Luther’s first poetical effusion was in honour of the two martyrs Heinrich Voes and Johann Esch, Augustine monks.

July 1523.

Praise to the Father of mercies for permitting us anew to see His marvellous light, which has been hidden from us because of our sins. But the time has again come for the voice of the turtle to be heard in our land, and the flowers to appear on the earth. What a joy it is, dear ones, that you should yield us this great delight! For to you it has been given, not only to confess Christ, but to be the first to endure shame, imprisonment, and reproach for His name’s sake, and now you have proved the strength of your faith by sealing your testimony with your blood. And also that Christ’s two precious gems, Heinrich and Johann in Brussels, should have held their lives of so little account as to yield them up to His honour. Oh, how shamefully were these two souls slain, but how gloriously shall they reappear with Christ, and judge them by whom they have been unrighteously slaughtered. What pleasure the angels had in these two souls ! How eagerly the fire freed them from this sinful life to open the door into everlasting glory! God be praised to all eternity that we have lived to see holy martyrs. We up here have not yet been esteemed worthy to become such a precious offering to

Christ, although many of us have not been without persecution, and are still enduring it.

Therefore, well beloved, let us be joyful in Christ, and render thanks for this great miracle which He has begun to work among us. Pray for us, and for one another, that we may reach out a helping hand to each other, and let all cleave with one mind to Christ our Head, who will strengthen you with His grace, and perfect you to the honour of His holy name, to whom be praise from all of us, to all eternity. Amen.