#63 Man Created His Own Not So “Holy Estates”

The pope and his cardinals, monks, nuns, and priests have tried to improve things and ordain a holy estate in which they might live in holiness and chastity. But how holy, pure, and chaste the lives of popes, cardinals, bishops, monks, priests, and nuns have been is so apparent that the sun, moon, and stars have cried out against it. Pigsties are nasty, dirty places, but they are clean and pure compared with the cloisters; for they have been leading such a chaste and pure life in the cloisters that one cannot very well even speak of it. Why, then, did this happen? Because they tore down and despised God’s holy ordinance of the estate of matrimony and they were not worthy to enter into marriage. But here those who have entered into holy matrimony in accord with God’s ordinance should love and esteem this saying of St. Paul:

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, etc

They should also pride themselves upon and comfort themselves with the fact that they are married; for here a man can say: I thank God that I have been created a man by God; or a woman: I thank God that I have been created a woman; and that we have also been placed by God in the holy estate of marriage in order to bring forth children according to his blessing and will. This honor, which those who are married have, is far greater. Therefore, nobody should hate or condemn this estate and ordinance of God, as the pope and his followers do, but rather highly exalt it and love and esteem it. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545” (Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.359-360)

#62 Practically All Men Should Marry and Be Married

Therefore all men should marry and be married, and since through the fall of our first parents we have been so spoiled that we are not all fit for marriage, yet those who are not fit for the married state should so live that they walk chastely and honorably and give offense to no one, though at the beginning it was not so and all were fit to become married. But now it happens that some do not want to enter the state of matrimony even though they are fit and qualified to marriage. Some, on the other hand, would like to be married and are unable to do so. Neither do I condemn and disapprove of these. The third group, however, who desire and want to be married and are also fit and competent to do so, even though they enter the marriage state contrary to human laws, do what is right, and nobody should be scandalized by what they do. For the married state should not be forbidden to anyone who is competent to be married, but should be free and open to everyone. And this estate should not be condemned and rejected as something foul and unclean, as the pope and his followers do. For to be married is an ordinance and institution of God, since when God created man and woman, he himself placed them in this estate in which they not only could but should live godly, honorable, pure, and chaste lives, bearing children and peopling the world, indeed, the kingdom of God.

Who, then, would be so bold as to tear down the glorious, holy ordinance of God or to say anything against it? Who, then, is so bold as to condemn this ordinance and despise it as useless, unholy, and unnecessary? (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545” (Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.359)

#61 God Created Us and He Instituted Marriage For Us

For there it is, written in the first book of Moses: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’ ” [Gen. 1:27–28].

There it is; these are not my words nor those of any other man, but God’s Word. This is the way he created and ordained it, and he who will not believe it, let him leave it. Moreover, the daily birth and arrival of all men proves that God wants his creation and ordinance, the holy estate of matrimony, to be maintained, in that little men and women are born and begin to grow up every day.

So every single one of us must declare and confess that we have not made or created ourselves; nor can we do it, neither could our parents do it. Who, then? The almighty, eternal God, the creator of all things, who first created and ordained little men and women for the marriage estate, he created us too for this estate. For I must freely confess and declare that I was created a male child, another a female child; I must confess that I am not a stone or a stick, but rather born and created a human being, man or woman. No man in the whole world, from the first to the latest, can say anything else. The people, especially the papists, are still raging and fuming beyond all bounds against this glorious creation of God, as if it should not exist. And if it were in the pope’s hand and power to create men, it would surely not exist; for he would not create or allow a single woman to exist in the whole world. What would happen then? Human beings would pass away. For it is certain that nobody is born without a mother; but what is born comes from the mother. And just as Adam did not make himself, but was created by God, so all men must be created by God in the womb and there sustained and later be born with God’s help into the world. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.358-359)

#60 Christians Live Sanctified Lives Within Marriage

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4).

This is a sermon concerning the holy estate of matrimony which is highly necessary, especially among Christians, that all men may know what the holy estate of matrimony really is and where it comes from, so that we shall not go on living so casually from day to day, like the heathen and dumb brutes who neither ask nor think about these things, but simply go on interbreeding and cohabiting promiscuously. No, among Christians, it must not be so; but rather as St. Paul says in I Thess. 4 [:3–5], “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from immorality; that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God.”

Therefore Christians should live in sanctification, not like swine and animals, nor like the heathen, who neither regard nor honor this estate. There is much to preach concerning this holy estate and divine ordinance of marriage, for it is the oldest of all estates in the whole world; indeed, all others are derived from that estate in which Adam and Eve, our first parents, were created and ordained and in which they and all their God-fearing children and descendants lived. (“Sermon at Marriage of Sigismund von Luindenau, 1545(Luther’s Works, v. 51, p.357-358)

#59 The Noble Work of Parenthood

There is no nobler work than that of being a parent, a preacher, or a magistrate. If you are a husband, a preacher, or a magistrate, learn not so say: Oh, if I were that fellow; he has the silver chain. Rather look to the station to which you have been called. If you are a preacher, a husband, a magistrate, you do not do what you do as a human work. There Peter has nailed the pope’s hands to the cross, so that I need preach nothing but the Word of God. The preacher teaches the church and parents teach their children; they guide the family in upright conduct and command that which is God’s commandment. A master does not say: Commit adultery, etc., but rather: Do no injury to me or to others, in order that all things may be governed as of God. Likewise a magistrate does not command stealing, but what is beneficial to the city and the common welfare. Thus we may know with certainty that it is a divine work and that this is God’s Word. And nobody should undertake to do anything unless he knows with certainty that he can say: Here is the Word of God. A servant should think in this way: I am not obeying a man, but God. It is not the parents who are honored by their children, but God, Christ. Likewise, if you despise parents, magistrates, preaching, you are really despising God. The pope preached the opposite; he preached that children should leave the parental home and go into the monastery; husbands even deserted their wives. The Anabaptists are also preaching something different and new. Whenever you hear me, you hear not me, but Christ. I do not give you my baptism, my body and blood; I do not absolve you. But he that has an office, let him administer that office in such a way that he is certain that it comes from God and does everything according to the Word of God, not according to our free will. Very much needs to be preached concerning this to check the abuses which the devil has introduced. When everything that is said and done is said and done in accord with God’s Word, then the glory of Christ and God will be done to all eternity. (Luther’s Works, v. 51 , p.298)

#57 Godly Administration… AND #58 Like Our Parents We Beget and Rear Children

#57 Godly Administration of Household, Children, Parents
The work of a married woman is not continuous praying and fasting, but the godly administration of children and the household, and the taking care of parents, as St. Paul says [I Tim. 5:4]. (Luther’s Works, v. 52, p.124)

#58 Like Our Parents We Beget and Rear Children
So I say in this case too: We were all created to do as our parents have done, to beget and rear children. This is a duty which God has laid upon us, commanded, and implanted in us, as is proved by our bodily members, our daily emotions, and the example of all mankind. (Luther’s Works, v. 45 p.155)

#56 Adam calls His Wife Mother

“Martin Luther looked admiringly at a painting of his wife and said, “I think I’ll have a husband added to that painting, send it to Mantua, and inquire whether they prefer marriage [to celibacy].”  Then he began to speak in praise of marriage, the divine institution from which everything proceeds and without which the whole world would have remained empty and all creatures would have been meaningless and of no account, since they were created for the sake of man. “So Eve and her breasts would not have existed, and none of the other ordinances would have followed. It was for this reason that, in the power of the Holy Spirit, Adam called his wife by that admirable name Eve, which means mother. He didn’t say ‘wife’ but ‘mother,’ and he added ‘of all living.’ Here you have the ornament that distinguishes woman, namely, that she is the fount of all living human beings. These words were very few, but neither Demosthenes nor Cicero ever composed such an oration. This is the oration of the very eloquent Holy Spirit, fitted to our first parent. He is the one who declaims here, and since this orator defines and praises [marriage] it is only right that we put a charitable construction on everything that may be frail in a woman. For Christ, our Savior, did not hold woman in contempt but entered the womb of a woman. Paul also reflected on this [when he wrote], ‘Woman will be saved through bearing children,’ etc. [I Tim. 2:15]. This is admirable praise, except that he uses the little word ‘woman’ and not ‘mother.’ ” (Luther’s Works, v. 54, p.222, No. 3528: In Praise of Women and Marriage, Between January 14 and 31, 1537)

#55 A Father Can Support 10 Children Better Than 10 Children Can Support 1 Father

The artist and mayor Lucas said that this is a perilous time, that there is widespread disobedience and ingratitude, so that a magistrate is very much occupied with cases involving the relation of parents and children. Luther responded, “There is an old proverb, ‘A father can support ten children better than ten children can support one father.’ It is not for nothing, therefore, that God urges the Fourth Commandment upon us, ‘Honor [your father and your mother] that your days may be long in the land’ [Exod. 20:12].” (Luther’s Works, v. 54, p.267, No. 3751: Ten Children Cannot Support One Father, February 17, 1538)

#54 Become The Spiritual Father of Him Who Is Your Physical Father.

Martin Weyer, a student of noble birth from Pomerania, was called back home by his father. Since the father was an old man and was accustomed to papistic usages, the son asked Dr. Martin Luther how he should deal with his father in order to be able to benefit him. He inquired if during the time of his father’s illness he ought to attend papistic ceremonies and, in particular, private mass.

Dr. Martin Luther replied that he should in every way accommodate himself to his father, under no circumstances offend him, and adapt himself to his fasting, praying, invocation of the saints, and hearing of masses. At the same time, Luther said, through the Word of God the son should instruct his parent in the doctrine of justification and the words of the Creed. Above all, he should diligently impress upon him the preaching of Jesus Christ, and only after all this should he dwell on his upright life and his pure conversation. Then there will be hope for the father. If the father should not be changed by all this, the son must bear his infirmity, pray, and commend him to God. He should take care in every possible way not to offend his father by his liberty but should become the spiritual father of him who is his physical father. If for this purpose he adjusts himself to his father, he will not sin by attending mass and other profane rites.

(Luther’s Works, v. 54, No. 4568: A Student Goes Home to See His Sick Father, May 7, 1539)

#53 Looking for a Wife—Pay Attention to Her Mother

Therefore I think that this priest was a different man from the one mentioned above, so that Joseph did not marry the daughter of his master and seems to have taken wise precautions in his own interest, since the example of the adulterous mother was at hand. Consequently, it is my opinion that the very honorable and chaste young man carefully abstained from marriage with the daughter of a most dishonorable mother.

For that monk counseled that anyone who wanted to court a maiden should not give his attention to the father but should rather consider the mother, since daughters generally imitate her ways.53 And the Germans have a proverb which says: “Beer tastes like the keg. If the mother is a harlot, the daughter is not pious.” Nevertheless, it can happen that an infamous mother or a godless father brings forth a daughter or a son who is good and honorable, and vice versa. It is my opinion that there were two men with this name, the former being in charge of the meat supply throughout all Egypt, the latter being the bishop of the churches and divine worship. This man’s daughter Joseph married on the advice of the king. But I leave it undecided whether this is the true opinion or not, because the Christian faith and religion are not imperiled in this point. (Luther’s Works, vol. 7, p 198).