Imatges de pàgina

Koltiun, my old acquaintance.” He added a promise, that he would not engage himself in the service of any other Church except that of Amsterdam, provided hc entered into the ministry among the Protestants. Scheltius was faithful to his promise; having consulted his friend, he embraced the call, and shortly afterwards preached his first sermon among the Reformed, (from that passage in St. Matthew's Gospel which relates the produce of a grain of mustard-seed,) near St. Anthony's Gate, in the Leper's Church, Amsterdam, where the Protestants were accustomed to hear preaching in bad weather, according to the terms of the agreement of the 26th of August: For this purpose it had been cleared of images and other insignia of Popery.

The Reformed at Amsterdam had, beside Nicholas Scheltius, other two preachers, Peter Gabriel and John Arents; and all the three were much beloved by the people. For they

did not aim at any scandalous gain, lived very temperately, • were hospitable, admitted every body that came to ask their ' advice or assistance, did not seek the tables of the rich, but 'visited the rich and poor indifferently, and despised all dain

ties, contenting themselves during the Spanish persecution with feeding chiefly upon whey and milk with the servants. * As for their clothing, it was mean but decent.'-SCHELTIUS, born at Warmenhuisen in North Holland, was well versed in the Hebrew tongue, was a perfect master of the Greek language, and spoke the Latin in its purity. He had thoroughly studied the writings of the Christian Fathers, preached with great learning, (as the Monks themselves acknowledged,) taught with no less charity, confuted his adversaries with much temper, and led a life of virtue and piety.--PETER GABRIEL was tolerably well skilled in the Latin and Greek tongues. He could repeat from memory nearly the whole of St. Paul's Epistles, had read the productions of most of the writers in that age, and was in consequence expert in disputing and convincing.--JOHN Arents knew little more than his native language, but, on the other hand, he was endowed with much good sense and a sound judgment; by this means he taught with great method and regularity, deriving much assistance from his wonderfully intimate knowledge of the scriptures. His zeal rendered him bold and free; by his eloquence he was enabled to move the hearts of his hearers; he argued very acutely and with great strength of mind ; and could silence all his antagonists, whether they were Papists, Arians, Anabap

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tists, or Enthusiasts. Yet he was moderate in such religious differences as were not fundamental or necessary, and endeavoured to compose them by gentleness and yielding.

Such preachers as these could not fail to increase the number of their hearers, and consequently the number of the poor. About this time, therefore, or a little earlier, it was determined to choose Deacons, according to the pattern of the first Apostolic Church, that they might collect alms at each of their meetings. The collection was in those early days made in wooden dishes. Some elderly and virtuous matrons were also chosen as Deaconesses. Many persons were induced to bring their superfluous jewels and clothes to the Deacons, or the money obtained by selling them, and to place it in their hands as a sacred deposit. According to the Memoirs of Laurence Real, These Deacons conducted themselves with strict fidelity in the impartial distribution of the public charities: giving to all that were in want, without distinction of persons, to whatever religious persuasion they might belong."

The Duchess of Parma, the illegitimate sister of Philip II, King of Spain, not being able to introduce a public conformity to Popery in the Low Countries, was about to be displaced by the Duke of Alva as governor of those provinces. To prove, however, that her administration was not deficient either in energy or cruelty, she adopted measures of greater severity against the Reformed in all parts of her dominions. This was the period to which the following extracts refer:

At Amsterdam, the flight of multitudes of people from all parts was the harbinger of the approaching distress. These poor creatures, after having long waited at the gates were refused admittance, and required by the magistrates instantly to depart. A dismal spectacle it was, to see so many of them, with their wives and children, standing on the dykes, having been driven from their own habitations and denied entrance into the city, without support and without hope, falling from one distress into another. Pitied they were indeed both by Protestants and Papists; and some of the most tender-hearted burghers sheltered them in their country-houses and gardens which were situated in the suburbs. But the magistrates would not allow them as much time as was requisite to provide necessaries for a longer journey. A collection therefore of victuals, clothes and money was hastily made for them, and several ships were hired to convey them to Embden and other places of safety

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. This was also the period when Laurence Real and his friends became voluntary exiles from their native country, on account of the lowerin; and hopeless aspect of public affairs. The Heer Brederode, who had for some weeks been in Amsterdam as a leader in favour of the Prince of Orange, left that city on the 27th of April, 1567, and retired to Embden.— The Reformed and their ministers had held several conferences together, respecting the course of conduct, which, under existing circumstances, it would be proper for them to pursue. It was at length determined unanimously, that the fear of man should not cause them to refrain from the exercise of their religion, but that they ought to proceed as they had formerly done, at least till they were prohibited. After this, as their dangers increased, on the 20th of April, they gave themselves to fasting and prayer. Perceiving that the fire of persecution which had broken out in Flanders and Brabant, daily approached nearer to their city, they spontaneously proposed to the magistrates at the close of their fast, that they would cease from holding any more meetings, on condition of a mutual agreement not to admit any foreign soldiers into the town; and that the Reformed, in virtue of the stipulations of former treaties, should be allowed a sufficient time to dispose of all their real estates, and to remove with their goods out of the country. The required agreement was concluded and ratified by the magistrates on the 26th of the same month.

The Reformed were indeed the strongest party in the city of Amsterdam, but had little to expect from the country around. They were disheartened by the rumour of Noirkarmes, and much more so by the approach of his troops. Those therefore who had been the most zealous in their exertions for the Reformation, and who had on that account become most obnoxious to the ruling powers, began to look out for a safe retreat, and to hasten away, in the first instance, to Embden, at that time a general asylum for the distressed. Some of the exiles, before their departure from Amsterdam, procured certificates under the city-seal, testifying that they had always conducted themselves with approved loyalty and fidelity. The Burgomasters granted certificates of this description even to those persons who had been the objects of their greatest detestation. They adopted this plan, only to tantalize and deceive them, and to allure others to imitate their example by quitting the city. Those however who had placed any reliance on these certificates of good conduct, and who had either remained in Amsterdam or afterwards returned to it, soon found their unsuspecting confidence to have been wofully misplaced.

Reinier Kant commenced his journey on the evening of the 27th. The next day Laurence Real received advice, as if immediately from the magistrates, to retire for a season, till they ascertained what would be the issue of national affairs. He expected to receive from them an honourable testimonial under their seal, by way of passport; but, when he applied for it, he was told that they were much engaged with other business, and could not then give him one. However, they solemnly assured him that it should be sent after him at their expense, provided he acquainted them with his intended route. Without the least hesitation, he informed them that he was about to proceed to Medenblick ; and immediately afterwards embarked on board a small vessel, taking with him his wife and daughter, then a girl about fourteen years of age, Francis de Wael, Matthias Johnson a Hatter, and Adrian Cromhout. -No sooner had they arrived at Medenblick, an open town, than it was intimated to them, that a party of horse was marching towards the town from Alkmaer. On receiving this intelligence, they hurried into a herring-boat and set sail ; but meeting with another vessel laden with the goods of Refugees, and none but a boy on board, they proceeded in it with all dispatch to Wieringen, at which place the skipper (or boatman,) overtook them next day, and said, that they had scarcely sailed from Medenblick when about forty horsemen arrived at their inn, and, having searched for them in vain, would have pursued them if they could have found a ship at the quay, ready for sailing. Still devoid of suspicion, they thought the soldiers had been the bearers of the testimonial or pass which the magistrates had undertaken to forward to them. A young man was therefore deputed to request this promised document for the four citizens; but he was tartly told “that they might come for it themselves.” They did not, however, wait his return, but prevailed with the skipper to convey them to Flieland. When they arrived at Flieland, they found themselves in still greater distress; for neither a boat nor any other vessel could be found, every thing that carried a sail having been previously engaged in transporting the refugees and their property to Embden, Bremen, and other free towns, Letters had also arrived, addressed to the sheriff of that island

by the magistrates of Amsterdam; they contained a description of four persons, (Real and his three friends,) and desired the sheriff to take them into custody if they came within the precincts of his jurisdiction. But the sheriff had died a few days before ; and the letters came in the course of business into the hands of Adrian Cornelison, a goldsmith of Alkmaer, who then resided at Flieland and executed pro tempore the office of sheriff: This person very kindly communicated their contents to the parties concerned, and advised them to depart without delay. An old crab-schute or boat, of three tons burden, which had remained under water nearly half a year, was raised up for them in the night. In this, as soon as day-light appeared, they put out to sea ; but had not sailed far before they were compelled to run into Harlingen, on account of the leaky state of their boat. Just as they were entering the harbour, they perceived a ship full of soldiers boarding another:

This was a sight which they contemplated with terror, and they quickly steered away towards the large sand-bank called “the Abbot,” where they stopped the leaks of their frail vessel as well as they could with their ļinen. At length, after many delays and dangers, they arrived at Embden on the 22d of May, and were there delighted to find many of their friends whom they had left behind at Amsterdam, and who had likewise betaken themselves to flight after their departure. Elizabeth Real, who afterwards became the wife of the renowned Arminias, shared with her parents and their three friends in all the disasters of this perilous voyage.

John Arentson, Peter Gabriel, and Nicholas Scheltius, the three Reformed ministers from Amsterdam, came to Embden. Two of them, Nicholas Scheltius and Peter Gabriel, received their entire support from the Amsterdam Refugees, on engaging to devote their ministerial labours exclusively to the congre

gation of that city, at all times and in whatever place it might ultimately settle.—But Scheltius in a little time received a call from the people of Embden to become their minister; with which he complied, after permission had been granted to him by his friends from Amsterdam, who also continued to give him a small stipend, that they might retain their right in him. But the plague, which raged grievously in that town, attacked and killed him and several other ministers, who, according to the usage of that church, visited the sick in person. In the vcar 1572, when Holland took up arms against the Spaniards, Peter Gabriel entered into the service of the people of Delft,

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