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To the well‑disposed Reader:
It is manifest, honorable reader, that as Satan, the envier of the divine honor and of our salvation, in the beginning of creation, used the serpent as an instrument to lead Adam and Eve off the way of life, and thus to lead them into death, as he actually did, Gen. 3:19, he now uses his false authors and preachers to do so, some of whom he clothes with an angelic appearance of innocence, by using many garbled Scriptures, philosophy, sophistry, words of human wisdom, and by leading a reasonable, private life, whereby he detains and ensnares the poor, bound souls in their great blindness and abominations, and robs them by his many wiles of their only means of salvation, which is Jesus Christ.
For the serpent said unto Eve, " Ye shall not surely die." Thus, now, our opponents say, Should Christ be the Son of God? No, he is not. The man Christ has no father, and like expressions. For from the beginning, the devil neither did nor could confess‑the true faith in Christ Jesus, namely, that we should acknowledge him to be the true Son of God, as may be plainly understood from 1 Jn. 2:22; 4:3; 2 Jn. 7. "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God," 1 Jn. 4:16. In short he has life everlasting. Such destroy, the dominion of the devil and the kingdom of falsehood. Yea Christ himself had to suffer death because he confessed himself to be the Son of God, Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62, Jn. 5:18; 19:7.
If Satan, then, did not confess such faith, in the beginning, as was heard, how shall he now suffer, as by the righteous judgment of God, he is arisen, through anti‑christ and his servants, to full dominion, for the sake of sin, and has bound all earth by his deceitful doctrine, explanations, flatterings, statutes, commandments, idolatry, tyranny and violence?
We see clearly, since Christ Jesus, by his grace, has shown himself through the clouds so that we, with Peter, and with all the Scriptures confess him in power and truth to be the Son of the true and living God, and submissively seal this faith with the sign of the holy baptism, as did the Ethiopian, Acts 8:36, according to his command, because we would, in our weakness, walk according to his commandments and be saved by his grace; how terribly we are upbraided, slandered, belied, accursed, persecuted and murdered by this wicked, perverse, blind, and carnal generation, on that account. For Satan, never, from the beginning confessed true faith in Christ Jesus, nor submissively sealed it by true baptism. Nor will he ever do so, unto the end.
The apocalyptical Apollyon has so corrupted things by the locusts of the bottomless pit, that but little truth remains with man; for it is manifest that not only the Turks and the Papists are inimical to the clearness of the most holy birth of Jesus Christ‑ in which consists true faith, to the nature, power, fruit, impression and sealing of faith,‑but also those of whom we should expect better things, as may be seen by the writings of our opponents.
Oh I oh I how very little these poor children have and know of the kingdom of God, and of the power of his holy word, although they may think, perhaps, that they understand a great deal. For it is very clear that an earthly, carnal minded heart, an ambitious, proud mind, a spiteful, envious person, and an untrue and false tongue is not of the good, but of the evil one, 1 Jn. 3:8; that the writings of our opponents were prompted by an earthly, carnal, hateful and false ‑heart; that they did not seek the glory, name and honor of God, but their own; and that they are partial and untruthful, can be easily deduced from the fact that from begnining to end they do 352not speak a kind word about me nor our beloved brethren; that they are quite silent upon the favor, faithfully rendered them in need; nor once mention that they were so often silenced and could not present any excuses, something which I do not mention to our honor, but to the praise of the Lord; also, that they did not at all in their writings touch upon their confession which they made before us all, that woman has no seed, whereby, in fact, his whole cause was already lost. Again, that there were two persons in Christ; and that the crucified one was not the Son of God; something which does not become an impartial writer who does not seek his own honor, but sincerely seeks the honor of God; also, that they call me quite ignorant, yea, as a cuckoo (as he also calls me) which always sings the same song, and passes himself for a spiritual master, versed in Scripture, while, before God and his angels and before all present, it was actually found to be quite different, as, by the grace of God, will be found and clearly seen from my following writings, if judged according to the divine truth. Very little, alas, have they meditated upon the Scripture of Paul, saying, that we should not be desirous of vain glory, Gal. ti:26. Inasmuch as they give such an untrue account of the discussion, and as they have so lamentably profaned the Father and his Son, and their precious, dear, powerful and true word and all their confessors as also, our beloved brethren who daily, piously suffer and die for the sake of the Lord's word, and who are slandered as if their whole life and death were but madness, and their forsaking possessions and kindred, were but heresy; therefore I am impelled, as in duty bound, and for the love of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his holy church (not urged by wrath; for this I leave to him who in due time shall judge us all without respect of person), faithfully and truthfully to annotate all that which Micron has willfully suppressed, to the dishonor of Christ find his holy word. Besides also, how slanderously he has blasphemed the Father and the Son, the Word and its confessors, and how wrongfully he opposes our faith and doctrine concerning the incarnation of Christ, which is taught and testified to throughout the Scriptures in incontrovertible power and clearness.
I therefore beseech all readers, for the Lord's sake, to peruse this my explanation, with impartial hearts, to consider well the foundation and to pray the Lord for grace and understanding. I trust to be able to show and explain it, by the aid of God, with such power and clearness of the holy Scriptures, that it will be plainly seen that anti‑christian deceit is on the side of our opponents and that the clear ground of truth is on our side. Therefore I would have the judicial term, Alteram partem audito, that is, hear also the other party, applied, and to compare my writings with theirs and not be mistaken through prejudice as do the partial.
I also beseech you not to think hard of my having to use such terms as, seed of man, seed of woman, &c.; God knows how unwillingly I do so; but necessity forces me to make use of such terms, that the glory of Christ Jesus may not be obscured with many, and that the heavenly brightness of his most holy birth may not remain obscured by the anti‑christian flattering and sophisty of the breath of Micron.
I can not sufficiently wonder at the man's heart and mind that he dares publish such absurd fables to the world, and that he dares show himself so ambitious and proud (something which, before God, I must deduce from his writings), as it will doubtlessly be read by many an intelligent person; for what else does he do all through his writings, but exalt himself, and trample me in the dust as is the nature of all the ambitious, something which I would not have written if it only touched me, and not the honor of God, while so many godfearing, pious men were present who heard the discussion from beginning to end. Yet besides, it is well known, perhaps, to thousands, as I presume, to whom it is known through my printed writings which are daily read here and there, that I have frequently solicited a public discussion, at the risk of being burned if I could not maintain my faith and doctrine by virtue of the Scriptures; but which, alas, has never been accepted.
353If I, now, were so entirely ignorant, as must be understood from his writing, it would be very curious why such a discussion should have been so long denied me, as he might thereby have gained many a soul, might have redeemed many a child, if we were wrong; and as he might have won such a fame and reputation, if he had been successful, among those of high standing and also among the whole world. But Micron has not yet forgotten how they were situated with us, notwithstanding he wrote thus sneeringly. If Micron and Herman had feared God as they pretend by their sheep's clothing, they would not have acted so foolishly as they have done by their writings. But I presume that the one who urged Pharaoh to persecute Israel (not withstanding he had seen such miracles in Egypt by the hands of Moses and Aaron), and found his punishment in the Red Sea, Ex. 7:26; 8:2; 9:6; 10:14; 11:5; 14:28; who urged Antiochus to turn Jerusalem into a death‑pit, and on his way met the punisher; that this same one has urged Micron and Herman to write thus, that their covert hypocrisy, their many gross falsehoods, ambitious partiality (I call it as I judge them before the Lord), ingratitude, slander, adulteration and willful garbling of the holy, divine word, their corrupting flatterings, sophistical philosophy, miserable deceit of the poor, despised souls, abominable, anti‑christian doctrine, blasphemy of both the Father and his blessed ‑Son, palpable blindness, and their vain, carnal hearts, may once be made manifest through this our explanation; and that thus the hearts which are bound by their snares through the falsehoods which they publish against us, by the fine appearance they put on, and by the garbled Scriptures which they teach by smooth, flattering words, may be unbound and delivered, to the glory of the Lord.
I do not know what else to say or think of the matter. For, more than two years ago I warned him by a man of considerable. name and one of his fellow‑believers, that if he would put it in print (for I was told that he intended to do so), and would not tell the tale just .as it truthfully happened, for I observed that he did not spare falsehood, I should reply to him, if I lived and the Lord granted it. But he was aware that if he did not tell it differently from what it was, he would have acquired but little fame and honor with the world; for it would have sounded: Micron lost it all; something that conceited, proud flesh does not like to hear.
Yet, I would never, in my life, have thought that he was of such extremely ambitious,, partial, untrue, infamous, and shameless mind, if I had not been convinced thereof in our discussion and by this writing of his: I thought that his intellect would have told him, even without the warning of any one, .that if he should do as he did, while I am yet living, that it would produce him nothing but shame and dishonor with all reasonable readers and auditors. But Micron had to speak, as his heart was full.
But perhaps, he hoped or thought that I might, in the mean time, die, and that he might thus acquire fame and honor, unrebuked, with the world. He was also aware that he could not offend the world, who gladly accept and hear false consolations and slanders, by abusing me; for whosoever can best belie, defame, upbraid, and depict me and my brethren in evil colors, is, with them, a great prophet, and a pleasing preacher. Let them run their course until hindered by the Lord! John says, " They are of the world, and therefore they speak of the world, and the world hear them," 1 Jn. 4:6. If possible, the beloved Lord grant them grace. Let the reader take due notice of the following reply, that he may learn to know Christ, do right, and be saved.
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