453. A CERTAIN LETTER OF WILLIAM TYMS.
"Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, through the mercies of his dear Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and only Saviour, with the comfort of his Holy Spirit, that as you have full godly begun, even so you may continue to the end to the glory of God and your everlasting comfort, which thing to do I pray God to give you grace, who is the giver of all good and perfect gifts, to the glory of his holy name. Amen.
"My dear sisters, after most hearty commendations unto you, and also most hearty thanksgiving unto you for all the great kindness that you have always showed unto me, most unworthy of the same; I certify you that I am very glad to hear of your good health, which I pray God long to continue to his glory. And especially I do much rejoice in your most godly constancy in the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation, unto so many as believe it. Therefore, my dear hearts, go forward as you have godly begun: for the time will come that these cruel tyrants, which now so cruelly persecute the true members of Christ, shall say for very anguish of mind, 'These are they, whom we sometime had in derision, and jested upon. We fools thought their life to have been very madness, and their end to have been without honour: but lo, how they are counted among the children of God, and their portion is amongst the saints. Therefore we have erred from the way of truth. The light of righteousness hath not shined unto us, and the Sun of understanding rose not upon us. We have wearied ourselves in the way of wickedness and destruction. Tedious ways have we gone, but as for the way of the Lord, we have not known it. What good hath our pride done unto us? or what profit hath the pomp of riches brought us? All these things have passed away as a shadow, or as a messenger running before: as a ship that passeth over the waves of the water, which when it is gone, by the trace thereof cannot be found, neither the path in the floods, &c. For as soon as we were born, we began inordinately to draw to our end, and have showed no token of virtue, but are consumed in our own wickedness.' Such words shall they that thus have sinned speak in the hell. But the righteous shall live for evermore; their reward is also with the Lord, and remembrance with the Highest: therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown at the Lord's hands; for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his holy arm shall he defend them,' &c. 'The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and the pains of death shall not touch them; but in the sight of the unwise they appear to die, and their end is taken for very destruction, but they are in rest. And though they suffer pain before men, yet is their hope full of immortality. They are punished but in few things, nevertheless in many things shall they be well rewarded; for God proveth them, and findeth them meet for himself: yea, as the gold in the furnace doth he try them, and receiveth them as a burnt-offering; and when the time cometh, they shall be looked upon, the righteous shall shine as the sparks that run through the red bush; they shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth, and such as be faithful will agree unto him in love.' 'And he shall be a pillar in the temple of God, and shall no more go out, and there shall be written upon him the name of God. And they shall lie under the altar (which is Christ) crying with a loud voice, saying: How long tarriest thou, Lord! holy and true! to judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And they shall have long white garments given unto them, and it shall be said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, till the number of their fellows and brethren of them that should be killed as they were, were fulfilled.' For, as St. John saith, they are worthy that thus overcome, to be clothed in white array, and their names shall not be put out of the book of life, but shall be separated from the goats, and set on Christ's right hand, hearing his sweet and comfortable voice, when he shall say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, and possess the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. And the very ready way to obtain the same, is, as our Master Christ saith, to forsake ourselves, taking up our cross, following our Master Christ, which for the joy that was set before him abode the cross, and despised the shame, and is set down on the throne, at the right hand of God. Therefore let us follow his example in suffering for his word, seeing that he, of his merciful goodness, suffered so much for us when we were his enemies: for it was our sin that killed Christ, and he by his death hath made us alive. Therefore with joy (seeing all these his merciful benefits purchased for us only by his death and blood-shedding) let us with boldness confess his holy word before this wicked generation, even to death, when we be called thereto; and so be well assured, that our lives be not in the hands of men, but in God's hands. Therefore, my dear sisters, as you have godly begun, so go forward even through many tribulations, even into the everlasting kingdom of heaven. To the which, God, the Father of all mercy, for his dear Son Christ's sake, bring both you and all yours, Amen.
"Yours to command, to my poor power,
"Continue in prayer, ask in faith, and obtain your desire: praying for you, as I know that you do for me."