Monday, April 30, 2007

Luther on the Psalms

An exerpt from Martin Luther's preface to the Psalter: "The psalter ought to be a precious and beloved book, if for no other reason than this: it promises Christ's death and Resurrection so clearly--and pictures His kingdom and the conditions and nature of all Christendom--that it might well be called a little Bible. In it is comprehended most beautifully and briefly everything that is in the entire Bible...Thus the psalter lays before us not only their [the authors of the Psalms] words instead of their deeds, but their very hearts and the inmost treasure of their souls, so we can look down to the foundation and source of their words and deeds. We can look into their hearts and see what kind of thoughts they had, how their hearts were disposed, and how they acted in all kinds of situations, in danger and need...A human heart is like a ship on a wild sea, driven by the storm winds from the four corners of the world. Here it is stuck with fear and worry about impending disaster; there comes grief and sadness because of present evil. Here breathes a breeze of hope and anticipated happiness; there blows security and joy in present blessings...What is the greatest thing in the psalter but this earnest speaking amid these storm winds of every kind? Where does on find finer words of joy than in the psalms of praise and thanksgiving? There you look into the hearts of all the saints, as into fair and pleasant gardens; yes, as into heaven itself. Then you see what fine and pleasant flowers of the heart spring up from all sorts of fair and happy thoughts toward God, because of His blessings. On the other hand, where do you find deeper, more sorrowful, more pitful words of sadness than in the psalms of lamentation? There you look into the hearts of all the saints as into death; yes, as into hell itself. How gloomy and dark it is there, with all kinds of troubled forebodings about the wrath of God. So, too, when they speak of when they speak of fear and hope, they use such words that no painter could so depict for you fear or hope, and no Cicero or any other orator so portray them."

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1 Comments:

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7:36 AM  

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