« НазадПродовжити »
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE. that word and worship ;-and finally, the glory of all the creatures of God, the abounding goodness of God in them, and the infinite blessedness of their lawful use.
Lather takes occasion also, from numberless passages in the Psalms, to describe, point out, and distinguish the true church of God in the midst of the earth, and the signs by which she may be known from all other churches ;-that she is that company of poor and afflicted people, who are burdened with sins, filled with fears, covered with infirmities, and despised by the world, and considered both by the wicked, and by formal professors of religion, to be the last people likely to be the church of God. He repeatedly shews, however, that such, notwithstanding their rejection by all, are the true people and church of God; and that it is unto such, and such only, that all the promises of grace and mercy in Christ, and of help, provision, and defence in this world, are made ; ' For (saith Luther) if you will look through the whole Bible, you will find, that God is not the God of the rich, the proud, the secure, &c. but of the poor, the fearful, the aflicted, and the helpless; who cannot do without his daily mercy and help, either in the things of this world, or of that which is to come.'
That the great and heavenly things thus opened by the admired Luther may be understood and enjoyed by every reader of the following manual, is the desire and prayer of,
Highbury Place, Islington,
June 8, 1837.
Other invaluable productions of Luther, which have never before been translated into ENGLISH, are in hand, and will duly appear : which, added to the four vols. of “ Select Works,” the
Bondage of the Will," and the work “on Popery,” just published by Messrs. Nisbet, will put the ENGLISH Church of Christ in possession of all the holy Reformer's works which are the most calculated to be of divine benefit to her.
MARTIN LUTHER TO HIS FRIEND.
I Am unwilling to acknowledge that you are right in being so industrious to publish abroad my poor productions: I fear you are actuated too much by favour towards me. As to myself, I am wholly dissatisfied with my works on the Psalms : not so much on account of the sense which I have given, which I believe to be true and genuine, as on account of the verbosity, confusion, and undigested chaos of my commentaries altogether. The Book of Psalms is a book, my Commentaries on which, from want of time and leisure, I am obliged to conceive, digest, arrange, and prepare all at once. For I am overwhelmed with occupation. I have two sermons to preach in a day: I have to meditate on the Psalms : I have to consider over the letters which I receive by the posts (as they are called) and to reply to my enemies : I have to attack the Pope's Bulls in both languages : and I have to defend myself. (To say nothing about the letters of my friends which I have to answer, and various domestic and casual engagements to which I am obliged to attend !)
You do well, therefore, to pray for me ; for I am oppressed with many afflictions, and much hindered from the performance of my sacred duties ;-my
LUTHER'S LETTER TO HIS FRIEND.
whole life is a cross to me! I have now in hand the xxii. Psalm, “My God, my God, &c. ;” and I had hopes of completing a Commentary on the whole Book of Psalms, if Christ should give us a sufficient interval of peace, so that I could devote my whole time and attention to it: but now, I cannot devote a fourth part of my time to such a purpose : nay, the time that I do devote to it, is but a few stolen moments.
You do rigbt in admonishing me of my want of moderation : I feel my deficiency myself; but I find that I have not command over my own mind: I am carried away from myself, as it were, by a certain vehement zeal of spirit, while I am conscious that I wish evil to no one, though all my adversaries press in upon me with such maddened fury: so that, in fact, I have not time to consider who my enemies are, nor what various treatment they require. Pray, therefore, the Lord for me, that I may have wisdom to speak and write that which shall please him and become me, and not what may appear becoming to them. And now, farewell in Christ.
Wittemberg, A. D. 1521.