Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Commemorating Melanchthon’s Death (April 19, 1560)

Today is the 457th anniversary of the death of Philip Melanchthon, one of the most important figures of the sixteenth century. In honor of the day, I’m re-posting a couple of texts relevant to the occasion that I’ve translated in this space before.

First, a list Melanchthon made on his deathbed as to why he should not fear death:

The reasons why you should not shrink back from death, written by Philip Melanchthon on a small piece of paper a few days before his death.

On the left: You will depart from sins. You will be freed from tribulations, and from the mad rage of theologians.

On the right: You will come into the light. You will see God. You will gaze upon the Son of God. You will learn those wondrous secrets which you were not able to understand in this life: why we were created as we were; what the union of the two natures in Christ is.

Second, a poem that Theodore Beza wrote in honor of Melanchthon, included in his Icones:

And now then at last you lie in repose under a mound

of earth, o divine Philip:

And the rest you envied for yourself when living,

while you provided rest for all,

your very worry and holy labors have acquired for you,

o leader dear  to all good men.

But you, earth, pour forth roses, pour forth lilies for him,

in order that Melanchthon–than whom nothing was ever

brighter  or sweeter –may lie softly

among lilies and roses.

And you take care, whether a youth or aged, lest you be a burden upon him

who lived as a burden to none.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.