Heinrich Müller on Little Sins

Heinrich Müller on Little Sins

You only combat the great sins and do not want to be called a murderer, thief, or adulterer, so that you have no shame before the world. Meanwhile, little sins, which you do not observe, put your flesh to the test. You love the company of people, follow the example of their elegant, costly clothing, share with them a friendly joke about this or that thing, thereby being wounded in your heart, though you are not aware of the wounds. Your former zeal for Christianity decays gradually, dies away within you, until finally it happens that you die an eternal death from the wounds. See then how many great calamities arise more from little sins than from great ones. You consider great sins to be sins and avoid them, but you do not consider little sins to be sins and do not give them proper attention. I advise you to consider no sin little. However little they may appear, they offend God, wound your conscience, and become a root for many great sins.

from Spiritual Hours of Refreshment (1664), in Seventeenth Century Lutheran Meditations and Hymns, edited by Eric Lund (Paulist Press, 2011), 214.

Heinrich Müller on Bearing Crosses

Heinrich Müller (1631-1675) on Bearing Crosses

Are you tested in the oven of misfortune? It is no achievement to be pious when all is going well. A Christian is known in the midst of crosses. Anyone can be a helmsman in good wind and still weather. It is especially in bad weather that you see what a sailor knows how to do. Good gold stands up to a fire. Tell me, then, how do you fare in the time of testing?

If you have lost your possessions, do you think that you have a better treasure in heaven that no one can take away? Can you say with Job: “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

You are tormented by sickness. Do you complain about your pain? Do you also believe that the inner man is gaining much when the outer man is wasting away (2 Cor 4:16)?

You are put to flight. Is your mind still joyful? Do you realize that you are still on your way home to your home?

If death approaches, are you frightened or do you say with Paul: “Christ is my life, death is my gain” (Phil 1:21)?

In a word, whoever accepts crosses willingly is good, whoever bears them patiently is better, and whoever values crosses and thanks God for them is the best Christian.

from Spiritual Hours of Refreshment (1664), in Seventeenth Century Lutheran Meditations and Hymns, edited by Eric Lund (Paulist Press, 2011), 210-211.