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_A treatise on Good Works

together with the

Letter of Dedication_

by Dr. Martin Luther, 1520

Published in:

_Works of Martin Luther_

Adolph Spaeth, L.D. Reed, Henry Eyster Jacobs, et Al., Trans. & Eds.

(Philadelphia: A. J. Holman Company, 1915), Vol. 1, pp. 173-285.

XVIII. So far we have treated of the first work and of

the First Commandment, but very briefly, plainly and

hastily, for very much might be said of it. We will now

trace the works farther through the following

Commandments.

The second work, next to faith, is the work of the Second

Commandment, that we shall honor God's Name and not take

it in vain. This, like all the other works, cannot be

done without faith; and if it is done without faith, it

is all sham and show. After faith we can do no greater

work than to praise, preach, sing and in every way exalt

and magnify God's glory, honor and Name.

And although I have said above, and it is true, that

there is no difference in works where faith is and does

the work, yet this is true only when they are compared

with faith and its works. Measured by one another there

is a difference, and one is higher than the other. Just

as in the body the members do not differ when compared

with health, and health works in the one as much as in

the other; yet the works of the members are different,

and one is higher, nobler, more useful than the other;

so, here also, to praise God's glory and Name is better

than the works of the other Commandments which follow;

and yet it must be done in the same faith as all the

others.

But I know well that this work is lightly esteemed, and

has indeed become unknown. Therefore we must examine it

further, and will say no more about the necessity of

doing it in the faith and confidence that it pleases God.

Indeed there is no work in which confidence and faith are

so much experienced and felt as in honoring God's Name;

and it greatly helps to strengthen and increase faith,

although all works also help to do this, as St. Peter

says, II. Peter i: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give

diligence through good works to make your calling and

election sure."

XIX. The First Commandment forbids us to have other gods,

and thereby commands that we have a God, the true God, by

a firm faith, trust, confidence, hope and love, which are

the only works whereby a man can have, honor and keep a

God; for by no other work can one find or lose God except

by faith or unbelief, by trusting or doubting; of the

other works none reaches quite to God. So also in the

Second Commandment we are forbidden to use His Name in

vain. Yet this is not to be enough, but we are thereby

also commanded to honor, call upon, glorify, preach and

praise His Name. And indeed it is impossible that God's

Name should not be dishonored where it is not rightly

honored. For although it be honored with the lips,

bending of the knees, kissing and other postures, if this

is not done in the heart by faith, in confident trust in

God's grace, it is nothing else than an evidence and

badge of hypocrisy.

See now, how many kinds of good works a man can do under

this Commandment at all times and never be without the

good works of this Commandment, if he will; so that he

truly need not make a long pilgrimage or seek holy

places. For, tell me, what moment can pass in which we do

not without ceasing receive God's blessings, or, on the

other hand, suffer adversity? But what else are God's

blessings and adversities than a constant urging and

stirring up to praise, honor, and bless God, and to call

upon His Name? Now if you had nothing else at all to do,

would you not have enough to do with this Commandment

alone, that you without ceasing bless, sing, praise and

honor God's Name? And for what other purpose have tongue,

voice, language and mouth been created? As Psalm li.

says: "Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show

forth Thy praise." Again: "My tongue shall sing aloud of

Thy mercy."

What work is there in heaven except that of this Second

Commandment? As it is written in Psalm Ixxxiv: "Blessed

are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be for ever

praising Thee." So also David says in Psalm xxxiv: "God's

praise shall be continually in my mouth." And St. Paul,

I. Corinthians x: "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or

whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Also

Colossians iii: "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all

in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and

the Father." If we were to observe this work, we would

have a heaven here on earth and always have enough to do,

as have the saints in heaven.

XX. On this is based the wonderful and righteous judgment

of God, that at times a poor man, in whom no one can see

many great works, in the privacy of his home joyfully

praises God when he fares well, or with entire confidence

calls upon Him when he fares ill, and thereby does a

greater and more acceptable work than another, who fasts

much, prays much, endows churches, makes pilgrimages, and

burdens himself with great deeds in this place and in

that. Such a fool opens wide his mouth, looks for great

works to do, and is so blinded that he does not at all

notice this greatest work, and praising God is in his

eyes a very small matter compared with the great idea he

has formed of the works of his own devising, in which he

perhaps praises himself more than God, or takes more

pleasure in them than he does in God; and thus with his

good works he storms against the Second Commandment and

its works. Of all this we have an illustration in the

case of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Gospel. For

the sinner calls upon God in his sins, and praises Him,

and so has hit upon the two highest Commandments, faith

and God's honor. The hypocrite misses both and struts

about with other good works by which he praises himself

and not God, and puts his trust in himself more than in

God. Therefore he is justly rejected and the other

chosen.

The reason of all this is that the higher and better the

works are, the less show they make; and that every one

thinks they are easy, because it is evident that no one

pretends to praise God's Name and honor so much as the

very men who never do it and with their show of doing it,

while the heart is without faith, cause the precious work

to be despised. So that the Apostle St. Paul dare say

boldly, Romans ii, that they blaspheme God's Name who

make their boast of God's Law. For to name the Name of

God and to write His honor on paper and on the walls is

an easy matter; but genuinely to praise and bless Him in

His good deeds and confidently to call upon Him in all

adversities, these are truly the most rare, highest

works, next to faith, so that if we were to see how few

of them there are in Christendom, we might despair for

very sorrow. And yet there is a constant increase of

high, pretty, shining works of men's devising, or of

works which look like these true works, but at bottom are

all without faith and without faithfulness; in short,

there is nothing good back of them. Thus also Isaiah

xlviii. rebukes the people of Israel: "Hear ye this, ye

which are called by the name of Israel, which swear by

the Name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of

Israel neither in truth, nor in righteousness"; that is,

they did it not in the true faith and confidence, which

is the real truth and righteousness, but trusted in

themselves, their works and powers, and yet called upon

God's Name and praised Him, two things which do not fit

together.

XXI. The first work of this Commandment then is, to

praise God in all His benefits, which are innumerable, so

that such praise and thanksgiving ought also of right

never to cease or end. For who can praise Him perfectly

for the gift of natural life, not to mention all other

temporal and eternal blessings? And so through this one

part of the Commandment man is overwhelmed with good and

precious works; if he do these in true faith, he has

indeed not lived in vain. And in this matter none sin so

much as the most resplendent saints, who are pleased with

themselves and like to praise themselves or to hear

themselves praised, honored and glorified before men.

Therefore the second work of this Commandment is, to be

on one's guard, to flee from and to avoid all temporal

honor and praise, and never to seek a name for oneself,

or fame and a great reputation, that every one sing of

him and tell of him; which is an exceedingly dangerous

sin, and yet the most common of all, and, alas! little

regarded. Every one wants to be of importance and not to

be the least, however small he may be; so deeply is

nature sunk in the evil of its own conceit and in its

self-confidence contrary to these two first Commandments.

Now the world regards this terrible vice as the highest

virtue, and this makes it exceedingly dangerous for those

who do not understand and have not had experience of

God's Commandments and the histories of the Holy

Scriptures, to read or hear the heathen books and

histories. For all heathen books are poisoned through and

through with this striving after praise and honor; in

them men are taught by blind reason that they were not

nor could be men of power and worth, who are not moved by

praise and honor; but those are counted the best, who

disregard body and life, friend and property and

everything in the effort to win praise and honor. All the

holy Fathers have complained of this vice and with one

mind conclude that it is the very last vice to be

overcome. St. Augustine says: "All other vices are

practised in evil works; only honor and self-satisfaction

are practised in and by means of good works."

Therefore if a man had nothing else to do except this

second work of this Commandment, he would yet have to

work all his life-time in order to fight this vice and

drive it out, so common, so subtile, so quick and

insidious is it. Now we all pass by this good work and

exercise ourselves in many other lesser good works, nay,

through other good works we overthrow this and forget it

entirely. So the holy Name of God, which alone should be

honored, is taken in vain and dishonored through our own

cursed name, self-approval and honor-seeking. And this

sin is more grievous before God than murder and adultery;

but its wickedness is not so clearly seen as that of

murder, because of its subtilty, for it is not

accomplished in the coarse flesh, but in the spirit.

XXII. Some think it is good for young people that they be

enticed by reputation and honor, and again by shame of

and dishonor, and so be induced to do good. For there are

many who do the good and leave the evil undone out of

fear of shame and love of honor, and so do what they

would otherwise by no means do or leave undone. These I

leave to their opinion. But at present we are seeking how

true good works are to be done, and they who are inclined

to do them surely do not need to be driven by the fear of

shame and the love of honor; they have, and are to have a

higher and far nobler incentive, namely, God's

commandment, God's fear, God's approval, and their faith

and love toward God. They who have not, or regard not

this motive, and let shame and honor drive them, these

also have their reward, as the Lord says, Matthew vi; and

as the motive, so is also the work and the reward: none

of them is good, except only in the eyes of the world.

Now I hold that a young person could be more easily

trained and incited by God's fear and commandments than

by any other means. Yet where these do not help, we must

endure that they do the good and leave the evil for the

sake of shame and of honor, just as we must also endure

wicked men or the imperfect, of whom we spoke above; nor

can we do more than tell them that their works are not

satisfactory and right before God, and so leave them

until they learn to do right for the sake of God's

commandments also. Just as young children are induced to

pray, fast, learn, etc., by gifts and promises of the

parents, even though it would not be good to treat them

so all their lives, so that they never learn to do good

in the fear of God: far worse, if they become accustomed

to do good for the sake of praise and honor.

XXIII. But this is true, that we must none the less have

a good name and honor, and every one ought so to live

that nothing evil can be said of him, and that he give

offence to no one, as St. Paul says, Romans xii: "We are

to be zealous to do good, not only before God, but also

before all men." And II. Corinthians iv: "We walk so

honestly that no man knows anything against us." But

there must be great diligence and care, lest such honor

and good name puff up the heart, and the heart find

pleasure in them. Here the saying of Solomon holds: "As

the fire in the furnace proveth the gold, so man is

proved by the mouth of him that praises him." Few and

most spiritual men must they be, who, when honored and

praised, remain indifferent and unchanged, so that they

do not care for it, nor feel pride and pleasure in it,

but remain entirely free, ascribe all their honor and

fame to God, offering it to Him alone, and using it only

to the glory of God, to the edification of their

neighbors, and in no way to their own benefit or

advantage; so that a man trust not in his own honor, nor

exalt himself above the most incapable, despised man on

earth, but acknowledge himself a servant of God, Who has

given him the honor in order that with it he may serve

God and his neighbor, just as if He had commanded him to

distribute some gulden to the poor for His sake. So He

says, Matthew v: "Your light shall shine before men, so

that they may see your good works and glorify your Father

Who is in heaven." He does not say, "they shall praise

you," but "your works shall only serve them to

edification, that through them they may praise God in you

and in themselves." This is the correct use of God's Name

and honor, when God is thereby praised through the

edification of others. And if men want to praise us and

not God in us, we are not to endure it, but with all our

powers forbid it and flee from it as from the most

grievous sin and robbery of divine honor.

XXIV. Hence it comes that God frequently permits a man to

fall into or remain in grievous sin, in order that he may

be put to shame in his own eyes and in the eyes of all

men, who otherwise could not have kept himself from this

great vice of vain honor and fame, if he had remained

constant in his great gifts and virtues; so God must ward

off this sin by means of other grievous sins, that His

Name alone may be honored; and thus one sin becomes the

other's medicine, because of our perverse wickedness,

which not only does the evil, but also misuses all that

is good.

Now see how much a man has to do, if he would do good

works, which always are at hand in great number, and with

which he is surrounded on all sides; but, alas! because

of his blindness, he passes them by and seeks and runs

after others of his own devising and pleasure, against

which no man can sufficiently speak and no man can

sufficiently guard. With this all the prophets had to

contend, and for this reason they were all slain, only

because they rejected such self-devised works and

preached only God's commandments, as one of them says,

Jeremiah vii: "Thus saith the God of Israel unto you:

Take your burnt offerings unto all your sacrifices and

eat your burnt-offerings and your flesh yourselves; for

concerning these things I have commanded you nothing, but

this thing commanded I you: Obey My voice (that is, not

what seems right and good to you, but what I bid you),

and walk in the way that I have commanded you." And

Deuteronomy xii: "Thou shalt not do whatsoever is right

in thine own eyes, but what thy God has commanded thee."

These and numberless like passages of Scripture are

spoken to tear man not only from sins, but also from the

works which seem to men to be good and right, and to turn

men, with a single mind, to the simple meaning of God's

commandment only, that they shall diligently observe this

only and always, as it is written, Exodus xiii: "These

commandments shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine

hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes." And Psalm

i: "A godly man meditates in God's Law day and night."

For we have more than enough and too much to do, if we

are to satisfy only God's commandments. He has given us

such commandments that if we understand them aright, we

dare not for a moment be idle, and might easily forget

all other works. But the evil spirit, who never rests,

when he cannot lead us to the left into evil works,

fights on our right through self-devised works that seem

good, but against which God has commanded, Deuteronomy

xxviii, and Joshua xxiii, "Ye shall not go aside from My

commandments to the right hand or to the left."

XXV. The third work of this Commandment is to call C upon

God's Name in every need. For this God regards as keeping

His Name holy and greatly honoring it, if we name and

call upon it in adversity and need. And this is really

why He sends us so much trouble, suffering, adversity and

even death, and lets us live in many wicked, sinful

affections, that He may thereby urge man and give him

much reason to run to Him, to cry aloud to Him, to call

upon His holy Name, and thus to fulfil this work of the

Second Commandment, as He says in Psalm 1: "Call upon Me

in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou

shalt glorify Me; for I desire the sacrifice of praise."

And this is the way whereby thou canst come unto

salvation; for through such works man perceives and

learns what God's Name is, how powerful it is to help all

who call upon it; and whereby confidence and faith grow

mightily, and these are the fulfilling of the first and

highest Commandment. This is the experience of David,

Psalm liv: "Thou hast delivered me out of all trouble,

therefore will I praise Thy Name and confess that it is

lovely and sweet." And Psalm xci says, "Because he hath

set his hope upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I

will help him, because he hath known My Name."

Lo! what man is there on earth, who would not all his

life long have enough to do with this work? For who lives

an hour without trials? I will not mention the trials of

adversity, which are innumerable. For this is the most

dangerous trial of all, when there is no trial and every

thing is and goes well; for then a man is tempted to

forget God, to become too bold and to misuse the times of

prosperity. Yea, here he has ten times more need to call

upon God's Name than when in adversity. Since it is

written, Psalm xci, "A thousand shall fall on the left

hand and ten thousand on the right hand."

So too we see in broad day, in all men's daily

experience, that more heinous sins and vice occur when

there is peace, when all things are cheap and there are

good times, than when war, pestilence, sicknesses and all

manner of misfortune burden us; so that Moses also fears

for his people, lest they forsake God's commandment for

no other reason than because they are too full, too well

provided for and have too much peace, as he says,

Deuteronomy xxxii "My people is waxed rich, full and fat;

therefore has it forsaken its God." Wherefore also God

let many of its enemies remain and would not drive them

out, in order that they should not have peace and must

exercise themselves in the keeping of God's commandments,

as it is written, Judges iii. So He deals with us also,

when He sends us all kinds of misfortune: so exceedingly

careful is He of us, that He may teach us and drive us to

honor and call upon His Name, to gain confidence and

faith toward Him, and so to fulfil the first two

Commandments.

XXVI. Here foolish men run into danger, and especially

the work-righteous saints, and those who want to be more

than others; they teach men to make the sign of the

cross; one arms himself with letters, another runs to the

fortunetellers; one seeks this, another that, if only

they may thereby escape misfortune and be secure. It is

beyond telling what a devilish allurement attaches to

this trifling with sorcery, conjuring and superstition,

all of which is done only that men may not need God's

Name and put no trust in it. Here great dishonor is done

the Name of God and the first two Commandments, in that

men look to the devil, men or creatures for that which

should be sought and found in God alone, through naught

but a pure faith and confidence, and a cheerful

meditation of and calling upon His holy Name.

Now examine this closely for yourself and see whether

this is not a gross, mad perversion: the devil, men and

creatures they must believe, and trust to them for the

best; without such faith and confidence nothing holds or

helps. How shall the good and faithful God reward us for

not believing and trusting Him as much or more than man

and the devil, although He not only promises help and

sure assistance, but also commands us confidently to look

for it, and gives and urges all manner of reasons why we

should place such faith and confidence in Him? Is it not

lamentable and pitiable that the devil or man, who

commands nothing and does not urge, but only promises, is

set above God, Who promises, urges and commands; and that

more is thought of them than of God Himself? We ought

truly to be ashamed of ourselves and learn from the

example of those who trust the devil or men. For if the

devil, who is a wicked, lying spirit, keeps faith with

all those who ally themselves with him, how much more

will not the most gracious, all-truthful God keep faith,

if a man trusts Him? Nay, is it not rather He alone Who

will keep faith? A rich man trusts and relies upon his

money and possessions, and they help him; and we are not

willing to trust and rely upon the living God, that He is

willing and able to help us? We say: Gold makes bold; and

it is true, as Baruch iii. says, "Gold is a thing wherein

men trust." But far greater is the courage which the

highest eternal Good gives, wherein trust, not men, but

only God's children.

XXVII. Even if none of these adversities constrain us to

call upon God's Name and to trust Him, yet were sin alone

more than sufficient to train and to urge us on in this

work. For sin has hemmed us in with three strong, mighty

armies. The first is our own flesh, the second the world,

the third the evil spirit, by which three we are without

ceasing oppressed and troubled; whereby God gives us

occasion to do good works without ceasing, namely, to

fight with these enemies and sins. The flesh seeks

pleasure and peace, the world seeks riches, favor, power

and honor, the evil spirit seeks pride, glory, that a man

be well thought of, and other men be despised.

And these three are all so powerful that each one of them

is alone sufficient to fight a man, and yet there is no

way we can overcome them, except only by calling upon the

holy Name of God in a firm faith, as Solomon says,

Proverbs xviii: "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower;

the righteous runneth into it, and is set aloft." And

David, Psalm cxvi: "I will drink the cup of salvation,

and call upon the Name of the Lord." Again, Psalm xviii:

"I will call upon the Lord with praise: so shall I be

saved from all mine enemies." These works and the power

of God's Name have become unknown to us, because we are

not accustomed to it, and have never seriously fought

with sins, and have not needed His Name, because we are

trained only in our self devised works, which we were

able to do with our own powers.

XXVIII. Further works of this Commandment are: that we

shall not swear, curse, lie, deceive and conjure with the

holy Name of God, and otherwise misuse it; which are very

simple matters and well known to every one, being the

sins which have been almost exclusively preached and

proclaimed under this Commandment. These also include,

that we shall prevent others from making sinful use of

God's Name by lying, swearing, deceiving, cursing,

conjuring, and otherwise. Herein again much occasion is

given for doing good and warding off evil.

But the greatest and most difficult work of this

Commandment is to protect the holy Name of God against

all who misuse it in a spiritual manner, and to proclaim

it to all men. For it is not enough that I, for myself

and in myself, praise and call upon God's Name in

prosperity and adversity. I must step forth and for the

sake of God's honor and Name bring upon myself the enmity

of all men, as Christ said to His disciples: "Ye shall be

hated of all men for My Name's sake." Here we must

provoke to anger father, mother, and the best of friends.

Here we must strive against spiritual and temporal

powers, and be accused of disobedience. Here we must stir

up against us the rich, learned, holy, and all that is of

repute in the world. And although this is especially the

duty of those who are commanded to preach God's Word, yet

every Christian is also obligated to do so when time and

place demand. For we must for the holy Name of God risk

and give up all that we have and can do, and show by our

deeds that we love God and His Name, His honor and His

praise above all things, and trust Him above all things,

and expect good from Him; thereby confessing that we

regard Him as the highest good, for the sake of which we

let go and give up all other goods.

XXIX. Here we must first of all resist all wrong, where

truth or righteousness suffers violence or need, and dare

make no distinction of persons, as some do, who fight

most actively and busily against the wrong which is done

to the rich, the powerful, and their own friends; but

when it is done to the poor, or the despised or their own

enemy, they are quiet and patient. These see the Name and

the honor of God not as it is, but through a painted

glass, and measure truth or righteousness according to

the persons, and do not consider their deceiving eye,

which looks more on the person than on the thing. These

are hypocrites within and have only the appearance of

defending the truth. For they well know that there is no

danger when one helps the rich, the powerful, the learned

and one's own friends, and can in turn enjoy their

protection and be honored by them.

Thus it is very easy to fight against the wrong which is

done to popes, kings, princes, bishops and other

big-wigs. Here each wants to be the most pious, where

there is no great need. O how sly is here the deceitful

Adam with his demand; how finely does he cover his greed

of profit with the name of truth and righteousness and

God's honor! But when something happens to a poor and

insignificant man, there the deceitful eye does not find

much profit, but cannot help seeing the disfavor of the

powerful; therefore he lets the poor man remain unhelped.

And who could tell the extent of this vice in

Christendom? God says in the lxxxii. Psalm, "How long

will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the

wicked? Judge the matter of the poor and fatherless,

demand justice for the poor and needy; deliver the poor

and rid the forsaken out of the hand of the wicked." But

it is not done, and therefore the text continues: "They

know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in

darkness"; that is, the truth they do not see, but they

stop at the reputation of the great, however unrighteous

they are; and do not consider the poor, however righteous

they are.

XXX. See, here would be many good works. For the greater

portion of the powerful, rich and friends do injustice

and oppress the poor, the lowly, and their own opponents;

and the greater the men, the worse the deeds; and where

we cannot by force prevent it and help the truth, we

should at least confess it, and do what we can with

words, not take the part of the unrighteous, not approve

them, but speak the truth boldly.

What would it help a man if he did all manner of good,

made pilgrimages to Rome and to all holy places, acquired

all indulgences, built all churches and endowed houses,

if he were found guilty of sin against the Name and honor

of God, not speaking of them and neglecting them, and

regarding his possessions, honor, favor and friends more

than the truth (which is God's Name and honor)? Or who is

he, before whose door and into whose house such good

works do not daily come, so that he would have no need to

travel far or to ask after good works? And if we consider

the life of men, how in every place men act so very

rashly and lightly in this respect, we must cry out with

the prophet, Omnis homo mendax, "All men are liars, lie

and deceive"; for the real good works they neglect, and

adorn and paint themselves with the most insignificant,

and want to be pious, to mount to heaven in peaceful

security.

But if you should say: "Why does not God do it alone and

Himself, since He can and knows how to help each one?"

Yes, He can do it; but He does not want to do it alone;

He wants us to work with Him, and does us the honor to

want to work His work with us and through us. And if we

are not willing to accept such honor, He will, after all,

perform the work alone, and help the poor; and those who

were unwilling to help Him and have despised the great

honor of doing His work, He will condemn with the

unrighteous, because they have made common cause with the

unrighteous. Just as He alone is blessed, but He wants to

do us the honor and not be alone in His blessedness, but

have us to be blessed with Him. And if He were to do it

alone, His Commandments would be given us in vain,

because no one would have occasion to exercise himself in

the great works of these Commandments, and no one would

test himself to see whether he regards God and His Name

as the highest good, and for His sake risks everything.

XXXI. It also belongs to this work to resist all false,

seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines, every misuse

of spiritual power. Now this is much higher, for these

use the holy Name of God itself to fight against the Name

of God. For this reason it seems a great thing and a

dangerous to resist them, because they assert that he who

resists them resists God and all His saints, in whose

place they sit and whose power they use, saying that

Christ said of them, "He that heareth you, heareth Me,

and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me." On which words

they lean heavily, become insolent and bold to say, to

do, and to leave undone what they please; put to the ban,

accurse, rob, murder, and practise all their wickedness,

in whatever way they please and can invent, without any

hindrance.

Now Christ did not mean that we should listen to them in

everything they might say and do, but only then when they

present to us His Word, the Gospel, not their word, His

work, and not their work. How else could we know whether

their lies and sins were to be avoided? There must be

some rule, to what extent we are to hear and to follow

them, and this rule cannot be given by them, but must be

established by God over them, that it may serve us as a

guide, as we shall hear in the Fourth Commandment.

It must be, indeed, that even in the spiritual estate the

greater part preach false doctrine and misuse spiritual

power, so that thus occasion may be given us to do the

works of this Commandment, and that we be tried, to see

what we are willing to do and to leave undone against

such blasphemers for the sake of God's honor.

Oh, if we were God-fearing in this matter, how often

would the knaves of officiales have to decree their papal

and episcopal ban in vain! How weak the Roman

thunderbolts would become! How often would many a one

have to hold his tongue, to whom the world must now give

ear! How few preachers would be found in Christendom! But

it has gotten the upper hand: whatever they assert and in

whatever way, that must be right. Here no one fights for

God's Name and honor, and I hold that no greater or more

frequent sin is done in external works than under this

head. It is a matter so high that few understand it, and,

besides, adorned with God's Name and power, dangerous to

touch. But the prophets of old were masters in this; also

the apostles, especially St. Paul, who did not allow it

to trouble them whether the highest or the lowest priest

had said it, or had done it in God's Name or in his own.

They looked on the works and words, and held them up to

God's Commandment, no matter whether big John or little

Nick said it, or whether they had done it in God's Name

or in man's. And for this they had to die, and of such

dying there would be much more to say in our time, for

things are much worse now. But Christ and St. Peter and

Paul must cover all this with their holy names, so that

no more infamous cover for infamy has been found on earth

than the most holy and most blessed Name of Jesus Christ!

One might shudder to be alive, simply because of the

misuse and blasphemy of the holy Name of God; through

which, if it shall last much longer, we will, as I fear,

openly worship the devil as a god; so completely do the

spiritual authorities and the learned lack all

understanding in these things. It is high time that we

pray God earnestly that He hallow His Name. But it will

cost blood, and they who enjoy the inheritance of the

holy martyrs and are won with their blood, must again

make martyrs. Of this more another time.