Luther's Table Talk

Friday, September 22, 2006

I purchased a good book not long ago: Martin Luther's Table Talk, "the culmination of all that is Martin Luther, revealed in conversations with his colleagues and students".

There are various topics including the church, angels, devil and his work, Christian life and even of lawyers!

I turned to his thoughts on Temptation and Tribulation. Reading them brought tears to my eyes. Here are some excerpts:

All heaviness of mind and melancholy come from the devil: especially these thoughts that God is not gracious unto him: that God will have no mercy upon him, etc. Whosoever you are, possessed with such heavy thoughts, know for certain, that they are a work of the devil. God sent His Son into the world, not to affright, but to comfort.

Therefore be of good courage, and think, that henceforward you are not the child of a human creature, but of God, through faith in Christ, in whose name you are baptised; therefore the spear of death cannot enter into you; he has no right unto you, much less can he hurt or prejudice you, for he is everlastingly swallowed up through Christ.

It is better for a Christian to be sorrowful than secure, as the people of this world are. Well it is for him that stands always in fear, yet knows he has in heaven a gracious God, for Christ's sake: as the Psalm says, "The Lord's delight is in them that fear him, and put their trust in his mercy".

It is impossible for a human heart, without crosses and tribulations, to think upon God.

David, doubtless, had worse devils than we, for without great tribulations, he could not have had so great and glorious revelations. David made Psalms. We also will make Psalms, and sing as well as we can to the honour of out Lord God, and to spite and mock the devil and his spouse.

The Lord our God is a God of humble and perplexed hearts who are in need, tribulation, and danger. If we were strong, we should be proud and haughty ... He will not quench the glimmering flax; neither will He break in pieces the bruised reed.

On 8th of August, 1529, Luther, with his wife, lay sick of a fever. Overwhelmed with dysentery, sciatica, and a dozen other maladies, he said: God has touched me sorely and I have been impatient, but God knows better than we whereto it serves. Our Lord God is like a printer, who sets the letters backwards, so that here we must to read them; when we are printed off, yonderm in the life to come, we shall read all clear and straightforward. Meantime we must have patience.

Picture by Rodolfo Clix

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