Trykt i Wittenberg av Georg Rhau, i året 1546.
Den hellige apostel Paulus sier i 1. Tess. 4, 13-14: “Men vi vil ikke, brødre, at dere skal være uvitende om dem som er sovnet inn, for at dere ikke skal sørge som de andre, de som ikke har håp. For så sant vi tror at Jesus døde og oppstod, så skal Gud ved Jesus også føre dem som er sovnet inn, sammen med ham.”
Kjære venner. jeg skal nå hold en preken ved begravelsen til vår kjære og elskede far, Dr. Martin, og jeg gjør det med glede. Men hva skal jeg si og hvrodan skal jeg tale, ettersom jeg antagelig ikke klarer å si et ord på grunn av mine tårer. Og hvem skal trøste dere om jeg, deres pastor og forkynner, ikke kan tale? Hvor kan jeg vende meg bort fra dere? Min tale vil uten tvil føre til mange tårer og mye klage. For hvordan skulle vi ikke alle klage av hjertet, siden Gud har sendt oss denne sorgen og tatt fra oss denne kjære og verdige mann, den ærverdige Dr. Martin Luther? Ved ham har Gud gitt oss alle ubeskrivelige gaver og nåde. Det har han gjort for alle Kristi kirker i Tyskland så vel som i mange andre land.
Ved ham har Gud også gitt en herlig seier over Satans rike og over mye skammelig avgudsdyrkelse og menenskelige ordninger. Ja, som Paulus sier, vi har kjempet mot djevelens lærdommer utover verden, og har åpenbart evangeliet for oss. Det er den store, opphøyde himmelske hemmelighet, hans kjære Sønn Jesus Kristus (som Paulus også sier i efeserbrevet og kolosserbrevet).
Ved ham, vår kjære Far, har Kristus forsvart sitt evangelium mot den grådige paven og forskjellige tyranner, ja mot alle helvedes porter. Han gav denne mannen krafts og styrkes ånd slik at han ikke fryktet noe menneske, hvor stort og mektig det enn kan bli. Han holdt så frimodig fast på evangteliet og ren rene lære at verden ofte trodde at han var for skarp og tydelig i sine ord. Det var slik jøder og fariseere anklaget Kristus, for det såret dem mye og gav dem smerte ved den rene sannheten. Men de tok likevel ikke imot den frelsende lære.
Gud har tatt fra oss denne store lærer, profet og himmelske reformator sendt av Gud til menigheten. Å, hvordan kan vi slutte å klage og gråte over det? Hvordan kan vi gjøre som Paulaus sier: Dere skal ikke sørge over de som er sovnet inn. Men han legger straks til: slik de gjør som ikke har håp (1. Tes. 4, 13-14). Vi som tror vet at de som har sovnet inn i Kristus, vil våkne opp igjen til et bedre liv der vi vil møte dem igjen og være sammen med dem i evighet.
Verden var imidlertid ikke verd å ha denne kjære Guds mann lenger. De skulle ikke få lov til å fortsette å forfølge og håne ham. Likevel, den samme utakknemmelige verden fikk mye godt ved denne store mannen, særlig det at den ble befridd fra undertrykkelsen ved pavens motbydelige tyranni. Derfor har mange av motstanderne (som ennå har noe visdom og forstand) ønsket at denne kjære mannen fremdeles var i live i lang tid.
Dette har jeg sagt innledningsvis, at vi har stor grunn til å klage og sørge av hjerte siden vi har mistet en stor og kjær mann. Og det hjelper litt å vite at kristne konger, prinser og hele byer og alle som kjenner evangeliets sannhet, vil sørge sammen med oss. Derfor sørger vi ikke alene, men mange tusen i kristenheten sørger med oss fra tid til tid. Det er ikke passende at den grådige paven, kardinalen av Mainz eller hertug Henry (som han raste mot ved hjelp av sannheten), skulle glede seg over hans død.
Og jeg håpet at motstanderne ikke vil glede seg over hans død lenge. For han døde i Kristus, men hans mektige, velsignede, guddommelige lære lever fremdeles med stor kraft.
For han var uten tvil den engelen som det er skrevet om i Åp. 14, som fløy under himmelen og hadde et evig evangelium, som teksten sier i v. 6ff.
Den engelen som sa: Frykt Gud og gi ham ære, var Dr. Martin Luther. Og det er de to delene av Luthers lære: loven og evangeliet. Ved dem åpnes hele Skriften, og vi ser der Kristus vår retteferdighet og det evige liv. Han har også lagt til dette: timen og dommen er kommet, og har lært oss om den rette bønnen og sannheten, slik engelen sa i Åp. 14, 7: Til bed ham som skapte himmelen og jorda osv.
For etter denne engelens lære vil det komme en annen engel som vil proklamere trøst til den sørgende og forfulgte kirke og lyn og torden av den evige dom og fordømmelse over motstanderne. Slik taler enegeln nå: Falt, dalt er Babylon den store, v. 8. Derfor vil ikke motstanderne glede seg lenge over vår sorg, som Kristus også sier i Joh. 16: Din sorg skal vendes til glede. For iføge Åpenbaring i den førnevnte kapittel 14, ser vi at dette har hendt før og hender fremdeles. Hvis Åpenbaringen er pålitelig vil den andre uten tvil komme.
Men å, hvorfor tale slik i denne sorgens og gråtens tid. Nå har jeg sagt nok om vår rettferdige sorg. For vi sørger rett over en slik kjær mann, en rett biskop og hyrde for sjelene, når han forlot oss. Men i sorgen skulle vi også kjenne Guds nåde og barmhjertighet mot oss og takke Gud for at han har vekket opp vår kjære Martin Luther ved sin Ånd, som kjempet mot den antikristne lære som den avskyelige og sataniske paven har.
Han kjempet mot den djevelske lære bare hundre år etter at den hellige Johan Hus døde. Han ble drept for sannhetens sak i 1415, og han profeterte før sin død om en framtidig dikter. Hus betyr gås på språket i Bohemia. Og Hus sa: ”Du steker nå en gås, men Gud vil vekke opp en dikter (swan) som du verken skal brenne eller steke.” Og mens de skrek til ham og han ikke svarte, sa han angivelig: ”Om hundre år skal jeg savre deg.” Og det har han oppriktig gjort ved vår kjære Far, Dr. Luther, og han begynte på det nøyaktig 101 år etter. Ja, vi skulle takke Gud for at han har bevart denne kjære mann for oss og hans kirke i voldsomme strider, i mange vanskelige konflikter, og for at Gud ved ham har seiret så ofte i nesten tretti år. Herren være priset og æret i evighet. Amen.----
For he was without doubt the angel concerning whom it is written in Revelation 14, who flew through the midst of heaven and had an eternal Gospel, etc., as the text says: And I saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven. He had an eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who sit and dwell on earth, to all heathen and races and languages and nations. And he said with a loud voice: Fear God and give him honor, for the time of his judgment has come. Worship the one who has made heaven and earth, the seas and the springs of water. And another angel followed and said: "She has fallen, she has fallen,
This angel who says, "Fear God and give him the honor," was Dr. Martin Luther. And what is written here, "Fear God and give him the honor," are the two parts of Dr. Martin Luther s doctrine, the Law and the Gospel, through which all of Scripture is unlocked and Christ, our righteousness and eternal life, is recognized. To these two he has also added this passage ("the time of his judgment has come") and has taught regarding proper prayer and invocation of God the heavenly Father in Spirit and in truth. As the angel also says in Revelation 14: "Worship the one who has made heaven and earth, etc."
For after the teaching of this angel, another angel will follow, who will proclaim comfort to the sorrowful and persecuted church and the lightning and thunder of eternal judgment and condemnation against the adversaries, as, after all, the other angel said: "She has fallen; she has fallen,
But, oh, how do I ramble on so with my sermon in this time of our crying and sorrow? This is enough said about our rightful mourning, for we mourn justly that such a dear man, a proper bishop and shepherd of souls, has departed from us. But in this sorrow we should also rightly recognize God s grace and mercy to us and thank God that he has awakened for us through his Spirit this dear Dr. Martin Luther against the antichristian doctrines of the abominable, satanic pope and against the devil's doctrines only one hundred years after the death of the holy John Hus (who was killed for the sake of the truth in the year 1415), just as John Hus himself prophesied before his death about a future swan. Hus means "goose" in the Bohemian language. "You are now roasting a goose," (says John Hus), "but God will awaken a swan whom you will not burn or roast." And as they shouted much against him, which he could not answer, he supposedly said: "After one hundred years I will answer you." He has done that uprightly through our dear father, Dr. Luther, and has begun it precisely in the one-hundred-and-first year. Yes, we should thank God that he preserved this dear man for us and his churches in the violent disputes, in so many difficult conflicts, and that through him Christ has triumphed so often now for almost thirty years. To the Lord Christ be praise and honor in eternity. Amen.
But we should also rejoice with our dear father Luther that he left and departed from us to the Lord Christ in the highest apostolic and prophetic office in which he faithfully accomplished what he was commanded. For with Christ are the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and many to whom he preached the Gospel, all the holy angels, Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, that is, in the eternal joy of all believers. We will experience what this interim period until the Day of Judgment is like, as Paul says in Philippians 1: "I desire to depart and to be with Christ; and as Stephen also says in Acts: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit"; and Jesus to the thief: "Today you will be with me in paradise."
For there is no doubt, just as the spirit of Christ was in the hands of the Father until the resurrection on Easter, since he said: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit, etc.," so will our spirits be in the hands of Christ until our resurrection. For that is the meaning of the words of Lazarus: "But now he is comforted while you are tormented."
What kind of peace or comfort the believers have and what kind of anxiety or torment the unbelievers have in the meantime, until the day of judgment, we cannot say so precisely on the basis of Scripture. Scripture says that they are asleep, as Paul says in Thessalonians, "concerning those who are asleep." However, just as in natural sleep the healthy rest in a sweet sleep and are thereby refreshed and become stronger and healthier, while the sick or the sorrowing and especially those who are in the terror or fear of death sleep with difficulty, with horrible dreams, and restlessly so that sleep is not rest for them but a more frightful, more desolate unrest than being awake, in the same way there is a difference between the sleep of the believers and the godless. But about this we cannot speak further or infer other than what the words of Scripture say.
Our dear father Dr. Martin Luther has now attained what he often desired. And if he were to return to us again now, he would reprimand our mourning and faint-heartedness with the word of Christ from John 16: "If you loved me you would rejoice because I go to the Father, and you would not begrudge me this eternal rest and joy." Christ has conquered death for us. Why, then, are we afraid? The death of the body is for us a beginning of life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord, who has become for us a noble, precious sacrifice.
I still remember that when our honorable, dear father, Dr. Martin Luther, saw several depart sweetly in the confession of Christ, he said: "May God grant me that I may also depart so sweetly in the bosom of Christ and that the body may not be tormented with lengthy pains of death. But may God s will be done."
Master Ambrosius Bernardus von Goterboch, my dear brother and a truly pious man who loved Christ, was here with us in
During the illness of Master Ambrosius, when I saw that he also did not sleep, I asked two medical doctors that they prepare a strong drink to help him sleep. They responded that this would be dangerous and that they might be given blame if something went wrong. I said: "I will be responsible even if he were to die. Give it to him in God's name as a desperate act. Who knows, it might help." The doctors gave him such a drink, but not as strong as I desired, for they were somewhat concerned. Then he fell into a mighty sleep so that he slept almost two hours. However, when he awoke he felt his pain and complained about it and spoke intelligibly to his wife about all sorts of urgent matters. But soon thereafter, after about an hour-and-a-half, he was again in his happy condition, as before. He was no longer aware of this world until he gave up his spirit to Christ a few days later.
I have now gladly recounted this blessed and joyous story about Master Ambrosius, our dear brother, for two reasons. First of all, that I might stop you dear ones a bit from your howling and crying, which have now rightly overtaken us. God has made us sad. May his grace comfort us again. Secondly, so that this story may be of help to us in the matter concerning which we are now speaking.
For this Master Ambrosius was Dr. Martin s brother-in-law. Therefore, Dr. Martin visited him so much in his illness, and when he spoke with him about Christ, then Ambrosius also spoke about Christ according to the dear Gospel, as we have said. But when he wanted to speak to him about his wife, children, and goods, etc., Ambrosius knew nothing about such things but soon fantasized happily with unrelated words, as we have said before. He especially said to the Doctor with laughter and thanksgiving: "Sir Doctor, thank you for visiting me. I will visit you again some evening. At that time we will have a good supper together, and I will then speak with you about many joyous matters." Indeed, they may both be accomplishing this in the life eternal to which they have both traveled. In this life they were unable to meet in this way. After Dr. Martin left him, the Doctor said to me: "He is gone and does not recognize death. When we want to counsel him how he should put his things in order, he no longer knows anything about this world and this life. Rather, he is happy, laughs, and proposes other things in his joyous delirium. He even mocks us with such words, as if he wanted to say: åI no longer know what to set in order or attend to on earth. May God also give me soon such a peaceful and blessed hour of death. What more should I accomplish on earth?"
After Master Ambrosius was buried in the harsh winter of January, 1542, Dr. Martin went to the grave with me not long thereafter. Then he pointed to the grave with his hand and said: "He did not know that he was sick. He also did not know that he was dying and yet was not without a confession of Christ. Here he lies and still does not know that he is dead. Dear Lord Jesus, Christ, take me also in similar fashion out of this vale of tears to you, etc."
I often had to hear such things from my dear father, and when he noticed my annoyance, at times probably also from my words, he said to me: "Implore our dear Lord God that He may soon take me to Himself from here. I can do nothing more on earth. I am no longer of use to you. Help me with your prayer. Do not ask that I live longer." Now, everyone can, no doubt, imagine how I responded to such words of my dear father, our dearly beloved Doctor. All of this indicates how eagerly he desired, in his last days, to be rid of this miserable life and to be with Christ. Thereby he also sang his consummatum est and commended his spirit into the heavenly Father's hands.
There were also advance indications that our dear father, Dr. Martin, would wander into a better life, for throughout this whole year he often said to us that he desired to go to another place. He also traveled more in this year before his death than he had done in many years, namely to his homeland in Mansfeld, to the Bishop of Zeitz, to Merseburg, to
Dear friends, so that you might also have a short report about our dearly beloved father, Dr. Martin's, blessed parting, I will give it. When he noticed that his hour had come, he prayed thusly: O my heavenly Father, one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, God of all comfort, I thank you that you have revealed to me your dear Son, Jesus Christ, in whom I believe, whom I have preached and confessed, whom I have loved and praised, whom the loathsome pope and all the godless revile, persecute, and blaspheme. I implore you, my Lord Jesus Christ, let my little soul be commended to you. O heavenly Father, although I must leave this body and be snatched away from this life, I am, nevertheless, certain that I will remain with you eternally and that no one can tear me out of your hands. And then he said three times: Into your hands I commend my spirit. You have redeemed me, you faithful God.
Also John 3:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that all who believe in him will not be lost but have eternal life.
Then he folded his hands and gave up his spirit to Christ in grand silence. Therefore we should also justly rejoice with him, as much as we are able to do so in our grief.
Here I must remember the holy Bishop,
May God grant that the Spirit of God may also be spoken of doubly with regard to the descendants and in the churches planted by the dear father than was spoken of by the lofty, dear man, as the prophet Elisha petitioned from Elijah, who was taken from Elisha in a storm.
But if we fear or imagine that God has taken away the precious man because of our sin and ingratitude, then we should improve our life, petition God our heavenly Father through Christ that we remain in the blessed, pure teaching concerning faith and be protected through Christ from the rabble and tyrants and against all the portals of hell. Protect your poor Christendom, Lord Christ, that it may praise you eternally. Help us God our Savior and rescue us for the honor of your name and have mercy on our sins for the sake of your holy name. Preserve in your church faithful and good preachers. Give them power and strength through the Holy Spirit, as Psalm 68 says: åThe Lord gives the Word with large numbers of evangelists. "
The impudent, atrocious, great blasphemies of the adversaries and the obdurate priests and monks and, in addition, our ingratitude may now well be the cause of great misfortune and God's punishment in the world. But we should petition God the Father in the name of the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that for his name's sake he may accomplish, fulfill, and bring about the epitaph and prophecy that our dear father, Dr. Martin, himself made to him:
Pestis eram vivus, moriens tua mors ero Papa.
That is in German: "Pope, pope, when I lived I was your pestilence. When I die I will be your
bitter death." God be praised eternally through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us pray, etc.