#37 The Devil’s Aping Tomfoolery

But the devil has a different purpose in mind. He wants the creature to derive new strength and power from his aping tomfoolery. Just as water becomes baptism by the power of God, a bath unto eternal life, washing away sin and bringing salvation, a power which is not inherent in water; just as bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; just as sins are remitted by the laying on of hands in accordance with God’s institution—so the devil too wants his mummery and aping tomfoolery to be strong and imbued with supernatural power. Holy water is to blot out sin, exorcise devils, fend off evil spirits, protect women in childbed, as the pope teaches us in the Aquam sale, de pe; consecrated salt is to have the same effect. An Agnus Dei consecrated by the pope is to do more than God himself can do, as this is described in verses that I should some day publish with marginal notes. Bells are to drive away devils in thunderstorms. St. Anthony’s knives stab the devil; consecrated herbs expel venomous worms; some blessings heal cows, keep off milk thieves, and quench fire; certain letters give security in war and at other times against iron, fire, water, wild beasts, etc.; monasticism, masses, and the like are said to confer more than ordinary salvation. Who can tell it all? There was no need so small that the devil did not institute a sacrament or holy possession for it, whereby one could receive advice and help. In addition, he had prophetesses, soothsayers, and sages able to reveal hidden things and to retrieve stolen goods.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.168-169)

Picture:  The chalice (Good Shepherd window top)

Posted in 2020 Church.

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