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my dear Philip. I am heartily opposed to your great anxiety, which, as you write, is weakening you. That it is conquering you completely, is due not to the importance of the affair, but the extent of your unbelief. For this very evil was much more serious in the days of John Huss and in the time of many another, than in our own period. And even if it were great, he who began and conducts it is also great; for it is not ours. Why do you fret so always and without ceasing?

If the thing is wrong, then let us recall it; but if it is right, why should we make Him untruthful in such great promises, who tells us to be of good cheer and contented? Throw your care upon the Lord, he says; the Lord is near to all sorrowful hearts that call upon him. Would he speak thus such comfort into the wind, or cast it down before beasts? I also often feel a horror coming over me, but not for long. Your philosophy therefore is plaguing you, not your theology. The same is gnawing at the heart of your friend Joachim (Camerarius) also, as it appears to me, and in the same way; as though either of you could accomplish anything with your useless anxiety. What more can the Devil do than throttle us? I beseech


who are so efficient in combat in all other things, fight against yourself. Christ died once for sins; but for justice and truth he will not die, --- rather he lives and reigns.

If this be the case, why fear we for the truth, so long as he reigns ? But, you say, it will be struck down by God's anger. Let us then be struck down by it, but not by ourselves. He who became our Father will also be Father to our children. Truly I pray diligently for you; and it pains me that you suck anxiety into yourself like a blood-leech, and make my prayer so powerless. Whether it is stupidity or the Holy Spirit, that my Lord Christ knows; but truly I am not very anxious about this matter. I have more than I would ever have thought to possess. God can raise the dead; he can also preserve his cause, even if it falls; when it is fallen, he can raise it up again, and when it stands fast, he can prosper it. If we should not be capable of effecting this end, then let it be brought about by others. For if we do not let ourselves be raised up by his promises, who else is there now in the world to whom they do apply? But of this more another time, although I do nothing but carry water to the sea. May Christ comfort, strengthen, and teach you all through his Spirit: Amen. Should I hear

I that this matter goes badly with you and is in danger, I shall


scarcely restrain myself from flying to you, to see how terribly the Devil's teeth stand around, as the Scriptures say.

From our desert (Coburg), June 27, 1530.

LETTER TO His WIFE. To my dearly beloved wife Katharine Luther; for her own hands.

God greet thee in Christ, my dearly loved Katie! I hope if Doctor Brück receives leave of absence, as he gives me fair hope of doing, that I can come with him to-morrow, or the day after. Pray God that he bring me home safe and sound. I sleep extremely well: about six or seven hours consecutively, and then two or three hours afterward. That, as I take it, is due to the beer. But I am just as abstemious as at Wittenberg.

Doctor Caspar says that the caries under which our gracious Elector suffers has eaten no further into the foot; but such martyrdom no Dobitzsch, no prisoner on the ladder of Jack the Jailer's tower, endures, as his Electoral Grace has to undergo from the surgeons. His Electoral Grace is as sound in his entire body as a little fish, only the devil has bitten and stung him in the foot. Pray, pray on! I hope God will hear us, as he has begun to do. For Doctor Caspar believes too that God must help here.

As Johannes (Rischmann) goes away, necessity and fairness alike demand that I let him depart honorably from me. For you know he has served us faithfully and diligently, and according to his ability has truly held to the Gospel in humility, and has done and suffered everything. Wherefore think how often we have given presents to worthless knaves and ungrateful scholars, where it was simply thrown away. So in this case be liberal, and let nothing be wanting to such a pious fellow; for you know it is money well spent, and is well pleasing to God. I know well that there is but little in the purse; but I would willingly give him ten gulden if I had it. Less than five gulden, however, you must not pay him, for he has no clothing. Whatever you can bestow above that, do, I beg of you. The parish coffer might, it is true, honor me by giving something to such a man, seeing that I must support my servants at my own expense, for their church's service and use; but as they will. Do not you let anything be lacking, so long as we still have a mug. Think where you have gotten it. God will give other things, that I know. Here with I commend you to God. Amen.

And say to the parson from Zwickau that he should be content, and make the best of his lodging. When I come I will tell how Mühlpford and I were guests at Riedesal's house, and Mühlpford exhibited much wisdom to me. But I was not thirsty for such a drink. Kiss the young Hans for me ; and bid little Johnny and Lena and Aunt Lena pray for the dear Elector and for me. I cannot find anything in this city to buy for the chil. dren, although it is the time of the Fair. Since I can bring nothing special, have something on hand for me to give.

Tuesday after Reminiscere (February 27th), 1532.

EXTRACT FROM COMMENTARY ON PSALM Ci. “I will sing of mercy and judgment, and unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing praises."

He immediately at the outset gives instructions to the kings and princes, that they should praise and thank God if they have good order and devoted servants, at home or at court; from these words they should learn and understand that such things are a peculiar gift of God, and not due to their own wisdom or capacity. This is the experience of the world. No matter how common or unfitted one may be, he thinks if he had the rule he would do everything excellently, nor does he take pleasure in anything that others in authority may do; exactly as the servant in the comedy of Terence says longingly, “ Oh, I should have been a king!” And as Absalom spoke secretly against David his father to the people of Israel: “See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!”

These are the master wiseacres, who on account of their superior wisdom can bridle the horse behind, and yet can really do nothing more than judge and bully other folks; and if they do get power into their hands, everything goes to pieces with them, just as the proverb says: “He who watches the sport

• knows best how to play.” For they imagine, if only they could get the ball into their hands, how they would knock over twelve pins, when there are really only nine on the square, until they learn that there is a groove that runs alongside of the alley.

Such men do not praise and thank God; neither do they believe that these are God's gifts, or that they should implore and call upon God for such things. Instead they are presumptuous, and think their understanding and wisdom so sure that nothing is wanting: they wish to have the glory and renown of ruling and making all things work beneficially for others, just as if the Good Man (as our Lord God is called) should sit idly by, and not be present when one desires to accomplish some beneficence. And indeed he does so, and looks through his fingers, and allows the children of men audaciously to begin to build the Tower of Babel ; afterwards he comes right amongst them, scatters them, and destroys everything, so that no one understands what the other says any longer. And it serves them right, because they exclude God from their counsel, and would be like God; they would be wise enough in themselves, and so have the honor which belongs to God alone. I have often, while in the cloister, seen and heard wise and sensible people give counsel with such assurance and brilliance that I thought it impossible for it to fail. “Ah!” thought I, “ that has hands and feet, — that is certainly alive ; ” and I believed it as surely as if all had really taken place, and were stationed there before my eyes. But when one sought to grasp it and bring it into play, then it retreated basely, and the beautiful living counsel was even more worthless than a dream or a shadow is; and one must say, “Well then, if that was a dream, let the devil trust himself to such fine and beautiful counsels.”

How utterly is everything mere appearance and glitter, wherein God does not participate !




From heaven to earth I come
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing:
To you this night is born a child
Of Mary, chosen mother mild;
This little child, of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all your earth.

'Tis Christ, our God, who far on high
Hath heard your sad and bitter cry;
Himself will your salvation be,
Himself from sin will make you free.
He brings those blessings, long ago
Prepared by God for all below;
Henceforth his kingdom open stands
To you, as to the angel bands.
These are the tokens ye shall mark,
The swaddling-clothes and manger dark;
There shall ye find the young child laid,
By whom the heavens and earth were made.
Now let us all with gladsome cheer
Follow the shepherds, and draw near
To see this wondrous gift of God,
Who hath his only Son bestowed.
Give heed, my heart, lift up thine eyes !
Who is it in yon manger lies ?
Who is this child, so young and fair ?
The blessed Christ-child lieth there.
Welcome to earth, thou noble guest,
Through whom e’en wicked men are blest!
Thou com'st to share our misery:
What can we render, Lord, to thee?
Ah, Lord, who hast created all,
How hast thou made thee weak and small,
That thou must choose thy infant bed
Where ass and ox but lately fed !
Were earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for thee.
For velvet soft and silken stuff
Thou hast but hay and straw so rough,
Whereon thou, King, so rich and great,
As 'twere thy heaven, art throned in state.
Thus hath it pleased thee to make plain
The truth to us poor fools and vain,
That this world's honor, wealth, and might
Are naught and worthless in thy sight.

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