The Luther Rose

Prince John Frederick, who was the protector of Martin Luther, commissioned a seal for Luther which he would wear as a ring. Luther wrote this letter to Lazarus Spengler of Nuremburg, who was designing the ring.

Grace and peace in Christ, Honored and Dear Lord and Friend,

Since you wish to know whether they have designed my seal the way I wanted it, I will tell you how I originally planned my coat-of-arms as a symbol of my theology.

The first thing should be a cross, black, on a heart retaining the natural red color, to remind me that it is faith in the Crucified One that saves us. A person can only become righteous when he believes with his whole heart. And though this is a black cross, mortifying the flesh and purposely inflicting pain, it does not change the color of the heart or destroy its nature. It does not kill, but instead it preserves life: for the just shall live by faith, that is, faith in the Crucified One.

This heart should be set in the middle of a white rose, to show that this faith yields joy, peace, and comfort such as the world cannot give. This rose is white instead of red, because white is the color of spirits and angels.

This white rose is placed on a field of heavenly blue, because such spiritual joy and faith are a beginning of heavenly joys to come, which even now are possessed by faith and understood in hope, although they cannot yet be seen by the human eye.

Encircling this field is a ring of gold, to signify that the bliss of heaven endures forever and is more precious than all earthly pleasures and possessions, even as gold is the most precious of metals.

May Christ our dear Lord be with your spirit until it is safe in Heaven.


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