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Acopy of a Christian letter of Consolation. A very good-hearted believer in Christ wrote it to a person laboring under spiritual grief. He had become somewhat errant and distracted in conscience, faith, love, hope, and was in ultimate danger of losing confidence in God. This pitiful condition was due to the current dissensions in the faith and to the contradictory nature of the teachings which were advanced.

May the grace and compassion of God our Heavenly Father draw nigh to you and abide with you eternally, for the sake and through the instrumentality of Jesus Christ his beloved Son. This is my prayer and desire for you; let me also proffer to you beforehand my ready service. My dear Sir and friend, whom I hold in such particular affection: No sooner had I been informed that you were somewhat astray in your faith, and that at the same time you were distracted by reason of such a spiritual ailment and its causes, than I resolved to write to you at once without fail, possibly I might afford you some solacing relief. It is a regret to me that I cannot come to see you and be in bodily companionship with you; but you know that I am present with you in my spirit and will not forget you in my prayer before almighty God. Many years ago God the Lord granted you a marked degree and quality of love for the truth of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nor did he neglect to bestow upon you a striking zeal of inquiry into his Word and knowledge. You will also let me mention that he endowed you with a ministering love for his people. Do these signify nothing to his responsive nature, and are they forgotten by him who bestowed them? Hence I am quite of the hope that he will make the end good for you, and that so merciful a God will graciously permit you to enjoy the fruits of such endowment and service. Amen.

Therefore cleave solely to the Lord Christ and his Word, which cannot fail. Consider deliberately, with faith and entire hopefulness, his precious redemption and gracious beneficence. Feed yourself with the conviction that his bitter suffering, as well as his merits, have become your positive possession as a poor, needy sinner. With such a Btrong sense of personal relationship, you cannot go far astray in your faith. Moreover, you know very well that the Lord Christ has come, not to save the righteous, but sinners, and that his blood was benignantly shed on the cross for our sins and indeed for the sins of the whole world. Let these facts be your consolation.

Further: you should frequently read the New Testament and particularly the parts that set forth his Passion. Yes, every day you should utter your prayer and meditate upon it, not perfunctorily, but with the deepest aspiration of your heart, so that you may be fully reminded of the sufferings of Christ and of his Word. By this medium then, you will form within you an unfading and abiding picture of the satisfaction he has wrought by his bitter death. Indeed you must regard your sins as laid upon his cross; then the blessed conviction, that it is well with you, will come into your consciousness; for the Lord Christ is kind and merciful; he is near to all who call upon him with earnestness. He is the sole helper in need, when we are involved in temptation, sorrow and anguish. Therefore give assiduous heed to seek forgiveness of sins from him solely through his Word; to commend yourself to him without reserve; to surrender yourself to his grace and compassion, with the hearty assurance that he will never let you be separated from him. In all such positive truths you must exercise yourself often, and thus gain an increase of love for him. For he who loves Christ, and seeks his own well-being exclusively in the Saviour, cannot be forsaken by him, as he himself affirms in the Gospel: only believe, for all things are possible to him that believeth.

You must sedulously labor to know and feel and trust that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is your Redeemer, your only Saviour, and your Lord and God, as his Word clearly manifests him to be. Who then can injure you, if he be with you?

Moreover, you should credit and appropriate, as you doubtless do, the realities: that you are delivered from eternal death through the agony of Christ; and that on the tree of his cross he has won everlasting life for you; and consequently that you shall live forever with the Lord Christ and with God, his Heavenly Father, in his Kingdom. Let such consummate truth be your trust and sole hope.

And because we poor sinners have fully learned that we can in no way help ourselves, as indeed our Lord says to his disciples, that without him we can do nothing, he therefore gives us all this comforting invitation: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest Matt. XL Upon such assurances you must repeatedly reflect. Nor should you seek your soul's remedy and happiness anywhere else than in Christ. 0! do not resort to external things, but raise your eyes and heart with the prophet to him who lives in yonder heaven, and in every temptation call upon him with strong sighings, and beseech him graciously to help you; and when your destined hour comes, to grant you a blessed

Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum 5

departure. Put your entire trust in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, and hope that his bitter death may be your eternal life; for he who believes on him, shall not be put to shame, but shall be solaced in every extremity. Whosoever is sprinkled in faith with that blood, which was shed for the remission of our sins, shall attain pardon, and shall be healed and purified in his conscience.

Therefore, my beloved friend, be comforted; be also very courageous with Christ our Lord. He is the faithful Shepherd, who leads the wandering sheep back; he pacifies them and brings them to his fold.

Study also to love the bestowment of alms. Exercise yourself in the works of love. Show every man compassion. And carry all your burdens to Christ our Lord. Then you will experientially know the truth, that he will not forsake you. Our Christian faith is not weak; it is not misleading; and it is embraced in the brief sentence of our Lord Christ: Whosoever believeth in me, hath eternal life. But there are blameworthy leaders who cause the people to err by turning them away from the reigning Christ, who is the Head of the Church, toward other and external things; and also teach them to trust therein, where surely no comfort, help or salvation can be found.

May our Lord Jesus Christ the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, have you wholly in his keeping.

Dated this last day of March in the year of our Lord 1523.

C. S.

In brief: in the first Epistle of John, the second chapter, you will find among others, these verses written: My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

The thoughts expressed in these words must have our highest consideration and are not to be contemptuously ignored. May the Almighty work out his own will with compassion in every possible sphere. Amen.

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THE prevailing language of this document is the Gemeindeutsch of the period, yet, naturally, tinged with the dialectic peculiarities of the writer cf. idj . . . fafm p. 6012; 62B; breugt p. 633. How much of these dialectic peculiarities has been effaced by the copyist, is a matter of conjecture. That there has been meddling with the original seems plain from seemingly oberdeutsch characteristics appearing in a document preeminently mitteldeutsch. Forms like aim for eim, gefunbet for gefiinbiget, fieimtragen for ftetm* traget, rooUe for tuette would seem to be clear indications of od. interference. So too, may be the frequent occurrence of nit for nidjt. For though the form is both od. and md., and a favorite with Luther, yet it is not observable in the early writings of Schwenckfeld (autograph letter to Ruff, print of 1523 = Doc VI). Though the character of the document's language be neuhochdeutsch, yet the separation from the standard of the mhd. period is not complete; that standard is still observable in a goodly number of words. According to mhd. phonetics and spelling, we find the umlaut of a expressed by e in foiberwertiger = mhd. widerwertiger, gnebige = mhd. gnedige, gnebiglidjen = mhd. gnediclichen, ber Sltltnecfjttg = mhd. allmehtic, nemftd) = mhd. nemeliche. On a par with that is the spelling eufjerlic&e. According to mhd. phonetics and spelling we further find bit, gcgitte, an* ligen, n)ot[tfiat].

While the modern principle of spelling to indicate the shortness of a vowel by doubling the following consonant is carried so far as to spell anruffen, bilff, belffen, fiatt, carters, gcbett, btfdjoff, offt, notturfftigen, yet we meet with er mil = mhd.

Notably modern is the use of fi to indicate lengthening of the vowel preceding, notable all the more in words whose vowel ought to be short according to the mhd. standard. Consequently we have fo&nS for mhd. sunes.

tfjme for mhd. ime

tyt > » ir

tip » » im, ime

mofinen » > wonen; (but there is also an isolated monet); nehmen for mhd. neraen abfitfjren » » abevlleren fafjrt > » kan bag already been adverted to. To indicate the organic length of vowel already long in mhd. f) is met with in

tefir for mhd. lore tefireit » > leren febteit » » velen fteht » » fltet nergeht » » verget. Here belong the cases where the length-indicating rj precedes the vowel or follows after the consonant next to the vowel, as in toolthat for mhd. woltat tfjutt (in gmtgtbim) for mhd. tun (tuon). Even with diphthongs this misplaced {) is found, cf. guthetl, lauth, Iciitfj. The aspirated pronunciation of f may be indicated by the spelling ffiomtttt.

Different from the spurious use of f) as denoter of vowel-length, is the genuine f) in nerteifjett, itabe and befelbet (befolhen), where it is organic and answers to mhd. h = d) (verlihen, nfihe, bevelhet, bevolhen). This spelling is all the more noteworthy, because in another instance intervocalic mhd. h appears represented by d) as in toerficfit for mhd. versiht.

The mhd. standard of phonetics and spelling is observable in Ditto - - mhd. vmbe.

onberlaffen for mhd. vnderlazen1

oerfitnuiig » » versllenunge

fuitft > > sunst.

Note attitltffeit as shortening of mhd. (md.) almflsen. Mark the interchange of thoroughly modern auff with the older off where the law of diphthongisation is broken into, and long u, instead of becoming ait, turned to short it.

On a par with this is the shortening of mhd. i to t in tttbilbett for mhd. inbilden fdjcifflitt » » schaifelin ftnbltn » » kindclin. But to go farther into details of this kind would be beyond the scope of this introduction; enough has been said to show the reader what philological interest attaches to this document.

Of coarse, the second part of the word deviates from the mhd. standard in so far as the long vowel a has been shortened.

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