Monday, October 02, 2006

To Wenceslaus Link in Nuernberg

To the worthy and highly honorable man, Wenceslaus Link, the faithful and upright servant of the Word in the church at Nuernberg, his very dear brother in Christ.
Grace and peace in Christ! I have to you all who are servants of the Word, dearest Wenceslaus, written a common letter and I have written it from the heart, God is my witness. Your stubborn division among you moves me very much and I ask your permission
to give my opinion. You and your party follow the truth blessedly and plainly which brings you sufficient grace before God and favor before men. The other (Osiander), I grant, follows his inclination more than enough,as is apparent, and I say that is not all good; I forthrightly write this to him. Yet because he is a good and in every respect an upright man and has not altogether put away this flesh (just as it is among ourselves), and can be tempted by Satan, just as also we can be: for this reason I plead with you for the sake of Christ that you over (your) thoughts and in the love of Christ be victorious as He says:"Whoever would be greatest among you let him be the least among you.[Matthew 23:11]. May you take on the example of Christ; begin by taking on the form of the least beginning with addressing and greeting him in a friendly way.You know that word of Solomon [Proverbs 15:1]:"A mild answer quiets wrath, but a hard answer stirs up anger." "A good word finds a good situation." Who knows whether his anger and contrariness will be softened by this cure? You would this not only according the law of love but, if I am not mistaken, also by the obligation of conscience. From the article which you have sent me I assume, I suspect, that you are all too critical of his preaching. Not that I am saying that it is not true but you have not previously admonised him over this matter before reporting it to others. May May it after all be so much sophistry( captiosus), as one complains, yet the grace of God and favor of men must be sufficient for you. What beenfit is it subdue a borther who has already suddued himself thorugh displeasure before men and through his misdemeanor before God? You stand and are upright, he has fallen and lying down. What does it help if one exalts and gives applause over his fall? Rather it must be that he is lifted up and fortified by you. I hope that he is not unimprovable if he is humble, modest and respectful as is proper and to be prayed for. If you continue dealing with the hard on the hard you will be bringing a great evil upon us and you because he cannot be cast aside and overcome without exxtending great harm and offense toward you. Pardon me that I write so freely although freely in brotherly confidence since I trust in your uprightness and your long standing love.The LOrd be with you, Amen. On the Sunday after Margaretha [20 July] Anno 1533.Your Martin Luther.
NOTE: Everyone assumes ML is talking about Andreas Osiander.

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