Preface

Written in German by Philip Melanchthon (1530)

English Translation Copyright 2014 by Jon Alan Schmidt

Link to Bente/Dau Translation from Latin (1921)

[1] Most all-serene, most greatly powerful, most invincible Emperor, most all-gracious Lord! As your Imperial Majesty a short time ago graciously proclaimed a general diet of the Empire here at Augsburg, displaying an earnest desire to consult with diligence about matters concerning the Turk, that hereditary enemy of ours and of the Christian name,--in what way effectively to repress the same with persistent help;--[2] also about how the dissensions in the holy faith and the Christian religion may be negotiated,--to hear, to understand and to consider all and any judgments, opinions and sentiments among ourselves in love and kindness; [3] and to bring and to conform the same to one agreed Christian truth, so as to abandon everything that has not been correctly interpreted or handled by both parties; [4] and to accept and to maintain among us all one agreed and true religion; and also to live all in unity in one communion and church, as we all are and fight under one Christ: [5] We, the Elector and Princes named below, together with our kindred,--like other electors, princes, and estates required to do so,--therefore have arisen to such an extent that, without boasting, we came here with the first.

[6] And then also your Imperial Majesty graciously, most diligently and earnestly desired of the electors, princes, and other estates,--toward their most humble compliance with your Imperial Majesty's edict, and in conformity with the same regarding these matters touching the faith,--that every one of them, by virtue of your Imperial Majesty's reported edict, should put in writing their judgments, opinions and sentiments regarding the same errors, dissensions and abuses in German and Latin. [7] Therefore, then, after taking consideration and holding a consultation, it was conveyed to your Imperial Majesty last Wednesday that we on our part wanted to present our case, by virtue of your Imperial Majesty's explanation, in German and Latin today, Friday. [8] In most humble obedience to your Imperial Majesty, we hereby offer and present our pastors, preachers, and their doctrines, even the Confession of our faith; what and in which form they preach, teach, maintain and instruct on the basis of the divine, holy Scripture in our lands, principalities, dominions, cities and territories. [9] And if the other electors, princes and estates will now also provide similar written presentations of their sentiments and opinions in Latin and German, [10] we are willing, in all submission to your Imperial Majesty, our most all-gracious lord, to converse on friendly terms with your Lordship and with them about comfortable and equitable ways to unite us, which we want to do as much as uniformity is ever possible; so that the written presentations and wishes among ourselves as parties on both sides may be handled in love and kindness, and the same dissensions may be guided to one agreed and true religion, [11] as we all are and fight under one Christ and should confess Christ, all according to your Imperial Majesty's often-reported edict and divine truth. We therefore also, with highest humility, want to invoke and ask God Almighty to bestow his divine grace to this end. Amen!

[12] But if our lords, friends, and especially the electors, princes and estates of the other party do not want to negotiate according to how your Imperial Majesty's edict intends,--not engaging in comfortable negotiation with us in love and kindness, nor being fruitful,--[13] we on our part shall lack nothing that, with God and conscience, can or may be done in the service of Christian unity; [14] as your Imperial Majesty, as well as our reported friends, the electors, princes, estates and every lover of the Christian religion, before whom these matters are set, will graciously, cordially and sufficiently hear from our Confession and that of our people, which follows.

[15] Formerly your Imperial Majesty graciously intimated to the electors, princes, and estates of the empire, especially through a publicly read instruction at the imperial diet held in the year 1526 at Speyer, [16] that your Imperial Majesty, for reasons there specified, was not disposed to make any decision in matters pertaining to our holy faith, but would diligently urge the Pope to convene a council. [17] And a year ago, at the last imperial diet at Speyer, by virtue of a written instruction, [18] the electors, princes and estates of the empire were, among other things, informed and notified,--through your Imperial Majesty's viceroy, his Royal Highness of Bohemia and Hungary, etc., and also through your Imperial Majesty's speaker and appointed commissaries,--that your Imperial Majesty's viceroy, administrator and counsellors of the imperial government, as well as delegates of the absent electors, princes and estates, who had assembled for the announced imperial diet at Regensburg, [19] had considered judgments pertaining to a general council and recognized that calling such a council would be fruitful. And because these matters between your Imperial Majesty and the Pope were heading toward a good, Christian understanding, such that your Imperial Majesty was certain that the Pope would not refuse to convoke a general council, [20] your Imperial Majesty graciously offered to call for and negotiate that the Pope should, along with your Imperial Majesty, allow such a general council to be convoked at the first opportunity, and put no hindrance in the way. [21] In this case, therefore, we herewith volunteer,--in all submission to your Imperial Majesty, and to abundance,--for such a general, free, and Christian council. The electors, princes, and estates, with one accord out of high and brave motives, have called for this at all the imperial diets held during your Imperial Majesty's reign in the empire, [22] and long ago appealed to it and to your Imperial Majesty in a legal manner and form because of these great and most important matters. [23] In this we once more herewith continue to persist; and we know not to abandon it through this or subsequent negotiation (unless the matters of dissension, according to your Imperial Majesty’s edict, are finally in love and kindness  heard, considered, settled and conformed to Christian unity), [24] as we herewith publicly testify and protest. This is our Confession and that of our people, which variously follows hereafter, article by article.