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Friday, January 9, 2015

Martyrs 5c: Kaiser– streaming tears; true friends; blind Hollywood

This continues from Part 5b (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Pastor Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  —  This part 5c continues the account of Leonhard Kaiser.  On page 24 is a dramatic story of Kaiser's sister as she weeped for her brother.  Indeed I had to shed tears as I thought of her and her sisterly love for her brother.  —  Kaiser had friends, not only wealthy ones, but also true friends.  How do I know this?  Pastor Fick reports the following as Kaiser was being dragged from prison:
His friends joined him and comforted him; because none of them wished that he should fall from the truth.
Although his friends would have liked to see Kaiser set free, they were one in spirit with Kaiser, and loved the evangelical truth more than this life here on earth.  Dear reader, may God grant you and I true friends such as these Christian friends of Leonhard Kaiser!
Some highlighting added; hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick [after Luther]
(tr. by BackToLuther)
V. (c)
Leonhard Kaiser (Kayser).
"Christ, you must suffer with me."
(Leonhard on the way to death by fire.)
"On Baptism? I have said that it was a sacrament, used by Christ, and not to be missed, and if one would not be baptized, so he should desire to be baptized, and so a sign of faith etc.  In addition, this was not the work of man, but God’s work, thereby the old man is drowned and a new man is born, the old should die and the new live: also a sign of faith, let alone in the heart, but must be known to me and everyone through the sign; then after that followeth cross and trials for Christians, so he confesses.
"What do I consider or believe to be under both wine and bread?  Answer: That is understood under both forms are the true body of the Lord, and the same is under the form of bread, but under the form of wine is the precious blood of our Lord etc.
"Are all Christians priests?  Answer: Yes, from the passage of 1 Pet. 2:29: "Ye are a chosen race etc, a royal priesthood etc.. Wherefore that one can or may ask for another, and carrying his corresponding matter before God, demonstrate the counsel and help of God’s Word.  Also, all Christians are kings, that is masters of all goods of Christ: for all goods are of Christ, the same goods are at the same time for all Christians, and the same are all partakers with him through the faith that they have, through Him, dominion over sin, death, devil and hell, and these also do not rule over a Christian, nor have command of etc."
However, the dear Kaiser despaired of himself completely and counted only on the grace of God; he testifies of this with the following prayer: "Almighty God, grant thy grace that thy holy divine Word may not go down.  The Word is thine, take care of thy Word: you must do it for I am much too simple and too weak. Also do not consider with me, still in all my power, to the end to receive something of your Word, honour, and praise unless before Thou give and confer it to me, for I am nothing otherwise than a poor tool."
In the meantime, his mother, brothers and many, often very wealthy and highly respected friends and acquaintances had tried everything to save his life.  [Page 23]  Within their authority, the Earls of Traun, Schaumburg, Stahremberg, Schwarzberg, the Margrave Casimir of Ansbach, even the Elector John of Saxony put the most urgent intercessions for him through the Bishop of Passau, where they asked him to most urgently to not condemn this pious priest contrary to right and fairness, and at least inform them in writing the charges levied against him for further discussion. But the only thing that Kaiser's friends could get was that on the day before July 11,  the court date scheduled in this matter, they may visit the prisoner in his dark dwelling.
Now there proceeded to him his brothers-in-law. Friedrich Baumeister, Hans Reichenberger and Hans Schmiedt, his cousin Erasmus Kaiser and his brother Thomas Kaiser, accompanied by the procurator, Master Vincent and the servant of the aforementioned Baumeister named Hans Greiner, up to the palace to see him again after such a long separation.  But this reunion was for them a little stunted by the fact that they were only allowed to speak to the martyr in the presence of the Abbot of Allersbach and Doctor Eck of Ingolstadt.  Yet Eck still held a long speech for them in which he praised the special grace and forbearance of the Prince in that he allowed not only a lawyer for Kaiser, but also granted this interview.
Whereupon the relatives insisted with many requests of Doctor Eck that he read out the articles for which Kaiser would be held in custody. First, however, the dear martyr remarked: "It would be quite necessary for him to do a preface, because he pressed weakly, and therefore had been clumsy.  It would make known how they dealt with him, leaving him for ten weeks before they asked him what he had done wrong. After this, they suddenly came to him, and he, as a weak man, had to answer many and great articles, after that again to put into prison, and after that again suddenly pulled out, back in, back out, he did not know himself how many times; and in such he would have replied, but did not know how all of his responses were given and made sense.  Where he was over-hurried or what was not determined by the divine Word, he wanted to have reserved to change such.  Therefore he long desired to deliver his response." [Page 24]
Now Eck read out 21 articles in which Kaiser had confessed to the evangelical Lutheran doctrine and discarded the Roman Catholic errors.  His relatives requested a copy from him for themselves and Kaiser, so they could retreat with others concerning advice.  Also they asked that one might  move the court date out a month and the Procurator grant safe passage; they would like to pay all expenses incurred thereof by the princes. But Eck and the Abbot of Allersbach excused themselves that they had no power to do so.  Then Leonhard’s relatives insisted upon them that they just want the prince presented with their desires.
This was what the relatives demanded before the Prince and his prelates. Then the official gave a long speech to them, where he struck off their requests one after the other.  Not even a copy of the articles had been sent to Leonhard.  The Prince even spoke to the relatives, putting it to them whether it is honest to render any assistance to a man like Kaiser.
On the following morning – July 11, 1527 – the holy martyr was bound and surrounded by many armed and armored men, brought down with great pomp from the upper house in the city to receive his sentence.  At his side was another prisoner named Vischer, a priest, by which on this occasion judgment should also be held.  His fellow prisoner knew well of Leonhard’s innocence saying: "I am not worthy that I'm next to you. You are righteous.  I have been well to blame for judgment of death, one should do to me what is right for me."  He spoke much, cried out and scolded the Prince as a bloodhound.  Leonhard rebuked him that he should remain silent.
To instill terror in his friends and relatives, the dear Leonhard was intentionally dragged past the front of  their houses.  When he came to the house of his sister, the wife of the previously mentioned Baumeister,  she stood weeping at her door and fell around his neck with streaming tears.  But he comforted her and took her with warm words of farewell of this life.  At the middle of the market his friends joined him and comforted him; because none of them wished that he should fall from the truth.
Thus came at last the procession in the chapter house of the Pfaffenhoff, where the provincial court was pitched outdoors [Page 25] and was kept from numerous crowds by armed men surrounding them.  Leonhard was now immediately brought out by the episcopal official, announced and brought forward after release of his bands.
= = = = = = = cont'd in Part 5d = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I can envision Hollywood making a movie of the dramatic scene of the weeping sister with her arms around Kaiser's neck, with tears streaming down her face.  But Hollywood could never, even from its beginning, depict these Christian friends as they truly were.  —  In the next Part 5d, "court is in session" for "our dear martyr".

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