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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Martyrs 22g: Diaz; Alfonso's crocodile tears; Chapter 6

      This continues from Part 22f (TOC in Part 1a, Diaz TOC in Part 22a) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  —  Part 22g presents the further deceptions and plotting for Juan's assassination... and also Juan's dealings with other Lutherans in the year 1546, just after Luther's death.
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference.
by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
Juan Diaz.
Alfonso's diabolical dissimulation.
Alfonso became sufficiently convinced of the steadfastness of his brother so that he now changed his tone, and behaved as if Juan's ideas and admonitions had touched his heart and softened it.  But Satan can also pretend to be transformed into an angel of light!  With a deep sigh, and with tears in his eyes he said, "Well, my dear brother, I now know quite well that you are based in the evangelical doctrine so well that even I am attracted to it.  Also, I see very well what a great blessing could arise from your confession for the whole Church, and especially our dear fatherland.  Therefore let us both with all possible diligence work that the pure doctrine of the Son of God is preached in all the world, and so finally come to our nation.
"And in addition you must truly use, dear brother, the gifts and mercies which God has lent to you before all our compatriots.  Here in Germany your pound is only buried uselessly; for since you do not understand the German language, so you'll be able to not do much here. For this purpose there are plenty of learned men in these lands who are well experienced in the true religion.  You can not return to Spain because currently the greatest tyranny rules there.  Therefore I ask you to go with me to Italy; because through this journey you can spread the glory of God and the evangelical doctrine the most.
"First, we will go to Trent, where many bishops and scholars have gathered that are not averse to the Gospel.  If you testify the truth to these, they will also without doubt declare themselves publicly for the same.  Now consider, dear brother, the infinite benefits if an entire Council would be gained through you to the truth; [page 167] otherwise this Council will only confirm the tyranny of some wicked men.  Then we will travel to Rome, Naples and other Italian cities where everywhere secretly is a great predisposition to pure truth. Finally, if you have won the whole of Italy, or at least the noblest, then the gospel will penetrate to Spain and so your dearest wish will come true.
"Do you now, dear brother, despise such a blessed work?  Do you mean, you would be born only to yourself alone?  Why would not you want to come to the aid of the weak, who are hovering in the middle between salvation and despair, between fear and hope, even with weeping eyes and hands lifted, demanding from you the knowledge of the pure doctrine?  Surely, you should not destroy the sighs and complaints of so many pious Christians in the wind, especially since you have now opportunity to such works.
"As for me, I will prove myself as a loyal brother and servant.  At my expense I will lead you to Italy where you will gain access to the nobles, and aid you as a faithful brother in all things.  And when you have done your ministry faithfully through God's grace and desire to return to Germany, I promise you on my oath that I will accompany you back there and provide you there a splendid maintenance: Only I ask you one thing, that you for the salvation of the Christian Church shall go to Italy, where so many Christians call you with a loud voice."
The honest Juan well liked this speech; for he thought it would be that his brother was in earnest.  The idea that he could be the tool to save many souls filled him with joy.  Therefore, he replied to his brother even more friendly than before: "He would be willing to promote the glory of the Lord Christ even with loss of his life for his person.  But because this plan is highly important and dangerous, he would only take the advice of the Evangelical divines still gathered in Regensburg.  What they would decide, he would do."  Alfonso pretended that he was satisfied.
Bernhard Ochino
Italian Lutheran (early)
So Juan wrote to the Lutheran theologians at Regensburg as well as to Bernard Ochino in Augsburg.  This Ochino, an Italian, was recently converted to the Lutheran Church [page 168] and was a preacher at Augsburg.  In Italy, where he was formerly General and Supreme Head of the Capuchins, he had been considered for the place of first preacher.  Emperor Charles V once said of him that this man could move stones to tears.
As Juan's letter was read at Regensburg, the Lutheran collocutors, i.e. the Colloquy councilors, voted unanimously against Alfonso's proposal.  The whole thing seemed to them so suspicious that several prophesied it would be seen as nothing else than the murder of innocent Juan. That is why they wrote it was the unanimous advice of all the brothers that he would give up that plan.  Likewise Ochino urgently warned against this by showing how hopeless such an undertaking in Italy was in former times.
It was very annoying to Alfonso that his plan had been foiled, but he did not give in and so devised a new cunning.  He wanted to at least entice his brother into the open field, the more convenient to murder him in a wilderness.  Therefore he besought him that he could accompany him to Augsburg, where they would again consider and discuss a trip to Italy with Bernard.
And this time the unsuspecting Juan was nearly in the trap.  There came unexpectedly Martin Bucer, Martin Frecht, preacher at Ulm, and Claudius Senarcle, Juan's friend, to Neuburg after completion of the fruitless colloquy at Regensburg.  Worried about the security of their friend, they prevented him from traveling to Augsburg, exhorting him to the greatest caution and deciding for him not to leave Neuburg sooner than  Alfonso.  Then they, believing after the manner of men, thought that the dear Juan was safe and all danger had vanished.  Alfonso decided on March 25 to leave alone.
On the eve of his departure, after dinner, Alfonso held another special conversation with Juan in which he exhorted him to persevere in the confession of the true religion.  He assured him how sorry he was that he would miss his further instruction in the truth after he had become more pious and better by the impulse of the Holy Spirit even in the short time of their being together.  He asked him not to forget him, but to write to him often, that he wanted to continue in [page 169] the work which God had begun in him.  Finally, he yet urged him to purchase a gown as a gift of brotherly love with the sum of 14 ducats.  Then they parted from each other with tears.
On the morning of the next day, Alfonso departed very early.  At the parting arose new weeping and wailing.  But only Juan's tears were sincere; the tears of Alfonso were crocodile tears, on which betrayal and destruction would follow on their heels.  But all others were heartily glad that this suspicious person who had not pleased them was finally gone.
Martin Bucer and Martin Frecht now believed there was no further danger.  Therefore they too, after their meal the same day, moved on.  Juan Diaz and Claudius Senarcle escorted them out of the city, and after they had consecrated each other with tears and wished much fortune and blessings, the two friends returned to Neuburg.
= = = = = = = = = = = =   Cont'd in Part 22h   = = = = = = = = = = = =
 I had to laugh as I read Pastor Fick use the term "crocodile tears" since I thought this term was American slang from later times.  But this term perfectly described Alfonso as he was preparing to murder his own brother... because of his Lutheran faith.
      To learn of Bernhard Ochino was an unexpected treat – a Lutheran who came from Italy, the country so ensnared in servitude to the Pope.  Unfortunately he may have later fallen into false teachings under Reformed influences, but Pastor Fick gives him a good name, at least in his early following of the Lutheran church.  —  In the next Part 22h is the last chapter of Fick's story of Juan Diaz.

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