Table Talk

Author: Martin Luther

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It is impossible for thy human strength, whosoever thou art, without God’s assistance, when Moses sets upon thee with his law, accuse and threaten thee with God’s wrath and death, to possess such peace as if no law or sin had ever been.

When thou feelest the terror of the law, thou mayest say thus: Madam Law! I have no time to hear you speak; your language is very rough and unfriendly; I. would have you know that your reign is over, therefore I am now free, I will endure your bondage no longer. When we thus address the law, we shall find the difference between the law of grace and the law of thundering Moses; and how great a divine and celestial gift it is to hope against hope, when there seems nothing to hope for; and how true the speech of St. Paul is, where he says: ’Through faith in Christ we are justified, and not through the works of the law.’ When, indeed, justification is not the matter in hand, we ought highly to esteem the law, extol it, and with St. Paul, call it good, true, spiritual, and divine, as in truth it is.

God will keep his Word through the writing-pen upon earth; the divines are the heads or quills of the pens, the lawyers the stumps. If the world will not keep the heads and quills, that is, if they will not hear the divines, they must keep the stumps, that is, they must hear the lawyers, who will teach them manners.


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Chicago: Martin Luther, "278," Table Talk, trans. William Hazlitt in The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther (London: D. Bogue, 1848), Original Sources, accessed April 17, 2024,

MLA: Luther, Martin. "278." Table Talk, translted by William Hazlitt, in The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther, London, D. Bogue, 1848, Original Sources. 17 Apr. 2024.

Harvard: Luther, M, '278' in Table Talk, trans. . cited in 1848, The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther, D. Bogue, London. Original Sources, retrieved 17 April 2024, from