Sendbrieff von einem Liebhaber Gottes Worts
Sendbrieff von einem Liebhaber Gottes Worts, the last written genuinely Anabaptist document in existence, a true martyr epistle in the great style of the beginnings, written in 1715 by an unknown Swiss brother in the darkness of prison in Bern, Switzerland. It is contained in a booklet of 40 pages, entitled Ein Send-Brieff samt einem schönen Gebätt und geistlicken Lied. Worbey noch etliche andere Christliche Gebätt, in vielen Anligen und Nöthen zu gebrauchen. Wie auch etliche geistliche Lieder. Gedruckt im Jahr, Da wahre Busz vonnöthen war, probably printed by the Mechel publishing house in Basel ca. 1720 (title page reproduced in Friedmann, Piety, plate III). In Europe this booklet is extremely rare and not mentioned in literature. Harold S. Bender found several copies in Mennonite homes of Swiss background in Pennsylvania and Ohio, now in Mennonite Historical Library (Goshen, Indiana). It appears in a Sammelband (several writings bound together as one) of 100 pages, the rest consisting of prayers and hymns of typical pietistic character.
The "Sendbrief" is addressed to "the fellow members of the household of faith" and contains a strong and moving call to steadfastness and loyalty in the face of trial and danger of life; it closes with an admonition to the true "fear of God." This term is most characteristic, as it used to be the watchword of 16th-century Anabaptism, together with the word "obedience," replaced in the later pietistic trend by the term "godliness." The book also contains six songs, one by the author, two by Leenaert Klock (Clock), one taken from the Ausbund, and two of unknown origin.
Thus the unknown editor of this book combined under one cover two very different moods, belonging to two different historic times: discipleship on the one hand (strongly defended by the imprisoned brother) and a sweet godliness on the other hand by which the spirit of the entire publication becomes changed. As such the book seems to have been a real success, one of the few genuine Swiss Anabaptist devotional books ever printed. (Compare Ernsthafte Christenpflicht.)
Friedmann, Robert. Mennonite Piety Through the Centuries. Goshen, 1949: 165-167.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. De Graaf, 1965: 155 ff.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 500. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Friedmann, Robert. "Sendbrieff von einem Liebhaber Gottes Worts." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S456.html.
APA style: Friedmann, Robert. (1959). Sendbrieff von einem Liebhaber Gottes Worts. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S456.html.