Archive for June 8th, 2017

From Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel (translated and edited by Theodore G. Tappert, Regent College Publishing, Vancouver, BC; 1960)

“Be of good courage…and cast out these dreadful thoughts out of your mind.  Whenever the devil pesters you with these thoughts, at once seek out the company of men, drink more, joke and jest, or engage in some other form of merriment.” (Luther’s Letter to Jerome Weller, who suffered from melancholy;  dated 1530)

“More and graver sins are committed in solitude than in the society of one’s fellow men. The devil deceived Eve in paradise when she was alone. Murder, robbery, theft, fornication, and adultery are committed in solitude, for solitude provides the devil with occasion and opportunity. On the other hand, a person who is with others and in the society of his fellow men is either ashamed to commit a crime or does not have the occasion and opportunity to do so.

Christ promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Christ was alone when the devil tempted him. David was alone and idle when he slipped into adultery and murder. I too have discovered that I am never so likely to fall into sins as when I am by myself.

God created man for society and not for solitude. This may be supported by the argument that he created two sexes, male and female. Likewise God founded the Christian Church, the communion of saints, and instituted the Sacraments, preaching, and consolations in the Church.

Solitude produces melancholy. When we are alone the worst and saddest things come to mind. We reflect in detail upon all sorts of evils. And if we have encountered adversity in our lives, we dwell upon it as much as possible, magnify it, think that no one is so unhappy as we are, and imagine the worst possible consequences. In short, when we are alone, we think of one thing and another, we leap to conclusions, and we interpret everything in the worst light. On the other hand, we imagine that other people are very happy, and it distresses us that things go well with them and evil with us.” (From a table talk, recorded 1534)

From Luther’s Letter to his Father (February 15, 1530) who was ill.  Martin wanted his parents to move to Wittenberg to be with him and his family.  His Father died three months after this letter:

“I commend you to Him who loves you more that you love yourself.  He has proved his love in taking your sins upon himself and paying for them with his blood as he tells you by the gospel.  He has given you grace to believe by his Spirit, and has prepared and accomplished everything most surely, so that you need not care or fear any more, but only keep your hearts strong and reliant on his Word and faith.  I you do that, let him care for the rest. He will see to it that everything turns out well.  Indeed, he has already done this better than we can conceive.”

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