BIOGRAPHY OF MENNO SIMONS, continued
The following is an extract from Book 16 in the Downfall of the Tyrants, by Peter Jantsz Twisck, pages 1074-1075.
A daughter of Menno Simons, a praiseworthy woman, in our presence related the following incident: A certain traitor who had agreed, for a certain sum of money, to deliver without fail, Menno in person, or his head into the hands of his enemies, expected to apprehend him in one of their meetings; but it so happened that he was not able to accomplish his object, for when he arrived at the place where he sought to spy him out, Menno in a providential manner escaped.
At another time this same traitor, in company with an officer or police, as they were in search of Menno, unexpectedly met him as he was going along on a canal, in a small boat. The traitor kept silent until Menno had passed them some distance, and had leapt ashore in order to escape with less peril. Then the traitor cried out “behold the bird has escaped!” The officer chastised him—called him a villain and demanded why he did not tell of it in time; to which the traitor replied, “I could not speak; for my tongue was bound.” The lords were so displeased at this that the traitor according to his promise, had to forfeit his own head. It is worthy of consideration how wonderfully God, in this and in other like instances preserves his people, and especially how fearfully he punishes the tyrants.
Although Menno did not get discouraged, but endured for some time in his work, under constant danger of his life; however, under these unfriendly circumstances, he was finally bidden to leave his fatherland, the Netherlands, and to flee to the present Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg, to Wiesmar. But this stay was of short duration, for he was forced through frequent persecutions to again move from there. Menno, because of the persecutions still undaunted, but all the more strengthened in his resolutions, although now perplexed concerning fleeing further—travelled toward Denmark, in the duchy of Holstein, because he had learned that some of his co-religionists had found forbearance at Fresenburg, near Oldeslo. At Fresenburg, Menno and his followers were sheltered. There he found protection and shelter, and a place of rest. A rich nobleman of Fresenburg, who, at the time of the vehement persecution of the Baptists in the Netherlands was in active military service and had learned more of the foundation of faith of Menno, granted a permanent residence, unmolested worship of God, and a book printing establishment to the God fearing and zealous Menno Simon, at Fresenburg.
From then on Menno spread his teachings publicly, as the impartial government also saw the false accusations against him, and in time, the great persecutions ceased. The power of the truth opened the eyes of many, and a great reformation was brought about, through the grace of God, in many places, although Menno did not use sword and guns, nor the arm of a king or sovereign, but only and alone with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:17) he withstood and conquered. Finally, after obtaining victory, in the village of Wusterfeld, not far from Lubeck, he lived in peace until his death, which occurred on January 31st, 1561, in the 66th year of his life, when it pleased the Almighty to take his bearer of the Cross from this troublesome world to eternal rest.
Those walking in uprightness shall rest in peace (Isaiah 57-2).
Beloved reader just consider if this true witness of the truth, at the end of his life, could not also say to his friends like the Apostle Paul: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day: not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4, 7:8.