Friday, November 1, 2013

Do not too much Magnify the Outward Persons

     So the prince, the magistrate, the preacher, the schoolmaster,
the scholar, the father, the mother, the children, the master, the
servant, are persons and outward veils, which God will have us
to acknowledge, love, and reverence as his creatures, which also
must needs be had in this life; but he will not have us so to
reverence them, or trust unto them, that we forget him.  And to
the end that we should not too much magnify the outward persons,
or put any trust in them, God leaveth in them offences and between
the person and God himself.  David, that good king, because he
should not seem to be a person upon whom men should trust, fell
into horrible sins, adultery and murder.  Peter, that excellent Apostle,
denied Christ.  These, and such-like examples, whereof the Scripture
is full, ought to warn us, that we repose not our trust in the person and
outward veil, nor think that when we have the outward shows and
shadows, we have all things;.....God hath given his creatures
to our use, and to do us service, and not as idols, that we should
do service unto them. Let us then use bread, wine, apparel,
possessions, gold, silver, and all other creatures; but let us not trust
or glory in them: for we must trust and glory in God alone.
He only is to be loved, he only is to be feared and honoured.....
.....But when the question is as touching religion, conscience,
the fear of God, faith, and the service of God, we must
not fear these outward persons, we must put no trust in them,
look for no comfort from them, or hope deliverance by them,
either corporally or spiritually.  For this cause God will have
no respect of persons in judgment: for judgment is a divine
thing.  Wherefore I ought neither to fear the judge, nor trust in
the judge: but my fear and trust ought to be in God alone, who
is the true judge.  The civil judge or magistrate I ought indeed
to reverence for God's cause (Deut. i.), whose minister he is;
but my conscience may not stay or trust upon his justice and
equity, or be feared through his unjust dealing or tyranny,
whereby I might fall into any offence against God in lying, in bearing
false witness, in denying the truth, etc.  Otherwise, I will reverence
and honour the magistrate with all my heart.
                                              Martin Luther

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