“But we must take heart from this when we see so many deserting us. It frightens and estranges the people to see so many factions and sects, to witness such a terrible and pitiful situation where all was peace and quiet before. We must take the opposite view and say: ‘What frightens you consoles me, for it is a guarantee and certain evidence that ours is the true Word of God. If it were the word of the devil, it would move along softly and peacefully, just like a serpent slithering along. But if factions and sects result, it is surely God’s Word. And since this is the inevitable course, let it be so. That is what happened to Christ and the others, and we cannot expect to fare otherwise.’
The prophet Jeremiah had the same experience. In chapter 15, verse 10, we hear him lamenting and crying: ‘Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! When I open my mouth, only strife and factions issue forth. Although I have not lent money at usury or borrowed, yet everyone curses me.’ Jeremiah also said: ‘Alas, what shall I preach? I have resolved to keep silence and preach no more; for if I continue long, I will preach only to my own harm and disgrace. This people brings God’s Word down on my neck. Therefore I will content myself and let those preach who like to preach. Well, I would have been happy to do it; but Thy Word was as fire in my bones (Jer. 20:9)’” (Luther’s Works, v. 23, p. 291).