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The 10th of February, 1546, John, Prince elector of Saxony said: A controversy were easily settled, if the parties would exhibit some concord. Luther said: We would willingly have concord, but no man seeks after the medium of concord, which is charity. We seek riches, but no man seeks after the right means how to be rich, namely, through God’s blessing. We all desire to be saved, but the world refuses the means how to be saved—the Mediator Christ.
In former times potentates and princes referred their controversies to faithful people, and did not so readily thrust them into the lawyer’s hands. When people desire to be reconciled and to come to an agreement, one party must yield, and give way to the other. If God and mankind should be reconciled and agreed, God must give over his right and justice, and must lay aside his wrath; and we, mankind, must also lay down our own righteousness, for we also would needs be gods in Paradise; we thought ourselves wise as God, through the serpent’s seduction; then Christ was fain to make an agreement between us; he interposed in the cause, and would be a mediator between God and man; this Mediator for his pains got the portion of a peace-maker, namely, the cross; he that parts two fighters, commonly gets the hardest knocks for himself. Even so Christ suffered and presented us with his passion and death; he died for our sakes. and for the sake of our justification he arose again. Thus the generation of mankind became reconciled with God.
When two goats meet upon a narrow bridge over deep water, how do they behave? neither of them can turn back again, neither can pass the other, because the bridge is too narrow; if they should thrust one another, they might both fall into the water and be drowned; nature, then, has taught them, that if the one lays himself down and permits the other to go over him, both remain without hurt. Even so people should rather endure to be trod upon, than to fall into debate and discord one with another.
A Christian, for the sake of his own person, neither curses nor revenges himself; but faith curses and revenges itself. To understand this rightly, we must distinguish God and man, the person and cause. In what concerns God and his cause, we must have no patience, nor bless; as for example, when the ungodly persecute the Gospel, this touches God and his cause, and then we are not to bless or to wish good success, but rather to curse the persecutors and their proceedings. Such is called faith’s cursing, which, rather than it would suffer God’s Word to be suppressed and heresy maintained, would have all creatures go to wreck; for through heresy we lose God himself, Numbers xvi. But individuals personally ought not to revenge themselves, but to suffer all things, and according to Christ’s doctrine and the nature of love, to do good to their enemies.
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