TO GEORGE LEIFFER

Luther comforts a brother in Erfurt.

April 15, 1516, Salvation in the Lord, most cherished Brother. I hear that your brotherly love is deeply tried by manifold waves of temptation. But God, the Father of mercies and all consolation, has placed over you the best of comforters and advisers, Father Bartholomew. Only see that you keep a tight hand over your thoughts, and make room for His word in your heart.

For I know from my own experience, as well as from that of all troubled souls, that it is solely our own self-conceit which is at the root of all our disquietude. For our eye is a knave, and, alas, what misery he has caused me, and still plagues me to the utmost. The cross of Christ is distributed through the whole world, and each receives his portion. Therefore pray do not cast thy portion from thee, but cherish it as a precious relic, certainly not enshrined in a casket of gold or silver, but in a golden heart filled with loving charity. For, even as the wood of the cross is consecrated through coming in contact with the flesh and blood of Christ, so that henceforth they are esteemed to be the costliest of relics, how much more will the injustice, persecution, and hatred of men, whether it be right or wrong, not through contact with His flesh, but through union with His loving heart and Divine will, which consecrates everything which is in touch with it, thereby transform the curse into a blessing, suffering into glory, and the cross into a crown of joy. Farewell, dearest friend and brother, and pray for me. Martin Luther, Augustinian Wittenberg.

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