Friday, May 18, 2007

#2091-To Hans Kohlhase, citizen of Berlin

Grace and peace in Christ. My good friend! To be sure I am very sorry about your misfortune, yet, God knows; and it would be better first of all not to undertake revenge because the same cannot be carried forth without burdening the conscience because that is a self-originating revenge which is forbidden by God, Deut.32,Rom.12:"Vengeance is mine, says the LOrd, I will repay "etc.,and it cannot be otherwise; he who involves himself with that puts himself at risk doing much opposed to God and men which a Christian conscience cannot justify.

While it is true that your harm and infamia is lamentable and it would be responsible to reclaim and preserve (your reputation), however, not by sinning or injustice. Quod justum est, juste persequeris, says Moses; Injustice is not made right by injustice. Being a self-judge and judging by yourself is certainly unjust, and God's anger will not let it go unpunished. What can be rightly carried out would be well for you to do; but if you cannot obtain the right there is no other counsel than to suffer the injustice. And God Who has permitted you to suffer injustice well has a reason for you to do so. He is not evil-minded toward you nor yet does you evil and He can also rightly again restore you in a different way and you will not be forsaken.

And what would it be if He wants to correct you differently by your wife,child, body or life? Here, you must, if you want to be a Christian, say: My dear LOrd God, I well deserve that you are just and do all too little according to my sins. And what is all our suffering in comparison with the suffering of Your Son our LOrd Christ?

Accordingly, as you desired my counsel (as you have written), so pursue peace wherever you can and rather suffer damage to honor and goods than to be further involved in that you take upon yourself all their sins and buberei and that you will be served by those who stir up insurrection; they are not pious and do not intend any loyalty to you but are serving themselves. You will finally betray yourself and have made a fine catch. Do not paint the devil over the door, and don't invite him to be your sponsor though he will nevertheless come since such fellows are the devil's relatives and they will receive appropriate end according to their works.

However, you are to take in consideration how burdensome it will be for your conscience should you knowingly condemn so many people over whom you have no right. Be determined and satisfied to give glory to God and let your harm be brought to God and bear it for His sake and you will experience that He will again bless you and richly reward your labor and have love for your patience in which you endure it. Thereto, Christ our LOrd, help you,our Teacher and Example of all patience and our Helper in need, Amen. On the Tuesday after Nicolaus (8 December) Anno 1534.

NOTE: NO signature on this one. Do you think that one might have a hard time perceiving personal injury or defamation as an "Unfall"=accident or misfortune?
A free translation of an ML letter to anyone who can find the quote of Moses in the Pentateuch: Quod justum est, juste perseequeris.

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