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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Martyrs 23c: San Roman – did not keep promise; "everyone will look at me"; Emperor Charles

      This continues from Part 23b (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. — Part 23c continues the story of Francisco San Roman, where he answered the charge that his manner was too stormy.  But the greatest charge against him?  
"You're a Lutheran!" the monks' charge against our Francisco.
      The last segment presented the Doctrine of the Call by Enzinas that is covered by the Lutheran Confessions such as in these portions – AC XIV; Ap.VI 28; XXVII 41, 49; Treatise 67.  I took this occasion to research this Doctrine of the Call a bit and found an essay by Dr. Robert Preus to be helpful for reference.  Of course C.F.W. Walther covers this doctrine in the book Church and Ministry.  —  But this history of San Roman is not about the doctrine of the Call, and we see that it should not be used against the imperatives that our Saviour presents to all Christians, not just the called ministers.

Some highlighting added; hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
XXIII. (c)
As the excellent Enzinas reproached our San Roman with this Doctrine of the Call, which the Evangelical Lutheran Church has always recognized as theirs, [AC XIV; Ap.VI 28; XXVII 41, 49; Treatise 67; Robt. Preus essay here] he confessed that everything that he had said was the truth; but that he had acted a little too uncareful until now would not be to his blame, but primarily the blame of the monks.  He also vowed herein to reform and be more modest in the future. [page 180]  But he did not keep his promise, as Enzinas later learned from eyewitnesses and San Roman’s own companions.  For what is foretold by the Saviour: "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up," [Ps. 69:9; John 2:17] was also met in this faithful disciple.  His ardent zeal for the glory of God and the spread of His Kingdom would not let him rest.  And if he had gone too far according to our opinion, so it is also said: "For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.  For the love of Christ constraineth us;" 2 Cor. 5:13-14 [sic] and Ps. 4:4 [Luther; or KJV Ps. 4:3].: "Know that the LORD leadeth his saints miraculously."
After his departure from Enzinas, Francisco went straight to Regensburg, where the Emperor Charles V held a Diet [Diet of Regensburg 1541] at that time.  On the way he did not say a word to his companions what his plan was.  When he had but arrived in Regensburg, he went without delay to the Emperor and gave a long and rather defiant speech in which he publicly confessed that the pure doctrine of the divine Word was in Germany, but in Spain nothing but frightful darkness and damnable error prevailed.  That is why it deserves from the office of his imperial majesty that he should set up and promote the true worship of God and the Christian truth in his hereditary lands.  He also exhorted him to make peace in Germany, to abstain of all tyranny and help to diligently spread the pure doctrine of the Son of God in all places in the world, as his Majesty would be accountable.  He also showed him from the Scriptures that the Protestant German princes and states would have a better thing and a much truer religion than the Spaniards, who were completely blind and drowning in their idolatry.
The Emperor graciously listened to all this at first and even answered him in a friendly way, that this thing lay very close to his heart, indeed, that he was already in the process of working with all diligence to establish counsel with them.   Such kind reply made good hope for our Francisco; but it was soon weakened when he learned that the Spaniards had committed just at that time some awful actions of the most abominable tyranny on the Lutherans.  He therefore appeared for the second and third time before the Emperor, and exhorted him with great boldness and bravery, [page 181]  to graciously promote the work of religion.  The Emperor always gave him a friendly reply, to get rid of him.  But when he wanted to speak to the Emperor for the fourth time, the Spanish guard, full of fury [Uegestüm-sic?, Ungestüm], caught him and wanted to throw him into the Danube, while the Emperor prevented them and bade them to do nothing unfair to him, but interrogate and judge him under the laws of the empire.  Therefore they threw him into an underground prison, locked him in iron chains, and left him lying there until the Emperor set out on his expedition from Regensburg to Africa.  Then they took our Francisco and chained him together with other prisoners on a carriage.
And when one of his companions, who went with him from Leuven to Regensburg, saw him in this miserable condition, he marveled greatly and asked him what does this mean? why was he bound so hard and figured to be so shameful among the malefactors?  Then the dear Francisco raised his arm, as far as he could, showed him the chains with which he was bound, and said: "Do you see these iron bands and chains?" "Yes, replied the other, I see them, but not without great pain."  "But," said Francisco, "this band and iron, this prison that is disgraceful to the world, which I now wear and suffer for the honor and the confession of my Lord Christ's sake, I look for great honor and glory in the sight of God, yea! for a more glorious triumph, victory and glory, than you ever have seen at the Emperor's court.  Do you see my body everywhere bound with chains and sitting in such a disgraceful and shameful place?  But with God I am now in the greatest honor.  That I am not conscious of anything bad makes me now so merry, yes! the hope of the eternal joy and blessedness arouses in me a heavenly, inexpressible joy.  O how honored I am, this iron band and torture, which after a short time will be transformed into a beautiful crown on my head, adorned with beautiful precious stones, that I will stand before the face of God, and everyone will look at me.  Then the Emperor will distinguish and learn what was counsel or attacks from his courtiers.  Then our supposed spiritual monks will be seen for what they are, originators and causers of this condition, [page 182] as they raved and raged against the Son of God and his holy members.
"Meanwhile, dear brother, if you see well my hands and feet locked up, and my whole body bound about with iron chains, and thus chained to the cart so that I can not move: yet these bonds do not challenge me so hard that I should not be happy in my conscience.  For the Emperor can do nothing more than take the body; but my heart, courage and sense standeth and seeks only the eternal things, according to the citizenship and the Fatherland which is in heaven above.  I will rejoice and exult with God and all the dear saints in eternity.  Oh! how much have I wanted that I would be released from these bands and my soul delivered from my sinful body that I would right now come into this eternal homeland.  But I have good hope, [Heb. 6:19] that I have only a short time for these bands, that the crown of eternal blessedness and joy of God, the righteous Judge, would be added."
= = = = = = = = = =  concluded in Part 23d  = = = = = = = = = = = =

Yes! our dear Francisco, I see you up there in Heaven, by faith, as a shining star with the chains forged into a crown of glory... by faith, I see you...  and long to be with you there praising our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!  Would to God that some Spanish Christian would use their talent to depict this image of Francisco's crown into a work of true art.

As I followed the responses of Emperor Charles, to see how deceitful he might have been with Francisco, I was struck by the fact that Charles seemed not the main instigator of the atrocities inflicted upon the Lutherans.  While the Spanish guards wanted to throw Francisco into the Danube, Charles restrained them.  Charles was acting similar to the way he did with Martin Luther, hesitant to directly reject the Lutheran teaching, only wanting to unify the papists and the "new" religion... the Lutherans.  The world will nevertheless point to Charles on the battlefield against the Lutheran princes, yet I see a marked difference between Charles and the other world leaders who were solidly behind the Pope.

BTW, what world leader today does not bow down to the Pope?  What theologian today (here and now) does NOT bow down to the Pope?  Hmmm... maybe we need another Charles today... to chasten us Lutherans?

If there is a lot of highlighted text in this segment, it is because our dear Francisco moved me to tears so many times...  Dear God! ... what an honor to bring this Spanish Lutheran's confession to the world!  —  In the last Part 23d, the conclusion of Fick's story of San Roman.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Martyrs 23b: San Roman– such boldness, too stormy?; "You're a Lutheran!"

      This continues from Part 23a (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. — Part 23b presents "our Francisco" responding to the blaspheming monks, but then being reproached by another well known Spanish reformer for his "too stormy zeal"... hmmm, what is up? 
Some highlighting added; hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
XXIII. (b)
Then they turned to him with the words: "You're a Lutheran." *)  But Francisco, outraged by their shameful treachery, replied somewhat heatedly, "You are evil tasty boys! [Leckersbuben]  I'm not a Lutheran, but I freely confess publicly the eternal wisdom of God, yes! the right and pure doctrine of the Son of God, whom you vehemently persecute.  The same Son of God have I recognized who died for the sins of the whole human race, and for the sake of this righteousness was raised again from the dead, and presents and offers His such unspeakable blessings and graces in the Gospel to all people that those who seize it with true faith and believe should be saved.  This doctrine that I now confess with joy, you know not it.  Your heresy, your deceitfulness and invented teachings, together with your false worship I heartily hate."
In this disputation many Spaniards were present, but were on the side of the monks.  When they heard that our Francisco confessed the Word of God with such boldness, they said that he was beside himself.  This made the monks even more impertinent that they stormed him even more violently: "If you now despise our orders, which the Church holds as a state of perfection, and nevertheless wish to be called a Christian, what will your faith then be?"  He replied, "I have simply told you, I am a Christian and I know nothing else to boast with you, nothing to teach differently, than only Christ, and Him crucified. [1 Cor. 2:2]  Therefore I yet say: I do not believe anything else and also will nevermore believe otherwise, as has the true Church of Christ, whether she was scattered in all places in the world, believed from the beginning of creation, taught, attested and confessed.  This doctrine of the crucified Lord Christ ye wicked men by
- - - - - - - - - - - -
*) Herewith would they make the accusation against him that he was a heretic and belonged to a new, false church founded by a mere man.  Francisco now defended against this accusation of the monks in the following.

[page 177] your deception and lies turned upside down and distressingly changed, and from this into a godless one, indeed! established and devised a harmful life for the human race.  That is why I yet say: I believe in God the Father, who created all things.  I believe in Jesus Christ, God's eternal Son who redeemed the whole human race by his bloodshed, released us from the eternal servitude and power of the devil, sin and death, and opened access to the heavenly eternal life, and has blessed us with Christian freedom.  I also believe in the Holy Ghost, who enlightens and sanctifies the believers through his divine, though hidden, power.  I believe that I am, for the sake of the Son of God, by grace, freely forgiven of all my sins without my merit and will be adopted.  For the sake of this mediator alone without all my good works, yes! without any papal indulgences, I hope to inherit eternal life."
Then the monks asked him: "Do you think, too, that the Pope in Rome is a vicar (governor) of Christ, and the head of the Church on earth, in whose power are the treasures of the Church, who has also the power to bind and loose sins at his good pleasure, and make new articles of faith and the same dismiss again?"  Francisco replied: “I believe these things as nothing.  I furthermore hold that the Pope is the true Antichrist, come from the Devil, who is an enemy of Christ, who robs God of His due honor, who rages in the world from incitement and desire of the devil, and disgraces and blasphemes the eternal God, and by his false doctrine and cunning, just as a ravening wolf, scatters and banishes the poor lambs of Christ, indeed tears and murders them."   Now the monks accused him of blaspheming God.  When the disputing continued on from the sacraments, the Mass, purgatory and indulgences, Francisco became a bit too heated.  But what young man, as Francisco, who only just came to the knowledge of which the most underhanded ones betray and is attacked with abominable blasphemous words, should not rush into his holy wrath with a word, especially since even old people in such a case are still lacking?
At last the monks threatened him that he must be burnt.  Joyfully replied San Roman: "I am not dismayed to suffer death for the sake of the confession of my Saviour, who [page 178] did also not refuse to shed his blood for me; indeed! I consider it the highest honor, if I must die and suffer for the sake of this cause, namely the confession His Gospel, who previously suffered for me and shed His blood, even to confirm His grace.  Beloved, what right do you have to be against me?  You can indeed no more burn of me than the wretched sinful flesh.  But I know that one should rather fear him who has the power to throw body and soul into the abyss of hell to the place of eternal torment [Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:5], and not you, where you with your god the Devil, whose tool you are, go about shedding much blood using all your forces and assets, and yet can torment nothing more than the wretched body.  I think it is a special grace of God, if I were terminated and killed by your tyranny, so that I do not become sullied by your false doctrine and blasphemy, but would be taken up pure and intact in my conscience in the heavenly fatherland to God and in the company of the holy angels."
This speech angered the monks very much; they could not bear it any longer, but thundered out with cruel and terrible words against him.  Then they kindled a fire and threw, in his presence, all the books that he had brought.  When Francisco saw now burn the New Testament and other useful, Christian books, there he went against the monks with some violent words.  But The Spaniards declared him to be insane and threw him in a tower situated six miles from Antwerp where they held him captive in a very sinister underground pit for eight months.  There many distinguished men visited him and admonished him that he may desist from his opinion and behave in speaking a little more modestly.  But he said: "I have no unjust opinion or doctrine, neither now nor before, will not knowingly or intentionally teach nor accept something wrong.  But if I have spoken a little too heated, which I must confess to some extent, that it is much more due to the monks’ great clamoring, as me.  For what people, ever so patient, gentle and even humble, should not be moved to anger and impatience through their wicked life and tyranny?”  Finally, when the Spaniards thought that he had [page 179] now come to his senses, and because he promised that he would behave in the future a little more mildly, he was released from prison in the year 1541.
After his release San Roman remained about 20 days in Antwerp, then traveled to Leuven and visited his friend Francisco Enzinas.  He was heartily glad for his arrival, also praised some of his finer actions, but reproved him for his too stormy zeal.  As to the doctrine, he said he would not advise him to somehow please the people, to talk or act so that the glory of God would be somehow injured.  However, in order to properly judge the true doctrine, it involves a healthy, clear and thorough knowledge of the divine will and the Holy Scriptures.  And when he had now for some time studied diligently, and obtained instruction by learned people and attained considerable knowledge of divine enlightenment, then he is nevertheless not to place himself therefore on the public street and cry out like a senseless man without all reason that people should follow such teachings.  But he himself was not firmly established enough in God's Word, so it would be a great boldness, which no one could praise that he so intruded into the office of preaching without a regular calling.  Therefore he should henceforth stay in his office and calling, and because God had ordained him to the merchant class, what he really lived for a time and cheated nobody, then may he be useful in this position also to many and serve God, but commending the preaching Office to those which have been ordained to God.  For God has a strenuous attention for his Church; if He thought he was proficient in the church office, He would have no doubt called him in his time.  Then it is time to persist in such danger and to publicly teach the truth, and this is truly the best way to proceed according to God's order, and not after human discretion in such a heavy office."
= = = = = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 23c  = = = = = = = = = = = =

This segment ends with Francisco Enzinas' counsel to San Roman to not be too hasty in his proclamation of the Gospel, especially because he was not regularly called into the office of preaching or the Office of the Ministry.  This is certainly a "hot topic" today and I am listening carefully to not only this counsel of Enzinas, but also how this will be treated by the author Hermann Fick of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  For did the Saviour restrict the following imperative to only preachers?
Matt. 10:33 – Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
I don't think so.  Here one must properly distinguish, or as Franz Pieper told his students Distinguendum Est.  There is a place for the teaching of the Office of the Ministry, but it certainly is not to be used as an excuse for any Christian that they should not confess their Saviour before men because they are not a called Minister.  I think that is where "our Fick" will lead us as we follow his account of "our Francisco"... in Part 23c.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Martyrs 23a: Francisco San Roman – "suddenly", "our Francisco" – Spanish Lutheran (like an eagle upon the wings of faith)

Francisco San Roman
(depiction from Rabus)
      This continues from Part 22i (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. — Part 23 presents the essay on another Spanish martyr, Francisco San Roman.
      The introduction Fick presents for this martyr was so compelling for me – in the first paragraph describing Francisco's burning love for his Saviour Jesus, "like an eagle upon the wings of faith".  At times I grow tired of translating these works, but then I read on and cannot stop for the beautiful Christian testimonies they bring, and so my faith is strengthened.
      There is an interesting aspect to this history – Francisco had direct contact with Emperor Charles V (a Spaniard) of the Holy Roman Empire.  I have heard other evidence that Charles died in the Lutheran faith, and this story gives further evidence that Charles was not entirely opposed to the Reformation, even though he fought the German princes on the battlefield.  Martin Luther spoke favorably of (and to) Charles as his earthly head, and gave the emperor no reason to chastise him for insubordination.  
Some highlighting added; hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
XXIII. (a)
Francisco San Roman. [2019-03-22 fix link]
"This band and iron; this shameful imprisonment before the world, which I now wear and suffer for the glory and confession of my Lord Christ, I regard for great honor and glory in the sight of God."
(San Roman, forged in chains on a wagon, to a former traveling companions.)
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Matt. 13:45, 46.  This parable fits surprisingly well for our San Roman.  Hardly had he found his earthly calling as a merchant, so he sacrificed everything of earthly pleasures for the divine truth.  And the Savior as heavenly bride, whom the Church confesses of itself. "I am sick of love," Song of Solomon 2:5 [sic], so his heart glowed full of inflamed love of Jesus, and knew only one goal, only a striving to confess Jesus before the world and to praise Him in life and in death.  So he hurried, like an eagle upon the wings of faith through all the clouds of temporal afflictions inexorably to his sun, his Savior.
Francisco San Roman was descended from a distinguished family at Burgos in Spain, where his parents possessed quite a fortune and due to their virtues and their [page 173] honest, virtuous ways stood in great honor and dignity for much benefit.  Already as a young boy, he was very well known with his countryman Francisco Enzinas [Wikipedia], who has also described his martyrdom to us.  He had not learned any more of Christianity than any other common man usually knows in Spain, namely hearing Mass, auricular confession, perform the penance imposed, and whatever else of a frightful false worship, which are erected as a reproach of the eternal, true God and contrary to the truth of his holy Gospel, for the sake of the monks and their shameful belly filling.  But listen how wonderful the Lord has converted our Francisco.
In 1540 the Spanish merchants in Antwerp decided to send someone to Bremen in order to call in a large sum of money from their debtors.  As they found no one better than Francisco, he was sent there together with another Spaniard. Once there, his curiosity drove him to go into the evangelical Lutheran Church there to find out what they had for religion and ceremonies.  When he came into the church, just the well-known friend of Luther preached, Master Jacobus Praepositus [Jakob Probst or Propst, born as Jacob Spreng], a pious and God-fearing man who was then pastor in Bremen.  Although Francisco could understand only a little German, in that he wanted to hear this sermon to see for himself what was taught in Germany that involved the Germans so much.  But while he listened, he understood not only the whole sermon, but the same moved him so much that he suddenly became a different person.  Awakened by the Spirit of God, he forgot his business for which he was sent, and straightway hurried to the preacher to continue to converse with him about the Word of God.  He was received in all friendliness and taken to the house, where Francisco recited the whole sermon by heart.  But so there would be no doubt about this, Enzinas testified that he had heard this from the lips of the preacher at Bremen.
But Francisco was not satisfied with this one sermon, and urged the minister to explain just a little more clearly the doctrine, of which he had first tasted. [page 174]  The preacher was astonished in the beginning at this urgent request and this outrageous sudden change in San Roman, and warned him that he should act gently and wisely.  He also taught him in all friendliness and diligence in all things which were necessary for him, as he thought necessary to know for his soul’s salvation and blessedness.  So Francisco remained three whole days with the preacher, and would not leave his house because he had in  this time become a completely different person.  He transferred all his business to his companions and went back to the preacher with whom he spent a long time without ceasing in the Word of God.  Day and night he did nothing else than diligently consider the great consolation passages and teachings he had heard from the preacher and took them to heart and sought joy from them.  He also listened devoutly to the sermons, which he not only understood, but also wrote down and showed the pastor when he came home.  Indeed, what is more, he could recite them from memory.  There the preacher recognised that this was a special divine work, because Francisco had come not like other people do, bit by bit to an understanding of the Christian doctrine, but recognized it in a few days, indeed! he also knew how to give account an of it, arose publicly to teach the ignorant, and confessed it before everyone.  In order to promote himself however further to it, he bought and read many German and French books that he could find only in the city, and conversed often with Pastor Praepositus and Dr. Maccabeus, who was staying there.
Above all, he had the conversion of his country at heart. Therefore he wrote several books and a catechism in Spanish, where he taught much of the articles of our faith.  He also wrote several letters to his Spanish compatriots in Antwerp, where he spoke thanks and praise to the eternal God that He brought him to such a place where he had acquired the right, pure, if inscrutable, teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and to convert from their mistaken way if they did not want to be condemned together with their seducing teachers forever.  He mourned the tyranny of the Spanish Inquisition and the blindness of the Spaniards, who did not open their eyes before the bright and gracious light of the holy [page 175] Gospel, and did not want to hear the indisputable Word of God, which was calling them so diligently to repentance and amendment of life.  That's why he intended to come shortly to Antwerp, so that he would share with them a number of spiritual gifts, and especially to open the eyes of his friends.  Then it would be required of him to travel to Spain to bring his parents and his father's town, which was still sunken in abominable popish idolatry and frightful darkness, to the right knowledge of God.
Finally, he also directed two or three letters to Emperor Charles V, in which he lamented the great and pitiful misery of Christendom.  With heartfelt supplication he admonished him because he was ordained by God as the magisterial head of Christendom to act duly according to his office, thereby that he show thanks to the eternal God, from whom he was so graciously gifted, for His unspeakable great blessings, and prove the honor due the high divine Majesty.  But this could not be done more suitably than that he direct with all his might and power, all his actions and conduct, to nurse the resulting discord in Christendom, and have taught faithfully the pure, sincere and true Christian doctrine without any human additions throughout Spain and all his lands.
This all had the dear Francisco San Roman learned and written in the short space of one month or at most forty days.  From this we see how he was lit up by the love of Christ with burning fiery desire to now also impart to the world the pearl of great price of pure evangelical Lutheran doctrine, which he had found so wonderful by God's grace.  But he soon encountered the most violent persecution.  And the Spaniards who had received his letters in Antwerp decided his downfall.  They answered him in the most friendly way that he could not accomplish his purpose better than if he came to them at Antwerp.  Without delay, our Francisco made his way, and arrived there to celebrate and cheer, now in the hope soon to move the whole of Spain to a Christian Reformation.  Only once he was in the city, a great outcry of the people arose and the monks took him from his horse, imprisoned him in a mercantile [page 176] house and bound his hands and feet.  Then they opened his travel bag in which they found many beautiful books of Luther, Melanchthon and other Germans in Latin, French and German, as well as some caricatures of the Pope.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
23.  Francisco San Roman. Sources: l. Rabus, Th.7, p, 114, 2, Crocius, p, 282.  3. Foxe, The acts and monuments of the church, pag. 469.  [pag. 447-450 here, or here, or here or here; or pgs 170-173 here; Condensed version here]
= = = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 23b  = = = = = = = = = = = =

There is a Spanish website ( blog) with info on San Roman currently here.  —  Wikipedia gives a short history here.  –  And finally, there is an English account of San Roman by Thomas MacCrie in his book here (pgs 82-84) – from a Reformed perspective.  I prefer Hermann Fick's Lutheran account which gives more details and differs from MacCrie's history in certain places.  How quickly the Reformed historians claim the Reformation and its martyrs, even the Lutheran martyrs.  But they broke off from the true Church of the Reformation, the Lutheran Church, as they began to rationalize the unfathomable grace of God in Christ Jesus:
1 Cor. 2:9 – As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
In the next Part 23b, the story of our Francisco continues ...