of doctrine we inculcate
xi and what faith we maintain, what kind of life we lead, and how we are disposed, on account of which we have to suffer so much,-must endure imprisonment, exile, be robbed, derided, defamed and slain as innocent sheep. In order that you may cordially weep and lament over your former bloody deeds before God, and be more circumspect, and watchful and may henceforth be found to be more pious, sincere; yea god-fearing magistracy, (Exod. 18, 23; Deut. 1, 17; 2 Chron. 19; Lev. 19) not to mortify and destroy, but be fathers and guardians of all miserable and wretched; not exterminate, but defend righteousness, not persecutors but followers of Christ and his word. Therefore anoint your eyes with eye salve that you may see and know which is the true way of truth and life. (Rev. 3; John 14.) The way which is so strait and is found of few. (Matt. 7.) The truth, which is knowu to none, but to those who are taught of the spirit of the Lord, illuminated and drawn by the Father. (John 16; Matt. 11.) The life, which is to know God the Father as the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he sent, (John 17) that you may see him whom you pierced so outrageously, (Acts 1) and that you may with holy Paul fast, and weep and humble yourselves before the Lord, (1 Cor. 15; Gal. 1; Eph. 3; Joel 2,) clothe yourselves in sackcloth; rend your hearts and not your garments, that you may find grace in his sight. For he is long-suffering, gracious and merciful and pardons the iniquity of all who sincerely repent and seek his grace, (Mic. 7.) Be no longer like Jeroboam, Ahab and Mannasseh, but like David, Hezekiah and Josiah; that you need not stand confounded in the great dread day of the Lord on account of your entrusted office-in that day which shall burn as an oven; and all who have used violence and did unrighteously upon the earth shall be burnt up as dry straw and stubble. (Mal. 4.)
Therefore, we most humbly entreat you for the sake of Christ's merits, that you would thoroughly ponder and reflect upon our faith, doctrine and undertaking; and not esteem us to be worse than you do thieves and murderers, whom you do not condemn without having perfect knowledge of their case. Our doings are not thievish, nor have we to do with possessions, but with God and his word, our bodies and souls, eternal life or eternal death. Therefore do not look upon the usages and customs of the fathers, nor upon the worldly wise and the learned, for it is hidden from them. (Matt. 11.) They were always those who from the beginning thrust from them the wisdom of God through their own wisdom and have trampled it under foot. For the wisdom of God, which we teach, is a wisdom which none knows, except they who are desirous of living and walking according to the will of God, (1 Cor. 1; John 7.) It is wisdom that is not to be brought from afar and to be taught in colleges. It must come from above and be learned through the Holy Ghost. (John 3.) As Paul says: (Rom. 10.) Say not in thine heart; who shall ascend into heaven? That is, to bring Christ down from above: Or, who shall
*Multi tribulationes justorum, et ex his omnibus liberabit eos Dominus, i. e. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Loap delivereth him out of them all.
descend into the deep? That is to bring up Christ from the dead. But the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart. That is, the word of faith which we preach, namely: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; therefore, look to God's word, to the testimony and example of the holy prophets, the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles. Let these be your doctors, teachers, and not the ambitious feudal preachers of this world, then you will soon perceive, whether we are within or without the truth. May the almighty and eternal God give you such hearts and minds. To him be honor, praise and gratitude, the kingdom, power and majesty for ever, Amen.
Seeing then, beloved, that satan can transform himself into an angel of light, (2 Cor. 11) and thus sow tares among the Lord's wheat (Matt. 3) such as the sword, polygamy, secular kingdom, and kings and the like errors on account of which the innocent have to suffer much; hence we are urged to publish this our faith and doctrine; and we desire for Jesus' sake that we might obtain so much grace, that they would not treat and judge us except according to the word of God as is reasonable and just. But should we not obtafn so much grace, we have to commend it unto the Lord, who is the only helper of every one in need. We will, nevertheless, through the grace of God, abide in the word of the Lord; and comfort ourselves with the scriptures, which say: Thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel; fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by my name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee; for I am the LORD thy God, the Holy one of Israel, thy Savior. (Isa. 43.) Again: Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings; for the moth shall eat them up like a garment and the worms shall eat them like wool-I, even I, am he that comforteth thee who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid af a man that shall die, and the son of man which shall be made as grass? (Isa. 51.) Christ also says: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Whosoever will confess him before men, him will he also confess before his heavenly Father; but whosoever denies him, him will he also deny before his heavenly Father. (Matt. 10; Luke 12.) With the heart, says Paul, we believe unto righteousness, but with the mouth we make confession unto salvation.
Since then the scriptures urge so much both as to believing and confessing, and comfort us so pleasantly against the raging and raving of men, therefore, do we desire to abide by the scriptures until death. And hereby testify before you in Ghrist Jesus, that we neither have, nor know of any other Ground, Faith or Doctrine, than what may be plainly read, heard or understood from the word of the Lord, Amen.
He alludes to the errors of Muntzer.
MENNO SIMON'S RENUNCIATION
CHURCH OF ROME.
I write to you the truth in Christ and lie not. In the year 1524, being then in my 28th year, I undertook the duties of a Priest in my father's village, called Pinningum, in Friesland. Two others of similar age to myself, also officiated in the same station. The one was my pastor, and was well learned in part-the other succeeded me-both had read the scriptures partially; but I had not touched them during my life, for I feared, if I should read them, they would mislead me. Behold! such a stupid preacher I was, for nearly two years.
In the first year thereafter a thought occurred to me, as often as I handled the bread and wine in the mass, that they were not the flesh and blood of the Lord. I thought that it was the suggestion of the devil, that he might lead me off from my I confessed it often-sighed and prayed, yet I could not be freed from this thought.
Those two aforementioned young men and myself spent our time daily in playing, drinking, and all manner of frivolous diversion, alas! as it is the fashion and way of such useless people and when we were to treat a little of scripture, I could not speak a word with them without being scoffed at; for I did not know what I asserted-thus concealed was the word of God to my understanding.
At length I resolved that I would examine the New Testament attentively;-I had not proceeded far therein, ere I discovered that we were deceived. My conscience, which was troubled on account of the sacramental bread, aforementioned, soon obtained relief, without any human aid or advice; though I was encouraged by Luther in the belief, that human authority cannot bind to eternal death.