41. Attestation for a Calvinist Family Departing from Antwerp on the Eve of the Surrender to Farnese, 13 August 1585

We the ministers of the Word and elders of the Reformed Church of Christ at Antwerp testify not only that Gillis Huyge and Johanna his wife are members of our congregation, but that the said Gillis Huyge is also an elder of this our Church in the service of which he has acquitted himself well and faithfully. We would have liked (had it pleased the Lord) to have continued to make use of his service, help and assistance in the government of this church. But since it has pleased the Lord to put his congregation to the test by granting our adversaries the victory1 and the said Gillis Huyge with his wife and family are therefore minded to depart elsewhere so that they may better serve the Lord in accordance with His Word, so is it that we the above mentioned pray in the name of the Lord Christ that each and every brother, whatever their condition and state, might recognise the said persons forasmuch and therefore to render due Christian assistance and help, whensoever they might seek or have need of the same. Each and everyone of us shall always acknowledge our debt and stand ready [to help] according to our ability and wherever it may be fitting. In witness thereof we have below subscribed this in all our names and sealed it with our usual church seal. Antwerp, 13 August 15852 .

In the name of our consistory:3
IJsebrandus Trabius Frisius, minister of the Word
Caspar van der Heyden, minister of the Word
Thomas van Tielt, minister of the gospel
Jeremias Bastingius, minister of the Word
Petrus Hardenburg, minister of the Word
Andries de Meester, minister of the Word
Libertus Fraxinus
Philippus Lansbergius, minister of the Word
Assuerus van Reghenmortel, minister of the Word
Joannes Becius, minister of the Word.

Gillis Huyge with his wife, anno 1585 11 September. Antwerp.4

Source : Brieven uit onderscheidene kerkelijke archieven ed H.Q. Janssen and J.J. van Toorenenbergen (Werken der Marnix-Vereeniging, Ser. III, deel ii, Utrecht, 1878) 26-27, where however the attestation is wrongly dated as 1 August 1585. For the original see Emden, Archiv der evangelische reformierten Gemeinde, Repertorium 320-A. 5.

1 This was a characteristically Calvinist response to adversity. In 1585 the Antwerp minister Assuerus Reghenmortel wrote from Middelburg that ‘it has pleased the Lord … to take away the candlestick of His Word from the town and congregation of Antwerp’, J. Briels, Zuid-Nederlanders in de Republiek, 1572-1630. Een demografische en cultuurhistorische studie (St. Niklaas, 1985), p. 196. See also Marnix’ reflections after the fall of Antwerp in document 42.
2 Antwerp capitulated on 17 August 1585.
3 Six of the ten signatories moved to churches in the North and two others returned to exile congregations.
4 Gillis Huyge and his wife went to Emden where they apparently submitted their attestation on 11 September 1585.