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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Martyrs 5d: Kaiser– Word in court; Rome's bloody hands

This continues from Part 5c (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Pastor Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  —  Part 5d continues the account of Leonhard Kaiser.  —  Court is in session for him.  But Who is speaking through Kaiser?  Let us listen as Leonhard answers the soliciter-general.
Some highlighting added; hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick [after Luther]
(tr. by BackToLuther)
V. (d)
Leonhard Kaiser (Kayser).
"Christ, you must suffer with me."
(Leonhard on the way to death by fire.)
In quasi-judicial pomp sat here the prince-bishop Ernst von Passau, in person, the Auxiliary Bishops of Passau and Regensburg, the provosts of the south, Osterhofen, Saint Nicolai, and Saint Salvator, the dean Anthony Brown [or Antonius Braun] of Ingolstadt, the Doctors Eck, Fröschel, Rammelsbach, Metting, the Canon John Schönburger of Schönburg, three notaries and several court people of lower rank.  Silently the people had gathered around in huge crowds.  Full of expectation, the eyes were all on the incoming martyr.
Now the tragedy began.  With ceremonious steps, the episcopal official emerged, and explained in a public speech that he as the bishop was committed to his oath to the See of Rome, to exterminate all heretical sects.  He then exhorted Leonhard to recant, in which case mercy should be shown him.  Leonard replied through his procurator that he could and may revoke upon any evidence founded in the Scriptures; but what is not founded in them, these he would herewith contradict.
Then the soliciter-general [Fiscal] emerged with a large citation, which he handed a notary to read aloud.  When the same however broke out in tears before participating, another read them out completely.  Then he himself pulled out a Latin authored booklet, which referred to the Bull of Leo X., the Edict of Worms and Leonard's first revocation.  In vain the Procurator Vincenz here made several important objections on behalf of his client; he asked in the German language for a copy, for further reflection and discussion, to no avail.
The soliciter-general struck off everything, and called on Leonhard to answer the individual complaint articles, where he once again reproached him to answer with a mere Yes or No.  Only Leonhard translated the article and gave his answers with great spirit and understanding in the German language, including with them many passages of Holy Scripture, which is why he became courageous and would not have become voiceless throughout the day. However the official interrupted him often with the words:: "Mr. Leonhard, how you act, do you want to preach it?" [page 26] So, the dear martyr confessed the truth publicly before God and man, and the bystanders showed him much sympathy.
Then read the bishop himself the condemnation judgment, which was to the effect: "The defendant should be degraded and handed over to the civil authority."  In vain protested the Procurator Vincenz, who appealed in Leonhard's name to a free council.  Our confessor now had ordained priestly garments put on him, and then taken off again, from the top to the bottom, by the Bishop of Passau under special Collects and prayers.  Then he was shaven, dressed in a gown, and a black slashed beret was put on him.  He was passed as a layman to the magistrates; whereby yet the hypocritical bishops asked that they might not have to proceed to the death against him [auf’s Blut], so that they may not be lacking in their priesthood.  But the magistrate had him once again bound, and returned him to his cell at the upper house where he had to remain until August 13.
On this day, early in the morning, he was bound with chains, put on a horse and led away by an armed troop on foot and on horseback through the city of Passau to Schärding.  His mind was undaunted; he greeted everyone.  Under the gate, his friends said goodbye to him, and asked him publicly to yield from the truth neither in life nor in death.  When one presented a mug to him, he emptied it and spoke with eager heart and lifted face: „This was to me in my name of Christ." [Matt. 10:42, 25:40]
Leonhard came now again to Schärding, where he had been brought from Raab in the beginning.  When he recognized his old prison, he exclaimed: "Christ, my God, you're so strange in your works, that I should come to my old hostel again."  He remained there for several days.    His relatives were permitted to visit him in the executioner’s room.  They comforted him and spoke with sorrowful hearts: “Mr. Leonhard, you must burn.”  But quite calmly and courageously he replied: “Another message would be better; but God's will be done. But I hope, one will not kill me without any judgment.”
Again his relatives sought to free him with an intercession of the Count of Schaumburg [page 27] to Duke William of Bavaria.  But nothing came of this.  Rather, the Duke severely ordered the district magistrate at Schärding to execute Leonhard without delay by fire.  The district magistrate now made all arrangements to carry out the execution at night, so that none of Leonard’s respected relatives were present at his end.  But the citizens of Schärding, which had no pleasure in the whole thing, refused to open the city gates.
When morning dawned, the court minions, together with the executioners rode before the official house in which the blessed Leonhard was a prisoner at that time.  The executioner asked him, "What is your name?"  He replied: "My name is Leonard."  Then the executioner spoke the raw words: "I cannot recite much more to you, nor teach you, you know to keep yourself well, I have to look after the command of my gracious lord."  With full gentleness Leonard replied: "Dear friend, I do not need your doctrine; do what is commanded of you."  With these words he presented his hands, which were bound hard.  When the cords became tangled, the executioner broke out into vile curses.  The holy warrior of Christ faithfully warned him with these words: "Dear brother, do not curse, I will not escape from you.  You have made no alliance or course with me, my Lord Christ has willed it.  You are just a tool, ordained of God."
= = = = = = =   concluded in Part 5e   = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Luther at the Diet of Worms
It was God speaking in this courtroom, through His Word, as Leonhard responded to this earthly judge with "many passages of Holy Scripture" in his "courageous" stand.  The image of Luther before the Diet of Worms is unmistakable, just a Luther stood solely on the Holy Scriptures (not a "plastic text") before all the powers of the world.  Leonhard Kaiser was the martyr that Martin Luther would have gladly been!  The confession of faith by Leonhard before the court is breathtaking as he set forth the Holy Scriptures as his only basis and hope.  How this shows that it is the Lutheran Church that is the true Church of the Bible.

In the last Part 5e — "...into the hands of his faithful God".

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