Christ went up on a mountain long ago to teach the people the eight parts of salvation [the Beatitudes]. And now, in 1559, another little group went up from the village of Dürsrütti to learn the same teaching.
They studied the fifth, sixth, and seventh beatitudes. But suddenly their meeting was interrupted. With weapons and lights a group of rough men burst into the room, like wolves among sheep.
The leader of the group (the one that discovered where the meeting would be held) was a man named Simon. With the help of a rough soldier that cursed and swore, brandishing a naked sword, and several other bold companions, they took four brothers captive. They bound them with ropes and led them away from their wives and families.
“Do not punish us Lord! Send us a shepherd for your sheep,” Uli Baumgartner, the teacher, who freely identified himself, cried. Then turning to the ones behind, he said, “Fear God, and keep to the right!”
The officers led them to Trachselwald and from there they were sent to Bern. Thrown into prison, they found two brothers, also shepherds with many years of experience, already there. The learned ones came. During their first year in jail they came many times to dispute and turn them away from the faith. But Uli Baumgartner told them, “I cannot deny what I believe! My faith comes from the Creator of heaven and earth.”
To the learned ones the brothers explained how Christians should live: They should lead a quiet and peaceable life, as far as possible. They appeal only to God for justice and not rely on the help of men. They should build on God alone, the true rock, and trust him. But at the same time they should pay tithes and taxes, and whatever dues their rulers demand. They should also pray for their rulers.
No agreement could be reached. The brothers would not turn from what they believed so the officers ordered them out of the land. But by this time Anthony Himmelberg, one of the captive shepherds had already died. May God help us through Jesus Christ!
Composed by believers captured at Dürsrütti, in the Emmental, witzerland, 1659, banished, after a long imprisonment, to the Netherlands.