The work here presented bears the German title, Eine kurze Form der zehn Gebote, eine kurze Form des Glaubens, eine kurze Form des Vaterunsers.
It is the most important of Luther’s catechetical works prior to the Catechisms of 1529, and deserves the name that has been given it, “the first evangelical catechism.” FB1 To be sure, the name “catechism” was not applied to the Kurze Form at the time. In medieval usage “catechism” was the name for oral instruction in the elements of Christian truth. This instruction had been based from time immemorial upon the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. The decalogue held a minor place and was overshadowed by the commandments of the church. During the later Middle Ages the influence of the sacrament of penance gave it a higher position. It gradually became a subject of “catechetical” instruction, but only alongside of the other standards for the classification of sins. FB2 It was the work of Luther so to expound the Ten Commandments in the New Testament as to give them a permanent place of their own in Christian instruction, side by side with the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.
The first manuals of instruction of this kind were prepared for the use of the priests, to guide them in the questioning of penitents, but with the discovery of the art of printing popular hand-books for the use of the laity became more and more common, and with certain of these manuals Luther was familiar. FB3 From the beginning of his ministry at Wittenberg, Luther had preached from time to time upon The Ten
Commandments from the Bible and the Lord’s Prayer. In 1518 his friend Agricola published a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer which Luther had preached in Lent, 1517. FB4 In the same year Luther published his own Kurze Auslegungder zehn Gebote, ihrer Erfullung und Uebertretung. FB5 The year 1519 saw the publication of the Kurze Form das Paternoster zu verstehen und zu beten, FB6 and the Kurze und gute Auslegung des Vaterunsers vor sich und hinter sich. FB7 The Treatise on Good Works which is essentially an exposition of the decalogue, was written in the early months of 1520. During the same period the mind of Luther was frequently occupied with the abuses of the confessional, as we learn from the Confitendi Ratio, and the Kurze Unterweisung wie man beichten soll. FB10 All the material for the first and third parts of the present work was, therefore, in hand and had appeared in print before 1520.
In 1520 the Kurze Form came from the press. FB11 It consists of three separately composed expositions of the three chief subjects of catechetical instruction in the Middle Ages. The expositions of the Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer are reproductions of the Kurze Aulegung der zehn Gebote and the Kurze Form das Paternoster zu verstehen und zu beten.
The treatment of the Apostles’ Creed is new, as is also the Introduction, in which Luther sets forth the relation of the three parts to one another in the unity of the Christian life.
The work is not scientific and theological, but popular and religious. Its purpose is primarily devotional, not pedagogical. The medieval root out of which it grew is not to be denied. The catalogue of transgressions and fulfilments attached to the explanation of the decalogue shows that it is intended to be a manual for penitents, but the spirit in which the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer are explained is not medieval, and the manner in which the explanations of the decalogue are simplified and rid of the exuberances of the XV Century hand-books shows the new evangelical conception of confession to which Luther had attained. The division of the Creed into three articles instead of the traditional twelve marks an epoch in the development of catechetical instruction. The little book contains passages of rare beauty, clouded at times, we fear, by the new language into which it has here been put, and seldom has the Wesen des Christentums been more simply and tellingly set forth than in the treatment of the Creed.
In 1522 Luther republished the Kurze Form with a few slight changes and a number of additions under the title Betbuchlein. The Betbuchlein ran through many editions, and grew in the end to a book of rather large proportions, a complete manual of devotion.
In its original form and as the chief content of the Betbuchlein, the Kurze Form exercised a profound influence upon the manuals of Christian doctrine that appeared in ever-increasing number after 1522. FB12 Its influence extended to England, where Marshall’s Goodly Primer (1534 and 35) offered to English readers a translation of the Betbuchlein, in which, however, no acknowledgments were made to the original author. FB13 The Kurze Form is found in Weimar Ed., VII, 194 ff.; Erl. Ed., XXII, 3 ff.; Clemen Ed., II, 38 ff.; Walch Ed., X, 182 ff.; St. Louis Ed., X, 149 ff.
Literature F.COHRS, Die evang. Katechismusversuche vor L.’s Enchiridion (especially I, I ff and IV, 229 ff), Arts. Katechismen L.’s and Katechismusunterricht in Realencyk., X, 130 ff., and XXIII, 743 ff., and Introd. to Betbuchlein in Weimar Ed., X; O.ALBRECHT, Vorbemerkungen zu den beiden Katechismen von 1529, in Weimar Ed., XXX’, 426 ff. (Further literature cited by all the above.) See alsoGEFFCKEN, Bilderkatechismus d. XV Jh. and VON ZEZSCHWITZ, System d. Katechetik (especially II, I). CHARLES M. JACOBS. LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, MOUNT AIRY,PHILADELPHIA
A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE CREED, AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
THE ordinary Christian, who cannot read the Scriptures, is required to learn and know The 10
Commandments from God, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer; and this has not come to pass without God’s special ordering. For these three contain fully and completely everything that is in the Scriptures, everything that ever should be preached, and everything that a Christian needs to know, all put so briefly and so plainly that no one can make complaint or excuse, saying that what he needs for his salvation is too long or too hard to remember.
Three things a man needs to know in order to be saved. First, he must know what he ought to do and what he ought not to do. Second, when he finds that by his own strength he can neither do the things he ought, nor leave undone the things he ought not to do, he must know where to seek and find and get the strength he needs. Third, he must know how to seek and find and get this strength.
When a man is ill, he needs to know first what his illness is, — what he can do and what he cannot do. Then he needs to know where to find the remedy that will restore his health and help him to do and leave undone the things he ought. Third, he must ask for this remedy, and seek it, and get it or have it brought to him. In like manner, the Commandments teach a man to know his illness, so that he feels and sees what he can do and what he cannot do, what he can and what he cannot leave undone, and thus knows himself to be a sinner and a wicked man. After that the Creed shows him and teaches him where he may find the remedy, — the grace which helps him to become a good man and to keep the Commandments; it shows him God, and the mercy which He has revealed and offered in Christ. In the third place, the Lord’s Prayer teaches him how to ask for this grace, get it, and take it to himself, to wit, by habitual, humble, comforting prayer; then grace is given, and by the fulfillment of God’s commandments he is saved.
These are the three chief things in all the Scriptures. Therefore we begin at the beginning, with the Commandments, which are the first thing, and learn to recognize our sin and wickedness, that is, our spiritual illness, which prevents us from doing the things we ought to do and leaving undone the things we ought not to do.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
The First Table of Moses — the Table of the Right Hand — contains the first three Commandments. In these man is taught his duty toward God, what things he is in duty bound to do, and what to leave undone.
The First Commandment teaches how man shall treat God inwardly, in the heart, that is, how he ought always to remember Him and think of Him and esteem Him. To Him, as to a Father and good Friend, man is to look at all times for all good things, in all trust and faith and love, with fear; he is not to offend Him, but trust Him as a child its father. For nature teaches us that there is one God, Who gives all good and helps against all evil, as even the heathen show us by their worshiping of idols. This commandment is, THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS.
The Second Commandment teaches how man shall act toward God outwardly, in words, before other men, or even inwardly before his own self; that is, he shall honor God’s Name. For no one can show God either to himself or to others in His divine nature, but only in His names. This commandment is, THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN.
The Third Commandment teaches how man shall act toward God outwardly in deeds, that is, in the worship of God. It is, THOU SHALT HALLOW THE HOLY DAY. FB14 These three commandments, then, teach how man is to act toward God in thoughts, words and deeds, — that is, in all his life.
The Second Table of Moses — the Table of the Left Hand — contains the other seven Commandments. In these man is taught what he is in duty bound to do and not to do to other men, that is, to his neighbor.
The first of them teaches how one is to conduct oneself toward all the authorities who are God’s representatives. Therefore, it has its place before the rests and immediately after the first three, which concern God Himself.
Such authorities are father and mother, spiritual and temporal lords, etc. It is, HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.
Thee second teaches how one is to conduct oneself toward one’s neighbor in matters that concern his person, — not to do him injury, but to benefit and help him when he is in need. It is, THOU SHALT NOT KILL.
The third teaches how one is to conduct oneself toward the best possession one’s neighbor has next to his person, — that is, toward his wife, his child, his friend. He is to put no shame upon them, but to preserve their honor, so far as he is able. It is, THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.
The fourth teaches how one is to conduct oneself toward one’s neighbor’s temporal possessions, — not to take them from him or hinder him in their use, but to aid him in increasing them. It is, THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.
The fifth teaches how one is to conduct oneself toward one’s neighbor’s worldly honor and good name, — not to impair them, but to increase and guard and protect them. It is, THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.
So, then, it is forbidden to harm one’s neighbor in any of his possessions, and it is commanded to advance his interests. If we consider the natural law, FB15 we find how just and right all these commandments are; for there is no act here commanded, toward God or one’s neighbor, that each of us would not wish to have done toward himself, if he were God, or in God’s place or his neighbor’s.
The last two Commandments teach how wicked human nature is, and how pure we should be from all the desires of the flesh and desires for this world’s goods; but that means struggle and labor as long as we live here below. They are, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house. THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE, NOR HIS MANSERVANT, NOR HIS MAIDSERVANT, NOR HIS CATTLE, NOR ANYTHING THAT IS THY NEIGHBOR’S.
A BRIEF CONCLUSION TO THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Christ Himself says, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them; this is the whole law and all the prophets.” Now no one wishes to receive ingratitude for benefits conferred or to let another take away his good name. No one wishes to have pride shown toward him.
No one wishes to endure disobedience, wrath, a wife’s impurity, robbery, lying, deceit, slander; but every one wishes to find in his neighbor kindliness, thankfulness, helpfulness, truth and fidelity. All this the Ten Commandments require.
THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE COMMANDMENTS
AGAINST THE FIRST
He who in his tribulation seeks the help of sorcery, black art, or witchcraft.
He who uses letters, FB16 signs, herbs, words, FB17 charms and the like.
He who uses divining-rods and incantations, and practices crystal-gazing, cloak-riding, and milk-stealing. FB18 He who orders his life and work by lucky days, the signs of the zodiac and the advice of the fortune-tellers.
He who seeks by charms and incantations to protect himself, his cattle, his house, his children and all his property against wolves, iron, fire and water.
He who blames his misfortunes and tribulations on the devil or on wicked men, and does not accept them with praise and love, as good and evil which come from God alone, and who does not ascribe them to God with thanksgiving and willing patience.
He who tempts God, and needlessly puts himself in danger of body or soul.
He who glories in his piety, his wisdom, or other spiritual gifts.
He who honors God and the saints only for the sake of temporal gain, and is forgetful of his soul’s need.
He who does not trust in God at all times, and is not confident of God’s mercy in all he does.
He who doubts concerning the faith or the grace of God.
He who does not keep back others from unbelief and doubt, and does not help them, so far as in him lies, to believe and trust in God’s grace.
Here, too, belong all forms of unbelief, despair, and misbelief.
AGAINST THE SECOND
He who swears needlessly or habitually. He who perjures himself, or breaks a vow. He who vows or swears to do evil. He who curses by God’s name.
He who tells foolish tales of God, and frivolously perverts the words of Scripture.
He who in his tribulation calls not upon God’s name, nor blesses Him in joy and sorrow, in good fortune and in ill.
He who by his piety, wisdom or the like seeks reputation and honor and a name.
He who calls upon God’s name falsely, as do the heretics and all vainglorious saints.
He who does not praise God’s name in all that befalls him.
He who does not resist those that dishonor the name of God, use it falsely and work evil by it.
Here belong all the sins of vainglory and spiritual pride.
AGAINST THE THIRD
He who is given to gluttony, drunkenness, gambling, dancing, idleness and unchastity.
He who is lazy, who sleeps when he ought to be at mass, stays away from mass, goes walking and indulges in idle talk.
He who without special need works and transacts business on the Lord’s day.
He who prays not, meditates not upon Christ’s sufferings, repents not of his sins and asks no grace, and therefore keeps the day only in outward fashion, by his dress, his food and his actions.
He who in all his works and sufferings is not satisfied that God shall do with him as He will.
He who does not help others to do this and does not resist them when they do otherwise.
Here belongs the sin of slothfulness and indifference to worship.
AGAINST THE FOURTH
He who is ashamed of his parents because of their poverty, their failings or their lowly position.
He who does not provide them with food and clothing in their need.
Much more, he who curses them, speaks evil of them, hates them and disobeys them.
He who does not from the heart esteem them highly because of God’s commandment.
He who does not honor them, even though they do wrong and violence.
He who does not keep the commandments of the Christian Church with respect to fast- and feast-days, etc.
He who dishonors, slanders and insults the priestly office.
He who dost not pay honor, allegiance and obedience to his lords and those in authority, be they good or bad.
Among the transgressors of this commandment are all heretics, schismatics, apostates, excommunicates, hardened sinners and the like.
He who does not help men to keep this commandment and resist those who break it.
Here belong all forms of pride and disobedience.
AGAINST THE FIFTH
He who is angry with his neighbor.
He who sayeth to his neighbor, Raca, which stands for all terms of anger and hatred.
He who sayeth to his neighbor, Fatue, “thou fool,” which stands for every sort of vile language, cursing, slander, evil speaking, judging, condemning, mockery, etc.
He who scolds about his neighbor’s sins or failings, and does not rather cover and excuse them.
He who forgives not his enemies nor prays for them, is not kindly disposed toward them and does them no good.
This commandment includes also all the sins of anger and hatred, such as murder, war, robbery, arson, quarreling, contention, envy of a neighbor’s good fortune and joy over his misfortune.
He who does not practice works of mercy even toward his enemies.
He who sets men at enmity with one another.
He who sows discord between man and man.
He who does not reconcile those who are at enmity.
He who does not hinder or prevent wrath and enmity when he is able.
AGAINST THE SIXTH
He who seduces virgins, commits adultery and is guilty of incest and like unchastity.
He who uses unnatural means to satisfy his desires — these are the “mute sins.”
He who arouses or displays evil desires with obscene words, songs, tales or pictures.
He who by looks, touch or thoughts arouses his own desires and defiles himself.
He who does not avoid the causes of unchastity, such as gluttony, drunkenness, idleness, laziness, oversleeping and intimate association with men or women.
He who by extravagant dress or demeanor incites others to unchastity.
He who gives house, place, time or help to the commission of this sin.
He who does not by word and deed help others to preserve their chastity.
AGAINST THE SEVENTH
He who practices thievery, robbery and usury.
He who uses false weights and measures, or sells bad wares for good.
He who receives bequests and incomes dishonestly.
He who withholds wages that have been earned, and repudiates a debt.
He who will not lend to a needy neighbor without taking interest. FB20 All who are avaricious and make haste to be rich, and do any of those other things by which a neighbor’s property is withheld or taken away.
He who does not protect another against loss.
He who does not warn another against loss.
He who places an obstacle in the way of his neighbor’s profit and begrudges his neighbor’s gains.
AGAINST THE EIGHTH
He who conceals or suppresses the truth in a court of law.
He who lies and deceives to another’s hurt.
All hurtful flatterers, whisperers and double-dealers.
He who speaks evil of his neighbor’s possessions, life, words and works and defames them.
He who gives place to slanderers, helps them on and does not resist them.
He who does not use his tongue to defend his neighbor’s good name.
He who does not rebuke the slanderer.
He who does not say all good of every man and keep silent about all evil.
He who conceals or does not defend the truth.
AGAINST THE LAST TWO
The last two commandments have no place in confession, FB21 but are set as a goal to which we are to attain, and toward which, through repentance and by the help and grace of God, we are daily to strive; for wicked inclinations do not wholly die, until the flesh turns to dust and is new created. FB22 The “five senses” FB23 are included in the Fifth and Sixth Commandments; the “six works of mercy,” in the Fifth and Seventh; of the “seven deadly sins,” pride is included in the First and Second, unchastity in the Sixth, anger and hatred in the Fifth, gluttony in the Sixth, indolence in the Third, and indeed in all the commandments. The “alien sins” are included in all the commandments, for it is possible to sin against all the commandments by bidding, advising and helping others to sin against them. The “crying sins” and the “mute sins” are committed against the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Commandments, etc.
In all these works we see nothing else than self-love, which seeks its own, takes from God what is His, from men what is theirs, and out of all it is and all it has and all it can do gives nothing either to God or men. St.
Augustine well says, “The beginning of all sin is the love of one’s own self.” FB24 From all this it follows that the commandments command nothing but love and forbid nothing but love; nothing but love fulfils the commandments and nothing but love breaks them. Wherefore, St. Paul says that love is the fulfilling of all commandments; just as evil love is the transgression of all commandments.
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE COMMANDMENTS
OF THE FIRST
To fear and love God in true faith, and always, in all our works, to trust Him firmly, and be wholly, completely, altogether resigned in all things, whether they be evil or good.
Here belongs whatever is written in all the Scriptures concerning faith, hope and love of God, all of which is briefly comprehended in this commandment.
OF THE SECOND
To praise, honor, bless and call upon God’s Name, and to count our own name and honor as altogether nothing, so that God alone may be praised; for He alone is all things, and worketh all things.
Here belongs all that is taught in the Scripture about rendering praise and honor and thanks to God, about God’s name and about joy in Him.
OF THE THIRD
To prepare oneself for God and to seek His grace by praying, hearing mass and the Gospel, and meditating on the sufferings of Christ, so that one goes to the sacrament in a spiritual manner; for this commandment requires a soul “poor in spirit,” which offers its nothingness to God, that He may be its God and receive in it the honor due His work and Name according to the first two commandments.
Here belongs all that is commanded about worship, the hearing of sermons, and good works by which the body is made subject to the spirit, so that all our works may be God’s and not our own.
OF THE FOURTH
Willing obedience, humility, submission to all authority because it is God’s good-pleasure, as the Apostle St. Peter says, without retort, complaint or murmuring.
Here belongs all that is written of obedience, humility, submissiveness and reverence.
OF THE FIFTH
Patience, meekness, kindness, peacefulness, mercy, and a heart in all things sweet and kindly, without hatred, anger or bitterness toward any man, even toward enemies.
Here belong all the teachings about patience, meekness, peace and concord.
OF THE SIXTH
Chastity, purity and modesty, in works, words, demeanor and thoughts; moderation in eating, drinking and sleeping; and everything that furthers chastity.
Here belong all the teachings about chastity, fasting, sobriety, moderation, prayer, watching, laboring and everything by which chastity is preserved.
OF THE SEVENTH
Poverty of spirit, charity, willingness to lend and give of one’s possessions, and a life free from greed and avarice.
Here belong all the teachings about avarice, unrighteous wealth, usury, guile, deceit, injury and hindrance of one’s neighbor in temporal things.
OF THE EIGHTH
A peaceful, wholesome tongue, that injures no one and profits every one, that reconciles those that are at enmity, apologizes for those that are slandered and takes their part; in short, truthfulness and simplicity in speech.
Here belong all the teachings about talking and keeping silent in matters which concern one’s neighbor’s honor and rights, his cause and his salvation.
OF THE LAST TWO
That entire chastity and utter despising of temporal desire and possessions, which are perfectly attained only in the life to come.
In all these works we see nothing else than the love of others — that is, of God and of one’s neighbor — which seeketh not its own, but what is God’s and its neighbor’s, and surrendereth itself freely to every one to be his, to serve him and to do his will.
Thus you see that the Ten Commandments contain, in a very brief and orderly manner, all the teaching that is needful for man’s life; and if a man desires to keep them, he has good works for every hour of his life, and has no need to choose him other works, to run hither and thither, and do what is not commanded. FB25 All this is evident from the fact that these commandments teach nothing about what a man shall do or not do for himself, or what he shall ask of others, but only what he shall do and not do for others — God and man.
From this we are to learn that their fulfillment consists in love toward others, not toward ourselves; for in his own behalf man already seeks and does and leaves undone too much. He needs not to be taught this, but to be kept from it. Therefore he lives best who lives in no wise for himself, and he who lives for himself, lives worst; for so the Ten Commandments teach.
From them we learn how few men lead good lives; nay, as man, no one can lead a good life. Knowing this, we must learn next whence we shall get the power to lead good lives and to keep the Commandments.
THE CREED The Creed is divided into three parts, FB27 according to the three Persons of the holy and divine Trinity who are therein mentioned. The first part belongs to the Father, the second to the Son, the third to the Holy Ghost; for the Trinity is the chief thing in the Creed, on which everything else depends.
We should note that there are two ways of believing. One way is to believe about God, as I do when I believe that what is said of God is true; just as I do when I believe what is said about the Turk, the devil or hell. This faith is knowledge or observation rather than faith. The other way is to believe in God, as I do when I not only believe that what is said about Him is true, but put my trust in Him, surrender myself to Him and make bold to deal with Him, believing without doubt that He will be to me and do to me just what is said of Him. I could not thus believe in the Turk or in any man, however highly his praises might be sung. For I can readily believe that a man is good, but I do not venture on that account to build my faith on him.
This faith, which in life or death dares to believe that God is what He is said to be, is the only faith that makes a man a Christian and obtains from God whatever it will. This faith no false and evil heart can have, for it is a living faith; and this faith is commanded in the First Commandment, which says, “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods.” Wherefore the word in is rightly used; and it is diligently to be noted that we may not say, “I believe God the Father,” or “about the Father,” but “in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Ghost.” This faith we should render to no one but to God. Therefore we confess the divinity of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Ghost, when we believe in them even as we believe in the Father; and just as our faith in all three Persons is one and the same faith, so the three Persons are one and the same God.
THE FIRST PART OF THE CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
This means — I renounce the evil spirit, all idolatry, all sorcery and misbelief.
I put my trust in no man on earth, nor in myself, my power, my learning, my wealth, my piety, nor anything that I may have.
I put my trust in no creature in heaven or on earth.
I dare to put my trust only in the one absolute, invisible, incomprehensible God, Who made heaven and earth, and Who alone is over all creatures.
On the other hand, I am not afraid of any wickedness of the devil and his company, for my God is above them all.
Even though I be forsaken or persecuted by all men, I still believe in God.
I believe, even though I am poor, unwise, unlearned, despised or in need of everything.
I believe, even though I am a sinner. For this faith of mine must and shall soar above everything that is and everything that is not — above sin and virtue and all else so that it may remain simply and purely a faith in God, as the First Commandment constrains me.
Nor do I ask of Him a sign, to tempt Him.
I trust constantly in Him, however long He tarry, and do not prescribe the goal, the time, the measure or the manner of His working, but in bold, true faith I leave all to His divine will.
If He is almighty, what can I lack that He cannot give me and do for me?
If He is Creator of heaven and earth and Lord of all things, who will take anything from me, or harm me? Nay, how shall not all things rather serve me and turn out to my good, if He to Whom all things are obedient and subject wishes me well?
Because He is God, He can do the thing that is best for me, and knows what that thing is.
Because He is Father, He wills to do what is best for me, and to do it with all His heart.
Because I do not doubt, but put my trust in Him, I am assuredly His child, His servant and His heir forever, and as I believe, so will it be done unto me.
THE SECOND PART
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
This means — I believe not only that Jesus Christ is the true and only Son of God, begotten from eternity in one eternal, divine nature and substance; but also that all things are made subject to Him by His Father, and that in His humanity He is made Lord of me and of all things which, in His divinity, He, with the Father, has created.
I believe that no one can believe in the Father or come to the Father by his own learning, works or reason, nor by anything that can be named in heaven or on earth, save only in and through Jesus Christ, His only Son — that is, through faith in His name and lordship.
I firmly believe that for my sake He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, without human or fleshly work, without bodily father or seed of man, to the end that so He might purify my sinful, fleshly, unclean, damnable conception, and the conception of all who believe in Him, and make it spiritual through His own and His almighty Father’s gracious will.
I believe that for me He was born of the pure Virgin Mary, without harm to her bodily and spiritual virginity, in order that, by the mercy of His Father, He might make my sinful, damnable birth, and the birth of all who believe in Him, blessed and harmless and pure.
I believe that He bore His cross and passion for my sin and the sin of all believers, and thereby has consecrated all sufferings and every cross, and made them not only harmless, but salutary and highly meritorious.
I believe that He died and was buried to slay entirely and to bury my sin and the sin of all who believe in Him, and that He has destroyed bodily death and made it altogether harmless, nay profitable and salutary.
I believe that He descended into hell to overthrow and take captive the devil and all his power, guile and wickedness, for me and for all who believe in Him, so that henceforth the devil cannot harm me; and that He has redeemed me from the pains of hell, and made them harmless and meritorious.
I believe that He rose on the third day from the dead, to give to me and to all who believe in Him a new life; and that He has thereby quickened us with Him, in grace and in the Spirit, that we may sin no more, but serve Him alone in every grace and virtue.
I believe that He ascended into heaven and received from the Father power and honor above all angels and all creatures, and thus sitteth on the right hand of God — that is, He is King and Lord over all that is God’s, in heaven and hell and earth. Therefore, He can help me and all believers in all our necessities against all our adversaries and enemies.
I believe that He will come again from heaven at the last day, to judge those who then are living and those who have died meanwhile, and all men, all angels and devils must come before His judgment-seat and see Him in the flesh; that He will come to redeem me and all who believe in Him from bodily death and all infirmities, to punish our enemies and adversaries eternally, and to redeem us eternally from their power.
THE THIRD PART
I believe in the Holy Ghost, a Holy Christian Church, a communion of saints, a forgiveness of sins, a resurrection of the body, and a life everlasting. Amen.
This means — I believe not only that the Holy Ghost is one true God, with the Father and the Son, but that no one can come to the Father through Christ and His life, sufferings and death, and all that has been said of Him, nor attain any of His blessings, without the work of the Holy Ghost, by which the Father and the Son teach, quicken, call, draw me and all that are His, make us, in and through Christ, alive and holy and spiritual, and thus bring us to the Father; for it is He by Whom the Father, through Christ and in Christ, worketh all things and giveth life to all.
I believe that there is on earth, through the whole wide world, no more than one holy, common, FB28 Christian Church, which is nothing else than the congregation, FB29 or assembly of the saints, i.e., the pious, believing men on earth, which is gathered, preserved, and ruled by the Holy Ghost, and daily increased by means of the sacraments and the Word of God.
I believe that no one can be saved who is not found in this congregation, holding with it to one faith, word, sacraments, hope and love, and that no Jew, heretic, heathen or sinner can be saved along with it, unless he become reconciled to it, united with it and conformed to it in all things.
I believe that in this congregation, or Church, FB30 all things are common, that everyone’s possessions belong to the others and no one has anything of his own; therefore, all the prayers and good works of the whole congregation must help, assist and strengthen me and every believer at all times, in life and death, and thus each bear the other’s burden, as St. Paul teaches.
I believe that in this congregation, and nowhere else, there is forgiveness of sins; that outside of it, good works, however great they be or many, are of no avail for the forgiveness of sins; but that within it, no matter how much, how greatly or how often men may sin, nothing can hinder forgiveness of sins, which abides wherever and as long as this one congregation abides.
To this congregation Christ gives the keys, and says, in Matthew 18:18, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” In like manner He says, in Matthew 16:19, to the one man Peter, who stands as the representative of the one and only Church, FB31 “Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
I believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead, in which, by the same Holy Ghost, all flesh will be raised again — that is, all men, in flesh, or body, the good and the wicked; and, therefore, the self-same flesh which has died, been buried, mouldered and been destroyed in many ways shall return and become alive.
I believe that after the resurrection there will be an eternal life for the saints and an eternal death for sinners; and I doubt not that the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, with and in the Holy Ghost, will bring all this to pass — that is the meaning of Amen, “It is assuredly and certainly true.”
Hereupon follows THE LORD’S PRAYER The Preface and Preparation for offering the Seven Petitions to God:
OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN.
This means — O Almighty God, Who in Thy boundless mercy hast not only granted us permission, but by Thine only beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, hast bidden and taught us through His merit and mediation to look to Thee as Father and call Thee Father, though Thou mightest in all justice be a stern Judge of us sinners, who have sinned so often and so grievously against Thy divine and gracious will, and thus have angered Thee: Put in our hearts, by this Thy mercy, a comfortable confidence in Thy fatherly love, and make us feel and taste the sweetness of childlike trust, so that we may joyfully name Thee Father, and know Thee and love Thee, and call upon Thee in all our necessities. Have us in Thy keeping, that we may remain Thy children, and not be guilty of making Thee, dear Father, a terrible Judge, and ourselves Thine enemies, and not Thy children.
It is Thy will that we not only call Thee Father, but that all of us together call Thee our Father, and thus offer our prayers with one accord for all:
Grant us, therefore, brotherly love and unity, that we may know and think of one another as true brethren and sisters, and pray to Thee, our one common Father, for all men and for every man, even as one child prays for another to its father.
Let no one among us seek his own things or forget before Thee the things of others; but, all hatred, envy and dissension laid aside, may we love one another as good and true children of God, and thus say with one accord not “my Father,” but “our Father.”
Moreover, since Thou art not a father according to the flesh nor upon earth, but art in heaven, a spiritual Father, Who diest not and art not weak, but unlike an earthly father who cannot help himself, whereby Thou showest us how immeasurably better a Father Thou art, and teachest us to hold as nothing in comparison with Thee all earthly fatherhood, fatherland, friends, goods, flesh and blood: Grant us, therefore, O Father, that we may also be Thy heavenly children; teach us to think only of our souls and of our heavenly inheritance, that our temporal fatherland and earthly lot may not deceive and hold and hinder us, and make us altogether children of this world, so that with real and true cause we may say, “O our heavenly Father,” and may be truly Thy heavenly children.
THE FIRST PETITION: HALLOWED BE THY NAME.
This means — O Almighty God, dear heavenly Father, in this wretched vale of sorrows Thy Holy Name is so much profaned, blasphemed and put to shame, given to much which is not for Thine honor, abused in many things and made a cloak for sin, so that even a shameful life may well be called a shaming and dishonoring of Thy Holy Name:
Grant us, therefore, Thy divine grace, that we may be on our guard against everything which doth not serve to the praise and honor of Thy Holy Name. Help us, that all witchcraft and sorcery may be done away. Help us, that all conjuring of the devil or of creatures by Thy Name may cease. Help us, that all false beliefs and superstitions may be rooted out. Help us, that all heresy and false doctrine which disguise themselves with Thy Name may come to naught. Help us, that no false pretense of truth and piety and holiness may deceive any man. Help us that none may swear or lie or deceive by Thy Name.
Protect us against all false confidence pretending to rest upon Thy Name.
Protect us against all spiritual pride and the vainglory of worldly honor or reputation. Help us in all our necessities and weaknesses to call upon Thy Holy Name. Help us in anguish of conscience and in the hour of death not to forget Thy Name. Help us with all our goods and in all our words and works to praise and honor Thee alone, and not thereby to make or seek to make a name for ourselves, but only for Thee, Whose alone are all things.
Preserve us from the shameful vice of ingratitude.
Grant that by our good works and life all other men may be stirred up to praise, not us, but Thee in us, and to honor Thy Name. Help us, that our evil works or weaknesses may give no one occasion to stumble and dishonor Thy Name or to cease from praising Thee. Keep us, that we may not desire any temporal or eternal blessing which is not to the honor and praise of Thy Name, and if we pray for such things, give Thou no ear to our folly. Help us so to live that we may be found true children of God, that Thy Father-name may not be named upon us falsely or in vain.
To this petition belong all the psalms and prayers in which we praise, honor, thank and sing to God, and here belongs the whole Hallelujah.
THE SECOND PETITION: THY KINGDOM COME.
This means — This wretched life is a kingdom of all sin and wickedness, under one lord, the evil spirit, the source and head of all wickedness and sin; but Thy kingdom is a kingdom of every grace and virtue under one Lord, Jesus Christ Thy dear Son, the Head and Source of every grace and virtue.
Therefore help us, dear Father, and be gracious unto us. Grant us above all things a true and constant faith in Christ, a fearless hope in Thy mercy despite all the fear-fullness of our sinful conscience, and a thorough love to Thee and to all mankind. Keep us from unbelief and despair and revengefulness.
Help us against lewdness and unchastity, and give us a love for virginity and all purity. Help us out of dissension, war and discord, and let the virtue of Thy kingdom come — peace, and unity, and quiet rest. Grant that neither wrath nor any other bitterness may set up its kingdom within us, but that there may rule within us, by Thy grace, sweet simplicity and brotherly fidelity, and all kindliness, charity and gentleness. Help us to have within us no undue sorrow or sadness, but let joy and gladness in Thy grace and mercy come to us. And help us, finally, that all sin may be turned away from us, so that we may be filled with Thy grace, and all virtues and good works, and thus become Thy kingdom, so that all our heart, mind and spirit, with all our powers of body and soul, may obediently serve Thee, keep Thy commandments and do Thy will, be ruled by Thee alone, and may not follow after self or flesh or world or devil.
Grant that this Thy kingdom, now begun in us, may increase, and daily grow in power; that indifference to God’s service that subtle wickedness — may not overcome us and make us fall away, but give us rather the power and earnest purpose not only to make a beginning in righteousness, but boldly to go on unto perfection; as saith the prophet, “Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death or grow idle in the good life I have begun; and lest the enemy again prevail against us.”
Help us that we may remain constant, and that Thy future kingdom may finish and complete this Thy kingdom which is here begun. Help us out of this sinful, perilous life; help us to long for the life to come, and more and more to hate this life. Help us not to fear death, but desire it. Take away from us the love of living here, and all dependence on this present life, that thus Thy kingdom may in us be made perfect and complete.
To this petition belong all the psalms, versicles and prayers in which we pray to God for grace and virtue.
THE THIRD PETITION: THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
This means — Our will, compared with Thy will, is never good, but always evil; but Thy will is always best, lovable above all things and most to be desired.
Therefore, be merciful to us, dear Father, and let nothing be done according to our will. Grant us and teach us to have real and perfect patience when our will is broken or hindered. Help us, if anyone speaks or is silent, does or omits anything that is contrary to our will, that we become not angry or wrathful, neither curse, nor complain, nor cry out, nor judge, nor condemn, nor accuse. Help us with all humility to give place to those who oppose or hinder our will, and letting our own will go, to praise and bless them and do good to them as those who, against our own will, fulfill Thy divine will, which is altogether good.
Give us grace willingly to bear illness, poverty, shame, suffering and adversity, and to know that these are Thy divine will, for the crucifying of our will. Help us to bear even injustice gladly, and keep us from avenging ourselves. Suffer us not to render evil for evil or to resist force with force, but grant us grace to take pleasure in this will of Thine, which lays these things upon us, and to give Thee praise and thanks. Suffer us not to lay it to the charge of the devil or of wicked men when anything befalls us contrary to our will, but help us to ascribe it only to Thy divine will, which orders all such things for the hindering of our will and the increasing of our blessedness in Thy kingdom.
Help us to die willingly and joyfully, and to welcome death as a manifestation of Thy will, so that impatience and despair may not make us disobedient toward Thee. Help us that all our members — eyes, tongue, heart, hands, feet — be not submissive to their own desires or will, but be taken captive, imprisoned and broken in Thy will. Preserve us from all evil, rebellious, obstinate, stubborn and capricious self-will.
Grant us a true obedience, a submissiveness simple and complete in all things, spiritual and worldly, temporal and eternal. Preserve us from the cruel vice of aspersion, slander, back-biting, malicious judging, condemning and accusing of other men. O keep far from us the great unhappiness and grievous plague of tongues like these; but teach us, when we see or hear in others things blameworthy and to us displeasing, to hold our peace, to cover them over, to make complaint of them to none but Thee, to give them over to Thy will, and thus heartily to forgive our debtors and have sympathy with them.
Teach us to know that no one can do us any harm, except he first do himself a thousandfold greater harm in Thine eyes, so that we may be moved thereby to mercy rather than to anger, to pity rather than revenge.
Help us not to rejoice when it goes ill with those who have not done our will or have hurt us or otherwise displeased us by their way of life; help us also not to be disturbed when it goes well with them.
To this petition belong all the psalms, versicles and prayers in which we pray to be delivered from sin and from our enemies.
THE FOURTH PETITION:
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
This means — The bread is our Lord Jesus Christ, FB32 Who feedeth and comforteth the soul. Therefore, O heavenly Father, grant us grace, that Christ’s life and words, His works and sufferings be preached, made known and preserved to us and to all the world. Help us that in all our life we may have His words and works before us as a powerful example and mirror of all virtue.
Help us in sufferings and adversities to find strength and comfort in and through His cross and passion. Help us in firm faith to overcome our own death by His death, and thus boldly to follow our beloved Leader into the other life.
Give Thy grace to all preachers, that they may preach Thy Word and Christ, to profit and salvation, in all the world. Help all who hear the preaching of Thy Word to learn Christ, and honestly to better their lives thereby. Graciously drive out of the Holy Church all strange preaching and teaching from which men do not learn Christ. Have mercy upon all bishops, priests, clergy and all that are in authority, that they may be enlightened by Thy grace to teach and govern us aright by precept and example. Preserve all that are weak in faith, that they may not stumble at the wicked example of their rulers.
Preserve us from heretical and apostate teachers, that we may remain one, partaking of one daily bread — the daily doctrine and word of Christ.
Graciously teach us to regard aright the sufferings of Christ, receive them into our hearts, and form them in our lives, to our salvation.
Suffer us not at our last hour to be deprived of the true and holy body of Christ. FB33 Help all priests to use and administer the holy sacrament worthily and savingly, to the edification of the whole Church. Help us and all Christians to receive the Holy Sacrament at its proper season, with Thy grace and to our salvation. And summa summarum, “Give us our daily bread,” that is, may Christ abide in us and we in Him forever, and may we worthily bear His name, the name of Christian.
To this petition belong all prayers or psalms which are prayed for rulers, and especially those for protection against false teachers, those for the Jews, heretics and all that are in error, and also those for all distressed and comfortless sufferers.
THE FIFTH PETITION: AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS.
This means — To this petition a condition is attached, viz., that we first forgive our debtors. When that has been done we may say afterward, “Forgive us our debts.” That we may do this, we have prayed in the Third Petition, “Thy will be done.” It is God’s will that we patiently suffer all things, and not render evil for evil, nor seek revenge; but render good for evil, as doth our Father in heaven, Who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and evil, and sendeth rain upon the thankful and unthankful. Therefore, we pray:
O Father, comfort our conscience now and in our last hour, for it is now and will be hereafter in grievous terror because of our sin and The judgment. Send Thy peace into our hearts, that we may with joy await Thy judgment. Enter not with us into the sharpness of Thy judgment, for then will no man be found righteous. Teach us, dear Father, not to rely on our own good works or merits, or to comfort ourselves therewith; but bodly to cast ourselves upon Thy boundless mercy alone. In like manner, suffer us not to despair because of our blameworthy, sinful life, but to deem Thy mercy higher and broader and stronger than all our life.
Help all men who in the hour of death or of temptation feel the anguish of despair, and especially N. or N. Have mercy also upon all poor souls in purgatory, especially N. and N. Forgive them and all of us our sins, comfort them and receive them into grace. Render us Thy good for our evil, as Thou hast commanded us to do to others. Silence the evil spirit, that cruel slanderer, accuser and magnifier of our sins now and at our last hour, and in all anguish of conscience, even as we too refrain from slander, and from magnifying the sins of other men. Judge us not according to the accusation of the devil and of our miserable conscience, and hearken not to the voice of our enemies who accuse us day and night before Thee, even as we too will not give ear to those who accuse and slander other men.
Remove from us the heavy burden of sin and conscience, that with light and joyous hearts we may live and die, do and suffer, trusting wholly in Thy mercy.
To this petition belong all the psalms and prayers which invoke God’s mercy upon sin.
THE SIXTH PETITION: AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.
This means — Dear Father, grant us grace that we may have control over the lust of the flesh. Help us to resist its desire to eat, to drink, to sleep overmuch, to be idle, to be slothful. Help us by fasting, by moderation in food and dress and sleep and work, by watching and labor, to bring the flesh into subjection and fit it for good works. Help us to fasten its evil, unchaste inclinations and all its desires and incitements with Christ upon the cross, and to slay them, so that we may not consent to any of its allurements, nor follow after them. Help us when we see a beautiful person, or image or any other creature, that it may not be a temptation, but an occasion for love of chastity and for praising Thee in Thy creatures. When we hear sweet sounds and feel things that please the senses, help us to seek therein not lust, but Thy praise and honor.
Preserve us from the great vice of avarice and the desire for the riches of this world. Keep us, that we may not seek this world’s honor and power, nor consent to the desire for them. Preserve us, that the world’s deceit, pretences and false promises may not move us to walk in its ways. Preserve us, that the wickedness and the adversities of the world may not lead us to impatience, revenge, wrath or other vices. Help us to renounce the world’s lies and deceits, its promises and unfaithfulness and all its good and evil (as we have already promised in baptism to do), to abide firmly in this renunciation and to grow therein from day to day.
Preserve us from the suggestions of the devil, that we may not consent to pride, become self-satisfied, and despise others for the sake of riches, rank, power, knowledge, beauty or other good gifts of Thine. Preserve us, that we fall not into hatred or envy for any cause. Preserve us, that we yield not to despair, that great temptation of our faith, neither now nor at our last hour.
Have in Thy keeping, heavenly Father, all who strive and labor against these great and manifold temptations. Strengthen those who are yet standing; raise up all those who have fallen and are overcome; and to all of us grant Thy grace, that in this miserable and uncertain life, incessantly surrounded by so many enemies, we may fight with constancy, and with a firm and knightly faith, and win the everlasting crown.
THE SEVENTH PETITION: DELIVER US FROM EVIL.
This means — This petition is a prayer against all that is evil in pain and punishment; as the holy Church prays in the litanies: Deliver us O Father, from Thine eternal wrath and from the pains of hell. Deliver us from Thy strict judgment, in death and at the last day. Deliver us from sudden death.
Preserve us from water and fire, from lightning and hail. Preserve us from famine and scarcity. Preserve us from war and bloodshed. Preserve us from Thy great plagues, pestilence, the French sickness, and other grievous diseases. Preserve us from all evils and necessities of body, yet in such wise that in all these things Thy Name may be honored, Thy Kingdom increased and Thy divine Will be done. Amen.
AMEN God help us, without doubting, to obtain all these petitions, and suffer us not to doubt that Thou hast heard us and wilt hear us in them all; that it is “Yea,” not “Nay,” and not “Perhaps.” Therefore we say with joy, “Amen — it is true and certain.” Amen.
THE EIGHT WITTENBERG SERMONS
AFTER the bold utterance of unshaken conviction at the Diet of Worms Luther disappeared from the scene of his activities. In the darkness of night he was taken by the friendly “foe” to the secure hiding-place where the imperial proscription could not affect him. Thus he entered the Wart-burg on May 4, 1521. But the “crowded canvas of the sixteenth century,” bereft of its central figure, threatened to become mere portrayal of turbulence and confusion. In Wittenberg and other places the new life of the soul had burst its ancient fetters and was about to lose its spiritual value in a destructive lateral movement. The inability of the hesitating elector and the helpless Melanchthon to stem the tide, caused Luther, in utter disregard of personal safety, to return to his beloved city on March 6, 1522, and on Sunday, March 9th, and the seven days following to preach the Eight Sermons herewith given, guiding the turbulent waves of popular uprising into the channels marked by faith and love.
During his absence others had heeded the clarion call to lead the Church out of its “Babylonian Captivity,” and had put into practice the measures which would carry out the principles he had uttered. The mass was abolished, FB34 monks left the monasteries, some priests took wives, and communion under both kinds was instituted. With these measures Luther was in sympathy, which is evident from his letters to Melanchthon FB35 and to Wenceslaus Link, Staupitz’s successor as the Augustinian vicar, FB36 and the treatises De votis monasticis and De abroganda missa privata . FB37 But these treatises also show that Luther was not fully informed of the disturbances accompanying the new measures. In so critical a time the absence of a great leader was soon manifest. Melanchthon, ardent in the beginning, could not hold back the radical procedure of Carlstadt and Zwilling.
Carlstadt, moderate at first in his conduct, nevertheless had sown the seeds, in his teaching, which resulted in the bountiful harvest of disorder.
Without Luther’s clearness of vision and aptness of speech, he likewise failed to discern the pitfalls which Luther so carefully avoided. “In my opinion, he who partakes only of the bread, sins.” FB38 “In all things of divine appointment, the divine law must be taught and observed, even if it cause offense.” FB39 “The Gregorian chant keeps the spirit away from God.... Organs belong to theatrical exhibitions and princes’ palaces.” FB40 “That we have images in churches is wrong and contrary to the first commandment. To have carved and painted idols standing on the altar is even more harmful and devilish.” FB41 For his Scripture proof in other places, too, particularly concerning vows, Carlstadt drew largely from the Old Testament. On Christmas Day, 1521, he preached a sermon in which he opposed going to confession before receiving communion. Attired in his street garb he then proceeded to celebrate and “evangelical” mass by giving communion in both kinds to the people, placing the elements directly into their hands. Many of the communicants had not previously confessed, nor observed the prescribed rule of fasting. From a denial of any distinction between clergy and laity, Carlstadt finally progressed to a condemnation of the Divine Word, since it is given directly from above. FB42 Without the theological acumen of Carstadt, and with less restraint, the Augustinian monk Gabriel Zwilling labored in season and out of season for the new order of things. In December the Zwickau prophets, Niclas Storch, Thomas Drechsel, weavers by trade, and Marcus Stubner, a former university student, appeared in Wittenberg claiming direct divine inspiration, and preached the overturn of present conditions. Earlier in the month (December 3d) some students and citizens had caused a disturbance after a number of citizens crowded into the council chamber and demanded of the three councillors who presided over Wittenberg the abolition of the mass by law, the restitution of the cup, and the release of those in custody for causing the tumult of December 3d. On Christmas Eve both the parish and the castle churches witnessed scenes of wild disorder. On January 11 th the monks, led by Zwilling, destroyed all the altars except one in the convent church, and cast out the images. The city council, in the endeavor to restore order, on January 24, 1522, in full accord with a commission of the university, adopted a “Worthy Ordinance for the princely City of Wittenberg,” FB43 in which the popular demands were met and a date was fixed on which the images should be removed from the parish church — the only one of the four churches of Wittenberg subject to the council’s control. But the excited populace did not await the day. Taking the matter into its own hands it invaded the church, tore images and pictures from the walls and burned them up.
The council and the university turned to Luther. Immediately after his three-day secret visit to Wittenberg in December, on which he had sensed the unrest in Wittenberg and elsewhere, he issued his Faithful Exhortation for all Christians to shun Riot and Rebellion, FB44 in which he emphasizes the principles reiterated in the Eight Sermons, the sufficiency of the Word and the duty of dealing gently with the weak. But the time for writing had passed. “Satan had broken into his sheepfold” and had caused such havoc that he could not meet it “by writing.” FB45 In spite of the elector’s instruction to remain — the same whose ineffectual measures had failed to avert the storm — Luther on March 1st bade farewell to the Wartburg. On his way to Wittenberg, in Borna on March 5th, he wrote the famous letter to the elector FB46 in which he declared that he desired no protection from the elector. “I come to Wittenberg under much higher protection.” He arrived in Wittenberg on Thursday, March 6th, and on the following Sunday, March 9th, the first Sunday in Lent, he again ascended the pulpit in the parish church. In an interesting report of an eye and ear witness — Johann Kessler — we are told that he first gave an explanation of the Gospel for the day on the temptation of Christ ( Matthew 4:1 ff.), after which “he dropped the text and took up the present affair.” FB47 This earlier portion of the sermon has not come down to us. It may be that Luther likewise first preached on the Gospel for the day on the following Sunday, and for that reason it is called “a brief summary” (see Sermon No. 8) in the early printed editions, when, in reality, it is longer than that of Saturday (No. 7).
The sermons, delivered in a vox suavis et sonora, FB48 produced immediate results. In a letter by Schurf, dated March 15th, even before the last of the sermons had been delivered, it is stated that “Gabriel [ZWilling] has confessed that he was wrong.” Carlstadt was silenced, the city council made acknowledgment to Luther by substantial gifts and Wittenberg bowed to law and order.
Luther did not publish these sermons himself. He elaborated the principles here uttered in the treatise, published a few weeks later, The Reception of both Kinds in the Sacrament. FB49 A fragment, covering the thoughts of sermons 1 to 4, and formerly described as a pastoral letter to the Wittenberg congregation, is now held to be a piece of written preparation by Luther for these sermons. FB50 The notes of a hearer of these sermons furnished the basis for the printed editions. The Wednesday sermon (No. 4 — On the Images) was published separately at Augsburg and other places; the eight sermons were published in Augsburg and Mainz. Seven editions of the former and six of the latter are known.
Johann Aurifaber, the publisher of Luther’s Table-talk, also edited and published these sermons at Eisleben in 1564. His free amplification of the older text, in an attempt to modernixe it, is not an improvement. His considerable additions to Luther’s Scripture citations are from Luther’s own translation of a later date. Yet for two centuries this edition remained the standard. The Walch Edition was the first again to pay attention to the original text, however placing the Aurifaber text first. (Walch Ed., XX.)
The Erlangen Edition (XXVIII) observes the same order. O. VON GERLACH, Luthers Werke, Auswahl seiner Hauptschriften (Berlin, 1841), gives only the older text (V);BUCHWALD, in the Berlin Edition (I), gives only the Aurfaber text. The Weimer Edition (Xc ) places the old text on the upper half of the page, with the Aurifaber recension immediately below.
The translation which follows is based on the older text as found in the Weimar Edition, with which the other editions have been compared.
For further discussion, see, in addition to the literature mentioned, the biographies of Luther and the Church Histories. Also Barge’s articles in the Realencyklopadie, X, 73 ff. and XXIII, 738 ff.; also KOLDE’S, IV, 639 ff. and XIII, 556 ff.
Barge , Fruhprotestantisches Gemeindechristentum in Wittenberg und Orlamunde, Leipzig, 1909.
Cristiani , Du Lutheranisme au Protestantisme, Paris, 1911.
Boehmer , Luther im Lichte der neueren Forschung, third ed., Leipzig, 1914.
Vedder , The Reformation in Germany, New York, 1914. A. STEIMLE.