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bere even defend, preserve, and honour the less comely; as the apostle beautifully describes it, 1 Cor. xii. And hence, I can truly glory in the good things of others, as if they were my own: and they are then truly my own, if I rejoice in them and am gladdened by them. Thus, I am vile and filthy, but those whom I love and with whom I rejoice are comely and beautiful. By which love, I make not only their blessings, but the persons themselves, mine: and therefore, under their honour my uncomeliness will be honoured, and my need will be supplied by their abundance.
Who then may not rejoice under sufferings, when he no longer bears his own sufferings, or, if he does bear them, does not bear them alone, being helped by so many holy children of God, and, in a word, by Christ himself? So great a matter is the communion of the saints, and so great the church of Christ! And if any one does not believe that these things are so, and thus take place, he is an unbeliever, and denies Christ and the church!
This is what is meant in these words, I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church.' What is believing in the holy catholic church, but believing in the communion of saints? And, in what have the saints communion? In all things good and evil! All things belong to all! Who can hurt one of the smallest members of the body, without causing the whole body to suffer? What pain can the extreme joint of either of the toes suffer, which the whole body does not feel? What relief can be given to a toe that does not comfort the whole body? So, we are one body. Whatever another suffers, I feel and suffer also. What blessing soever is conferred on another, is conferred on me also. Thus, Christ says, that whatsoever is done unto the least of his, is done unto him. Who, receiving the least crumb of the bread of the altar, is not said to partake of the bread of the altar? Who, despising one crumb of it, is not said to despise the bread!
Hence if we be in pain, if under suffering, if in the conflict of death, let us turn our eyes to this, and firmly
believe and be assured, that we are not alone, but that Christ and the church are in pain, under suffering, and in the conflict of death with us. For Christ did not wish that we should tread that path of death alone, which every man shudders at; but willed that the whole church should accompany us in the path of suffering and death; and that the church should bear the greater part of that `which we had to endure. So that, we may truly apply that to ourselves which Elisha said to his fearful servant, 2 Kings vi.,"Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And when Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray thee open his eyes that he may see, "The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." So also all that we have to do, is, to pray that our eyes may be opened, that we may see the church standing round about us; that is, the eyes of our faith; and then we shall have nothing to fear. As it is written in the 125th Psalm, "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth even for ever." Amen!
OF THE GOOD FROM ABOVE.
I do not now speak of those eternal and celestial good things which the blessed enjoy in the open vision of God, or at least, I only speak of them in faith. This seventh View, therefore, is Jesus Christ the King of Glory rising from the dead! even as it was he in his sufferings, death, and burial, that formed our seventh View of evil. Here we may behold the highest joy our hearts can know, and firm and lasting good! There is nothing whatever of evil here: "for Christ being risen from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him," Rom. vi. And Christ was born for us: and not only that, but given unto us. Wherefore, his resurrection is mine, together with all things that he wrought by his resurrection. For, as the apostle in the height of his
"How shall he not with him
glorying saith, Rom. viii.,
What then did he accomplish by his resurrection?
The most sweet of these " waggons" is, indeed, that he is made unto us "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," as the apostle saith 1 Cor. i. For I am a sinner: but I am carried in his righteousness, which is freely given unto me. I am unclean : but his sanctification is my holiness, in which I am sweetly carried. I am a fool: but his wisdom carries me. I am condemned: but his liberty is my redemption, which is a waggon that carries me in perfect safety. So that the Christian, if he did but believe it, may glory in the merits and all the riches of Christ, as if he himself had wrought them; for they are peculiarly his. So that he may now in safety dare to desire the time when he shall stand in the judgment of God, which, otherwise, is not to be endured.
So great a thing is faith, such blessings does it bring in with it, and such glorious sons of God does it make us! For we cannot be sons, unless we inherit our Father's possessions. The Christian, therefore, may say with confidence, "O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory! The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to
God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. xv. Who then conquered these two? Our righteousness? Our life? No! It was Christ rising again from the dead, condemning sin and death, freely giving us his righteousness, freely putting his merits to our account, and laying his hand upon us. It is thus that we are in safety, that we fulfil the law, and are the conquerors of sin and death: for which, be honour, praise, and thanksgiving unto God for ever and ever, Amen!
This then is our last View: under which, we are raised not only above our evil things, but above our good things and we who before lay under evils procured by the sin of another and increased by our own sins, now sit resting in the blessings of another and procured by another's labour. We sit resting, I say, in that righteousness of Christ whereby he is righteous, because we cleave unto it by faith: by the which righteousness The pleaseth God, and, as a Mediator, intercedes for us, making himself wholly ours as the best of priests and the best of advocates. As therefore it is impossible that Christ should not please God by his righteousness; so it is equally impossible that we should not please God by our faith whereby we cleave unto that righteousness. Whence it is seen, that the Christian is omnipotent, the lord of all things, the possessor of all things, able to effect all things, and wholly without sin. And if he still have sins, yet, they cannot hurt him, for they are forgiven him for the sake of the all-conquering and sindrowning righteousness of Christ on which his faith is stayed; firmly believing, that Christ is to him what we have just described him as being. For he that does not believe is deaf to all that has been said, knows not Christ, nor understands the benefits of him, nor how to make use of him.
Wherefore this View only, without any other, may, if truly entered into, anoint us with such consolation as to constrain us, not only to cease from grieving at our evils, but also to glory in our tribulations from the fulness of the joy which we have in Christ, and to feel nothing of those evils at all. In which glorying, may
Christ the Lord our God himself instruct us; who is blessed for ever, Amen!
With these few thoughts of mine, most illustrious Prince, which are the best testimony of my willingness to serve you that my poverty will allow me to give, I commend myself to your Highness; being ready to serve you in greater things, whenever power shall be given me according to the desire of my spirit. For I shall ever be a debtor to every neighbour, and especially to your most illustrious Highness: whom, may our Lord Jesus Christ long preserve among us, and at last by a happy end take unto himself. Amen!
Your most illustrious Highness'
POSTSCRIPT OF MARTIN LUTHER.
This treatise I wrote, at the beginning of my ministerial career, to that most excellent Prince, Frederic Duke of Saxony, when he was dangerously sick; and many wished it to be published. But, from going through various publications, it was so corrupted and mutilated, that I found many words wanting; nor could I myself tell what those words were when the treatise was first written. I have, however, restored the substance of the sentences, and made them what I believe they were at the first. But I have not even now altered and pruned them as I might have done. Because in this treatise I wish to make 6 my profiting appear," and to gratify the gainsayers, that they might have an opportunity of venting their malice. For it is enough for me, if I please Christ my Lord and his saints. And, that I am hated by the devil and his scales, I rejoice from my very heart and give thanks unto God.
ERRATA IN THE TESSERADECAD.
Page 127, line 5, for THIRRINGS read THURINGA.