Notice how our adversaries, those torturers from the devil, are torn and divided in their teachings in so many ways that they fail to realize their hopes, since they must be concerned with so much peril and misfortune that they can never act for a moment with certainty or confidence. And these penalties and punishments are only temporal! How can I comprehend their guilt, namely, that without God and through the devil’s craftiness they, beset by an evil conscience, are eternally lost? Even though they are uncertain as to the outcome of their endeavor, they keep on rejoicing in a hope that is completely and absolutely lost, while we, on the other hand, have God’s unfailing promises for our comfort.
In short, since God is the same and the cause is the same, in which he has upheld the faith of all the saints so that he might be vindicated, God will not now, just for our own sake, be found a liar; nor are we to make a liar of him. God grant, whether we do or do not believe, that he will yet defend his word and surely help [us]. This demands great effort and care so that, in the first place, we turn our eyes from the might [of this world] and second, hold fast to the word. Eye disregarded the word and relied on what was visible, but a Christian, in contrast, disregards what he can see and holds to the word. The godless do not do so but rely upon the emperor to uphold them in this world, but because they neglect the word, they will be mined and lost to eternity. In the year 1530. (Luther’s Works, v.43 p.184-185)
Art. XIX Das nicht Gott sonder der Teüffel eine ursach der sünde und alles bösen seye.
“That not God but the devil is the cause of sin and all evil.”
Gen. 3, v. 1 ; And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation saying,
Zep. 2, v. 14 ; And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the Cormorant and the Bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the threshold: for he shall uncover the cedar work.
[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.]