Page:The letters of Martin Luther.djvu/174

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Luther congratulates him on his marriage.

January 17, 1525· Grace and peace! I have delayed wishing you happiness on your marriage, esteemed sir, and am sure you believed I had cause for this, and I had. I have been ill, and had books to publish, letters to write, friends to help, etc., and, in addition, the things most nearly concerning the house and Church — not to speak of the worries caused by Satan and my enemies.

But I have remembered you in my prayers, and rejoiced over your happiness, and trust you may receive much blessing in this estate ordained of God, and therefore see clearly that it has been instituted by Him who will maintain it to His own glory.

For where were the kingdoms and rulers of the world when Adam and the patriarchs lived simply as married men? For how many kingdoms have come and gone since then, and marriage continues over all?

Therefore, thank God for bestowing this privilege upon you, and conducting you out of the stormy billows into the haven, and from the world into Paradise. In such a relation there may be trouble in the flesh at times, as St. Paul says, but there is consolation of the spirit, and, as Solomon says, he will receive joy from the Lord.

And why are the powers that be so averse to marriage? Is it not because they dread the troubles which may ensue? The world is cowardly enough to avoid it for that reason, but by and by they will most surely experience that evil in themselves which they always considered peculiar to matrimony.

May Christ give us a better spirit, and enable us to overcome tribulation, disregarding drawbacks, because of the many benefits it brings with it.

Many so love a little glory or worldly advantage that they are insensible to the countless evils of celibacy.

They resemble the soldier who is so prodigal of his life,