How goes it then with him? This way: when a man accepts the faith, he does not allow himself to think of it as something burdensome. He thinks of it as being like a little child, which is beautiful and well-formed and easy to carry, as Christopher found. For at first the gospel looks like a fine, pleasant, and childlike teaching; as we saw at the beginning, when it started everybody got cracking and wanted to be an Evangelical. There was such a yearning and thirst for it that no oven is as hot as the people were then. But what happened? The same thing that happened with Christopher. He did not find out how heavy the child was until he got into the deep water.
So it was with the gospel; when it began to take hold the waves rolled out and pope, bishops, princes, and the crazy rabble set themselves against it. Then we first began to feel how heavy the child is to carry. For it came so dose to the good Christopher that he came very near to drowning. As you see, the same thing is happening now; on the other side which is against the Word there are so many tricks and stratagems, so much deceit and cunning, everything aimed at one purpose, to drown us in the water. There is such threatening and terror that we would be frightened to death if we did not have another consolation to oppose to it.
All right then, anybody who has taken upon himself the burden of the Christ, the beloved child, must either carry him all the way across the water or drown; there is no middle way. It’s no good to drown; therefore we’ll go through the water with the Christ, even though it looks again as though we would have to stay in it. After all, we have the promise that he who has Christ and relies and believes on him can boldly say with David in Ps. 27 [:3], “Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet will I be confident.” Let them paw and stamp their feet, let them threaten and frighten as they please, were the water never so deep we shall nevertheless go through it with Christ. (Luther’s Works, v.51, p.202-203)
Psal. 34, v. 8 (7) “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
[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.]