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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Martyrs 22d: Diaz- The Spanish Luther?; Chapter 3

      This continues from Part 22c (TOC in Part 1a, Diaz TOC in Part 22a) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  —  Part 22e contains Fick's third chapter and is the longest.  Many times as I translated this portion, I had to pause and give thanks to God for such a faithful Lutheran as this... Spaniard!  Dear God!... may this account of Juan Diaz serve to be a source of edification of the Spanish/Latin/Hispanic parts of the world.  In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen!
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
Juan Diaz.
Chapter 3
Magnificent confessions of the blessed Juan Diaz.
"Quiet and calmly, as Diaz said afterwards, I listened to the hypocritical speech of the wicked deceiver: and although I noticed easily where his deceitful words were going, so I answered him but much more modest than his wickedness deserved because I did not come to argue with a man who I knew had already lost all shame; and yet I could not help but respond, when it was of primary concern.  I confessed openly, that I decided for myself that I do not want to refuse, when it was necessary in the greatest and most serious matter on which our salvation would at all depend, to expose myself to all the dangers that could meet a man so that the purity of the heavenly doctrine would remain unchanged.  Indeed, I think it would be beautiful and glorious to leave even this life for a living testimony of the Christian religion, which I also longed to confirm with my blood."
"For what is the whole of human life in this earthly life other than an uninterrupted series of sheer misery when the knowledge of the true religion is absent, which alone gives us firm support and a certain comfort for the relief of earthly dangers?  And I think Malvenda, I have come so far by the grace of God in the school of the Holy Spirit, that I far prefer the eternal will of God, the truth of which has been explicitly revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures, to the rage and fury of the world and the respect of all people.  But I recognize that this is the eternal voice of the Son of God, who came from heaven unto all generations: whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father in heaven, Matth. 10:33.  Admittedly this is a sad threat but it was not pronounced by a mortal tyrant, but preached from the counsel of the highest divinity: and if you, as you hear it, do not seriously tremble, Malvenda, so at least I cannot hold you to be a human being, but must really believe that you have a heart of iron or stone.  You advise me that I should for the sake of temporal dangers, [page 152], even when they are ever so great but cannot be long lasting, discard the confession of Christian doctrine which contains the eternal salvation of all peoples.  But behold, how much more properly the Gentiles thought who are only illuminated by the light of nature, who not merely considered it necessary but also praiseworthy to suffer death for the altar and hearth, for the defense of the country, for the good of the state.  Even Demosthenes says emphatically: Life's border is death for all men. And as one may include himself in the guarding of his own house, still must the able man always undertake for himself to do everything by presenting the good hope.  But it is noble to endure what God sends."  I believe therefore, that every friend of true godliness must be disposed that he would earnestly and zealously seek to recognize in the Holy Scriptures God’s revealed eternal truth with God's clear voice, confessing such until the last breath, and faithfully serve God in his profession according to the Word once delivered, and meanwhile be neither held back by the dangers of this world nor by the fury of the tyrants from the truth once adopted and the course well begun.  Therefore, because I have resolved to do just this, so you're talking in vain, Malvenda, and searching in vain with your false reasons to deter myself and others from the true teachings of the Church of God, that you actually had to admit yourself.  But that you reproach me with the excommunication of the Roman Pope, so I much wonder that you so immoderately waste time and words, and want to seriously play in an entertaining thing.  For even the smallest child knows these days that these anathemas do not apply and are only made to secure the papal tyranny.  I do not now want to dispute with you about the power and authority of the Roman Pope, which was how little it deserves, I do not shake now, still want to limit their boundaries.  Let him, if he wants, usurp all the world’s goods and power to himself because of me, only that he leaves us just the heavenly doctrine pure and inviolate.  This is in fact without doubt shamefully mutilated by him as an enemy of Christ, stained in many ways and suppressed by the saddest bondage, not without the ruin of many souls.  Truly here we must seriously resist him and you and every defender of his impiety, so that the honor of God, which everyone should glorify on his part, [page 153] does not get neglected and seem darkened through us.  Hear therefore this from me in reply, that I am determined to prefer the express words of God, than to obey the tyranny of the Popes or the ungodly commandments of men.
"Furthermore, so that nothing is missing in order to fill out the parts of your deceitful speech, you, Malvenda, according to your opinion very aptly use the love for the fatherland and keep it in front of me.  If you had such fiery love for it as I do, yet you would not so surely live ambitiously preferring your belly and the vain lusts to your fatherland.  I want to say just nothing here about Spain, for whose destiny I rather mourn than may describe.  I earnestly rebuke you and all those who are in the same business of wickedness connected with you, that while the brightest light of the Gospel today has almost lit the whole world, you have not let penetrate even the weakest rays of this celestial splendor to Spain; and yet the salvation of the Son of God should become not less for this country than for the other people’s of the earth."
"I beg you, Malvenda, do not boast too much of the peace which Spain enjoys according to your judgments in rest and security: and do not blame the disputes of other countries.  For when for instance sometimes someone emerges among the great diversity of people and opinions, as it cannot happen otherwise in the treatment of the most important things, they nevertheless provide an opportunity to explore the truth, and through the work of pious and learned people, they serve for the clearer explanation of the heavenly doctrine, and to further spreading of the glory of God on earth.  Because what you think is peace, Malvenda, that is no peace, because it is connected with God's disgrace and obvious godlessness: or if you want to call it peace, so it is certainly perishable as the bloodiest civil war.  Although I love my country with all my heart, how guilty I am of this, and I long so much for its salvation, that if I could with my blood relieve it from so much wickedness in which it lies now, I would not hesitate to bring now this body as an offering for its redemption.  But the more intimate I love my country, the more I sigh from bottom of my soul, [page 154] so often I look at the miserable slavery in which it is held by totally ungodly men."
"There is an evil spirit in Spain, it keeps all in its power and has charmed it in part with grizzly superstition and idolatry, so that the enemies of God no longer need to fight for any bit of it.  But you're wrong, Malvenda, you're wrong if you do not believe that the torment of conscience which tears up the souls of individuals is for most a far more pernicious plague than if the whole kingdom was embroiled in a long civil war and was laid waste with fire and sword. For what kind of religion can there be where all the people must depend on the imagination of one or the other's insane monk? where one does not know the heavenly doctrine? where you can not hear the Word of God? where instead the reading of the Bible finds no place and is not allowed?
"You say in Spain there are no sects.  Look around in all corners of the empire, and consider seriously whether in Europe there is any other country that is plagued with so many sects, and has so much discord with each other?  There is such a swarm and such a variety of monks who follow different rules, swearing on human words, which form an incredible diversity of sects, as if the Christian religion was not enough for all, so that they themselves are beyond counting, and we surpass the other peoples of the world by far.  And so great is their tyranny and violence that in turn the kings and princes are even terrible.  But all over the world, to what use are they fattened like pigs in their monasteries? What do they do? What is the benefit they provide to the State?  Of course they do this, they fix their tyranny, be it by law or by lawlessness, they plunder the people under the pretext of religion, put them on the chastity of women, they secure impunity for all their crimes, they violate the honor of God, they spoil the purity of the heavenly doctrine and place before the poor people instead of the Word of God their trickery, their dreams to believe and worship.  And while they are tainted with so great a crime, they still want (May God have mercy!) to be held as the most holy and most perfect, while despising the other people compared to themselves as unholy and hardly worthy to be called Christians. [page 155]
"I suppose you will admit that such sectarians are the most harmful and that their sects are placed at the instigation of Satan in the Church of God for the destruction of the human race and the destruction of the Church of Christ.  If you turn your gaze from this to another side, then you find there also not a few fanatical spirits who daily contribute new sects: as there are the Illuminati, the Inigisten (he means the Jesuits, the students of Ignatius of Loyola), the Beater, the Magicians, the Lamier and endlessly many other monsters of the kind in which the human mind inevitably goes to ruin, when he does not look at God's Word as the safest rule of life and truth.
"He who knows so deep wounds of the Church and weeps, who seeks the truth, whoever desires to faithfully counsel the fatherland floating in such distress, indeed! who even gives his life in danger without hesitation, so that at least the purity of doctrine be restored, is according to your judgments against the love of the fatherland?  I ask you to your conscience, Malvenda. Consider yourself.  Descend into the depths of your heart.  You feel clearly that your conscience seriously testified to you that all was perfectly true of what I say.  You must also recognize that it is your duty to uncover these abominations which have already risen to the utmost and can no longer exist, and spread the pure holy doctrine which is given to us again by the grace of God.  But drunk with vain hope of any a miserable prey, you take your pleasure to deceive yourself, and do not want to remember nor understand how necessary was the reformation of the true doctrine in the Church of God. What, I ask, is the creature preferred to the Creator if not this?  The concern of all good princes  in fact, should be directed to all those barrel-like monks in Spain who are conveniently stuck in their nests, that they be led to battle against the Turks, that all idolatry thoroughly eradicated from the churches and Christian souls, and in their stead would be introduced the old and true doctrine of the Son of God, of which the world has strayed too far in the past few centuries.  
"But I am not ashamed of the gospel, which, as I know in truth, is the power of God, for the salvation of all who believe [Rom. 1:16]: and I will as long as I live, with clear [page 156] voice confess, and what I only reach in that doctrine, all I will gladly use according to the measure of my gifts and my profession to glorify the name of God and for the edification of His church.  But I'm not so presumptuous as to think that only I could see more than the rest: but truly what does not agree with the clear words of God, I think is a great impiety.  Then I do not follow my fancies, nor do I profess another fictitious doctrine manufactured in the minds of monks, but I confess the heavenly doctrine as written with the finger of the Heavenly Father from the prophets and apostles through the inspiration and blessing of the Holy Spirit and is sealed with the blood of the Son of God and many martyrs; which, I know, but true and salutary to the human race, and without which no creature may obtain salvation.
"However I approve so little of your advice Malvenda, that I am rather convinced that you have not given it without malice.  For I ask you, how could I expect mercy from a bloodthirsty and treacherous people whose intrigues and betrayals against innocent people are obvious, and their infamous crimes are too well known that they needed to be mentioned by me.  Therefore, keep your advice to yourself, Malvenda, that can not end well, because it is arisen evil from the beginning.  You yourself call the assistance of the father confessor, whose dignity you have made to worship as a heavenly deity, because you keep yourself necessary by them to satisfy your insatiable ambition, or at least to gain a prey.  Therefore if you want to hear again my opinion, which is much more reasonable than your fraudulent advice, then I swear to you, Malvenda, that you return to reason, fear the judgment of God which already seems to be approaching near, and that you rather direct all of your counsel, all your actions that are not in pursuit of the divine truth which is brought to light at this time by God, to the glorification of the honour of the divine name.”
"As I told him this, as Diaz reported later on, Malvenda could, though he grumbled to himself because he realized that what I said was all too true, but in no way was he persuaded to incline himself to the truth.  But [page 157] hardened in his previous malice, he replied that he was not yet satisfied in all things.  For he claimed that it was wrong to doubt the power of the Pope and to doubt the doctrine that was drawn up by the Roman Church to believe.  Indeed, he openly confessed that the Pope himself could not err as the Vicar of Christ.  On this word I was terrified, because it seemed to me far too absurd and so replied somewhat more harshly: ‘What insolence of man is this? or what madness it is, oh shame! a mortal man, defiled with many public and secret misdeeds exempted from sin, especially since the Scriptures conclude every creature is under sin in no uncertain terms? [Gal. 3:22]  Since, therefore, so many and so hideous evil works which are committed every day by the Pope together with his cardinals, and so many godless regulations that conflict with the express Words of God that are known to everyone: should maybe even a person be found of such a wicked disposition to claim that the Pope cannot err?"
On this Malvenda broke off after he excused the vices of the popes with all diligence, although he admitted that there were people of scurrilous conduct, and went on to the following.  He asked: Why had I come to Regensburg? I replied thus, which was true: I was sent by the charge of Strasbourg to join in this public colloquy my prayers with the prayers of the Church of Christ and to promote unity in the still disputed articles.   "Then you have come here in vain, said Malvenda.  For in this whole conversation nothing is settled at all.  Therefore if you want to contribute your part for the general good, you will have to travel to the church Council which the Pope has established for Trent, where the catholic dignitaries will come together and will, on his visit and conduct, use the highest diligence.”  
"When I heard thus how Malvenda outright stated that in the Regensburg talks nothing at all should happen, I easily saw that all of the advice of the papists was deceitful, and that there would be no harmony without prejudice to hope for the purity of religion.  So I said goodbye to Malvenda and had no more intention of yet to come together again with him. [page 158] So you have, concluded Diaz, my conversation with Malvenda that you wanted to know from me."
"This I Senarcle have so testified of what was heard from Diaz himself, and believe that it was recorded with all integrity: I have therein followed the thread of speech and narrative style which I heard from Diaz in everything, except that I have not achieved the seriousness of the issue and his power of expression.  And I have heard that what I was told not only from him, but found it also noted under other papers of Diaz from his own hand with diligence, which he proved in all things recorded."
= = = = = = = = = = = =   Cont'd in Part 22e  = = = = = = = = = = = =

Hermann Fick called this chapter a marvelous confession of Juan Diaz.  Dare I say this may even be an understatement?  For I believe that Diaz's immediate superior, Martin Bucer, may have even learned from his "companion" just how important the Lutheran doctrine is... it is a matter of spiritual life and death.  Dare I even say I hear a clear echo of Martin Luther... from this Spanish Luther?  —  In the next Part 22e, Chapter 4...

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