Page:The letters of Martin Luther.djvu/261

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it is common to all the saints, but they struggle and achieve the victory. The great secret in this conflict is to disregard these thoughts and despise their hissings as if they were a flock of geese, and pass by. Remember the Israelites, who overcame the fiery serpents by directing their gaze to the brazen serpent. This is certain victory in this conflict.

Therefore beware, my Jerome, of letting them lodge in thy heart. A wise man, in reply to one sorely tempted, said: “You cannot prevent birds fleeing over your head, but you can hinder them building in your hair.” God takes no pleasure in such sorrow. Sorrow over our sins is very different. It is a sweet sorrow, in view of forgiveness; but that which proceeds from the devil has no promises annexed. It is of no avail.

When I return we shall discuss this. Greet your brother, to whom I have begun a letter, but the messenger waits. May Christ comfort and cheer you! I commend you to your pupils. MARTIN LUTHER .


TO HIS SON HANS June 19, 1530.

Grace and peace in Christ be with thee, my dear little son! I am very pleased to see you so diligent, and also praying. Continue to do so, my child, and when I return I shall bring you something from the great Fair (Messe ). I know a beautiful garden, where there are many children with golden robes. They pick up the rosy — cheeked apples, pears, plums, etc., from under the trees, sing, jump, and rejoice all day long. They have also pretty ponies with golden reins and silver saddles. I asked whose garden it was, and to whom the children belonged. The man said, “These are the children who love to pray and learn their lessons.” I then said, “Dear sir, I also have a son, Hanschen Luther; might not he too come into the garden and eat the beautiful fruit, and ride upon these pretty ponies, and play with those children?” “If he loves