My beloved companions in the Lord! grace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and the power of ,their Spirit, be with you beloved of God, brethren and sisters.
I can not forget you; though I am not present with the body (Col. 2:5 ), yet I continually care for and watch over you, as my fellow members, lest the body be taken away, and the whole body tthe church], with all its members be overwhelmed with sorrow, especially at this time, when the ferocity of the ravening wolf has risen to such a pitch; and increases in power; so that he has aroused also me to fight against him; – but eternal praise be to God, its,head is completely broken, and I hope that his whole body shall soon be no more, as is written.
Dear brethren and sisters, you’well know with what ardent love I admonished you the last tune 1 was with you, that you should be upright and godly in all patience and in the love of God, by which you may be known among this ‘adulterous and ungodly generation, as shining lights (Matthew 5:14) whom God the heavenly Father has, illuminated with His knowledge and the light of the Spirit. With like fervency I now beseech and admonish you; that you walk surely and prudently towards those that are without as unbelievers, that our office, which God has imposed upon us, may in no wise be profaned and justly reproached.
Remember the Lord, who has given you the talent, for Ile shall require it again with usury: That the one talent rnay not be taken from. you, put it to usury, according to the command’ of the Lord, who has. given you the talent. Matt., 15:19.
I say to you through the grace of God, that,ye be valiant, and walk as become the saints of God. Consider what the Lord metes out to idle servants; namely, to utterly lukewarm and slothful hearts; unfit and cold for all love to,God and the brethren. You have experienced what I .now write.
Be admonished by this, lest God let a like punhment come upon you. Beware, beware of such as as act contrary to the command of God lest ye learn their abominations; but reprove it with strict attention, and excommunication, according to the command of Christ, yet with all love and compassion for their cold hearts. Matt. 18:17. If you do this, you shall readily see how the flock of God dwells among the wolves (Acts 20:29), and shall witness a brief and speedy separation of those who will not walk in the right paths and living, ways of Christ, namely, through crosses, misery, imprisonment, self-denial, and ultimately through death. Then you can present yourselves to God’ your heavenly Father, a pure, godly, true church of Christ, which
is cleansed through His blood (Eph. 5:26), that it may be holy and unblamable in the sight of God and men, separated from all idolatry and abomination, and redeemed, that the Lord of all dominion may dwell in it, and that it may be a tabernacle unto Him. Beloved brethren, understand whether what I write unto you be truth, and use diligence to walk according to it. Let no one divert you from your aim, as has been the case with some even until now; but go straight on in all patience, without deviating, that you do not take up the cross which God has laid upon you, only to lay it down contrary to the honor and praise of God, and to the transgression and violation of His eternal, true, just, and life-giving commandments.
Do not become weary, if you are chastened of the Lord (Heb. 12:5); for whom God loves He chastens, even as a father that is well pleased with his son. To what will you have recourse, if you would flee from God? What can help you if you forsake God? Is it not God who fills heaven and earth? Does He not know all the secrets of thy vain heart, and the lasciviousness of thy reins? All things are manifest to Him, and there is nothing concealed from Him. Vain man, whither will you go, that God shall not see you? Why do you flee the rod of your Father? (Heb. 12:8). If you will not be chastened according to the will of the Father, you cannot inherit His riches. Why do you love a short and transient rest more than the godly and moderate correction and chastisement of the Lord to your salvation? How long will you eat flesh of the fat of Egypt? How long will you be carnally-minded? (Rom. 8:8). The flesh perishes, and all its glory; the word of the Lord alone abides forever.
Beloved brethren, mark what I write to you; for it is necessary, since you see that there are but few who will endure the chastening of the Lord; for by far the greater number when they suffer a little in the flesh, become faint and weary, and do no longer look unto Jesus, the Captain and Finisher of our faith. They also forget all His commandments, and esteem the jewel which the calling of God every where presents and points out to those that overcome of small value; but they regard this temporal rest, which is before their eyes as far better and more profitable, than the eternal for which we must hope. Moreover, there are some who, when this is presented to them, accuse God, though very unjustly, of not being willing to keep them under His protection. You know whom I mean, take heed that you have no fellowship with them.
Furthermore, dear fellow members in Christ, be admonished that you forget not charity, without which it is pot possible for you to be a Christian flock. You know what charity is, from the testimony of Paul our fellow brother, who says, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” I Cor. 13:4-7: Understand this passage, and you will find the love of God and the love of your neighbor; and if you love God, you will rejoice in the truth, and believe, hope and endure all that comes from God. In this way the aforesaid failing will be removed and avoided. But if you love your neighbor, you will not punish or excommunicate with fire, you will not seek your own, think no evil, not vaunt yourselves, and, finally, not be puffed up; but will be kind, just, liberal in all giving, humble and compassionate with the weak and imperfect. Rom. 13:8.
This love has been adulterated by some brethren (I know who they are); they have not been willing to edify one another by love, but are become puffed up and unprofitable with the vain knowledge and understanding of things which God would have remain hidden to all but Himself alone. I Cor. 8:1. I do not censure nor reject the grace and revelation of God, but the puffed up make use of this revelation. What would it profit, says Paul, if I should speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and have all faith, tell me, what profit is all this, if love be not exercised? You have experienced what such presumptuous speaking and ignorance has produced; you still daily see their false fruits, though they have given themselves to God.
And let no man remove you from the foundation which is laid through the letter of the holy Scriptures, and is sealed with the blood of Christ and of many witnesses of Jesus. Hear not what they. say of their father, for he is a liar; and do not believe their spirit, for he is entirely swallowed up in the flesh. Judge what I write to you; take these matters to heart, that this abomination may be separated far from you, and that you be found humble, fruitful and obedient children of God. Beloved brethren, marvel not that I treat this matter with such earnestness; for I do so not without reason. The brethren have doubtless informed you that some of us are in prison; and afterwards when the brethren at Hbrb had also been apprehended, they brought us to Binzdorf. At this time we met with various designs of our adversaries. Once they threatened us with bonds; then with fire, and afterwards with the sword. In this peril I completely surrendered myself into the will of the Lord, and together with all my fellow brethren and my wife, prepared myself even for death for His testimony and then I thought of the great number .of false brethren, and of you, who are but few, namely, a little flock; and also, that there are but few faithful laborers in the Lord’s vineyard (Matt. 9:37); hence I deemed it necessary to stir you up by this admonition, to follow after us in the divine warfare, in order that you may comfort yourselves with it, that you may not become weary of the chastening of the Lord.
In short, beloved brethren and sisters this
letter shall be a farewell to all of you who truly love and follow God (others I do not know); and also a testimony of my love which God has given into my heart towards you, for the sake of your salvation. I did indeed desire, and it would have been profitable, I trust, if I had labored a little while longer in the work of the Lord; but it is better for me, to be released, and to await with Christ the hope of the blessed. The Lord is able to raise up another laborer to finish this work.
Pray that reapers may be constrained into the harvest; for the time of threshing is nigh at hand. Luke 10:2. The abomination of desolation is manifest among you; the chosen servants and handmaidens of God are marked with the name of their Father on their foreheads (Rev. 13:16); the world rises up against those who are delivered from its error; the Gospel is proclaimed before all the world, as a testimony against it; therefore it will be necessary that the day of the Lord do not tarry.
You know, my most beloved fellow members, that it becomes us to conduct ourselves in a godly and Christian manner. II Tim. 3:12. Take heed, watch and pray, lest your wisdom bring judgment upon you. Pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17) that you may stand worthy before the Son of man. Remember your forerunner Jesus Christ, and follow Him through faith and obedience, with love and patience. I Peter 2:20. Forget that which is carnal, that you may in truth be called Christians, and children of the Most High God. Endure the chastening of your father in heaven, and turn neither to the right nor to the left, that you may enter by the door (John 10:1), and will not have to walk in a strange path, in which sinners, sorcerers, idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie, must go. Rev. 22:15. Remember our assembly, and strictly follow that which was resolved on therein; and if anything has been forgotten, pray the Lord for understanding. Be liberal towards all that are in want among you (Heb. 13:3), but especially towards those who labor among you in the Word, and are driven about, and cannot eat their bread in peace and quietness. Forget not to assemble yourselves together, but give diligence that you constantly meet together, and be united in prayer for all men, and in breaking of bread; and this with the more diligence, because the day of the Lord is approaching. Heb. 10:25. In this assembling you will make manifest the hearts of the false brethren, and will speedily rid yourselves of them.
Finally, beloved brethren and sisters, sanctify yourselves for Him that has made you holy, and hear what Esdras says, “Look for your Shepherd; he shall give you everlasting rest; for he is nigh at hand, that shall come in the end of the world. Be ready to the reward of the kingdom, . . . . Flee the shadow of this world, . . . . Arise up and stand, behold the number of those that be sealed in the feast of the Lord; which are departed from the shadow of the world, and have received glorious garments of the Lora. laKe my numuci, v JLVIL, and shut up those of thine that are clothed in white, which have fulfilled the law of the Lord. The number of thy children whom thou longedst for, is fulfilled . . . . I Esdras saw upon the mount Sion a great people; whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon everyone of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marveled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel, What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord.” II Esdras 2:34-36, 38-47; Rev. 19:12; Matt. 13:43.
Bear in mind most beloved members of the body of Christ, what I indicate by this scripture, and live according to it, and if I be offered up to the Lord, do for my wife what you would for me. The peace of Jesus Christ, and the love of the heavenly Father, and the grace of their Spirit, preserve you unspotted from sin, and present you glad and pure for the beholding of their glory, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may be found in the number of those called to the feast (Luke 14:15) of the one essential, true God and Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom be eternal praise and glory, Amen.
Beware of false brethren (Acts 20:39); for the Lord will perhaps call me to Him; so take warning, I wail for my God. Pray without ceasing for all that are in bonds. God be with you all. Amen.
Written in the tower at Binzdorf. Brother Michael Sattler of Staufen, together with my fellow prisoners in the Lord.
Of this hero and witness of Jesus Christ there are also other writings extant in print, treating of the atonement of Christ; brotherly union; divorce; of evil overseers, and the hearing of false prophets.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon