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Ah ! dearest Jesus, Holy Child,
THE VALUE AND POWER OF MUSIC. Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God. To it Satan is exceedingly hostile. Thereby many temptations and evil thoughts are driven away; the devil cannot withstand it. Music is one of the best arts: the notes give life to the text; it expels the spirit of sadness, as one observes in King Saul. Some of the nobles and usurers imagine that they have saved for my Gracious Elector three thousand gulden yearly by cutting down music. Meanwhile they spend thirty thousand gulden in useless ways in its place. Kings, princes, and lords must support music, for it is the duty of great potentates and rulers to maintain the liberal arts and laws; and although here and there, ordinary and private persons have pleasure in and love them, still they cannot sustain them.
[When some singers were rendering several fine and admirable motettes of Senfi, Dr. Martin Luther admired and praised them highly. He remarked :) Such a motette I should not be able to compose, even if I were to devote myself wholly to the art. Nor could Senfi, on the other hand, preach on a psalm as well as I. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifold; just as in one body the members are manifold. But nobody is content with his gifts; he is not satisfied with what God has given him. All want to be the entire body, not the limbs.
Music is a glorious gift of God, and next to theology. I would not exchange my small musical talent for anything esteemed great. We should accustom the youth continually to this art, for it produces fine and accomplished people.
LUTHER'S LETTER TO HIS LITTLE SON HANS, AGED Six.
GRACE and peace in Christ, my dear little son. I hear with great pleasure that you are learning your lessons so well and praying so diligently. Continue to do so, my son, and cease not. When I come home I will bring you a nice present from the fair. I know a beautiful garden, where there are a great many children in fine little coats, and they go under the trees and gather beautiful apples and pears, cherries and plums; they sing and run about and are as happy as they can be. Sometimes they ride on nice little ponies, with golden bridles and silver saddles. I asked the man whose garden it is, “What little children are these?” And he told me, “ They are little children who love to pray and learn and are good.” When I said, “ My dear sir, I have a little boy at home; his name is little Hans Luther: would you let him come into the garden, too, to eat some of these nice apples and pears, and ride on these fine little ponies, and play with these children?” The man said, “If he loves to say his prayers and learn his lessons, and is a good boy, he may come; Lippus [Melanchthon's son) and Jost [Jonas's son] also; and when they are all together, they can play upon the fife and drum and lute and all kinds of instruments, and skip about and play with little crossbows." He then showed me a beautiful mossy place in the middle of the garden for them to skip about in, with a great many golden fifes and drums and silver crossbows. The children had not yet had their dinner, and I could not wait to see them play, but I said to the man : My dear sir, I will go away and write all about it to my little son John, and tell him to be fond of saying his prayers, and learn well and be good, so that he may come into this garden; but he has a grand-aunt named Lehne, whom he must bring along with him.” The man said, “Very well : go write to him.”
Now, my dear little son, love your lessons and your prayers, and tell Philip and Jodocus to do so too, that you may all come to the garden. May God bless you. Give Aunt Lehne my love, and kiss her for me. Your dear father, Martinus Luther In the year 1530.
(Coburg, June 19th.]
LUTHER'S TABLE TALK. DR. Luther's wife complaining to him of the indocility and untrustworthiness of servants, he said: A faithful and good servant is a real Godsend, but truly, 'tis a rare bird in the land.' We find every one complaining of the idleness and profligacy of this class of people: we must govern them Turkish fashion, --so much work, so much victuals, as Pharaoh dealt with the Israelites in Egypt.”
“Before I translated the New Testament out of the Greek, all longed after it; when it was done, their longing lasted scarce four weeks. Then they desired the Books of Moses; when I had translated these, they had enough thereof in a short time. After that, they would have the Psalms; of these they were soon weary, and desired other books. So will it be with the Book of Ecclesiasticus, which they now long for, and about which I have taken great pains. All is acceptable until our giddy brains be satisfied; afterwards we let things lie, and seek after new."
August 25th, 1538, the conversation fell upon witches who spoil milk, eggs, and butter in farm-yards. Dr. Luther said :“I should have no compassion on these witches; I would burn all of them. We read in the old law that the priests threw the first stone at such malefactors. 'Tis said this stolen butter turns rancid and falls to the ground when any one goes to eat it. He who attempts to counteract and chastise these witches is himself corporeally plagued and tormented by their master the Devil. Sundry schoolmasters and ministers have often experienced this. Our ordinary sins offend and
God. What then must be his wrath against witchcraft, which we may justly designate high treason against divine majesty, - a revolt against the infinite power of God? The jurisconsults who have so learnedly and pertinently treated of rebellion affirm that the subject who rebels against his sovereign is worthy of death. Does not witchcraft, then, merit death, being a revolt of the creature against the Creator, - a denial to God of the authority it accords to the demon ?”
Dr. Luther discussed at length concerning witchcraft and charms. He said that his mother had had to undergo infinite annoyance from one of her neighbors, who was a witch, and whom she was fain to conciliate with all sorts of attentions; for this witch could throw a charm upon children which made them cry themselves to death.
A pastor having punished her for some knavery, she cast a spell upon him by means of some eirth upon which he had walked, and which she bewitched. The poor man hereupon fell sick of a malady which no remedy could remove, and shortly after died.
It was asked: Can good Christians and God-fearing people also undergo witchcraft? Luther replied, “Yes, for our bodies are always exposed to the attacks of Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but devil's spells.”
“When I was young, some one told me this story: Satan had in vain set all his craft and subtlety at work to separate a married pair that lived together in perfect harmony and love. At last, having concealed a razor under each of their pillows, he visited the husband, disguised as an old woman, and told him that his wife had formed the project of killing him; he next told the same thing to the wife. The husband, finding the razor under his wife's pillow, became furious with anger at her supposed wickedness, and cut her throat. So powerful is Satan in his malice.”
Dr. Luther said he had heard from the Elector of Saxony, John Frederic, that a powerful family in Germany was descended from the Devil, the founder having been born of a succubus. He added this story:— “A gentleman had a young and beautiful wife, who, dying, was buried. Shortly afterwards, this gentleman and one of his servants sleeping in the same chamber, the wife who was dead came at night, bent over the bed of the gentleman' as though she were conversing with him, and after a while went away again. The servant, having twice observed this circumstance, asked his master whether he knew that every night a woman clothed in white stood by his bedside. The master replied that he had slept soundly, and had observed nothing of the sort. The next night he took care to remain awake. The woman came, and he asked her who she was and what she wanted. She answered that she was his wife. He returned, • My wife is dead and buried.' She answered, she had died by reason of his sins; but that if he would receive her again, she would return to him in life. He said if it were possible, he should be well content. She told him he must undertake not to swear, as he was wont to do; for that if he ever did so, she should once more die, and permanently quit him. He promised this; and the dead woman, returning to seeming life, dwelt with him, ate, drank, and slept with him, and had children by him. One day that he had guests, his wife went to fetch some cakes from an adjoining apartment, and remained a long time absent. The gentleman grew impatient, and broke out into his old oaths. The wife
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not returning, the gentleman with his friends went to seek her, but she had disappeared; only the clothes she had worn lay on the floor. She was never again seen.”
“The Devil seduces us at first by all the allurements of sin, in order thereafter to plunge us into despair; he pampers up the flesh, that he may by-and-by prostrate the spirit. We feel no pain in the act of sin; but the soul after it is sad, and the conscience disturbed."
“The Devil often casts this into my breast: “How if thy doctrine be false and erroneous, wherewith the pope, the mass, friars and nuns are thus dejected and startled ?' at which the sour sweat has drizzled from me. But at last, when I saw he would not leave, I gave him this answer; . Avoid, Satan; address thyself to my God, and talk with him about it; for the doctrine is not mine but his, — he has commanded me to hearken unto this Christ.'"
“ Between husband and wife there should be no question as to meum and tuum. All things should be in common between them, without any distinction or means of distinguishing.”
“St. Augustine said finely : “A marriage without children is the world without the sun.'
Dr. Luther said one day to his wife: “You make me do what you will ; you have full sovereignty here, and I award you with all my heart the command in all household matters, reserving my rights in other points. Never any good came out of female domination. God created Adam master and lord of living creatures; but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God's will. 'Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.”
“ 'Tis a grand thing for a married pair to live in perfect union, but the Devil rarely permits this. When they are apart, they cannot endure the separation; and when they are together, they cannot endure the always seeing one another. 'Tis as the poet says: “Nec tecum vivere possum, nec sine te.' Married people must assiduously pray against these assaults of the Devil. I have seen marriage where, at first, husband and wife seemed as though they would eat one another up; in six months they have separated in mutual disgust. 'Tis the Devil