Page:The letters of Martin Luther.djvu/179

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power, which is far above all human love and consolation. I have hurriedly written all this to comfort you. May you graciously receive it, and delight yourself more and more in the Psalter and the Holy Scriptures, which are full of all sorts of consolation. I herewith commit you to God. Your Electoral Grace’s obedient, MARTIN LUTHER .

CXIX

TO JOHN RUHEL

Luther’s brother-in-law, a lawyer in Mansfield. The peasant insurrection endangered the Reformation more than anything else had ever done. About the Elector’s death.

May 15, 1525.

To the learned John Ruhel, my good, kind brother-in-law. God’s grace and peace! I thank you, dear sir, for your last news, which I was glad to hear, especially about Munzer. I should like to hear how he was taken prisoner, and how he behaved, for it is well to know how such haughty spirits act.

That the poor creature should be so treated is pitiable. But what can we do? and it is God’s will that fear should be instilled into the people. If this were not done, then Satan would do even more mischief. The one misfortune is preferable to the other. It is the judgment of God. He who takes the sword shall perish by the sword. So it is a consolation that this spirit should be made manifest, to let the peasants see how badly they have acted, and perhaps they may cease plotting and improve. Do not take all this so to heart, for it may be for the good of many souls, who, through fear, may desist.

My gracious lord, the Elector, died between five and six on the day I left you, just as they were desolating Osterhausen. He passed quietly away, retaining his senses to the last, having partaken of the sacrament in both forms, but without extreme unction. His funeral was a most imposing sight, although we performed no masses or vigils over him. Some stones were found in his lungs, and three elsewhere, which was strange So he