The Chastisement and Trials from Christ

The following is from the Table Talk of Martin Luther.

I expect more goodness from my wife Kate, from Philip Melancthon, and from other friends, than from my sweet and blessed Savior Christ Jesus; and yet I know for certain, that neither she nor any other person on earth will or can suffer that for me which He has suffered. Why then should I be afraid of Him? This, my foolish weakness, grieves me very much. We plainly see in the Gospel how mild and gentle He showed Himself towards His disciples; how kindly He passed over their weakness, their presumption, yea, and their foolishness. He checked their unbelief, and in all gentleness admonished them. Moreover, the Scripture, which is most sure, says: “Well are all they that put their trust in him.” Fie on our unbelieving hearts, that we should be afraid of this man, who is more loving, friendly, gentle and compassionate towards us than are our kindred, our brethren and sisters; yea, than parents themselves are towards their own children. He that has such temptations, let him be assured, it is not Christ, but the envious devil that affrights, wounds and would destroy him; for Christ comforts, heals and revives.

Oh! His grace and goodness towards us are so immeasurably great that without great assaults and trials, they cannot be understood. If the tyrants and false brethren had not set themselves so fiercely against me, my writings and proceedings, then should I have vaunted myself too much of my poor gifts and qualities; nor should I with such fervency of heart have directed my prayers to God for His divine assistance. I should not have ascribed all to God’s grace, but to my own dexterity and power, and so should have flown to the devil.

But to the end this might be prevented, my gracious Lord and Savior Christ caused me to be chastised; He ordained that the devil should plague and torment me with his fiery darts inwardly and outwardly though tyrants, as the pope and other heretics, and all this He suffered to be done for my good. “It is good for me that I have been in trouble, that I may learn your statutes.” [CCXXXI]

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