Since his English father was no longer living and his brother Daid had gone to England, Hans Bret was the sole support for his mother. They lived in Antwerp in the Netherlands, his mother’s homeland. Hans worked in a confectionery with a baker, who like him and his mother was also an Anabaptist.

From the age of twenty-one Hans had distinguished himself as a serious student of the Bible. He spent his Sundays instructing recent converts and preparing them for baptism. Many sought him out for the privilege of studying with him because of his insight, kindness, and earnestness. But only a few months after his own baptism, something happened …

It was about nine o’clock in the evening when a knock came at the confectionary door. Hans went to open it. There stood the bailiff of Antwerp and a number of his beadles. Seeing who was there, Hans ran back quickly to warn the baker and his family. They quickly went to leave by the back door. But the house was surrounded! All the occupants were arrested. While the beadles cruelly manhandled the men, Han’s mother and several others made their escape.

Not Hans. He was taken to the castle prison of Antwerp, and there tortured and questioned several times over the next few months. He took the occasion of his imprisonment to write letters of encouragement to his mother, his sister, his brother in England, to other friends, and the congregation. Part of Hans’ suffering was to be imprisoned alone in a dungeon for weeks. From this dark hole he wrote several letters. Here is part of a letter he wrote to his mother:

Most dearly beloved mother, I am glad to tell you that I am well according to the flesh. But according to the spirit, I thank the Lord that he gives me strength by His Holy Spirit, so that ...

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