Martin Luther.

The precious and sacred writings of Martin Luther ... based on the Kaiser chronological edition, with references to the Erlangen and Walch editions; (Volume 14) online

. (page 1 of 38)
Online LibraryMartin LutherThe precious and sacred writings of Martin Luther ... based on the Kaiser chronological edition, with references to the Erlangen and Walch editions; (Volume 14) → online text (page 1 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



fetanöarb (^ütticn of EutStt'g saiotfeä



The Hero of the Reformation, the Greatest of the

Teuton Church Fathers, and the Father of

Protestant Church Literature











Copyright, 1905, by ProL J. N. LENKER, D. D.



To the Memory of Rev. Edmund J. Wolf, D. D., LL. D., Late Pret
dent of the General Synod and Professor of Theology at Gettys-
burg, Pa., for nearly thirty-one years, and author of "Luther-
ans in America," etc., who just before his death wrote in
the "New York Observer": "The English-speaking
portion of Christendom owes its Reformation to Lu-
ther's writings. . . . Luther is in the best
sense modern, up-to-date, the prophet of our
own times. . . . The monk who once
shook the world needs but the oppor-
tunity to shake it again, the oppor-
tunity afforded by the Eng-
lish tongue," this volume is
gratefully dedicated.













Second Thousand




Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity. Page.

The Two Greatest Commandments and the Good Samaritan,

Luke 10, 23-87 17

SECOND SERMON: Christ Praises the Gospel Dispensa-
tion and Gives a Picture of His Kingdom - - - - 36
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Miracle of Cleansing the Ten Lepers, a Portrayal of

the Christian Life. Luke 17, 11-19 60

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.

God or Mammon, How Christians Should not be Anxious
about their Food and Raiment. Mat. 6, 24-34 - - - 102

SECOND SERMIN: Incentive to Faith 118

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Son of the Widow of Nain Raised from the Dead.

Luke 7, 11-17 127

SECOND SERMON: The Resurrection of the Young Man

of Nain 140

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity.

Christ Heals the Dropsical Man on the Sabbath, and of

Humility. Luke 14, 1-11 15S

Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Two Greatest Commandments, and How Christ is

David's Son and David's Lord. Mat. 22, 34-46 - - - If)
SECOND SERMON: The Law and the Gospel, Christ - - 184
Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Palsied Man Cured. Christ's Kingdom, the Faith of

Others, and the Power to Forgive Sins. Mat. 9, 1-8 - 196
SECOND SERMON: The Righteousness of the World and
of the Christian, and the Power on Earth to Forgive Sins 211
Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.

Parable of the Marriage-Feast the King made for His Son.

Mat. 22, 1-14 226

SECOND SERMON: The Kingdom of Christ, the King's
Son's Marriage and the Wedding Garment - - - - 236
Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity.

Son of the Nobleman of Capernaum Healed, an Example of

Faith. John 4, 46-54 252

SECOND SERMON: Faith in General and in Detail - 262
Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity.

Parable of the Unrighteous Steward. Mat. 18, 22-35 - - 278
Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity.

Christ Answers the Question, If it were Lawful to Give

Tribute unto Caesar? Mat. 22, 15-22 - - - - 293

SECOND SERMON: The Pharisees' Counsel put to Naught 307
Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity.

Daughter of the Ruler of the Sj^nagogue Raised from the
Dead and the Woman with an Issue of Blood Healed;

the Gospel and Christ. Mat. 9, 18-26 326

SECOND SERMON: Two Examples of Faith, and Christ's

Call from the Dead 344

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity.

The Destruction of the Jewish Kingdom, the Abomination of
Desolation, and the End of the World. Mat. 24, 15-28 - 363
Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity.

Christ's Coming on the Last Day, and His Judgment of the
Christians and the Godless. Mat. 25, 31-42 - - - 379


Joel Swartz, D. D.

At Wartburg still the ink they show
Which Luther at the Devil threw.
In these last days we've learned to know
He fought more wisely than he knew.

For this far more than flaming tongue
Pilled Popes and devils with affright:

The inkstand by the printer flung
Has put the Prince of hell to flight.

Now silent lies great Luther's tongue,
And palsied is the hero's hand;

But that black thunder-bolt it flung
Still rolls and smites from land to land.

With Argus eyes, Briarean hands,

And myriad tongues to curse or bless.

There walks the earth's enlightened lands
One king of all — the Printing-press.

If sometimes with a backward fling

He smites when he should help instead.

Yet mainly aims this noblest king
His inkstand at the Devil's head.

His Wartburgs crown a million hills;

The walls are all of paper made;
His ink, which countless measures fills,

Is on these walls most deftly laid.

And whether by his hot breath blown.
Or seized with all his hundred hands,

The whole around the world is thrown.
To bless and brighten all its lands.

King of the inky sceptre, hail!

We own thy sway, court thy control;
Thy power shall more and more prevail

Until it spread from pole to pole!


On this Pentecost Monday, 1905, as we send forth this fifth vol-
ume of the boldly titled "Standard Edition of Luther's Works in
English" we feel the truth of Luther's utterance, which he learned
from experience, that "Translation is a special grace and gift of
God." Translation of any kind is not easy, but it is easy in the
degree the language into which you translate is richer in its gram-
mar, dictionary and expressiveness than the language from which
you translate. But to translate Luther from German into English
seems almost to belong to the realm of the impossible. No apology
is offered for the high ideal of our efforts because no promise was
ever made that we would reach it.

In the religious literature appearing from the English press at
present there are two facts very apparent which are hard to recon-
cile. The first is the high praise that is being constantly paid to
Luther, and the second is the ignorance they display of a knowledge
of Luther's writings. It seems many who write on the Protestant
problems are better posted in the literature of "Higher Criticism"
than in the classic writings of Protestantism. As an example, in the
recent volume on "Things Fundamental" by Dr. Jefferson, pastor of
Broadway Tabernacle, New York City, on page 63 he says: "We
are all under the sway of Martin Luther's soul." And on page 72
he adds: "Men in the Middle Ages cared little for the life of Jesus.
Protestantism at first was not interested in the Gospels. Martin
Luther began his sermons with the Psalms and ended them with
Paul's letters to the Galatians and Romans." It is this Gospel side
of Luther that is so hard for the English v/orld to appreciate. May
the five volumes of his Church Postil on the Gospels, his six vol-
umes of his House Postil and the twenty or more volumes he
wrote on the Gospels help the English world to study the Gospel
side of his life work!

Among the new features of this volume are the references at the
head of each sermon to the page or column and volume of the
Erlangen, Walch and St. Louis W^alch editions in German, where
each sermon in the original may be found. Erl. stands for Erlangen
edition; W. for the Walch, and St. L. for the St. Louis edition. The
c. and other letters referring to different editions of Luther's com-
plete works are according to the Erlangen edition. The number 14
on the back of the book and on the first title page correspond with
the number of the same volume in the Erlangen edition.


To the following colaborers grateful acknowledgment is hereby
made: To Rev. J. Humberger, Steubenville, O., for translating the
first sermons of the 13th, 14th, 18th, 19th, 22d and 24th Sundays
after Trinity; Rev. S. E. Ochsenford, D. D., Professor of English,
Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., for the second sermons of the
16th and 24th Sundays; Rev. J. D. Severinghaus, D. D., Chicago, for
the sermon of the 17th Sunday and the second sermon of the 23d
Sunday; Rev. C. Huber, D. D., Richmond, Ind., for the second sermons
of the 18th and 25th Sundays; Rev. John Sander, late professor of Ger-
man in Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., for the second
sermon of the 19th and the sermon of the 26th Sunday, and to Prof.
Hans Juergensen, of the German Department of the University of
Minnesota, for assistance in proofreading. The other sermons and
all the "Analyses" by Walch and "Summaries" by Bugenhagen were
translated and the whole volume edited by the undersigned.




When we read the innumerable and apparently extravagant
tributes of praise so freely and heartily paid to Martin Luther from
1517 until the present time and, no doubt, will continue to be
paid to him by all classes of thinlvers, we do not fully appreciate that
they are, either directly or indirectly, praise to his writings, by
which "he being dead yet speaketh." It is not a statue of Luther in
bronze, nor a picture of him in oil, nor a biography about him in a
story; but the real living Luther himself in his own writings, that is
the best monument, picture and biography of the greatest Church
Father since the days of the Apostles. When for example the world
praises Shakespear and Gothe, Moses and Paul they mean their
writings and principles. So the following tributes to Luther are
tributes to his writings. Luther and his writings God has joined to-
gether and no man can separate them.

John Brenz: "Luther lives alone in his writings; we all are in
comparison with him a dead letter,"

Martin Chemnitz: "A man may tell how far he has advanced in
theology, by the degree to which he is pleased with Luther's

John Albrecht Bengei: "Luther was truly a great man. All his
colleagues together could not have made a Luther. The death of
Luther is an important boundary line in history. After the death
of Luther, there was nothing new added to the work of the Reforma-

Erasmus: "It is no small prejudice in his favor, that his morals
are unblamable, and that calumny itself can fasten no reproach on
him. ... I heard men of great merit, equally respectable for
learning and piety, congratulate themselves for having been ac-
quainted with his books. . . . Luther is a man of too great
abilities for me to encounter; and I learn more from one page of
his than from all the works of Thomas Aquinas."

Melanchthon: "Luther is too great, too wonderful for me to de-
pict in words. If there be a man on earth I love with my whole
heart, that man is Luther. One is an interpreter, one a logician,
another an orator, affluent and beautiful in speech, but Luther is
all in all; whatever he writes, whatever he utters, pierces to the
soul, fixes itself like arrows in the heart — he is a miracle among
men. ... It is also evident that the light of the Gospel has
been kindled anev/ through the words and writings of Luther.
. . . He translated the Scriptures into German, and that, too, in
a style of such clearness that his version affords more light to the
reader than very many commentaries. In addition he was the
author of many expositions of the Scriptures, which even Erasmus
used to say far surpassed any extant. ... No base passions or
revolutionary designs were eVer observed in him; on the contrary.

8 LUTHER's works in ENGLISH.

he was at all times the counselor of peaceable measures."

Nicholas von Amsdorf: "If all commentaries, ancient and mod-
ern, are collected into one mass, and that which is best be selected
from them, it could not be compared with the writings of this man.
I am not ignorant how boastful this must seem, and to how many
such a tribute must be offensive. But however others judge this
constant assertion, I so affirm, that since the Apostles no one has
ever seen or ever will be furnished with such wisdom, faith and
constancy, as we have witnessed in Dr. Luther; nor have I any
doubt that godly posterity will have the same judgment."

Martin Bucer: "No one since the time of the Apostles has ever
taught more clearly and faithfully the article of justification.
None of the fathers have taught with such devotion and according
to the mind of the Spirit concerning living good works, viz: those
that flow from living faith and advance the welfare of one's neigh-
bor. No one has explained the Holy Scriptures so purely or more
happily, with such energy, and so many penetrating arguments.
No one has taught so clearly the duties of the civil magistrates in
regard to both tables of the law. The incredible success of the
greatest works in the church, as the Augsburg Confession for ex-
ample, was due largely to him. He was also the author of model
prayers, psalms, hymns and chants."

John Calvin: "We sincerely testify that we regard him as a
noble apostle of Christ, by whose labor and ministry the purity of
the Gospel has been restored to our times. If anyone will carefully
consider what was the state of things at the period when Luther
arose, he will see that he had to contend with almost all the diffi-
culties which were encountered by the Apostles. In one respect,
indeed, his condition was worse and harder than theirs. There was
no kingdom, no principality, against which they had to declare war;
whereas Luther could not go forth except by the ruin of that empire
which was not only the most powerful of all, but regarded all the
rest as obnoxious to itself. . . . Luther is the trumpet, or rather
the thunder — he is the lightning which has aroused the world from
its lethargy — it is not so much Luther who speaks, as God, whose
lightnings burst from his lips."

Ulrich Zwingle: "Luther is, it seems to me, such an excellent
champion of God, who has examined the Scriptures with so great a
zeal that he had no equal on earth for thousands of years, (I care
not that the Papists call me a heretic also like him,) and in the
manly, undaunted spirit with which he attacked the Pope at Rome,
no one has ever been his equal, without underestimating any one,
ever since the Papacy has been established. But to whom may we
ascribe such a work? To God, or to Luther? Ask Luther himself,
and I am sure he will answer, to God. Why then do you attribute
other men's doctrine to Luther, when he himself attributes it to
God, and submits nothing new but what is contained in the eternally
unalterable Word of God."

John Gerhard: "Our confession does not depend upon Luther's
doctrine or person, but on the unshaken word of God. We do not
ascribe to Luther prophetic or apostolic authority, or absolute in-
fallibility; nor do we make his writings equal to the prophetic and
apostolic Scriptures; neither without proof from God's Word do we
believe his statements; but we regard him an eminent teacher of
the church, whom God in these last times has raised up for the benefit
of his church oppressed by the papal yoke, and endowed with
unique gifts, and furnished with excellent strength of soul, to re-


move corruptions and abuses from the pure preaching of the Gos-
pel, and to bring baclv to light the truth, almost covered by the
darkness of error."

John Mathesius: "Dr. Luther wrote a Postil in the German lan-
guage, and faithfully exhorted the people to saving faith and broth-
erly love, patience in suffering and Christian humility, and earnestly
warned against idolatry and human nonsense."

John Arndt quotes passages from the Church Postil, which he
says "we should plant as beautiful flowers in the pleasure garden of
our hearts."

P. J. Spener: "Among the books a pastor should have in his
library, I should recommend first of all the Church Postil of our
beloved Luther."

A. H. Francke: "I have often wished that our preachers and
laity would read Luther's Postils more diligently, in which there
is surely more spirit, power and life than in the modern refined

J. G. Walch: "The sermons in the Church Postil offer the erring
full power for reformation, the weak a stimulating admonition, the
godless a penetrating warning and the distressed a strong consola-

John Bunyan: "I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the
Galatians (except the Holy Bible), before all the books that ever
I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience."

John F Buddeus: "The truth indeed fought for Luther, but no
less did he fight for the truth, so that no mortal could have done
more to defend it, and place it beyond the reach of its foes. His
own writings leave no room for doubt that he argued from profound
conviction of the truth. He asks no favors, makes no efforts to
propitiate; he compels by the weight of proof, triumphs by demon-
stration of the truth, and forces the unwilling to do homage to
sound doctrine."

John Wesley: "In the evening, I went very unwilling to a
society (the Moravians) in Aldersgate, where one was reading
Luther's Preface to the Epistles to the Romans. About quarter be-
fore nine, while he was describing the change which God works in
the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed,
I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assur-
ance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and
saved me from the law of sin and death."

Alexander Bower, in his life of Luther: "It was in vain that the
head of the church and the chief of the German empire combined
to threaten and proscribe him. . . . While his doctrine spread
far and wide, and v/ealthy cities would have been proud to receive
him, Luther clung to the spot where he discharged the duty of a
teacher and to the associates he had known in the season of

Gotthold E. Lessing, Literary Critic: "In such reverence do I
hold Luther, that I rejoice in having been able to find some defects
in him, for I have been in imminent danger of making him an
object of idolatrous veneration. The proofs that in some things he
was like other men are to me as precious as the most dazzling of
his virtues."

Frederick the Great: "Had Luther done nothing else but liberate
the princes and the people from the servile bondage under which
the dominion of the Roman papacy held them, he would deserve to


have a monument erected to his honor as the Liberator of his

Ernst Maurice Arndt, author of the patriotic son,-?, "Wha.t is the
German's Fatherland:": "Luther was a man of God, a German,
who thought more of hearty sincerity than of nonsense, who at-
tached a higher value to truth than to lying, who believed in God
and worshipped him, but fought and despised tlie devil. Shy and
timid he is when first entering upon his course; but the further he
advances, the stronger, the grander he grov/s."

John G. Doederlein: " all the v/ritings of Luther, I know
nothing more precious than his sermons and his letters. From
both of these we can learn to know the man in his entire greatness."

John G. Herder: "He spoke the simple, strong, unadorned lan-
guage of the understanding; he spoke from the heart, not from the
head and from memorj^ His sermons therefore have been the
models, especially of the preachers in our church who are of stable

William Coxe: "Luther's Latin v/as copious, free and forcible, and
he was perfectly master of his native tongue and wrote it with such
puritj^ that his works are still esteemed as models of style by
German critics."

Dr. Reuss: "Luther's Bible was, for its era, a miracle of science.
Its style sounded as the prophecy of a golden age of literature, and
in masculine force, and in the unction of the Holy Spirit, it remains
a yet unapproaclied model 'History of the Holy Scriptures.' "

Samuel T. Coleridge: His son, Henry Nelson Coleridge, in the
defense of his father's religious opinions, says: "He saw the very
mind of St. Paul in the teachings of Luther on the Law and justi-
fication by faith. My father's affectionate respect for Luther ia
enough to alienate him from the High Anglican party. My father
called Luther the most Evangelical writer he knew, after the

Frederick von Schlegel, Catholic historian: "It is well known
that all true philologists regard Luther's Bible as the standard and
model of classical expression in the German language; and not only
Klopstock, but many other writers of the fi.rst rank have fashioned
their style and selected their phrases according to the rules of this
version. As to the intellectual power and greatness of Luther, ab-
stracted from all consideration of the uses to v/hich he applied them,
I think there are few, even of his own disciples, who appreciate him
highly enough. It was upon him and his soul that the fate of
Europe depended. Fie was the man of his age and nation. He it
was who gave permanency to the Reformation."

Robert Southey, Poet-laureate of England: "Blessed be the day
of Martin Luther's birth! It should be a festival only second to
that of the nativity of Jesus Christ."

Henry Hallam, Flistorian and Critic: "A better tone in preaching
began with Luther. The hymns in use v/ith the Lutheran church,
many of which are his own, possess a simple dignity and devoutness,
never before excelled."

Heinrich Heine: "He created the German language. He was not
only the greatest but the most German man of our history. Some-
times he was wild as the storm that uproots the oak, and then again
he was gentle as the zephyr that dallies with the violet. He was
full of the most awful reverence and self-sacrifice in honor of the
Holy Spirit. Pie could merge himself entire, in pure spirituality,
and yet he was well acquainted with the glories of this world, and

TRiBUTr:s TO lutiier's writings. 11

knew how to prize tlieni. He was a complete man, I would say an
absolute man, one in whom matter and spirit were not divided."

Frederick L. G. von Räumer, in reply to the charge against Luther
by Palavicini, the historian of the Council of Trent: "Luther's
hardest and least becoming language appears mild in comparison
with the blood-thirsty intolerance of his opponents. A noble elo-
quence supplanted the unintelligible prattle of the schools through
him Germany once more learned to speak; the German people once
more to hear. He who is displeased with his style or with his mat-
ter, must yet confess that his writings reveal everywhere the inspi-
ration of the fear of God and the power of faith. Luther never
dissimulated. Persuasions, promises, threats, had no power to shake
his rock-Iirm will, his indomitable purpose. Among his opponents
not one can compare with him in personal qualities. He is a man
in whose train follows a whole world of aspiration, effort, and

Dr. Thomas Chalmer, of Scotland, in a sermon on Jer. 6, 16, in
London: "Luther's own heart nourished the germ of the greatest
revolution the world ever saw. Many hearts caught his enthusiastic
ardor, and his voice was echoed from the most distant corners of
Europe. He entered the field as a champion of the rights of
humanity; his might overcame every difficulty, and he stood for-
ward as the victorious conqueror of ignorance and imposture."

C. C. J. Bunsen, Prussian minister to England: "It is Luther's
genius applied to the Bible which has preserved the only unity
which is in our days remaining to the German nation — that of
language, literature and thought. There is no similar instance
in the known history of the world of a single man achieving such
a work. His prophetic mind foresaw that the Scriptures would
pervade the living languages and tongues all over the earth — a
process going on still with more activity than ever."

Prof. Gottfried Thomasius: "In Luther the principle, one may
say the spirit of Protestantism, was made incarnate, and in a
way so original that he has attained typical importance to the
entire church called after him. Even to this day, it bears his

K. F. A. Kahnis: "Never have the Christian and Teutonic spirit
so thoroughly pervaded any one man as Luther. From head to
foot he was full of genius, yet he submitted all his knowledge, will

Online LibraryMartin LutherThe precious and sacred writings of Martin Luther ... based on the Kaiser chronological edition, with references to the Erlangen and Walch editions; (Volume 14) → online text (page 1 of 38)