The second reason is this, that even though God does not want to assault and torment us, the devil does, and he cannot abide the Word. He is by nature so malicious and venomous that he cannot endure anything which is good. It irks him that an apple should be growing on a tree; it pains and vexes him that you have a sound finger, and if he were able he would tear everything apart and put it out of joint.
But there is nothing to which he is so hostile as the beloved Word. And the reason is that he can conceal himself beneath every created thing; only the Word exposes him, so that he cannot hide himself, and shows everybody how black he is. Then he fights back and resists and draws together the princes and the bishops, thinking thus to conceal himself again. But it is of no avail; the Word nevertheless drags him out into the light. Therefore he too does not rest, and because the gospel cannot suffer him, so he cannot suffer the gospel, and that makes it equal. And if our dear God were not guarding us through his angels and we were able to see the devil’s cunning, conspiring, and lying, we should die of the sight of it alone, so many are the cannon and guns he has ranged against us. But God prevents them from striking us. (Luther’s Works, v.51, p.206)
Picture: Whore of Babylon from Das Newe Testament Deuotzsch.
The image is the “Whore of Babylon” from Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) September Testament. The image is based on Revelation chapter 17. A harlot sits on a beast with seven heads and ten horns (v 17:3), decked with precious stones and pearls, with a golden cup in her hand full of abominations (v 17:4). She is drunk (v 17:6) and a king (v 17:10) worships her along with others kneeling before her. The triple tiara crown identifies the harlot as the pope. The image is by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), a close friend of Martin Luther (1483-1546). This symbolism was considered too offensive and the triple tiara became a single tiara in the second edition of Luther’s New Testament which appeared in December 1522. http://pitts.emory.edu/