TO FRANZ VON SICKINGEN
Luther dedicates his treatise on Confession to this knight. June 1, 1521.
The grace of God and peace in Christ be with you! We read, worshipful sir, in Joshua, how God led the children of Israel into the promised land of Canaan, overthrowing thirty-one kings with their towns, and no town save Gibeon was humble enough to sue for peace. In Joshua, 11th chapter, it is written
— “There was not a city that made peace with Israel, save Gibeon: all other they took in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly,” etc. The historian seemed to wish to set them up as an example to our Papist- Bishops, and other spiritual tyrants, who now see that the people are tired of their ways, the light of the gospel having exposed their doings. And yet they will not humble themselves to seek peace, and thus at last they perish. They blame me, and yet they must know how I have often begged for peace, and offered to answer any questions, and even went to a second Imperial Diet, but all has been of no avail. In order not to be idle in my Patmos, I have written an Apocalypse, which I shall send to prove my gratitude to you. It is a sermon on Confession. In the next fasting time I shall issue a book of instructions for young communicants, begging our spiritual Junkers and tyrants to permit those simple creatures to enjoy it in peace, and showing them how their tyranny has almost put an end to confession…. But they will not listen to reason — well — well! I have seen more bubbles than they — and even once — a dreadful smoke, which threatened to obscure the sun, but the smoke has vanished long ago, and the sun still shines. I shall continue to declare the truth fearlessly. Neither of us is yet over the mountain, but I have one advantage, I am single. God make the truth victorious. I commend Ulrich you Hutten and Martin Bucer to your Worship. Given in my Patmos.
MARTIN LUTHER .