From: LUTHER, by HARTMANN GRISAR, S.J.
VOLUME IV; TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN BY E. M. LAMOND EDITED BY LUIGI CAPPADELTA LONDON: KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO, LTD. 1915 Now available online, along with the other five volumes. I haven't listed all the primary sources below, as they are to German works, not generally available to English readers. Anyone wishing to pursue those sources can see them in the online text itself. Page numbers for the online txt version will be listed in brackets. All the words below are Luther's own (translated into English). These are to be considered excerpts, so I have not included ellipses [. . . ] below, where there is a break in the text.
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"Let me be,. . . even in my Last Will, the man I really am, one well known both in heaven and on earth, and not unknown in hell, standing in sufficient esteem and authority to be trusted and believed in more than any notary; for God, the Father of Mercies, has entrusted to me, poor, unworthy, wretched sinner that I am, the Gospel of His Dear Son and has made and hitherto kept me faithful and true to it, so that many in the world have accepted it through me, and consider me a teacher of the truth in spite of the Pope s ban and the wrath of Emperors, Kings, Princes, priests and all the devils. . . . Dr. Martin Luther, God s own notary and the witness of His Gospel." 1 ". . . the Prophet of the Germans, for such is the haughty title I must henceforth assume." 3 "I am Ecclesiastes by the Grace of God; . . . Evangelist by the Grace of God." 4 "I must not deny the gifts of Jesus Christ, viz. that, however small be my acquaintance with Holy Scripture, I understand it a great deal better than the Pope and all his people." 5 "One only of my opponents, viz. Latomus, is worth his salt, he is the scribe who writes best against me. Latomus alone has really written against Luther, make a note of that! All the others, like Erasmus, were but frogs. Not one of them really meant it seriously. Yes indeed all, Erasmus included, were just croaking frogs." 8  "many say I was the man foretold by the Prophet of Lichtenberg; for in their opinion I must be he. This was a prophecy of the devil, who well saw that the kingdom he had founded on lies must fall. Hence he beheld a monk, though he could not tell to which Order he belonged." 2 "I have become a great Doctor, this I am justified in saying; I would not have thought this possible in the days of my temptations, when Staupitz comforted me with the assurance, that God would make use of me as His assistant in mighty things." 4 "St. John Hus was not alone in prophesying of me that ... 'they will perforce have to listen to the singing of a swan,' but likewise the prophet at Rome foretold 'the coming hermit who would lay waste the Papacy.'" 5 "When I was a young monk and lay sick at Erfurt they said to me: 'Be consoled, good bachelor . . . our God will still make a great man of you.' This has been fulfilled." 6 "On one occasion when I was consoling a man on the loss of his son he, too, said to me: 'You will see, Martin, you will become a great man!' I often call this to mind, for such words have something of the omen or oracle about them." 7
"Before my day nothing was known . . .," 5 "Such was then the state of things: No one taught, or had heard or knew what secular authority was, whence it came, or what its office and task was, or how it must serve God. . . . But I wrote so usefully and splendidly concerning the secular authorities as no teacher has ever done since Apostolic times, save perhaps St. Augustine; of this I may boast with a good conscience, relying on the testimony of the whole world." 6 "Not one of the Fathers ever wrote anything remarkable or particularly good concerning matrimony. ... In marriage they saw only evil luxury. . . . They fell into the ocean of sensuality and evil lusts. But [by my preaching] God with His Word and by His peculiar Grace has restored, before the Last Day, matrimony, secular authority and the preaching office to their rightful position, . . ." "The Papists know nothing about Holy Scripture, or
what God is ... or what Baptism or the Sacrament." 2
"But thanks to me we now have the Gospel almost as pure
and undefiled as the Apostles had it." 3
"Not for a thousand years has God bestowed such great gifts on any bishop as He has on me; for it is our duty to extol God s gifts." 4  "God has appointed me for the whole of the German land, and I boldly vouch and declare that when you obey me in this [the founding of Evangelical schools] you are without a doubt obeying not me but Christ, and that, whoever obeys me not, despises, not me, but Christ [Luke xx. 16]. For I know well and am certain of what and whereto I speak and teach." 1 "And now, dear Germans, I have told you enough ; you have heard your prophet; God grant we may obey His words." 2  "Our Lord God had to summon Moses six times; me, too, He has led in the same way. . . . Others who lived before me attacked the wicked and scandalous life of the Pope; but I assailed his very doctrine and stormed in upon the monkery and the Mass, on which two pillars the whole Papacy rests. I could never have foreseen that these two pillars would fall, for it was almost like declaring war on God and all creation." 1 "I picked the first fruits of the knowledge and faith of Christ, viz. that we are justified by faith in Christ and not by works." 2 "I am he to whom God first revealed it." 3 "Show me a single passage on justification by faith in the Decrees, Decretals, Clementines, 'Liber Sextus' or 'Extravagantes,' in any of the Summas, books of Sentences, monkish sermons, synodal definitions, collegial or monastic Rules, in any Postils, in any work of Jerome and Gregory, in any decisions of the Councils, in any disputations of the theologians, in any lectures of any University, in any Mass or Vigil of any Church, in any 'Cremoniale Episcoporum,' in the institutes of any monastery, in any manual of any confraternity or guild, in any pilgrims book anywhere, in the pious exercises of any Saint, in any Indulgence, Bull, anywhere in the Papal Chancery or the Roman Curia or in the Curia of any bishop. And yet it was there that the doctrine of faith should have been expressed in all its fulness." 4 "I have, praise be to God, achieved more reformation by my Evangel than they probably would have done even by five Councils. . . . Here comes our Evangel . . . and works wonders, which they themselves accept and make use of, but which they could not have secured by any Councils." 5 "I believe I have summoned such a Council and effected such a reformation as will make the ears of the Papists tingle and their heart burst with malice. ... In brief: It is Luther's own Reformation." 6  "I have now become a wonderful monk, who, by God s grace, has deposed the Roman devil, viz. the Pope; yet not I, but God through me, His poor, weak instrument; no emperor or potentate could have done that." 2 ". . . the devil is not angry with me without good reason, for I have rent his kingdom asunder. What not one of the kings and princes was able to do, that God has effected, through me, a poor beggar and lonely monk." 3 "Chrysostom was a mere gossip. Jerome, the good Father, and lauder of nuns, understood precious little of Christianity. Ambrose has indeed some good sayings. If Peter Lombard had only happened upon the Bible he would have excelled all the Fathers." 4 "See what darkness prevailed among the Fathers of the Church concerning faith! Once the article concerning justification was obscured it became impossible to stem the course of error. St. Jerome writes on Matthew, on Galatians and on Titus, but how paltry it all is! Ambrose wrote six books on Genesis, but what poor stuff they are! Augustine never writes powerfully on faith except when assailing the Pelagians. . . . They left not a single commentary on Romans and Galatians that is worth anything. Oh, how great, on the other hand, is our age in purity of doctrine, and yet, alas, we despise it! The holy Fathers taught better than they wrote; we, God be praised, write better than we live. Had Gregory the Great at least refrained from spoiling what remained ! He broke in with his pestilent traditions, bound men down to observances concerning flesh-meat, cowls and Masses, and imposed on them his filthy, merdiferous law. And in the event this dreadful state of things grew from day to day worse." 5 "On the other hand, it is plain that I may venture to  boast in God, without arrogance or untruth, that, when it comes to the writing of books I am not far behind many of the Fathers." 1 "In short the fault lay in this, that [before I came], even in the Universities the Bible was not read; when it was read at all it had to be interpreted in accordance with Aristotle. What blindness that was!" "But then my translation of Holy Scripture appeared. Whereas the Schoolmen never were acquainted with Scripture, indeed never were at home even in the Catechism, 3 all admit my Bible scholarship." "Carlstadt said to the Doctors at Wittenberg: My dear sirs, Dr. Martin is far too learned for us; he read the Bible ten years ago and now if we read it for ten years, he will then have read it for twenty; in any case, therefore, we are lost." 4 "Nevertheless I never should have attained to the great abundance of Divine gifts, which I am forced to confess and admit, unless Satan had tried me with temptations ; without these temptations pride would have cast me into the abyss of hell." 5 "The Papists are blind to the clear light of truth because it was revealed by a man. As though Elias, who wrought such great things against the servants of Baal, was not like wise a man and a beggar. As though John the Baptist, who so brilliantly put to flight the Pharisees, was not a man too. One's being a man does not matter provided one be a man of God. For heroes are not merely men." 6  "I, Dr. Martin Luther by name, have taken it upon me to prove for further instruction each and every article in a well-grounded work. . . . But first I must answer certain imputations made by some against me. They twit me with coming forward all alone and seeking to teach every body. To this I reply that I have never put myself forward and would have been glad to creep into a corner ; they it is who dragged me out by force and cunning." 2 "But who knows whether God has not raised me up and called me to this, and whether they have not cause to fear that they are condemning God in me? Do we not read in the Old Testament that God, as a rule, raised up only one prophet at a time ? Moses was alone when he led the people out of Egypt; Helias was alone in the time of King Achab; later on Helisaeus was also alone; Isaias was alone in Jerusalem, Oseas in Israel, Hieremias in Judea, Ezechiel in Babylon, and so on." 3 "The dear Saints have always had to preach against and reprove the great ones, the kings, princes, priests and scholars." 4 "I do not say that I am a prophet, but I do say that the Papists have the more reason to fear I am one, the more they despise me and esteem themselves. God is wonderful in His works and judgments. ... If I am not a prophet yet I am certain within myself that the Word of God is with me and not with them; for I have Scripture on my side, but they, only their own doctrine." 5 "There were plenty donkeys in the world in Balaam's time, yet God did not speak through all of them, but only through Balaam's ass." 6 "They also say that I bring forward new things, and that it is not to be supposed that  all others were in the wrong for so long. To this reproof the ancient prophets also had to listen. . . . Christ's teaching was different from what the Jews had heard for a thousand years. On the strength of this objection the heathen, too, might well have despised the Apostles, seeing that their ancestors had believed otherwise for more than three thousand years." 1 "I say that all Christian truth had perished amongst those who ought to have been its upholders, viz. the bishops and learned men. Yet I do not doubt that the truth has survived in some hearts, even though only in those of babes in the cradle." 2 "I do not reject them [all the Doctors of the Church] . . . but I refuse to believe them except in so far as they prove their contentions from that Scripture which has never erred. . . . Necessity forces us to test every Doctor's writings by the Bible and to judge and decide upon them. The standing as well as the number of my foes is to me a proof that I am in the right." 3 "Were I opposed only by a few insignificant men I should know that what I wrote and taught was not from God. . . . Truth has ever caused disturbance, and false teachers have ever cried Peace, peace." "They say they don't want to be reformed by such a beggar. . . . Daniel has arisen in his place and is determined to perform what the angel Gabriel has pointed out to him; for the same prophet told us how he would rise up at the end of the world. That he is now doing." 5  "Christ was not so greatly considered, nor had He ever such a number of hearers as the Apostles had and we now have; Christ Himself said to His disciples: You will do greater works than I, and, truly enough, at the time of the Apostles, and now amongst us, the Gospel and the Divine Word is preached much more powerfully and is more widely spread than at the time of Christ." 2  "Should I be carried to the grave, for instance, as a victim of the religious war, people will say at the sight of the Popish rout that will ensue: 'Dr. Martin was escorted to his grave by a great procession. For he was a great Doctor, above all bishops, monks and parsons, therefore it was fitting that they should all follow him into the grave, and furnish a subject for talk and song.' And to end up, we shall all make a little pilgrimage together; they, the Papists, to the bottomless pit to their god of lying and murder, whom they have served with lies and murders; I to my Lord, Jesus Christ, Whom I have served in truth and peace; . . . they to hell in the name of all the devils, I to heaven in God's name." 4 ============================ Biographer Grisar adds a (hopeful) qualification:Luther's language would be even more puzzling were it
not certain that much that he said was not really meant
seriously. With him rhetoric plays a greater role than is
commonly admitted, and even some of his utterances
regarding his own greatness are clearly flowers of rhetoric
written half in jest.