CONFESSION OF A WOMAN CALLED CLAESKEN, WHO LAID DOWN HER LIFE FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS, A. D. 1559
Questions and answers between the commissary and Claesken
The commissary first interrogated me concerning my name, the place I was from, my age, and other like things. He then asked me, "Are you baptized?" Claesken. "Yes." Copra."Who baptized you?"
Cl. "Jelis of Aix-la-Chapelle."
Com. "The deceiver; he himself has renounced his belief. How did he do when he baptized you?"
Cl. "He baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
Com. "Where did you receive baptism?"
Cl. "At Workum, in the field."
Com. "Were there others present?"
Com. "Who were they?"
Cl. "I have forgotten."
Com. "What brought you there?"
Cl. "I have forgotten."
I could truthfully give this answer both times.
Com. "Are your children not baptized?" Cl."My youngest two are not."
Com. "Why did you not have your children baptized?"
Cd."Because I was satisfied with them as the Lord had given them to me."
Com."Why were you so satisfied with Abraham and Sicke, and not with Douwe; you had Douwe baptized?"
Cl. "I did not know it then."
Com. "What did you not know then?"
Cl. "What I know now."
Com. "What do you know now?"
Cl. "What the Lord has given me to know." Corn."What has the Lord given you to know?"
Cl. "That I cannot find it in the Scriptures, that this ought to be."
Com. "How long have you not been to church?"
Cl. "Not for nine or ten years."
These are the questions which he put to me; but he used far more words, and when I did not readily answer him, he said that I had a dumb devil in me, that the devil transformed himself into an angel of light in us, and that we were all heretics. He then read to me the articles I had confessed, and said it should come before the lords, and that if I desired it, he would write it differently. I replied, "You need not change anything."
Questions and answers between the inquisitor and Claesken
Inquisitor. "Why did you have yourself baptized?" Claesken. "The Scriptures speak of anew life. John first calls to repentance, Christ Himself also, and afterwards the apostles; they taught the people to repent and reform, and then to be baptized. Thus did I repent and reform, and was baptized." Against this he did not say much.
Inq. "Why did you not have your children baptized?"
Cl. "I cannot find in the Scriptures that this ought to be."
Inq. "David says: 'I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.' Ps. 51:5. Since children are born with original sin, they must be baptized, if they are to be saved."
Cl. "If a man can be saved by an external sign, then Christ has died in vain."
Inq. "It is written, John 3:5, that we must be born again, of water and of the Spirit; hence, children must be baptized."
Cl. "Christ does not say this to children, but to the adult; therefore did I become regenerated. We know that the children are in the hands of the Lord. The Lord said: -;Suffer little children to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."' Matthew 19:14.
Inq. "The household of Stephanas was baptized, which probably also included children." I Cor. 1:16.
Cl."We do not depend on probabilities; we have the certain assurance." He did not say much against this either.
Ing. "What do you think of the holy church?"
Cl. "I think much of it."
Inq. "Why then do you not go to church?"
Cl. "I think nothing of your churchgoing." Inq."Do you believe that God is Almighty?"
Cl. "Yes, I believe this."
Inq. "Do you then also believe that Christ consecrates Himself, and is present in the bread? Paul says: 'The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? And the cup which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?"' I Cor. 10:16.
Cl."I well know what Paul says, and believe it, too."
Inq. ."Christ said: 'Take, eat; this is my body;' and Paul likewise." Matt. 26:26; I Cor. 11:24. Cl."I well know what Christ and Paul say, and thus I believe." Ing."Do you believe that Christ consecrates Himself, and is present in the bread?"
Cl. "Christ sitteth at the right hand of His Father; He does not come under men's teeth."
Inq. "If you continue in this belief, you will have to go into the abyss of hell forever. It is what all heretics say. Jelis of Aix-la-Chapelle has deceived you; he himself has renounced his belief, because he saw that he had erred."
Cd."I do not depend on Jelis, or any other man, but only on Christ; He is our foundation, upon whom we have built ourselves, even as Christ teaches us in His Gospel: 'Whosoever heareth my words, and doeth them. I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock; and though storms come, and beat against the house, yet it will not fall.' Matt. 7:24. These now are the storms that beat against our house; but Christ is our stronghold, and He will preserve us."
Inq. "You do not understand it; there are many other writings, of which you know nothing."
Cl. "We need no other writings than the holy Gospel, which Christ Himself, with His blessed mouth, has spoken to us, and sealed with His blood; if we can observe that, we shall be saved."
Inq."You should suffer yourself to be instructed; the holy fathers instituted churching* fifteen hundred years ago."
Cl. "The holy fathers did not have this holiness; these are human commandments and institutions. Neither did the apostles practice this holiness; I never read it."
Ing. "Are you wiser than the holy church?"
C1."I do not wish to do anything against the holy church; I have yielded myself to the obedience 61 the holy church."
Inq."You should think: Do I know better than the holy fathers fifteen hundred years ago? You should think that you are simple."
Cl. "Though I am simple before men, I am not simple in the knowledge of the Lord. Do you not know that the Lord thanked His Father, that He had hid these things from the wise and prudent, and had revealed them to the simple and unto babes?" Matt. 11:25.
At one time there were also two monks with him, who were to instruct me. They had but little to say, only that we were people of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. I Tim. 6:5; II Tim. 3:7, 8. I replied, "When the day of the Lord will come, you will find it to be otherwise; take heed lest you then be of those who will say: 'These are they whom we had in derision; behold, how they are now numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints."' Wisd. 5:3, 5. Then they said, "Behold, she judges us." I replied, "I do not judge you; but I tell you to take heed unto yourselves. Now our life is accounted madness, and our end to be without honor; but when the day of the Lord comes, it will be found quite different." The sum of the matter was, that I had a devil, and was deceived. I said, "Is Christ then a deceiver?" He replied, "No; Christ is no deceiver." I said, "Then I am not deceived; I neither seek nor desire anything else than to fear the Lord with all my heart, and (knowingly) not to transgress one tittle of His commandments." After he had talked to me still further, he said, "I can tell you nothing else; you may consider the matter." I replied, "I need not consider it otherwise; I know full well that I hold the truth."
When I came before him again, he said, "Claesken, to what conclusion have you come?"
Cl. "I have concluded to adhere to that to which the Lord has called me." Matt. 20:1. Ing."The devil hascalled you, who transforms himself into an angel of light in you people."
When he examined me the sixth time, he asked me, "When Christ held His supper with His apostles, did He not give them His flesh to eat, and His blood to drink."
Cl. "He gave them bread and wine, and He gave them His body for redemption."
Inq. "Christ certainly clearly says: 'Take, eat; this is my flesh;' you certainly cannot contradict this."
Cl. "Paul says: 'I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his apostles, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.' I Cor. 11:23-26. Thus Christ left us His supper, that we should remember His death by it, that He gave His body and shed His blood for us. This supper I want to hold with the people of God, and no other."
He held to his twaddle: that we must eat Christ's flesh, and drink. His blood, since these were clearly implied by the words of Christ and of Paul.
Cl."Since the words are so plain, I can well understand them; but it is as Paul says: that those who do not turn to the Lord, have a vail before their hearts; but those who turn to the Lord, from their hearts the vail is taken away. II Cor. 3:1416. We have turned to the Lord; nothing is hid to us."
Inq. "In the 6th chapter of John (verse 53) Christ also clearly says that we must eat His flesh, and drink His blood."
Cl. "It is also written there: 'Then the Jews murmured, and said: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Christ said: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, ye have no life in you.' Again, He says: 'Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life:' He also said: 'Flesh and blood profit nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.' Those who believe in God, and walk in all righteousness, they are temples of God, in whom God will dwell and walk, as Paul testifies." II Cor. 6:16.
When, he examined me the seventh time, he said, "Do you not believe that the apostles ate the flesh of Christ?"
Cl. "Christ took the bread, gave thanks, brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and His body He gave for their redemption."
Ing. "Do you not believe otherwise?"
Cl. "I do not believe otherwise than Christ has spoken."
Inq. "Then I declare unto you, that I am clear of your blood; your blood be upon your own head."
Cl. "I am well satisfied with this."
Inq. "Herewith I commit you to the lord."
He afterwards examined me once more, and asked me, "Do you not vet believe that the apostles ate the flesh of Christ?"
Cl. "I have told you."
Inq. "Tell it now."
Cl. "I will not tell it again."
Inq. "Do you still persist in your views respecting baptism?"
Cl. "You certainly well know that the penitent ought to be baptized."
Inq. "This is true enough, if for instance a Jew comes, who is not baptized yet. Are you still of the same opinion in regard to infant baptism?"
Inq. "Do you not believe otherwise?"
Cl. "I do not believe otherwise than Christ has commanded."
Inq. "Then I declare unto you, that you will be tormented forever in the abyss of hell."
Cl. "How dare you judge me so awfully, seeing judgment belongs to the Lord alone? Acts 17:31. I am not terrified by this; I know better; when the day of the Lord comes, it will be found different."
I then asked him, "What does my husband say?"
Inq. "Your husband also still persists in his views; may the Lord enlighten you."
Cl. "We are already enlightened, the Lord be praised."
Concerning my baptism he did not say much, nor about infant baptism; but the whole of his talk was that we must eat the flesh of Christ, and drink His blood, and that this had been instituted fifteen hundred years ago, and that I was simple and had hardly once read the Testament through. I said, [b]"Do you think that we, run on uncertainties?[/b] We are not ignorant of the contents of the New Testament. We forsake out dear children, whom I would not forsake for the whole world, and we stake upon it all that we have-should we run on uncertainties yet? We seek nothing but our salvation; you certainly cannot prove to us by the Scriptures, that we practice and believe one tittle against the Word of the Lord." But he only said that we had all from the devil, and that we were possessed of the devil of pride. I said, "We know that the proud are cast down from their seats." Luke 1:52. He talked so long, that he sometimes already fancied that I would heed him; hence I had to speak now and then, because I did not want him to think this; I could not bear to hear him speak so awfully against the truth.