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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Martyrs 22e: Diaz- murder plot; Spain’s catechism; Chapter 4

      This continues from Part 22d (TOC in Part 1a, Diaz TOC in Part 22a) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  —  Part 22d begins the details of the plot to kill Juan, but pauses to give excerpts of a Spaniard's Lutheran catechism.
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference.
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by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
XXII.(e)
Juan Diaz.
Chapter 4
Malvenda’s and Alfonso Diaz's cunning plan for murder.
In Malvenda’s soul this discussion had left behind a sting.  His pride was deeply hurt, his passions inflamed and he decided to avenge himself and destroy his evangelical compatriot at any cost.  He immediately wrote to the  imperial father-confessor, a Jacobin monk, that Juan Diaz, a Spaniard, as a friend and supporter of the Lutheran doctrine, could finally deceive Spain completely to the side of the Evangelicals in Regensburg.  Such damage must be met with a violent means.  
But as Diaz still remained undisturbed in Regensburg, Malvenda wrote once again and even more urgently to the imperial father confessor.  When the letter was received by him, the Spaniard Marquina, a Roman officer was present.  The latter, who knew Diaz well as an honest and pious man, defended him first and asked the father-confessor to do nothing until he had recovered more accurate news; since the vengeful Malvenda was not to be trusted.  Here, the father-confessor is to have said: "If Juan Diaz remained longer with the heretics, he would do great harm to the church of Rome.  Therefore, it would be absolutely necessary that either he be converted or destroyed."
Thus, while the Papists secretly advised the destruction of the dear Diaz, he had premonitions of his imminent death which came certainly from the Lord, so that he could prepare more earnestly to leave his life when it pleased God.  He [page 159] Therefore while still in Regensburg he made his will, wrote a confession of his faith and prepared to take leave of this world.
Soon after Marquina traveled to Rome and told the whole matter to the brother of our martyr, the doctor Alfonso Diaz, a lawyer in a spiritual tribunal who was a mad zealot for the papal faith.  His brother immediately went to a strong and unscrupulous man named Valdes, who had been an executioner in Rome, on the way to wash away the shame which, according to his opinion, Juan’s conversion to the gospel had added to the honor of his family and the Spanish name.
Meanwhile Juan Diaz, on the advice of his friends who knew the unforgiving, vengeful and criminal temperament of Malvenda, went to Neuburg an der Donau, partly to escape the impending snares, partly to conduct the urgent book printing of Martin Bucer. [this book?] In Neuburg he seemed safe; because the reigning Prince there, Count Palatine Otto Heinrich, had in the end followed the voice of his subjects, and following the admonitions of his own conviction, in 1542 declared publicly and firmly for the Evangelical - Lutheran doctrine and carried it with great zeal.
Christianae Religionis Summa
by Juan Diaz
Here the eager servant of Christ, Juan Diaz, wrote a short catechism of the Christian religion, printing and dedicating it to the Count Palatine Otto Heinrich. [Christianae Religionis Summa] Certainly you will, dear reader, listen more willingly of the following lovely words, as they are rarely heard from the lips of any Spanish Lutheran of the Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ.  In it, he testified, among other things:  [Latin original pages here]
"To his eternal salvation comes man through knowledge of his sins, through knowledge of Christ and through a firm and abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"The first stage to the health is that we know ourselves, how sick and weak we are.
"And we must reach the point where we despair of ourselves as being altogether spiritually dead. This happens to us when one indicates the original and innate sin and wickedness of our nature, from which all misery is poured out.  This [page 160] ruin of our nature worketh in us nothing other than misbelief, grumbling and rebelliousness against God, arrogance, greed, luxuriance and lust, together with all evil desires.  It leads us from all true godliness and keeps us trapped under the yoke of sin.  That is why God calls people's conscience before his tribunal, that they by the knowledge of their curse and the dreadful message of eternal death learn to fear God’s holy and righteous anger.  While man must now despair of all human help, so he should not harden himself in despair of God's judgment, but look around for the only true remedy, the Lord Christ.
"Then should one turn to the other stage of salvation. This happens, when he is comforted by the knowledge of Christ, that he recovers.  For an abased and humiliated man, nothing more is necessary than that he turn to the Lord Christ, that he may be redeemed by His grace from all his grief and misery.  Such a person only seeks help in Christ, that he recognizes for a high priest, by whom we are reconciled with His Father, that also owns His death as the sacrifice through which our sin is paid for, the judgments of God are satisfied, and true and perfect righteousness has been obtained. This love of God toward us, because He has sent us His only begotten Son, and laid upon Him all our sin is so great that no human heart can understand and grasp.
"And the sacrifice of Christ is so pleasing, powerful and worthy of such infinite merit in the sight of God, that the Lord God can or will not condemn us when we in truth believe in Christ.  Thus this sacrifice is so glorious that there can be no more condemnation for sin, nor more will to sin, where it is believed.  Finally the man seeks and finds only salvation in Christ, who does not separate himself from Christ, but recognizes that it is a pure and free gift of grace of Christ, whereby he is righteous before God.
"From such a stage man must then climb up to the third, that he now, after he has recognized the strength of the death and resurrection of Christ, rests and remains in the Lord Jesus by a firm [page 161] and continual faith; also he fixes firmly in his heart in the fact that the suffering, the death, the resurrection of Christ, indeed the whole Christ with all his gifts and inexpressible mercies in such manner is completely his property, that he certainly has in Him and by Him righteousness and everlasting life: Where one rightly finds and feels such, seizes relief from Christ with living faith, and from impulse of this faith is eager to cultivate for himself good works, that is not to say what arises for great comfort in the heart of believers, and how by-and-by trust in the Lord will be the longer, the more confirmed and multiplied.
"God has instituted the sacraments that they may be signs and means by which He may impart to us his grace and merit of his crucified Son for us.  And he wants us to thereby receive His highest mercies, forgiveness of sins, communion with Him and His Son, the right spirit and blessing for our whole life.  Also, we are in turn with these sacraments to confess Him, praise and sacrifice ourselves completely to Him and produce our own." —
Alfonso Diaz thus found his brother no longer in Regensburg and consulted with Malvenda to discover the whereabouts of Juan.  Malvenda is supposed to have said: "I want to see the day where I have seen Juan Diaz's body burned, if yet the soul would be healed hereby."   If this is true, as it is credible, then one can easily conclude from these diabolic words that he carries the principal guilt for the murder of the innocent Juan.
Malvenda and Alfonso Diaz now turned to Claudius Senarcle, Juan's friend, who had left Geneva at the same time with the latter, and needed a Spaniard of Malvenda’s household who pretended that there were important letters of the imperial court that would have to be ordered on Juan Diaz.  Senarcle became suspicious and denied knowing the whereabouts of the wanted; though he truly wanted to get the letters.  Soon after, the Spaniard came back and said a friend of Juan was at the inn to the crown who had letters from those of the imperial court; Senarcle may even come to the nobleman at the inn.
There Senarcle found a stately dressed Spanish nobleman, [page 162] Alfonso Diaz, who came violently towards him, to tell him but where he could meet his brother, whom he had to deliver letters and otherwise to discuss important matters.  Senarcle apologized with ignorance, but promised to make inquiries; then he shared what he had heard with the theologians Bucer and Brentius still present at the colloquy.  These were initially divided in their advice, but finally they decided Senarcle should specify the whereabouts of Juan so that one does not miss something that could be useful to his friend; but at the same time one had to warn him so that he may be on his guard if one is up to nothing good.
Accordingly Senarcle finally revealed to Alfonso Diaz that his brother was staying in Neuburg.  He gave double letters to the messenger and guide of Alfonso in the presence of his master, which could also probably be read by strangers without disadvantage, and more secret, in which Juan was warned to be wary before any adjustments.  He also ordered him to deliver these letters just to Juan Diaz himself, and gave him money so that he was all the more diligent.  And to remove all suspicion, he gave him a writing about all the acts of Regensburg colloquy, so that he should convey them to the secretary of the Duke Otto Heinrich.
As Senarcle said goodbye, Alfonso thanked him warmly and asked him: "If he held Juan and him dear, so he should not tell anyone, and especially not Malvenda, what was negotiated between them.  For he knew well that Malvenda was not minded the best against Juan."   But you, dear reader, think only of the treachery of this shameful betrayer.  Hardly had Senarcle moved away that Alfonso violently took from the messenger all his letters and writings, and went that hour to Malvenda.  Then they read everything and without doubt conceived their complete horrific plan.  So that however Juan would go more surely into the trap, they tore up the letters that would warn him.
The Lutheran theologians, however, had learned that Alfonso had gone back to Malvenda and had consulted with him.  As a result, their suspicions were confirmed, that one [page 163] had in mind an abominable act. Therefore, they sent a messenger to Juan Diaz to notify him of the impending danger, and to exhort him to the utmost vigilance.
Then Alfonso rode with his companion, the executioner, to Neuburg and gave his brother a letter from Malvenda, wherein the same exhorted him to obey Alfonso, who would only give him good advice.  At the same time, he promised him that if he would leave Germany where good people were only made restless, and would move to Italy, so he would cause the Imperial father-confessor to forgive all the past from him.
The unsuspecting Juan felt a great and heartfelt joy when he saw his brother again so unexpectedly after a long separation.  And when Alfonso pretended that he had therefore taken such a long and arduous journey to dissuade him from his error, so Juan was touched by the warm, though erratic love of his brother.  He received him in the most friendly way and did not know that he was (after the proverb) taking a snake in his bosom, who would soon insidiously shed his blood.
= = = = = = = = = = = =   Cont'd in Part 22f   = = = = = = = = = = = =

There were other evangelicals from Spain, but Hermann Fick could hardly contain himself as he exclaimed concerning Diaz's catechism written just before his death:
Certainly you will, dear reader, listen more willingly of the following lovely words, as they are rarely heard from the lips of any Spanish Lutheran of the Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ.
Dear God!… how high Pastor Fick raised this Spanish Lutheran to the highest pedestal for all of Spain!  Will Spain listen?... will Spain not acknowledge that it is not completely immune to the pure Gospel?
Spain:
Here is your national hero, your patriot  – Juan Diaz!  But the Papists murdered him… and you would rather serve the Pope?  —  In the next Part 22f is Chapter 5.

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