Therefore the ecclesia, “the holy Christian people,” does not have mere external words, sacraments, or offices, like God’s ape Satan has, and in far greater numbers, but it has these as commanded, instituted, and ordained by God, so that he himself and not any angel will work through them with the Holy Spirit. They are called word, baptism, sacrament, and office of forgiveness, not of angels, men, or any other creature, but of God; only he does not choose to do it through his unveiled, brilliant, and glorious majesty, out of consideration for us poor, weak, and timid mortals and for our comfort, for who could bear such majesty for an instant in this poor and sinful flesh? As Moses says, “Man shall not see me and live” [Exod. 33:20]. If the Jews could not endure even the shoes of his feet on Mount Sinai, that is, the thunder and the clouds, how could they, with their feeble eyes, have endured the sight of the sun of his divine majesty and the clear light of his countenance? No, he wants to work through tolerable, kind, and pleasant means, which we ourselves could not have chosen better. He has, for instance, a godly and kind man speak to us, preach, lay his hands on us, remit sin, baptize, give us bread and wine to eat and to drink. Who can be terrified by these pleasing methods, and wouldn’t rather delight in them with all his heart? (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.171)
Picture: A banner “Die Ev. Luth. Dreieinigkeits Kirche, U.A.C. St. Louis, Mo,” The Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church. Unaltered Augsburg Confession, destroyed by a tornado on May 27, 1896 and rebuilt and reopened May 28, 1897.