So the two heroes meet, each doing as much as possible. The devil brews one calamity after another; for he is a mighty, malicious, and turbulent spirit. So it is time that our dear God be concerned about his honor; for the Word which we wield is a weak and miserable Word, and we who have and wield it are also weak and miserable men, bearing the treasure as Paul says [II Cor. 4:7], in earthen vessels, which can easily be shattered and broken. Therefore the evil spirit spares no effort and confidently lashes out to see if he can smash the little vessel; for there it is under his nose and he cannot stand it. So the battle really begins in earnest, with water and fire to dampen and quench the little spark. Then our Lord God looks on for a while and puts us in a tight place, so that we may learn from our own experience that the small, weak, miserable Word is stronger than the devil and the gates of hell. They are to storm the castle, the devil and his cohorts. But let them storm; they will find something there that will make them sweat, and still they will not gain it; for it is a rock, as Christ calls it, which cannot be conquered. So let us suffer what comes upon us and thus we shall learn that God will stand by us to guard and shield us against this enemy and all his adherents. (Luther’s Works, v.51, p.206-207)
Picture: Satan Bound from Das Newe Testament Deuotzsch.
The image is from Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) September Testament. The image is based on Revelation chapter 20. An angel, holding a key, binds the beast in the abyss for the thousand years of peace. Woodcut designed by Lucas Cranach, the Elder (1472-1553), a close friend of Martin Luther. http://pitts.emory.edu/