Friday, August 31, 2007

#21218a-To Wenceslaus Link in Nuernberg

Grace and peace in Christ! Your letter was not so sad , my good Wenceslaus, as you might suppose, chiefly because I note that Christ has not yet forsaken you although he permits you to be tempted. I am very sad that this tragic-drama has again begun among you but if you consider both sides that it has not been perpetrated by you but by false tongues, that is, by Satan himself so you can easily bring Satan to vexation by enduring(devorare=hinunterschlucken)and overcoming this evil. Perhaps we are not sufficiently knocking on Christ in prayers and this our indolence is punished. He does not sleep while we snore. You wouldn't believe how much pride and malice of the noble people and peasants we must endure and suffer so that I am completely convinced that were you here you could less bare the perfidy among us than the maliciousness of a few there. I think, yes, I am certain the Papacy is the kingdom of the devil which is sent into the world by the wrath of God. However, no kingdom is appropriate for the world. "The world wants the devil for a god." I see now why God has permitted this horror to rise and be exalted over everything that is God: "the world wants it this way." Once the Bishops attempted to suppress this tyranny however with terrible decisions. When they tried to force the tyrants they at the same time suppressed the church of God. Now again the tynanny has begun and, if God permits, spirits again will stand up to hinder the tyranny with the same chains as the Pope has used. I will not, however, be in the counsel of such people but be a member who fear God, are patient and rather suffer death than hold to such a kingdom when our kingdom is in heaven (sursum). I am writing to reveal my heart, which is as your heart, namely that you might not forsake this church. Think about the superscription of Paul to Titus (Chap.1,1):"According to the faith of the elect of God" and again (Matthew 24:22?): "Everything for the sake of the Elect." Look at this, I plead, and despise all other men. You are a servant of the Elect of God, and a spectacle to those whom God has cast away. What is it to us what the rejected put forth if only we can serve the Elect and even the least of the brethren of Christ? Endure, therfore, my dear Wenceslaus, as much as you can, unto the End. And, although, at this time there is no one whom I would rather have at my side than you not only because of our past brotherhood but also because I always wanted to have you as a Consoler and a man of confidence who would be with me at my death still I want to yet set aside my good fortune rather than to do any harm to the church of God. Who knows what fruit God will bring forth out of this temptation? HE makes everything out of that which one does not see, out of nothing, out of contradictory things, out of that which robs us, out of that which is against us: "HE is infinite"; let us only pray and have patience sent to us.
You desire my judgment as to the Prince's determination that you should return to us. What if should go away or be banned? The Prince is very good and regarding him I am not worried. However, outside of the Prince, there is no one, whom I know, whom we would not be suspicious of (I speak of the Commander), and you can comprehend how great the love and zeal for the Word is in the world. Meanwhile I would pray that you would pray this Psalm (40th): "I exalt the LOrd." "Ach! It will be no different in glory or in shame.(2 Cor.6:8), "in offenses or error , in good and evil things,and once again," by devil and angel, through good and evil by the One Who alone is good and without evil. For this reason, my dear brother, I pray that you will only have conversation between Him and you and no one else. Although there are some very good men it may be that they have less patience than strong righteousness. Since we are all men and the flesh lusts against the spirit. Further, if the matter develops that he openly despises your person or ridicules you then it will be time for a different means. "Ach, help us God, as He permits the devil to be very strong and us so weak!" Take this in the best way and consider, that perhaps we are tempted of God so that we do not put our trust in men (even if he were a Prince) which is not blessed; and for a Christian to fear men is a shame, not to say, godless. Christ, our Life,Salvation, and Glory, be with you and with all of yours and all of us,Amen. On the Sunday of Cantate (25 April) Anno 1535. Your Martin Luther.

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