BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting


Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner


Martin Luther on the bondage of the will

by Martin Luther

Excerpt:

damped. Not to observe, in the mean time, that, being ever like yourself, you take the most diligent care to be on every occasion slippery and pliant of speech; and while you wish to appear to assert nothing, and yet, at the same time, to assert something, more cautious than Ulysses, you seem to be steering your course between Scylla and Charybdis. To meet men of such a sort, what, I would ask, can be brought forward or composed, unless any one knew how to catch Proteus himself? But what I may be able to do in this matter, and what profit your art will be to you, I will, Christ co-operating with me, hereafter shew.

This my reply to you, therefore, is not wholly without cause. My brethren in Christ press me to it, setting before me the expectation of all; seeing that the authority of Erasmus is not to be despised, and the truth of the Christian doctrine is endangered in the hearts of many. And indeed, I felt a persuasion in my own mind, that my silence would not be altogether right, and that I was deceived by the prudence or malice of the flesh, and not sufficiently mindful of my office, in which I am a debtor, both to the wise and to the unwise; and especially, since I was called to it by the entreaties of so many brethren.

For although our cause is such, that it requires more than the external teacher, and, besides him that planteth and him that watereth outwardly, has need of the Spirit of God to give the increase, and, as a living teacher, to teach us inwardly living things, (all which I was led to consider;) yet, since that Spirit is free, and bloweth, not where we will, but where he willeth, it was needful to observe that rule of Paul, " Be instant, in season, and out of season." For we know not at what hour the Lord cometh. Be it, therefore, that those who have not yet felt the teaching of the Spirit in my writings, have been overthrown by that Diatribe—perhaps their hour was not yet come.

And who knows but that God may even condescend to visit you, my friend Erasmus, by me his poor weak vessel; and that I may (which from my heart I desire of the Father of mercies through Jesus Christ our Lord) come unto you by this Book in a happy hour, and gain over a dearest brother. For although you think and write wrong concerning Freewill, yet no small thanks are due unto you from me, in that you have rendered my own sentiments far more strongly confirmed, from my seeing the cause of Free-will handled by all the powers of such and so great talents, and so far from being bettered, left worse than it was before: which leaves an evident proof, that Free-will is a mere lie; and that, like the woman in the gospel, the more it is taken in hand by physicians, the worse it is made. Therefore the greater thanks will be rendered to you by me, if you by me gain more information, as I have gained by you more confirmation. But each is the gift of God, and not the work of our own endeavours. Wherefore, prayer must be made unto God, that he would open the mouth in me, and the heart in you and in all; that he would be the teacher in the midst of us, who may in us speak and hear.

But from you, my friend Erasmus, suffer me to obtain the grant of this request; that, as I in these

matters bear with your ignorance, so you, in return, would bear with my want of eloquent utterance. God giveth not all things to each; nor can we each do all things. Or, as Paul saith, " there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." It remains, therefore, that these gifts render a mutual service; that the one, with his gift, sustain the burden and what is lacking in the other; so shall we fulfil the law of Christ.

PREFACE.

Sect. I.—First of all, I would just touch upon some of the heads of your Preface; in which, you somewhat disparage our cause and adorn your own. In the first place, I would notice your censuring in me, in all your former books, an obstinacy of assertion; and saying, in this book,—" that you are so far from delighting in assertions, that you would rather at once go over to the sentiments of the sceptics, if the inviolable authority of the holy scriptures, and the decrees of the church, would permit you: to which authorities you willingly submit yourself in all things, whether you follow what they prescribe, or follow it not."— These are the principles that please you.


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