Still we must thank God with all our heart that he still permits us to see him, as though he did not yet contemplate the withdrawal of his word, so that he has given you and others a spirit not offended by his word and a love for it. This is attested by the fact that you do not believe because of men but because of the word itself. There are many who believe because of me. However, only those are true Christians who would adhere to the word even if they heard that I myself (God forbid) had denied and forsaken it. These are the ones who are not affected by whatever base, horrible, and shameful things they hear about me or about our associates, for they believe not in Luther but in Christ himself. The word has them, and they have the word. They pay no heed to Luther, whether he be a knave or a saint. God can speak through Balaam as well as Isaiah, through Caiaphas as well as through Peter, yes, even through an ass. I subscribe to their opinion. I myself do not know Luther either, nor do I want to know him, nor do I preach anything about him, but about Christ. The devil may take him [Luther] if he is able to, but if he keeps his hands off Christ, all is well with us. (Luther’s Works, v.43, p.67-68)
Art. XI Das die Beicht nötig : die Zehlung aber aller Sünden unmöglich sey.
“That confession is necessary: that it is impossible to tell all sins.”
Psal. 51, v. 7 ; Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Ps. 19, v. 15 ; “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (v. 14)
[All of the pictures for this year’s posts are from an etching entitled “Augsburg Confession” by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) and found in the Royal Collection Trust.]