">
:: Unregistered? Register for a user account.



Christian Topics



Christian Friends

There are 2 unlogged users and 0 registered users online.

You can log-in or register for a user account here.

Languages

Preferred language:


Say What?: Marriage & Martin Luther

Posted by: Pastor_Don_Milton on Jan 24, 2008 - 11:49 PM
Food For Thought

Martin Luther often put a political spin on religious ideas as you will see from reading the following letter in which he and his fellow theologians gave consent to a polygamous marriage. I have only included the last portion of that letter as it includes the sections where Luther and his fellow theologians gave their approval of that polygamous marriage. The letter was written and signed by Luther and other well known theologians of the reformation, some of whom attended the marriage as well. Enjoy reading.

XXI. But after all, if your Highness is fully resolved to marry a second wife, we judge it ought to be done secretly, as we have said with respect to the dispensation demanded on the same account, that is, that none but the person you shall wed, and a few trusty persons, know of the matter, and they, too, obliged to secrecy under the seal of confession. Hence no contradiction nor scandal of moment is to be apprehended ; for it is no extraordinary thing for Princes to keep concubines; and though the vulgar should be scandalized thereat, the more intelligent would doubt of the truth, and prudent persons would approve of this moderate kind of life, preferably to adultery, and other brutal actions. There is no need of being much concerned for what men will say, provided all goes right with conscience. So far do we approve it, and in those circumstances only by us specified ; for the Gospel hath neither recalled nor forbid what was permitted in the law of Moses with respect to marriage. Jesus Christ has not changed the external economy, but added justice only, and life everlasting, for reward. He teaches the true way of obeying God, and endeavors to repair the corruption of nature.

XXII. Your Highness hath therefore, in this writing, not only the approbation [approval] of us all, in case of necessity, concerning what you desire, but also the reflections we have made thereupon; we beseech you to weigh them, as becoming a virtuous, wise, and Christian Prince. We also beg of God to direct all for his glory and your Highness's salvation.

XXIII. As to your Highness's thought of communicating this affair to the emperor before it be concluded, it seems to us that this Prince counts adultery among the lesser sort of sins ; and it is very much to be feared lest his faith being of the same stamp with that of the Pope, the Cardinals, the Italians, the Spaniards, and the Saracens, he make light of your Highness's proposal, and turn it to his own advantage by amusing your Highness with vain words. We know he is deceitful and perfidious, and as nothing of the German in him.

XXIV. Your Highness sees, that he uses no sincere endeavor to redress the grievances of Christendom; that he leaves the Turk unmolested, and labors for nothing but to divide the empire, that he may raise up the house of Austria on its ruins. It is therefore very much to be wished that no Christian Prince would give into his pernicious schemes. May God preserve your Highness. We are most ready to serve your Highness.

Given at Wittenberg the Wednesday after the feast of Saint Nicholas, 1539. Your Highness's most humble, and most obedient subjects and servants,

MARTIN LUTHER. PHILIP MELANCTHON. MARTIN BUCER. ANTONY CORVIN. ADAM. JOHN LENINGUE. JUSTUS WlNTFERTE. DENIS MELANTHER.

I George Nuspicher, Notary Imperial, bear testimony by this present act, written and signed with my own hand, that I have transcribed this present copy from the true original which is in Melancthon's own handwriting, and hath been faithfully preserved to this present time, at the request of the most serene Prince of Hesse ; and have examined with the greatest exactness every line and every word, and collated them with the same original; and have found them conformable thereunto, not only in the things themselves, but also in the signs manual, and have delivered the present copy in five leaves of good paper, whereof I bear witness. GEORGE NUSPICHER, Notary.

You have just read the letter of Martin Luther, et al, concerning the proposed marriage of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, with Margaret de Saal. It was taken from:
The History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches By Jacques Bénigne Bossuet - Bishop of Meaux,
"One of his most Christian Majesty's Honorable Privy Council, Heretofore Preceptor to the Dauphin, and Chief Almoner to the Dauphiness."
In Two Volumes - Translated from the last French Edition. VOLUME I Published 1836

The Marriage Contract of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, with Margaret de Saal.
In the name of God, Amen. Be it known to all those, as well in general as in particular, who shall see, hear, or read this public instrument, that in the year 1540, on Wednesday, the fourth day of the month of March, at two o'clock or thereabouts, in the afternoon, the thirteenth year of the Indiction, and the twenty-first of the reign of the most puissant and most victorious Emperor Charles V, our most gracious lord; the most serene Prince and Lord Philip Landgrave of Hesse, Count of Catznelenbogen, of Dietz, of Ziegenhain, and Nidda, with some of his Highness's Counsellors, on one side, and the good and virtuous Lady Margaret de Saal with some of her relations, on the other side, have appeared before me, Notary, and witness underwritten, in the City of Rotenburg, in the castle of the same city, with the design and will publicly declared before me, Notary public and witness, to unite themselves by marriage; and accordingly my most gracious Lord and Prince Philip the Landgrave hath ordered this to be proposed by the Reverend Denis Melander, preacher to his Highness, much to the sense as follows :—" Whereas the eye of God searches all things, and but little escapes the knowledge of men, his Highness declares that his will is to wed the said Lady Margaret de Saal, although the Princess his wife be still living, and that this action may not be imputed to inconstancy or curiosity; to avoid scandal and maintain the honor of the said Lady, and the reputation of her kindred, his Highness makes oath here before God, and upon his soul and conscience, that he takes her to wife through no levity, nor curiosity, nor from any contempt of law, or superiors; but that he is obliged to it by such important, such inevitable necessities of body and conscience, that it is impossible for him to save either body or soul, without adding another wife to his first. All which his Highness hath laid before many learned, devout, prudent, and Christian preachers, and consulted them upon it. And these great men, after examining the motives represented to them, have advised his Highness to put his soul and conscience at ease by this double marriage. And the same cause and the same necessity have obliged the most serene Princess, Christina Duchess of Saxony, his Highness's first lawful wife, out of her great prudence and sincere devotion, for which she is so much to be commended, freely to consent and admit of a partner, to the end that the soul and body of her most dear spouse may run no further risk, and the glory of God may be increased, as the deed written with this Princess's own hand sufficiently testifies. And lest occasion of scandal be taken from its not being the custom to have two wives, although this be Christian and lawful in the present case, his Highness will not solemnize these nuptials in the ordinary way, that is, publicly before many people, and with the wonted ceremonies, with the said Margaret de Saal; but both the one and the other will join themselves in wedlock, privately and without noise, in presence only of the witnesses underwritten."—After Melander had finished his discourse, the said Philip and the said Margaret accepted of each other for husband and wife, and promised mutual fidelity in the name of God. The said Prince hath required of me, Notary underwritten, to draw him one or more collated copies of this contract, and hath also promised, on the word and faith of a prince, to me a public person, to observe it inviolably, always and without alteration, in presence of the Reverend and most learned masters Philip Melancthon, Martin Bucer, Denis Melander; and likewise in the presence of the illustrious and valiant Eberhard de Than, counsellor of his electoral Highness of Saxony, Herman de Malsberg, Herman de Hundelshausen, the Lord John Fegg of the Chancery, Rudolph Schenck ; and also in the presence of the most honorable and most virtuous Lady Anne of the family of Miltitz, widow of the late John de Saal, and mother of the spouse, all in quality of requisite witnesses for the validity of the present act. And I Balthasar Rand, of Fuld, Notary public imperial, who was present at the discourse, instruction, marriage, espousals, and union aforesaid, with the said witnesses, and have heard and seen all that passed, have written and subscribed the present contract, being requested so to do; and set to it the usual seal, for a testimony of the truth thereof. BALTHASAR RAND.

You have just read the polygamous Marriage Contract of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, with Margaret de Saal. It was taken from:
The History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches By Jacques Bénigne Bossuet - Bishop of Meaux,
"One of his most Christian Majesty's Honorable Privy Council, Heretofore Preceptor to the Dauphin, and Chief Almoner to the Dauphiness."
In Two Volumes - Translated from the last French Edition. VOLUME I Published 1836

A final note concerning the polygamous marriage of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse. There cannot be a claim that this was simply a divorce which was called polygamy. Philip's wives lived with him and both had relations with him. During the seven years following Philip's polygamous marriage, nine children were born to him by his wives; Christina of Saxony and Margaret de Saal. Each one of these nine children was conceived after the polygamous marriage had taken place. Between his two wives, Philip had a total of nineteen children; twelve sons and seven daughters. May we all be so blessed!

Site Search


Admonitions

Once you know polygamy is not a sin you can't unknow it.

-- Pastor Don Milton --

Other Stories

Chat with Pastor Don