Table Talk

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Author: Martin Luther

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246

The greatest sins committed against God, are the violations of the first table of the law. No man understands or feels these sins, but he that has the Holy Ghost and the grace of God. Therefore people feeling secure, though they draw God’s wrath upon them, yet flatter themselves they still remain in God’s favor. Yea, they corrupt the Word of God, and condemn it; yet think they do that which is pleasing and a special service to God. As for example: Paul held the law of God to be the highest and most precious treasure on earth, as we do the Gospel. He would venture life and blood to maintain it; and he thought he wanted neither understanding, wisdom, nor power. But before he could rightly look about him, and while he thought his cause most sure, then he heard another lesson, he got another manner of commission, and it was told him plainly, that all his works, actions, diligence and zeal, were quite against God. Yet his doings carried a fair favor with the learned and seemingly holy people, who said, Paul dealt herein uprightly, and performed divine and holy works, in showing such zeal for God’s honor and for the law.

But God struck him on the ear, that he fell to the ground, and heard, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? As if he should say, Saul, even with that therein thou thinkest to do me service, thou dost nothing but persecute me, as my greatest enemy. It is true, thou boastest that thou hast my word, that thou understandest the law, and wilt earnestly defend and maintain it; thou receivest testimony and authority from the elders and scribes, and in such thy conceit and blind zeal thou proceedest. But know, that in my law I have commanded, that whoso taketh my name in vain shall die. Thou, Saul, takest my name in vain; therefore thou art justly punished. Whereupon he said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Mark, this man was a master in the law of Moses, and yet he asked what he should do?

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Chicago: Martin Luther, "246," Table Talk, trans. William Hazlitt in The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther (London: D. Bogue, 1848), Original Sources, accessed August 7, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3U15GNRSK8NGUZR.

MLA: Luther, Martin. "246." Table Talk, translted by William Hazlitt, in The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther, London, D. Bogue, 1848, Original Sources. 7 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3U15GNRSK8NGUZR.

Harvard: Luther, M, '246' in Table Talk, trans. . cited in 1848, The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther, D. Bogue, London. Original Sources, retrieved 7 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3U15GNRSK8NGUZR.