Selections from the Table Talk of Martin Luther
by Martin Luther
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Oh! said Luther, how finely, think you, must this Cardinal have departed and died?

The World is full of Dissemblers and Blasphemers: How many Sorts there be.

Luther discoursing, in the presence of the Prince Elector of Saxony and other Princes, of the many sorts and differences of wicked persons, said: Colax, Sycophanta, Cacoethes; these sins and blasphemies are almost alike the one to the other, only that they go one after another, as a man going up the stairs and steps ascends from one to another.

Colax, in my opinion, is he that in Terence they name Gnatho, an ear-scratcher, a dissembler, a trencher-licker, one that talketh for his belly's sake, and is altogether a man-pleaser. This is a sin of mankind, whose intent is to get all they can though others are hurt thereby.

Sycophanta is such a dissembler, traitor, and backbiter that would earn a grey coat. This sin is nearer allied to the devil than to mankind. Gnatho acts his part in the comedies, but Sycophanta in the tragedies. Phormio, in Terence, is a very honest person, nothing, or very little, stained with the other two vices.

Cacoethes is a wicked villain, that wittingly and wilfully prepareth mischief.

Of the Wealth and Treasure of the World.

The Fuggars {2} of Augsburg, on a sudden, said Luther, are able to levy one hundred tons of gold (one ton of gold is one hundred thousand rix dollars, making, in English money, two-and-twenty thousand pounds sterling, and more), which neither the Emperor nor King of Spain is able to perform. One of the Fuggars, after his death, left eighty tons of gold. The Fuggars and the money-changers in Augsburg lent the Emperor at one time eight-and-twenty tons of gold for the maintaining of his wars before Padua.

The Cardinal of Brixen, who died at Rome very rich, left no great sum of ready money behind him, but only there was found in his sleeve a little note of a finger's length. This note was brought to Pope Julius, who presently imagined it was a note of money, and therefore sent for the Fuggars' factor that was then at Rome, and asked him if he knew that writing. The factor said, "Yea, it was the debt which the Fuggars did owe to that Cardinal, which was the sum of forty hundred thousand rix dollars." The Pope asked him how soon he could pay that sum of money. He answered and said, "Every day, or, if need required, at an hour's warning." Then the Pope called for the Ambassadors of France and England, and asked them if either of their Kings, in one hour's space, were able to satisfy and pay forty tons of gold. They answered, "No." "Then," said the Pope, "one citizen of Augsburg can do it." And the Pope got all that money. One of the Fuggars being warned by the Senate of Augsburg to bring in and to pay his taxation, said, "I know not how much I have, nor how rich I am, therefore I cannot be taxed;" for he had his money out in the whole world-in Turkey, in Greece, at Alexandria, in France, Portugal, England, Poland, and everywhere, yet he was willing to pay his tax of that which he had in Augsburg.

Covetousness is a Sign of Death; we must not rely on Money and Wealth.

Whoso hath money, said Luther, and depends thereon, as is usual, it neither proceeds nor prospers well with that person. The richest monarchs have had bad fortune, and lamentably have been destroyed and slain in the wars; on the contrary, poor and unable people, that have had but small store of money, have overcome and had great fortune and victory. As Emperor Maximilian overcame the Venetians, and continued wars ten years with them, who were exceedingly rich and powerful. Therefore we ought not to trust in money and wealth, nor to depend thereon. I hear, said Luther, that the Prince Elector, George, begins to be covetous, which is a sign of his death very shortly. When I saw Dr. Goad begin to count his puddings hanging in the chimney, I told him he would not live long, which fell out accordingly; and when I begin to trouble myself about brewing, malting, and cooking, etc., then shall not I drive it long, but soon die.

The Popes' Covetousness.

The covetousness of the Popes has exceeded all others', therefore, said Luther, the devil made choice of Rome to be his habitation; for which cause the ancients have said, "Rome is a den of covetousness, a root of all wickedness." I have also read in a very old book this verse following:

Versus Amor, Mundi Caput est, et Bestia Terrae.

That is (when the word Amor is turned and read backward, then it is Roma), Rome, the head of the world, a beast that sucketh out and devoureth all lands. Truly at Rome is an abominable trading with covetousness, for all is raked to their hands without preaching or church-service, but only with superstition, idolatry, and with selling their good works to the poor ignorant lay-people for money; therefore St. Peter describeth such covetousness with express and clear words when he saith, "They have an heart exercised with covetous practices." I am persuaded a man cannot acknowledge the disease of covetousness unless he knoweth Rome; for the deceits and jugglings in other parts are nothing in comparison of those at Rome; therefore, anno 1521, at the Imperial Diet held at Worms, the State of the whole Empire made supplication against such covetousness, and desired that his Imperial Majesty would be pleased to suppress the same.

At that time, said Luther, my book was presented to the German nobility, which Dr. Wick showed unto me. Then the Gospel began to go on well, but the Pope's power, together with the Antinomians, gave it a great blow, and yet, notwithstanding, through God's Providence, it was thereby furthered.

The Pope's power was above all Kings and Emperors, which power I opposed with my little book; and therewith also I assaulted the Bull on the Pope, and, by God's assistance, overthrew it. I did not write that book on purpose against the Pope, but only against the abuses of Popedom; yet nevertheless it startled them quickly, for their consciences accused them.

Princes do draw and tear Spiritual Livings unto them.

The proverb is, said Luther, "Priests' livings are catching livings," and that "Priests' goods never prosper." This we know to be true by experience, for such as have drawn spiritual livings unto them are grown poor thereby, and become beggars, therefore this Fable I like very well:

There was an Eagle that made amity and friendship with the Fox; they agreed to dwell peaceably together. Now when the Fox expected from the Eagle all manner of good offices and turns, he brought his young ones and laid them under the tree on which the Eagle had his nest and young ones; but the friendship between them lasted not long, for so soon as the Eagle wanted meat for his young (the Fox being out of the way), he flew down and took the young Foxes and carried them into his nest, and therewith fed his young Eagles. When, therefore, the old Fox returned, and saw that his young were taken away, he made his complaint to the great god Jupiter, desiring that he would revenge and punish that injury of Jus violati hospitii. Not long after, as the Eagle again wanted meat to feed his young, he saw that on a place in the field they sacrificed to Jupiter. The Eagle flew thither, and quickly snatched away a piece of roast from the altar and brought the same to his young, and flew again to fetch more; but it happened that a hot coal hung to one of the pieces; the same, falling into the Eagle's nest, set it on fire; the young Eagles, not able to fly, were burned with the nest and fell to the ground. Even so it usually fareth with those that rake and rend spiritual livings unto them, which are given to the maintaining of God's honour and service; such at last must lose their nests, that is, they must be left destitute of their temporal goods and livings, and besides, must sustain hurt of body and soul. Spiritual livings have in them the nature of Eagle's feathers, for when they are laid to other feathers they devour the same. Even so, when men will mingle spiritual livings (per fas aut nefas) with other goods, so must the same likewise be consumed, insomuch that at last nothing will be left.

I have seen a pretty dog, at Lintz, in Austria that was taught to go with a hand-basket to the butcher's shambles for meat; now, when other dogs came about him, and would take the meat out of the basket, he set it down, bit and fought lustily with the other dogs; but when he saw they would be too strong for him, then he himself would snatch out the first piece of meat, lest he should lose all. Even so doth now our Emperor Charles, who, after he hath a long time defended the spiritual livings, and seeth that every Prince taketh and raketh the monasteries unto himself, doth also now take possession of bishoprics, as newly he hath snatched to himself the bishoprics of Utrich and Luttich, to the end he may get also partem de tunica Christi.

A fearful Example of Covetousness.

A covetous farmer, well known at Erfurt, said Luther, carried his corn to sell there in the market; but holding it at too dear a rate, no man would buy of him nor give him his price; he being thereby moved to anger, said, "I will not sell it cheaper, but will rather carry it home again and give it to the mice." As he came home therewith, an innumerable number of mice and rats flocked about his house and devoured up all his corn. And the next day following, going out to see his grounds, which were newly sown, he found that all the seed was eaten up, and no hurt at all done upon the grounds belonging to his neighbours. This certainly, said Luther, was a just punishment from God, and a token of his wrath against the unthankful world.

Wealth is the least Gift of God.

Riches, said Luther, is the smallest thing on earth, and the least gift that God hath bestowed on mankind. What is it in comparison of God's Word? yea, what is it to be compared with corporeal gifts, as beauty, health, etc.? nay, what is it to the gifts of the mind, as understanding, art, wisdom, etc.? Yet are men so eager after it that no labour, travel, nor danger is regarded in the getting of riches; there is in it neither Materialis, formalis, efficiens et finalis causa, nor anything else that is good; therefore our Lord God commonly giveth riches to such from whom he withholds all Spiritual good.

Giving to the Poor that truly stand in need of our Help.

St. John saith, "He that hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" And Christ saith, "He that desireth of thee, give to him;" that is, to him that hath need and is in want. He saith not to every idle, lazy, and wasteful companion, which commonly are the greatest beggars, to whom although one gave much and often, yet were they nothing helped thereby. In this town, said Luther, no men are in greater want than the students and scholars. The poverty here indeed is great, but idleness and laziness are far greater. A man can scarcely get a poor body to work for money, and yet they will all beg. There is, said he, no good government. Though I were able, yet I would not give to those idle beggars, for the more one helpeth and giveth them, the more and oftener they come. I will not cut my bread away from my wife and children, and give it to such; but when one is truly poor, to him I will give with all my heart, according to my ability. And no man should forget that Scripture which saith, "He that hath two coats, let him part with one," etc.; for the Holy Scripture, in naming a coat, meaneth all manner of apparel that one hath need of, according to his state and calling, as well for credit as for necessity. As, also, by "the daily bread" is understood all maintenance necessary for the body, therefore "a coat," in Scripture, is signified to be all usual apparel.

The World will always have new Things.

Before I translated the New Testament out of the Greek, said Luther, every one longed after it, to read therein, but when it was done their longing lasted scarce four weeks. Then they desired the Books of Moses; when I had translated those, they had enough thereof in a short time. After that they would have the Psalter; of the same they were soon weary; when it was translated, then they desired other books.

In like manner, said he, will it be with the Book of Ecclesiasticus, which they now long for, and about which I have taken great pains in the translating thereof. All are acceptable, so long and until our giddy brains be satisfied; afterwards they let them lie, and seek after new things; therefore in the end there must come errors among us.


That Christ warreth with great Potentates.

On the 18th of August, 1535, Luther, receiving letters from Frankfort relating to the great preparations of the Emperor against the Protestants, said: Our Saviour Christ will not wage wars with beggars, but with great and powerful Kings and Princes, as it is written, "Kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed." Well, on, said Luther, they will find their counsels altogether vain and frivolous, for Christ shall win the field. We see also how the Prophets contended and strove with Kings, as the Kings of Babel and Assyria, etc. In like manner Daniel, one of the chief Prophets, wrestled and strove with Kings, and they again resisted the Prophets. All those Kings are gone, and lie in the ashes, but Christ remaineth, still, and will remain a King for ever.

That it doth not follow because Christ did this and that, therefore we must also do the same.

At this time, said Luther, there are those that allege Christ by force drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple; therefore we also may use the like power against the Popish bishops and enemies of God's Word, as Muntzer and other seducers, in the time of the common rebellion, anno 1525. Christ did many things which we neither may nor can do after him. He went upon the water, he fasted forty days and forty nights, he raised Lazarus from death after he had lain four days in the grave, etc. Such and the like must we leave undone. Much less will Christ have that we by force should set against the enemies of the truth, but he commanded the contrary, "Love your enemies, pray for them that vex and persecute you," etc. But we ought to follow him in such works where he hath annexed an open command, as, "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful;" likewise, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and humble in heart," etc., also, "He that will follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me."

That the weak in Faith do also belong to the Kingdom of Christ.

The weak in faith, said Luther, do also belong to the kingdom of Christ, otherwise the Lord would not have said to Peter, "Strengthen thy brethren," Luke xxii.; and Rom. xiv., "Receive the weak in faith;" also 1 Thess. v., "Comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak." If the weak in faith should not belong to Christ, where then would the Apostles have been, whom the Lord oftentimes (also after his resurrection, Mark xvi.) reproved because of their unbelief?

That Christ is the only Physician against Death, whom notwithstanding very few do desire.

A cup of water, said Luther, if a man can have no better, is good to quench the thirst. A morsel of bread stilleth the hunger, and he that hath need seeketh earnestly thereafter. So Christ is the best, surest, and only physic against the most fearful enemy of mankind, the devil, but they believe it not with their hearts. If they knew a physician who lived above one hundred miles off, that could prevent or drive away temporal death, oh, how diligently would he be sent for! No money nor cost would be spared. Hence it appears how abominably human nature is spoiled and blinded; yet, notwithstanding, the small and little heap do stick fast to the true Physician, and by this art do learn that which the holy old Simeon well knew, from whence he joyfully sang, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation," etc., therefore death became his sleep; but from whence came his great joy? Because that with spiritual and corporeal eyes he saw the Saviour of the world-he saw the true Physician against sin and death. Therefore it is a great trouble to behold how desirous a thirsty body is of drink, or one that is hungry of food, whereas a cup of water, a morsel of bread, can still hunger and thirst no longer than two or three hours, but no man, or very few, are desirous, or do long after the most precious Physician, although he lovingly calleth and allureth all to come unto him, and saith, "He that is athirst, let him come to me and drink" (John vii.); so, "He that believeth in me, from his body shall flow streams of living water."

Of the Temple of all the Gods (except Christ), at Rome, called Pantheon.

In the year 606, Emperor Phocas, the murderer of that good and godly Emperor Mauritius, and the first erector of the Pope's primacy, gave this temple Pantheon to Pope Boniface the Third, to make thereof what he pleased. He gave it another name, and instead of All-Idols he named it the Church of All-Saints; he did not number Christ among them, from whom all saints have their sanctity, but erected a new idolatry, the Invocation of Saints.

In my chronicle, said Luther, I expound the name of Bonifacius thus: Bonifacius is a Popish name, that is, a good form, fashion, or show, for under the colour of a good form and show he acted all manner of mischief against God and man.

As I was at Rome, said Luther, I saw this church; it had no windows, but only a round hole on the top, which gave some light. It was vaulted high, and had pillars of marble stone so thick that two of us could scarcely fathom one about. Above, on the vault, were portrayed all the gods of the heathen, Jupiter, Neptune, Mars, Venus, and how else they are called. These gods were at a union, to the end they might fool and deceive the whole world; but Christ they cannot endure, for he hath whipped them out. Now are the Popes come, and have driven Christ away again; but who knoweth how long it will continue?

That the World knoweth not Christ, nor those that are his.

Even as Christ is now invisible and unknown to the world, so are we Christians also invisible and unknown therein. "Your life," saith St. Paul (Coloss. iii.), "is hid with Christ in God." Therefore, said Luther, the world knoweth us not, much less do they see Christ in us. And John the Apostle saith, "Behold, what love the Father hath showed unto us, that we shall be called God's children" (1 John iii). Therefore we and the world are easily parted; they care nothing for us, so we care less for them; yea, through Christ the world is crucified unto us, and we to the world. Let them go with their wealth, and leave us to our minds and manners.

When we have our sweet and loving Saviour Christ, then we are rich and happy more than enough, we care nothing for their state, honour, and wealth. But we often lose our Saviour Christ, and little think that he is in us, and we in him; that he is ours, and we are his. And although he hideth himself from us, as we think, in the time of need for a moment, yet are we comforted in his promise, where he saith, "I am daily with you to the world's end;" the same is our best and richest treasure.

Of the Name Jesus Christ.

I know nothing of Jesus Christ, said Luther, but only his name; I neither have heard nor seen him corporeally; yet notwithstanding I have, God be praised, learned so much out of the Scriptures that I am well and thoroughly satisfied; therefore, I desire neither to see nor to hear him corporeally. And besides this, when I was left and forsaken of all men, in my highest weakness, in trembling and in fear of death, when I was persecuted of the wicked world, then I oftentimes felt most evidently the divine power which this name (Christ Jesus) communicated unto me; this name (Christ Jesus) oftentimes delivered me when I was in the midst of death, and made me alive again. It comforted me in the greatest despair, and particularly at the Imperial Assembly at Augsburg, anno 1530, when I was forsaken of every man; insomuch that, by God's grace, I will live and die for that name.

And rather than I will yield, or through silence endure that Erasmus Roterodamus, or any other whosoever he be, should too nearly touch my Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus with his ungodly false doctrine, how fairly coloured soever it be trimmed or garnished, I say I will rather die; yea, it should be more tolerable for me, with wife and children, to undergo all plagues and torments, and at last to die the most shameful death, than that I should give way thereunto.

That Christ and the Pope are set on, the one against the other.

I, said Luther, have set Christ and the Pope together by the ears, therefore I trouble myself no further; and although I come between the door and the hinges and be squeezed, it is no matter, though I go to the ground; yet notwithstanding Christ will go through with it.

Of the Pre-eminence of God's Word.

Christ once appeared visible here on earth, and showed his glory, and, according to the divine counsel and purpose of God, he finished the work of redemption and the deliverance of mankind. I do not desire that he should come once more, neither would I that he should send an angel unto me; and although an angel should come and appear before mine eyes from heaven, yet would I not believe him; for I have of my Saviour Christ Jesus bond and seal; that is, I have his Word and Spirit; thereon I do depend, and desire no new revelations. And, said Luther, the more steadfastly to confirm me in the same resolution, and to remain by God's Word, and not to give credit to any visions or revelations, I shall relate the following circumstance:- I being on Good Friday last in my inner chamber, in fervent prayer, contemplating with myself how Christ my Saviour hung on the Cross, how he suffered and died for our sins, there suddenly appeared upon the wall a bright shining vision, and a glorious form of our Saviour Christ, with the five wounds, steadfastly looking upon me, as if it had been Christ himself corporeally. Now, at the first sight, I thought it had been some good Revelation: yet I recollected that surely it must needs be the juggling of the devil, for Christ appeareth unto us in his word, and in a meaner and more humble form; therefore I spake to the vision in this manner: "Avoid, thou confounded devil; I know no other Christ than he who was crucified, and who in his Word is pictured unto me." Whereupon the image vanished.

That Christ is the Health and Wisdom of the Faithful.

Alas! said Luther, what is our wit and wisdom? for before we understand anything as we ought, we lie down and die; therefore the devil hath good striving with us. When one is thirty years old, so hath he as yet Stultitias carnales; yea, also Stultitias spirituales; yet it is much to be admired that, in such our imbecility and weakness, we achieve and accomplish so much and such great matters; but it is God that giveth it. God gave to Alexander the Great, Sapientiam et fortunam, Wisdom and good success; yet, notwithstanding, he calleth him, in the Prophet Jeremiah, Juvenem, a youth, where he saith, "Quis excitabit juvenem" (A young raw milksop boy shall perform it: he shall come and turn the city Tyrus upside- down). But yet Alexander could not leave off his foolishness, for oftentimes he swilled himself drunk, and in his drunkenness he stabbed his best and worthiest friends; yea, afterwards he drank himself to death at Babel. Neither was Solomon above twenty years old when he was made King, but he was well instructed by Nathan, and desired wisdom, which was pleasing to God, as the text saith. But now chests full of money are desired. "Oh!" say we now, "if I had but money, then I would do so-and-so."


Of the Fall of the Ungodly, and how they are surprised in their Ungodliness and False Doctrine.

Our Lord God, said Luther, suffereth the ungodly to be surprised and taken captive in very slight and small things, when they think not of it, when they are most secure, and live in delight and pleasure, in springing and leaping for joy. In such a manner was the Pope surprised by me, in and about his indulgences and pardons, which was altogether a slight thing. The Venetians, likewise, were taken napping by Emperor Maximilian.

That which falleth in Heaven is devilish, but that which stumbleth on earth is human.

Of the Acknowledgment of Sins.

It can be hurtful to none, said Luther, to acknowledge and confess their sins. Have we done this or that sin, what then? Let us freely in God's name acknowledge the same, and not deny it; let us not be ashamed to confess, but let us from our hearts say, "O Lord God! I am such-and-such a sinner," etc.

And although thou hadst not committed this or that sin, yet nevertheless thou art an ungodly creature; and if thou hast not done that sin which another hath done, so hath he not committed that sin which thou hast done; therefore cry quittance one with another. It is even as one said that had young wolves to sell; he was asked which of them was the best. He answered and said, "If one be good, then they are all good; they are like one another." If, said Luther, thou hast been a murderer, an adulterer, or a drunkard, etc., so have I been a blasphemer of God, because for the space of fifteen years together I was a Friar, and have blasphemed God with celebrating that abominable idol the Mass. It had been better for me that I had been a partaker of other great wickednesses instead of the same; but what is done cannot be undone; he that hath stolen, let him henceforward steal no more.

What our Free-will doth effect.

I, said Luther, oftentimes have been directly resolved to live uprightly, and to lead a true godly life, and to set everything aside that would let or hinder; but it was far from being put in execution, even as it was with Peter, when he swore he would lay down his life for Christ.

I will not lie nor dissemble before my God, but will freely confess I am not able to effect that good which I do intend, but must expect the happy hour when God shall be pleased to meet me with his grace.


Of the Virtues and Vices ooncerning the Ten Commandments.

The Decalogus, that is, the Ten Commandments of God, are a looking- glass, and a brief sum of all virtues and doctrines, both how we ought to behave towards God and also towards our neighbour, that is, towards all mankind.

There never was at any time written a more excellent, complete, nor compendious book of virtues.

The duty of the First and Second Commandment is to fear God, to love and to trust in him; the contrary is sin and vice, an ungodly life, contemning of God, hatred, despair, etc.

The duty of the Third Commandment is to acknowledge and to preach the doctrine of God's Word; the contrary is blaspheming of God, to be silent and not to confess the truth when need requireth.

The duty of the Fourth Commandment is the external service of God, as the preaching of God's Word, hearing, reading, and meditating on the same, to the end we may make proof of our faith; the contrary is the despising of God's Word and the outward service of God, as the Holy Sacraments.

The duty of the Fifth Commandment is obedience towards parents, tutors, and magistrates in those things which are not against God; the contrary is disobedience and rebellion.

The duty of the Sixth Commandment is meekness, not to be desirous of revenge, not to bear malice; against this is tyranny, rage, hatred, envy, etc.

The duty of the Seventh Commandment is continency and chastity; against the same is lasciviousness, immodest behaviour, adultery, etc.

The duty of the Eighth Commandment is to do good, to give and lend willingly, to be liberal; the contrary is covetousness, stealing, usury, fraud, and to wrong in trading and dealing.

The duty of the Ninth Commandment is to love the truth, not to backbite and slander, to speak well of all men; the contrary is lying, backbiting, and to speak evil of another.

The duty of the Tenth Commandment is righteousness, to let every one possess his own; the contrary is to be miserable and unjust.

The duty of this Commandment is to be without all covetous desires in the heart, to be content with that which one hath; against that are the lustings of the heart. St. Paul saith the end of the Commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.


Of the Ten Commandments of God.

As the Faith is, so is also God.

God stayeth not quite away, though he stayeth long.

Despair maketh Priests and Friars.

God careth and provideth for us, but we must labour.

God will have the heart only and alone.

Idolatry is the imagination of the heart.

God giveth by creatures.

God's Word placeth before our eyes the world, to the end we may see what a fine spark it is.

God's Word is our sanctification, and maketh everything happy.

Works of obedience must highly be regarded.

All that govern are called Fathers.

Shepherds of Souls are worthy of double honour.

Magistrates belong not to the fifth Commandment.

Wrath is forbidden in every man, except in the magistrates.

All occasions of death are forbidden.

Matrimony proceedeth freely in every state and calling.

Matrimony is necessary and commanded.

Matrimony forbidden and disallowed is against God's command.

Matrimony is a blessed state, and pleasing to God.

To steal is what one taketh unjustly.

Unfaithfulness is also stealing.

Thieving is the most common trade in the world.

Great thieves go scot-free, as the Pope and his crew.

Falseness and covetousness prosper not.

Backbiting is meddling with God's judgment.

Censuring, and to speak evil behind one's back, belongeth only to the magistrates.

We must censure and reprove no man behind his back.

We must judge charitably in everything.

There are no good works without the Ten Commandments.

To fear God, and to trust in him, is the fulfilling of all the Commandments.

The first Commandment driveth on all the rest.

Of the Creed.

The Creed teacheth to know God, and what a God we have.

In all cases we must make use of faith.

God giveth himself unto us with all creatures.

We must always drive on the article of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Ghost bringeth Christ home unto us; he must reveal him.

Where the Holy Ghost preacheth not, there is no Church.

The works of the Holy Ghost are wrought continually.

Of the Lord's Prayer.

To pray is to call upon God in all need, which is made precious through God's command, and necessity stirreth up earnest and devout prayers, which are our weapons against the devil.

The devil, the world, and our flesh is against God's Will.

The devil hindereth and destroyeth the daily bread and all the gifts of God.

God careth for our bodies daily.

No man can live in the world without sin.

No man can bring his own righteousness before God.

We must forgive, as God forgiveth us.

To forgive our neighbour, assureth us fully that God hath forgiven us.

We are tempted three manner of ways-of the devil, of the world, and of our flesh.

Temptations serve against the secureness of our flesh.

Temptations are not overcome through our own strength.

The devil would hinder all that we pray for.

The devil goeth about to bring us into all manner of need.

Of Baptism.

Faith is annexed to Baptism.

Faith must have before it some external thing.

Faith maketh the person worthy.

Baptism is not our work, but God's.

Baptism is right, although no man believeth.

No man must build upon his faith.

Unbelief weakeneth not God's Word.

Of the Lord's Supper.

The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is of God's ordaining.

The Word maketh a Sacrament.

Christ in the Sacrament is spiritual food for the soul.

Remission of sins is obtained only through the Word.

Faith receiveth the forgiveness of sins.

The Sacrament consisteth not in our worthiness.

Faith and human understanding are one against another.

Faith dependeth on the Word.

As we hold of Christ, even so we have him.

Faith is a Christian's treasure.

The Gospel is the power of God.

Good Works.

Good works are nameless.

A Christian's work standeth for the good of the neighbour.

Faith in Christ destroyeth sin.

The Holy Scriptures only give comfort, they forbid not good works.

Christ is a general good.

Christians do pray for and desire the last Day of Judgment.

The Church heareth none but Christ.

Christ is of a mean estate and small repute.

In adversities we should show ourselves like men, and pluck up good spirits.

Our whole life should be manly; we should fear God and put our trust in him.

Faith maketh us Christ's heritage.

We should aim at celestial honour, and not regard the contemning of men.

Christ spareth us out of mere grace through the Word.

The Gospel is altogether joyful.

Grace condemneth all people's own righteousness.

Salvation is purchased and given unto us without our deserts.

Regeneration is the work only of the Holy Ghost.

Human reason cannot comprehend nor understand the goodness and benefits of God.

Good works are the seals and proofs of faith; for, even as a letter must have a seal to strengthen the same, even so faith must have good works.

Faith hath regard to the Word, and not to the Preacher.

The Preacher and the Word are two Persons.

This natural life is a little piece of the life everlasting.

Own imaginations and conceits spoil all things.

The Gospel cometh of God, it showeth Christ, and requireth Faith.

The Gospel is a light in the world, which lighteneth mankind, and maketh children of God.

False Preachers are worse than deflowerers of virgins.

Righteousness is obtained through faith, and not through works. Works make faith strong.

A Preacher is made good through temptations.

A Prince is venison in heaven.

A person must be good before his works can be good.

We must not be dejected, but believe and pray.

No State or Calling is of any value to make one good before God.

Faith endureth no human traditions in the conscience.

The Saints oftentimes erred like men.

We must distinguish offices from the persons.

We hate punishment, but we love sin.

God preserveth the sanctified, yea, even in the midst of errors.

No great Saint lived without errors.

A Christian's life consisteth of three points-of faith, love, and the cross.

We command a Christian in nothing, he is only admonished.

We must curb ourselves in our own wills and minds.

All revenge among Christians is taken away; they must grow up and increase in the fruits of the spirit, among which love is the greatest, for she goeth about with the people.

Human reason comprehendeth not, nor understandeth that Christ is our brother.

Christ is given unto us that believe with all his benefits and works.

Christ cometh unto us by preaching, so that he is in the midst of us.

Without the Cross we cannot attain to glory.

The Gospel cannot be truly preached without offence and tumult.

The Holy Ghost maketh one not instantly complete, but he must grow and increase.

We lose nothing by the Gospel, therefore we should venture thereupon all we have.

To believe the Gospel, delivereth from sins.

Works belong to the neighbour, faith to God.

Those that censure and judge others, condemn themselves.

Such as is the Faith, such is also the benefit.

To doubt is sin and everlasting death.

We know Christ when he himself is a schoolmaster in our hearts, and breaketh bread unto us.

God's Word kindleth Faith in the heart.

Faith is to build certainly on God's mercy.

Christ requireth no seeming godliness, no hypocrisy nor dissembling, but the godliness of the heart.

We are saved merely by grace and mercy, if we trust thereupon, but God must alter our hearts.

The Law is nothing but a looking-glass.

Christ carrieth us upon his back before his Father.

Love regardeth not unthankfulness.


That we ought to beware of Sophistry.

If, said Luther, we diligently mark the world and the course thereof, we shall find that it is governed merely by weenings or conceits, Mundus regitur opinionibus. Therefore sophistry, hypocrisy, and tyranny do rule and have the government in the world.

The upright, pure, and clear Divine Word must be their handmaid, and be by them controlled; this the world will have. Therefore let us beware of sophistry, which consisteth not only in a double tongue, in doubtful and screwed words, which may be construed any way, but also it blossometh, and flourisheth in all arts and vocations; it will likewise have room and place in religion; it hath usurped and got a fine painted colour, under the name of holy writ.

Nothing is more pernicious or hurtful than Sophistry; every one knoweth it not; moreover, we are by nature prone and willing to believe lies rather than the truth. Few people do know what an evil sophistry is. Plato, the Heathen writer, made thereof a wonderful definition. For my part, said Luther, I compare it with a lie, which is like to a snowball, the longer it is rolled the greater it becomes.

Therefore I do not approve of such persons as do pervert everything, do under-value and find fault with other men's opinions, although they be good and sound; I like not such brains which can dispute on both sides, and yet conclude nothing certain. Such sophistications, said Luther, are nothing but crafty and subtle inventions and contrivances to cozen and deceive people.

But I like and love an honest and a well-affected mind, that seeketh after truth simply and plainly, not to go about with phantasies and cheating tricks.

Whether we should preach only of God's Grace and Mercy, or not.

Philip Melancthon demanded of Luther whether the opinion of Calixtus were to be approved of, namely, that the Gospel of God's Grace ought to be continually preached. For thereby, doubtless, said Melancthon, people would grow worse and worse. Luther answered him and said: We must preach Gratiam, notwithstanding, because Christ hath commanded it. And although we long and often preach of grace, yet when people are at the point of death they know but little thereof. Nevertheless we must also drive on with the Ten Commandments in due time and place.

The ungodly, said Luther, out of the Gospel do suck only a carnal freedom, and become worse thereby; therefore not the Gospel, but the Law belongeth to them. Even as when my little son John offendeth: if then I should not whip him, but call him to the table unto me, and give him sugar and plums, thereby, indeed, I should make him worse, yea, should quite spoil him.

The Gospel is like a fresh, mild, and cool air in the extreme heat of summer, that is, a solace and comfort in the anguish of the conscience. But as this heat proceedeth from the rays of the sun, so likewise the terrifying of the conscience must proceed from the preaching of the Law, to the end we may know that we have offended against the Laws of God.

Now, said Luther, when the mind is refreshed and quickened again by the cool air of the Gospel, then we must not be idle, lie down and sleep; that is, when our consciences are settled in peace, quieted and comforted through God's spirit, then we must show also and prove our faith by such good works which God hath commanded. But so long as we live in this vale of misery, we shall be plagued and vexed with flies, with beetles, and with vermin, etc., that is, with the devil, with the world, and with our own flesh; yet we must press through, and not suffer ourselves to recoil.

Against the Opposers of the Law.

I do much condemn, said Luther, the Antinomians, who, void of all shame, reject the doctrine of the Law, whereas the same is both necessary and profitable. But they see not the effect, the need, and the fruit thereof. St. Austin did picture the strength, the office and operation of the Law, by a very fit similitude, namely, that it discovereth our sins, and God's wrath against sin, and placeth them in our sight; for the Law is not in fault, but our evil and wicked nature, even as a heap of lime is still and quiet until water be poured thereon, but then it beginneth to smoke and to burn, not that it is the fault of the water, but it is the nature and kind of the lime, which will not endure water; but if oil be poured upon it, then it lieth still and burneth not. Even so it is with the Law and Gospel. It is an exceedingly fair similitude.

Of the Children's Faith.

The little children, said Luther, do stand on the best terms with God Almighty concerning their lives and faith. We old doting fools do torment ourselves and have sorrow of heart with our disputings, touching the Word, whether it be true or not: "How can it be possible?" etc. But the children with simple pure faith do hold the same to be certain and true, without all doubting.

Now, if we intend to be saved, we must, according to their example, give ourselves only to the Word. But the wicked and crafty spirit, before we be aware, can, master-like, draw the same away from us, by presenting new dealings and business to keep us in action. Therefore best it were for us soon to die, and to be covered over with shovels.

The loving children do live innocently, they know of no sins, they are without malice, wrath, covetousness, and unbelief, etc. Therefore they are merry and possess a good conscience; they fear no danger, whether wars, pestilence, or death.

They will take an apple rather than a crown; what they hear concerning Christ, of the life to come, etc., the same do they believe simply and plainly, and prattle joyfully thereof. From whence Christ speaketh unto us old ones earnestly to follow their examples, where he saith, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." For the children believe aright, and Christ loveth them with their childish sports. On the contrary, he is an enemy to the wisdom of the world (Matt. xi.).

Of an Example of Faith in the Time of Dearth.

At Eisleben, said Luther, I was well acquainted with a godly matron, who, in the time of the last dearth, with two children, had suffered extreme want and need. Now, when she had spent all her provision, and had nothing more to live upon, she trimmed herself with her children, and went towards a well or fountain to drink. In her going she prayed that God would be pleased to preserve and keep her in that fierce time of dearth. Upon the way a man met her, questioned and disputed with her whether she thought to get something to eat at the fountain. She said, "Yea, why not? for all things are possible to God and easy to be done; he that fed the great multitude of the people of Israel forty years with manna in the wilderness, he can also preserve me and mine with drinking of water." Now, as she remained steadfast in that mind, the man said unto her, "Behold! seeing thou art so confident in faith, go home, and thou shalt find three bushels of meal," etc. And according to the man's word, so she found it.

That Faith is the only Rule in Divinity.

There is but one only rule and article in divinity. He that knoweth not well the same is no divine: namely, upright faith and confidence in Christ. Out of this article all the others do flow and issue forth, and without this article the others are nothing. The devil, said Luther, hath opposed this article from the beginning of the world, and would long since willingly have rooted it out, and instead thereof have laughed in his fist. Sorrowful, broken, tormented, and vexed hearts, said Luther, do well relish this article, and they only understand the same.

Of the Consequences of Faith.

Believest thou? then thou wilt speak boldly. Speakest thou boldly? then thou must suffer. Sufferest thou? then thou shalt be comforted. For, said Luther, faith, the confession thereof, and the cross do follow one after another.

That the Enemies of the Gospel must bear Witness to the Doctrine of Faith, that thereby we only are justified before God.

John Frederick, Prince Elector of Saxony, told me himself, said Luther, that as Prince John, the eldest son of Prince George, was near the time of his death, he desired to receive the communion under both kinds. But when his father was informed thereof, he caused an Austin Friar to be called to his son, to give him good instructions for his soul's health, and to advise him to receive the Sacrament sub una specie, or under one kind, and that he should tell his son he was the same Friar who was privately acquainted with Martin Luther, and was very conversant with him; and, the better to make the Prince believe him, the Friar said that Luther himself lately had advised certain persons to receive the communion under one kind. Now, when this good and godly Prince was thus pitifully induced to give credit to the Friar's false information, he then received the communion under one kind.

But when the Prince, his father, saw that his son drew near to his last gasp, and must needs die, then he comforted his son with the article of justification by faith in Christ, and put him in mind to have regard only to the Saviour of the world, and utterly to forget all his own works and deserts, and also that he should banish out of his heart the invocating of the saints.

Now, when the son in his conscience felt great solace and comfort by these his father's admonitions, he asked his father why he did not cause the same comfortable doctrine to be preached openly through all his countries. His father answered and said, "Loving child, we must say thus only to those that are dying, and not to the sound and healthful."

Whereupon, said Luther, I told the Prince Elector that his Highness might perfectly discern how wilfully our adversaries do oppose the known truth. Albert, Bishop of Mentz, and Prince George do know and confess that our doctrine is according to God's Word, and yet, because it proceedeth not from the Pope, they refuse it; but their own consciences do strike them down to the ground, therefore, said Luther, I fear them not.

Of the Love towards the Neighbour.

The love towards the neighbour, said Luther, must be like a pure and chaste love between bride and bridegroom, where all faults are connived at, covered, and borne with, and only their virtues regarded.

Respecting ceremonies and ordinances, the kingdom of love must have the precedency and govern, and not tyranny. It must be a willing love, and not a halter love; it must altogether be directed and construed for the good and profit of the neighbour; and the greater he be that doth govern, the more, said Luther, he ought to serve according to love.

Of that Sentence, "Give, and it shall be given unto you."

This is a true speech which maketh people poor and rich; it is that which maintaineth my house. I ought not to boast, said Luther, but I well know what I give in the year. If my gracious lord and master, the Prince Elector, should give a gentleman two thousand guilders, yet he should hardly maintain my housekeeping one year, and I have but three hundred guilders pension per annum; yet God giveth sufficient and blesseth it.

There is in Austria a monastery which in former time was very rich, and remained rich so long as it willingly gave to the poor; but when it ceased in giving, then it became poor, and is so to this day. It fell out that, not long since, a poor man came thither and desired alms, which was denied. The poor man demanded the cause why they refused to give for God's sake. The porter belonging to the monastery answered and said, "We are become poor;" whereupon the poor man said, "The cause of your poverty is this: ye have had in this monastery two brethren; the one ye have thrust out, and the other is gone secretly away of himself. For after the one brother, 'Give' (Date), was put out and cashiered, so hath the other brother, 'So shall be given' (Dabitur), also lost himself."

And indeed the world is bound to help the neighbour three manner of ways-with giving, lending, and selling. But no man giveth, but robbeth, scrapeth, and draweth all to himself; would willingly take and steal, but give nothing; neither will any man lend but upon usury. No man selleth but he over-reacheth his neigbbour, therefore Dabitur is gone, and our Lord God will bless no more so richly. Beloved, said Luther, he that intendeth to have anything, the same must also give; a liberal hand was never in want nor empty.

That giving must be done with a free Heart, without expecting a Requital.

In an evening, Luther, walking abroad to take the air, gave alms to the poor. Doctor Jonas, being with him, gave also something, and said, "Who knoweth whether God will give it me again or no?" Whereat Luther, smiling, answered him and said, "You speak as if God had not given you this which you have now given to the poor. We must give freely and willingly."

Of the expounding of the Prophet Isaiah's Speech: "In Quietness and in Confidence shall be your Strength."

This sentence was expounded by Luther in this way: If thou intendest to vanquish the greatest, the most abominable and wickedest enemy, who is able to do thee mischief both in body and soul, and against whom thou preparest all sorts of weapons, but canst not overcome, then know that there is a sweet and loving physical herb which serveth for the same, and that herb is named Patientia.

But thou wilt say, "How may I attain to this physic?" Answer-Take unto thee faith, who saith; "No creature can do me mischief without the will of God." Now, in case thou receivest hurt and mischief by thine enemy, the same is done by the sweet and gracious will of God, in such sort that the enemy hurteth himself a thousand times more. From hence floweth unto me, a Christian, the love which saith, "I will, instead of the evil which mine enemy doth unto me, do him all the good I can; I will heap coals of fire upon his head." This, said Luther, is the Christian armour and weapon, wherewith to beat and overcome those enemies that seem to be like huge mountains. In a word, love teacheth to suffer and endure all things.

Of Comfort against Envy.

A certain honest and God-fearing man at Wittemberg lately told me, said Luther, he lived peaceably with every one, hurt no man, but was still and quiet; yet notwithstanding, said he, many people were enemies unto him. I comforted him in this manner, and said: Arm yourself with patience, and give them no cause of envy. I pray, what cause do we give the devil? What aileth him to be so great an enemy unto us? but only because he hath not that which God hath. I know none other cause of his vehement hatred towards us. Therefore when God giveth thee to eat, then eat; when he causeth thee to fast, have patience; giveth he honour, take it; hurt or shame, endure it; casteth he thee into prison, murmur not; will he make thee a lord, follow him: casteth he thee down again, so care thou not for it, nor regard it.

That Patience is necessary in every Particular.

I, said Luther, must have patience with the Pope; I must have patience with heretics and seducers; I must have patience with the roaring courtiers; I must have patience with my servants: I must have patience with Kate my wife; to conclude, the patiences are so many, that my whole life is nothing but patience. The Prophet Isaiah saith, "In being silent and hoping consisteth our strength;" that is, have patience under sufferings: hope, and despair not.


What Power Prayer hath.

No human creature can believe, said Luther, how powerful prayer is, and what is it able to effect, but only those that have learned it by experience.

It is a great matter when in extreme need, as then one can take hold on prayer. I know, as often as I have earnestly prayed, that I have been richly heard, and have obtained more than I prayed for; indeed, God sometimes deferred, but notwithstanding he came.

Ecclesiasticus saith, "The prayer of a good and godly Christian availeth more to health, than the physician's physic."

O how great and upright and godly Christian's prayer is! how powerful with God; that a poor human creature should speak with God's high majesty in heaven, and not be affrighted, but, on the contrary, knoweth that God smileth upon him for Christ's sake, his dearly beloved Son. The heart and conscience, in this act of praying, must not fly and recoil backwards by reason of our sins and unworthiness, and must not stand in doubt, nor be scared away. We must not do, said Luther, as the Bavarian did, who with great devotion called upon St. Leonard, an idol, set up in a church in Bavaria, behind which idol stood one who answered the Bavarian and said, "Fie on thee, Bavarian"; and in that sort oftentimes was repulsed, and could not be heard: at last, the Bavarian went away, and said, "Fie on thee, Leonard."

But when we pray, we must not let it come to, fie upon thee; but must certainly hold, conclude, and believe, that we are already heard in that for which we pray with faith in Christ. Therefore the ancients finely described prayer, namely, that it is, Ascensus mentis ad Deum, a climbing up of the heart unto God, that is, lifteth itself up, crieth and sigheth to God: neither I myself, said Luther, nor any other that I know, have rightly understood the definition of this Ascensus. Indeed, we have boasted and talked much of the climbing up of the heart; but we failed in Syntaxi, we could not bring thereunto the word Deum; nay, we flew from God, we were afraid to draw near unto him, and to pray through Christ, in whom the strength of prayer wholly consisteth; we always prayed in Popedom conditionaliter, conditionally, and therefore uncertainly.

But let us pray in heart, and also with our lips; for prayer, by our loving God, supporteth the world; otherwise, without prayer, it would stand in a far more lamentable state.

Of the Power of Prayer, and of the Lord's Prayer.

Our Saviour Christ, said Luther, most excellently, and with very few words, comprehended, in the Lord's Prayer, all things both needful and necessary; but without trouble, trials, and vexations, prayer cannot rightly be made. Therefore God saith, "Call on me in the time of trouble," etc., without trouble it is only a cold prattling, and goeth not from the heart; the common saying is "Need teacheth to pray." And although the Papists say that God well understandeth all the words of those that pray, yet St. Bernard is far of another opinion, where he saith, "God heareth not the words of one that prayeth, unless he that prayeth heareth them first himself." The Pope is a mere tormentor of the conscience. The assembly of his greased and religious crew in praying was altogether like the croaking of frogs, which edified nothing at all. It was mere sophistry, and deceiving, fruitless, and unprofitable.

Prayer is a strong wall, and a fort of the church; it is a godly Christian's weapon, which no man knoweth nor findeth, but only he who hath the spirit of grace and of prayer.

The three first petitions in our Lord's prayer do comprehend such great and celestial things, that no heart is able to search them out. The fourth petition containeth the whole policy and economy, or the temporal and house-government, and all things necessary for this life. The fifth prayer striveth and fighteth against our own evil consciences, against original and actual sins, which trouble the same, etc. Truly they were penned by wisdom itself; none but God could have done the like.

We cannot pray without faith in Christ the Mediator. The Turks, the Jews, and the ungodly may rehearse and speak the words of prayer after one, but they cannot pray. And although the Apostles were taught this prayer by Christ, and prayed often, yet they prayed not as they should have prayed: for Christ saith, "Hitherto ye have not prayed in my name;" whereas, doubtless, they had prayed much, and spoken the words. But when the Holy Ghost came, then they prayed aright in the name of Christ. If praying and reading of prayer be but only a bare work, as the Papists hold it to be, then the righteousness of the law is nothing worth. The upright prayer of a godly Christian is a strong hedge, as God himself saith, "And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none," etc. Therefore, said Luther, when others do blaspheme, let us pray. David saith, "He doth the will of them that fear Him, and heareth their prayers."

That we must daily go on in Praying.

I, said Luther, have every day enough to do to pray. And when I lay me down to rest, I pray the Lord's Prayer, and afterwards take hold on two or three sentences out of the Bible, and so betake myself to sleep, then I am well satisfied.

That Preachers ought to join their Prayers together.

Dr. Aepinus, Superintendent of Hambrough, coming to Wittemberg to speak with Luther, who, after his dispatch, and at his taking leave, said, I commend myself and our church at Hambrough to your prayers. Luther answered him, and said, Loving Aepine, the cause is not ours, but God's: let us join our prayers together, as then the cause will be holpen. I will pray against the Pope and the Turk as long as I live: and I like it well that you take such course at Hambrough, earnestly to pray against Mahomet and the Pope.

Of the Power of Prayer.

God always giveth more than we pray for; when we truly pray for a piece of bread, so giveth God a whole acre of land. When my wife, said Luther, was sick, I prayed to God that she might live, so he not only granted that request, but also therewith he hath given us a goodly farm at Zolfdorf, and hath blessed us with a fruitful year. At that time my wife said unto me, Sir! how is it, that in Popedom they pray so often with great vehemence, but we are very cold and careless in praying? I answered her, the devil driveth on his servants continually; they are diligent, and take great pains in their false worshipping, but we, indeed, are ice cold therein, and negligent.

Of Luther's Prayer for a gracious Rain.

In the year 1532, throughout all Germany was a great drought, the corn in the fields in a lamentable way began to wither. On the ninth of June the same year, Luther called together the whole assembly into the church, and directed his prayer, with deep sighs, to God in the manner following: "O Lord, behold our prayers for thy promise sake; we have prayed, and our hearts have sighed, but the covetousness of the rich farmers doth hinder and hem in thy blessing; for seeing that through thy gospel they are unbridled, they think it free for them to live and do what they please; they now fear neither death nor hell, but say, 'I believe, therefore I shall be saved;' they become haughty spiteful Mammonists, and accursed covetous cut-throats, that suck out land and people. Moreover, also, the usurers among the gentry in every place deal wickedly, insomuch, as it seemeth, thou, O God, wilt now visit us, together with them, with the rod; yet, nevertheless, thou hast still means whereby to maintain those that are thine, although thou sufferest no rain to fall among the ungodly."

After he had said thus, he lifted up his eyes towards heaven, and said, "Lord God, thou hast through the mouth of thy servant David said, 'The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon him faithfully; he doth the will of those that fear him, and heareth their prayers, and helpeth them in their distress.' How is it, Lord, that thou givest no rain, seeing we have cried and prayed so long unto thee? 'Thy will be done,' O Lord! we know that although thou givest not rain, yet, notwithstanding, thou wilt give us something better, a still, a quiet, and a peaceable life. Now we pray, O Lord, from the bottom of our hearts. If thou, O Lord, wilt not be pleased to hear and give us rain, then the ungodly will say, Christ thy only Son is a liar. For he saith, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye pray the Father in my name, the same he will give unto you,' etc. Insomuch that they will give thy Son the lie. I know, O Lord, that we do cry unto thee from our hearts, with yearning and sighing, why then dost thou not hear us?" Now, even the same day, and within the space of half an hour after the people went from church, it began to rain so sweet and mildly, which continued for a whole fortnight, so that the grounds thereby were changed and refreshed in a most miraculous manner. This happened June 9, 1532.

Of Papistical Prayer.

The praying in Popedom, is a mere tormenting of the consciences, it is only a prating and tongue threshing, no praying, but a work of obedience. From thence proceeded a confused sea-full of Horas Canonicas, the howling and babbling in cells and monasteries, where they read and sang the psalms and collects without all spiritual devotion, insomuch that they neither understood the words, sentences, nor the meaning.

In what manner, and how I tormented myself, said Luther, with those Horis Canonicis before the Gospel came, which, by reason of many businesses I often intermitted, I am not able to express. On the Saturdays I used to lock myself up in my cell, and accomplish what the whole week I had neglected. But at last I was troubled with so many affairs, that I was fain oftentimes to omit also my Saturday's devotions. At length, when I saw that Amsdorff and others derided such manner of devotion, then I quite left it off.

It was a great torment, from which we are now delivered by the Gospel. Although, said Luther, I had done no more but only freed people from that torment, yet they might well give me thanks for it. Innumerable laws and works were taught and imposed upon people without the spirit, as in the book, Rationale Divinorum, many abominable things are written.

To Pray for Peace.

Luther receiving a letter written unto him, from the Imperial Assembly, by Philip Melancthon, after the reading of it, he said, What Philip Melancthon writeth hath hands and feet, hath authority and gravity, it is of weight, contained in a few words, as always I have found by his letters. But, I perceive, we must have wars; for the Papists would willingly go on, but they want a good stomach, neither may we endure the case to stand upon these terms. Let it therefore proceed in nomine Domini; I will commit all things to God, and will be Crito in the play. I will pray that God would convert our adversaries. We have a good cause on our side. Who would not fight and venture body and blood, pro Sacris, for the Holidom, which is God's Word? And, besides, the temporal laws and statutes of policy do also concur and agree with our proceedings; for we always have desired and called for peace, but our Princes are provoked and drawn to defend themselves and their subjects, and of necessity must resist their power; our adversaries will not suffer us to live in peace. This letter, said Luther, was written ten days since; by this time it is concluded what shall be done. The everlasting merciful God give His grace thereunto! Let us watch and pray, for Satan sleepeth not.

Of Temporal Peace.

Worldly and outward peace is one of the highest gifts of God; but we abuse it too much; every one liveth after his own will and pleasure, against God and the Magistrate. Oh, how soundly will our gentry and farmers, in Germany, pay for this before one hundred and fifty years come to an end, as already they have done in Hungary and in Austria; but afterwards God will restore them again, and beat down Popedom. Let us not cease to pray.

Of Unity and Concord.

Through concord small things and wealth do increase, as the Heathen said; but dissension is dangerous and hurtful, especially in schools, in professions, high arts, and in the professors thereof, wherein the one ought to reach the hand to the other-should kiss and embrace each other. But when we bite and devour one another, then let us take heed lest we be swallowed up together. Therefore let us pray and strive; for the word of faith, and the prayers of the just, are the most powerful weapons; moreover, God himself sendeth his holy angels round about them that fear him. We ought valiantly to fight, for we are under a Lord of Hosts, and a Prince of War; therefore with one hand we must build, and in the other hand take the sword-that is, we must both teach and resist.

It is now time to watch, for we are the mark they shoot at; our adversaries intend to make a confederacy with the Turk; they aim at us, we must venture it; for Antichrist will war and get the victory against the saints of God, as Daniel saith. We, said Luther, stand outwardly in the greatest danger, by reason of treachery and treason; the Papists endeavour with money to grease and corrupt our captains and officers. An ass laden with money may do anything, as Cornelius Tacitus writeth of us Germans; we have taught them to take money; there is neither fidelity nor truth on earth.

Of the Power of Prayer.

The prayer of the heart, said Luther, and the sighs of the poor and oppressed, do make such an alarum and cry in heaven, that God and all the angels must hear the same. O, our Lord God hath a sharp listening ear.

Of the Sighing of the Heart.

When Moses, with the children of Israel, came to the Red Sea, then he cried with trembling and quaking, yet he opened not his mouth, neither was his voice heard on earth by the people: doubtless, said Luther, he cried and sighed in his heart, and said, "Ah, Lord God! what course shall I now take? Which way shall I now turn myself? How am I come to this strait? No help nor counsel can save us: before us is the sea; behind us are our enemies the Egyptians; on both sides high and huge mountains; I am the cause that all this people shall now be destroyed," etc. Then answered God, and said, "Wherefore criest thou unto me?" As if God should say, "What an alarum, a shrieking, and a loud crying dost thou make, that the whole heavens must ring therewith!" etc. But, alas! said Luther, we read such examples as dead letters; human reason is not able to search this passage out. The way through the Red Sea is full as broad, and wider far (if not further than Wittenberg lieth from Coburg, that is thirty Dutch miles, 120 English at least: doubtless the people were constrained in the night season to rest, to bait and eat therein; for six hundred thousand men, besides women and children, would require a good time to pass through, although they went one hundred and fifty in rank and file.

God's hearing Prayer.

It is impossible that God should not hear the prayers which with faith are made in Christ, although God giveth not according to the measure, manner, and time which we dictate unto him; he will not be tied. In such sort dealt God with the mother of St. Austin. She prayed to God that her son Austin might be converted, but, as yet, it would not be; then she ran to the learned, entreating them to persuade and advise him thereunto. At last, she propounded unto him a marriage with a Christian virgin, that thereby he might be drawn back, and brought to the Christian faith; but all would not do as yet. But when our Lord God came thereto, he came to purpose, and made of him such an Austin, that he became a great light to the Church. St. James saith, "Pray one for another, for the prayer of the righteous availeth much," etc. Prayer, said Luther, is a powerful thing; for God hath bound and tied himself thereunto. Christ taught the Lord's Prayer according to the manner of the Jews- that is, he directed it only to the Father; whereas they that pray in the same manner, are heard for the Son's sake. This was done because Christ would not be praised before his death.

Of the Power of Prayer.

As the King of Persia, said Luther, laid siege to the city Nasili, the bishop that was therein saw that he was too weak (by man's help) to defend the city against so mighty a king; wherefore he went upon the wall, lifted up his hands to Heaven, and prayed, in the sight of his enemies. Whereupon immediately the eyes of the horses in the whole army in such sort were pestered with an innumerable multitude of flies stinging them, that with their riders they ran away, and so raised the siege, whereby the city was preserved. In such a manner could God divert the wicked enterprises of the Papists against us, if we would diligently pray.

That a True Christian Prayeth Always.

The prayers of upright Christians are without ceasing; though they pray not always with their mouth, yet their hearts do pray continually, sleeping and waking; for the sigh of a true Christian is a prayer. As the Psalm saith, "Because of the deep sighing of the poor, I will up, saith the Lord," etc. In like manner a true Christian always carrieth the cross, though he feeleth it not always.

Of the Strength of the Lord's Prayer.

The Lord's Prayer, said Luther, bindeth the People together, and knitteth them one to another, insomuch that one prayeth for another, and together one with another; and it is so strong and powerful that it even driveth away the fear of death.


The word and article of justification (how we are justified and saved before God) expelleth and overcometh all sorrow, all perplexities, misfortunes, and adversities; and without this article there is neither help nor advice.

We read in the histories of the Church, said Luther, that Julian the Emperor forced his servants and soldiers to deny Christ; but when many of them refused to do the same, he caused them to be executed with the sword, and they went joyfully to their deaths. Among them was a proper youth, for whom earnest intercession was made, that he might be the first to die. But Julian commanded to release him, in order to try whether he would remain constant or no. Now, when he kneeled down and offered his neck to the block, the executioner was charged not to strike, but to let him rise again. Then the youth stood up, and said, "Ah, sweet Jesu! am I not worthy to suffer for thy sake?" These were words of a great faith, which overcometh the fear of death.

When governors and rulers are enemies to God's Word, then our duty is to depart, to sell and forsake all we have, to fly from one place to another, as Christ commandeth. We must make and prepare no uproars nor tumults by reason of the Gospel, but we must suffer all things.

What Christ Requireth of us.

Christ requireth nothing more of us, than that we should confess him, and speak freely and undauntedly of him. But here thou wilt say, "Yea, if I do so, then I shall be struck on the lips." Christ answereth thereunto, and saith, "Call upon me in the time of trouble, so I will hear thee, and thou shalt praise me." And "He shall call upon me, and I will hear him, yea, I am with him in trouble, I will deliver him, and bring him to honour," etc.

There is no lighter nor more easy work on earth than the upright and true service of God, to do what God commandeth in his Word; we should only believe and speak, but then certain it is that we shall suffer and be humbled with persecutions; but Christ hath promised to be with us, and to help us.

That every Christian is Bound to Confess Christ.

Every Christian, especially those in offices, should always be ready (when need requireth) boldly to stand up and confess his Saviour Christ, to maintain his faith and always be armed against the world, the sectaries, the devil, and what else he were able to produce. But no man will do this, except he be so sure of his doctrine and religion, that, although I myself should play the fool, and should recant and deny this my doctrine and religion, which God forbid, he notwithstanding would not yield, but say, if Luther, or an angel from heaven, should teach otherwise, "Let him be accursed."


Of Imperial Diets and Assemblies in Causes of Religion.

In the year 1518, the 9th of July, when I, said Luther, was cited and summoned, I came and appeared: Frederick Prince Elector of Saxony having appointed me a great and strong convoy and safe- conduct. I was warned in any case not to have conversation with the Italians, nor to repose any trust or confidence in them. I was three whole days in Augsburg without the Emperor's safe-conduct. In the mean time, an Italian came unto me, and carried me to the Cardinal Cajetan; and by the way he earnestly persuaded me to revoke and recant; I should, said he, need to speak but only one word before the Cardinal, namely, Revoco, and then the Cardinal would recommend me to the Pope's favour so that with honour I might return safely again to my master, the Prince Elector. After three days the Bishop of Trier came, who, in the Emperor's name, showed and declared to the Cardinal my safe-conduct. Then I went unto him in all humility, fell down first upon my knees; secondly, all along upon the ground; thirdly, when I had remained awhile so lying, then the Cardinal three times bade me arise; whereupon I stood up. This pleased him well, hoping I would consider, and better bethink myself.

The next day, when I came before him again, and would revoke nothing at all, then he said unto me, "What? thinkest thou that the Pope careth for Germany? or dost thou think that the Princes will raise arms and armies to maintain and defend thee? Oh, no; where wilt thou remain in safety?" I said, Under Heaven. After this the Pope humbled himself, and wrote to our church, yea, he wrote even to the Prince Elector's chaplain, and to one of his counsellors, Spalatine and Pfeffinger, that they would surrender me into his hands, and procure that his pleasure and command might be put in execution. And the Pope wrote also to the Prince Elector himself after the following manner:

"Although, as touching my person, thou art to me unknown, yet I have seen thy father, Prince Ernestus, at Rome, who was altogether an obedient son to the Church; he visited and frequented our religion with great devotion, and held the same in highest honour. I wish and would that thy illustrious serenity would also tread in his footsteps," etc.

But the Prince Elector well marked the Pope's unaccustomed humility, and his evil conscience; he was also acquainted with the power and operation of the Holy Scriptures. Therefore he remained where he was, and returned thanks to the Pope for his affection towards him.

My books, said Luther, in a short time went, yea, flew throughout Europe; therefore the Prince Elector was confirmed and strengthened, insomuch that he utterly refused to execute the Pope's commands, but subjected himself under the acknowledgment of the Scriptures.

If the Cardinal had handled me with more discretion at Augsburg, and had dealt kindly with me when I fell at his feet, then it had never come thus far; for at that time I saw very few of the Pope's errors which now I see. Had he been silent, so had I lightly held my peace. The style and custom of the Romish court in dark and confused cases, was this: that the Pope said, We by papal power do take these causes unto us; we quench them out and destroy them. I am persuaded that the Pope willingly would give three Cardinals, on condition that it were still in that vessel wherein it was before he began to meddle with me.

Of Luther's Journey and Proceedings at the Imperial Diet at Worms, Anno 1520.

On Tuesday in the Passion week, said Luther, I was cited by the herald to appear at the Diet; he brought with him a safe-conduct from the Emperor, and many other Princes, but the safe-conduct was soon broken, even the next day (Wednesday), at Worms, where I was condemned, and my books burned. Now, when I came to Erfurt, I received intelligence that I was cast and condemned at Worms, yea, and that in all cities and places thereabout it was published and spread abroad; insomuch that the herald asked me, whether I meant to go to Worms, or no?

Although I was somewhat astonished at the news, yet I answered the herald, and said, although in Worms there were as many devils as there are tiles on the houses, yet, God willing, I will go thither.

When I came to Oppenheim, in the Palatinate, not far from Worms, Bucer came unto me, and dissuaded me from entering into the town; for, said he, Sglapian, the Emperor's confessor, had been with him, and had entreated him to warn me not to go thither, for I should be burned; but rather that I should go to a gentleman there near at hand, Francis Von Sickingen, and remain with him, who willingly would receive and entertain me. This plot the wicked wretches, said Luther, had devised against me, to the end I should not appear; for if I had contracted the time, and staid away three days, then my safe-conduct had been expired, and then they would have locked the town-gates, and without hearing, I should have been condemned and made away. But I went on in all simplicity, and when I saw the city, I wrote presently to Spalatine, and gave him notice of my coming, and desired to know where I should be lodged. Then they all wondered at my coming, which was so far from their expectation; for they verily thought I would have stayed away, as scared through their threatenings. There were two worthy gentlemen (John Von Hirschfeld, and St. John Schott), who received me by the Prince Elector's command, and brought me to their lodging.

No Prince came unto me, but only Earls and gentlemen, who earnestly looked upon me, and who had exhibited four hundred articles to his Imperial Majesty against those of the spirituality, and desired a redress and a removing of those their grievances, otherwise they themselves should be constrained to remedy the same; from all which grievances they are now delivered through the Gospel, which I (God be praised) have brought again to light. The Pope at that time wrote to the Emperor, that he should not perform the safe-conduct; for which end all the Bishops also pressed the Emperor; but the Princes and States of the Empire would not consent thereunto: for they alleged that a great tumult thereupon would arise. I received of them a great deal of courtesy, insomuch that the Papists were more afraid of me than I was of them.

For the Landgrave of Hesse (being then but a young Prince) desired that I might be heard, and he said openly unto me, "Sir, is your cause just and upright, then I beseech God to assist you." Now being in Worms, I wrote to Sglapian, and desired him to make a step unto me, but he would not. Then being called, I appeared in the Senate House before the Council and State of the whole Empire, where the Emperor, and the Princes Electors in person were assembled.

Then Dr. Eck (the Bishop of Trier's fiscal) began, and said unto me, "Martin, thou art called hither to give answer, whether thou acknowledgest these writings to be thy books or no?" (The books lay on a table which he showed unto me.) I answered and said, "I believe they be mine." But Hierome Schurfe presently thereupon said, "Let the titles of them be read." Now when the same were read, then I said, "Yea, they are mine." Then he said, "Will you revoke them?" I answered and said, "Most gracious Lord and Emperor, some of my books are books of controversies, wherein I touch my adversaries: some, on the contrary, are books of doctrine; the same I neither can nor will revoke. But if in case I have in my books of controversies been too violent against any man, then I am content therein to be better directed, and for that end I desire respite of time." Then they gave me one day and one night. The next day I was cited by the Bishops and others, who were appointed to deal with me touching my revocation. Then I said, "God's Word is not my word, therefore I know not how to give it away; but in whatsoever is therein, besides the same, I will show obedience." Then Marquis Joachim said unto me "Sir Martin, so far as I understand, you are content to be instructed, excepting only what may concern the Holy Writ." I said, "Yea;" then they pressed me to refer the cause to His Imperial Majesty; I said, I durst not presume so to do. Then they said, "Do you not think that we are also Christians, who with all care and diligence would finish and end such causes? You ought to put so much trust and confidence in us, that we would conclude uprightly." To that I answered and said, "I dare not trust you so far, that you should conclude against yourselves, who even now have cast and condemned me, being under safe-conduct; yet, nevertheless, that ye may see what I will do, I will yield up into your hands my safe-conduct, and do with me what ye please." Then all the Princes said, "Truly, he offereth enough, if not too much." Afterwards they said, "Yield unto us yet in some articles." I said, "In God's name, such articles as concern not the Holy Scriptures I will not stand against." Presently hereupon, two Bishops went to the Emperor, and showed him that I had revoked. Then the Emperor sent another Bishop unto me, to know if I had referred the cause to him, and to the Empire. I said, I had neither done it, nor intended so to do. In this sort, said Luther, did I alone resist so many, insomuch that my Doctor, and divers others of my friends, were much offended and vexed by reason of my constancy; yea, some of them said, if I had referred the articles to their consideration, they would have yielded, and given way to those articles which in the council at Costnitz had been condemned. Then came Cocleus upon me, and said, "Sir Martin, if you will yield up your safe-conduct, then I will enter into dispute with you." I, for my part, said Luther, in my simplicity, would have accepted thereof. But Hieronimus Schurfe earnestly entreated me not to do the same, and in derision and scorn, answered Cocleus and said, "O brave offer, if a man were so foolish as to entertain it!"

Then came a Doctor unto me, belonging to the Marquis of Baden, essaying, with a strain of high-carried words, to move me, admonished me, and said: "Truly, Sir Martin, you are bound to do much, and to yield for the sake of fraternal love, and to the end that peace and tranquillity among the people may be preserved, lest tumults and insurrections should be occasioned and raised. Besides, it were also greatly befitting you to show obedience to the Imperial Majesty, and diligently to beware of causing offences in the world; therefore I would advise you to revoke." Whereupon, said Luther, I said: "For the sake of brotherly love and amity I could and would do much, so far as it were not against the faith and honour of Christ." When all these had made their vain assaults, then the Chancellor of Trier said unto me, "Martin Luther, you are disobedient to the Imperial Majesty; therefore you have leave and licence to depart again with your safe-conduct." In this sort I again departed from Worms with a great deal of gentleness and courtesy, to the wondering of the whole Christian world, insomuch that the Papists wished they had left me at home. After my departure, that abominable edict of proscribing was put in execution at Worms, which gave occasion to every man to revenge himself upon his enemies, under the name and title of Protestant heresy. But the tyrants, not long after, were constrained to recall the same again.

Of the Imperial Diet at Augsburg, Anno 1530.

The Imperial Diet held at Augsburg, 1530, is worthy of all praise; for then and from thence came the Gospel among the people in other countries, contrary to the wills and expectations both of Emperor and Pope; therefore, said Luther, what hath been spent there should be grievous to no man. God appointed the Imperial Diet at Augsburg, to the end the Gospel should be spread further abroad and planted. They over-climbed themselves at Augsburg, for the Papists openly approved there of our doctrine. Before that Diet was held, the Papists had made the Emperor believe that our doctrine was altogether frivolous; and when he came to the Diet, he should see that they would put us all to silence, insomuch that none of us should be able to speak a word in defence of our religion; but it fell out far otherwise; for we openly and freely confessed the Gospel before the Emperor and the whole Empire. And at that Diet we confounded our adversaries in the highest degree. The Imperial Diet at Augsburg was invaluable, by reason of the Confession of Faith, and of God's Word, which on our part was there performed: for there the adversaries were constrained to confess that our Confession was upright and true.

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