#38 Faith’s Pouch for Gold, And Love’s Pouch for Silver

When a child begins to understand this it should be encouraged to bring home verses of Scripture from the sermon and to repeat them at mealtime for the parents, even as they formerly used to recite their Latin. And then these verses should be put into the pouches and pockets, just as pennies, groschen, and gulden are put into a purse. For instance, let faiths pouch be for the gulden, and into the first pocket let this verse go: Romans 5 [:12], “… sin came into the world through one man and death through sin….” Also this one: Psalm 51 [:5], “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” These are two Rhenish gulden for the [first] pocket. Into the other pocket go the Hungarian gulden, for example this text, Romans 5 [4:25], “Jesus … was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Again John 3 [1:29], “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” These would be two good Hungarian gulden for the [second] pocket.

Let love’s pouch be the pouch for silver. Into the first pocket shall go the texts concerning well doing, such as Galatians 4 [5:13], “Through love be servants of one another”; Matthew 25 [:40], “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” These would be two silver groschen for the [first] pocket. Into the other pocket shall go this verse: Matthew 5 [:11], “Blessed are you when men … persecute you … on my account”; Hebrews 12 [:6], “For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” These are two Schreckenberger for the [second] pocket. (Luther’s Works, v. 53, p.64-67).

#37 The Two Pouches of Faith and Love

Likewise in the Ten Commandments, one must ask: What is meant by the First, the Second, the Third, and the other commandments? One may take these questions from our Betbüchlein where the three parts are briefly explained, or make others, until the heart may grasp the whole sum of Christian truth under two headings or, as it were, in two pouches, namely, faith and love. Faiths pouch may have two pockets. Into one pocket we put the part [of faith] that believes that through the sin of Adam we are all corrupt, sinners, and under condemnation, Romans 5 [:12], Psalm 51 [:5]. Into the other we put the part [of faith that trusts] that through Jesus Christ we all are redeemed from this corruption, sin, and condemnation, Romans 5 [:15–21], John 3 [:16–18]. Loves pouch may also have two pockets. Into the one put this piece, that we should serve and do good to everyone, even as Christ has done for us, Romans 13. Into the other put this piece, that we should gladly endure and suffer all kinds of evil. (Luther’s Works, v. 53, p.64-67).

#36 Parents, Take the Trouble to Train Children In the Catechism

These three plainly and briefly contain exactly everything that a Christian needs to know. This instruction must be given, as long as there is no special congregation, from the pulpit at stated times or daily as may be needed, and repeated or read aloud evenings and mornings in the homes for the children and servants, in order to train them as Christians. Nor should they only learn to say the words by rote. But they should be questioned point by point and give answer what each part means and how they understand it. If everything cannot be covered at once, let one point be taken up today, and tomorrow another. If parents and guardians won’t take the trouble to do this, either themselves or through others, there never will be a catechism, except a separate congregation be organized as stated above.

In this manner they should be questioned:
What do you pray?
Answer: The Our Father.
What is meant when you say: Our Father in Heaven?
Answer: That God is not an earthly, but a heavenly Father who would make us rich and blessed in heaven.
What is meant by: Hallowed be thy name?
Answer: That we should honor his name and keep it from being profaned.
How do we profane or dishonor his name?
Answer: When we, who should be his children, live evil lives and teach and believe what is wrong.
And so on, what is meant by the kingdom of God, how it comes, what is meant by the will of God, by daily bread, etc., etc.
So in the Creed:
what do you believe?
Answer: I believe in God the Father, … to the end.
Thereafter from point to point, as time permits, one or two points at a time. For instance:
What does it mean to believe in God the Father Almighty?
Answer: It means to trust in him with all your heart and confidently to expect all grace, favor, help, and comfort from him, now and forever.
What does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ his Son?
Answer: It means to believe with the heart that we would all be eternally lost if Christ had not died for us, etc. (Luther’s Works, v. 53, p.64-67).

#35 Reasonableness in How Strict to Raise Children

“Stealing is no art. It’s deception, manual dexterity. Presto, and the stuff is gone! That’s how the gypsies were.”  Then he [Martin Luther] spoke about children and said that they should not be allowed to commit thefts. “However, one ought to observe reasonableness. If only cherries, apples, and the like are involved, such childish pranks ought not to be punished so severely; but if money, clothing, or coffers have been seized it is time to punish. My parents kept me under very strict discipline, even to the point of making me timid. For the sake of a mere nut my mother beat me until the blood flowed. By such strict discipline they finally forced me into the monastery; though they meant it heartily well, I was only made timid by it. They weren’t able to keep a right balance between temperament and punishment. One must punish in such a way that the rod is accompanied by the apple. It’s a bad thing if children and pupils lose their spirit on account of their parents and teachers. There have been bungling schoolmasters who spoiled many excellent talents by their rudeness. Ah, what a time we had on Fridays with the lupus and on Thursdays with the parts of Donatus! Then they asked each pupil to parse precisely, according to Donatus, legeris, legere, legitur, and even lecti mei ars. These tests were nothing short of torture. Whatever the method that’s used, it ought to pay attention to the difference in aptitudes and teach in such a way that all children are treated with equal love.” (Luther’s Works, v. 54, p.234, No. 3566A: Children Must Be Disciplined with Understanding, Between March 28 and May 27, 1537)

#35a- The Door, Anchor and Path

But when we know and consider that Christ came down from heaven and loved sinners in obedience to the Father, then there springs up in us a bold approach to and firm hope in Christ. We learn that Christ is the real epistle, the golden book, in which we read and learn how he always kept before him the will of the Father. So Christ is the “access to the Father” [Eph. 2:18] as St. Paul says. And John too bears witness that Christ said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” [John 14:6]. “I am also the door” [John 10:7] and “no one comes to the Father, but by me” [John 14:6]. Now we see that there is no shorter way to the Father except that we love Christ, hope and trust in him, boldly look to him for everything good, learn to know and praise him. For then it will be impossible that we should have a miserable, frightened, dejected conscience; in Christ it will be heartened and refreshed. But the Scriptures say concerning the sinners: “The wicked shall perish and be driven away like dust” [cf. Ps. 1:4, 6]. Therefore the sinners flee and know not where to go; for when the conscience does not hope and trust in God it cowers and trembles before the purity and righteousness of God. It can have no sweet assurance; it flees and still has nowhere to go unless it finds and catches hold of Christ, the true door and anchor. Yes, this is the way that all Christians should learn. But we go plunging on, taking hold in our own name, with our understanding and reason, and do not see or ever take to heart how kindly, sweetly, and lovingly Christ has dealt with people. For the Father commanded him to do so. This tastes sweet to the faithful soul and it gives all the glory, praise, and honor to the Father through the Son, Christ Jesus. So God has nothing but the best and he offers it to us, weeds us, sustains us, and cares for us through his Son. That’s the way our hearts are changed to follow Christ”  (Luther’s Works, v. 51, p. 46).

#34- The Exercise of the Godly and The Worship of the New Testament

Isaiah 25:8. He will swallow up death forever. He follows Hosea’s word (Hos. 13:14): “O Death, I will be your plagues. O Sheol, I will be your destruction.” For He says that He will soon extinguish death, but that he will always swallow it up little by little, just as our old man day by day ought to swallow up death through the Spirit. So also Christ destroys death. As a plague consumes the body little by little, so Christ is the pestilence of our death and of our old Adam.

And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, that is, from all faces, miseries, disasters, griefs, and tears Christ frees us and consoles us in our spirit.

And the reproach of His people He will take away. Since the godly are nothing but the cast-offs and offscourings and the reproach of the whole world who are rejected by all, so that nothing remains for them but sufferings without and within inflicted by the devil, O that these consolations of Christ may by all means find a place in us, so that He can console us in our wretchedness and affliction and we may daily come to a better knowledge of Him. Our King, Christ, who has such an afflicted people, is such that He always comforts them.

  1. It will be said on that day: Lo, this is our God. This is the preaching concerning Christ, and he is describing the worship of the New Testament, because the prophets always distinguish between the worship of the New Testament and that of the Old Testament. The worship of the New Testament is to believe, to trust, to hope in God’s mercy. No one has this kind of faith and hope except those who have been thoroughly afflicted both inwardly and outwardly. The prophet says not only that He will save us, but he adds:

Let us be glad and rejoice, that is, let us give thanks to God in various forms of praise even in all afflictions, for if we have been set free from one evil, we arrive at another one. This is the exercise of the godly and the worship of the New Testament” (Luther’s Works, v. 16, p. 197-198).

#33- With Christ—Out of Death to Life

Isaiah 25:6. The Lord of hosts will make a feast. Here the prophet is speaking of the abundance of the Gospel. This is Martin Luther’s thought: In that time when the Gospel will be preached, God will prepare a feast of fat things; that is, Jerusalem, fat with great and many people, will be laid waste, and God will prepare this feast, namely, of the rich and powerful Jews. For all peoples, for the Romans and others. A feast of lees, not of grapes. He says that it will be a fat feast. All the fat animals will be devoured, and all the wine must be drawn out down to the lees. This means that this people of Judea is to be altogether exhausted and destroyed.

A feast of fat things full of marrow. He repeats what he has already said above. The inner and choicest part of the barley is called marrow; it is also called fat. He has fed them with the fat of the grain. Thus among this people He has oppressed princes, kings, and nobles, not just the common people.

Wine on the lees well refined for “grapes squeezed out.” This means that everything is devoured and drained to the last dregs and remnants. Thus by this comparison he most aptly pictures the total reduction of Judea.

  1. And He will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all the peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He wants to say: “This will be the fruit of the Gospel, that He will remove from us every appearance of chains. And we rise with Christ. ‘We have passed out of death into life’ ” (1 John 3:14). But he speaks of death and the things that pertain to death figuratively.

The appearance of coverings, which means that all nations are wrapped up in death. From this appearance of death and from death itself and from all evils we are set free by faith in the Word and through the Spirit. “The appearance of the covering” refers to death and all its evils. However, he calls it “the appearance of the covering” and shows that its appearance and bonds have easily been made subject to Christ” (Luther’s Works, v. 16, p. 196-197).

#32- The Gospel Offered Free of Charge

Isaiah 55:1. Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money.

This is an exhortation for Christians in the midst of their trials, lest disgust take control of all of them. This is a most destructive pestilence in the church. We must be acutely on guard and alert, although we dwell in the sluggish flesh, and be militant in the exercise of the Word. No matter how  much the secure flesh sleeps, as in the case of those who are seized by the pestilence, we must nevertheless persevere against this temptation and overcome it. Let no one seem to himself to have accomplished much in Scripture and to have heard many things, since in spite of that he loses the knowledge of the Word in forgetfulness day by day. From there let the mind be restored and recleansed as from a fog of ignorance, so that the heat and fervor in the Word may increase against the gates of death. Where people have been especially trained in the Word, there they are most negligent. This is a common complaint of preachers. Such exhortation is therefore especially necessary, lest they fall into contempt and loathing of the Word.

Everyone who thirsts, etc. The church is the assembly that clings to the Word, an assembly that is in need, in hunger and thirst. Therefore it attracts those who seek and love the Word and deals with them, lest they be slothful or give up. It is as if he were saying: “Embrace this holy teaching which is applied and offered to you free of charge.” Since it is a free gift, it is not to be acquired by one’s own payment, something that only the godly souls understand. The ungodly world wants to be deceived. It does not receive things offered free of charge but spurns them as worthless. Yet it embraces the precious papistic things and does so even at a high price. Formerly the pope gnawed so much wealth away from Germany, and yet the Germans most vehemently strove to obtain his wares. At length so much was expended and set forth for those magnificent cloisters, and they were therefore regarded with the highest reverence. All things that are free are accounted worthless. Thus the Gospel, offered to the world free of charge, is not accepted. Only the simple and unlettered pay attention to it, receive it, and embrace it zealously, something that we scarcely achieve by supreme vigils, frequent readings, and sermons”  (Luther’s Works, v. 17, p. 249).

#31- The Sprinkling with Blood Denotes Preaching

Isaiah 52:15. So shall He startle many nations. Here the glory appears again. The prophet proceeds with two members. He says that this Servant is wise and glorious, but there follows another member. He will be without glory and despised. Then follows that His glory will nevertheless be such that He will startle the nations, and the kings will shut their mouths. That is to say, all kings will become ashamed and will know that this King is supreme, and hence they will shut their mouths. They will all humble themselves. Reconcile9 this contradiction, that all kings regarded themselves as servants with relation to Him. And yet He will be despised and without glory. Therefore Christ’s kingdom is indeed spiritual and ultimately beyond death.

Sprinkle. This is a Hebraism for “it will be preached.” Sprinkling in the Law denotes preaching, as if to say: “After Christ will have suffered, He will be proclaimed not only among the Jews but also among the Gentiles as water is thrown at and sprinkled on people.” So Peter speaks of “sprinkling with His blood” (1 Peter 1:2) to denote preaching about the blood of Christ. So then we must preach that Christ is both glorious and despised. So Paul preaches Christ alone as misshapen and as crucified. And so He must always be preached, but He shall nonetheless be received even by kings. This is a powerful text against the Jews. They can refer this preaching to no king but Christ.

For that which has not been told them. Paul alludes to this passage when he says that he has not come to Rome because he was kept from it by his preaching in a new place (cf. Rom. 15:22). That place deals with the propagation of the Word, so that His Word might be heard everywhere by kings who shut their mouths. Thus Christ is pictured as being preached even among the Gentiles. Here you clearly see a spiritual kingdom described, one that does not move forward with weapons but with word and recital. So this kingdom of Christ’s suffering and resurrection was promoted in the church by preaching alone. ”  (Luther’s Works, v. 17, p. 217-218).

#30- The Form of Christ’s Glorification

Isaiah 52:14. As many as were astonished at Him. The prophet describes the person. But this is the way it will be. The ministry and glorification of Christ will assume such a form that the whole world will be offended because of Him. This glorious King will be in such a form that many will be astonished at Him. I read it thus: Many are offended at Him. The Hebrew שָׁמַם means to be startled, distorted. The word describes the posture of one about to vomit and of one full of revulsion, because His appearance will be so vile that many will be sick and offended. At Him. Why this?

Because His appearance was marred beyond human semblance. He looks repulsive by comparison with other people. Here you see the glorious King described as a man of the most hideous appearance in opposition to the Jews, who look for Him in a glorious form. It follows therefore that the Messiah is not to be looked for as coming with a physical kingdom, since His appearance is so extremely marred. He is numbered with the transgressors, crucified as a rebel, killed by His own people in supreme disgrace, and the most abandoned of men. His public appearance as of one doing nothing has magnificence. Note, then, that this Servant will be more disgraceful in the eyes of men than all other men. For that reason the Jews should receive Him, and yet for that reason many are offended because of Him, since His appearance will be so offensive.

And His form beyond that of the sons of men. This repeats what was said above, that His form is more contemptible than that of other sons of men. No one is despised as much as He”  (Luther’s Works, v. 17, p. 216-217).