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THE CONFESSION OF THE LEARNED CONCERNING CHRIST.
The Confession of the Learned concerning Christ, is, That the eternal word, the second person in the Godhead (these are their words), the eternal Son of God, has taken unto himself the nature of our flesh. Yea, that the whole man, Christ, who was sacrificed, and who died for us, is the natural seed of the woman, of Abraham, and of David. The seed of the woman (they say) according to the ordinance of God, Gen. 3, with which seed, namely, Mary's flesh and blood, the beforementioned divine person, the eternal Word and eternal Son, has united himself; and thus became one person and Christ. Or that the whole person, Christ Jesus, with body and soul, is the natural fruit of the flesh and blood of Mary, in which the eternal Word dwelt. The man, Christ Jesus, died, but the Word remains whole and intact."
Answer. It seems very strange to me that the learned never cease to upbraid us by their indiscreet words, and cause us more and more tribulation, by the bloodthirsty; we, who have plainly and incontrovertibly on our side, the firm and immutable foundation of the holy apostles and prophets, nay, also the blessed word and testimony of Christ; while they have neither common reason nor the Scriptures on their side, as may be seen. For, that all the following weighty and intolerable improprieties and abominable errors result from their confession, is as clear as day.
First, A divided Christ; of which one half must have been heavenly and the other earthly; as some, even dare boldly assert that the person of Christ consisted of two principal parts, namely, God and man.
Secondly, An impure and sinful Christ, for the defense says: Christum non alterius ullius carnis participem factum esse, quana quae and peccato (ut tentaretur) and morti simul obnoxia esset, &c., that is, Christ partook of no other flesh but of sin, that he might be tempted and subject to death. At another place the defense says, in regard to Christ: Si sanctus (inquit) quomodo sub peccatum in Patris judicio candemnatur that is, If Christ is holy, why is he then judged in the judgment of the Father because of sins? This agrees perfectly with the writing of Gellius; that the righteousness of God 97would not leave us unpunished, without the ransom.
Reader, observe, How could they speak more blasphemously of the most holy manhood of Christ, nay, of the Son of the Almighty and eternal God, than they thereby do? For if Christ was flesh of our sinful and death‑guilty flesh, and if he was thus tempted of his own flesh, then the sin, of which he was tempted, must have dwelt in his flesh, and then he died for the sake of duty, and not for the sake of grace; this is too clear to be refuted. Nor could it be otherwise, if we assert that Christ's flesh was of Adam's sinful flesh.
Again, If his holy, precious flesh was such a ransom as Gellius claims, how could the righteousness of God be fulfilled and acquitted thereby, according to the holy will of God? If this may not be rightly called, preaching an impure and sinful Christ, and robbing our most holy Savior and Messiah (something of which they accuse us), I will leave all right‑minded and reasonable people to reflect upon in a scriptural light.
Thirdly, Two persons in Christ, namely, the one the second person in the Godhead, and the other the man of Mary's flesh, in which human person the divine person dwelt. Which error is not alone controverted by us, but also by Luther, saying, "Beware, beware (I say) of the Alleosi; it is the devil's mask; for it will ultimately establish such a Christ as I would not be called after; namely, that Christ henceforth is no more, and that his suffering avails no more than the suffering of a common saint. For, if I should believe that alone human feeling suffered for me, then that Christ would be a poor Savior; he would stand in need of a Savior himself. In short, it is unspeakable what the devil seeks and intends by this Alleosi. We say, God is man and man is God; we cry against them that they divide the person of Christ, as if it were two persons."
For, if the Alleosi shall stand, as Zuingli teaches it, Christ must be two persons, one divine, the other human. This he says, "Reader, observe, to what kind of Christ they teach and point us."
Fourthly, Two sons in Christ; of which the first is the Son of God without a mother; the second, the son of Mary, without a father; in which son of Mary, the Son of God should have been embodied, and thus have been united, as they claim. Just behold what a monstrosity they produce!
Fifthly, The person, Christ Jesus, then was neither the first nor only begotten Son, but the third son of God in order, who was not born, but created of God; and would be, as Pomer says, the accepted son of God, Quod & Bonosianorum five Xonosolitarum heresis est. I say He would be the third in order. For the first is the Word; the second, the first Adam, Luke 3:38, and the third, the man of Mary's flesh, who should have been accepted as a son of God, as heard.
Sixthly, Then we are not redeemed and delivered through God's first and only begotten Son, but through Mary's son, created of Adam's impure and sinful flesh, as also the defense and his followers dare assert, in the face of all the Scriptures, saying, that the nature imbodied in the loins of Adam, which committed the transgression also, according to the righteousness of God will requite and remit the same.
Seventhly, If we are thus delivered through Adam's flesh, as they claim, then we should not only give thanks to the Father for his Word, but also to Adam's flesh, through which our deliverance is caused; this, all right‑minded persons must admit.
Eighthly, If the man Christ was a creature of Adam's flesh, and we were delivered through him, as the learned claim; and since God speaks through the prophet, That he will not give his glory to another, Isaiah 48:11; and since it is manifest that we should honor our Redeemer, Christ, no less than we honor the Father, therefore it must follow that God either did not speak truly through his prophets, or else they were all idolaters because they gave divine homage to a creature of Adam's flesh; something which is so strictly forbidden in the Scriptures, and which often was severely punished of God. Behold, reader, such an inconsistent, impure and divided Christ he is to which the learned point and teach you by their sophistry and garbled Scriptures. A christ composed of two persons and two 98sons; of which one person and son should have dwelt in the other; and of which one person and son should have suffered and the other not; and the one that suffered should have been the son of Mary and not of God. I think this may well be called forsaking the Lord who has bought them, and preaching a strange christ whom the Scriptures never knew.
O, reader, dear reader, how lamentably the deceitfulness of the old serpent robs us, through the reasoning of the learned, of this noble, exalted and precious Messiah, and points us to an impure, sinful, earthly and created being; never minding that the Holy Spirit openly testifies that the Word of God was made flesh, John 1, and that this same incarnated Word is our Emmanuel, and our God, Matt. 1:26; the Lord who justifies us, Jer. 23; the first and only begotten, John 1; God's own Son, Rom. 8; descended from heaven, John 3:13; the living bread from heaven which was not his invisible godhead, as the learned say, but his visible flesh, as he himself testifies, John 6:51; come forth from God, John 16:30; the first and last, Rev. 1:11; who humbled himself and did not assume the form of a great emperor or king, but of an humble servant; came down to the level of man; assumed the form of man; obeyed his Father unto death, nay, unto the death of the cross; truly God and man, man and God. God at all times, of God and in God; God's eternal word, who, in due time, according to the promise made to the patriarchs, became a miserable, suffering and mortal man in Mary, the pure virgin, who was of the seed of Abraham, and married to a man of the house of David, named Joseph (upon which Joseph, the evangelists base their genealogy); not divided, as the learned teach, but an undivided, only Christ and Son of God; pure and spotless; planted in her of the seed and Word of his Father, by the Holy Spirit of God; conceived of her through faith; fed and nourished in her virgin body and in due time became man, as Isaac was brought forth of Sarah, and John of Elisabeth; born of her according to the promise; obedient to the law; a light to the world; a preacher of grace; an example of righteousness; and at last, not on account of his own sins, for he knew not sin, but for our sins, he was innocently condemned to death, nailed to the cross, died, buried, arose, and ascended to his Father in heaven, where he dwelt before; and there he is our only and eternal Mediator, Advocate, Intercessor, Expiator and High Priest, with God, his Father, Mark 16; Acts 1; John 6; 16; and thus the Almighty and eternal God, our merciful, heavenly Father, alone receives the honor and praises, through this his Christ, our eternal Messiah, his first and only begotten Son and eternal word; and not through the impure and sinful flesh of Adam, as the learned teach.
Observe, reader, which of these confessions is the most powerful and has the strongest foundation in the Scriptures; and in which of the two the greater love of God, and higher honor to Christ is perceptible. Whether God had taken a man of the seed or flesh of Adam, as the learned teach, or whether he had given his eternal word, power, wisdom, nay, the heart of his own body, (to make a common expression), in death, for us, as all the Scriptures teach us that he did.
O what an inestimable word is this, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, &c., John 3:16. Again, "In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world," and again. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins," 1 John 4:9,10. Mark, he has sent his Son and not a man of the seed of Adam who had no father. Paul says, "He spared not his own Son," Rom. 8:32, and other explicit sayings.
Here, in the original works of Menno Simon, follows a brief argument, in reference to the incarnation of our Lord, which the publishers have deemed proper to omit, for the reason that they felt that the book would be more edifying to the general reader without it.]
In the seventh place, he accuses us, saying, "That, secondly, their church has not existed since the time of Abraham; and that she is, therefore, not the true church, is clearly visible from the fact that they, in disobedience to the will of God, refuse the seal of the eternal covenant to the children of the church, which has, since the time of Abraham, been practiced and maintained in the churches."
Answer. Abraham was commanded of God that he should leave the land of his fathers, and of his kinsmen, and that he 99should leave his father's house, and remove to a land which the Lord would show him. Abraham believed in the Lord, and departed as the Lord had commanded him, Gen. 12:4‑6.
Again, the Lord commanded him that he should offer Isaac, whom he loved, his only begotten of the free woman, as a burnt offering. Abraham believed in God; he was obedient, and prepared to do whatever God commanded, Gen. 22; Rom. 8:32.
In the same manner he was commanded to circumcise himself, his son Ishmael (Isaac was not yet born) and every man child of his household, and all the males after him, at the eighth day after their birth. Abraham believed in God, and did as the Lord commanded him.
Behold, thus Abraham believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness, Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3. In the same manner God has spoken unto us in the New Testament, not only by angels and prophets, as he did unto Abraham and the patriarchs, but also by his Son, which Son has thus commanded, namely, That the gospel should be preached to all the world; to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews; and whosoever believes it should be baptized, Mark 16; even as it was commanded Abraham to circumcise all males, Gen. 17:10‑13.
This command we have received from the mouth of Christ, therefore we believe in it, even as Abraham believed in his time. We believe it, I say, and do accordingly; we teach those of understanding minds, and baptize those that believe, not in disobedience, as Gellius says, but in obedience to the clear, plain and express ordinance and command of Christ, God's own Son.
Dear reader, observe. The Lord, Christ, thanked his Father, and said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent," John 17:3. At another place he says, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." Mark, he says, "If ye continue," John 8:31. And, while the merciful and affectionate Father, through his great kindness, has discovered unto us the glorious knowledge, and the wonderful, deep mystery of his beloved Son, and, besides has given us such a fruit through his Spirit, that we dare not willfully and knowingly deviate one hair's breadth from his holy word, ordinance and command, as is testified and shown by our tribulation, misery and deprivation, to the whole world, yet, alas, according to the judgment of Gellius, and of the learned, we are not the believing church, nor the disciples of Christ, as may be seen by their writings.
Behold, thus the righteous judgment of the Almighty and great God is passed upon the wise and learned of this world, that the clear and plain signs, by which the true disciples and church of Christ may, and must be known, are esteemed an abomination and error‑that they who have received light from above, through grace, are not accounted christians, by them as has been related.
In the eighth place he accuses us, and says, "They must admit that their church has existed but sixteen or seventeen years, that is, since the time Menno Simon commenced preaching. For they do not want to be counted at all, of the Munsterites, Amsterdamites, and Oude Kloosterites, among whom Menno lost a brother, lest they be called seditious or the seed of sedition."
Answer. We point to Christ Jesus our only and eternal Prophet and Messiah, sent of the Father, who is the only true Cornerstone in Zion, the true Teacher, Law‑giver, Commander, Intercessor and Head of his church, together with all his angels, apostles and prophets, through whom he, in former times, spoke, and also his Spirit, word, ordinances, commands, prohibitions, usage and example‑and if Gellius, or any other person under the canopy of heaven, be he learned or not, can convince us by divine truth that we teach or maintain any thing contrary to his word and ordinances, then I, for myself, sincerely desire to correct the wrong, and to follow that which is right. This he knows who has purchased me; for I want to be saved. But if they can not do this by the truth, but only in appearance of truth, and thus blaspheme it, as all the perverse do, and have to leave our testimony unbroken, then it is sufficiently proven that our hated, despised, and small church is the true, prophetic, apostolic, and christian church, which was began with the first righteous who walked 100according to the will of God; and not with me, as Gellius, alas, maliciously says.
Secondly, I would say, since he has accused us, at different times, of the errors and sedition of the Munsterites, of which we are clear and ever have been, before God and man, therefore, I would beseech him to take a view of his own infant baptist church, of which he is a teacher and head, and see how abominably they have, for years, rebelled amongst each other; how they have afflicted countries and nations with their accursed, ungodly wars, and have given the blood of innumerable human beings, together with their poor souls, to the prince of hell, and have placed them as an offering upon his altar; of which, alas, the learned, by their seditious writings, together with the priests, monks, and preachers, were the principal cause, which is as clear as day to many reasonable persons.
Thirdly, I would say, that in my opinion, he here so indiscreetly alludes to the error of my poor brother, for one of these two reasons: Either, that he thereby would make me suspicioned with the reader, that I, formerly, also was of the same feeling with my brother, or, that he would thereby injure my reputation. For my brother is no longer subject to the punishment of man which he once suffered in the flesh, but alone to the judgment of God. It seems that Gellius cannot master this envy and bitterness of his heart; for nobody can be corrected or taught righteousness by such a course.
If he did so for the first reason, namely, to make me suspicioned, then all those who formerly heard me, when yet of the papal church, and all who have ever heard me until this hour, and also my published writings, will be my testimony, that he wrongfully suspicions me; for I never thought of such a thing, much less taught it.
But, if he did so for the second reason, namely, to blemish my reputation, then he should know that I and mine, I trust, never harmed him nor his in the least; and also, that my poor brother, to whom he so cruelly alludes, did no greater wrong than that he erroneously, alas, defended his faith by force of arms, and retaliated the violence committed against him, as all the learned, preachers, priests, monks and all the world do. I presume that I have merited this cruel allusion by nothing less than by my faithful love, because I have, in sincerity of heart, pointed him and all the preachers to the divine truth of the word, and because I have admonished them to their own wellbeing. And how this allusion, which cannot have been made but in envy, agrees with honorableness, and with the fear of God, all reasonable readers may judge by the Scriptures and the common rules of decency. May the kind Lord grant that he may rightly learn the heart from which this unmerited allusion comes, that he may purge it and sincerely repent; this is my revenge and punishment which I invoke on him.
In the ninth place he accuses us, and says, "That we cannot prove that infant baptism is an anti‑christian abomination; nor show from the anti‑christian ordinance who was the institutor thereof. It can also be proven, he says, that infant baptism was practiced ever since the apostolic times; long before the violence of anti‑christ, which was yet unknown, or, at least, very weak, at the time of Augustine."
Answer. We teach and practice such a baptism as was commanded by Jesus Christ, God's own Son; as was taught by his faithful witnesses, the apostles, in clear and explicit terms, and as was transmitted to us by their practice; which is the baptism of the believing, Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:36; 10:48; 16:33; 19:5; Rom. 6:3; Col. 2:12; 1 Cor. 12:13; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21. Whosoever, now, will teach and practice any other baptism, must show by the Scriptures where it is commanded. But if they can not do this, as is impossible to do, then it is already proven that it is not Christ's baptism, but that of anti‑christ, however finely it may be ornamented with learned words; this is too clear to be denied.
But, as to his assertion, that the violence of anti‑christ was yet unknown at the time of Augustine, or that it was at least feeble, is too absurd to admit of an answer. Whoever will, may read history, and he will find in great clearness, that anti‑christ was, at the time of Augustine, in full honor and that he reigned with his doctrine, in the hearts of men.
In the tenth place he accuses us, said says, "If they 101were the true messengers of God, who are to purge and deliver the church of Christ from such abominable anti‑christian errors, they should not be a separated sect; for the prophets, and all the faithful servants of God, by whom God has often purged his church, did not separate themselves from the church and establish a church of their own, but they remained with the church and bestowed their faithful labor upon the church, at the peril of their lives."
Answer. Whatever Gellius does, it seems that he must slander. I say again, take Christ Jesus and all his prophets, apostles, Spirit, word, ordinance and life, and if he can thereby convince us, that in any article we are at fault and contrary to their teaching (his slandering amounts to nothing), of that we do not conform thereto, or, that, in our weakness, we do not agree therewith-- I will give up that we are a separated sect. But if he can not do so, as it is impossible for him, and yet calls us a separated sect, he shows thereby that he is no better judge of the church of Christ, than Tertullus was when before Felix, and the Jews at Rome, before Paul.
I would further say, that if he can prove to us that the faithful prophets intermingled with the worshippers of the calf of Jeroboam; with the servants of Baal, and the abominations of Israel, which they so zealously reproved; and remained united with those who disobeyed the law; and, also, that the holy apostles admitted the Pharisees and Scribes, together with other refractory persons, in the communion of their churches‑then we admit that he has a good cause to reprove us, and to write as he does. If they did not do so, (and they have not), but, on the contrary, reproved, by the power of the Spirit, the abominations that crept in from time to time, according to the pure word and ordinance of God, at the peril of their lives, then he must admit, that he accuses us without cause, since we do not otherwise than according to the example of the holy apostles and prophets, reprove all false doctrine, unrighteousness and abominations with the pure, apostolic teaching, Spirit, ordinance, and word of our Lord Jesus Christ (without which no true church of Christ can exist); avoid that which is wrong, and, faithfully, in love and purity, teach and promulgate the salutary, christian truth, verbally and by writing, to all the hungry hearts, at the peril of life and possessions.
Lastly, I would say, Since he calls us a excluded sect, because we do not unite with them, why have he and his follower seceded from the Papistic and Lutheran churches? If he answer: Because of their abominations. Then I would again say, that we do it for the same reason. For they forsake the Son of the true and living God and point us to an earthly creature of the unclean and sinful flesh of Adam as being our Savior; besides, they do not follow the command and ordinance of God in regard to baptism, Holy Supper, and separation. We will never, at any risk, desire to be of one church with those who seek their reconciliation and salvation in the sinful flesh of Adam, who reject God's testimony of his Son and his ordinance; but we desire to be of one church and body with those who give the praise to God through his word; with those who confess the whole Christ as the only, and first begotten Son of God, and who abide unchangeably in his holy ordinances, example, Spirit and word. Let those of understanding minds understand that which the word of the Lord teaches, John 10.
In the eleventh place he accuses us, saying, "From this it follows that the calling of their doctrine is wrong, and that their whole church, service, and walk, cannot aid to salvation, but can only lead to the corruption and destruction of the true Churches; and therefore they do not suffer as innocent and harmless christians, but as busy‑bodies in other men's matter (he refers to 1 Pet. 4), except that they want to suffer for such a cause of which they must be doubtful themselves, and for which no martyr ever suffered."
Answer. As the Spirit of Christ, and of unfeigned love, accepts all good and godly actions as right and godly, so, also, the spirit of anti‑christ, and of bitter envy explains every thing that is right and godly, as wrong and ungodly. For it is testified to with possessions and life that we dare not willfully and knowingly deviate one hair's breadth from the word and example of the Lord, but judge every thing according to the doctrines and usages of the apostles, so far as the Lord gives grace. We, in our weakness, would gladly conform our lives to the requirements of the Scriptures, and gladly seek the praise of God and the 102salvation of our neighbors, at the peril of possessions and life. Notwithstanding this, he dares write that the calling of our doctrine is wrong, that our walk and actions are not conducive to salvation; that we cause all manner of corruption and disorder, and that we do not suffer as christians, but as evil‑doers, who are busybodies in other men's matters. Behold, thus all good offices of the godly, are ever explained to the reverse.
O, reader, beloved reader, that the poor, ignorant world would sincerely accept this, our despised doctrine, which is not of us but of Christ, and that they would faithfully obey it; for then they might change their deadly swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks; they would level their gates and walls, dismiss their executioners and hangmen, for all those who accept our doctrine, in its power, by the grace of God, will not desire to injure any one upon earth, not even their most bitter enemies, much less wrong or harm them by works and actions; for they are the children of the Most High, who sincerely loves all that is good, and, in their weakness, avoid that which is evil, nay, hate it and are inimical thereto. Yet we must hear that we suffer for the sake of wrongdoing, as has been heard.
But in regard to his assertion "that we suffer for a cause of which we must be doubtful ourselves, and for which no martyr ever suffered," he should know that if we at all doubted our faith, we would not so deeply impress the seal with our possessions, and blood, as we do; for a house built upon the sand cannot withstand such torrents of water and wind‑storms as visit us daily, Matt. 7:25.
Neither do we suffer on account of an uncertain cause as he says, but for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; for the sake of his holy, precious word and ordinances; for the sake of the sincere confession of God and Christ; for the sake of obedience to the Scriptures, for the sake of which all have suffered, from the beginning, who have rightly suffered according to the will of God, as may be plainly and clearly educed from profane and sacred history.
In the twelfth place he accuses us, saying, "That they are the church and Israel, is false, since they stain the true church of Christ by many errors which they daily produce and bring forward as from the abyss of hell; destroy the true sheep of Christ; unreasonably adorn themselves with the sanctity of the church; cause strife and dissension concerning the articles of faith; are carnal, sneak about and preach in secret, and do not agree with the elders of the churches, as said before."
Answer. If the spirit of truth had been the writer in this case, the game would have, doubtlessly, been reversed, and this accusation laid on our opponents; for they still maintain and uphold some gross errors which were formerly brought forward by anti‑christ from the abyss of hell (to use his own expression), both by doctrine and force; and thereby cause the godly much affliction and tribulation, cause many a pious child to be deprived of possessions and life, adulterate truth, preach falsehood, are carnally minded, and in fact deny that the man, Christ Jesus, is God's only and first begotten Son, while we, with our small, despised number shun and forsake all the anti‑christian abominations and errors, build up the church of Christ and again place it upon the true foundation, again publish and proclaim the clear and plain truth, to many, both verbally and by writing, at the peril of life and the displeasure of the world, confess the whole Christ, as the true, only and first begotten Son of God, as did the angel to Mary, John the Baptist, Peter, Martha, and the Father from high heavens himself, and rightly use his ordinances of baptism, Supper and separation, as all those did from the beginning who rightly knew God, and acted according to his will.
Behold, reader, these are the most important accusations charged against us by him; and that they, for the most part are artful fabrications, false explanations, false suspicions, false accusations and partial charges, whereby he obstructs the course of divine truth, maintains falsehood, insults the godly, and consoles the impenitent in their easy life, is fully proven in this our replication.
In the last place he writes of us, saying, "Experience fully teaches that their teachers and prophets are not the teachers and prophets of God. And that they are not the people of God, I have, perhaps, already proven too powerfully. From which, then, it is clear that our magistracy are right not to let them proceed in their wicked 103course, but to stop them; and they might, in pastoral and paternal faithfulness or solicitude for the church of Christ, speak and act a little harder towards them, lest the church be quite destroyed. But then we would be their persecutors and blood‑hounds."
Answer. Jeremiah, Micah, Elias, Christ Jesus and Paul could not be called the true prophets and servants of God; nor can we. But the great Lord shall, in due time, make it manifest who are the faithful prophets and servants of God and who are not.
Again, to his saying that we are not the people of God, we answer with holy Paul that it is a very small thing that we should be judged by the judgment of men; and especially of such men who are so diametrically opposed to the ordinance, will and word of God, as may be seen in the case of Gellius, by his writing. Yea, kind reader, if he and his like preachers acknowledged us to be the people of God, they would thereby testify that they are not; something which an ambitious, carnal person, who seeks reputation and fame, never will do.
Again, in regard to his approval of the magistracy hindering our course, which he calls wicked, I would say that the longer and the more he writes, the more indiscreet and offensive he becomes, and the more he manifests his blindness. If he be a preacher called of the Spirit of God, then let him show a single word in all the New Testament, whereby he can prove that Christ or the apostles have ever called on the magistracy to defend and protect the true church against the attack of the wicked, as, alas, he calls us. No, no. Christ Jesus and his powerful word and Holy Spirit is the protector and defender of his church; and not the emperor, king, or any worldly potentate. The kingdom of the Spirit must be protected and defended by the sword of the Spirit, and not by the sword of the world. This is too clear to be controverted, according to the doctrine and example of Christ and his apostles.
I would further say, If the magistracy rightly understood Christ and his kingdom, they would, in my opinion, rather choose death, than to meddle with their worldly power and sword in spiritual matters, which are not subject to the judgment of man, but to the judgment of the great and Almighty God alone. But they are taught by their pastors that they should proscribe, imprison, torture and slay those who are not obedient to their doctrine, as may, alas, be seen in many different cities and countries.
In short, kind reader, if the merciful Lord did not, in his great love, temper the hearts of some of the magistrates, but would let them proceed according to the fiendish instigation and blood‑preaching of the learned, no pious person could endure. But some are yet found, who, notwithstanding the crying and writing of the learned, suffer and bear with the miserable, and, for a time, show them mercy, for which we will forever give praise to God, the Most High, and for which we feel very grateful and thankful to such kind and discreet regents.
But, to his writing that in paternal and pastoral solicitude and faithfulness they might use harsher means against us, I would say this: If he had entered in at the right door with Christ, who is the Prince and Head of all true pastors, and if he could taste in his heart, of the friendly and amiable Spirit, nature and disposition of Christ, he would not at all think of such a resolution against the blood of others, much less advocate and invoke it. This I know to a certainty, for the Spirit of Christ is not thus natured, John 10:2; 1 Pet. 2:3.
Reader, observe that he, in this instance, does not write plainly that the magistracy should put us to the sword; this he does, because he does not want to be called a blood‑hound or persecutor; nevertheless he makes it understood that if they should do so, he would call it a praisworthy thing. Whoever is not quite destitute of understanding, well understands what he hints at in this instance. O, a doctrine of blood!
O, that he could comprehend the force of the word which the Lord says, "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning," John 8:44. For, since he encourages the blood‑thirsty by such writing, and I have myself heard from his own mouth that it is right to persecute and kill one on account of his faith (understand, such faith as they think to be heretical), he, therefore, has thereby burdened the innocent104 blood on his soul. I say innocent blood, for neither he nor anybody else upon the face of the earth, can, by the grace God, convince us by the force of truth, that we act or do aught against Christ or his word; or that we deserve the punishment and sword of the magistracy.
He should further know that this blood doctrine of his, is not only contrary to Jesus Christ, God's own Son, and that of his servant, Paul, but also contrary to the doctrine of Luther, see his book, "De sublimiori mundi potestate." Besides contrary to the doctrine of Hieronimus, Augustine, Theophilactus, Anselmus, Remigius and others, who unanimously agree that the heretics should not be killed, but admonished and convinced, and if they do not repent after admonition, that they should, according to the word of God, be separated from the communion of the church, and shunned.
Besides, this stone thrown by him might light upon his own head. For what greater and more terrible heresy, deception and blasphemy can be imagined than to assert that the pure and holy flesh of Christ, is a ransom for sin, to adulterate so sadly his ordinance and the apostle's clear and plain doctrine of baptism; to neglect Exclusion as required by the word of God; to slander the pious, and to console and encourage the impenitent and carnal minded by garbling the Scriptures, as he has constantly done in his writings from beginning to end.
If we were thus to resolve against those who are wrong in doctrine or faith, as he says we should, then we would have to commence with him, because he is a defender of such great errors, as may be plainly seen by comparing both our writings.
May the merciful, dear Lord permit him and all our opponents to see the right foundation of truth; understanding hearts to understand it rightly, and a willing, free and new mind to believe and follow it with sincerity, Amen.
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