... and so I am reproducing this section here. It is in his "Chapter XXIX. – The Last Years Of Luther's Life", pgs 163-165:
...until the approaching Diet at Regensburg in the year 1541. There the Papists presented a document, generally called the Regensburg Interim, which was intended to serve as a basis for consultation and also, if possible, for union. But Luther clearly proved, his advice having been asked upon the matter, that the purpose of the opponents, especially in regard to the article of Justification, was nothing else than to put a new piece of cloth upon
- 164 -an old garment, whereby the rent would merely be made worse. Matt. ix, 16. A number of foreign princes however, resolved, with the knowledge of the emperor, to send a respectable embassy to Luther, in the hope that he might still be prevailed upon to form an agreement. This resolution was carried into effect, and to the oral address of the ambassadors Luther immediately gave an oral answer, which he subsequently reduced to writing and the import of which was that if the first four articles, especially that concerning Justification, should in all respects be preached purely and be received as Christian, the poison of the other ten would be neutralized, and the clear teachings of these articles and their application by means of correct preaching would soon lead to an agreement in regard to the last ten. Seckendorf, in his excellent History of Lutheranism, praises the answer of Luther in this transaction, which is one of the most important in the Reformation, both for the modesty of its style and the firmness which it evinced. For as Luther before could not be intimidated by the menaces of Cajetan at Augsburg and of the emperor at Worms, neither could he now be lured to a sinful compliance by the flatteries of such an imposing embassy. But the opponents took no notice of this answer, and again referred the whole matter to a general Council. If the princes and theologians had taken this answer of Luther as their model in the negotiations respecting the Interim, which
- 165 -was, shortly after Luther's death, fabricated from that of Regensburg, the Lutheran Church would not have been so sorely troubled.
This account so impressed me that I had to reacquaint myself with the details of the Diet of Regensburg and Luther's part in it. What were the "Four Articles" and the "Ten Articles" that Luther spoke about? Unfortunately, there are very few letters of Luther translated into English during that time (April - June, 1541) pertaining to Regensburg – see my Letters of Luther document for reference. Even the New Series - Luther's Works CPH publication of Luther's letters will not have any of these letters translated (see page 36 of their Prospectus).
So I decided to search for the "writing" that Luther gave to the "respectable embassy" from the Diet that wanted to coerce him into agreeing with the Papists. I discovered that this is letter #2798 in the St. Louis Edition, vol. 17, columns 678 - 682. It is dated June 12, 1541. Because Pastor Fick called this writing "one of the most important in the Reformation", I am publishing it in this series of blog posts as a tribute not only to Martin Luther, but also to the memory of Pastor Hermann Fick and Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff, both excellent Lutheran historians who understood the spiritual essence of church history.
This translation is not professional quality but I feel that if the reader has a question on Luther's meaning at a certain place, it will be answered in another place.
June 12, 1541 (St. L. v. 17, pgs 678-682)
Translated by BackToLuther w/ Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, PROMT
Luther speaks about the "Ten Articles" and the first "Four Articles" along with the article of Justification. What were these articles about? In the next Part 3, I will give some details of these and then publish (in Part 4) the balance of this pivotal letter of Luther... a writing that sets the Article of Justification, the diamond of Christian doctrine, on its pedestal.