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Luther's Epistle of Straw: The Voice of St. James in Reformation Preaching
 9783110535747, 9783110534993

Table of contents :
Foreword
Contents
Introduction
1. The Pastoral Beginnings of James in the Lutheran Church
2. Luther’s Pastoral Exegesis of James
3. James 1:16–27 in the Lutheran Postil Tradition from Anton Corvin to Simon Pauli
4. James 1:16–27 from Simon Musaeus to Lutheran Orthodox Preaching
Summary Theses
Appendix: Annotated English Translations of Luther’s Five Sermons on James (1535–1539)
Bibliography
Index of Persons
Index of Subjects
Biblical Citations

Citation preview

Luther’s Epistle of Straw

Historia Hermeneutica Series Studia

Herausgegeben von Lutz Danneberg Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Christoph Bultmann · Fernando Domínguez Reboiras Anthony Grafton · Wilhelm Kühlmann · Ian Maclean Reimund Sdzuj · Jan Schröder Johann Anselm Steiger · Theo Verbeek

Band 16



Jason D. Lane

Luther’s Epistle of Straw The Voice of St. James in Reformation Preaching

ISBN 978-3-11-053499-3 e-ISBN (PDF) 978-3-11-053574-7 e-ISBN (EPUB) 978-3-11-053502-0 ISSN 1861-5678 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the Library of Congress. Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.dnb.de.. © 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Printing and binding: CPI books GmbH, Leck ♾ Printed on acid-free paper Printed in Germany www.degruyter.com

Foreword This book is a culmination of my Promotionsarbeit in the department of Church History at the University of Hamburg. The dissertation was received by the Faculty of Theology in July 2015 with the title, The Lutheran Interpretation of the Epistle of James in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. The title has been changed and some minor revisions have been made for publication. My hearty thanks go first to Prof. Dr. Johann Anselm Steiger for overseeing the project and taking a chance on an American doctoral student whom he had never met. His initial suggestion to pursue the Auslegungsgeschichte of James 2 and Romans 3 set this project in motion and his encouragement and direction to see it through over these years have been invaluable. My thanks also to Prof. Dr. Inge Mager, who served as my second reader. Her thoughts early on in my research helped me to take a wider view of the history of biblical interpretation. Dr. Robert Kolb graciously read and commented on versions of the manuscript as they came together. Coffee and conversation with him in Wolfenbüttel helped me see many pieces to the puzzle that I otherwise would have missed. Many others have had a hand in this work, but Prof. John Pless and Dr. Oliver Olson deserve special mention for reasons they know. My marvelous sister-inlaw, Dr. Hannah Hintze, read and commented on the final manuscript. With her love of clarity, she helped me to polish many sentences and improve the final product. The project would not have come to fruition were it not for the stellar academic community and world-class early modern collections of the Herzog August Bibliothek (HAB) in Wolfenbüttel—truly a Forschungsparadies. A generous scholarship from the Dr. Günther Findel-Stiftung allowed for an initial threemonth stay in 2010 to begin my research on the use of the Epistle of James in the Lutheran Church. A second scholarship from the Rolf und Ursula Schneider-Stiftung helped support me and my family for a sixth-month stay in 2014 so that I could finish the research and writing, and the American Friends of the HAB helped cover our airfare to Germany. I am indebted to Frau Dr. Jill Bepler for her supervision of the HAB Stipendienprogramm and for cultivating a culture in which young scholars can thrive. Special thanks are due also to Frau Gerlinde Strauß for organizing accommodations and making room for a growing family at the HAB. My thanks also to Concordia University Wisconsin and those who kindly gave me leave for a semester to finish this work in the Fall of 2014 and for my faithful colleagues who covered my courses and supported the cause. My gratitude is owed to the saints of Dreieinigkeitsgemeinde (SELK) in Hamburg who supported me and my family selflessly during our two years in Hamhttps://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-001

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burg both physically and spiritually. Our home congregation, Our Savior Lutheran in Westminster, Massachusetts, also gave us support in those Hamburg days to allow for concentrated study. The saints at Celebration Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, Florida, whom I had the great privilege of serving from 2010 – 2013, affirmed just how applicable sixteenth-century Lutheran preaching is for the church today. They were eager hearers of my findings and helped me in more ways than they could know. Throughout my research and our many adventures, my wife Marta has made every place we lived a real home. With her, my lines have fallen in pleasant places. She and our children, Magdalene, Eva, Fredrik, Una, and Lucy have been a constant source of joy, rest, and strength. My mother, Lori MacDonald, and my mother-in-law, Ann Hintze, have been unwavering in their prayers and support of this project from the very start. To my two mothers I dedicate this work. Finally, thanks to Prof. Dr. Lutz Danneberg for accepting this work in the series Historia Hermeneutica. Series Studia and to De Gruyter Verlag for publishing it. Mequon, Wisconsin, the 1st Sunday after Trinity, 2017

Jason Daniel Lane

Contents Introduction 1 “a real epistle of straw” 15 Scopus of this Book 21 

The Pastoral Beginnings of James in the Lutheran Church 28 Althamer’s 1527 Annotations: “The best we could do with the Epistle of James.” 28 Althamer’s 1533 Commentary on James: A Representative of Wittenberg’s 34 Pastoral Exegesis Althamer’s Exegesis of James 1:1 – 15 36 Althamer’s Translation and Exegesis of James 1:16 – 27 and Their 41 Influence Chapter Summary and Outlook 52



Luther’s Pastoral Exegesis of James 54 First-century Palestine and Sixteenth-century Germany 57 The Ecclesial Setting of the Sermons 60 64 Luther’s James: The Reformer’s Isagogical Reflections on the Text An Analysis of Luther’s Sermons on James 1:16 – 27 (1535 – 1539) 67 James 1:17 – 18: A Christological Hermeneutic 68 James 1:17: Worldly Pleasures Below or the Good and Perfect Gifts from 69 Above? James 1:18: Word of Truth, First Fruits, and the Restoration of the Imago Dei 77 The Biblical Constellation of James 1:21, Romans 1:16, and Luke 8:4 – 15 80 James 1:22: Being a Doer of the Word 86 James 1:23 – 24: The Law of Liberty and Its Reflection 87 Summary of Luther’s Preaching on James 88



James 1:16 – 27 in the Lutheran Postil Tradition from Anton Corvin to Simon Pauli 90 Introduction to the Lutheran Postils 90 The Postil Imperative 92 A New Wave of Lutheran Postils 94 Simon Pauli’s Apology for the Loci Method 96

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Anton Corvin (1501 – 1553) 99 100 Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 103 Johann Spangenberg (1484 – 1550) 105 Luther’s Preface to Spangenberg’s Postils 107 Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 110 112 Lucas Lossius (1508 – 1582) Cantate: James 1:16 – 27 113 Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 116 119 David Chytraeus (1530 – 1600) Cantate: James 1:16 – 27 119 Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 120 125 Simon Pauli (1531 – 1591) Cantate: James 1:13 – 21 128 Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 135 139 Chapter Summary 

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James 1:16 – 27 from Simon Musaeus to Lutheran Orthodox Preaching 141 141 Simon Musaeus (1521 – 1576) Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 148 Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 152 157 Siegfried Sack (1527 – 1596) Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 157 Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 162 James in the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy 171 Preaching James in the Seventeenth Century 173 Balthasar Kerner (1582 – 1633) 174 Hartmann Creide (1606 – 1656) 182 Concluding Remarks 188

Summary Theses

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Appendix: Annotated English Translations of Luther’s Five Sermons on James 197 (1535 – 1539) Cantate Sunday: A Sermon by Dr. Martin Luther on James 1:16 – 21 (14 May 1536) 197 Cantate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:16 – 21 by Dr. Martin Luther (29 April 1537) 206

Contents

Cantate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:16 – 21 by Dr. Martin Luther 211 (4 May 1539) Rogate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:21 – 27 by Dr. Martin Luther (2 May 1535) 217 Rogate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:21 – 27 by Dr. Martin Luther 222 (11 May 1539) Bibliography 231 Abbreviated Sources 231 Primary Sources 231 235 Secondary Literature Index of Persons

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Index of Subjects

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Biblical Citations

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IX

Introduction Therefore, St. James’ epistle is a real epistle of straw […] for it has no evangelical way about it.¹ Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it[!]² I will not have him in my Bible […].³ I would not thereby prevent anyone from including or extolling him as he pleases, for he otherwise has many good sayings.⁴

It is indisputable that Martin Luther questioned the authority of James. Yet it should be equally indisputable that the message of St. James became part of Luther’s biblical theology and was always a part of the Lutheran Church’s proclamation. With regard to the first indisputable fact, this much is certain: influenced in part by Erasmus’ New Testament scholarship and in part by his growing evangelical convictions, Luther began to criticize the authority of James in his early debates with Sylvester Prierias and Johann Eck. By the end of August 1519, weeks after his dispute in Leipzig with Eck, he took a new, critical approach to the Epistle of James that became characteristic for the rest of his life: For although it is argued from the epistle of the Apostle James that ‘faith without works is dead,’ the style of that epistle is far inferior to the Apostolic majesty of St. Paul, and should in no way be compared with him. Paul speaks of living faith, for a faith that is dead is not faith but opinion. Yet you see theologians who hold on to this one authority and care nothing at all that the rest of Scripture teaches faith without works. That’s how these fellows do it. They rip out one little phrase from a text and set it up against all of Scripture.⁵

 WADB 6, 10, 33 – 34. “Darumb ist sanct Jacobs Epistel eyn rechte stroern Epistel […] denn sie doch keyn Euangelisch art an yhr hat.” AE 35:362 (Preface to James and Jude, 1522).  WADB 7, 384, 3 – 4; AE 35:395 (Preface to James and Jude, 1522).  WADB 7, 386, 17; AE 35:397, n. 55 (Preface to James and Jude, 1522).  WADB 7, 386, 18 – 19; AE 35:397 (Preface to James and Jude, 1522).  WA 2, 425, 10 – 16 (Resolutiones Lutherianae super propositionibus suis Lipsiae disputatis, 1519). “Quod autem Iacobi Apostoli epistola inducitur ‘Fides sine operibus mortua est’, primum stilus epistolae illius longe est infra Apostolicam maiestatem nec cum Paulino ullo modo comparandus, deinde de fide viva loquitur Paulus. Nam fides mortua non est fides, sed opinio. At vide theologos, hanc unam autoritatem mordicus tenent, nihil prorsus curantes, quod tota alia scriptura fidem sine operibus commendet: hic enim mos eorum est, una abrepta oratiuncula textus contra totam scripturam cornua erigere.” https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-002

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In his Defensio against Johann Eck that same year, Luther explains with a familiar quote from St. Augustine how he determined which biblical books are authoritative: I have learned to ascribe the honor of infallibility only to those books that are accepted as canonical. I am profoundly convinced that none of these writers have erred. As for the other writings, no matter how much the authors outrank me in holiness and doctrine, I read them in this way: I evaluate what they say, not on the basis of their own argument, but only insofar as they can convince me by the authority of the canonical books or by clear reason.⁶

Thereafter, Luther followed Augustine’s criterion to evaluate the authority of James, that is, he needed to be convinced of the letter’s authenticity not only by its internal testimony, but also by the authority of the canonical books and sound reason. In his famous Septembertestament of 1522, Luther published all the reasons why he was unconvinced by the letter’s apostolic authority.⁷ In his preface to the letter, Luther argues first of all that James blatantly contradicts St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in his interpretation of Genesis 15 and 22 when he ascribes justification to works (2:21– 24). Second, (Luther argues) James teaches nothing of Christ, which every true apostle must do,⁸ but speaks only of general faith in God. Third, he drives Christians to the law and its works. Fourth, he tosses his material together on paper so chaotically, it seems unlikely an apostle wrote it. Fifth, he calls the law of God the “law of liberty,” even though Paul is convinced it is a law of slavery, wrath, death, and sin. Sixth, thinking that James is James the son of Zebedee (Matt. 4:21) who was killed by Herod (Acts 12:2), Luther discounts the possibility of early authorship and reads any dependence on other New Testament documents as proof that the epistle came later than the writings of Peter, Paul, and the other apostles. Finally, Luther sums up his discontent with the accusation that James “had wanted to guard those

 WA 2, 626, 33 – 38 (Contra malignum Iohannis Eccii iudicium…Martini Lutheri defensio, 1519). “Tu vero, lector, illud Augustini utrinque adhibeto fidelissimum documentum, quo dicit: Ego solis eis libris, qui Canonici appellantur, hunc honorem deferre didici, ut nullum scriptorem eorum errasse firmissime credam: caeteros vero, quantalibet sanctitate doctrinaque praepolleant, ita lego, ut non ideo verum existimem, quia ipsi sic senserunt, sed si canonicorum librorum autoritate vel probabili ratione mihi persuadere potuerunt.” Cf., Augustine’s Letter to Jerome, Nr. 82, §3 (405 A.D.) in NPNF1, 1:575.  WADB 7, 385 – 387; AE 35:395 – 397.  WADB 7, 385, 22– 25 (Preface to James and Jude, 1546); AE 35:395. “Now it is the office of a true apostle to preach of the Passion and resurrection and office of Christ, and to lay the foundation for faith in him. Just as he says in John 15, ‘You will testify of me.’ […] Whatever does not teach Christ is not yet apostolic […].”

Introduction

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who rely on faith without works, but in spirit, understanding, and vocabulary, was unequal to the task; he mangles the Scriptures and thus contradicts Paul and all of Scripture […]. For this reason,” Luther writes, “I will not count it in my Bible as one of the true chief books.”⁹ Critiques of this kind appear steadily throughout Luther’s career and seem only to confirm suspicions that the reformer rejected James and had nothing but naked criticism for the letter.¹⁰ Søren Kierkegaard, who had a special affinity for St. James as well as for Luther, perhaps summarizes best scholarship’s consensus from Luther’s supporters (to say nothing of his opponents): There appeared a man from God and with faith, Martin Luther; with faith (for truly this required faith) or by faith he established faith in its rights. His life expressed works—let us never forget that—but he said: A person is saved by faith alone. The danger was great. I know of no stronger expression of how great it was in Luther’s eyes than that in order to get things straight: the Apostle James must be shoved aside. Imagine Luther’s respect for an apostle—and then to have to dare to do this in order to get faith restored to its rights!¹¹

The consensus communes that Luther had to reject sola scriptura to maintain sola fide still stands firm. Even Hermann Sasse, who spent his life upholding Luther’s confession of the faith, still criticized Luther for his “subjective” hermeneutic of Scripture. Luther’s celebrated dictum, from his ‘Preface to the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude’ (1522), that the ‘true test’ by which all Biblical books are to be judged is to ‘see whether they deal with Christ or not, since all the Scriptures show us Christ,’ can open the floodgates to a false, because altogether subjective, criticism of the Bible. No one can deny that Luther himself was occasionally a victim of this danger.¹²

According to modern scholarship, the Lutherans, starting with Luther, have set in motion and perpetuated a biblical hermeneutic that has been detrimental to an honest reading of James.¹³ Richard Bauckham, for example, argues that  WADB 7, 387, 13 – 18; cf., AE 35:397.  WATr 3, 253 – 254 (1533). No. 3292b; WA 39/II, 199, 24– 25 (Promotion of H. Schmedenstede, 1542); cf., AE 34:317. WATr 5, 157, 17– 18 (Nr. 5443) from 1542; cf., AE 54:424– 425.  Quoted in Richard Bauckham, James: Wisdom of James, Disciple of Jesus the Sage (London / New York: Routledge, 1999), 112.  Hermann Sasse, Here We Stand (Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House, 1988), 125.  Bauckham, James: Wisdom of James (1999), 117. “Luther’s principle of canon within a canon, determined by discriminating among the New Testament books as to which of them clearly convey the Gospel of Christ, remained extremely influential in the German Lutheran tradition and therefore also in much of modern New Testament scholarship which is heavily indebted to the work of German Lutheran scholars.” In a similar vein, Luke L. Cheung, The Genre, Composition

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any attempt to measure James or any other book of the New Testament against the Pauline corpus, as Luther did, “is really Marcion in modern Lutheran dress.”¹⁴ The general perception that Luther could not understand James because the letter failed to fit his conception of Pauline theology extends to Luther’s students and heirs too. David Scaer, a very generous reader of Luther and the Lutheran tradition, comments: “The Lutheran attitude towards the Epistle of James has been one of predicament, embarrassment, and confusion.”¹⁵ This book seeks to make sense of some of that confusion. I am convinced that our hasty reading of Luther and his heirs on James has led us to premature judgments, and it is only by returning to their exegesis that we will find a satisfactory answer. Before we cast yet another stone, we will have to face head on Lutherans’ use of James. And to do that we start with Luther, whose own thinking is indebted to the Book of James. This, too, is indisputable. In the very same Septembertestament preface in which Luther publishes all the reasons that he is unconvinced of the letter’s apostolic authority, for instance, Luther clearly does not reject James: “Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it and consider it a good book, because it sets up no doctrines of men but vigorously preaches the law of God.”¹⁶ Not only does he affirm the letter for its preaching of the divine law, but he also encourages coming generations to hold it in high regard: “[…] I will not count it in my Bible as one of the true chief books, but with that I will not stop anyone from giving it a place among them and praising it as it pleases him, for otherwise it has many good sayings.”¹⁷ Luther’s praise of James suggests that his attitude towards the epistle, though complex, is neither confused nor dismissive. Yet Luther’s praise for the letter has surprisingly not encouraged a deeper investigation into his practical exegesis of it. Moreover, his encouragement to later generations to read the letter for its many good sayings has not led to a closer consideration of how later Lutherans took up Luther’s challenge and interpreted this letter with its many good sayings. Past studies on Luther’s view of Scripture have tried in different ways to reconcile the reformer’s high view of the Bible with his criticism of James. However,

and Hermeneutics of the Epistle of James (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003), 1, writes of Luther, “His polemical attitude to James has been enormously influential, especially in Protestant scholarship.”  Bauckham, James: Wisdom of James (1999), 118.  David P. Scaer, James, The Apostle of Faith: A Primary Christological Epistle for the Persecuted Church (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1983), 117– 118.  WADB 7, 385, 3 – 5; AE 35:395.  WADB 7, 386, 17– 19. After 1534, Luther’s preface omits “in my Bible.”

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there is only so much that we can learn from his criticism. Without any concrete examples of Luther’s positive, practical use and application of the text, the studies up to this point have either been inadequate or have unintentionally misrepresented Luther’s view of James. Wilhelm Walther, for example, in his passionate defense against Roman Catholic representations of Luther in the nineteenth century, rightly points out that Luther never rejected James from his Bible, but that he praised the letter for preaching the law of God and for having “many good sayings.” Yet Walther could not show what these good sayings were or whether they mattered at all to Luther.¹⁸ In his excellent treatment of Luther’s view of Scripture, Michael Reu tried to evaluate Luther’s preface to James based on the doctrine of biblical inspiration as later articulated in Lutheran Orthodoxy.¹⁹ To preserve Luther’s doctrine of biblical inerrancy, however, Reu has to excuse Luther’s criticism by saying, “Luther did not class this epistle among the canonical writings.”²⁰ Reu is certainly correct that Luther’s more dogmatic statements about biblical inerrancy only apply to the homologoumena, the undisputed canonical books of Holy Scripture. But Reu’s argument would have been much stronger had he been able to demonstrate Luther’s consistent and positive use of the letter. Reu would have also discovered that Luther highly respected and humbly learned from the very same books that he criticized. This may appear less obvious in the case of James, but it is quite clear that Hebrews—another book Luther ranked with James—significantly shaped the reformer’s theology, as he himself admits.²¹ The belief that Luther had only criticism for the letter dis-

 Wilhelm Walther, Für Luther Wider Rom: Handbuch der Apologetik Luthers und der Reformation (Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1906), 114– 127.  Against Reu’s attempt to measure Luther’s view of Scripture with Lutheran Orthodoxy, see Hermann Sasse, Sacra Scriptura Studien zur Lehre von der Heiligen Schrift (Erlangen: Verlag der Ev.-Luth. Mission, 1981), 297. “Luthers Anschauung von der Inspiration und Irrtumslosigkeit der Schrift ist ja nicht einfach die der Orthodoxie des 17. Jahrhunderts, und man tut weder ihm noch den großen Gelehrten der Orthodoxie einen Gefallen, wenn man das verschweigt. Man soll Luther nicht nach Quenstedt interpretieren […].”  J. Michael Reu, Luther and the Scriptures (Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1944), 38 – 48; here, 48.  WA 10/I/1, 143, 13—144, 3 (Christmas Postils, 1522). “Das ist eyn starcke, mechtige und hohe Epistell, die da hoch herferett und treybt den hohen artickel des glawbens von der gottheyt Christi, unnd ist eyn glewbwirdiger wahn, sie sey nit sanct Pauls, darumb das sie gar eyn geschmuckter rede furt, denn S. Paulus an andernn ortten pflegt. Ettlich meynen sie sey S. Lucas. Ettlich S. Apollo, wilchen S. Lucas rumet, wie er ynn der schrifft mechtig sey geweßen widder die Juden, Act. 18[:24]. Es ist yhe war, das keyn Epistel mit solchen gewallt die schrifft furet alß diße, das eyn trefflicher Apostolischer man geweßen ist, er sey auch, wer er woll. Nu diße Epistel thut nitt mehr denn grundet und foddert den glawben von der gottheit Christi, wie ich gesagt habe,

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counts the possibility that aspects of his theology come directly from James—a point I will return to in a moment and in greater detail in chapter two. The sheer volume of citations from the epistle in the Weimarer Ausgabe of Luther’s works, however, suggests that James, too, influenced Luther’s theology. In an enlightening study on Luther’s use of Scripture, Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer has recently demonstrated that Luther’s works are, in fact, laced with James. According to his calculations, the frequency with which Luther quotes the epistle is almost comparable in percentage to his use of biblical quotations drawn from the synoptic gospels.²² Graf-Stuhlhofer’s study has helped others to recognize that Luther’s treatment of James is far more complex than a long history of scholarship has assumed.²³ Yet we will need to give more attention to Luther’s use of James to discover how he interprets those passages of the epistle that he so frequently quotes. Johannes Haar’s 1939 study on Luther’s use of James 1:18 is the only attempt that I am aware of to examine Luther’s reliance on the letter as a source of his evangelical theology.²⁴ Haar’s work is important because it demonstrates on the basis of Luther’s exegesis that Luther sees far more in James than his preface indicates.²⁵ Although Haar only explores Luther’s use of James 1:18,

das fast keyne ortt der Biblie ßo krefftig denselben artickel drauff dringt; drumb mussen wyr drauff bleyben und sie von stuck tzu stuck handellnn.”  “Jak kann (insgesamt gesehen) beinahe mit den Evangelien mithalten. Jak und Heb, obwohl in Luthers Augen keine “Hauptbücher”, verwendete er also doch intensiver als einige der “Hauptbücher”. Darin muß nicht unbedingt ein Widerspruch zu Luthers Vorreden gesehen werden. Denn dort erkennt Luther sowohl bei Heb (“redet vom Priestertum Christi meisterlich”) als auch bei Jak (“enthält viele gute Sprüche”) ausdrücklich an, daß sie wertvolle Abschnitte enthalten. Insoferne konnte er auf beide Bücher auch wiederholt und gerne zurückgreifen. Daß Luther sie nicht zu den “Hauptbüchern” zählte, beruht eben nur darauf, daß sie auch problematische Aussagen enthalten. (Wir sehen hier, wie die Betrachtung des tatsächlichen Bibelgebrauchs helfen kann, direkte Äußerungen Luthers richtig einzuordnen.)” Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer, “Martin Luthers Bibelgebrauch in quantitativer Betrachtung,” Theologisches Gespräch: Freikirchliche Beiträge zur Theologie 24 (2000): 111– 120; here, 119.  Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 5; Gerhard Maier, Der Brief des Jakobus (Gütersloh: R. Brockhaus Verlag GmbH, 2004), 122.  Johann Haar, Initium creaturae Dei eine Untersuchung über Luthers Begriff der ‘neuen Creatur’ im Zusammenhang mit seinem Verständnis von Jakobus 1,18 und mit seinem ‘Zeit’-Denken (Gütersloh: Der Rufer, 1939), 28 – 128.  Haar, Initium creaturae Dei (1939), 29, writes, “Man sollte bei den so oft aufgegriffenen bekannten scharfen Urteilen Luthers über den Jakobus-Brief die auffällige Vorliebe für Jak. 1, 18 nicht vergessen.” More recently, David Scaer has noticed the evangelical character of Luther’s use of James in the Large Catechism to teach about true prayer. He argues, quite in line with my thesis, that “Luther understands James as requiring a faith that puts its trust totally in God without in any way relying on one’s own merits or worthiness.” Scaer adds, unfortunately

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his study is of special significance because it shows convincingly that Luther interprets passages of James soteriologically, as gospel. Despite this evidence of Luther’s praise, frequent use, and soteriological interpretation of James, all of which complicate our understanding of Luther’s view of the epistle, the majority of scholarship continues to favor the simpler solution based on his criticism, namely, that Luther had little use for the letter. The charges against Luther have also extended to his theological heirs, since it is simply assumed out of hand that Lutheran theology cannot bear the witness of James. But if we find a positive use of James in Luther, might we not also find positive teachings from James in the writings of Luther’s heirs? This raises some very basic questions for exploration. Did Lutherans write commentaries and preach sermons on James? Did they use James in their devotional and catechetical material? And if so, what do they tell us about their biblical exegesis, pastoral care, and theological concerns? Some research is available on the Lutheran interpretation of James in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.²⁶ However, these studies fall short of legitimate historical accounts of biblical interpretation for various reasons. Typically they tend to survey the reception of Luther’s criticism in Protestantism and therefore make no distinction between the Lutheran and Reformed traditions. Moving in broad, even disconnected strokes, they tend to trace the negative reception of James in Lutheranism to its positive reception in the Reformed tradition. These studies are also irresistibly drawn into questions of canonicity and biblical authority rather than exegesis.²⁷

without any further discussion, “The question that remains unanswered is whether he was aware of his own apparent inconsistency.” Scaer, James (1983), 139.  Gustav Kawerau, “Die Schicksale des Jakobusbriefes im 16. Jahrhundert,” Zeitschrift für kirchliche Wissenschaft und kirchliches Leben X (1889): 359 – 370; Max Meinertz, Der Jakobusbrief und sein Verfasser in Schrift und Überlieferung (Freiburg Im Breisgau: Herdersche Verlagshandlung, 1905), 216 – 236; Paulus Bergauer, Der Jakobusbrief bei Augustinus und die damit verbundenen Probleme der Rechtfertigungslehre (Freiburg i.Br.: Herder, 1962), 93 ff.; Luke Timothy Johnson, The Letter of James: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday Publishing, 1995), 140 – 146; Maier, Der Brief des Jakobus (2004), 22– 33.  Derek Cooper’s recent and commendable work belongs here: Thomas Manton: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Pastor (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2011). With his brief sketch of the epistle’s interpretation from Luther and Calvin down to Manton (1620 – 1677), Cooper provides needed context to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century interpretations of James. Because he was not working with Lutheran exegesis, however, Cooper can only demonstrate the value of James in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by moving from the negative picture of James in Lutheranism to the positive reception among the Calvinists and Puritans.

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Introduction

Gustav Kawerau’s 1889 article, “Das Schicksal des Jakobusbriefes im 16. Jahrhundert,” however, is a notable exception and deserves special consideration here, since it alone concentrates exclusively on the Lutheran tradition. Kawerau’s article appears in the secondary literature as the standard work on the Lutheran Auslegungsgeschichte of James in the sixteenth century.²⁸ Although it is not properly a history of the interpretation of James, since it does not address what Lutherans did with the text of James in their preaching, lectures, commentaries, and pastoral care, Kawerau’s article is nevertheless significant on two accounts. First, he introduces the curious circumstances of Andreas Althamer (1500 – 1539), student of Luther and Melanchthon, reformer in Brandenburg-Ansbach, and the first Lutheran commentator on James.²⁹ Althamer wrote two separate and very different commentaries on the epistle. His first commentary appeared in Straßburg in 1527, a Latin work that embraced in every possible way Luther’s harsh criticism of the letter.³⁰ Althamer’s second commentary, however, written in German and published in Wittenberg in 1533, has a far more gracious and edifying tone. His second commentary also appears to have been more influential than the first, not only due to the important place of publication at the very center of Reformation activity, but also because it went through a second printing in Wittenberg in 1555.³¹ I examine and discuss the content of Althamer’s second commentary and its unexpected influence on Luther in chapter one. Kawerau’s article is of further significance, because he interprets Althamer’s change of heart between 1527 and 1533 as a major turning point for the fate of James in Lutheranism. He speculates that it was Philipp Melanchthon’s explanation of James 2:21– 24 in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession ³² that caused Althamer’s breakthrough regarding James and ultimately rescued the letter in the sixteenth century from Luther’s criticism. Kawerau observes that the Formula of Concord reinforced Melanchthon’s interpretation,³³ and very seldom did later Lutherans

 The following rely on Kawerau’s research: Meinertz, Der Jakobusbrief und sein Verfasser in Schrift und Überlieferung (1905), 222– 226; Johnson, James (1995), 140 – 146; Maier, Der Brief des Jakobus (2004), 22– 33. Both Johnson and Maier follow Kawerau’s outline and argumentation of the history.  Theodor Kolde, Andreas Althamer der Humanist und Reformator in Brandenburg-Ansbach. Mit einem Neudruck seines Katechismus von 1528 und archivalischen Beilagen (Erlangen: Verlag von Fr. Junge, 1895) for a biographical sketch of Althamer’s life and productivity.  Andreas Althamer, Annotationes in Epistolam beati IACOBI iampriumum editiae (Strassburg: Johann Schott, 1527).  Andreas Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs. Mit newer auslegung, Andree Althamers. Wie sie gepredigt worden Zu Onoltzbach (Wittemberg: Rhaw, 1533).  Ap IV, 244– 253, in BSLK, 207– 210; BC, 157– 159.  SD III, 42, in BSLK, 928; BC, 569 – 570.

Introduction

9

question it.³⁴ Convinced, then, that Melanchthon’s brief exegesis and its later approval in the Formula shows signs of a steady shift in the Lutheran interpretation of James 2, Kawerau reduces the history of the Lutheran interpretation of the entire letter down to an ultimatum. “There are only two logical ways: either throw out the whole letter based on the aggravation of chapter two, or else go with Melanchthon and press it as well as one can into the Pauline system.”³⁵ Kawerau assumes in a similar vein as Michael Reu that the study of the Lutheran interpretation of James in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is simply a matter of tracing the approval or disapproval of the letter’s authority. Kawerau’s way of framing the investigation assumes that those who criticized the letter based on the difficulties of James 2 must have thrown out the whole letter and never used it or applied it as God’s word. The logic, however, does not match the evidence. As Kawerau himself faced in the example of Althamer, the Lutherans who criticized the letter in the sixteenth century are the same ones who wrote the most edifying commentaries (A. Althamer, M. Flacius, L. Osiander). According to Theodor Kolde, Althamer’s 1533 commentary is truly the best of its kind in the sixteenth century.³⁶ Furthermore, if their use and application of

 Polycarp Leyser, the Elder (1552– 1610) is one of the exceptions. Polycarp Leiser, Zwo Christliche Predigten: Eine / Von den guten Wercken: wie dieselben gut Euangelisch / nach Christi Lehr / sollen gepflantzt vnd getrieben werden. Die Andere / Von dem Artickel: Wie der sündige Mensch für Gott gerecht vnd ewig selig werde. Zu Prag gehalten / Als die Röm. Keys. Mey. RVDOLPHVS II. Vnser aller gnedigster Herr / von dem Churfürsten zu Sachsen vnd Burggraffen zu Magdenburg / u. CHRISTIANO II. vnterthenigst besuchet ward. Jetzo aber in offenen Druck publicirt, von wegen des vnnützen Geschreyes vnd Gespeyes/ welches zween Münch/ ein Lojolitischer vnd ein Capuciner/ darwider ereget (Leipzig: Abraham Lamberg, 1607), 46 – 47. Leyser acknowledges Melanchthon’s interpretation, but prefers Luther’s measured critique of James’ apostolicity: “Why is St. James’ epistle not regarded as a true apostle’s writing? Primarily for this reason, that he does not hold to this method of Christ and the apostles. He saw, after the apostles died, a great lawlessness [licentz] in people’s lives, since people relied on faith without works. He wrote his epistle against them and supposed he would help matters with law preaching [Gesetztreiben]; he maintained that a person is justified through works and not through faith alone, which is directly in opposition to St. Paul. And although one can make sense of it with glosses, in that one perceives St. Paul and James use the word “faith” and the word “to justify” [justificare] or “to make righteous” [Gerechtmachen] in a different sense, the fact remains that the way he teaches is not the right methodus apostolica. For when a person is already righteous through faith, the apostles exhort to good works not through the preaching of the law, but by inciting them to love.”  Gustav Kawerau, “Die Schicksale des Jakobusbriefes im 16. Jahrhundert” (1889): 359 – 370; here, 369 – 370.  Kolde, Andreas Althamer (1895), 73. “So wird dieser Kommentar des Jacobusbriefes, der nur hier und da durch die Wärme der Anführungen and die Predigten, die ihm zu Grunde liegen,

10

Introduction

the letter automatically correlated to their criticism—as scholarship has mistakenly assumed is the case with Luther—we should also expect to find a shortage of Lutheran material on James in the sixteenth century. Likewise, we should also expect to find a recognizable swell of publications on James (sermons, commentaries, disputations, etc.) that were published after the Book of Concord in 1580, which essentially settled the problems of James 2. Instead, we find that Lutheran publications on James neither swelled with the waning criticism of the letter in Lutheran circles, nor was there a noticeable deficit of sermons or commentaries on James while Luther’s criticism “reigned.” In other words, there is no recognizable correlation between the criticism and the production of exegetical and devotional material on James. The history of interpretation of this epistle is perplexing because essentially two histories emerge simultaneously within sixteenth-century Lutheranism. The first story concerns the reception of Luther’s criticism and traces the history of canonicity and biblical isagogics—the branch of biblical studies that investigates the historical circumstances of the individual books of Scripture (author, date, audience, purpose, etc.). J. A. O. Preus’ article, “The New Testament Canon in the Lutheran Dogmaticians” from 1961,³⁷ recounts that history by tracing the reception of Luther’s criticism among the Lutheran dogmaticians.³⁸ The other story, however, is the history of biblical interpretation, the Auslegungsgeschichte of James, an account of the Lutheran reading, interpretation, and application of the letter’s theological message for the church. As it turns out, the history of biblical exegesis in the Lutheran Church developed quite independently from their historical investigations regarding canonicity. Although one cannot entirely separate the Auslegungsgeschichte from the historical questions of canon, neither can one examine the Lutheran interpretation of James based solely on individual opinions about authorship and authority. Kawerau, like so many others, could not separate the Auslegungsgeschichte from the history of Lutheran isagogics,

erinnert, zu einem fortwährendem Widerruf früherer Auslassungen. Verhältnismäßig kurz und bündig, dürfte derselbe zu den besten Arbeiten dieser Art im 16. Jahrhundert gehören.”  J. A. O. Preus, “The New Testament Canon in the Lutheran Dogmaticians,” The Springfielder 25:1, (1961): 8 – 33. Preus’ article was also recently republished in Concordia Journal 36/2 (Spring, 2010): 133 – 153.  Max Meinertz indicates that a similar history appears in the Roman Catholic Church with the reception (or rather, rejection) of Erasmus and Cardinal Caietan’s criticism of James. Meinertz, Der Jakobusbrief und sein Verfasser in Schrift und Überlieferung (1905), 216 – 219.

Introduction

11

and thus, against the evidence he had gathered from Althamer, concludes that those who followed Luther’s critique were in no position to interpret James.³⁹ Our study of the Lutheran interpretation of James will have to accept that the same historical figure, whether Luther, Althamer, Flacius, or another, can embody both the negative criticism and the positive use of the letter. To write a history about Lutherans and the Epistle of James, then, one finally has to decide which story to tell: the story of canonicity or the story of interpretation. J. A. O. Preus has traced the former. I will tell a small part of the second story, the story of interpretation, by looking closely at Lutheran preaching, especially as it appears in the Lutheran postil tradition. I believe the material is enough to cause a thorough reconsideration of the place of James in Lutheran theology. I hope to light the way to other primary texts that should take others further than I have gone here. One distinction that Preus makes in his account of the canonicity will be significant for our account of the Lutheran interpretation, namely, the distinction between the homolegoumena and the antilegomena books of Scripture. Lutherans could agree that James and the rest of the antilegomena (Hebrews, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Revelation) should be read in the same way that Luther had learned from Augustine. As Martin Chemnitz also cautioned against Rome’s decree to affirm the canonicity of all the New Testament antilegomena, “what is said in these books must be explained and understood according to the analogy of those things which are clearly taught in the canonical books.”⁴⁰ Although Lutherans were not all agreed on which of the antilegomena should be treated with the most reservation—for instance, Luther did not urge the same caution about 2 Peter, or 2 and 3 John as he did about James or Revelation—they all agreed that only the homologoumena can determine the church’s doctrine. Matthias Flacius and the Magdeburg Centurions, like Chemnitz and Luther, urged that the antilegomena should be read according to the analogia fidei, an analogy and summary of the faith that can be derived only from the canonical Scriptures.⁴¹

 Gustav Kawerau, “Die Schicksale des Jakobusbriefes im 16. Jahrhundert” (1889), 369. “Unbefanges Urtheil wird anerkennen müssen, daß der Jakobusbrief dem Schriftverständnis der Reformatoren eine Aufgabe stellte, die sie mit ihren Mitteln zu lösen noch nicht im Stande waren.”  Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, vol. 1 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971), 189. See Preus who gives a thorough summary of Chemnitz’s view of the canon. J. A. O. Preus, “The New Testament Canon” (1961), 11– 16.  Matthias Flacius Illyricus, Centuriae Magdeburgenses seu Historia ecclesiastica Novi Testamenti cum variorum theologorum continuationibus ad haec nostra tempora quas excipient supplementa emendationum defensionum illustrationumque ad priores centurias XIII. Qvorvm cvram svscipiet qvi praefationes etiam singvlis volvminibvs addet Sigismvndvs Jacobvs Bavmgarten

12

Introduction

The attempts of historical-critical exegetes to cast doubt on the authority of the canonical Scriptures based on Lutheran critiques of several New Testament antilegomena disregards the necessary distinctions in theological prolegomena between the disputed and indisputable books of Holy Scripture.⁴² Yet a word of caution should also be given to those who want to use the Lutheran dogmaticians to seal up the canon once and for all, since the dogmaticians’ judgments concerning the canonicity of the antilegomena were, like Luther’s, hardly firm. Preus writes: The Lutheran dogmaticians liked to give answers which were as close to mathematically correct as they could make them; but a study of their writings on canon reveal that they faced the same problem we do today. Except in their well-founded objections to Rome’s arrogation of authority to establish the canon, they were surprisingly undogmatic in regard to the canon. So was Luther. When one considers their absolutism in matters which were clearly stated in Scripture, and then compares their mildness and latitude with regard to canon, we can only conclude that they felt themselves on ground which was not entirely doctrinal, but rather historical. And it was an incomplete and uncertain history.⁴³

Preus recognizes that Luther and the Lutheran dogmaticians were not willing to assert the authority of the antilegomena as a dogmatic principle or an article of faith. In the case of James, they weighed the arguments of the early church and listened for the letter’s harmony with the canonical books. Therefore, in examining their criticisms against James, we must also acknowledge that Lutherans make no absolute judgments in their criticism; otherwise they would have left James out of their Bibles. Neither do those who accept James into the canon argue for the authority of James without also comparing it to the rest of Scripture. Preus observes further that arguments concerning the canon are often attached to the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit who through the Scriptures produces and sustains faith. If we cannot be sure that James is canonical, how can we be sure that the Holy Spirit has inspired it and through it will work to create and sustain faith? Here the dogmaticians made a distinction between the internal testimony of the Spirit and a book’s canonical status, since all the dogmaticians built their arguments about canonicity not on the internal clarity of Scripture but on historical evidence.⁴⁴ (Nürnberg: Lange, 1758), 451– 465 (Vol. I, Book II, Chapter IV: De Scriptura Novi Testamenti: hoc est, de Scriptis Evangelistarum et Apostolorum).  J. A. O. Preus, “The New Testament Canon” (1961), 28. “It is certain that among the ranks of the endless and variegated isagogical theories the authorship of every single New Testament book has been denied.”  J. A. O. Preus, “The New Testament Canon” (1961), 29.  J. A. O. Preus, “The New Testament Canon” (1961), 31.

Introduction

13

The testimonium internum convinces us of the authority of Scripture, that the Scripture is autopistos. This point the dogmaticians raise in opposition to Rome’s contention that Scripture derives authority from the church. But, since the church does not give its authority to Scripture, it is equally certain that it does not compile or determine the canon. A book is not canonical because of a church decree, but of itself, by virtue of its divine origin and inspiration […]. Thus, while a book can convince us by the testimonium internum it is God’s Word, and thus inspired and canonical, the Spirit, in the case of an unsigned or anonymous book, does not tell us of its authorship, which the dogmaticians establish solely on isagogical and historical principles.⁴⁵

It is possible, then, and usually the case in the sixteenth century, that Lutherans could admit uncertainty about the canonicity of James on historical grounds, while still not excluding the Holy Spirit’s powerful working through the message. Their uncertainty about the canonicity of James left open the possibility that James was in fact canonical and inspired. Yet all this still tells us nothing about their interpretation and use of the letter. The canonical question brings us no further, and perhaps even leads us astray in our understanding of the Lutheran interpretation of James. When considering the doubts that surrounded James in sixteenth century or the growing acceptance of the epistle’s authority in the seventeenth century, it is worth remembering that either way, James had remained in their Bibles and continued to have a voice in the Lutheran Church among the apostolic witnesses of the New Testament. Their constant use of James should lead us to investigate not if but how they interpreted James. Rather than investigate whether James was authoritative for Lutherans, perhaps the better question is to ask what kind of authority James had. In his preface to the letter, Luther reminded his readers that the best books are those that teach Christ. Whatever preaches Christ is apostolic, regardless of who preaches it, whether Judas, Annas, Pilate, or Herod. And whatever does not preach Christ, says Luther, is not apostolic, even if Peter or Paul should preach it.⁴⁶ Although these comments are mistaken for judgements about canonicity, Luther’s New Testament prefaces (unlike his prefaces to the Old Testament Apocry-

 J. A. O. Preus, “The New Testament Canon” (1961), 31.  WA 7, 386, 25 – 31 (Preface to James and Jude, 1546). “Vnd darinne stimmen alle rechtschaffene Buecher vber eins, das sie alle sampt Christum predigen vnd treiben. Auch ist das der rechte Pruefestein alle Buecher zu taddeln, wenn man sihet, ob sie Christum treiben oder nicht, Sintemal alle schrifft Christum zeiget, Rom. iij. Vnd S. Paulus nichts denn Christum wissen wil, j. Cor. ij. Was Christum nicht leret, das ist noch nicht Apostolisch, wens gleich S. Petrus oder Paulus leret. Widerumb, was Christum prediget, das were Apostolisch, wens gleich Judas, Hannas, Pilatus, vnd Herodes thet.”

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Introduction

pha)⁴⁷ make no mention of canonical and non-canonical books. Jörg Armbruster’s work on Luther’s prefaces to the German Bible dispels the misconception. He shows that instead of a canonical argument, Luther’s critique of apostolicity was to reestablish a New Testament hermeneutic that had Christ at the center.⁴⁸ Luther can therefore praise James and still consider it below the apostolic benchmark, not because James is outside the canon, but because he distinguishes between two very different kinds of divine authority, namely, law and gospel, the authority of Moses versus that of Christ. His preface to James is intended to serve as a brief instruction for reading the Bible, to warn Christians from becoming fixated on the law without seeing that the Scriptures are ultimately a witness to Christ (Luke 24:27; John 5:39). Seen in this way, his preface to James is not all that different from his instruction about how Christians should regard Moses.⁴⁹ Although Luther considered Moses to have written books of law, his great Genesis lectures and sermons on Exodus and Deuteronomy, to name just a few examples, clearly demonstrate that Luther recognized Christ and the gospel message on every page of the Pentateuch.⁵⁰ Luther’s label of the Old Testament as

 WADB 12, 2, 1– 4. The heading to Luther’s translation of the Apocrypha (1534/1545) reads: “Apocrypha. Das sind Bücher: so nicht der heiligen Schrifft gleich gehalten: vnd doch nützlich vnd gut zu lesen sind.”  Jörg Armbruster, Luthers Bibelvorreden: Studien zu ihrer Theologie (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2005), 144. “‘Apostolisch’ ist hier also nicht gleichbedeutend mit ‘kanonisch,’ denn Luther hat den Kanon faktisch nicht revidiert[…]. Das Kriterium ‘was Christum treibet’ gilt zwar für ‘alle Bücher,’ wird von Luther aber nur bei der Beurteilung von umstrittenen Schriften geltend gemacht. Der Satz macht in diesem Zusammenhang deutlich, daß hier nicht historische Fragen, z. B. die Frage nach der Verfasserschaft, den Ausschlag geben, sondern die inhaltliche Übereinstimmung mit dem unbestritten apostolischen Christuszeugnis.” David Lotz and Derek Cooper have also made this point. See David W Lotz, “Sola Scriptura: Luther on Biblical Authority,” Interpretation 35 (1981), 273; Derek Cooper, “Saving the Strawy Epistle: The Recovery of James after Martin Luther,” Haddington House Journal 11 (2009), 142.  WA 16, 363 – 393 (Eyn Unterrichtung, wie sich die Christen yn Mosen sollen schicken, 1525); AE 35:161– 174.  For instance, WADB 8, 13, 9 – 22 (Luther’s Preface to the Old Testament, 1523/1545): “Alte Testament ist ein Gesetzbuch. So wisse nu, Das dis Buch ein Gesetzbuch ist, das da leret, was man thun vnd lassen sol. Vnd da neben anzeigt Exempel vnd Geschichte, wie solch Gesetze gehalten oder vbertretten sind. New Testament ist ein Gnadebuch. Gleich wie das newe Testament, ein Euangelium oder Gnadenbuch ist, vnd leret, wo mans nemen sol, das das Gesetz erfuellet werde. Aber gleich wie im newen Testament, neben der Gnadenlere, auch viel andere Lere gegeben werden, die da Gesetz vnd Gebot sind, das Fleisch zu regieren, sintemal in diesem leben der Geist nicht volkomen wird, noch eitel gnade regieren kan. Gesetz vnd Gebot im newen Testament Verheissunge im alten Testament. Also sind auch im alten Testament, neben den Gesetzen, etliche Verheissung vnd Gnadensprueche da mit die heiligen Veter vnd Propheten vnter dem Gesetz im glauben Christi, wie wir, erhalten sind. Doch wie des newen Testaments eigentliche

“a real epistle of straw”

15

law and the New Testament as gospel must therefore be regarded as a broad pedagogical distinction intended to assist students of the Bible. His label of James as a law book rather than a gospel book is, similar to his labeling of Moses, not intended to be a detailed exegesis of the text but a guide to help readers place James in its proper setting among the other biblical books. Christians in their general study of Scripture are to discern what things in Scripture are most essential by distinguishing between law and gospel. Luther was offering some hermeneutical guidelines for their reading.

“a real epistle of straw” Luther’s criticism that James is an epistle of straw compared to Romans and other New Testament books may apply to James only insofar as James is a book of the law. (Although Luther is more complicated than that. I will suggest in chapter two that Luther’s specific exegesis of James overrides his judgment that the writer was nothing more than a law preacher. Johannes Haar’s study of Luther’s use of James 1:18 already suggests that Luther could interpret the letter evangelically, just as Luther had done with the books of Moses and the rest of the Old Testament.) That is, insofar as James preaches the divine law, it is temporal; its authority extends only as far as sin itself. For where there is no law there is no sin (Rom. 4:15). And where there is no sin, there is no need for the law (Gal. 5:23). “The law […] until Christ” (Gal. 3:24), says St. Paul, and “Christ is the end of the law” (Rom. 10:4). In other words, James’ preaching of the law will soon be obsolete. When Christ returns, it will burn like straw. Since the straw comment has distracted so many commentators from a fair appraisal of Luther, we need to take a closer look at its context. Luther’s comparison of James to straw has both biblical and historical roots that can help us understand the intent of his criticism. First, Luther draws on the structural imagery of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:10 – 17 to demonstrate that not all preaching and writings bear the same weight. Paul argues that, like a master builder, he laid the foundation of Christ in Corinth and now others are building on it. Some build with gold, silver, and precious stones. Others build with wood, hay, and straw. “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day

Heubtlere ist, gnade vnd friede durch vergebung der suenden in Christo verkuendigen, Also ist des alten Testaments eigentliche Heubtlere, Gesetze leren vnd Suende anzeigen, vnd guts foddern. Solches wisse im alten Testament zu warten.” Cf., AE 35:236 – 237.

16

Introduction

will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done” (1 Cor. 3:12– 13). Luther reads the passage consistently as a reference to the apostles and prophets who by preaching and teaching were building the church on Christ, the chief cornerstone. Compared to other New Testament books, Luther believed that James had built on the foundation of Jesus Christ with straw. The author’s message would perish, and he would be saved through fire. Second, Luther’s straw comment has an historical context. It is often overlooked in the secondary literature that, in the early phases of the Reformation, an ongoing debate blustered between Catholics and Lutherans about the interpretation of St. Paul’s analogy. Citing 1 Corinthians 3:15, Johann Eck had argued against Luther that the fathers Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory, Bernhard, and Augustine all interpreted the passage as a reference to purgatory. Eck believed that with 1 Corinthians 3 he had the clearest of all texts, apertissimus textus, in support of the doctrine of purgatory.⁵¹ For further support of Rome’s position that salvation comes through fire and each one’s works must be tested, Eck turned to Augustine’s Enchiridion, chapters 67 and 68. Luther, who knew the passage, corrected Eck’s misreading and argued rightly that Augustine interprets the passage tropologically (tropologice), that is, morally.⁵² Augustine’s exegesis is notable, not only because it appears frequently in the Lutheran-Catholic debates on purgatory, but also because he refers to James 2:24– 26 as proof that faith must be tested with fire and that one cannot be saved by a faith alone without works.⁵³ Although Augustine’s exegesis of 1 Corinthians 3 did not move Luther to interpret the passage morally, it is possible that the appearance of James in Paul’s analogy made the association more natural to Luther. Whatever the case, the debate was useful for Luther, because it forced him to clarify and stand by his interpretation of St. Paul’s analogy which he would later use to evaluate which books of the New Testament lay the foundation of Christ and which others build on that foundation. For Luther, therefore, Paul’s analogy refers not to morals (Augustine) and certainly not purgatory (Eck), but to the content of what is preached. The interpretive debate over 1 Corinthians 3 appears again in 1530. In his commentary on 1 Corinthians, Johannes Bugenhagen asserts—after dismissing the clear misinterpretation about purgatory—that the verse does not apply to conversations between Christians, nor does it apply to the works of individual

 WA 2, 326, 27– 39.  WA 2, 330, 23 – 35.  His full interpretation of the passage in English can be found in NPNF1 3:259 – 260 (Enchiridion, Chapters 67– 68).

“a real epistle of straw”

17

Christians, but strictly to the preaching office.⁵⁴ Concerning those who build on Christ with straw (such as James), Bugenhagen comments that they should not be regarded as godless preachers.⁵⁵ As long as they do not attempt to build their own foundation, they build on the true foundation.⁵⁶ Although the Epistle of James may be straw, and may not be filled with the eternal gospel as Luther had come to expect from an apostle, that does not mean that straw is useless when placed on the foundation of Christ, but only that it is not eternal. Luther offers his own view of preachers who build on Christ with straw. In his tract Widerruf vom Fegefeuer in 1530, Luther refers to and recommends Bugenhagen’s reading of 1 Corinthians 3.⁵⁷ After summarizing Bugenhagen’s exegesis,⁵⁸ Luther equates the addition of straw in preaching or teaching to what the rhetoricians call “catachresis” or wrenching of words. He defends the interpretation of the early fathers, who had not always built on the foundation of Christ with precious stone, and says that they may have added straw to their exegesis, but without any ill intent. If every now and again they twisted a text, they did so only to accommodate it to their own situation and argument.⁵⁹ Luther, too, suggests that there is nothing evil about such interpretations, because they do not wish to establish a new foundation. Here we see that Luther reads even interpretations of straw charitably, and without rejecting the entire work of the author. It may seem from the above that Luther regards straw as a false interpretation that is of little harm, since Christ remains the foundation. However, according to his preface to Wenceslaus Link’s annotations to the Torah in 1543, Luther believes that even the prophets mixed straw into their interpretations of Moses.  Johannes Bugenhagen, Commentarius, In quatuor capita prioris Epistolae ad Corinthios, de sapientia et justicia dei quae Christus est, et de autoritate sacrae scripturae et doctrinae Apostolicae in ecclesia Christi (Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1530), M8r. “Paulus, si contextum ut oportet, respiciamus, non hic de conuersatione Christianorum loquitur, sed de officio praedicatorum, non de operibus quae faciant singuli Christiani, quae et ipsa ut diximus, etiam si angelica uideantur, peccata sunt, nisi fundamento conueniat, error est et suductio.”  Bugenhagen, Commentarius in quatuor capita prioris Epistolae ad Corinthios (1530), N1r. “Tamen hoc admoneo, quod aedificantes ligna, foenum, stipulam, non licet hic interpretari impios praedicatores.”  Bugenhagen, Commentarius in quatuor capita prioris Epistolae ad Corinthios (1530), N1v.  WA 30/2, 378, 35 – 379. “Weil aber mein lieber herr und freund, Er Johann Pomer, unser zu Wittemberg und wol an mehr orten rechter Ertzbischoff, diesen Text hat reichlich ausgelegt und gewaltiglich den Fegfeurs Aposteln und Tyrannen abgeiagt.”  WA 30/2, 379, 9 – 12.  WA 30/2, 381, 23 – 27. “Solche weise die schrifft zu furen heisst Katachresis, abusiuus modus loquendi, Ein misverstand, das man der schrifft zu weilen einen spruch abborget und reisset damit einen bossen (wie wirs nennen), doch on schaden dem Text und dem rechten verstand, welcher den ernst on alle bossen haben sol.”

18

Introduction

He suggests that the prophets had read Moses with a pen in hand to mark down the good thoughts suggested by the Holy Spirit. And although they built on the foundation, they did not always write pure gold. Luther explains: the prophets daily and diligently exercised themselves in Moses, just as he commands constantly and strictly that his book be read, even by the king (Deuteronomy 17 [:19 – 20] and Joshua 1 [:8]). Now, if these good and faithful teachers and searchers of Scripture mixed in some hay, straw, and wood occasionally, and did not build pure silver, gold, and precious stones, nevertheless the foundation remains, and the rest will be consumed by the fire of that Day, as St. Paul says [1 Cor. 3:12– 13]; and Moses writes in [Leviticus] 26 [:10]: “You shall eat from the old store, and when the new comes, clear out the old.”⁶⁰

Luther’s comment on the prophetic writings, just as his comments about James and also Hebrews,⁶¹ have been misunderstood and misused as definitive statements about biblical inspiration.⁶² However, a survey of Luther’s use of the analogy shows that, without distinction, he is consistently referring to all interpretations of Scripture, whether that of the prophets, apostles, students of the apostles, church fathers, or of pastors. He uses the analogy, not to evaluate the inspiration of biblical books, but only to evaluate the interpretation of those books by all those who bear the public office of preaching.⁶³ The prophets

 For the whole passage, WA 54, 3, 31– 4, 2 (Vorrede auff Wenzelaus Lincks Annotation in die fünff buecher Mosi, 1543). My original translation can be found in AE 60:300.  WADB 7, 345, 24– 29 (Preface to the Letter to the Hebrews, 1546). “Vnd ob er wol nicht den Grund legt des glaubens, wie er selbs zeuget, Cap. vj. welchs der Apostel ampt ist, so bawet er doch fein drauff, Gold, Silber, Edelsteine, wie S. Paulus j. Cor. iij. sagt. Derhalben vns nicht hindern sol, ob vieleicht etwa Holtz, Stro oder Hew mit vnter gemenget werde, sondern solche feine lere mit allen ehren auffnemen. On das man sie den Apostolischen Episteln nicht aller dinge gleichen mag.”  See John Maxfield’s introduction to the Luther’s preface in AE 60:295 – 298.  Later Lutherans would also say that the less foundational interpretations still edify the church if they build on Christ. Johannes Baumgart, for example, follows Luther’s use of the analogy to describe his postils and other expositions of Scripture. Johann Baumgart, Postilla / JN welcher / was aus einem jeden Sontags vnd Fests Euangelio / benebenst dessilbigen Occasion vnd Summa / fürnemlich für Lehren / Trost / Erinnerungen vnd Warnungen zu mercken / auffs kürtzte angezeigt / vnd in gewisse Fragen vnd Antwort gefasset ist. Durch M. Johannem Pomarium / zu S. Peter in der Altenstadt Magdeburgk Pfarrern. Das erste Theil / Vom Aduent bis auff Trinitatis (Magdeburg: Andreas Gehne, 1587), C2v. “So wil Gott / das ein jeder zur erbawung seiner Kirchen oder Stiffthütten / seine gabe nach seinem vermögen brenge / vnd ob sie wol nicht alle eitel Gold vnd Silber vermögen / sondern auch etliche Ertz vnd andere Metallen hinzu tragen / dennoch verwirfft er sie nicht / sondern lest sie auch jre stete / nutz vnd gebrauch finden / vnd der HErr Christus wil das seiner Diener keiner / auch das geringste Pfund das er entpfangen / vergraben / sondern auff geistlichen vnd himlischen Wucher austhun sol […].”

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interpreted and preached on Moses. The apostles interpreted the Old Testament and preached on the works of Christ. But not every word of the prophets edifies in the same way or has the same purpose; they wrote at different times and places and addressed different situations. For example, Solomon’s rueful caution against a nagging wife does not bear the eternal weight of Isaiah’s praise of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. The same is true of apostolic preaching and of those who ought to preach Christ. Although James may not be apostolic, since he does not bear witness to Christ as other New Testament authors do, that does not mean that he is without a place in the church’s proclamation. A major portion of my work will be to determine what place James held in Lutheran proclamation. One thing however is clear: James could not be used to disprove the clear teachings of Paul or any other biblical author. Luther’s polemically charged rhetoric about the letter was directed at all false interpretations and theological abuses of it. His arguments were certainly flavored with personal frustration, but his criticism of James was methodical, consistent, and executed with Occamist logic. In Luther’s mind, if his Roman Catholic opponents could not understand the clear and simple words of St. Paul, that one is justified by faith without works, why waste time trying to explain to them the proper interpretation of a more difficult passage from James? Familiarity with Luther’s polemical purposes is crucial to understanding how far to run with his criticism of the letter. It helps to understand what Luther meant when he said that Paul laid the foundation of Christ, while the writer of Hebrews used precious stones and metals, and James built with straw. How can Luther argue that some words of the New Testament will burn when Christ returns? Did not Christ say that heaven and earth will pass away, but My word will never pass away (Matt. 24:35)? Here Luther distinguishes between the temporal power of the law and the eternal gospel, between philosophy, morality, or ethics and theology. The former are noble, earthly pursuits. The latter is concerned strictly with the study of eternal things. As I see it, Luther’s critique of James correlates exactly to his critique of morality and philosophy (improvement in human virtue). Luther was surely not opposed to philosophy and ethics. However, his scrutiny of these noble pursuits consistently escalated whenever his opponents placed these within the sphere of theology proper. In his most systematic instruction on justification, Rhapsodia de Iustificatione (1530), Luther addresses the specific challenges of James 2 regarding the righteousness of Abraham. He maintains that faith must have works, just as a good tree must have fruit, but only if this statement is made within the realm of civil righteousness and ethics. According to Luther, when James says that faith without works is dead, he is not speaking of justification

20

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but of morality, as almost the entire epistle is moral.⁶⁴ For Luther, theology does not properly encompass morality or the effects of justification. All the effects of justification, including even the blessed doctrine of sanctification, fall outside the realm of theology proper, since sanctification and the effects of faith remain incomplete in this life. Luther argues, for example in his Lectures on Psalm 51, that theology has only two subjects: man as sinner and God as the Justifier of the ungodly. Anything beyond these two subjects, he says, is “error and poison.”⁶⁵ Luther is not suggesting that James is poisonous any more than he would suggest that our sanctification is poisonous. But since James is not properly a book on justification, and since sanctification is not properly the basis for our salvation, neither of these ought to impinge on the proper subjects of theology: man as sinner and God as the Justifier of the ungodly. Man as sinner is a theological anthropology, but this alone does not constitute theology. Theology proper requires the full application of both law and gospel, repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Luther appropriated the distinction between law and gospel to evaluate and explain the authority and purpose of individual books of Holy Scripture. For Luther, then, the use of any book (or passage of Scripture) is determined by its scopus or aim. And because the scope of James is not specifically Christ or justification, but rather the law and Christian morality, Luther could not consider the epistle one of the golden or chief books of Scripture. He called it a book of straw that—like the fabled pig’s house that the big bad wolf blew down— has serious limitations in keeping predators of the gospel at bay. The law cannot protect the gospel, just as fruits cannot save a tree. Therefore, when Luther’s Roman Catholic opponents cited James to prove that works are a cause of justification, Luther made no attempt to defend a straw house, but retreated to sturdier places in Scripture. Again, James was not wrong, but Luther recognized that James was no match for his opponents’ attacks against the gospel. We will see that the scopus of James, according to Luther and his heirs, is, above all, the effect of the word and faith (sanctification, good works, and the new life in Christ lived out in time) and not faith by itself—that fiducia by which one apprehends

 WA 39/II. 664, 24– 32 (De Iustificatione, 1530). “Iacobus versatur in loco Morali, non in Theologico, sicut fere totus est moralis. Moraliter loquendo verum est fidem sine operibus esse mortuam i. e. si non operetur fides, aut si fidem non sequantur opera foris. Hoc enim modo fides non potest esse sine operibus, i. e. non potest non operari, aut nulla est fides ibi.Sed nos hic in loco Theologico sumus, ubi de iustificatione coram Deo loquimur. Hic dicimus fidem solam pro iusticia reputari coram Deo, sine operibus et meritis, Quia Deus merita nostra non curat, sed fidei donat per promissiones suas.”  WA 40/2, 327, 11—328, 3 (Lecture held on 11 June 1532); cf., AE 12:311.

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the eternal promises of God and is justified coram Deo. Therefore, whenever James is cited to attack faith alone, Luther puts James and the effects of faith aside and sometimes out of sight, in order to return to the many places in Scripture that speak of faith alone and the first things of theology: Christ, justification, and the gift of eternal life. On the other hand, if in some place in his letter, James preaches the gospel, Luther would regard it, according to his own standard, as eternal and an apostolic witness to Christ. Since Luther does not explicitly admit this gospel aspect of James in his preface or general comments about the letter, his exegesis and use of James require a closer examination to see the difference between Luther’s comparison of James to other New Testament books and his concentration on the specific passages of the letter. There is a marked difference between looking over a whole forest for the best trees and inspecting an individual tree for its particular qualities. This is true both of Luther and of his theological heirs. We must therefore investigate what kind of fruit Luther and his students found in James.

Scopus of this Book As I have suggested above, this book tells the story of the Lutheran interpretation of the Epistle of James in the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century. Specifically, it traces how Martin Luther, his students, and his theological heirs heard the voice of James and communicated that voice to the church.⁶⁶ To tell the whole story would be impossible. We are faced with an embarrassment of riches. The many Lutheran commentaries, sermons, disputations, and catechetical material on James in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries indicate that Luther’s students and heirs were consistently reading, hearing, and reflecting on the epistle. These sources offer a rich textual basis to examine how Luther’s students and heirs into the Age of Orthodoxy read a book that, according to Luther, “has caused us so much trouble.”⁶⁷ The significant Lutheran commentaries on James from around 1530 – 1700 and the wealth of published sermons on James during the Reformation into the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy have been, like Luther’s use of the letter, largely

 I am borrowing Luke Timothy Johnson’s helpful description of Auslegungsgeschichte as an account of the biblical voice as it was heard in various times and places. Johnson, James (1995), 89 – 164.  “Illa epistola Iacobi nobis multum facescit negotii.” WA 39/II, 199, 19 – 20 (Disputation of Heinrich Schmedenstede, 7 July 1542).

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neglected.⁶⁸ Without a handle on their exegesis and application of the letter, scholars have been content to treat the Lutheran interpretation of James as a dogmatic problem. One gets the impression, as Kawerau has suggested,⁶⁹ that Lutherans during the Reformation and the Age of Orthodoxy are wrong no matter which way they go. If they followed Luther’s criticism, they are said to have rejected James based on their lopsided (and unbiblical!) view of justification. If they follow Melanchthon’s solution in the Apology, they are accused of forcing James into a dogmatic system of Pauline theology.⁷⁰ Whichever perspective one takes, the consensus holds that James played no significant part in Lutheran theology and piety, and that Lutherans got James wrong. The Lutheran commentaries alone should be enough to make modern scholars reconsider their criticism of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Lutherans for rejecting or neglecting James. Besides Althamer, the commentaries of wellknown Lutherans, such as Matthias Illyricus Flacius (1520 – 1575),⁷¹ Lucas Osiander (1534– 1604),⁷² Johannes Winckelmann (1551– 1626),⁷³ the Bishop of

 Other than Kolde, Andreas Althamer (1895), 73, who says that Althamer’s second commentary is the best of its kind in the sixteenth century, and Robert Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism: A Study of Theological Prolegomena (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1970), 55, who praises Jesper Brochmand’s 1641 commentary on James as “one of the finest commentaries written during the period of orthodoxy,” there is a strange silence in the literature about the early modern exegesis of the letter. L. T. Johnson suggests that critical scholarship is to blame for the silence. He argues that the interpretations of James prior to the Enlightenment have been neglected, because those interpretations were not in conformity with its critical method: “Sources from earlier times given serious attention tend to be the sources most conformable to the [critical] paradigm, namely theoretical discussions of hermeneutics, and commentaries. Other sources, such as sermons, letters, and liturgical texts, are rarely read.” Johnson, James (1995), 121.  See p. 9, n. 35.  See a representative example in Georg Eichholz, Glaube und Werk bei Paulus und Jakobus (Kaiser, 1961), who argues that it was a mistake of the Lutherans to read James in light of Paul. For those interested in an exegetical alternative with more current literature, see Martin Hengel, Paulus und Jakobus (Tübingen: Mohr, 2002), 511– 548, who theorizes that James was in fact reacting to Paul.  Matthias Flacius Illyricus, Novvm Testamentvm Iesv Christi Filii Dei; ex Versione Erasmi; innvmeris in locis ad Graecam veritatem genuinumque sensum emendate. Glossa Compendiaria M. Matthiae Flacij Illyrici Albonensi (Basel: Perna, 1570).  Lucas Osiander, Epistola ad Hebraeos: Iacobi: prima et secvnda Petri: prima, secunda, et tertia Ioannis: Iude: et Apocalypsis Ioannis. Omnia ivxta veterem sev Vvlgatam Translationem, ad Graecvm Textvm emendata, & breui ac perspicua explicatione illustrata: in lectione sacra obseruandis (Tübingen: Georg Gruppenbach, 1584).

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Denmark Jesper Rasmussen Brochmand (1585 – 1652),⁷⁴ and Abraham Calov (1612 – 1686),⁷⁵ challenge the common assumption that staunch Lutherans rejected James and the letter’s message for the church. The practical commentaries of Balthasar Kerner (1582– 1633)⁷⁶ and Hartmann Creide (1606 – 1656)⁷⁷ are both about one thousand pages in length and indicate that the letter’s message had found its way into the ears of Lutheran laity. The commentaries are important in that they offer a first-hand account of how Lutherans were reading the entire epistle, verse for verse. Yet these commentaries only scratch the surface of how Lutherans were reading and applying the message of James. The postillae or postils, collections of sermons based on appointed texts for each Sunday and festival of the liturgical calendar, included in Eastertide two important readings from the first chapter of James. James 1:16 – 21 was the appointed reading for Cantate Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. And James 1:22– 27 was appointed for Rogate or Vocem Iucunditatis, the Fifth Sunday of Easter. The postils, therefore, provide a rich sampling of how Lutherans, including Luther,⁷⁸ were reading and applying the message of James and indicate how the message would be preached by pastors throughout Lutheran territories.

 Johannes Winckelmann, Explicatio Brevis Epistolae B. Jacobi: Ante Annos Tredecim In Academia Marpurgensi Studiosae Iuventuti Tradita, & nunc in usum Ministrorum verbi atque SS. Theologiae Studiosorum publici Iuris facta (Giessen: Nicolaus Hampel, 1608).  Jesper Rasmussen Brochmand, In Canonicam & Catholicam Jacobi Epistolam Commentarius: In qvo I. Textus Craeci verba diligenter premuntur & expenduntur. II. Membrourum nexus clarè ostenditur. III. Dissentientium interpretum sententiae asseruntur & aestimantur. IV. Doctrinae, servitur his, qvi conciones ad populum habebunt, singulis versibus subjunguntur (Copenhagen: Joachim Moltken, 1641).  Abraham Calov, Biblia Novi Testamenti illustrata: Exhibens epistolas apostolicas universas, et Apocalypsin Johanneam (Frankfurt am Main: Balthsar Chrisoph Wust, 1676).  Balthasar Kerner, Jacobs-Stab / Das ist / Die Epistel Jacobi / Jn LX. Geistreichen Predigten also außgelegt / daß allzeit nach gründlicher Erklärung der Apostolischen Worten / ein Locus Communis oder Erbawliche Lehr / vnd derselben heylsamer Gebrauch / zur Wiederlegung / Warnung / Trost vnd Vermahnung / nach gelegenheit deß Texts / gegeben vnd abgehandlet wird (Ulm: Balthasar Kühn, 1639).  Hartmann Creide, Jacobs-Schatz. Das ist: Richtige vnd außführliche Erklärung der geistreichen Epistel deß H. Hocherleuchten Apostels Jacobi / in ein vnd neuntzig Predigten. Darinnen die Summ vnd der rechte Kern vnsers gantzen Christenthumbs / von einem Stück zum andern / mit schönen Sprüchen / Allegorien vnd Exempeln / so wol auß H. Göttlicher Schrifft / als auch sonsten andern Prophan Historien beschrieben vnd abgehandelt wird. Den Maul=Christen zur Warnung / vnd allen frommen Hertzen in diesem letzten Alter der Welt / zur nothwendigen Auffmunterung / mit Fleiß gestellt / vnd in Truck gegeben (Frankfurt: Johann Beyer, 1649).  Luther’s sermon on James 1:16 – 21 from 14 May 1536 appears in his Kirchenpostille for the Sunday Cantate, WA 41, 578 – 590; cf., AE 77:216 – 223.

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Introduction

The Lutheran postils of Anton Corvin (1539),⁷⁹ Johann Spangenberg (1544),⁸⁰ Lucas Lossius (1552),⁸¹ David Chytraeus (1563),⁸² Simon Pauli (1572),⁸³ Simon Musaeus (1573),⁸⁴ Siegfried Sack (1598),⁸⁵ and others exemplify how Lutherans preached on this controversial epistle. Furthermore, their sermons establish a consistent pattern for how Lutherans handle the letter’s major themes (Christian suffering, prayer, the baptismal life, the efficacy of the word, the office of the ministry, sanctification, and good works). This work focuses intently on these collections of Lutheran sermons for these two Sundays. Chapter one examines the preaching of Andreas Althamer. Chapter two is dedicated to Luther’s preaching on James, while chapters three and four cover the Lutheran postillers, beginning with Anton Corvin (1539) and ending with Hartmann Creide (1649). The sermons are important for several reasons. First, the postils offer the widest possible selection of Lutheran interpreters of James. The Lutheran exegesis of James in these sermon collections played a significant part in the history of the letter’s interpretation in Lutheranism. As John Frymire has argued, the postils were “the most important genre for the dissemination of ideas in early modern Germany.”⁸⁶ Because of the reoccurrence of James 1 in the lectionary cycle, it

 Anton Corvin, Kurtze Ainfeltige Außlegung der Episteln / so von Ostern biß auff das Aduent / in der Kirchen gelesen werden. Für arme Pfarrherren vnd Haußväter gestellt (Augsburg: 1539).  I referred to a much later edition: Johann Spangenberg, Postilla. Das ist: Gründliche und deutliche Auslegung Derer Evangelien und Episteln / so in den Evangelischen Kirchen / auf alle Sonn= und fürnehmste Festäge / durchs gantze Jahr / pflegen offentlich abgelesen zu werden; Wie auch der heilsamen Passions=Historien: Anjetzo aufs neu / in diese leserliche und gespaltene Form gebracht / und also verfertiget / daß der recht Verstand der Wort / und der nützliche Gebrauch der Lehren / der heranwachsenden Jugend / durch sonderbare Fragstücke / in dreyen Theilen / auf das allerleichteste fürgetragen und eingebildet wird (Nürnberg: Endters Söhne, 1683).  I consulted a later edition: Lucas Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae, quae per curriculum totius anni leguntur in Ecclesia, diebus dominicis et sanctorum festis praecipuis, Graece : Cum brevibus eorum argumentis, scholiis, et difficiliorum thematum investigationibus (Frankfurt am Main: Christian Egenolff, 1590).  David Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum, quae diebus dominicis et aliis in ecclesia usitate populo proponi solent (Wittenberg: Johannes Crato, 1563).  Simon Pauli, Postilla Das ist / Außlegung der Episteln vnd Euangelien / an Sontagen vnd fürnemesten Festen / ordentlich vnd richtig / nach der RHETORICA gefasset: Neben einer kurtzen erkklerung des Textes. Gepredigt zur Rostock: Das ander Teil / von Ostern / bis auf Advent (Magdeburg: Wolffgang Kirchner, 1572).  Simon Musaeus, Postilla (Jena: Simon Hüter, 1573).  Siegfried Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln auff die Sontage vnd Fürnembste Fest durchs gantze Jahr / darinnen der Text Ordentlich Disponire, vnd zum deutlichsten declarirt wird /sonderlich für Junge Prediger (Magdeburg: Andreas Duncker, 1598).  John M. Frymire, The Primacy of the Postils: Catholics, Protestants, and the Dissemination of Ideas in Early Modern Germany (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 1.

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was without a doubt the most familiar portion of the letter to both pastors and their people. The place of James in the postils indicates that the message of the letter, its admonition to flee the lusts of the world, to suffer in affliction, to receive the word that can save their soul, found its way annually into the mouths of pastors and into the ears of their people. The larger sample of authors should give a more comprehensive picture of how the message of James was being disseminated and heard in the Lutheran Church. Second, the postils are the best way to compare Luther’s interpretation of the letter with later exegesis. Beginning with Luther’s five sermons on James 1:16 – 27 from 1535 – 1539, one can follow and evaluate the Auslegungsgeschichte of James 1 into seventeenth-century Lutheranism. Finally, the postils on James 1:16 – 27 indicate, as I suggested, how Lutherans read the rest of James, because the themes of James 1 reoccur throughout the epistle. By accounting for their exegesis and application of James 1, one can begin to understand how they interpreted James 2 concerning faith and good works, James 3 concerning preaching and the wisdom from above, James 4 concerning temptations of the world and of the flesh, and James 5 concerning prayer, forgiveness, and true worship. The postils are therefore the proper entrance into the wider interpretation of the letter in the Lutheran Church and the clearest place to begin tracing the reception of that interpretation. By tracing examples of Lutheran preaching on this seemingly problematic book, this work offers a broad historical perspective on the Lutheran interpretation and application of James—a letter that teaches a living faith full of good works even in the midst of temptation and persecution. Perhaps this present study will urge others to reconsider the common misconception that Lutherans, due to their affinity for Paul, never understood James. At the very least, it demonstrates that the epistle’s needful and poignant message for the church comes to life in Luther’s preaching and teaching, and thus proves to be a necessary component of his Reformation theology. And further, I hope that it will become clear that the epistle played a part in shaping the piety of the Lutheran Church through the preaching of Luther’s students and heirs. An account of this Lutheran Auslegungsgeschichte should find its way into several scholarly conversations. First, my work will challenge and perhaps complicate current assumptions about Luther and his evaluation of James. As I have already suggested, a fair assessment of Luther must account for more than his critique of the letter and his bitter reactions to poor interpretations of it. Rather, one must also be willing to account for the very present voice of James in Lu-

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Introduction

ther’s writings and preaching, and take seriously Luther’s praise of James.⁸⁷ Luther is neither apathetic nor ignorant about the message of James. He studied the book and translated it with careful consideration of its sense and meaning. My analysis of Luther’s sermons on James 1, in chapter two of this book, will hopefully encourage further studies to consider the many other places in the Luther corpus where Luther speaks like James, uses the letter’s language, and follows the author’s reasoning. This book will also direct others into the less charted territory of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Johann Anselm Steiger, who continues to encourage further studies in the area of seventeenth-century exegesis, has observed that although research continues to make strides in the area of Lutheran Dogmengeschichte in the seventeenth century, scholarship is just now beginning to recognize the importance of the Lutheran Auslegungsgeschichte and the devotional life in the Age of Orthodoxy.⁸⁸ Kenneth Appold has also noted that research is now familiar with Lutheran Orthodoxy’s high view of Scripture and its theoretical principles of interpretation (Schriftprinzip). He notes, however, that very little is known about the practical application of this Schriftprinzip. ⁸⁹ More studies, he suggests, will have to investigate how Lutherans took their highly developed doctrine of Scripture and applied it to Scripture itself. Appold suggests that further research into Lutheran Orthodoxy’s biblical exegesis should concentrate on their philological works, commentaries, disputations, as well as examples of their practical exegesis in sermons, meditations, and devotional writings.⁹⁰ But Appold’s suggestion applies to sixteenth-century exegesis as well. James serves as an excellent case study, to show the worth of practical exegesis for our fuller understanding of biblical interpretation.

 WADB 7, 385, 3 – 5. “Djese Epistle S. Jacobi, wiewol sie von den Alten verworffen ist, lobe ich, vnd halte sie doch fur gut, darumb, das sie gar kein Menschenlere setzt, vnd Gottes gesetz hart treibet.” Cf., AE 35:395.  Steiger, Philologia Sacra (2011), 8. “Recht starke Aufmerksamkeit hat stets die orthodoxe Lehrbildung und damit die systematisch-theologische Arbeit orthodoxer Theologen auf sich gezogen. Ein gewisser Ausgleich dieser Einseitigkeit ist darin zu erkennen, daß in den letzten Jahren die lutherisch-orthodoxe Frömmigkeits- und Meditationstheologie verstärkt untersucht worden ist. Fast völlig unbeackert indes ist das weite Feld der Geschichte der Schrift-Exegese im Zeitalter der Orthodoxie.”  Kenneth G. Appold, Orthodoxie als Konsensbildung. Das theologische Disputationswesen an der Universität Wittenberg zwischen 1570 und 1710 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), 122.  Appold, Orthodoxie als Konsensbildung (2004), 122. “Es müssten in Zukunft auch die philologischen Arbeiten, die Kommentare, Diputationsreihen sowie Beispiele der ‘angewandten’ Exegese in den Predigten, Meditationen und erbaulichen Schriften.”

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If what Gerhard Ebeling said is true, that “Kirchengeschichte ist die Geschichte der Auslegung der Heiligen Schrift,”⁹¹ then the history of biblical interpretation from the Reformation to Lutheran Orthodoxy, book by book, chapter by chapter, and sometimes verse by verse, is not an account of the personal opinions of certain theologians about Holy Scripture. The history of biblical interpretation is rather an account of the church’s history, an account that considers God’s personal address to human beings through His holy word and that seeks to learn from the cloud of witnesses who have believed and taught that word in different times and places. The history of this epistle’s interpretation in Lutheranism is an important part of the church’s history, and one that for far too long has been either unknown or largely misunderstood.

 Gerhard Ebeling, Kirchengeschichte als Geschichte der Auslegung der Heiligen Schrift (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1947), 22.

1 The Pastoral Beginnings of James in the Lutheran Church In this chapter, I investigate Andreas Althamer’s curious change of heart concerning the Epistle of James some time between 1527 and 1533. On the basis of his two commentaries and the historical circumstances that surrounded them, I argue that preaching and the experience of pastoral care in the congregational setting transformed Althamer’s view of James. I also make a case for the influence of Luther’s exegesis on Althamer and, likewise, the influence that Althamer’s 1533 commentary had on Luther’s later reading of James. The 1530s mark a period of change for Luther and his students, as the pressing pastoral concerns urge them to apply the message of James to the congregational setting.

Althamer’s 1527 Annotations: “The best we could do with the Epistle of James.” Andreas Althamer’s Annotationes in 1527 is the first Lutheran commentary on James. Although Erasmus had expressed doubts about the letter’s authorship and authenticity in his annotations to James, and although Luther had determined that James was not apostolic, Althamer’s Annotationes are in a class of their own. He is the first orthodox theologian in the church’s history to try to prove verse for verse that James completely contradicts the Christian faith. Althamer’s 1527 commentary is therefore a hyper-critical representative of Luther, who not only agreed with Luther’s criticism but who was also willing to put those arguments to work exegetically. Althamer presupposes the validity of Luther’s criticism at almost every important juncture of the text. It is therefore no wonder that Gustav Kawerau describes this work as an expression of “blinded dogmatism.”¹ The commentary as a whole plays an important part in the interpretive history of the epistle in that Althamer did not regard his annotations as a private matter. He claims in his epilogue that his exposition was not just his but the Lutheran exposition, and the very best Lutherans could do with James: “Haec sunt optime lector, quae in I A C O B I epistolam obiter annotavimus.”² The obvious

 Gustav Kawerau, “Die Schicksale des Jakobusbriefes im 16. Jahrhundert” (1889), 364.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 55v. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-003

Althamer’s 1527 Annotations: “The best we could do with the Epistle of James.”

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inclusion of Luther’s opinions throughout the commentary give the impression that it was a communal effort and, if so, a communal sin. A few examples from his annotations give one a sense of his methods. For instance at 1:13, “God tempts no one,” Althamer writes that James contradicts the Scriptures. “We are not able to defend James with the Scriptures here,” because Genesis 22 and Exodus 16 are “contra Iacobam.”³ He continues his annotations under the provocative title, “Deus est tentator,”⁴ and adds that James has no regard for the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. Althamer’s highest praise of James comes at 1:17, which he calls “the best passage in the letter”⁵ for its description of the Father as the source of all good things, temporal and eternal. However, even here, he suspects that James did not come up with it himself. Concerning “the Father of lights” in the same passage, Althamer appears disappointed that James does not mean Christ, as St. John does. “He is not talking about Christ Jesus as does that other apostle who rested on the Lord’s chest at table.”⁶ Althamer interprets “the word of truth” (1:18) and “the implanted word” (1:21) as gospel and dedicates several pages to the power of the gospel to regenerate and all the reasons why salvation cannot be attained by works. He even reads 1:21 about the implanted word as a reference to the parable of the sower and the seed and the reception of the gospel, but he doubts that this is James’ intention: “Nos de sermone euangelij interpretamur, & non de legis verbo, de quo ipse forsan intellexit.”⁷ James, he suspects, meant the law. Althamer continues through this section to teach the gospel, its power, and the sad reality that people seldom become genuine doers of the word.⁸ But again, since Althamer believes that James mistakenly addresses Jewish Christians who reject the law and not Jewish Christians who reject the power of the gospel, he is forced to comment against the intention of the text. It strikes me as surprising, however, that Althamer can be so full of conviction about the biblical doctrine against Rome and still so unwilling to make assertions from the text. He hedges with uncertainty at every turn. For example, Althamer understands the mirror in verse 23 as the mirror of the law to show sin and not to sanctify. “Nam lex paedagogus, & neminem sanctificat.”⁹ Only

 Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 13r.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 13v.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 16r.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 16v.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 19r.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 19v-20r. “Sitis autem, effectores sermonis, & non auditores tantum, fallentes uosmetipsos.”  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 20r.

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Christ sanctifies (1 Cor. 1:31), he argues, and “if James attributes [salvation and sanctification] to the law, then he contradicts Scripture.”¹⁰ According to Althamer, James does exactly that. Althamer then comments assertively that the law of liberty is gospel: “Euangelion est lex libertatis.”¹¹ However, he follows his assertion again with exegetical uncertainty (forsan): “Sed Iacobus forsan Mosaica lege intellexit.”¹² In sum, Althamer’s first attempt at James is clearly a misstep. It is far too polemical to be edifying and far too sweeping to be insightful.¹³ It is a rhetorical work with a great deal of hesitancy and indecision concerning the exegetical matters of the text. Althamer in no way stands under the text or lets James speak. He had a different goal in mind, which clearly had very little to do with the epistle’s message. Althamer was motivated to correct false interpretations of James. Unfortunately, his own exegesis undermined his original intent. His own flippancy with the text was a regrettable response to Rome, even if his original complaint was justified. In spite of Althamer’s failed attempt, it is important to consider the commentary’s place historically and take seriously Althamer’s concerns with Rome’s exegesis. Althamer set out to prove beyond any question that the Catholics had no biblical support for their doctrine of justification by works. Luther and Melanchthon and many others were doing this very thing in their own publications. Therefore, Althamer was only one of many reformers to challenge Rome’s biblical exegesis. He was, however, the first to challenge Rome’s exegesis of James head on. As becomes apparent throughout the commentary, his general rhetorical strategy is, like Luther’s, to eliminate the authority of James in order to win the argument. He makes a faint effort to place James within the broader context of Scripture. But when this becomes too cumbersome for him, which appears to happen all too often, he blames James for a lack of clarity or apostolic authority.¹⁴ Strangely, there seems to have been little to no reaction to Althamer’s work in Wittenberg. Perhaps its publication in Strassburg limited its readership among  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 20r.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 20v.  Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 20v-21r.  Perhaps his rashness and lack of restraint are due to youthful zeal. Althamer was 27 years old at the time.  Throughout the commentary, Althamer’s criticism stems from his expectation that James should preach Christ in accord with Luther’s definition of what makes preaching apostolic. “Debuerat enim Christum docere, hoc neutiquam facit: quia in Christo sint omnes thessauri sapientiae et scientiae roconditi: extra Christum nihil sit sani. Qui Christum docet, recte nimirum docet: at qui Christum minime docet, non est uerus propheta.” Althamer, Annotationes Iacobi (1527), 3r-3v.

Althamer’s 1527 Annotations: “The best we could do with the Epistle of James.”

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the Wittenberg circles. Whatever the case, it did not leave a lasting impression on later Lutheran interpreters, perhaps due to its spiteful tone. The commentary appears later to have caused only one stir—and that in the seventeenth century and outside of Lutheranism—in a lengthy Arminian/Calvinist exchange between Hugo Grotius and Andre Rivet.¹⁵ As mentioned in the introduction, however, Althamer must have had a change of heart concerning James some time between 1527 and 1533, because in 1533, when he released a completely new commentary in German, it had a far more edifying tone and nobler purpose. He writes, I’m publishing this epistle again, new, in German, and with a German interpretation. It’s better this time, since I stood watch and listened, I armed and prepared myself as I preached these sermons in Ansbach not only against the Papists, but much more against the false Christians, who boast about the gospel and faith, and nevertheless refuse to live according to the standard of the gospel, that is, they do not bring forth good fruit from the tree as they should.¹⁶

Here Althamer sets out to apply the message of James to the lives of his hearers. His commentary is less polemical and more pastoral. In his preface to this second commentary, Althamer grants that he spoke with harsh words in his first, but he claims to have done so only out of zeal for the gospel.¹⁷ He further claims that James was not the problem per se, but that he was compelled to write the first commentary “because the quarrelsome sophists, scholars, and papists only read this one book and leave the rest of Scripture on the shelf.”¹⁸ In other words, he wrote so harshly, as Luther had in his preface, only to combat the misuse of the epistle by those who thought that “they had drawn the right sword against our holy and impenetrable doctrine

 I came across the debate in Pierre Bayle, Historisches und Critisches Wörterbuch nach der neuesten Auflage von 1740 ins Deutsche übersetzt; auch mit einer Vorrede und verschieden Anmerkungen sonderlich bey anstößigen Stellen versehen, von Johann Christoph Gottscheden (Leipzig: Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf, 1741), 168 – 169, who describes Althamer as “eifrig wider die Lehre von dem Verdienste der guten Werke, daß er sich wider den heil. Apostel Jacob, mit der äußersten Unbesonnenheit, ereiferte.” Bayle reports that when Grotius spoke against those who “reject James” without giving any names, Rivet insisted that he give his sources. Thus, Althamer’s 1527 commentary appears in the discussion. Bayle, and perhaps also Grotius, was unaware of Althamer’s second commentary. As his entry on Althamer indicates, Bayle was only interested in Althamer on account of the debate between Grotius and Rivet. For more on Bayle, see: RE 2:495 – 497.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A2v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A2v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A2 r.

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concerning the justification by faith, etc.”¹⁹ Even looking back on his outlandish criticisms, Althamer says that his Annotationes were successful insofar as they demonstrated the errors of the papists, who had swung at the Lutherans with James and missed. He writes: I showed them that this epistle gave them no ground or foundation to stand on, and that it does not support or defend their unfounded doctrine. They have gone the way of Goliath and Saul, and have been pierced and conquered by their own sword, for Saint James does not write against the righteousness of faith. He does not teach how one becomes godly and righteous, but rather how one acts once one is godly and righteous, how after one is righteous a person should demonstrate it [beweisen].²⁰

Notably, Althamer claims to have won the battle against the papists on exegetical grounds. He asserts that James does not teach justification by works and that his exegesis six years earlier was still sounder than that of the Roman Catholics who mistakenly placed those passages urging good works in the article of justification. It is debatable whether Althamer’s first commentary succeeded in this, but his comments certainly indicate a renewed interest in the exegesis of the letter. As we shall see, Althamer’s purposes in this second commentary are pastoral and he demonstrates that he is willing to let the text speak for itself. Kolde and Kawerau have suggested that Althamer’s first commentary gravitates toward Luther, while the second is a product of Melanchthon’s influence.²¹ Kawerau follows Kolde’s analysis and credits Melanchthon with assisting Althamer to rethink his position on James. That may partly be the case. Yet there are other factors that could have contributed to Althamer’s new-found appreciation for James. The state of the church in newly forming Lutheran territories showed glaring signs of spiritual neglect. The Saxon Visitations in 1528 revealed to both Luther and Melanchthon the pressing need to catechize preachers and laity. The state of disrepair prompted both Melanchthon, who penned the Instructions for Visitors of Parish Pastors in Electoral Saxony, and Luther, who gave his approval to them by writing the preface, to suggest that James should be part of the daily reading in the church along with other New Testament books.²² They

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A2r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A2r-A2v.  Theodor Kolde, “Althamer, Andreas,” in RE 1:413 – 414; Gustav Kawerau, “Die Schicksale des Jakobusbriefes im 16. Jahrhundert” (1889), 364.  WA 26, 230, 7– 12 (Unterricht der Visitatoren an die Pfarrherrn im Kurfürstentum zu Sachsen, 1528). “Als nemlich: Erstlich mag man alle tag frue ynn der kirchen drey Psalmen singen lateynisch odder deutsch. Und die tage, so man nicht predigt, mag durch einen Prediger eine Lection gelesen werden, Als nemlich Mattheus, Lucas, die Erste Epistel Sanct Johannes, beide Petri,

Althamer’s 1527 Annotations: “The best we could do with the Epistle of James.”

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recognized the value of the epistle’s message for the Christian life. Just as Elector John the Steadfast (1463 – 1532) had done with the help of Luther, Melanchthon and other theologians in Saxony, Georg III, the pious prince of Anhalt-Dessau, wanted to arrange for church visitation in his territory.²³ On 18 May 1528, he commissioned Althamer, Johann Rürer (1480 – 1542), along with several others, including Andreas Osiander (1498 – 1552) and Lazarus Spengler (1479 – 1534), to prepare visitation articles and a catechism.²⁴ In conjunction with the visitation, the prince also included Althamer among those who would prepare the church order for Anhalt-Brandenburg (1528/1533).²⁵ Thus, in the years following his first commentary, Althamer concentrated with other reformers on ways to teach and refine the catechization of the faith in a congregational setting. His active participation in church visitations and his experience teaching the whole catechism in the midst of the congregation—and not only defending the Second Article of the Creed—seemed to be the greatest motivation for Althamer to turn once again to James. It becomes apparent that not only Melanchthon’s fair treatment of the letter shines through this much improved work, but also Althamer’s own experience as a pastor and church visitor. Althamer’s second commentary is one of the most pivotal commentaries for the letter’s historical interpretation in the Lutheran Church, specifically because of its close connection to Luther. Althamer’s second commentary is not merely a repackaging of Melanchthon’s exegesis, as Kolde and Kawerau have argued. Although Melanchthon and his explanation of James in the Apology may have had a positive influence on Althamer’s solution to James 2, Althamer clearly wants to align himself with Luther. In this commentary, he still maintains his reservations about the epistle’s apostolic character, albeit in a gentler form, and frequently comments how he wished James had stated things more clearly. However, Luther’s influence on Althamer is more than a theological critique of the letter’s message. As I will show in more detail below, Luther’s biblical exegesis is very

Sanct Jacobs, Etliche Sanct Pauls Episteln, als beide zu Timotheon, zu Tito, zun Ephesern, zun Colossern. Und wenn diese aus sind, sol mans widder forn anfahen.”  According to reports, Prince Georg III received a copy of Instructions for Visitors of Parish Pastors in Electoral Saxony in April or May of 1528, during a stay in Plassenburg. Karl Schornbaum, Aktenstücke zur ersten Brandenburgischen Kirchenvisitation, 1528 (München: Christian Kaiser, 1928), 1.  See also Schornbaum, Aktenstücke (1928), 2. The catechism was published that same year. Andreas Althamer and Johann Rürer, Catechismus. Das ist Unterricht zum Christlichen Glauben / wie man die jugent leren vnd ziehen sol / in frag weyß vnd antwort gestelt. Jtem. Etliche Christliche Collecten oder gebet für gemeynes anligen der Christenheyt (Nürenberg: Fridrich Peypus, 1528).  See Julius Hartmann, “Althamer, Andreas,” in ADB 1:365 – 366.

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present in Althamer’s commentary. At times, in fact, Althamer draws explicitly on Luther’s exegesis and lifts passages from Luther’s writings. It appears he had, at the very least, Luther’s Kirchenpostille and the reformer’s 1523 Commentary on 1 Peter in hand as he prepared his sermons in Ansbach. More importantly for the history of exegesis, however, is the developing interdependence between Luther and his former student. There is sufficient evidence to show that Althamer used Luther’s writings to help him interpret James. The following section further demonstrates that Luther used Althamar’s commentary to rethink his translation and interpretation of the letter. Just as Althamer had Luther’s works in hand to interpret James, Luther seems to have been working with Althamer’s 1533 commentary as he reconsidered his translation for his 1534 publication of his complete Biblia and as he later interprets James 1:16 – 27 in his sermons from 1535 – 1539. Therefore, I will suggest that Althamer interprets the epistle with the help of Luther and Luther interprets James with the help of Althamer, making the 1530s a formative period for the Lutheran interpretation of James. This fascinating case study of intertextuality between Luther and his former student illustrates a maturation of Wittenberg exegesis and shows that Luther and his students were willing to apply their interpretive skills to James. Althamer is a somewhat forgotten figure in Reformation history. His impact on the interpretation of James in the Lutheran tradition is, however, undeniable, if for no other reason than that he influences Luther, the most influential exegete in the history of the Lutheran Church.

Althamer’s 1533 Commentary on James: A Representative of Wittenberg’s Pastoral Exegesis Althamer’s second commentary, I suggest, is a more accurate representation of Luther’s exegesis of James. Luther’s criticisms that Althamer once used to dismiss the text now appear in a less abrasive form and without dismissing the usefulness of the letter’s message. Although Althamer admits in his introductory discussion concerning authorship that “no one can be sure which James authored the letter”²⁶ and then adds Luther’s reasons for doubting the apostolic character of the letter, it is clear that his isagogical reflections are neither comprehensive nor consistent. For instance, after arguing that the author was some other James, Althamer tracks Luther’s odd suggestion from his 1522 preface that the

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A3v.

Althamer’s 1533 Annotations

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only possible author was James the son of Zebedee.²⁷ Althamer’s spotty isagogical work is just one indication that he is now more interested in the application of James than in the book’s canonical status or its origin. The only variation to Luther’s criticism in Althamer’s introductory discussion is the apparent conflict between James and Paul. He does not repeat Luther’s comments that James contradicts Paul, but concludes, as Melancthon had in the Apology, that James only teaches the effects of justification and not the cause of justification.²⁸ He therefore categorizes James under the theological locus of sanctification. In the preface to his commentary, Althamer takes the tone of a pastor and church visitor, one who experienced firsthand the real need for James in the life of the congregation, and who had to preach to Christians who had received the gospel and, nevertheless, “lived in fleshly freedom […] and served their bellies and the world more than Christ.”²⁹ Althamer confesses that James wrote his letter for the same reason that he now wants to expound on it, to admonish Christians to flee sin and urge them to every kind of good work.³⁰ Regardless of who wrote it, Althamer sees the pressing need for the epistle’s message: “Therefore, whether an apostle wrote it or some other saint, we don’t want to contend with anyone about it, and neither do we want to discard the letter. Rather, according to the measure of our ability and understanding, we will present it and expound on it. God grant us His grace to do it. Amen.”³¹ An overview of Al-

 Althamer seems to me to be more occupied than Luther about the historical evidence of authorship. Whereas Luther based the letter’s authority on its content and whether it preached Christ, Althamer makes a more assertive effort to sort out the early church’s opinions. He cites Eusebius, Hegesippus, Origen, and Jerome to show the uncertainty of the letter’s origins. See Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A3r-B1r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A3v-A4r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A4v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A4v-B1r. “Den hat freilich bewegt das rohe frech leben / deren die sich des Christlichen names rhümeten / viel vom wort Gottes vnd glauben schwetzeten / aber doch wenig / odder gar kein frucht des glaubens erzeigten. Wie man denn auch jtzt zu vnsern zeiten / viel der gleichen / laider / find / die sich Euangelisch nennen / vnd höfflich vom Euangelio / glauben vnd Sacramenten / disputiern vnd reden / Leben aber darneben jn fleischlicher freheit / jnn ergerlichem leben / dienen dem bauch vnd der welt mehr / denn Christo / fragen nichts / oder gar wenig nach der predig / achten keins Pfarrhers / gehen nicht zu des Herrrn Abendmal / betten mit der gemein Gottes gar wenig / thun jhrem leib kein abbruch / geben kein almosen / nemen sich der armen not nichts an / suchen jhren eigen nutz / Solche leut hat vnser zeit / wie der gleichen auch zu dieses fromen Jacobs zeiten waren / die auch der Christlichen freiheit misbrauchten vnd nicht ein feins leben füreten / Das er sie derhalben straffen must / vnd vermanen zu guten wercken / zu früchten des glaubens / vnd zu Christlichem wandel / wie er denn durchaus thut.”  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), A4 r.

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Chapter 1: The Pastoral Beginnings of James in the Lutheran Church

thamer’s exegesis will demonstrate for the reader how the text of James moves a still-critical interpreter and representative of Wittenberg’s exegesis to apply the letter pastorally.

Althamer’s Exegesis of James 1:1 – 15 According to Althamer, James writes a Sendbrieff, an open letter to the many Jewish Christians scattered from Jerusalem, either very early, during the persecution after Stephen’s death, or during the Vespasian persecutions (66 – 70 A.D.). James writes to them so that they might suffer as members of Christ’s body and follow Christ’s example.³² The epistle’s message to suffering Christians causes Althamer, especially at 1:3 – 5, to reflect on the holy cross and the Christian’s conformity to the sufferings of Christ. Through His bitter suffering, the Lord Jesus has sanctified the cross, so that when Christians suffer they are holy and blessed, and pleasing to God. Because He suffered, we too must be conformed to His image (Rom. 8) and carry the cross after Christ […]. If we want to receive glory with Him, we must also suffer with Him; if we die with Him, we will also live with Him; if we bear all things, we will also reign with Him.³³

Although Althamer believes that James “without any doubt took this teaching from the words of Christ and the apostles,”³⁴ he recognizes that James, too, wants to comfort those who suffer the scorn of the world for the sake of Christ: “The good and pious James especially wants here to comfort them with God’s word.”³⁵ Althamer, therefore, interprets James with other New Testament passages and acknowledges that its message harmonizes with the rest of Scripture. In a mode characteristic of Lutheran preaching in the sixteenth century, Althamer is able to use the creative power of the word to draw his congregation into the biblical world. That is, rather than bring James to his hearers, in the sense of selectively accommodating the message to them, Althamer attempts to bring his hearers to James and accommodate them to the text and the biblical world he describes. Hence, when Althamer interprets the words of James, “Count

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), B2v-B3r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), B3v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), B3v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), B4v. “Das der halben wol von nöten war / umb etlicher schwachen willen / das man sie jm Creutz tröstet / vnd durch Gottes wort keck vnd hertzhafftig machte / wider die anfechtung vnd verfolgung / Des befleist sich hie der gute from Jacobus jnn sonderheit.”

Althamer’s Exegesis of James 1:1 – 15

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it all joy when you suffer trials of various kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces patience, etc.” (1:2– 3), he does not need to refer to a specific kind of suffering among his hearers to make the message applicable. Instead, Althamer takes the message as universally applicable to all Christians. “Be certain of this,” he says, “because the divine word, the truth itself, says it, namely, that when your faith is orthodox (rechtgeschaffen) and true, it produces steadfastness.”³⁶ The words of Scripture thus create a world and a reality that Christians may not have fully recognized before. By preaching the cross as James describes it, Althamer invites his hearers to see themselves enrolled in the school of the cross. The cross is for us Christians a school in which we learn the faith and know God rightly. Apart from the cross, we think that we believe, trust in God, and know so much about Christ. But under the cross, we first become aware how wrong we are, how little we believe, and how small our knowledge of God is. That is why God leads us into this school, so that we see and recognize our ignorance and unbelief, and further strive with prayer, reading, and hearing sermons to study Christ more diligently. Just as a boy is unaware of how little he knows until he is brought to school, so we, too, know nothing about what we lack apart from the cross.³⁷

According to Althamer, the school of the cross not only refines faith and shows what Christians lack, but this refining process also produces the very works that are pleasing to God. Echoing Luther’s first Invocavit sermon from 1522, Althamer says that the cross teaches the right mores (rechte mores lernen) of the Christian life.³⁸ In suffering, then, faith and works are inseparably bound together, and virtually indistinguishable. Althamer repeats this theme again in his interpretation

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), B4v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), C1r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), C1r. “Jst derhalben vnser nutz / das vns Gott jhe waidlich jnn die schul füre / vnd mit dem Creutz züchtige / das wir gefeget vnd gereiniget werden Johan. 15. vnd rechte mores lernen.” Compare with Luther’s Invocavit sermon on 9 March 1522, WA 10/3, 4, 33 ff. “Ist uns auch not die Gedult, denn wer den Glauben hat, Gott vertrawet und Liebe gegen seinen Nehsten beweiset und sich in denselbigen teglich ubet, der kan nicht one verfolgung sein, denn der Teufel schlefft noch ruget nicht, sondern gibt den menschen gnug zu schaffen. Die verfolgung aber bringet gedult, denn wenn ich nicht verfolget noch angefochten werde, so weis ich von gedult wenig zusagen, darnach bringt die gedult hoffnung, Welche sich denn frey ergibt und in Gott schwinget und lest nicht zu schanden werden, und also durch viel anfechtungen und verfolgungen nimet der Glaub je mehr und mehr zu und wird von tag zu tag stercker. Ein solch Herz, in dem der Glaube also zunimet und mit solchen Tugenden begnadet ist, kan nicht rugen noch sich enthalten, sondern mus sich widerumb ausgiessen und seinem Nehsten wol thun, wie jm von Gott geschehen und widerfaren ist.”

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of 1:12, to emphasize that remaining steadfast is a fruit of faith in suffering.³⁹ As an example of how closely linked faith and works are in suffering, Althamer turns to the parable of the sower and says, There are many who let themselves think they believe and that they are truly evangelical, but when the sun rises and beats down on them and sorrow and persecution come over them on account of the word, they get fed up and leave it, as the Lord says in Matthew 13 with a fine parable. Therefore, Saint James warns those who hear the word to remain steadfast to the end, so that each person may be perfected through faith, upright and whole, lacking nothing.⁴⁰

As in the parable of the sower, Althamer links steadfastness in suffering not to virtue or human effort, but to the word and faith. Steadfastness under persecution is a fruit of faith. Impatience, however, is the fruit of unbelief; it robs people of the gifts of God and the fruits of faith, namely, righteousness, sanctification, and salvation.⁴¹ True faith produces true steadfastness, true worship of God and trust in His word. Unbelief produces impatience and false worship of God, causing Christians to mistrust His promises. In Althamer’s exposition of 1:6 – 8 on prayer, he acknowledges a cohesiveness to James that he could not see in his first commentary. “To the cross,” he says, “belongs faithful and earnest prayer. As far as I can tell, James intended to put these two together.”⁴² Commenting on the prayer for wisdom in verse 6, Althamer says it is the prayer to suffer patiently and to recognize the benefits of the cross. What is wisdom? Althamer says, Wisdom is nothing other than a true knowledge of God, an orthodox faith, which we know and understand from the holy and divine word that teaches us how to act and to live before God and maintain ourselves before our neighbor, and that teaches us about cross and suffering.⁴³

Wisdom is thus a divine gift of both doctrine and life that instructs Christians in faith toward God and in love toward their neighbors. This holistic view of the

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), D3r. “Damit der heilig Jacob / die lieben Leut jm Creutz vnd elend / bey dem glauben an Jhesum Christum jnn der gedult erhalte / auff das sie nicht abfallen odder kleinmütig werden / tröstet er sie mit der frucht des leidens / das ist / mit der verheissung Gottes von dem ewigen leben […].”  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), C1v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), C1v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), C2r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), C2r-C2v.

Althamer’s Exegesis of James 1:1 – 15

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Christian life, of faith and its fruits, of doctrine and life, comes to expression in Althamer’s catechetical exegesis of James 1:6 – 8 concerning prayer. Althamer argues that true Christian prayer must include these two chief articles of the entire Christian life: faith and love. He divides up prayer into seven parts, five parts concerning faith in God and two parts concerning love for neighbor.⁴⁴ Faith is the source of true prayer, but faith is never alone. Love is “faith’s companion” (des Glaubens gesellin) not only in life but also in prayer.⁴⁵ The catechesis of faith and love from James indicates a marked change in Althamer’s exegesis of the letter as a whole. Seeing the catechetical structure or the analogy of faith within the letter, he reads James with James and brings the various arguments of the letter together. For example, when Althamer discusses praying out of love for the neighbor, he includes the example of prayer in James 5:13 – 18, in which Christians pray for one another to be healed. He also adds the warning concerning those who do not pray in faith from James 4:3.⁴⁶ At James 1:13 – 15, concerning temptation from God and the cause of sin, Althamer quotes all the same verses that he had in his previous commentary (Gen. 22; Exod. 16; Deut. 8; John 6; 1 Cor. 10), and admits that his passage about temptation “has caused many good people (including myself) to stumble and throw out the whole epistle.”⁴⁷ This time, however, he argues that James only appears to contradict the Scriptures. James’ explanation of God’s tempting clarifies for Althamer which sense of πειράζω (versuchen) James means. He says, “If he had not added those words that God does not tempt to evil or with evil, one may still be able to accuse James of contradicting Scripture.”⁴⁸ It is still unclear why Althamer is so troubled by this one passage when the solution is explicitly stated in the text. He in no way argues that God causes sin or tempts people to sin, but he is determined to prove that God tempts Christians. It is also surprising that he does not attempt to clarify the verse with other biblical passages. For instance, he does not quote Ecclesiasticus 15:11– 20, to which James arguably refers, nor does he distinguish between the different uses of πειράζω in the NT, such as the difference between Satan’s temptation of Christ (Matt. 4:1ff.) and the Lord’s “temptation” of Philip (John 6:6). Rather, Althamer follows the internal argumentation of the letter and points out that James has already stated in his initial remarks that God Himself has put them through trials of various kinds. Again noting the letter’s unity, he argues that James cannot now contradict him    

Althamer, Althamer, Althamer, Althamer, Althamer,

Die Die Die Die Die

Epistel Epistel Epistel Epistel Epistel

S. S. S. S. S.

Jacobs Jacobs Jacobs Jacobs Jacobs

(1533), C2v-D1r. (1533), C4v. (1533), D1v. (1533), D4r. (1533), D4r (my emphasis).

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self. Althamer defines temptation finally by distinguishing between the temptation of Satan to evil and the tentatio of God, who tests Christians (probiren and bewähren) for faith. God, he says, does not tempt the wicked nor does He have anything to do with them, because they do not belong to Him.⁴⁹ He only tests those who have faith.⁵⁰ Althamer, therefore, emphasizes God’s testing of faith and distinguishes it from Satan’s temptation to evil and also from the sorrows that face unbelievers in the world. Christian suffering is set apart from all other suffering. His explanation may wander slightly, but it is worth noting that he does not get drawn off course by questions concerning the hidden will of God or God’s activity in the hearts of unbelievers. Testing is from God to refine faith. Temptation to sin comes from the inborn sinful nature; Satan prods at it and pushes it to stir the wicked inclinations of the heart into action. Althamer therefore reads in James 1 a unity that moves from cross and suffering to the prayer of faith and love, to the hope of eternal life, to questions concerning the nature of God, to God’s role in Christian tentatio, and to the origins of sin. James, he says at 1:15, uses a “fine metaphor” to teach original sin. “A woman becomes pregnant from a man; she conceives and then she gives birth to the fruit of that conception and it enters the world.”⁵¹ Anticipating the following verses concerning God’s good and perfect gifts and the new birth by the word of truth, Althamer juxtaposes sin and its effects with faith and its effects. These two birth analogies from James—the one fleshly, a product of sin, and a stillbirth midwived by Satan, and the other a new spiritual birth, conceived by God and brought forth by the word of truth—give Althamer a unique rhetorical structure to teach pastorally the distinctions between law and gospel, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan, the eternal kingdom and the temporal kingdom of God, and the Christian’s twofold existence as simul iustus et peccator.

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), D4v. “Die bösen / Gottlosen / verzweivelte menschen versuchet Gott nicht / hat mit den selbigen gar nichts zuthun / denn sie gehören nicht jnnsein Reich. 2. Corin. 6.”  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), D4v. “Gottes Versuchung ist allein ein prob vnd bewerung des glaubens / der gedult vnd frömkeit / ob man bey seinem wort bestehen wol odder nicht / So legt vns Gott auch nicht mehr auff / denn wir ertragen mügen. 1 Corin. 10. Der gleichen der Sathan nicht thut / der legt vns viel mehr auff / denn wir ertragen können.” The synonyms used here for divine tentatio are Versuchung, Prob, and Bewerung.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E1r.

Althamer’s Translation and Exegesis of James 1:16 – 27 and Their Influence

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Althamer’s Translation and Exegesis of James 1:16 – 27 and Their Influence It should not be surprising that starting here at verse 16, Althamer begins to give the text a more thorough exposition. Part of good marketing is also knowing your audience. Althamer knew that the inclusion of James 1:16 – 27 in the church’s lectionary meant that his comments on these verses would be the most familiar and frequently read passages of his commentary. His translation and exegesis of these passages are also his most important for the letter’s interpretive history in the Lutheran Church. At 1:17, Althamer says that we are bad trees with bad fruits until God makes us good.⁵² The gift of the new creation with its new impulses comes from God, and “not from ourselves, from our free will, flesh and reason.”⁵³ Althamer interprets the good and perfect gifts of verse 17 as “spiritual” (geistlich) and “bodily” (leiblich) gifts.⁵⁴ The distinction is reminiscent of Luther’s catechetical instruction on the Apostles’ Creed. The First Article of the Creed summarizes God the Father’s gifts of body and soul, reason, senses, and strength. In the Second and Third Articles of the Creed, Luther summarizes the Father’s victory of salvation in Christ and the offering of that victory through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Althamer follows this division to categorize the manifold gifts of God. Generally, the spiritual gifts are sanctification and righteousness, an orthodox faith, and a true knowledge of God. Specifically, however, spiritual gifts are: the gospel, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, pure preaching of the word of God, diligent and faithful pastors, preachers, and servants of the church, patience under the cross, love for the neighbor, and the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5). Althamer’s list of the bodily or earthly gifts mirrors Luther’s explanation of the First Article of the Creed as well as the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. He includes peace and health, unity and wisdom, good government and prosperity, strength and beauty, good neighbors and the like. He then summarizes the bodily and spiritual gifts with an analogy of birth, to exclude any possibility of human merit: “Just as in our natural birth we are born of God who created us, so also our new birth as Christians comes from Him alone.”⁵⁵ Althamer’s most significant contribution to the history of interpretation, however, is his translation and exegesis of James 1:16 – 18, especially the phrase  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E1v-E2r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E2r.  For the following summary of the good and perfect gifts: Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E2r—E3r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E2r-E2v.

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in verse 17, ἀπό τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων. Throughout the commentary, Althamer generally follows Luther’s 1530 translation of the German Bible. But at 1:17 he makes a significant interpretive shift in the translation. In his 1522 and 1530 translations of the New Testament, Luther had translated the phrase ἀπό τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων as “Vater der Liechter,” a plural rendering and faithful to the Greek original. However, Althamer in his commentary renders the phrase, “von dem Vater des liechts” (from the Father of Light) and reads James 1:17 primarily as a Christological reference. The translation must have pleased Luther, because in his publication of the complete Biblia of 1534,⁵⁶ just a year after Althamer’s commentary was published in Wittenberg, Luther altered his translation of the passage to conform to Althamer’s translation.⁵⁷ Not only did Althamer influence Luther to make the change to the translation of the πατρὸς τῶν φώτων, he seems to have won over Luther on other expressions as well. For instance, in the explanation of God’s immutable goodness, because of which God does not shift back and forth between light and day, Luther changed his translation from wechsel der finsternis to wechsel des liechts vnd finsternis, following Althamer. Less significant but still noticeable is Luther’s adoption of Althamer’s prepositional phrase von oben herab rather than von oben her nydder and the verb gezeuget in verse 18 rather than Luther’s previous translation of geporn = geboren. ⁵⁸ The chart on the following page demonstrates Althamer’s contribution to Luther’s translation of James 1:16 – 18 between Luther’s 1530 edition of the Bible and the first printing of his complete Biblia in 1534. The translation remains unchanged in the 1545 edition. Althamer even moves Luther to rethink the sentence structure of verse 18, to place the verb gezeuget closer to the subject and thus emphasize God’s action of giving birth. The evidence, based solely on a comparison of translations between 1530 and 1534, suggests that Luther had read Althamer’s commentary and valued the translation. It is also significant that 1534 marks a turn in Luther’s general treatment of James that would remain in his last edition of the Bible in 1545. He removed the statement in his biblical preface “I will not count it in my

 Martin Luther, Biblia / das ist / die gantze Heilige Schrift Deutsch (Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1534).  It should be noted that Luther’s decision to adopt Althamer’s Christological translation of 1:17 could not be philological. It is a theological interpretation of the passage, and one that would be decisive for later interpreters.  Luther made the switch from geporen in 1530 to gezeugt in 1534 throughout his New Testament. The genealogy in Matthew, for instance, reflects this change.

Althamer’s Translation and Exegesis of James 1:16 – 27 and Their Influence

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The Influence of Althamer on Luther’s Translation James 1:16 – 18 LUTHER ()

ALTHAMER ()

LUTHER ()

LUTHER ()

Jrret euch nicht / lieben bruder / Alle gutte gabe vnd alle vollkomen gabe / kompt von oben her nydder von dem vater der liechter / bey wilcem ist keyn verenderung / noch wechsel der finsternis / Er hat vns nach seynem willen / durch das wort der warheyt geporn / auff das wyr weren erstlinge seyner creaturn.

Jrret nicht / lieben brüder / Alle gute gabe vnd alle volkomene gabe kömpt von oben herab von dem Vater des liechts / bey welchem ist kein verenderung noch wechsel des liechts vnd finsternis. Er hat vns gezeuget nach seinem willen / durch das wort der warheit / auff das wir weren erstlinge seiner creaturn.

Jrret nicht / lieben Brüder / Alle gute gabe vnd alle volkomene gabe kompt von ober herab / von dem Vater des liechts / bey welchem ist keine verenderung noch wechsel des liechts vnd finsternis / Er hat vns gezeuget nach seinem willen / durch das Wort der Warheit / auff das wir weren erstlinge seiner creaturn.

Jrret nicht / lieben Brüder / Alle gute Gabe /vnd alle volkomene gabe kompt von oben herab / von dem Vater des liechts / Bey welchem ist keine verenderung noch wechsel des Liechts vnd Finsternis. Er hat vns gezeuget nach seinem willen / durch das wort der Warheit / Auff das wir weren Erstlinge seiner Creaturen.

Bible […]” and the comment that James is “an epistle of straw.”⁵⁹ Althamer’s commentary seems to have been the leading cause of Luther’s new posture toward James. Althamer’s translation of “the Father of light” plays out in his comments on verse 1:17. He interprets the title as a description of God’s revelation in Christ to sinful and darkened creatures: “[James] calls the Lord God a Father of light, because we were naturally blind and in darkness, but He is the sun of righteousness, the light of life, who enlightens us through Christ.”⁶⁰ Althamer interprets the title “Father of light” through a rich blend of New Testament passages. He says that Christ is light and all those who trust in Him walk in the light and are light themselves (John 8; 1 John 1; Eph. 5, etc.).⁶¹ According to Althamer, the Christian can have total assurance of salvation, because God will never

 See WADB 6, 10 (Apparat). Jörg Armbruster’s reminds us that Luther did not always call James an epistle of straw. “Beim Zitieren des Diktums von der ‘stroern Epistel’ wird durchweg übersehen, daß diese Wendung nur einige Jahre in Luthers Übersetzung des Neuen Testaments stand und in den Vollbibeln gar nicht mehr auftacht.” Armbruster, Luthers Bibelvorreden (2005), 137, n. 526.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E3r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E3r.

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change. After quoting Psalm 102:25 – 28 which praises the Lord who remains forever, Althamer says, God is in every way the light. He doesn’t change back and forth from light to darkness. He doesn’t change back and forth like the sun and moon, which shine bright and clear, but then are suddenly hidden behind a dark cloud. Now light, soon darkness; now day, soon night; now joy, but soon sorrow. That is not how God does it. He is in every way true and all His ways are sure. And His promises, they are all yes and amen in Christ […] 2 Cor. 1.⁶²

His comments give the grounds for his more detailed translation of 1:17b, παρ’ ᾧ οὐκ ἔνι παραλλαγὴ ἢ τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα, “bey welchem ist kein verenderung noch wechsel des liechts vnd finsternis.” Althamer’s play on light and darkness, which again was included in Luther’s translation, became a common homiletical trope in later expositions of the verse, even in Luther’s own exposition. To offer just one example here, Luther’s application of 1:17 in his 1539 Cantate sermon echoes Althamer’s comments concerning light and darkness. Taking up Althamer’s rhetoric, Luther develops the image of light and darkness. He interprets the gifts from the Father as two great lights, the good gift is the law and the perfect gift is the gospel. As long as Christians are in the world and remain simultaneously sinners and saints, they must uphold both lights. With the gospel there is no commandment and there will never be a commandment. It won’t be the same above as it is here on earth. Here things change, and the two ages, the heavenly and the earthly, interchange with each other. When the day appears, the night turns away; they are opposites. Here James wants to praise the perfection of the gospel with an allegory. With us, there’s variation: today happy, tomorrow sad. But with the Father and the gospel everything is made whole. The same can’t be said for the law, because it is superseded. The forgiveness of sins, however, remains forever. We change, to be sure, because we’re still flesh and blood, but the doctrine of the gospel is in itself changeless, because in that doctrine we find pure blessedness and joy, without variation or change. But even though we have the gospel, things still change in us; even though we hold fast to the light of the gospel now, the devil will every now and then make it night for us. That’s how it goes for us in this life: mountain and valley, day and night, rich and poor. To sum it up: as long as you are in the word, you too remain without variation or change. The gospel doesn’t change with the law. You won’t find any other doctrine that remains forever. Just as the law still remains—since God won’t stop being God and we won’t stop being His creatures—think how much more the doctrine of the gospel will remain! Outside of these two doctrine there is not only variation and change; without these is utter darkness and night. Certainly the devil and sin can sometimes turn day

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E 3v.

Althamer’s Translation and Exegesis of James 1:16 – 27 and Their Influence

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into night for us, but that doesn’t mean James condemns the law; he wants us to uphold it.⁶³

Luther’s homiletical trope of light and darkness, joy and sadness, appears to be borrowed directly from Althamer’s reading of 1:17b and then developed. Up to this point, then, it is clear that Luther knew and assimilated Althamer’s translation into his own translation of the 1534 Biblia, and also that he was able to assimilate parts of the commentary into his own preaching. Since I will cover Luther’s use of Althamer in the next chapter, where I discuss and analyze Luther’s sermons on James, I want to use the remainder of this section on James 1:16– 27 to account for Althamer’s use of Luther and to determine what writings of Luther Althamer incorporated into his second interpretation of James. A process of crosspollination develops as Althamer borrows from Luther and Luther in turn borrows from Althamer. Interpretive insights into the text that begin with Luther are picked up by Althamer and return to Luther developed and more stable than they were before. I will consider a few examples. Althamer’s Christological exegesis becomes even clearer at 1:18. He interprets the regenerative word of truth in verse 18 as a reference to Christ’s condescension from the Father. The Father is the sower and Christ is the seed that brings light and life to all those who believe.⁶⁴ Just as Althamer sees in 1:18 parallels to 1 Corinthians 4:16 and Galatians 4:19 concerning new birth, he also sees parallels to Titus 3 and Ephesians 4 concerning baptismal regeneration, and to 1 Peter 1:23 concerning the imperishable seed of God’s word. Therefore, the word of truth in 1:18 is both the person of Christ and the word about Christ or the gospel. Althamer makes little effort to distinguish between the Logos as the second

 WA 47, 747, 1– 18 (Cantate, 4 May 1539). “Das heisst Euangelium gehort und nicht darnach gethan, et ibi nullum praeceptum i. e. da es nunquam nicht wird. Gehet droben nicht so zu ut hic in terris. Hie endert sich, die 2 zeit wechseln sich an einander. Wens tag ist, so ist die nacht abgewechselt, econtra. Ibi wil preisen mit der Allegorie die volkomenheit des Euangelii. Nos habemus vicissitudinem: heut frolich, cras trawrig, sed bey dem patre et Euangelio ist volkomlich gemacht, non ut cum lege, quae mutatur, sed manet aeterna remissio peccatorum. Nos quidem endern uns, quia adhuc fleisch und blut, sed doctrina in se ist unwandlich, quia in doctrian eitel seligkeit, freud, kein wechsel, enderung. Sed nos endert, quia itzt halten wir fest dran, econtra Teuffel macht uns zu weilen ein nacht. Sic gehen wir in hac vita berg und tal, tag und nacht, reich. Summa summarum: in verbo bleibt ir auch on enderung und wechsel. Es endert sich Euangelium nicht mit dem Gesetz. Du wirst kein ander lere auffbringen, wird ewig bleiben. Sicut etiam lex, quod Deus non Deus et nos Creaturae, multomagis Euangelii. Extra has 2 doctrinas non solum est enderung und wechsel, sed merae tenebrae et nox. Nisi quod Diabolus et peccatum nobis interdum facit ein nacht. Legem non damnat, sed wils erhalten haben.”  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E4v.

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person of the Trinity and the logos of the gospel, or even the delivery of the gospel through the media salutis. He simply presents Christ, who is the enfleshed Logos (John 1:1) and the content and subject of the gospel proclamation (Rom. 10:17). Althamer also interprets the word of truth in 1:18 vividly as mother: “Flesh and blood is not the mother here, but the word of God.”⁶⁵ So the word of truth is Christ, gospel, and mother. These two interpretations from Althamer, first that Christ is the heavenly seed and second that the word of God is the mother who gives birth to the children of God, are striking metaphors, but they are not entirely original. The language of the heavenly seed seems to be lifted directly from Luther’s exposition of 1 Peter 1:23 in 1523. Althamer, however, adds the extra Christological dimension that he sees in James. The Father of Light, the Logos of the Father, gives good and perfect gifts (1:17), and the greatest gift is Christ, the Word of Truth, who gives new birth and life to fallen creatures (1:18). On the following page, I offer a textual comparison of Luther’s exegesis of 1 Peter 1:23 and Althamer’s exegesis of James 1:18, side by side. The comparison demonstrates how Althamer refashions Luther’s exegesis to coincide with his Christological reading of James. I offer an English translation and then the original of each in the footnotes. The bold type highlights the most prominent agreement. Althamer’s reworking of Luther’s exegesis is a clear example of Luther’s indirect influence on Lutheran interpretations of James. After Althamer’s commentary appears in 1533, it becomes difficult to sort out who relies on whom. For instance, Johann Spangenberg’s Postilla Deutsch (1542– 44), a decade later, seems to rely on Althamer. He, too, borrows Althamer’s rhetorical trope of light and darkness, joy and sadness at verse 1:17. At 1:18, he takes elements of Luther’s exegesis of 1 Peter 1:23 and adds them to Althamer’s exegesis of James 1:18. Like Althamer, Spangenberg has Christ actively involved in this new birth. But he does not press the Christological interpretation. Christ is not the seed; He is the sower. Spangenberg’s explanation of 1:18 is thus a blend of Luther and Althamer, beginning with the same catechetical question: How does this new birth happen? How does this happen? God the Father lets the heavenly seed, the Divine Word, be sown and preached among us through Christ, His dear Son. Everyone who takes hold of this seed with his or her ears and a faithful heart, will, through that same Word, become a new person and a child of God, as St. Peter says in his first epistle, chapter 1: You are

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E4v.

Althamer’s Translation and Exegesis of James 1:16 – 27 and Their Influence

LUTHER,  PETER : ()

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ALTHAMER, JAMES : ()

We are born again through a seed. For nothing grows, as we’ve all seen in life, except through seeds. If our old birth came by a seed, so the new birth must also come by a seed. But what is the seed? It’s not flesh and blood. What then? It is not something that perishes; it’s the eternal Word. We have every seed needed to live, as far as meals and food are concerned, but this seed, by which we are born again, is the seed that Peter speaks of here.

Now notice, he speaks of the spiritual new birth and not from the first, our genesis and birth out of flesh and blood into flesh and blood, even though that in itself is a work of God. Our first birth is corrupted by Adam’s sin, so that we’ve all become impure. Therefore, God must give birth to us anew, not out of flesh and blood, but out of water and the Spirit, which Christ explains in detail to Nicodemus (John ). We were children of wrath, like everyone else (Eph. ), but now we have become children of God. How does this happen? It happens thus: God How does this happen? God lets the Word, His lets His word, the gospel, be sent out and the Son, become man and thus He spread and seed fall into human hearts. Whenever the planted the word, the heavenly seed, among seed takes root in the heart, the Holy Spirit is us. Wherever this seed has fallen and one has there and makes a new person; truly, He taken hold of it and believed it, that person is makes another person altogether, with other born again through this spiritual seed, bethoughts and other words and works. Thus comes another and altogether new man and a you will be transformed. Everything that you child of God, just as the Scripture says of this previously avoided, you will seek. And every- birth in  Corinthians [:], “I gave birth to thing that you previously sought, you will you through the gospel” and Galatians [:], avoid.a) “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!”b)

a) WA 12, 298, 22—33 (Sermons on 1 Peter, 1523). “Durch eyn samen sind wyr widderumb geporen. Denn es wechst keyn ding anders, wie wyr sehen, denn durch samen. Ist nu die allte gepurt auss eym samen her komen, so muss die new gepurt auch von eynem samen seyn. Was ist der same aber? Nicht fleysch und blůtt. Was denn? Er ist nicht vergenglich, sondernn ist eyn ewig wortt. Das ist es alles miteynander, davon wyr leben, speyß und futter. Doch furnemlich ist er der samen, da durch wyr new geporn werden, wie er hie sagt. Wie gehet nu das zů? Also. Gott lesst das wortt, das Evangelium, aussgehen und den samen fallen ynn die hertzen der menschen. Wo nu der ym hertzen hafftet, so ist der heylig geyst da undmacht eyn newen menschen, da wirt gar eyn ander mensch, ander gedancken, andere wortt und werck. Also wirstu gantz verwandelt, Alles das du vor geflohen hast, das suchstu, und was du vor gesucht hast, das fleuhistu.” b) Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E4r. “Vnd merckt / er redet von der geistlichen newen geburt / vnd nicht von der ersten vnser erschaffung vnd gepurt aus fleisch vnd blut jnn fleisch vnd blut / wiewol auch die selbige Gottes werck ist / Vnser erste geburt ist durch Adam verderbt / das wir all vnrein sind worden / Da můst Gott vns von newen geporen / nicht aus fleisch vnd blut / sondern aus wasser vnd geist / davon Christus viel mit Nicodemo redt Johan.3. Wir waren kinder des zorns / wie die andern / Ephe. am. 2. Nu aber sind wir kinder Gottes worden. Wie gehet aber diese gepurt zu? Gott hat das wort seinen son / vnsern Herrn Jhesum Christum / lassen mensch werden / vnd also das wort / den himelischen samen / vnter vns geseet / gesprengt vnd ausgeworffen / wer diesen samen hat gefassset / vnd an den son Gottes gegleubt / der ist also durch diesen geistlichen samen widder geborn / ein ander vnd newer mensch worden / vnd ein kind Gottes / von welcher gepurt die schrifft redt. 1 Corin. 4. Jch hab euch gezeuget jnn Christo Jhesu durchs Euangelium Gala.4. Meine leiben kinder / welche ich aber mal mit engsten gepere / bis das Christus jnn euch ein gestalt gewinne […].”

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born again, not of a perishable but of an imperishable seed, namely, of the living Word of God that remains forever. This is what James is saying here.⁶⁶

According to Luther’s explanation of the new birth from 1 Peter, the imperishable seed is the gospel, without a direct reference to Christ. In Althamer’s reading of James 1:18, the heavenly seed is Christ, the Word that was from the beginning (John 1) and the word of the gospel, which he characterizes as a mother giving birth. For Spangenberg, the seed is the divine word that Christ Himself sows among us through preaching (Matt. 13; Luke 8). One may begin to notice that particular verses are clustered together and woven into a common exposition. The striking description of the word as mother suggests further that Althamer was drawing on Luther. Luther may not have been the only one to use the analogy, but it is very present in his writings.⁶⁷ In his Christmas Day sermon on John 1, in the Kirchenpostille of 1522, Luther sets a nexus of interpretive verses around John 1:12– 13:⁶⁸ 1 Corinthians 4:16, James 1:18, 1 Peter 2:21, and Isaiah 46:1. Between quotes, Luther depicts the maternal nature of the gospel. “Thus, the gospel is called the womb of God, in which He receives, bears, and gives birth to us.”⁶⁹ Further, Luther explains the analogy of the new birth in the context of suffering and revelatory light, just as it appears in James 1. He says that only in suffering, when death surrounds us, can we discern between the new man and the old, the light of nature and the light of the gospel.⁷⁰ It is no wonder

 Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), II:35v-36r (Epistle for the Fourth Sunday after Easter, Cantate). “Wie gehet solche Geburt zu? Gott der Vater lässt den himlischen Saamen / das göttliche Wort / durch Christum seinen lieben Sohn / unter uns aussäen und predigen. Wer nun diesen Saamen mit Ohren und gläubigen Hertzen fest annimpt / der wird durch dasselbige Wort ein newer Mensch geboren / und ein Kind Gottes / wie S. Petrus sagt in der ersten Epistel am 1. Cap. Jhr seyd widergeboren / nicht aus vergänglichem / sondern aus unvergänglichem Samen / nemlich / aus dem lebendigen Wort Gottes / das da ewiglich bleibet. Auf die Meynung redet auch hie S. Jacob.”  Volker Stolle, “Gott als Mutter bei Luther und in der lutherischen Tradition,” Lutherische Theologie und Kirche 4, (1991). Stolle is not concerned with Luther’s teaching on regeneration, but he gives a helpful survey of Luther’s use of God’s word as mother.  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (ESV).  WA 10/I/1, 232, 13 – 14 (Christmas Day, 1522). “Jtem, daher wirt das Euangelium gottis muter genennet, das er darynnen unß empfehet, tregt und gepiertt.”  WA 10/I/1, 232, 16—233, 3 (Christmas Day, 1522). “Aber diße gepurtt ertzeygt sich recht, wenn die anfechtung und der todt hergeht, da empfindt man, wer da new odder allt geporn sey, da ringet und windet die vornunfft, das alte liecht, und lest nit gernn was sie dunckt und will, mag sich nit erwegen und begeben auff das Euangelium und yhr liecht faren lassen.”

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that Althamer picks up on Luther’s interpretation of John 1:13 here, since Luther’s exegesis mirrors the arguments of James about light, life, word, and new birth. He even interjects the need for Christians to suffer and to bear the cross—a theme that is not explicit in John 1. From verses 1:18 – 27, Althamer teaches the effect and power of the word, and the right reception of it, that is, not to be hearers of the word only, but also doers. Yet being a doer of the word in Althamer’s commentary means suffering it, standing under it, and not, as one might expect, responding to it with a vita activa. When, at the phrase “first fruits of his creation” in 1:18, Althamer shifts from the cause of the new birth to its effects, he asks the catechetical question: “Why and for what purpose has God given us a new birth?”⁷¹ He draws on the Old Testament laws concerning the first fruits (Exod. 23 and 34; Num. 3) and applies them to those set apart in Christ through holy baptism. Those who are baptized and set apart in Christ will also be conformed to His image: “Just as the first fruits were offered to God, so Christians are by faith, in baptism, and through the cross offered up, slaughtered, and killed, just as David says in Psalm 44, that we are like lambs for the slaughter.”⁷² Although good works to the neighbor are in no way excluded, the primary work of the Christian is to suffer the work of God in His word and in holy baptism, as well as the scorn of the devil, the world, and the sinful flesh in this life. The Christian life is, according Althamer’s interpretation of James and Luther’s interpretation of John 1, a vita passiva. ⁷³ Several other notable images appear here in the first chapter of James concerning the word and its proper reception among Christians. James calls Christians at 1:21 “to receive the implanted word.” At 1:23, he compares the word to “a mirror” and then, at 1:25, calls the word “the perfected law of liberty.” In contrast to his first commentary, Althamer now interprets these phrases within the broader scope of James and the rest of Scripture, and does not interpret the text one way and fear that James, unfortunately, means something else. Althamer, for example, interprets the phrase “implanted word” with the obvious biblical parallel of the parable of the sower. The implanted word is now strictly the seed of the

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E 4v.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), E 4v. “Vnd gleich wie die ersten früchte wurden Gott auffgeopffert / also werden auch die Christen durch den glauben / jm Tauffe / durchs Creutz / geopffert / geschlacht vnd getödt / denn wir sind die schlachtschaffe / dauon der König David redt Psalm. 44.”  Oswald Bayer. Martin Luthers Theologie eine Vergegenwärtigung, 3. Auflage (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), 38 – 40.

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divine word, the gospel with the power to save.⁷⁴ According to Althamer, James intends to warn Christians, on the one hand, not to choke and strangle the word with sin, and, on the other, to receive the word with patience, so that the seed produces fruit in them.⁷⁵ Without going too far into the matter, it is worth noting that his exegesis in 1533 represents something of a standard Lutheran interpretation during Luther’s lifetime. That will become more apparent in chapter two, when I look specifically at Luther’s sermons. But we should keep in mind that Luther was not the only one to have read, assimilated, and developed Althamer’s exegesis. Spangenberg, who interpreted the word of truth (1:18) according to the parable of the sower, not surprisingly follows that interpretive key through to 1:21. Furthermore, there is certainly nothing extraordinary about linking the regenerative power of the word of truth with the implanted word’s power to save. Other Lutheran interpreters would do the same, as I demonstrate in chapter three. However, what is significant for the history of interpretation is his reliance on Althamer. Spangenberg borrows, nearly word for word, from Althamer’s commentary as he applies the imagery of the parable. Using Althamer’s language, Spangenberg teaches, with the parabel’s caution concerning the different soils, that Christians must purify their hearts and put off the old man with all its desires.⁷⁶ Luther and Spangenberg, therefore, escort Althamer through the history of interpretation. Althamer’s German translation of the letter is embedded in Luther’s Biblia and his exegesis was regarded as the standard exposition of the text during Luther’s lifetime. Through Spangenberg, the most popular Lutheran postiller besides Luther,⁷⁷ Althamer would indirectly influence later expositors within the great postil tradition.

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F 2r. “Das Euangelium ist dieser samen der aller gleubigen seelen erret vnd selig macht & wie auch Sanct Paulus bekent Rom am .1.”  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F 1v-2r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F 2r. “Denn dieser samen / erfordert ein guten acker / ein reins hertze / ein gleubigs gemüt / nicht ein steinichtes feld odder ein distelliges erdricht / Jhr solt die disteln / das vnkraut / sund vnd laster / ausreuten / den alten menschen ausziehen / das fleisch jnn euch tödten.” And with almost identical language, Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), II:36r, admonishes his hearers: “Denn diser same fordert einen guten acker / ein rein hertze / in glaubig gemüt / nicht ein steinichten oder dornichten / jhr müst zuuor distel vnnd dörner / ratten vnnd vnkraut außrotten / den alten menschen ablegen / mit allen seinen lüsten vnnd begierden.” The final phrase is a variation that reflects the Luther’s Small Catechism on the significance of baptism.  Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 508. According to Frymire’s count, Spangenberg’s Summer Postils, which contained these sermons on James, went through 44 different printings before 1620.

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As mentioned above, Althamer understands a doer of the word as someone who hears the word and takes it to heart—a passive reception. Faith and obedience (gehorsam) are rooted in the creative power of God’s word. “To do the word of God,” writes Althamer, “is nothing other than to obey the word, to believe and be obedient, as Christ Himself says in John 6: ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’”⁷⁸ Althamer interprets both faith and obedience, believing and doing, as a divine act through the word. Obedience, therefore, is not active discipline but a devoted hearing of the word that is able to regenerate and create good works, as if out of nothing. The common etymological root of word and work in the biblical languages is lost in translation into English. The English verb to obey and its nominalization obedience drop the verbal roots of hearing and listening that are present in Hebrew (‫)שׁמע‬, in Greek (ὑπακούω), and in German (gehorsam sein or gehorchen). Even if in German the word gehorsam sein comes into English as to be obedient, this obedience is for Althamer not the response of the human will to the law, but instead faith in the gospel, which has the power to create, as Luther and Althamer say, “an altogether different person.” For this reason, James says that Christians can deceive themselves.⁷⁹ They hear the word but do not believe it. Althamer uses James’ metaphor of the mirror to insist that Christians must look into God’s word and change. A man who looks in the mirror and forgets what he saw cannot become another person (ein anderer Mensch werden), he is the same man that he was before (ist der voriger mensch / vor als nach).⁸⁰ In other words, his image does not change “according to the gospel.” The mirror, according to Althamer, is therefore the image of the new man born of the gospel. What Christians see when they look in the mirror should transform them. Althamer’s own transformation from his previous interpretation of this text has been marked. Whereas in his first attempt he suspected that James was referring to the law of Moses, he now sees the perfected law of liberty as gospel and interprets the phrase according to John 8.⁸¹ The one who looks into

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F 2v-F3r. “Das wort Gottes aber thun / ist nichts anders denn dem selbigen wort gehorschen / glauben vnd gehorsam sein / als Christus selbst leret Johan. 6. Das ist Gottes werck / das jhr an den gleubt / den er gesand hat.”  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F3r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F3r.  Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F3v. “Denn Jacobus redt nicht von dem Gesetz Mosi / welches kein volkomen gesetz der freiheit ist / denn es bringt niemand zur volkomenheit Hebre. 7. vnd macht kein sichers freies gewissen wie das Euangelium / zu knechten macht es wol / vnd zu sundern / aber der sund kans vns nicht abhelffen. Derhalben die wort Jacobi / nach den worten Christi Johan. am 8. Zu verstehen sind / von dem Euangelio.”

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the law of liberty, thus, looks into the gospel. And the one who remains there will be blessed in his doing. Althamer once again summarizes this doing. “This is the doing that saves us: the obedience to the divine word, namely, faith.”⁸² Althamer can then interpret the rest of James with the perspective of the restored image of God. James is not preaching the law to those who are ignorant of the truth, but those who know it and have been born anew through the word and have been restored to the image of God by faith. Although I am primarily concerned with the Lutheran interpretation of James 1 in this work, I should mention that the Lutheran interpretations of these passages are not isolated from the rest of the letter. Although much more could be said about Althamer’s commentary, it is enough to know that his exegesis follows a similar pattern to that which we observed in James 1. All Lutherans after Althamer deal in one way or another with suffering and cross, prayer, the power and efficacy of the word, and the image of God in James 1. In the case of the Lutheran postillers, who only preached on James 1:16 – 27, they tended to expand their exegesis of chapter one to cover other themes of James. To give an example: the postillers knew from James 3:1 that the letter is addressed to pastors. Therefore their postils sometimes contain long discussions at James 1:19, “be slow to speak,” as an admonition to pastors concerning their conduct in the preaching office and demonstrate that Lutherans read James as a sort of pastoral epistle, rather than a text strictly on personal piety and moral improvement. Unless one understands that the Lutheran interpretation of James 1 often draws together the major themes of the letter, the insertion of the pastoral office at 1:19 may seem strange. It shows that most Lutherans took the letter as a whole and not as a chaotic collection of proverbs, even when the text sometimes suggests discontinuity.

Chapter Summary and Outlook Althamer’s interpretation of James 1 shows how a critical Lutheran reader of James can expound fruitfully on the text and from it give sound pastoral care to his congregation. A closer examination of his translation and interpretation has demonstrated the importance of this forgotten reformer of Brandenburg-Ansbach for the Lutheran reading of the letter. His influence on later interpretations

 Althamer, Die Epistel S. Jacobs (1533), F3v. “Das ist die that (der gehorsam des Göttlichen worts / nemlich der glaube) die vns selig macht.”

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may not have always been direct, but his commentary’s reception among Luther and Spangenberg would indirectly serve the church for generations to come. In the following chapters, I present later Lutheran exegesis of James 1:16 – 27. In chapter two, I analyze the various theological themes and illustrations that appear in Luther’s five sermons on James 1 from 1535 – 1539.⁸³ And in chapters three and four, I trace the interpretation of James 1:16 – 27 through the Lutheran postil tradition for Cantate and Rogate Sundays into the seventeenth century.

 2 May 1535, Rogate, James 1:21– 27: WA 41, 69 – 73; 14 May 1536, Cantate, James 1:17– 21: WA 41, 578 – 590; 29 April 1537, Cantate, James 1:16 – 21: WA 45, 77– 81; 4 May 1539, Cantate, James 1:16 – 21: WA 47, 742– 748; 11 May 1539, Rogate, James 1:22– 27: WA 47, 748 – 756.

2 Luther’s Pastoral Exegesis of James Sed ista Epistola pertinet ad resurrectionem mortuorum. But this epistle lesson pertains to the resurrection of the dead.¹

The church’s lectionary provided Luther and every Lutheran pastor the occasion to preach on James twice every year during Eastertide, though Luther, probably due to preaching schedules, appears not to have seized the opportunity for many years.² Before expressing his doubt about the book’s apostolic authority (1519), Luther had preached from James on only one known occasion, a synod in Leitzkau (1516).³ The sermon from Leitzkau is a fascinating example of Luther’s reception of medieval mysticism and his early use of spiritual rebirth. Since, however, the sermon is prior to his criticism, it is beyond the reach of this study. So not including his 1516 sermon, Luther preached on James only five times in his career, though there may have been sermons that were not recorded.⁴ His first post-criticism sermon took place on 2 May 1535, Rogate Sunday, when he preached on James 1:21– 27 for the afternoon service.⁵

 WA 41, 582, 31 (Cantate, 1536).  The epistle readings for Eastertide appeared for Luther in the church’s lectionary as follows: 1st Sunday after Easter (Quasimodogeniti) 1 John 5:4– 10 2nd Sunday after Easter (Misericordias Domini) 1 Pet. 2:21– 25 3rd Sunday after Easter (Jubilate) 1 Pet. 2:11– 20 4th Sunday after Easter (Cantate) James 1:16 – 21 5th Sunday after Easter (Rogate or Vocem Jocunditatis) James 1:22– 27  Sermo praescriptus praeposito in Litzka. WA 1, 10 – 13. The Weimarer Ausgabe dates Luther’s sermon in 1512 for the occasion of the Synod at Leitzkau on 22 July 1512. A closer examination of the internal witness of the text, however, makes the early date quite improbable. K. H. Jürgens believes Luther prepared the sermon for the fall of 1516. See Karl Heinrich Jürgens, Luther’s Leben: Luther von seiner Geburt bis zum Ablaßstreite (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1847), 42– 46. Michael Reu agrees: Reu, Luther and the Scriptures (1944), 19. Whichever the date, the sermon appears before Luther made any critical statements about James.  Luther confirms that James was being read in Wittenberg, even if he chose not to preach on it. On Rogate or Vocem Jocunditatis Sunday of 1531, Luther had preached for both the morning and afternoon services. He mentioned at the afternoon service that he could preach on James 1:22– 27, but he chose instead to continue with the morning theme of prayer from John 16. WA 34/1, 391, 8 – 9. “Hactenus de Epistola, mag nicht da von predigen. Loquemur plura de oratione, ist ein wenig besser quam Iacobi Epistola.”  Even if it was his first sermon on the letter in nearly twenty years, he gives no indication that preaching from James was unusual. He simply orients his hearers to the text and begins. WA 41, 69, 2– 6 (Cantate, 2 May 1535). “‘Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.’ There you hear it, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-004

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The 1535 sermon marks a shift in Luther’s preaching schedule. In the following two years (1536 – 1537), Luther preached on Cantate Sunday from James 1:16 – 21, and then, in 1539, he preached on both lessons.⁶ For an account of the Lutheran Auslegungsgeschichte, however, the sermon on 14 May 1536 is the most significant of the five, due to its textual reception in later Lutheranism. The sermon appears in the Weimarer Ausgabe in two forms: the first is Georg Rörer’s notes, a mix of Latin and German shorthand, and the second is a German version, which Rörer most likely prepared for print in consultation with Luther. Joseph Klug set the German version and published it that same year with Luther’s 1534 sermon on Matthew 5:20 – 26⁷ under the title, Zwo Predigt vom Zorn. ⁸ The two sermons, now print-ready for inclusion in later publications, both appeared in Caspar Cruciger’s edition of Luther’s Sommerpostille of 1544⁹ and became part of the many posthumous printings of Luther’s Kirchenpostille. ¹⁰ The strong textual reception of Luther’s 1536 sermon indicates that later Lutherans had at least one example of Luther’s interpretation of James 1 available for them to study, incorporate, and develop in their own exegesis. Although I do not intend to call particular attention to the textual reception of that one sermon, it is important to acknowledge that anyone familiar with Luther’s postils would have at least known the reformer’s evangelical treatment of James 1:17– 21. Some of Luther’s students may have been in attendance when he preached the other four sermons. What matters is that Luther preached these five sermons and they were recorded. Therefore, I want take advantage of the opportunity to look at all five attempts, to paint a fuller picture of Luther’s practical exegesis of James and to test later preaching against it. A word on working with Luther’s sermons: despite the wide array of theological insights and pastoral care in these sermons, they were not intended for pub-

how in the days of the apostles they all had to toil and labor with Christians, in order to urge them to true faith, a faith not without works but one that shows itself with good fruits.”  His sermons on the epistle are as follows: 2 May 1535, Rogate James 1:21– 27: WA 41, 69 – 73. 14 May 1536, Cantate James 1:17– 21: WA 41, 578 – 590. 29 April 1537, Cantate James 1:16 – 21: WA 45, 77– 81. 4 May 1539, Cantate James 1:16 – 21: WA 47, 742– 748. 11 May 1539, Rogate James 1:22– 27: WA 47, 748 – 756.  WA 41, 743 – 752. 16 April 1534.  Martin Luther, Zwo Predigt vom Zorn (Wittenberg: Joseph Klug, 1536). Klug released a second edition in 1543 (VD 16 L 5722; L 5687).  Cruciger used Eine Predigt vom Zorn from Matthew 5 for the 6th Sunday after Trinity, WA 21, 104– 105, and Ein ander predigt auff die Epistel Jacobi j for Cantate, WA 21, 352.  For a detailed list of the publications, see Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 545 – 555.

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lication; they were instead meant to address the immediate pastoral concerns in Wittenberg. Their form also does not permit a close grammatical reading, since four out of the five sermons are available only in shorthand notes, making it difficult to assess properly the full sense and subtleties of Luther’s “live” preaching. Hartmut Günther has done a great service to further studies of these sermons with his translation of large portions from them into modern German, but they are nevertheless reconstructions.¹¹ In the appendix of this book, I offer my own reconstruction and translation of the four sermons from Rörer’s notes. I have also retranslated Luther’s 1536 sermon with the hope of updating the rather wooden English that appears in John Lenker’s 1909 collection.¹² Since readers will be able to read these sermons for themselves, I do not feel the need to belabor them, but I do weigh in on some significant points from Luther’s sermons and give the original citations in the footnotes. The goal of this chapter, then, is to highlight the most striking exegetical insights, homiletical tropes, and points of doctrine from Luther’s preaching on these verses. Luther’s sermons are rich with theological themes. But rather than giving a clean, verse-for-verse exposition with exegetical and dogmatic observations and neatly organized instruction, Luther offers, as was his habit, a wide assortment of catechesis, polemics, and pastoral care. At times his preaching on the letter is informed by the details of the text’s grammar. At other times he draws on the broader context of the letter or compares a phrase from James with other New Testament writings. What remains consistent throughout, however, is his use of James 1:16 – 27 as a catechetical text to teach about suffering, temptation, and the power and effect of God’s law and gospel. Luther’s sermons are polemical, pastoral, and didactic, yet he weaves these homiletical strategies together toward the goal of urging Christians to a true faith that shows itself in good works.¹³ The themes, though difficult to organize into headings, clearly center on the reception and power of the word of God in the Christian life. The sermons demonstrate that James had a place in Luther’s thinking. I hope the translation will encourage others to add to or fill in what is missing from my reading of these powerful sermons.

 Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers Epistel-Auslegung, Bd. 5: Der erste Brief des Paulus an Timotheus. Der Brief des Paulus an Titus. Der erste Brief des Petrus. Der erste Brief des Johannes. Der Brief an die Hebräer. Der Brief des Jakobus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983), 439 – 456.  The Sermons of Martin Luther, trans. John N. Lenker (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1983), VII:289 – 300. Another recent translation of Luther’s 1536 sermon has appeared in the new volumes of Luther’s Works. American Edition. See AE 77:216 – 223.  WA 41, 69, 4– 6 (Rogate, 2 May 1535).

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On a final note, there is certainly much more to Luther’s use of James than what I present here. My goal is not to offer an exhaustive treatment of Luther’s frequent use of the letter. My aim is, rather, twofold. On one hand, I want to demonstrate on the basis of these Eastertide sermons that the message of James with its teaching on Christian suffering, the nature of God, the power of the word, and exhortations to holy living prompted Luther theologically and pastorally to speak to particular theological loci or commonplaces of Christian doctrine essential to Lutheran theology. My thesis that Luther incorporates the message of James into his theology is supported further by the fact that James 1:16 – 27 also elicits from Luther a lively visual language of analogies and metaphors, theological themes coupled with vivid imagery. Through metaphors of light and planetary movements, of farming and construction, of conception, birth and growth, and of mirrors and their honest reflections, Luther sees the nature of God and His promises, the power and effect of God’s word, the right way to distinguish law and gospel, regeneration, and the Christian’s new life visualized in the text. My second aim, which I pursue further in chapters three and four, is to show that Luther’s exegesis and homiletical application of James set an interpretive pattern that can be traced in later Lutheran expositions. In my work with these sermons, I discovered that Luther’s exegesis is consistent from sermon to sermon. That is, he does not alter his interpretation, but reads the same message from the same text. Luther’s consistency here advances my thesis that Luther had a particular interpretation of the text which can be compared with the Lutheran postils on these verses. But before beginning an analysis of the sermons, I introduce the historical and ecclesial settings of the sermons and take a closer look at Luther’s view of the letter’s authorship and origin.

First-century Palestine and Sixteenth-century Germany Luther’s sermons reveal something about his own historical setting and the challenges he faced in the late 1530s. His last two sermons on James (4 and 11 May 1539) offer specific clues into his immediate circumstances; he specifically addresses the errors of the antinomians and the death of his long-time opponent Duke George “the Bearded” of Saxony (1471– 1539), who died just weeks before these sermons.¹⁴ In May 1539, Luther found himself embroiled in conflict on

 Martin Brecht, Martin Luther: Die Erhaltung der Kirche (Stuttgart: Caaeer Verlag, 1987), 65 – 74; here, 73. On 17 April 1539, Duke George died without an heir to his throne. “In his first

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three main fronts. On one side, Luther warns against Rome’s doctrine of salvation which included the need for works of the law. He compares the papists to the Jews, who could not abandon the old law, and urges that Christians trust in Christ’s complete fulfillment of the law. On another front, Luther contends for the place of the law in the Christian life against Johann Agricola and those antinomian “dunces,” as he called them.¹⁵ His 1539 sermons, therefore, scrutinize the Catholic errors of legalism on the one hand and the antinomian errors of lawlessness on the other, making for a powerful treatment of the distinction between law and gospel. These sermons offer helpful examples of how Luther practically applied the content of his antinomian disputations in the congregational setting. Although the papists rejected Christ’s complete fulfillment of the law and the antinomians rejected the law’s power to convict of sin, Luther argues that both of them err for the same reason: they refuse to learn the distinction between the law and the gospel.¹⁶ On a final front, Luther faced all those he labeled Rottengeister, the shapeless lazy masses that included enthusiasts, sectarians, and sacramentarians. Although he considered their errors more boorish than the others, since they blatantly rejected the preached word (externum verbum) as the vehicle for the Holy Spirit, Luther dealt with them in a similar fashion and maintained that they, too, could not distinguish between the law and the gospel.¹⁷ He applies the message of James to all these situations and says,

reaction Luther associated the death of George and of his sons with his inexorable anti-Reformation attitude. In this case, however, it was not joy in someone else’s misfortune that motivated him, although for him, in view of the fate of the Reformation, George’s death was an answer to prayer. Luther would have preferred it if the duke had not died and had repented, as Luther had earlier advised. George’s accursed death was an admonition to repent.”  Martin Brecht traces the genesis of the second antinomian controversy in Wittenberg (1537– 1540) to March 1537. Martin Brecht, Martin Luther (1987), 158 – 173. While Luther was away in Smalcald from January to March 1537, Johann Agricola cared for Luther’s house and took over Luther’s preaching duties. According to Brecht, Agricola started preaching once again that the gospel and not the law reveals God’s wrath. Around that same time, a set of anonymous theses appeared in Wittenberg that espoused Agricola’s opinion that the law should no longer be preached in the church, since the law does not justify (160).  WA 47, 745, 26 – 28 (4 May 1539). “Nam lex non iustificat, sed Euangelium. Discite discrimen inter has duas Doctrinas, quod lex ostendat peccatum his, pro quibus Christus est mortuus.”  Luther saw very little difference between Rome’s errors and the errors of an enthusiast. In his famous exchange with Karlstadt in 1525, Luther argues that both the papists and the enthusiasts misunderstood the Spirit’s work in and through the word, and therefore they both confused faith and love, law and gospel. WA 18, 64, 12—65, 2 (Wider die himmlischen Propheten, 1525). “Gleich wie der Bapst nicht darnach fragt, wo glaube oder liebe bleybe, wenn nůr die werck seynes gehorsams und gesetzs gehen, da dringet er hyn, und wenn sie geschehen, ist doch nichts geschehen. Weyl denn nů D. Carlstad eben den selben weg gehet und unter so viel buechern nicht eyn

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it is the fate of the gospel to suffer three attacks: the first occurs when the gospel is preached and made known, yet people refuse to let go of the old doctrine. The second, when the gospel gets the upper hand, but then people get lazy and do nothing. The last comes from the sectarians. Thus the gospel is hemmed in on every side.¹⁸

Luther is unquestionably involved in his own historical circumstances and each sermon has historical merit.¹⁹ However, it would be a mistake to view Luther’s preaching on James as situational, as if Luther were applying balm to wounds inflicted only in sixteenth-century Germany. Although Luther addresses the errors of his opponents, he does not confine those errors to any particular time or place—they threaten the gospel in every age. According to Luther, James wrote to Christians converted from Judaism during a time of persecution,²⁰ and his letter addresses similar troubles that faced the church in Galatia. They, too, were “turning to another gospel” (Gal. 1:6), because the gospel they received from the apostles excluded their works. “They were unable,” says Lumal leret, was glaube und liebe sey (ia sie reden spoettisch und hoenisch der selben halben von uns, als sey es geringe lere) sondern auff eusserliche werck dringet und treybt, sey eyn iglicher fur yhm gewarnet und wisse, das er eynen verkereten geyst hat, der nicht denn mit gesetzen, sunden und wercken die gewissen zu morden denckt, so doch damit nichts ist aus gericht, wenn gleich alles geschehe, das er ynn allen seynen buechern, munde und hertzen fur gibt, Sondern auch boese buben solchs alles thun und leren muegen, das er treybt, Druemb mus yhe ettwas hůhers da seyn, die gewissen auch zu loesen und zu troesten, Das ist der heylig geyst, wilcher yhe nicht durch bilde brechen odder eynig werck erlanget mag werden, sondern alleyne durch das Euangelion und glauben.”  WA 47, 749, 3 – 6 (11 May 1539). “Sors est Euangelii, mus dreierley unfal haben: quando 1. praedicatur, revelatur, wil man das alt nicht lassen. Si vero uberhand, wird mans uberdrussig und thut nicht darnach. Deinde Rottae. Sic undique impeditur etc.”  By 2 May 1535, Luther had been engaged for several years in conflicts with the radical Anabaptists, whose revolutionary activities to overthrow the city government in Münster would soon come to a violent end. In July of that summer, the Münster Revolution ended bitterly. For Luther’s views of the situation in Münster, see his “Vorrede zu Urbanus Rhegius, Widerlegung des Bekenntnisses der Münsterischen neuen Valentinianer und Donatisten, 1535” in WA 38, 338 – 340. When Luther preached his sermon Von Zorn on 14 May 1536, he was expecting envoys from all over Europe to gather in Wittenberg for evangelical concord concerning the Lord’s Supper. In 29 April 1537, Luther had just returned from Smalcald, where he was preparing for a church council that never happened in his lifetime. While nearly dying from kidney stones, he produced the Smalcald Articles, his theological will and testament to defend later generations against the errors of the papacy. These historical circumstances, and those in 1539, can be detected in the sermons, but they are not the only things that drive Luther’s preaching.  WA 41, 579, 15 – 17 (14 May 1536). “Djese Epistel ist geschrieben zu allen Christen, sonderlich zu der zeit, da sie musten grosse und viel verfolgung leiden von der ungleubigen welt, wie Sanct Jacobus bald am anfang zeiget.” WA 45, 77, 29 – 34 (29 April 1537). “Haec particula de Epistola, quam S. Iacobus scripsit ad Christianos conversos ex Iudaismo, ut praefatio sonat.”

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ther, “to hear or receive a sermon that denied that the law plays any part in their salvation.”²¹ As a Seelsorger, Luther recognized that the Jamesian community in the diaspora, the church in Galatia, and St. Mary’s in Wittenberg shared in the same spiritual struggles, because the gospel constantly suffers the same fate. Thus he considered James and the apostles his contemporaries, fighting the same apocalyptic battle against those who reject, abuse, or corrupt the gospel, and saw no difference between James’ audience and his own conflict with Rome: We preach to them as James did to the Jews […]. The Jews could hear these words: Christ is the Messiah promised to the patriarchs, and whoever believes in Him will be saved. They admitted the affirmative but denied the negative, which says, if you want to have the word of grace concerning the Messiah, you have to leave behind the opinion that you are saved by the law of Moses and the old customs. Thus a dispute broke out.²²

In this way, Luther’s worldview and perspective on his own personal circumstances are shaped by the biblical text. Luther the preacher sees no recognizable distance between first-century Palestine and his own sixteenth-century Germany. For Luther the message of James applies to every age, insofar as James addresses a universal Christian experience under God’s word. Therefore, Luther interprets his own circumstances through Scripture by placing himself and his hearers in the biblical world presented in the text. We saw this mode of preaching in Althamer, but it is even more pronounced in Luther.

The Ecclesial Setting of the Sermons The ecclesial setting in Wittenberg suggests some possibilities for Luther’s newfound interest in preaching on James in the 1530s. As we have already discussed, Althamer’s commentary clearly caused Luther to reevaluate the grammar and translation of James for the 1534 edition of the Biblia, and must therefore be counted as one of the factors that led Luther pastorally back to James. However, some very practical circumstances in Wittenberg may have been another cause for Luther’s five sermons (1535 – 1539).

 WA 47, 742, 8 – 10 (4 May 1539). “Ea praedicatio erat intolerabilis, quia sic assueti legis a matris utero, ut non possent audire aliud praedicari, et quod lex non hulff ad salutem.”  WA 47, 742, 14– 19 (4 May 1539). “Nu predigen wir so ut Iacobus…Hoc potuerunt audire: Christus est Messias promissus patribus, et qui in eum credit, salvatur. Das jawort liessen sie zu. Sed das Neinwort non. Sed si vultis verbum gratiae habere de Messia, so muest ir abtretten, quod non per legem Mosi und alt weise selig werden. Da hub sich der hadder.”

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In the fall of 1530, Bugenhagen began scheduling Luther to preach more consistently at the afternoon services; whether Luther requested the change is unclear.²³ But even then, with an opportunity to preach on James in 1531, he showed that he was no slave to the lectionary, and decided to continue his exposition on the gospel from the morning service on John 16. So what drove Luther finally to preach on James in 1535? The sermons themselves point to his pastoral sensibilities and care for his congregation. Luther’s concern for apathetic hearers of the word and the threat of enthusiasm may have finally driven him to preach on James, to exhort and to admonish Christians, as he says, “to be true Christians, and not false.”²⁴ In his 1535 sermon, Luther reacts to the Anabaptist revolts in Münster and addresses the threat of the sectarians (Rottae), who “do nothing but hear,”²⁵ and says, “the gospel has no effect on them; it does nothing but put fluff in their ears and in their hearts, and with that they want to teach everyone.”²⁶ They boast about the gospel and faith but they know nothing of their power: “Ut hodie: Euangelium, Euangelium, fides, fides. Jch frag nichts darnach.”²⁷ Those are the people James addresses: hypocrites who call themselves experts in the word, but are lazy and let the devil have his way with them.²⁸ The message of James, therefore, applies universally to the Christian experience and, as Luther sees it, specifically to his own circumstances. Despite its applicability to the human condition and the life of faith, Luther acknowledges that James 1 may not be the most suitable epistle reading for Eastertide. In 1544, Luther moved for a lectionary revision in his Kirchenpostille (Cruciger’s Sommerpostille) to replace the readings from James 1 for Cantate and Rogate with two readings from 1 Corinthians 15. Although the change did not occur in the later publications of the Kirchenpostille, and his sermon from Cantate 1536 was included as the epistle sermon, Luther’s revision should not be considered a rejection of James, since he frequently spoke of making improvements to the lec-

 WA 32, xxiii. Luther comments in his first afternoon service that he was preaching the afternoon service because he was Bugenhagen’s “reserve” (Lückenbüßer). WA 32, 141, 13 – 15. “Dieweil es also geordnet ist, daß man nach Mittage die Epistel prediget, wil ichs auch dabey lassen bleiben, so viel ich kan, denn ich bin ein Lueckenbuesser und bin weder Pfarrer noch Prediger.”  WA 41, 69, 10 (2 May 1535).  WA 41, 69, 15 (2 May 1535).  WA 41, 69, 16 – 17 (2 May 1535). “Euangelium nihil effecit nisi schaum in ohren und hertzen, quo volunt docere omnes.”  WA 41, 73, 18 – 19 (2 May 1535).  WA 41, 71, 34– 35 (2 May 1535). “Hoc Iacobus meinet, ut huten fur uberdrus und settigkeit, quia non gut, quia zeucht mit sich zu letyt den ganzen Teufel.”

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tionary.²⁹ Rather, his substitution illustrates both Luther’s aptitude as an evangelical preacher and his pastoral sensitivity to congregational life. On the one hand, he wanted to insert St. Paul’s Easter message to offer preachers and hearers a direct and thorough treatment of the resurrection, Christ’s victory over death, and the Christian’s hope of eternal life.³⁰ And since St. Paul’s account teaches the resurrection more clearly than James, it only made sense to Luther, as he explains, to insert it here. Up to this point we have not wanted to get rid of the common Sunday epistles, as one is accustomed to read, particularly because they are so beautiful and useful. However, one could certainly choose others and arrange them differently. Among the other epistles, the Epistle of St. James is thrown in for two Sundays in a row. That is how the epistles were divided up throughout the year, but only so that one would hear something from each apostle. St. James’ epistle was regarded among the most important and so it was put in a prominent place, even though it is not of the apostle and the writer cannot compare with the other apostles. It would be better for a pastor to exercise his right during this time between Easter and Pentecost, as it suits the occasion, to instruct the people and comfort them with the article on the resurrection of Christ and ours, that is, the resurrection of all the dead. For this one should choose from the sermons of the apostles, such as the entire 15th chapter of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, which thoroughly treats the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, we would like to arrange from now on this chapter of St. Paul to be read for this and the following Sunday, as we have proposed here below for those who would like to make use of it. But that does not prohibit those who want to hold to the previous arrangement from doing so.³¹

On the other hand, Luther recognized the importance of consistency and steadiness in the church. Luther did not want, as he says in the above quote, to deter those who still want to keep the older arrangement, nor did he want, in his own defense, to let anyone think that he rejects James.

 See August Nebe, Die Epistolischen Perikopen des Kirchenjahrs, 3 Bände (Wiesbaden: Julius Niedner, 1874– 1876), I:58 – 61, who offers a number of examples in which Luther hoped the Sunday epistle readings could be improved.  Luther raises a similar concern already in his sermon on 4 May 1539. WA 47, 742, 3 – 5. “Quanquam Epistola nicht so eben sich reimet auffs osterlich fest, ubi maxime praedicandum de resurrectione et Spiritu sancto und hohen articel, sed quia ordinatum sic, sinamus, ne videamur mirabiles. Istam Epistolam scripsit Iacob sive Apostolus sive alius eo tempore, quo hadder angieng mit dem Euangelio, ubi Apostoli praedicabant verbum Christi de remissione peccatorum et gratia et quod nemo per opera et legem salvari.” “Although this epistle does not exactly match up with Eastertide—a time when, above all, we should preach on the resurrection, the Holy Spirit, and other lofty articles—we will still keep it in place, since that is how [the lectionary] is arranged, and lest we do something unusual.”  WA 21, 349, 28 – 350, 6 (Cantate 1543).

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Since from ancient time the first chapter of the Epistle of James has been read on this Sunday and serves as good teaching and exhortation, we want to leave it in for those who still want to run with it and say something from it. That way also no one can claim that we want to throw it out entirely, even though the epistle is not written by an apostle, neither does it possess in every aspect the true apostolic way, nor is it completely in line with the pure doctrine.³²

So even though Luther continued to doubt the epistle’s apostolic authorship, he still maintained that James is “fine and useful”³³ because of its “good doctrine and exhortation.”³⁴ Straw, too, has its uses! Luther’s encouragement to preach on 1 Corinthians, then, was clearly motivated by his desire to strengthen the lectionary as a means of communicating the Easter gospel and not because he disapproved of the Epistle of James. The lectionary served the church as a tool for faithful proclamation of law and gospel. Luther preached and lived his whole life in the rhythm of the church year and its lectionary. However, Luther also recognized, as seen in his advice about James in Eastertide and other pericopes, that the lectionary could benefit from periodic fine tuning. As August Nebe has noted, James 1 is not the only text Luther reviews.³⁵ For example, Paul’s elevated speech in Ephesians 6 receives a similar reconsideration. At Luther’s first afternoon service in the fall of 1530 and preaching on Ephesians 6:10 – 17, the reformer suggests that a sermon on the Ten Commandments would be more appropriate at this time of the church year than Paul’s “lofty epistle.” Now since time gives us the opportunity and this epistle is already arranged for this Sunday, we will also say a little something about it. And yet I’m amazed that someone arranged it here, since it is such a pointed and magnificent epistle that deals with faith and the exalted doctrine. It would be better for one to preach on the Ten Commandments. But for the sake of some one must preach on this epistle, since it portrays the true fight of faith.³⁶

According to Luther, Ephesians 6 is too “pointed,” too “magnificent,” and too charged with “faith and the exalted doctrine” to suit the twenty-first Sunday after Trinity. But because certain people need to hear it (umb etlicher willen), Luther preached on it. In summary, Luther regards James 1 as a fine lesson with a needful message for the church. At times, James is exactly what people need to hear, as Luther’s     

WA 21, 351, 31– 37 (Rogate 1543). WA 21, 349, 30 (Cantate 1543). WA 21, 351, 32 (Rogate 1543). Nebe, Die Epistolischen Perikopen des Kirchenjahrs (1874– 1876), I:58 – 61. WA 32, 141, 15 – 21.

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use of it in his own struggles against the antinomians, the sectarians (Anabaptists), and the Roman Catholics in the late 1530s indicates. His preference for Paul in place of James in 1544 is not proof that Luther had rejected James, but rather an indication of his attentiveness and concern for the evangelical proclamation of God’s word. Paul offers the central message of the Easter gospel. James, however, offers good teaching and necessary exhortations. Which text the preacher chooses, James or Paul, depends upon the needs of the congregation and the pastor’s discernment, since the trained preacher, like the master of a house, brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old (Matt. 13:52).

Luther’s James: The Reformer’s Isagogical Reflections on the Text Luther had consistently attempted to treat the letter in its original context and sort out the isagogical matters: date, place, author, audience, original purpose, and so on. In his two Rogate sermons on James 1:22– 27, Luther avoids these introductory matters, presumably because he or Bugenhagen or another preacher dealt with the letter’s context the Sunday before—a further indication that James had a place in Wittenberg. However, in his three sermons on James 1:16 – 21 (Cantate Sunday, 1536, 1537 and 1539), the first reading from James in the church year, Luther introduces the reading by giving a brief summary of the letter’s origin, audience, and the likely challenges that faced the Jamesian community. Luther’s view of the letter is pragmatic and down-to-earth. He does not belabor questions about the letter’s apostolic character, though neither does he ignore them. He has theories about the community and the author’s intent, but has very little to say about the author. Although not an apostle himself, James is certainly an apostolic messenger who wrote to a church corrupted by their own desires within and afflicted by the world’s persecution without. However, most intriguing among his many isagogical reflections is that Luther’s James is a bearer of the gospel.³⁷ The reader familiar with Luther’s criticism will remember that part of Luther’s doubt about James had to do with authorship. Strangely, Luther remains convinced throughout his career that the author, although not an apostle himself, was linked to James the son of Zebedee.³⁸ The tradition is obscure, originating in seventh-century Spain from a Latin translation of the New Testament known

 This, of course, complicates the previous picture of James as an “epistle of straw.” See my introduction under “a real epistle of straw.”  WADB 7, 387, 8 – 12 (Preface to James and Jude, 1546).

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as Codex Corbeiensis. St. James’ growing popularity in Compostela seems to have been the catalyst for the tradition that linked the letter to the son of Zebedee, and would explain why the codex contains the apostle’s autograph.³⁹ Luther’s familiarity with the tradition of Compostela and his concentrated critique of the veneration of St. James and the many pilgrimages to Compostela may have caused him to associate James the son of Zebedee with the letter. As far as I can tell, he never considers the possibility that the author could have been James the son of Alphaeus or some other James who was bishop of Jerusalem. Perhaps he was too busy to consider the matter further with a deeper historical investigation, or perhaps the authorship of James was simply not one of Luther’s major concerns. And yet, despite not researching further the letter’s historical reception, Luther’s careful reading and exegesis of the text nevertheless cause him to construct some fascinating theories concerning the genesis of the letter. In his preface to the epistle, Luther assumes that James is textually dependent on Peter and Paul’s works, and so considers the authorship of the son of Zebedee improbable, since that James died a martyr long before St. Peter (Acts 12:2).⁴⁰ Luther speculates that the author must have been a pious student with direct (but also possibly indirect) contact to the apostles, who jotted down some of their sayings on paper in the name of James the son of Zebedee.⁴¹ In his sermons on the epistle, Luther refines his theory of authorship and creatively suggests that James gathered materials together at apostolic table talks or house sermons. According to Luther, this is why it reads like a loosely connected string of apostolic proverbs. Since it sounds a bit strange and appears not to fit together, one gets the sense that he may have been a student of the apostles, conversed with them, and heard their sermons. He seems to have collected these private conversations and written them down as they stand here. For it is likely that the apostles not only preached in public, but also at home. That appears to be the case with this sermon.⁴²

 Martin Dibelius, Der Brief des Jakobus (Gottingen: Vandenhoech und Ruprecht, 1964), 24.  WADB 7, 387, 8 – 12 (Preface to James and Jude, 1546). “VBer das, fueret er die sprueche S. Petri, Die Liebe bedeckt der suende Menge. Jtem, demuetiget euch vnter die hand Gottes. Jtem S. Paulus spruch Gala. v. Den Geist geluestet wider den haß, so doch S. Jacobus zeitlich von Herodes zu Jerusalem vor S. Peter getoedtet war, Das wol scheinet, wie er lengest nach S. Peter vnd Paul gewesen sey.”  WADB 7, 387, 1– 5. “ABer dieser Jacobus thut nicht mehr, denn treibet zu dem Gesetz vnd seinen wercken, vnd wirfft so vnoerdig eins ins ander, Das mich duencket, es sey jrgent ein gut frum Man gewesen, der etliche Sprueche von der Aposteln Juenger gefasset, vnd also auffs Papir geworffen hat. Oder ist vieleicht aus seiner predigt von einem andern beschrieben.”  WA 45, 77, 30 – 34 (29 April 1537). “Es laut wol seltzam et apparet, quod non reim auff ein ander, das man wol spurt, quod auditor Apostolorum et cum eis conversatus et eorum verba au-

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Luther’s plausible and persuasive theory proves to be ahead of its time,⁴³ and more importantly it also indicates that Luther reads James as a product of apostolic conversations, that is, as an authentic collection of apostolic teaching.⁴⁴ Authorship, however, is not as important for Luther as the letter’s substance and purpose. “James, whether the apostle or someone else, wrote this epistle at a time when a dispute broke out about the gospel, where the apostles were proclaiming the word of Christ concerning the forgiveness of sins and the grace of God, and teaching that no one is saved by their works or the law.”⁴⁵ It is, therefore, not Luther’s historical investigations but his textual analysis that leads him to his isagogical theories about the book. From his close reading, he places James in the school of the apostles, as a scribe who studied at their feet. Luther admits that authorship, date, origin, and other such matters about James are speculative (and one may or may not agree with Luther’s educated guesses); but the text of James and the apostolic doctrine it advances are by no means speculative. James learned his doctrine from the apostles: “That is what James deals with in the first chapter. As if to say: ‘I’ve heard from the apostles how the saints should live. We should remain with the word that we have heard, because it has the power to save us.’”⁴⁶ The content of James reflects the greater apostolic witness and forces Luther to conclude that James is connected to the apostles. The string of apostolic proverbs may be loosely strung, and each piece or “particula,” as Rörer has in the notes,⁴⁷ has to be weighed against the apostolic teaching. But when Luther tests these proverbs of James 1 against Scripture, he finds nothing contrary to them: “For you, too, will see divit, quae locutus extra conciones, quae congessit, ut hic stehen, quia credibile, quod non solum praedicarunt in publico, sed domi. So scheinet diese predigt auch.”  Wiard Popkes posits a similar theory. He writes: “Evidently James collected quite a bit of material by taking notes from various sources, Jewish, Christian and secular. Possibly he used something like a file.” Wiard Popkes, “James and Scripture: An Exercise in Intertextuality,” New Testament Studies 45 (1999): 213 – 229; here, 228 – 229.  WA 41, 73, 16 – 18 (2 May 1535). “Habet [Jacobus] ex apostolos, ut Iohanne et Petro, hort treiben, ut keusch wandel et erga alios freundlich, quia homines faul, uberdrussig. Ut 2. Timo. 2.” That is, “James has heard from apostles, from John and from Peter to preach in such a way that Christians live chaste and decent lives before others, because people are slothful and lazy, as it says in 2 Tim. 2.”  WA 47, 742, 5 – 8 (29 April 1537). “Istam Epistolam scripsit Iacob sive Apostolus sive alius eo tempore, quo hadder angieng mit dem Euangelio, ubi Apostoli praedicabant verbum Christi de remissione peccatorum et gratia et quod nemo per opera et legem salvari.”  WA 45, 78, 1– 3 (29 April 1537). “Hoc Iacobus agit in hoc 1. capite q. d. Ex Apostolis audivi, quod Sancti praecesserunt, ut maneamus cum verbo audito, quia etiam vis &c..”  WA, 45, 77, 29 – 30 (29 April 1537). “Haec particula de Epistola, quam S. Iacobus scripsit ad Christianos conversos ex Iudaismo, ut praefatio sonat.”

An Analysis of Luther’s Sermons on James 1:16 – 27 (1535 – 1539)

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that nothing from it contradicts what is revealed in Holy Scripture.”⁴⁸ In other words, Luther’s sermons indicate that he views James within the great cloud of New Testament witnesses and hears him in tune with the apostolic choir.

An Analysis of Luther’s Sermons on James 1:16 – 27 (1535 – 1539) The themes throughout these sermons are the word of God and its reception in the midst of sin and temptation. As James says, the word is of divine origin; it is powerful and effective to regenerate and save souls, and should be received and practiced among Christians. However, the word rarely seems to take effect; it is frequently attacked and, as every preacher has experienced, it easily slips through the hands or is ripped from the hearts of those who hear it. These sermons demonstrate that Luther’s theologia verbi is a theologia crucis. Although Luther does not use the term “theologian of the cross” or specifically lay out his triad of biblical study, oratio, meditatio, tentatio,⁴⁹ he nevertheless interprets and applies James knowing that the word’s power is made known in weakness, suffering, and cross. Even the ethical dimensions of the epistle concerning the Christian’s growth in sanctification and new obedience are, for Luther, hidden under cross and suffering.⁵⁰ In all five sermons, Luther characteristically interprets James with collections of New Testament passages. In his three Cantate sermons, he concentrates on James 1:16 – 18 and uses themes from 1 Peter and John concerning the word of

 WA 39/II, 199, 22– 23 (Doctoral Disputation of Heinrich Schmedenstede, 7 July 1542).  WA 50, 657– 661; AE 34: 283 – 28 (Preface to the Wittenberg Edition of Luther’s German Writings, 1539).  Robert Kolb, “Luther’s Theology of the Cross Fifteen Years after Heidelberg: Lectures on the Psalms of Ascent,” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 61/1 (2010): 69 – 85 (here, 84) shows that the cross remains constant in Luther’s hermeneutic. “For modern scholars ‘theologia crucis’ is a heuristic device that is designed to describe Luther’s methodological breakthrough with the practice of theology that was taking place in the years after 1517. In the Heidelberg disputation Luther spoke of the theologian who has wrestled with the meaning of suffering and the ‘offence of the cross’ (1 Cor. i.23) as a ‘theologian of the cross’. In subsequent writings, he elaborated on the phrase with differing emphases. For him the phrase served to designate his way of thinking, his method of practising theology. It referred to elements of the content of his thought which guided the actual exposition of biblical texts and the application of those texts to people’s lives. Although scholars today may formulate the precise dimensions of this hermeneutic in different ways, it is clear that it proceeds from the reformer’s understanding of 1 Corinthians i and ii.”

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God and its regenerative power. In his Rogate sermons, Luther draws on the parable of the sower in Luke 8 and Matthew 13 to amplify James’ instruction on the proper reception of the word in James 1:21, and uses Romans 1:16 as a parallel to 1:21 to teach the power of the word to save. Since the power of the word to regenerate in 1:18 and the implanted word’s power to save souls in 1:21 overlap theologically, Luther weaves these thoughts together in his sermons. Rather than present the sermons chronologically, I have ordered the sermons according to Sundays and attempted to collect the scattered theological themes that arise from Luther’s preaching.

James 1:17 – 18: A Christological Hermeneutic James teaches in 1:17 that “every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of light, in whom there is no change or variation of light and darkness” (Luther’s translation, 1534 onward).⁵¹ Luther’s translation, as mentioned in the previous chapter, follows Althamer and urges a Christological reading of 1:17. Although his exegesis does not translate into a laudatio of the incarnation or an instruction on the divinity of Christ, Luther says that Christ is the perfect gift that comes down from above: “It is necessary for us to have the perfect gift, and that gift is Christ.”⁵² But he is in no way restricted to a narrow comparison of the perfect gift and Christ. Luther interprets the perfect gift from the Father of light in connection with the regenerative word of truth in James 1:18 as Christ, gospel, the right understanding of law and gospel, and the sacraments (especially baptism), without making much of distinction between Christ and His benefits. Luther’s apparent imprecision about the gifts from above are, upon closer inspection, very much part of his theology and thus should be regarded as intentional imprecision. Others have made the point that the early church’s confession of the communicatio idiomatum became for Luther “the hermeneutical motor of his whole theology, or an axle around which many other theological themes now begin to turn: not only Christology, but also the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, anthropology, the doctrine of justification, scriptural hermeneutics, rhetoric, the theology of pastoral care and the theology of creation.”⁵³ Thus the reality of the hypostatic union of Christ’s two natures authorizes Luther to preach the  “Alle gute Gabe / vnd alle volkomene gabe kompt von oben herab / von dem Vater des liechts / Bey welchem ist keine verenderung noch wechsel des Liechts vnd Finsternis.”  WA 47, 745, 9 (4 May 1539). “Oportet perfectiorem donationem habere, quae est Christus.”  Johann Anselm Steiger, “The communicatio idiomatum as the Axle and Motor of Luther’s Theology,” Lutheran Quarterly 14 (2000): 125 – 158; here, 125.

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gifts and God’s effectivity through them.⁵⁴ There is a real communication of attributes between God and His gifts: “Just as [the Father of light] is radiant and shines, so also His gifts.”⁵⁵ To reject the gift is to reject God, even though one’s rejection does not change the immutability of the gift. “[God] is light and He remains, and what He gives is light, thus baptism is His radiance and it remains.”⁵⁶ The radiance of God and His word shines in baptism as God communicates His attributes in and through that word and water. He takes up lowly means and sanctifies them, even as Christ sanctified humanity by taking up the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3).⁵⁷ So although Luther’s sermons on James 1:17– 18 are not narrowly about Christ being the light of the Father, Luther’s Christological hermeneutic, which sees God’s nature and will revealed in the gifts of Christ and His word and sacraments, reveals a side of Luther’s reading of James that cannot be heard in his preface to the letter.

James 1:17: Worldly Pleasures Below or the Good and Perfect Gifts from Above? Luther typically has a homiletical trope or image that runs through each sermon. In his first Cantate sermon on James 1:16 – 21, published in the church postils and therefore the most influential for later interpreters, his image of choice is the scale. Stacked on one dish are all the sufferings, pleasures, and possessions of this world and on the other are all the heavenly gifts of God the Father here in time and there in eternity. Luther says, “Place them on a scale and weigh them both.”⁵⁸ From James, Luther sees two ways in which people are torn from the gospel: “The first is by wrath and impatience; the second is by evil desires. In this chap-

 Luther also uses the communication of attributes in his Christmas preaching to speak about the union of faith and the word. WA 10/I/1, 618, 11– 14. “Jhene haben glawben on wort, das gillt nicht, diße haben wort on glawben, das hilfft nicht. Das mittel ist feyn und selicklich, beyde, wort und glawbe tzusamen, ynn eyniß vorpunden, wie gott und mensch ynn eynem Christo ist eyn person.”  WA 45, 79, 33. “Sicut ipse leuchtet und scheinet, sic eius dona.”  WA 45, 79, 41– 42. “Ipse lux et manet et, quod dat, est lux ut baptismus ist sein glantz et manet.”  As it is confessed in line 33 of the Athanasian Creed, Christ is “one person not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh, but the assumption of humanity into God.” “Unus autem non coversione divinitatis in carne, sed adsumptione humanitatis in Deo.” BSLK, 30; cf., BC, 25.  WA 41, 580, 36 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Darumb legets recht auff die woge und weget beides gegen ander […].”

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ter, James deals with these two parts.”⁵⁹ Luther places the exhortation of James to remain in the word in the context of spiritual attacks from the world, the devil, and the sinful flesh. Like James, Luther warns his hearers against wrath and worldly lusts, yet colors his admonition with obvious allusions to the parable of the sower. The allusion to the parable is developed more fully in his two Rogate sermons, but it is present here and connected to his interpretation of the good and perfect gifts. First, like the seed that fell on the rock and was burned in the sun’s heat, Christians should not become impatient⁶⁰ but, as this chapter of James teaches, should be ready to give up everything in the world⁶¹ and hold on instead to the possessions that come down from above, namely, “every good and perfect gift.”⁶² Second, Christians should not allow themselves, like the seed that fell among the thorns, to fall away from the precious gifts from above for worldly pleasures and lusts. “This filthiness,” Luther says, “comes from those who have heard the gospel. They immediately think they can do whatever they want, so they carelessly dive in and drown themselves in the lust, pride, and greed of the world.”⁶³ Luther encourages his congregation to put the sensualities or “filthiness,” as James calls it (1:21), on a scale with the heavenly gifts.

 WA 41, 579, 22– 24. (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Es sind aber zweyerley stueck, so die leute abreissen von dem Euangelio, Eines heisst zorn und ungedult, Das ander boese lust. Von diesen zweien stuecken redet er jnn diesem Capitel.”  WA 41, 579, 35 – 580, 16 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). Luther says that suffering is frequently the reason why Christians fall away from the gospel: “Nu dis stueck schrecket und reisset mechtig viel leut zurueck, die sonst wol am Euangelio sind, so nicht leiden noch zu gut halten koennen den schaden und schande, so sie mussen umb desselben willen tragen, Sonst were die welt wol langest vol, vol Christen, wo nicht das liebe heilige Creutz darauff gelegt were, oder wo sie den zorn und ungedult uberwinden koendte, Aber umb des willen tretten sie zuruck und sagen: Ehe ich das leiden wil, ehe wil ich bey dem grossen hauffen bleiben, wie es andern gehet, so gehe mirs auch &c..”  WA 41, 579, 24– 30 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Der zorn koempt daher (sagt er), wenn jr verfolgt werdet, das jr umb des Herrn Christi willen sollet lassen gut und ehre, leib und leben dazu und der gantzen welt narren, fusschemel und asschenprodel sein, das thut euch wehe und faul, das jr unlustig und verdrossen werdet, weil jr fuelet und sehet, das, die euch verfolgen, gute tage haben, jnn ehren, gewalt und reichtumb schweben, und jr dagegen allein jmerdar leiden muesset.”  WA 41, 580, 33 – 35 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Das sol die ursach sein (spricht er), Jr solt bedencken, was jr fur gueter habt von Gott, obenherab von Himel, Nemlich ‘Allerley gute und volkomene gaben &c..’”  WA 41, 580, 19 – 21 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Und komet daher, wenn sie das Euangelion gehoeret haben, das sie so bald meinen, sie koennens gar, und achtens nicht mehr, gehen also hin und ersauffen jnn wollust, hoffart und geitz der welt.”

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You’ll discover that it’s not worth letting yourselves be influenced by them or following after them and falling away from the gospel. Compared to the glorious, divine blessings and riches that you have, they’ve got nothing but a moldy crumb of bread.⁶⁴

Those who have suffered the scorn or the filthiness of the world have the comfort that comes down from above: the good and perfect gifts of the heavenly Father have tipped the scales eternally in their favor.⁶⁵ In all the Cantate sermons, Luther consistently distinguishes the good and the perfect gifts from each other according to timing, yet he offers two applications of the phrase. The first, in 1536, distinguishes between the good and perfect gifts according to faith and hope. “We want to make a distinction,” says Luther, “between the good gifts that we have in this world and the perfect gifts that we await in the future life.”⁶⁶ One might expect Luther to speak of the good gifts as temporal gifts, creatio et preservatio, and all the earthly blessings that God gives and upholds in this life. This, remember, is how Althamer interprets the good and perfect gifts. However, Luther avoids the temporal gifts entirely: “I won’t even mention here the earthly, corruptible, and transient things, such as temporal possessions: honor, health, body, etc.; I’m talking about the spiritual and eternal possessions we have in Christ.”⁶⁷ Thus Johann Haar’s observation that Luther always interprets James 1:18 soteriologically⁶⁸ is also true of his reading of the preceding verse. According to Luther, the gifts of 1:17 are supernatural and spiritual gifts of God the Father; they are not God’s temporal gifts of providence, earthly goods, reason, senses, health, etc., but those gifts that God gives according to the Second and especially the Third Article of the Creed. The distinction between the gifts, Luther argues, comes from the text: “James himself makes the distinction when he says, ‘He gave birth to us by the word of life, so that we might be the beginning or the first fruits of His creation and His

 WA 41, 581, 14– 18 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Des gleichen auch alle, so jnn weltlichen luesten und (wie er es nennet) unsauberkeit leben, werdet jr nicht werd achten, das jr euch solt jr thun bewegen lassen, jnen nach vom Euangelio ab zufallen, als die nichts denn ein schebichte parteken haben gegen ewr herrliche Goettliche gueter und reichtumb.”  WA 41, 581, 38 ff.  WA 41, 581, 23 – 25 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Gute gaben wollen wir zum unterscheid deuten, die gueter, so wir alhie jnn dieser welt haben, Volkomene gaben, die wir zu warten haben im zukuenfftigen leben.”  WA 41, 581, 32– 34 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Jch wil jtzt nicht reden von jrdischem, vergenglichen und wandelbarn, als zeitlich gut, ehre, gesunder leib &c. sondern von den geistlichen, ewigen gutern, so wir haben jnn Christo.”  Haar, Initium creaturae Dei (1939), 35.

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new creatures.’”⁶⁹ Luther reads 1:18 and the distinction between rebirth and first fruits as a direct exposition of 1:17 and the phrase “good and perfect gifts.” James brings Luther to speak about the second and third article gifts of righteousness, regeneration or a new life, and the hope of the resurrection of the dead, “which,” Luther says, “are rightly preached during Eastertide.”⁷⁰ The good and perfect gifts, therefore, include everything good that God has given us and everything that we can still expect to receive here on earth and there in heaven.⁷¹ The gifts are pure gospel. As mentioned above concerning the radiance of the divine gifts which are a communication of God’s nature and will, Luther does not distinguish the quality of the divine gifts, as if the good gifts were something less and the perfect gifts were something more. Instead he distinguishes them by their timing and effect. Luther can say, therefore, that “God has begun to build and construct us [zimern und bawen], because He wants to make us His children and heirs”⁷² without meaning that God’s present gifts are incomplete or imperfect. He clarifies that God has begun to build and construct us through the gospel or, as James calls it, “the word of truth” (1:18). Luther’s language of zimern and bawen may sound as if he considered the gospel to be a sort of process. Yet he resolves any tension about gospel’s seeming incompleteness by distinguishing between the gospel in itself and the gospel in us. In us and in time, the gospel is incomplete, not because the gospel is lacking anything, but because it has not reached its final goal, that is, the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23). In itself and in eternity, the gospel is perfect. “As it is now in this world, the gifts are always incomplete with us, because we can’t recognize or lay hold of the treasure as much

 WA 41, 581, 25 – 27 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Wie er auch selbs zeiget damit, das er spricht: ‘Durch das wort des lebens hat er uns gezeuget, auff das wir wuerden ein anfang oder erstlinge seiner Creaturn und newe menschen &c..” One expects here “the word of truth” (James 1:18), rather than “the word of life” (Phil. 2:16; 1 John 1:1).  WA 41, 582, 3 – 4 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Wir reden aber jtzt eigentlich von den gütern, so wir haben durch die Aufferstehung Christi, davon auff diese Osterliche zeit gehört zu sagen.” Klug’s printed text deviates from Rörer’s notes. According to Rörer notes, Luther is not speaking of the gifts that should be preached during Eastertide, but is speaking of James. That is, the Epistle of James (or at least this pericope from James) pertains to the resurrection of the dead: “Sed ista Epistola pertinet ad resurrectionem mortuorum, quod iam habemus herliche, kostliche gab.”  WA 41, 581, 27– 30 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Begreiffet und fasset mit diesen worten: ‘Gute und Volkomene gaben’ alles guts, was wir von Gott bereit gegeben haben und noch empfahen jnn Himel und erden, beide, hie und dort.”  WA 41, 582, 24– 27 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Denn Er hat an uns angefangen zu zimern und bawen und wil uns machen zu seinen eigen kindern und erben, Das ist geschehen (spricht er) durchs Euangelium, welchs er nennet das wort der warheit.”

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as we want to; we’re still only ‘the first fruits of His creatures.’”⁷³ There is a limitation to human understanding, a boundary of knowledge even for those who are born from above. Christians who are born anew through the gospel are the beginning of God’s work in this life, but not the end.⁷⁴ As St. John and St. Paul tell us (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 13:12), what we shall be is not yet known, but what we know is that we will be like Him (ὅμοιοι αὐτῷ ἐσόμεθα). The distinction between the fullness of the gospel and its incompleteness in us reflects Luther’s understanding of faith and hope. In his sermons on 1 Peter in 1522, for example, Luther explains that the only reason Christians are not yet standing in the presence of the Majesty is to bring others to faith, just as God has done for us. “Otherwise it would be better that God drown us and let us die as soon as we were baptized and began to believe.”⁷⁵ But since Christians remain, Luther says—in the same way that he interprets James 1:17– 18—“We must live in hope, because we want to be sure that we have all the blessings of God through faith (for faith surely brings with it the new birth, the sonship, and the inheritance), even though we don’t see it yet. Therefore, these blessings are received in hope.”⁷⁶ The hidden quality of the present gifts of the gospel is part of the tentatio that each Christian faces. As long as Christians live in the world the gifts are received by faith, but the gifts are sure and certain because God has attached His promise to them and thereby given those in faith a living hope.⁷⁷ There is surely more that could be said here about Luther’s understanding of faith and hope, but my aim here is to show that Luther reads James with other New Testament passages while still allowing the internal argument of James to guide his exegesis and application of the text.  WA 41, 583, 32– 35 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Denn es ist jtzt also gethan auff erden, das es doch jmer mit uns unvolkomen ist, das wir nicht koennen unsern schatz also erkennen und fassen, wie wir gerne wolten, Denn wir sind doch nur ‘Erstlinge seiner Creaturn.’”  Haar, Initium creaturae Dei (1939), 32, has noted that Nicolas of Lyra’s soteriological reading of 1:17– 18 makes the same distinction between the present and future gifts. On this point, see especially: WA 41, 583, 35 – 584, 32 (Cantate, 14 May 1536).  WA 12, 267, 3 – 7 (Sermons on 1 Peter, 1522). “Das wyr auff erden leben, das geschicht nyrgent umb, denn das wyr ander leutten auch helffen sollen. Sonst were es das best, das uns Gott so bald wuergete und sterben liesse, wenn wyr getaufft weren und hetten angefangen zů glewben. Aber darumb lesset er uns hie leben, das wyr ander leutt auch zum glawben bringen, wie er uns than hatt.”  WA 12, 267, 7– 11 (Sermons on 1 Peter, 1522). “Weyl wyr aber auff erden sind, muessen wyr ynn der hoffnung leben. Denn wie wol wyr gewiß sind, das wyr durch den glauben alle guetter Gottis haben (Denn der glaub bringt dir die new gepurt, die kindschafft und das erbe gewißlich mit sich) so sihistu es dennoch noch nicht, drumb stehet es noch ynn der hoffnung.”  WA 12, 267, 25 – 27 (Sermons on 1 Peter, 1522). “So muessen wyr, die weyl wyr hie sind, ynn der hoffnung stehen, so lang biss Got will, das wir die guetter sehen, die wyr haben.”

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A further example of this in connection to 1:17– 18 is Luther’s commentary on the new life. Once God has made us His children and heirs through the gospel, Luther poses the question, “What do we have then?” He describes the present gifts not as earthly blessings but—unexpectedly, I think, were it not for the phrase “the Father of light”—almost strictly in terms of divine illumination. Much already: our hearts are enlightened and happy, we’ve come away from all sin, error, fear, and terror and stepped into the shining truth, so that a Christian can judge every doctrine of both sects and devil that may come upon the earth. Isn’t that a splendid treasure and priceless gift that we are so enlightened and taught by God that we can rightly judge concerning every matter of doctrine and life on earth, and speak and instruct anyone as to how they should live and what they should do and avoid? On this account, we may as well boast that even here on earth we have a Father who is called the Father of light, and from Him we receive such good things that someone would happily give up body and life to have them.⁷⁸

His explanation of James 1:18 and what it means to be a new creature cannot be described here merely as ethical. The effects on this new birth have to do with the whole man. He whom God calls and enlightens has been endowed with a right knowledge of God and His word; by it he is born anew and by it he can judge all things of doctrine and life. Here we see that the illumination is not primarily a moralistic awakening or merely a subjective appropriation of the divine call through the gospel. For Luther, illumination comes by way of Christ and His word and it leads the child of God back to the word. In other words, as Reinhard Seeberg points out in Luther, “Illumination is to be regarded as a synonym of vocation […]. Both terms denote the influences of God in the word, the effects of which are seen in regeneration and conversion. These influences address themselves to the whole man; they move the will as well as the intellect.”⁷⁹ Lu-

 WA 41, 582, 28 – 37 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Was haben wir nu darinn? Bereit also viel, das unser hertz erleucht und froelich wird und wir komen von aller sund, jrthum, schrecken und furcht jnn die helle warheit, das ein Christ kan urteilen alle Secten und Teufels lere, so auff erden komen mag, Jst nu das nicht ein trefflicher schatz und ein theure gabe, das wir so erleucht und von Gott geleret werden, das wir konnen recht urteil fassen uber allerley lere und leben auff erden und jderman sagen und unterweisen, wie sie leben, was sie thun und meiden sollen? Daher wir wol moegen rhuemen, das wir auch hie auff erden haben einen Vater, der da heisset der Vater des Liechts, und von jm solche gueter empfahen, dafur ein jglicher gerne sein leib und leben solt dahin geben.”  Reinhold Seeberg, “Illumination,” in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 12 Volumes (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1908 – 1912), V:450 – 451. Seeberg also notes that in his explanation to the Third Article of the Creed, Luther does not have in mind two separate acts of calling and enlightening. “It would be well if the practical discussions based upon Luther’s Catechism should likewise put the two terms together; not, therefore, as if

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ther’s understanding of the word’s power to call, enlighten, sanctify, and keep us has great implications for his study of Holy Scripture, since it is God at work on the reader and not merely the reader at work on the text. Since the effect of regeneration is also a right understanding of the word, one cannot be a true interpreter of Scripture without being reborn and illumined through the word. Without this illumination, the Spirit remains a sceptic who was unsure of His intention when He wrote Scripture, which would mean that no one can be sure what Scripture really says. Without the word of truth, every interpreter becomes not only a moral relativist (Was that right? Was that wrong? Who can know?), but also a doctrinal relativist (What does Scripture say? Can anyone be sure? I don’t know, what does it mean to you?). Luther’s theological epistemology was not constructed out of a theoretical doctrine of authority, Scripture, or biblical inerrancy, but on the circular experience of faith under the word in the school of the Holy Spirit: oratio, meditatio, tentatio. ⁸⁰ Luther’s own theological maturation mirrors his reading of James and the letter’s exhortation to those in temptation and suffering to remain with the word. Luther says, I did not learn my theology all at once, but had to search constantly deeper and deeper for it. My temptations did that for me, for no one can understand Holy Scripture without prac-

the call outwardly offered the word and the illumination inwardly appropriated its content, but in such a way that with the call and through it the illumination of man takes place.”  See Oswald Bayer, Theology the Lutheran Way (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2007), 43 – 65. For Luther’s use of the triad in his exegesis of Genesis 22, see Johann Anselm Steiger, “Zu Gott gegen Gott. Oder: Die Kunst, gegen Gott zu glauben. Isaaks Opferung (Gen 22) bei Luther, im Luthertum der Barockzeit, in der Epoche der Aufklärung und im 19. Jahrhundert,” in Isaaks Opferung (Gen 22) in den Konfessionen und Medien der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. Johann Anselm Steiger and Ulrich Heinen, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 101 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2006), 85 – 202. See also Johann Anselm Steiger, “The Development of the Reformation Legacy: Hermeneutics and Interpretation of the Sacred Scripture in the Age of Orthodoxy,” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, Volume II: From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008), 691– 757; here, 724. Steiger notes that the triad was characteristic of exegesis and theological study also into the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy. “According to the Orthodox view, theological existence is, so to speak, from beginning to end a lectio continua of biblical texts, and for this reason also tentatio perpetua. The tentatio is not an undesirable disturbance. Rather, the tentatio, as alienation from God, is the motivation for theological study. For only the tentatio is able to draw stale, theoretical knowledge out of its abstraction and let it become an appropriate knowledge—appropriated because it has undergone suffering: μάθος and πάθος belong together. Only the occupation with the divine Word brings tentatio, and only tentatio teaches to listen to God’s Word (Isa. 28:19).” For the significance of Luther’s triad in modern theological education and the formation of the Seelsorger, see John Kleinig, “Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio: What Makes a Theologian?” Concordia Theological Quarterly 66:3 (2002): 255 – 268.

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tice and temptations. This is what the enthusiasts and sects lack. They don’t have the right critic, the devil, who is the best teacher of theology. If we don’t have that kind of devil, then we become nothing but speculative theologians, who do nothing but walk around in our own thoughts and speculate with our reason alone as to whether things should be like this, or like that.⁸¹

Luther’s exegesis of James 1 is a theology of the word, its power, and the right practice of receiving it.⁸² This topic of the word’s power and effect, arguably the single most significant theological topic in the latter half of the sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century,⁸³ is worth tracing from Luther into later generations. The same theme of the heavenly gifts and their proper reception take a prominent place in Luther’s 1539 Cantate sermon. The gifts from the Father of light are, according to Luther, always God’s gracious and unchanging revelation. We have seen from the 1536 sermon that the good gifts are the possessions we presently have in Christ and the perfect gifts are those we will receive in eternity. In 1539, however, he says that the good gifts are law and the perfect gifts are gospel, and that God must teach us to distinguish between the two. The shift in application from 1536 to 1539 serves to illustrate an important aspect of Luther’s exegesis. Although the gifts have different applications, Luther has a consistent way of

 WA 1, 147, 3 – 14. Bayer, Theology the Lutheran Way (2007), 23, points out in regard to the reception of the word: “The crucial thing about the receptive life (vita passiva) is that it is connected with a particular experience: an experience that I do not primarily produce but suffer or undergo: ‘It is by living—no, not living, but by dying and giving ourselves up to hell that we become theologians, not by understanding, reading, and speculating.’”  Luther had the same reading of James 1 in a sermon from 1529 on Matthew 9:1– 8, in which he describes the new birth from James in the context of studying and meditating on the word of the gospel. WA 29, 575, 31—576, 17 (5 October 1529 in Marburg). “Darumb sage ich und vermane die Christen woellen sein, das sie ymer damit umbgehen, kewen, treiben und plewen, das wir doch einen schmack davon gewinnen, und wie Jacob. 1. sagt, Ein anbruch odder erstling seiner creatur werden, Denn das mans dahin solte bringen, das wir ein volkomen verstand kriegten, da wird nicht aus ynn diesem leben, weil es die lieben Apostel voll geistes und glaubens nicht hoeher bracht haben. Das sey fur das erste gesagt, was die Christliche gerechtickeit sey und worynne sie stehet. Fragstu nu weitter, Woher sie kome odder wodurch sie zu wegen bracht odder erworben sey? Antwort: daher koempt sie, das Jhesus Christus Gottes son von hymel komen und mensch worden, fur unser sund gelidden hat und gestorben ist. Das ist die ursache, das mittel und der schatz, durch welchen und umb welches willen uns die vergebung der sunden und Gottes gnade geschenckt ist.”  See Craig Westendorf, “The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4– 15) in the Seventeenth Century,” Lutheran Quarterly 3, (1989), whose study of Lutheran postil sermons on parable of the sower nicely shows the repetition of this theme of the word and its right reception in seventeenth-century Lutheran preaching.

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reading the text. The gifts of 1:17 are repeatedly spiritual gifts of the word and not the gifts of nature. Luther is not concerned with natural revelation, but with God’s special revelation in Christ. And even when Luther links the good gifts from heaven with the law, as he does in 1539 to address the error of the antinomians, he interprets the law according to its theological use, to reveal sin.⁸⁴ In this way, Luther sets forth a consistent exegesis of the text, while varying its application to his hearers that centers on the right reception and power of the word of God.

James 1:18: Word of Truth, First Fruits, and the Restoration of the Imago Dei Luther complains that James 1:16 – 21 is in disarray and its scopus obscure,⁸⁵ yet he still manages to find two main arguments in the lesson. First, James exhorts us to remain with the word since the word remains forever (a reference to 1 Pet. 1:25). Second, James wants to show the power and potency of the word.⁸⁶ These two themes, the assuredness of God’s word and the word’s efficacy, serve as Luther’s interpretive keys to understanding the epistle, although, as one quickly discovers, the assuredness and efficacy come together in the proclamation of the word, because the preached word is both sure and effective. Concerning the effect of the word, Luther takes the birth analogy from James 1:18 and contrasts it with the analogy of a woodworker or artisan. “We now come to the good shepherd and bishop not as those born of ourselves, like those who are ever-changing and try to carve themselves out as a product of their own virtues and ability.”⁸⁷ The language of carving and the reference to Christ as shepherd and bishop are taken from 1 Peter 2:21– 25, the lesson for the previous Sunday on which Luther had preached.⁸⁸ The allusion to 1 Peter allows Luther to diagnose the nagging problem of the sinful flesh which seeks to carve out salva According to Luther, the usus elenchticus legis and its revelation of the the law are beyond reason, because the sin it reveals is beyond reason. See SA II:1, in BSLK, 434, 8 – 11; BC, 311: “This inherited sin has caused such a deep, evil corruption of nature that reason does not comprehend it; rather it must be believed on the basis of the revelation in the Scriptures (Ps. 51[:5] and Rom. 5[:12]; Exod. 33[:20]; Gen. 3[:6 ff.]).”  WA 45, 77, 34– 35 (Cantate 1537). “Ideo apparet, quasi non ordine scripta, et non videtur eius scopus.”  WA 45, 77, 35 – 78, 1.  WA 45, 80, 10 – 12. “Nos semel zum rechten hirten und Bischof venimus, non ex nobis ipsis nati, ut die wechsler faciunt, schnitzen, ut aliquid simus ex nostris viribus und vermogen.”  WA 45, 73 – 77 (Misericordia Domini, 15 April 1537).

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tion by human works and virtue. However, the reference to 1 Peter also demonstrates Luther’s pedagogical approach to preaching. His hearers are able to recall the previous sermon and see the continuity of the biblical message. In his 1 Peter sermon, Luther comments on 2:21, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” Christ’s suffering is an example for Christians to follow, but His image, says Luther, “is far too high for us.”⁸⁹ Again, Luther carries over the language from his sermon on 1 Peter to his interpretation of James: those who attempt to follow Christ by whittling away at their image through penance, prayer, and good works make an image, but the image is graven.⁹⁰ God’s image cannot be carved with human hands. Here the two texts, 1 Peter 2:21 and James 1:18, converge in his understanding of the imago Dei. 1 Peter speaks of Christ as an example of suffering for others, much like the tropological interpretation of Christ’s humiliation in Philippians 2:1– 11. Yet this humilitas is not explicit in James 1:18. It comes for Luther as a result of the new birth (1:18). Christians now bear the image of God in Christ whose passion is a pattern and example that we can look at intently, as in a mirror, and follow. At 1:18, Luther again compares the graven image of man’s works with the imagery of birth. The attempt to carve and whittle one’s way to the perfect image Luther calls “ex nobis ipsis nati,”⁹¹ to be born of ourselves. Sinful flesh gives birth to sinful flesh. Yet carving away at the flesh by penance, prayer, or some form of mortification only drives a person to delusion or despair. Even if one can carve back his flesh, he will surely find sin at the bone. He cannot make himself; he must be born again in the image of God. Luther presses the language of imago with the birth analogy at 1:18 against a popular view of conformitas that he too embraced in the monastary, namely, that one can conform oneself to the image of Christ through prayer, meditation, and contrition. In his interpretation of James’ birth analogy, Luther describes the Christian’s conformity to Christ as a divine act, in the sense of 1 Peter 2:21– 25. The divine image lost in Adam’s fall cannot be carved out again with human hands. “Rather, God does it through mother church. The mother’s womb wherein the child is conceived is the holy gospel. We are conceived in it, and through it He makes us into His own image.”⁹² In light of James 1:17 and the gifts from the Fa-

 WA 45, 74, 16 (15 April 1537). “[Sein Vorbild] ist uns viel zu hoch gestellt.”  WA 45, 80, 13 – 15. “Sed deo in honorem, ut peccata busse et aliis communicem bona opera, es ein geschitzt bild gemacht. Sic deus non.”  WA 45, 80, 11.  WA 45:80, 15 – 17. “Sed deus per matrem Ecclesiam. Interna amter, in qua concipitur puer, est Sanctum Euangelium, In quo concipimur, per quod facit nos imaginem sui.”

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ther of light, the language is striking: “Deus pater, verbum mater et Ecclesia. ‘Verbum veritatis’ est mater.”⁹³ The word is mother and she has the power to resurrect the fallen image and nurture the new creature into eternal life. The birth analogy that Luther develops from 1:18 also resonates with the Eastertide Introit from 1 Peter 2,⁹⁴ which expresses the nature of the word and how one ought to receive it: “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Pet. 2:1– 2). The word, as a mother, is both creative (James 1:18) and nurturing (1 Pet. 2:2). Thus the creation and preservation of faith and the new life are ascribed to the word of God. The Christian born of water and the Spirit now lives in a struggle between death and life, between the image of Satan, whose deadly tongue gave birth to sin and sin to death (Gen. 3:1 ff. and James 1:15), and the image of Christ that has been renewed through the holy gospel: “through it He makes us into His image […]. Why then would we reject such a splendid birth which comes from the holy gospel through the church and instead choose to have our gray hairs chiseled in the devil’s name according to human works?”⁹⁵ As Luther notes, the Christian who has been given new and holy impulses by the Spirit cannot conform to the image of Christ unless God continues to resurrect him in His image through the word. Christians are new people, who are called newborn children of God, as St. John says in John 1[:13]. These (says St. John) are the ones who believe in the name of Christ, that is, they hang on with their heart to the word (which James boasts here as being the great and mighty gift), that God forgives their sins through Christ and takes them into His favor, etc.⁹⁶

God therefore creates faith and an entirely new creature through the word and through that same word preserves faith and the new life. The interpolation of 1 Peter is Luther’s way of allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. Each text, James 1 and 1 Peter 2, is read through the other. The birth imagery of James and the motherly nurturing of God’s children through the word of

 WA 45, 80, 26 – 27.  First Sunday after Easter, Quasimodogeniti.  WA 45, 80, 17; 21– 23. “[…] per [Sanctum Euangelium] facit nos imaginem sui […]. Cur igitur tam herlich geburt ex Sancto Euangelio per Ecclesiam negaremus et in diaboli nomine uns solten schnitzen lassen in graw kappen secundum humana opera?”  WA 41:586, 23 – 29. “Sondern es gehoeren newe menschen dazu, die da heissen geborne Gottes kinder, wie auch Sanct Johannes Johannis am ersten sagt. Das sind nu (spricht Sanct Johannes), die da glewben an den namen Christi, Das ist, die mit dem hertzen hangen an dem Wort (so er hie rhuemet fur die grosse, mechtige gabe), das jnen Gott durch Christum die sunde vergebe und sie zu gnaden neme etc.”

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God from 1 Peter are complementary. Luther uses James’ death and life imagery to guard against a false understanding of conformitas in 1 Peter. At the same time, he introduces a crucial aspect of James 1, namely, that the image of Christ to which we are being conformed is cruciform. The first fruits of God’s creation conform to Christ’s image in the world through suffering and death.

The Biblical Constellation of James 1:21, Romans 1:16, and Luke 8:4 – 15 In his two Rogate sermons (1535 and 1539) on James 1:22 – 27, Luther treats the power and effect of God’s word, but expresses these with two different images from the text. His 1535 sermon concentrates primarily on the preceding verse, the implanted word of 1:21, (presumably because he did not preach on the passage the previous Sunday and saw it as important context for the instruction on being a doer of the word) and interprets 1:21 through both the parable of the sower (Luke 8:4 ff.) and the power of the gospel to save in Romans 1:16. In his 1539 Rogate sermon, Luther focuses on the image of the mirror in 1:23 – 25 to teach against the antinomians the distinction between law and gospel, continuing the theme from the previous week on the good and perfect gifts. In both of these sermons, although most clearly in the 1535 sermon, Luther hears the resonance with Christ’s words concerning the fate of the gospel in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:1– 9, 18 – 23; Mark 4:1– 20; Luke 8:4– 8, 11– 15).⁹⁷ There you hear it, how in the time of the apostles they all had to toil and labor with Christians and urge them to have true faith, not without works but a faith that shows itself with good fruits. Because this is always the way of things, Christ Himself gives the parable about the seed [Matt. 13:3 – 9; Luke 8:4– 8]. The prophets and apostles experienced this before us, and so do we. Therefore, as long as our Lord God allows the gospel to be pure, we have to preach, exhort, pray, and implore that Christians be roused to be true, not false. But we can’t bring everyone. We can’t prevent seed from falling on the path, or among the thorns, or on rocky soil. Nevertheless, the office of the ministry must on this point adamantly per-

 In Luke 8:11– 15 (ESV), Jesus explains the parable this way: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”

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sist, exhort, and instruct, as not only James does, but also the prophets and apostles, so that whoever wants to be Christian may be serious about it and not hypocritical.⁹⁸

It may seem obvious to connect the phrase “implanted word” (James 1:21) with the seed in the parable of the sower. Yet it is significant that Luther does not miss the obvious connection. He treats the implanted word as he does the seed and the soil in Luke 8 (Sexigesima Sunday).⁹⁹ Both deal with the gospel and its effect on those who hear it. The combination of the parable with James 1:21 is significant for several reasons. Christ’s parable is not a proclamation of the gospel, but a teaching about the proclamation, its reception, and the effect of the gospel. In an insightful article on the Lutheran interpretation of the Sexagesima gospel pericope, Craig Westendorf notes that the parable from Luke 8 “does not explain Christ’s person or work, but rather how the world responds to the gospel. Instead of kerygma, one learns what is now as equally important, namely, how to receive and retain the Word.”¹⁰⁰ Luther, who once criticized James for not teaching about the person and work of Christ, now reads James as needful instruction concerning the reception, retention, and power of the gospel. The exhortation to “receive the implanted word” in James 1:21 also echoes Christ’s exhortation to those who have the word: “He who has ears to hear let him hear” (Luke 8:8). Luther encourages preachers to imitate Christ, the apostles, and James to urge those who have the gospel, so that they receive it with a pure heart. Strangely, however, not all who hear the word will come. Although the implanted word is powerful and effective, as both Christ and James teach, grace is mysteriously resistible and the soil into which the word is planted varies. “We can’t bring everyone. We can’t prevent seed from falling on the road, under

 WA 41, 69, 4– 13. “Ibi auditis, quomodo tempore Apostolorum sie all sampt muhe und erbeit gehabt cum Christianis, quod eos urserunt ad veram fidem, quae non sine operibus et se erzeigt mit guten fruchten, quia ist so gangen ut [Matth. 13, 3 ff.] semper, das Christus selber similitudinem dat de semine 4. Hoc prophetae etiam experti, Apostoli et nos. Ideo mus man predigen, vermanen, biten, flehen, donec unser Herr Gott Euangelium rein lest, ut Christiani excitentur, ut veri, non falsi. Omnes nicht hin bringen, non possumus wehren, quod semen non cadat in viam, dorn, steinicht, et tamen offfcium mus da seer anhalten, vermanen, leren, ut non solum Iacobus, sed prophetae et Apostoli, ut, qui vult Christianus, sit serio et non hypocritice […].”  For example, WA 17/1, 46, 1– 5 (Fastenpostille 1525). “Dis Euangelion sagt von den schulern und fruechten, die das wort Gotts hat ynn der wellt. Denn es redet nicht vom gesetze noch von menschen satzungen, sondern wie er selbs sagt, vom wort Gottes, wilchs er selbs, der Seeman Christus, predigt. Auch das gesetze bringt keyne frucht, so wenig als menschen satzunge thun. Er setzt aber vierley schuler des wort Gottes.”  Craig Westendorf, “The Parable of the Sower” (1989), 55.

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thorns, and on rocks.”¹⁰¹ For preachers who have the assurance that the word will not return empty but accomplish the purpose for which God sent it (Isa. 55:11), the apparent ineffectiveness of the word can have a crushing effect. Even if Luther does not label James a pastoral epistle, he certainly sees how it offers comfort to preachers who must sow the seed among their congregations and watch as the word is ripped from the heart of inexperienced Christians, or as the faith of their hearers withers when tested, or is choked by the allurements and cares of this world. When the fulfillment of the promise is out of sight, as the prophets, apostles, James, and all preachers have experienced, one is easily tempted to complain to God: Why does the Holy Spirit not effect faith in all who hear it? Why some and not others? And why do people who hear the word not improve? The promise preachers receive concerning the word appears in the form of a cross. Luther, commenting on James 1:21, says, We preachers are worried that our people won’t change. But of course we won’t have it any better than the apostles and prophets. Therefore, we have to press on with preaching, both for ourselves and for our people, so that we guard ourselves and them from blasphemy. We especially have to keep preaching, so that we don’t get upset and complain impatiently against God.¹⁰²

Preachers, too, need to hear the invitation of James and consider every good and perfect gift they have received from God the Father, lest they become impatient. Now, as I’ve said, this is how the whole chapter [James 1] goes, and it gives us the reason why we should be so patient and not retaliate against those who cause us so much trouble —especially those who despise the word, become ungrateful, and persecute us. That’s why James says: “Consider the possessions that God has sent you from above, namely, every good and perfect gift.”¹⁰³

 WA 41, 69, 12 (Rogate, 2 May 1536).  WA 41, 580, 22– 26 (14 May 1536). “Nu solchs sehen wir jtzt gnug fur augen, und hab sorge, wir werdens nicht besser haben denn die Aposteln und Propheten, und wird wol also bleiben unter den leuten, Doch so muessen wir jmer anhalten, beide, uns selbs und andere, das wir uns mit vleis fur den beiden lastern hueten, Sonderlich fur dem, das wir nicht zuernen und murren aus ungedult wider Gott.”  This from his 1536 Cantate sermon: WA 41, 580, 30 – 35. “Dahin gehet nu, wie ich gesagt habe, dis gantze Capitel, Und setzet alhie ursach, worumb wir sollen so gedueltig sein und uns nicht entrusten lassen wider die, so uns alles leid thun, und sonderlich wider die, so das wort Gottes verachten, undanckbar sind und auch dazu verfolgen, Das sol die ursach sein (spricht er), Jr solt bedencken, was jr fur gueter habt von Gott, oben herab von Himel, Nemlich ‘Allerley gute und volkomene gaben &c..’”

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Luther’s use of James 1 to comfort preachers who fail to see the word’s power and effect again contradicts his usual criticism of the letter. According to Luther’s preface, James was a frustrated preacher who wanted to motivate his people to true faith by preaching the law: “Aber dieser Jacobus thut nicht mehr, denn treibet zu dem Gesetz vnd seinen wercken.”¹⁰⁴ Throughout these sermons, however, Luther consistently presents James as an evangelical preacher who, together with Christ, the prophets, and apostles, urges Christians to be true by sowing the seed, by preaching the gospel and instructing Christians in the faith. Therefore Luther says that the apostolic preaching office which delivers the word should exhort Christians, especially children, to hold to the word by holding to the Catechism.¹⁰⁵ Luther’s concentration on James 1:21, especially in his 1535 sermon, leads him rhetorically to magnify the text’s agricultural imagery. The phrase “the implanted word” (τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον), which invited Luther to use the parable of the sower and the seed as an interpretive key, also inclines Luther to describe the spiritual realities of Christ’s kingdom in the world using botanical and biblical metaphors. Calling to mind the Garden of Eden, Luther says that the church is “the Lord God’s garden.”¹⁰⁶ The pagan unbelieving world is “the devil’s forest.”¹⁰⁷ All those who belong to Christ have been “transplanted from the devil’s forest and placed in the Lord God’s garden”¹⁰⁸ and now have received the heavenly seed that sets them apart from the temporal world, its vices, and the devil’s treachery. Luther sees the same imagery in James,¹⁰⁹ who speaks in the way of the apostles, contends for the preached word, and urges Christians to receive the word that is planted among them and has the power to save souls.

 WADB 7, 387, 1– 2 (Preface to James and Jude, 1546).  WA 41, 72, 14– 17 (Rogate, 2 May 1535).  WA 41, 69, 31 (Rogate, 2 May 1535).  WA 41, 69, 30 (Rogate, 2 May 1535).  WA 41, 69, 30 – 31 (Rogate, 2 May 1535). “[…] vos translati ex sylva diaboli in unsers herr Gotts garten.”  WA 41, 70, 9 – 20. “Das bose, heidnische leben wegwerffen et verbum suscipere. Num non susceperunt? tamen debent ablegen &c. wolthetig und freundlich erga proximum &c. quomodo? Ipse loquitur secundum morem Apostolicum i. e. vleissigt euch der predigt. Es ist unter euch gepflantzt, vos estis arbor, deus hat das kornlin hin ein gepflanzt, ut Christus. Ibi verbum Apostoli et eius disciplina, qui subinde verbum dat. Ideo suscipite und haltet dran &c. sed vleissig discere, et videte, ne vobis auferatur per lust mundi et bosheit diaboli. Vos habetis per gratiam dei ad vos gepflanzt, et ad vos venit. Ideo sit acceptum et nolite eius mude und sat werden. Et hoc facit mit sanfftmut, quia, qui hoc verbum vult habere et retinere wil, im lassen selig wort sein, leben wir keusch, zuchtig et erga proximum […].”

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Luther, however, is aware of a possible misunderstanding at this point. After preaching that the word is powerful and effective to save souls, the invitation at 1:21 to put away filthiness and receive the word could be taken as an appeal to the will, as if the power of the word depended on a person’s preparation and willingness to receive. Yet he guards against human action by emphasizing James’ phrase “the implanted word.” According to Luther, the Jamesian community already has the word. It is not of their own making; they received it as a divine gift. Here Luther uses an internal hermeneutic, reading James with James, and pulls together 1:21 and 1:17– 18. The word is implanted among them (1:21), but the implanted word is the same word that gave birth to them (1:18) from the apostles and the mouth of Christ. It came down from heaven, from the Father of light in whom there is no variation or change (1:17). “Sed habetis verbum, quod est unsers herr Gotts plantula, non hominis, sed celestis, habet istam potentiam, ut animas salvet.”¹¹⁰ The word they possess is powerful, effective, and from heaven. Luther’s interplay between the power of the word and the responsibility of the individual with ears to hear it recasts the typical paradigm of faith and good works that governs interpretations of the letter. Luther insists that James writes his letter to urge Christians to “true faith[…] that shows itself by its good fruits.”¹¹¹ But in Luther’s reading, James does not demand faith to produce more works; rather James invites the faithful to receive the word that alone can produce good works. In this way, the parable of the sower addresses the most important theological question concerning the Lutheran interpretation of James: How did Lutherans urge Christians to true faith? According to Luther, they preached the gospel, trusting that the word itself can produce good works. The Lutheran interpretation of James is merely an example of how Lutherans understood true faith that shows itself in good works. Part of the difficulty in the discussion of faith and works has been the tendency to define works apart from faith or as a second step to faith. Perhaps Luther’s criticism of James or other interpretations of James that let works of the law, particularly works of the second table of the law, seep into the doctrine of justification have led to the false conclusion that, for Luther, works are a separate component of the Christian life that must be added to faith with some homiletical prodding. But closer attention should be paid to Luther’s distinction between works and works of the law. Luther sees any work done as a basis for our justification, whether before faith or after faith, as a work of the law. Our reading of Luther may be prone to limit his

 WA 41, 70, 28 – 29 (Rogate, 2 May 1535).  WA 41, 69, 4– 7 (Rogate, 2 May 1535).

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understanding of the law to the second table or to our active love for the neighbor. This causes one to dissect the passive righteousness of faith from the active righteousness of good works. Yet such a crude division misses the heart of Luther’s teaching. Certainly fruits of faith include works of the second table, but they also, and more importantly, include works of the first table, as Luther states in his Fastenpostille on the parable in Luke 8: “Denn diese frůchte sind nicht alleyne die werck, sondern viel mehr das bekennen, predigen und ausbreytten des worts, das viel andere dadurch bekeret und das reich Gottes gemehret werde.”¹¹² Being a doer of the word, therefore, means holding sacred the preaching of God’s word, gladly hearing and learning it, and, ultimately, receiving it by faith.¹¹³ “Doing the word,” as James has it, means for Luther receiving the word that can save the soul. Moreover, only one born of the word (1:18) can receive the word. We may summarize Luther’s view as follows: wherever faith is operative, there are no works of the law, but only fruits of faith; likewise, wherever faith is inoperative, there are no fruits of faith, but only works of the law, and by works of the law will no man be justified in God’s sight (Rom. 3:20). Both faith and works must then be a product of the word and God’s powerful working through it. Considering again the power and effect of the word, Luther says that James preaches the same gospel as St. Paul does in Romans: “Notice here how James gives the power to the oral word [mündlichen wort] or preached word. He says it can save your soul, just as St. Paul praises the word in Romans 1[:16], that the gospel he preaches is the power of God that saves everyone who believes.”¹¹⁴ In the Rogate sermon from 1535, Luther exclaims at 1:21, That’s pure Pauline! “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God.” Paul, too, calls the gospel a seedling that, when it is preached through a human mouth, is so powerful that whoever believes becomes a tree planted and rooted so firmly that that person is saved.¹¹⁵

 WA 17/2, 155, 29 – 31 (Sexagesima 1525).  SC II:3, in BSLK, 508.  WA 41, 590, 21– 25 (Cantate, 14 May 1536). “Und hie mercke, das er dem muendlichen wort oder gepredigtem Euangelio die krafft gibt, das es kan unser seelen selig machen, gleich wie es auch Sanct Paulus zun Roemern am ersten Capitel mit gleichen worten preiset, das das Euangelion, so er predigt, sey eine krafft Gottes, die da selig machet alle, die daran gleuben.”  WA 41, 70, 37—71, 1 (Rogate, 2 May 1535). “Laut Paulisch. ‘Non erubesco’, ‘potentia dei’. Ibi etiam vocat Euangelium pflentzlin, quod praedicatur per os hominum, ist so starck, qui credit, arbor plantata et radicata tam potens, ut salvet.”

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Luther thus weaves together the parable of the sower from Luke 8, the phrase “the implanted word” from James 1:21, and Paul’s confidence in the gospel in Romans 1:16, to speak about the power and effect of the gospel: When the human heart believes that the spoken word from a preacher’s mouth is the eternal and omnipotent power to save souls, that person is saved. The preached word is able to speak divine power right into the heart, so that whoever believes is saved. That cannot be said of the books of the law or philosophers. Such glory can be given to no other doctrine but this word, which is the divine power to bring about eternal life.¹¹⁶

Like the word of 1:18 that gave birth to new creatures, the seed sown and implanted in the church through the mouth of a preacher, creates faith and produces fruit for eternal life.

James 1:22: Being a Doer of the Word When James says, “Be doers of the word and not only hearers,” Luther interprets that word as gospel. James addressed the Jews, who say, “The Messiah has come and we’re baptized and believe in Him, but we still have to do the law.”¹¹⁷ Luther suggests, “That’s just like the papists, who say, ‘We know that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, etc., but you can’t be saved unless you remain a monk.’ That’s an example of hearing the gospel and not acting according to it.”¹¹⁸ For Luther, being a doer of the word concerns that which proceeds from faith, and not doing what the law requires. Sanctification therefore is a theological locus not under the law but under the gospel and accomplished by the Holy Spirit. As Luther puts it in the Third Article of the Creed in the Catechism, the Holy Spirit sanctifies and keeps, not the believer. The dogmatic necessity to keep works, even good works, out of salvation has perhaps led to a one-sided reading of Luther on this point. Certainly, for Luther, a person’s salvation is not dependent on his or her works. Yet in his preaching, Luther does not limit the gospel to a discussion of the tree without its fruit. In his sermons on James, the gospel, Christ, rebirth, and the new life are all bound to-

 WA 41, 71, 2– 8. (Rogate, 2 May 1535). “Quod cor humanum hoc credit, quod verbum, quod dicitur ore humano, sit eterna et omnipotens potentia, quae salvet animas. Ista praedicatio potest dici divina potentia da hin geredet, ut omnes credentes salvi fiant. Hoc non potest dici de legum libris et philosophorum. Nulli doctrinae ista gloria potest dari, quae isti verbo, quod sit divina potentia, quae serviat ad vitam aeternam.”  WA 47, 746, 23 – 24.  WA 47, 746, 24– 747, 2.

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gether, so that Christ and the new creature, as well as the cause of salvation and its effects, are “baked in the same cake,” as Luther was fond of saying.¹¹⁹ In other words, his sermons with their various analogies of the gospel and its effects paint a full and interconnected picture of salvation and the Christian life. He teaches that faith alone justifies, but also that that faith is never alone.

James 1:23 – 24: The Law of Liberty and Its Reflection Luther’s 1539 Rogate sermon on James 1:22– 27 shares themes with his 1535 sermon. This time, however, Luther takes special interest in James’ use of a mirror (1:23 – 24) to describe the Christian life. “Why do we use a mirror?” asks Luther. “It is to see what’s messy, so that we can clean it with a cloth, etc., so that we see what is deficient and not be filthy, but rather pristinely adorned.”¹²⁰ As long as we are sinners, we must not turn away from the mirror of the law. Luther takes aim at the antinomians, who say that Christians have no use for the law. “We must not turn away from the mirror, but to it. If you gaze into the mirror, then go like a bride from the mirror to the basin, and, as long as you see dirt, never stop washing.”¹²¹ Luther thus interprets James in the context of the Christian’s baptismal life, which is also a life of distinguishing law and gospel in the heart. While afflicted and at the brink of despair, the Christian ought to turn to the sure promise of his baptism. I know I should believe and not doubt that I’m baptized and trust I’ve heard the gospel of Christ, who was given into death for me. I should have this trust planted so deeply in my heart that I could ward off the devil and death. But see how you feel. You’ll find that the law is often stronger than the gospel. For I know the art of being uncertain and of trusting very little, far better than I know its opposite. So look in the mirror to see how the heart is bent. You’ll say, “If only I were certain that God’s Son died for my sins!” because the art of doubting comes easy to us; it’s inborn from our parents.¹²²

 To give just one of many examples: WA 36, 437, 25 – 31 (16 June 1532, Sermons on 1 John). “Wenn man nu durch den glawben solche liebe ergriffen hat, so folget denn diese frucht, das wir auch solche liebe erzeigen, Und ein gewis zeichen und zeugnis haben, weil wir jnn der liebe bleiben, das wir rechte Christen sind und jnn Gotte bleiben und er jnn uns bleibet. Wie konde er nu stercker trosten odder die liebe hoher preisen, denn das sie ein Gottlichen menschen machet, der mit jm ein kuchen ist und rhumen kan, wenn er den nehesten liebet […].”  WA 47, 753, 14– 16.  WA 47, 754, 16 – 19.  WA 47, 752, 18 – 25.

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Despite Luther’s disregard here for the law of liberty as gospel, it is of interest to the discussion of the third use of the law that Luther does not deny that there is a liberated use of the law or a way in which the law does not accuse. Although it seldom happens in this life, the Christian may still look into the law of liberty (the commandments) and gladly see the things that please God and do them. Luther declares, “If you look in the mirror and there’s nothing dirty, then notice instead how you’re adorned; but beware, because whenever we throw out the law, we pay no attention to sin.”¹²³ For the Christian, the law no longer accuses when the gospel is a welcomed guest, because the gospel allows the Christian to see, as in a mirror, all is accomplished. In faith, one sees no stain, but only how Christ has adorned the Christian with His own work and fulfilled the law in the sinner’s place. Although the writers of the Formula of Concord, Article VI:9, point their readers to Luther’s sermon on the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity (Eph. 4:22– 28) as an explanation of his view on the third use of the law,¹²⁴ they could have just as effectively directed their readers to Luther’s two sermons on James 1:21– 27.

Summary of Luther’s Preaching on James Luther’s sermons on James are filled with rich biblical motifs (agriculture, birth, light, and the mirror), and bring out important aspects of Luther’s theology (law and gospel, suffering, repentance, regeneration, and the future life). Yet all of these, the biblical motifs and the theological loci, fall under the overarching theme of the word of God: its revelation from God in Christ through the apostles, its proclamation in the church, its reception among its hearers, and how the word and all those who have received it will be attacked by the devil, the world, and their own sinful flesh. The centrality of the word of God in Luther’s exposition of James 1:16 – 27 makes a significant contribution to the Lutheran postil tradition. Although later postils on James are generally more developed in structure and organization, they nevertheless maintain Luther’s central conviction that the whole course of the Christian life is inseparably bound to God’s word. The Christian who is born of the word must also suffer the fate of the word in the world and suffer the attacks of the devil, the world, and one’s own flesh, which Luther

 WA 47, 754, 19 – 20.  WA 22, 311– 22; Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, trans. John N. Lenker, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989), 304– 16. See BSLK, 965; BC, 589.

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says in the Small Catechism “do not want to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come.”¹²⁵ Thus the Christian is attacked on every side. James, according to Luther, preaches to those who suffer this fate of the word in the world. Yet the word gives them new life and saves their souls; it promises them spiritual blessings now and eternal glory in the world to come.

 BSLK, 513.

3 James 1:16 – 27 in the Lutheran Postil Tradition from Anton Corvin to Simon Pauli Unser Herr Gott geb, das andere nach mir besser machen. Jch kan nit mehr, ich bin schwach […].¹

Introduction to the Lutheran Postils With the themes that appear in Luther’s exegesis of James 1:16 – 27 before us, we now examine in the following two chapters the Lutheran postil tradition on James 1:16 – 21 and James 1:22– 27, a tradition of published sermons on James that spanned over a century, from approximately 1540 – 1650, and culminated in the sermon collections on the entire epistle from Balthasar Kerner (1582– 1633)² and Hartmann Creide (1606 – 1656).³ The themes that we have seen in Althamer and Luther (Christian suffering, prayer, the baptismal life, the efficacy of the word, law and gospel, the Predigtamt, and sanctification) are developed in these postil sermons on James. Careful attention to these themes as they develop in the postils on James 1 will allow us to evaluate over a hundred years of the Lutheran interpretive history of James. John Frymire’s excellent work on the postils⁴ demonstrates that these collections of sermons were the media of choice for disseminating a wide range of theological and social instruction to the widest possible audience, not only for Lutherans but also for Catholics, and to a much lesser extent Calvinists. The postils were, he argues, “the most important genre for the dissemination of ideas in early modern Germany […] and were intended to be read aloud weekly from pulpits or, at the very least, to serve as the models on which preachers based their sermons.”⁵ With the postils, therefore, we have our finger on the pulse of theological discourse moving from pastors to laity, and perhaps the best example of how theological education at the university level filtered down into the parish life. The strength of Frymire’s book is its historical analysis of the postils’ production, form, distribution, geography, and the frequency and duration of their publication. Frymire notes that “the isolated utterances of individual postillators are of little historical

    

WA 44, 825, 10 – 12; AE 8:333 (Luther’s closing remarks to his Genesisvorlesung in 1545). Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639). Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649). Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010). Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 1.

https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-005

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worth if they are not considered in these types of concrete examples.”⁶ However, further research must be conducted to examine the biblical exegesis of the postils. What was their method of exegesis? Frymire shows that the postillers had a wide audience. But what was the message? This, too, requires concrete examples. How practically did they read the texts and apply them to their hearers or readers? Their sermons on James will serve as just one example. Those who interpret the primary motivation of the postils as political control or the pulpit as a means of disseminating princely authority tend to doubt as disingenuous the claims of Luther, his students, and theological heirs concerning their vocation as pastors.⁷ If one approaches the historical questions of the postils’ production and method from the perspective of confessionalization, and if one argues that the postils were simply a means to establish political control in German principalities, it is difficult to see the postils as anything but controlling. However, to regard them as political enforcement or as a means to sedate the populace—Karl Marx’s opium of the people—one would have to ignore the stated intention of the postillers and discredit their vocational integrity. Their intention was to create and establish living faith in the hearts of their readers and hearers. Seen from this perspective, the postils are a treasury of theology and pastoral care, filled with homiletical, exegetical, and catechetical gems. Mary Jane Haemig and Robert Kolb identify the theological underpinnings of Lutheran preaching as the calling of sinners to repentance and announcing the forgiveness of sins to create faith in the heart and a life of good works.⁸ Rather than a means of enforcing political control, unless of course that control was commanded in Scripture (Rom. 13:1– 7; 1 Pet. 2:13 – 25), the postils were intended to inform and guide the proclamation of God’s law and gospel to sinners.

 Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 8.  My reading of the postils, although greatly informed by Frymire’s research, will depart from him concerning the chief motivation of the postillers. Frymire sees the postils primarily as political tools or confessional reactions rather than a genuine means of pastoral care. Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 157– 158. Frymire does not regard the indoctrination of the Christian faith and the defense against false doctrine as inherent to sixteenth-century pastoral care. Although the postillers certainly worked in cooperation with the courts and their princes, the thesis that the Lutheran pastors were hirelings of the court lacks sufficient evidence from the postil prefaces and sermons. I believe that there is stronger evidence in their postils to suggest that the postillers understood themselves as servants of the word of God and only secondarily as servants of the court, as they carry out their godly vocation in a particular place and time.  Mary Jane Haemig and Robert Kolb, “Preaching in Lutheran Pulpits,” in Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550 – 1675 (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 123 – 24.

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Sermons were in many cases the only means for many pastors to catechize their people in the faith. The postillers, who intended their postils to be read foremost by pastors, sought to give substance and method to pastors’ weekly proclamation centered on catechesis.⁹ Postillers understood their own work as a production of catechetical texts, drawn from Scripture, to teach pastors how to present the whole counsel of God to the church.

The Postil Imperative The impetus to produce postils in Lutheran territories arose from a growing need for homiletical and catechetical helps in the parishes. For the rural pastors in Germany in the 1530s, the voice of the gospel resounding out of Wittenberg and making its way through German cities and territories did not come quickly enough. Many of the rural pastors wanted more theological education to improve their doctrine and preaching but lacked the financial resources to collect the proper books.¹⁰ Luther’s postils were often too expensive for pastors to acquire, and even if pastors had a book that might be helpful for their preaching, they were often ill-equipped theologically to draw from it fitting material for their congregations. Therefore, the need to get both sound and accessible literature into the villages continued to be a concern for Luther and his colleagues. In response to this growing need and seeking to meet the needs of poor pastors, Anton Corvin (1501– 1553), preacher and reformer from Witzenhausen, began to produce a full set of short postils on both the gospel and epistle pericopes—the first full Lutheran postilla produced by anyone other than Luther.¹¹ His postils on the gospel pericopes were published in Wittenberg in 1535 with a preface from Luther,¹² who praised Corvin’s work for finally giving faithful village pastors something they could use in their congregations. He urged parish pastors to read Corvin’s sermons word for word, so that the basic vocabulary and doctrine would become familiar to the people. He also called for someone

 For the importance of catechesis in the Post-Reformation, see Gerhard Bode, “Instruction of the Christian Faith by Lutherans after Luther,” in Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550 – 1675 (2008), 159 – 204.  Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 82. Although, as Mary Jane Haemig and Robert Kolb report, the situation changed toward the end of the sixteenth century: “Library lists from this era indicate that most preachers owned several postils.” Haemig and Kolb, “Preaching in Lutheran Pulpits” (2008), 126.  For an overview of their production see Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 77– 85.  WA 38, 441– 442.

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to produce postils on the epistles, which is just what Corvin did in 1537; it also included another preface from Luther.¹³ Luther’s encouragement that Corvin’s postils should be read word for word is telling of how the postils were expected to shape the proclamation of God’s word in the pulpits. We know with some certainty that Corvin’s postils were being used in Lutheran pulpits, since in his 1537 preface he was forced to address accusations that his postils were making lazy pastors who resorted to reading his sermons from the pulpit on Sunday mornings rather than preparing their own.¹⁴ Therefore, the postils to be examined in this chapter can be trusted as general prototypes or source material for the sermons being preached live in Lutheran pulpits. It is difficult to ascertain with precision just how many sermons were being preached on James prior to the 1530s. We know that the epistle had not fallen into disuse after Luther’s initial criticism, since James 1:16 – 27 remained in the lectionary. It is fair to assume that pastors preached on James in their congregations prior to Althamer’s commentary, Luther’s first sermon in Wittenberg, and Corvin’s postils. It is uncertain, however, exactly how often these lessons from James served as the basis for preaching in the congregations on those Sundays. For example, were pastors electing to preach on the epistle lesson from James 1 on Cantate and Rogate rather than on the gospel from John 16? This seems unlikely, since it would contradict the practice prescribed by both Luther in his liturgical writings and the church orders.¹⁵ Sunday mornings were typically reserved for an exposition of the gospel lesson. Sunday afternoons, if congregations held an afternoon service at all, were reserved for the epistle. Midweek services were generally reserved for catechetical sermons or a continua lectio, as one observes with Luther’s sermon series. But Luther’s preaching schedule in a university town does not necessarily reflect life in the villages, where services were mainly Sunday morning events.

 In his second preface to Corvin’s Brief Exposition of the Epistles in 1537, WA 50, 109 – 110, Luther thanked God that at last preachers could preach on the gospel and epistle lessons purely. He also expressed his longing desire for more expositions of this kind on all of Scripture, especially in Latin as Nicholas of Lyra had done, so that the papacy would have to face the pure doctrine from every page of Scripture. Veit Dietrich answered the call and produced summaries on the Old Testament books in 1541 and on the New Testament books in 1545 (both in German). Dietrich, however, did not include a summary of James or Revelation. In 1557, Peder Palladius published a Latin summary of the Bible and filled the gaps from Dietrich’s work, offering summaries of James and Revelation. Petrus Palladius, Isagoge ad libros propheticos et apostolicos (Stettin: Samuel Selfisch, 1557).  Corvin, Kurtze Ainfeltige Außlegung der Episteln (1539), A4r.  See, for example, WA 12, 36, 35 ff. (Von Ordnung Gottesdiensts in der Gemeine, 1523).

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In Ansbach, Althamer opted to preach a sermon series (continua lectio) on James. Although it is unclear when exactly he held these sermons, the title to his commentary, Wie sie gepredigt worden Zu Onoltzbach, indicates that he preached them live to his congregation. The example of Althamer implies that other pastors could have been preaching on James for their congregations outside of the lectionary. A point to keep in mind as we survey published sermons on James (or sermon notes, as the case may be) is that these are representative of the many sermons being preached from Lutheran pulpits in the early modern period. In some cases, as we see with Corvin’s postils, the postil sermons on James 1:16 – 21 (Cantate) and James 1:22 – 27 (Rogate) were being read from the pulpit, as Luther had advised. In many cases, the postils served as models for preaching. But in their conception, Corvin and other postillers also recognized that they would be well-suited for the Hausväter to lead family devotions. The popularity of quarto and octavo editions of many postils indicates that they were indeed being purchased for use in the pulpits and around the kitchen table.

A New Wave of Lutheran Postils New editions of Covin’s postils appeared only two times after his death in 1553 (1563/1591). Yet the need for further education in the parishes made it clear that a second wave of postils was on its way. In the 1550s and 1560s, Melanchthon’s gifted students began preparing postils on the epistles for the church’s edification.¹⁶ Lucas Lossius, the schoolmaster of Lüneburg, and David Chytraeus, professor in Rostock, were part of this new wave of postils that would see at least 45,000 copies of Lutheran postils on the epistle pericopes alone. Lossius’ postil, Annotationes Scholasticae in Epistolas Dominicales, was first printed in 1552 to accompany his previously published gospel and festival postils. His postils were used in the schools as textbooks to teach students both Latin and the Christian faith. By 1560, his epistle postils had gone through seven editions,¹⁷ a good indication that these Latin postils made “a significant contribution to Lu-

 Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 165. Frymrie attributes the swell of epistle collections to the perceived need to enforce social discipline. “Whether or not early modern attempts to enforce ‘social discipline’ were successful or not is less important than the recognition that epistle postils were considered key to the enterprise. This is a case in which developments in postil production square perfectly with what has been suggested as typical of the Confessional Age. Intensified calls to enforce behavioral norms were answered by a marked increase in new versions and printings of these postils after 1555.”  Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 162. I will refer to the 1560 edition.

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theran religious culture.”¹⁸ The Dispositiones or “arrangements” on the epistle pericopes by David Chytraeus (1563) was not intended for school children but for his university students. His postils signaled a more intensive biblical-homiletical study at the University of Rostock. A year after Chytraeus published his postils, the university’s theological faculty committed themselves in their statutes to developing sound theological education for their students and future pastors. They sought to ground the curriculum in a diligent study of Holy Scripture, to prepare students to interpret the Scriptures for the edification of their future congregations.¹⁹ This practical emphasis meant a thorough consideration of how Holy Scripture can best be applied in the congregational setting. The theological faculty bylaws (Article VII) obliged the Rostock professors to interpret Scripture according to the loci method that Chytraeus used and that he and others at Rostock, including Simon Pauli, had learned from Melanchthon. VII. The professors of theology will ensure that students become most familiar with the texts of the Bible from beginning to end, so that they can present the testimony concerning individual parts of doctrine from them whenever necessary. Likewise, they will see to it that students fix in their hearts the method or the summary of doctrine delivered by God, that it is distributed into certain loci which are explicated by erudite definitions, parts, causes, effects, and the refutation of false teaching.²⁰

The method of exegesis laid out in Rostock is paradigmatic for the eleven Lutheran postils that I examined. A general characteristic of the postils is their catechetical exegesis that made use of the loci method of exposition. The postillers framed their exegesis of the weekly pericopes around the chief parts of the Catechism and their subsections

 Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 162.  See Thomas Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung. Die Rostocker Theologieprofessoren und ihr Beitrag zur theologischen Bildung und kirchlichen Gestaltung im Herzogtum Mecklenburg zwischen 1500 und 1675 (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlag, 1997), 253 – 318; here, 253. “Nach den Statuten der Rostocker Theologischen Fakultät von 1564 bildet die Beschäftigung mit der Bibel und ihrer Auslegung das organisierende Zentrum des Theologiestudiums. Die Theologieprofessoren werden darauf verpflichtet, die Bibelkenntnis ihrer Studenten intensiv zu fördern und ihnen die Schriftzeugnisse, die einzelne Lehrartikel begründen, nach Maßgabe ihrer Bedeutung nahezubringen. In ihrem sachlich theologischen Gewicht der Bibel nach, in der didaktischen Bemühung gleichgeordnet, verpflichten die Fakultätsstatuten die Theologieprofessoren außerdem dazu, ihren Hörern die Methode und den Zusammenhang der von Gott mitgeteilten Lehre in Gestalt bestimmter Loci gezielt und kontroverstheologisch verantwortet zu vermitteln.”  The complete bylaws, Statuta Collegiii Facultatis theologicae in Academia Rostochiensi (1564), can be found in Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 706.

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(First Commandment, Third Article of the Creed, etc.). Therefore, in their reading of Scripture, they would ask themselves: To what part of the Catechism does this text belong? They approached James with this same catechetical framework. For instance, they not only asked generally: What does it mean to be a doer of the word? And what is the mirror? But they also asked more specifically: What part of the Catechism addresses being doers of the word and the revelation of the word? When they took up the exegetical questions about the mirror and the law of liberty or the implanted word, they answered these in categories and in language that would be familiar—or at least should be familiar—to their hearers. The language of the Catechism gave preachers and hearers a common vocabulary to proclaim and learn the Scriptures. At its best, the loci method of exegesis that Melanchthon taught in Wittenberg trained the postillers to offer a synopsis of the biblical text, to examine the text in its parts, and to explain the whole. Interpreters were trained to listen for the articles of faith that the text presents and to interpret these articles for their hearers by showing how they relate to the entire body of doctrine revealed in Scripture. The method was well suited to didactic preaching. The Bible lessons for each Sunday would be easily assimilated in the hearts and minds of the congregation. A critique of the loci method at its worst, however, and one that Matthias Flacius had raised on several occasions, is that the method tends to encourage a superficial dogmatic reading of the biblical text and make lazy exegetes.²¹ Whether the postillers were susceptible to this superficial dogmatism is something that needs further consideration.

Simon Pauli’s Apology for the Loci Method In the preface to his postils on the epistles (Part I: Advent to Trinity Sunday), Simon Pauli, a colleague of Chytraeus in Rostock and former student of Melanchthon, offers instruction on implementing the loci method. As part of the method, he gives an apology for the lectionary and the entire postil tradition, and argues that the lectionary demonstrates the church’s historical continuity from the six-

 Flacius, in his Antrittsvorlesung in 1557 and later in the preface to the second edition of the Catalogus testis veritatis, criticized the use of the loci method for biblical exegesis, claiming that it is cumbersome and redundant. See Harald Bolluck, “Die Geburt Protestantischer Kirchengeschichtsschreibung aus Theologischer Topik – Zur Historischen Methode Der Magdeburger Zenturien,” in Hermeneutik, Methodenlehre, Exegese, ed. Stephan Meier-Oeser und Günter Frank, Melanchthon-Schriften der Stadt Bretten 11 (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 2011), 123 – 146; here, 130.

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teenth century back to the the apostolic age.²² The value of the lectionary, however, is not its romantic ideal of historical continuity, but its clear presentation of Christian doctrine.²³ The lectionary, he maintains, serves as a hermeneutical map to the Scriptures and allows preachers and hearers to organize and learn the entire Christian doctrine by heart.²⁴ Drawing on his theological education from Melanchthon, Pauli urges pastors to use the ancient practice of the loci method to teach the faith. Each Sunday of the church year serves as a locus of Christian doctrine. By hearing the same texts at the same time each year, hearers would, over the course of several years, become familiar with all of Christian doctrine and locate each article of faith with a particular Sunday of the church year. In other words, the church lectionary was used as a sort of mind palace of Christian doctrine for pastors and their hearers. Therefore, Pauli urges preachers further to preach the texts year after year with the same language: For there is nothing more useful and necessary than for preachers to elucidate and expound on one subject to their hearers by repeating the same words, so that they understand and keep what was preached to them, and grow more sure that there is only one divine doctrine and that the preacher is not making up or inventing anything new.²⁵

The repetitio of words and expressions fixed around specific articles of faith and the articles of faith fixed around specific Sundays of the church year would ensure that the Christian faith in its entirety was being taught in the congregations.²⁶ In this way, the postils became a specific genre of catechetical sermons to serve the church.²⁷

 Simon Pauli, Auslegung der Episteln / an Sontagen vnd fürnemesten Festen / ordentlich vnd richtig nach der RHETORICA gefasset: Neben einer kurtzen erklerung des Texts / Gepredigt zu Rostock [.] Das Erste Theil / vom Aduent / bis auff den Sontag Trinitatis. (Wittenberg: Clemens Schleich Erben, 1589), A4r. Originally published in 1572.  Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 511. “Der Postille kommt die elementar-katechetische Funktion zu, die Grundaussagen des christlichen Glaubens im Durchgang durch das Kirchenjahr einprägsam und für den Prediger verwertbar darzustellen.”  Pauli, Auslegung, Teil I (1589), A4r.  Pauli, Auslegung, Teil I (1589), A4r.  Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 515, commenting on Pauli’s view of the lectionary: “Die Perikopen bilden einen einheitlichen Sinnzusammenhang, ein Sinnganzes, auf das verwiesen werden kann und das gewährleistet, daß alle wesentlichen Fragen des christlichen Glaubens im Laufe eines Kirchenjahres angesprochen werden.”  See Gerhard Bode, “Instruction of the Christian Faith by Lutherans after Luther,” in Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550 – 1675 (2008), 159 – 204, whose research on the Catechism parallels the developments in the postil tradition. Bode observes that catechetical manuals and textbooks expanded in the late sixteenth and into the seventeenth century: “Many Lutheran pastors and

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Pauli praises the church fathers for assembling the lectionary, but also Luther and the many others (Corvin, Melanchthon, Spangenberg, etc.) who diligently expounded on the pericopes.²⁸ The significance of the postils for the hermeneutical-homiletical education of young preachers should not be overlooked. The postils were the door into the Scriptures for many young theologians and for the laity. Pauli, as well as Chytraeus, wrote his postils for his students in Rostock: I have written these sermons on the gospels and epistles at the request of some of my young students, who are preparing themselves for the preaching office, so that I can demonstrate to the young people who read them for the first time at the university how one can—according to the art of rhetoric, an art well known in the schools and highly prized by the learned —arrange or order and, at the same time, explain a text, so that the hearers can grasp it and take it home with them. Many preachers are utterly unequipped to hold to an arrangement in their sermons, and unabashedly blabber about whatever comes in their head, regardless of whether it makes sense or applies.²⁹

Pauli bemoans preachers who toss doctrines together as out of a hat. Rightly understood, the goal of the loci method is to draw instruction and comfort from the text. It was not a foreign dogmatism placed on Scripture, but a proper method of exegesis, with which students could learn to speak from and to use the rhetoric of the biblical text in their sermons: “I have showed them (as I said) how to arrange the epistle and gospel pericopes according to the rhetorica of the text, and how the text can be succinctly explained.”³⁰ Pauli’s explanation of the exegetical-homiletical method indicates that the postil sermons on James for Sundays Cantate and Rogate are not altogether

educators held the view that their parishioners and students needed to have a deeper, more detailed and comprehensive instruction, not only in the teaching of the core Catechism texts (and Luther’s explanations) but in the whole corpus doctrinae as derived from Holy Scripture.” The postils, at least in the mind of the Lutheran postillers, were intended to do exactly that and should be considered one of the foundational genres in shaping congregational catechesis.  Pauli, Auslegung, Teil I (1589), A6v-A7r. “Demnach sind zu loben […] die jenigen / welche sie vleissig haben ausgeleget vnd erkleret / deren für vnd nach D. Luther viel gewesen sind / Sie halten aber nicht alle einerley art / in der auslegung. Denn etliche gar lang vnd weitleuffig / etliche gar kurtz geschrieben. Etliche teilen die Episteln vnd Euangelia in gewisser stück / etliche nicht. Etliche erkleren den Text / etliche nicht. Doch werden fast bey allen viel nützliche vnd heilsame leren vnd erklerungen gefunden.”  Pauli, Auslegung, Teil I (1589), A7r.  Pauli, Auslegung, Teil I (1589), A7r. For the use of rhetoric in early modern Lutheran exegesis and homiletics, see Johann Anselm Steiger, “Rhetorica sacra seu biblica: Johann Matthäus Meyfart (1590 – 1642) und die Defizite der heutigen rhetorischen Homiletik,” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 92 (1995): 517– 558.

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unique. Many aspects of the Lutheran postils on James 1, especially their style, structure, and purpose, are characteristic of Lutheran hermeneutics, homiletics, and the postil genre. Whatever particularities may be found in the homiletical exposition of James 1, they must be seen as part of the greater theological whole and as an exposition that fits into their broader reading of Scripture and biblical hermeneutic of law and gospel. Very often, therefore, themes that appear in the sermons on James are common motifs that appear throughout the postils. For instance, a parallel study of the Lutheran interpretation on the gospel lesson for Sexagesima from Luke 8 and the sermons here on James 1 reveals similar, if not identical, pastoral concerns with a similar set of theological loci.³¹ The repeating themes of the word and its power and the need for Christians to hold fast to it speak loudly of the place James held in Lutheran theology. The resonance in Lutheran sermons of James with other New Testament passages also indicates a shared biblical hermeneutic that Luther and Melanchthon had passed down to later generations. This chapter and the next present the Lutheran postil sermons on James chronologically. By tracing the sermons chronologically from Anton Corvin (1538) to the preacher from Friedburg and Augsburg, Hartmann Creide (1649), I hope to trace a developing tradition of Lutheran preaching for over a century. A chronological approach should help us avoid unnecessary repetition. Certain tropes and points of doctrine are simply confirmed in later postils and do not need to be dealt with at length. However, where developments or nuances occur, these create the contours of the tradition and allow for an appraisal of the Lutheran Auslegungsgeschichte of James 1.

Anton Corvin (1501 – 1553) From 1538 – 1591, Corvin’s postils on the gospel and epistle lessons went through 14 printings. After 1537, and apart from the 14 printings of the complete set, the epistle postils went through 17 additional printings.³² The high demand for Corvin’s postils suggests that his exposition of these texts represents the standard

 See Craig Westendorf, “The Parable of the Sower” (1989) and Patrick T. Ferry, “Preaching on Preaching. Postils, the Predigtamt, and the People in the Lutheran Reformation, 1546 – 1600,” Logia 3, (1994), who both trace the historical nuances and theological themes in Lutheran postils for Sexagesima.  For a count of the publications, see Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 477.

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fare for parish preaching, especially from 1535 – 1550.³³ In his preface, Corvin expresses his intention to shorten Luther’s postils and make them more affordable. Consequently, he warns his readers not to expect anything that they could not also find in Luther’s writings.³⁴

Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 Corvin is yet another Lutheran who could be critical of James while not dismissing the message, and whose critique does not deter a fruitful application of the text. Corvin introduces the Cantate pericope³⁵ with the passing wish that James had established a firmer foundation of faith before exhorting his hearers to good works.³⁶ Corvin also comments, as Luther had, that it is difficult to find one single thread that ties the scopus of the epistle together. From his exposition of the Cantate pericope, however, it seems he must have meant the arrangement of the entire letter. Corvin has the good habit of guiding readers through the various transitions in the text of James. His exegesis of the Cantate sermon moves with relative ease from verse to verse, adding comments like, “which is why James says further” or something similar, to show that there is in fact a logical connection between the verses. Even with his gentle complaint about the letter’s

 Frymire notes that most of editions appeared before 1550, but they remained extremely popular. “In one form or another, Anton Corvin’s postils numbered among the best sellers during the first four decades of the Reformation.” Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 79 – 85; here, 85. After Corvin’s death, it seems that Luther’s House Postils, which included the epistles, and Spangenberg’s German Postils took their place until other postils appeared after 1560.  Corvin, Kurtze Ainfeltige Außlegung der Episteln (1539), A4r. “Das ich aber zu weilen von sachen des glaubens / der liebe / Sacramenten / güten wercken u. rede / wie Lutherus / was ligt daran? Oder soll sich ain discipulus seines preceptoris schämen. Hat er nit all seine lere bißher dahin gerichtet / das er die Prediger vnnd diener des worts vnderweyse / wie sy die Kirchen mit gesunder leere erbawen vnd erhalten sollen?” This confirms what Mary Jane Haemig and Robert Kolb, “Preaching in Lutheran Pulpits,” in Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550 – 1675 (2008), 123 – 24, have pointed out: “These pastors generally followed Luther’s model of doctrine and exhortation, delivering instruction for Christian living on the basis of the call for repentance and proclamation of new life through forgiveness of sins on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection. Their source for the message was Scripture.”  Anton Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung ain feltige Außlegung der Epistolen vnd Euangelien / so auff die Sontage vnd fürnemesten Feste / durch das gantz Jar in der Kirchen gelesen werden. Für die armen Pfarrherren vnd Haußvätter (Augsburg: Valentin Orbmar, 1545), XIIr-XIIIr.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIv. “Wolte aber Got erhet in seiner Epistel / ainen bessern grund des glaubens gelegt / dann er gethon hat / villeicht wer die leer von den wercken darnach baß geratten / Doch wir wöllen den Text beshen.”

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arrangement, he sees the author’s concern for the Christian life and suggests that James writes to those who have heard the gospel but have since become lazy.³⁷ This pericope applies specifically to those who have become lax in their reception of God’s word. Following Althamer’s interpretation of the good gifts and perfect gifts, Corvin says these are the spiritual and earthly blessings that God gives to us. This passage, he argues, speaks against those who would seek to attach our powers or abilities to the doctrine of justification.³⁸ Because the gifts of God are not specifically named in 1:17, Corvin seeks to explain the gifts from the wider context. The language of divine gift and human reception turns Corvin to the topic of prayer, where Christians learn that, regardless of the type of gift, every gift comes from God. The preceding passages from James about the prayer for wisdom are reflected in Corvin’s exposition of the gifts: “Does not Solomon say this in his Proverbs? ‘The Lord gives wisdom and out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.’”³⁹ What becomes apparent is Corvin’s tendency to blur the distinction between the good and perfect gifts, or heavenly and earthly blessings. He focuses instead on the gracious giving of God, who gives us salvation. This, he says, is the reason James calls God “the Father of light.”⁴⁰ Here natural and special revelation are taken seriously as revelation. Corvin seeks to make clear that the things that are made are still phenomena that originate in God as His gracious revelation to humankind. Corvin interprets this overarching grace of God with the metaphor of light. Metaphorically, light means, according to Corvin, to give all good things. And since the light must shine down from above, it follows that everything that is below is darkness.⁴¹ The metaphor of light and darkness thus leads Corvin to teach, in the broadest sense, that good comes from God and evil comes from humans. Rather than introduce Satan as God’s ultimate enemy and man as a victim of satanic deception, man stands in opposition to God. If man has anything good, it must come by God’s revelation. In his explanation of 1:18, Corvin describes the word of truth as the gospel that gives the Spirit, faith, and new birth, yet not with the same thoroughness as we have in Luther. Though he contrasts the sinful birth from Adam with the birth of the word, he offers very little insight into this new birth or what it

 Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIr.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIv.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIv.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIv. Corvin and all other Lutherans follow Luther’s 1534 (Althamer’s 1533) translation.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIv.

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means for Christians. For instance, he follows Althamer’s interpretation insofar as he sees the first fruits as a reference to the Old Testament. But in contrast to Althamer, who saw the first fruits as a reference to the Christian’s sacrificial life under the cross, Corvin gives an obscure reference to Isaiah 14:30 and equates the phrase “first fruits of the poor” with the first fruits of the word, namely, “Spirit, faith, adoption, and a magnificent inheritance.”⁴² Corvin does say that the Spirit and faith “smother and put to death the old Adam and make us first fruits,”⁴³ but the theme remains noticeably underdeveloped. Corvin pauses at 1:19 to explain his uncertainty about this verse’s place in the wider context of James 1. However, he manages to draw two applications from the text that seem to harmonize with the surrounding verses. The phrase “be quick to hear” he applies to those who hear the word.⁴⁴ The phrase “slow to speak” applies to the preaching office as a warning to preachers who carry out their office with no understanding of Scripture: It is true that whoever desires the office of teaching desires a good work, as St. Paul says. Yet one should also see to it that he find himself sure and well prepared for it. For as magnificent as the office is when it is rightly administered, it is equally as destructive when it is entrusted to those who have no understanding of the Scriptures.⁴⁵

Corvin, like Luther, does not take 1:19 as a general admonition but a specific and necessary word to both preachers and hearers. Finally, Corvin describes James’ message of the implanted word at 1:21 as “the apostolic way.”⁴⁶ He does not, however, mention the parable of the sower in Luke 8, as Luther and Althamer had, but instead sees a parallel to Christ’s promise in Luke 11:28, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Since the word is already implanted, one must keep the word, so that one remains godly and will, in the end, be blessed.⁴⁷

 Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIv.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIv.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIIr. “Wenn wir dies wort auff das gehört des worts ziehen / so reimt sichs zimlich / nemlich / das das die mainung sey / Die weil Gottes wort / gaist vnnd glauben bringt / kinder vnd erben Gotts macht / so ist es auch billich / das wirs geren hören / also / das man zühören in desem fal genaigter sey dann züreden.”  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIIr.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIIr.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XIIIr. “Dann wo das geschicht / da kan man fromb beleiben / vnnd auch enndtlich selig werde.”

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Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 In his second sermon on James,⁴⁸ Corvin again raises the complaint that James preaches too much about the righteousness of works. His introduction to the lesson represents Luther’s critique with precision. He argues that James is undeserving of high praise, because “he forgets to preach about faith.”⁴⁹ Corvin warns that by preaching works without preaching faith, one drives people to hypocrisy rather than true piety.⁵⁰ He then uses Paul’s metaphor from 1 Corinthians 3 to advise preachers not to make the same mistake as James: For this reason, each preacher should take care to lay first a firm foundation of faith before he begins to build on it with gold, silver, or precious stone. Otherwise it will go for you as it would for ny man who started to built a costly tower, but never calculated the cost upfront. It will go to ruin.⁵¹

The preacher must first establish faith and then preach good works, which according to Corvin, James does not do. However, in his exposition, Corvin is convinced that James’ words apply to those who believe and have been born anew. At 1:22– 24, “be doers of the word and do not deceive yourselves,” Corvin says that these admonitions are necessary for those who have heard the gospel and been taught the nature of faith. Thus the message of James was appropriate for Corvin’s readership: “It certainly pleases me, especially in these evil and wicked times, that after the doctrine of faith one diligently preaches works.”⁵² And this, he argues, is just what James does: [When James says be doers of the word] is he thinking of the works that humans have invented and thrown into justification? No, he speaks only of the works that are in God’s word and inscribed in the gospel, just as Christ says, ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.’⁵³

Corvin notably does not speak about works of the law, but of the works that flow from the gospel and faith.

     

Corvin, Corvin, Corvin, Corvin, Corvin, Corvin,

Kvrtze Kvrtze Kvrtze Kvrtze Kvrtze Kvrtze

außlegung außlegung außlegung außlegung außlegung außlegung

der der der der der der

Episteln Episteln Episteln Episteln Episteln Episteln

(1545), (1545), (1545), (1545), (1545), (1545),

XIVv—XVv. XVr. XVr. XVr. XVr. XVr.

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His interpretation of the word as gospel is clear from his reading of 1:25 concerning the law of liberty: “The gospel is called here the perfect law of liberty; since when was the law of Moses ever called perfect?”⁵⁴ To look into the law of liberty, according to Corvin, means to look in faith on the gospel and recognize the works that proceed from the gospel. Corvin is careful not to interpret the law of liberty as moral or natural law, since that would mean a person can be saved by doing the law. Can I be saved by my doing? Then what was Christ doing here on earth? Why did He send us His Spirit? I say it again, it’s good to demand the works that are written in Scripture. The fruit on the tree has to show whether the tree is good or bad. But I cannot ascribe salvation to works and take away from the merits of Christ.⁵⁵

With a proof from Genesis 15:6 that faith alone justifies, Corvin also hints at his interpretation of James 2:21– 24. He suggests that James should be understood not as addressing the works themselves, but rather as presenting the source of the works, namely, faith from which works must flow.⁵⁶ The works that James teaches are those commanded in Scripture, as 1:26 – 27 clearly demonstrates, and not works of human invention.⁵⁷ James, Corvin argues, contradicts the Roman Catholic practice of forbidding people to do godly works of humility in favor of man-made rituals. However, considering the animosity between Lutherans and Catholics, it may be surprising to hear Corvin’s deep desire to have unity with his opponents on the teaching of good works: We agree with our opponents that one should and must do good works, if only one does not mix them in with justification. […]. It would be much better if we could agree on that. So then, we will pray that God grant this unity, because perhaps by His grace more can still come about than we believe possible.⁵⁸

 Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XVr.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XVr.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XVr. Corvin explains why works cannot be ascribed to salvation: “Eben darumb / das die Schrifft sagt / Abraham glaubt Got / vnd ist jm gerechnet zür gerechtigkait. […]. Doch kan man disem Text also helffen / das man sage / Sanct Jacob hab nicht so seer auf dz werck / als auf den brunnen / darauß das werck fliessen müß / gesehen / wie zü weilen / an anndern örtern die Schrifft auch thüt.”  Corvin and all later postillers make this same point concerning these verses, and draw on the arguments of Luther’s 1520 treatise Von den guten Wercken. WA 6, 202– 276.  Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XVr.

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Corvin demonstrates that, for all their heated polemics against the Catholics, some Lutherans still held out hope that the Lord could bring about unity in the church. This comment should carry special weight coming from Corvin, who would adamantly oppose concessions to the doctrine of justification during the interims (1547/48) and would finally be arrested for his resistance (1549 – 1552).⁵⁹ Corvin tempers our modern tendency to magnify the divide between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in the sixteenth century. Insomuch as the division was unavoidable, it was also regrettable. In summary, Corvin’s postils, though brief, had a wide audience and were used by many pastors throughout Germany. His criticisms of James are tempered by his application of the text. However, at critical junctures of the text, his treatment is too scant or lacks the necessary precision to indicate what pastors were taking from it. For example, it is difficult to say exactly how Corvin distinguishes between law and gospel in James 1:22– 25. His postils on James—however influential they may have been in the mid-sixteenth century—are not decisive enough to make the important exegetical and dogmatic distinctions required to decipher the text faithfully.

Johann Spangenberg (1484 – 1550) Johann Spangenberg was a friend of Luther, a church and school reformer of Nordhausen, and served the last four years of his life as Superintendent in Eisleben. Besides Luther, Spangenberg was the most popular Lutheran postiller in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His Postilla for Young Christian Boys and Girls, composed in Question-and-Answer Form (1542 – 44)⁶⁰ was a best-seller and went through over forty editions before 1620.⁶¹ Written in question-and-answer form for young people, and following the pattern of Luther’s Small Catechism, the popularity of his postils indicates that many found them to be an edifying way to learn the pericopes of the church year. Frymire reports criticisms from Roman Catholics who accused Spangenberg of plagiarizing Corvin’s postils and changing the format.⁶² In order to accept such a criticism we need to see

 Adolf Brecher, “Corvinus, Antonius,” ADB 4:508 – 509.  I consulted a later (and elegantly set) edition: Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683). An English translation of Spangenberg’s postils by Matthew Carver has recently been published by Concordia Publishing House (2014), though I did not consult it.  Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 508.  Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 277. “In Catholic circles Spangenberg, like the bestselling Corvin, had been accused of taking a late medieval short postil, plagiarizing its basic

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whether Spangenberg made any significant adjustments to Corvin’s exposition. James, of course, will be our case study. Before doing that, however, we should understand the changing circumstances that faced parishes and pastors in the mid-sixteenth century. Luther’s preface to Spangenberg’s work offers us some valuable insights. His preface may also suggest how Lutherans naturally came to appreciate the message of James and see its value for the life of the church.

Luther’s Preface to Spangenberg’s Postils In his preface,⁶³ Luther instructs readers, especially pastors, to continue their study of Holy Scripture, since it is easy to fancy oneself a master. Luther recalls that when he first became a doctor, he thought he knew the Scriptures well and, for that reason, was puzzled by Paul’s description of the gospel as a mystery (Eph. 3:3 – 4). In the wisdom of old age, however, Luther gives thanks to God that he has become a student again.⁶⁴ His preface is of interest to the discussion of James based on his admonition to receive the word. In it, Luther acknowledges the tension between the perspicuity of God’s word and the word’s inexhaustible treasury of divine wisdom. Just as the same Christ is both tangible in the manger and on the cross and utterly intangible at the right hand of power, so also the word is the clearest revelation and greatest mystery at the same time. There is nothing more revelatory and yet more hidden. Nothing is more easily grasped than Christ in the manger and on the cross. Yet nothing is harder to grasp than Christ at the right hand of God and Lord over all. That is also the case with the word that is preached concerning Him.⁶⁵

contents, and corrupting it with Lutheran poison. Spangenberg was further charged with lifting entire sentences from Corvin’s work.”  WA 53, 216 – 218; Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), A3rA3v.  WA 53, 216, 5 – 14 (Preface to Johann Spangenberg, Postilla Deutsch vom Advent bis auf Ostern). “Solchs hielt ich vor zeiten, da ich ein Doctor der heiligen schrifft mich must nennen lassen, fur ein schlechte rede, die ich seer wol verstuende, Aber nu ich (Gott lob) widerumb ein armer Schueler worden bin jnn der heiligen Schrifft und je lenger je weniger kan, hebe ich an, solche wort wuenderlich anzusehen, Und finde aus der erfarung diese Glose, das es muesse ein geheymnis heissen. Denn so helle und klar die Apostel (auch mit wunderzeichen) davon predigten, noch bleibs verborgen und heimlich den aller hoehesten und kluegsten Leuten auff Erden, wie er spricht Matth. am 11. Ca.: ‘Du hast solchs verborgen den weisen und klugen, aber offenbart den kindern’ etc.”  WA 53, 217, 1– 5.

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Although the Scriptures are clear and enlighten the heart, Luther says that no one can master them in this life, not only because the devil, the world, and the sinful flesh never cease to stifle, steal, and smother the clear and yet profound message of Christ, but also because the riches of God’s word are indeed inexhaustible. Concerned that pastors were becoming complacent with their sermon preparation, Luther admonishes preachers not to use books like Spangenberg’s as a substitute for their own prayer and study in the Sacred Scriptures, since they will be unprepared to defend themselves against the attacks of the devil, world, and flesh.⁶⁶ In order to make known the mystery, Luther urges pastors to search out the mystery for themselves in the Scriptures. Then they must preach, even if it only reaches a certain few. As he had done in his sermons on James 1, Luther uses the parable of the sower to describe the life of the church and the vocation of preachers.⁶⁷ Preachers must learn to let the devil and the world go their way, and not try to cater to itching ears or preach the mystery as though it were discernible to human reason. The mystery of the gospel, Luther says in the words of Christ and St. Paul (Matt. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:21), will be hidden from the wise and revealed to fools and children. The preacher does not have to tamper with the mystery, so that it appeals, but preach it to the children that they may believe, which is just what Spangenberg claims to do.

Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 Spangenberg does not criticize James or raise any doubts about the letter’s content or scope, as Corvin had. He teaches that this pericope has a twofold pur-

 WA 53, 218, 3 – 13. “Aber gleichwol sind widerumb etliche faule Pfarrher und Prediger auch nicht gut, die sich auff solche und ander mehr gute buecher verlassen, das sie eine predigt draus koennen nemen, Beten nicht, Studiren nicht, lesen nicht, trachten nichts jnn der Schrifft, gerade als mueste man die Biblia darumb nicht lesen, brauchen solcher buecher und Calender, jhre jerliche narung zuverdienen, Und sind nichts denn Pfittich oder Dolen, die unverstendlich nach reden lernen, So doch unser und solcher Theologen meinung diese ist, sie damit jnn die Schrifft zu weisen, und zu vermanen, das sie dencken sollen, auch selbs unsern Christlichen glauben nach unserm tode zu verteidigen widder den Teuffel, Welt und fleisch. Denn wir werden nicht ewiglich an der spitzen stehen, wie wir jtzt stehen.”  WA 53, 217, 26 – 30. Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), A2v —A3r. “Summa: Wir muessen die welt und Teuffel lassen jren laufft lauffen, Und mit predigen, schelten, vermanen jmer anhalten umb dere willen, so solch geheymnis sollen erkennen. Den andern ists gepredigt, wie der regen ins wasser fellt oder, wie unser Herr sagt, an den weg geseet wird, Es wil doch das geheimnis allein auff dem vierden teil des Ackers frucht bringen.”

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pose: to urge Christians to good works and to warn preachers not to become greedy—an application that reflects Spangenberg’s duties as a church superintendent.⁶⁸ He then suggests a threefold division of James’ argument: (1) that God is the source of all good for body and soul, including our new birth in Holy Baptism; (2) how we should hear God’s word and how it should be preached; and (3) what fruits should spring forth from the preached word.⁶⁹ We have already compared briefly Spangenberg’s exposition of 1:17– 18 with Althamer and Luther in chapter one,⁷⁰ and discovered that he brings them together to speak about the preached word as the regenerative heavenly seed. As with Althamer and Corvin, the gifts of God are for the body and the soul, to the exclusion of human effort and reason. All things good are rightfully ascribed to God. Spangenberg assigns the bodily gifts under the blessings of God’s creation. Characteristic of what we have seen thus far, the spiritual blessings are manifold: “Piety, kindness, faith, love, righteousness, grace, humility, the word of God, the gospel, baptism, the testament of Christ, patience under the cross, and the other fruits of the Spirit.”⁷¹ Spangenberg notably avoids making a sharp distinction between faith and its fruits, namely, love, kindness, piety, etc. All of these divine gifts, justification and sanctification, the good tree and its good fruit, demonstrate that “God alone makes us godly, righteous, holy, and blessed, not our free will, not our reason or best intentions, not our work or merit.”⁷² James 1:17, therefore, serves as a foundational argument to exclude human works not only from the doctrine of justification but also from sanctification and new obedience. Spangenberg notably passes over the discussion of God’s nature from 1:17. He mentions that God is pure light and does not shift in darkness. However, Spangenberg uses the phrase “the Father of light” to contrast God’s eternal wisdom with human wisdom, and to confess that God illumines us with His divine light, truth, and wisdom.⁷³ Spangenberg thus interprets 1:17 as a reference to the illumination of man and a right knowledge of God by means of God’s word, rather than as a reference to God’s nature and will. He also makes no defense against the Manichean heresy that sin originates in God—a concern that

 Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 359.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 359 – 360.  See pp. 46 – 48.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 360.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 360.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 361. “Unser Weisheit wird offt durch Jrrthum verdunckelt / bey GOtt aber ist die ewige Warheit / darum heisset er auch der Vatter deß Liechtes / Brunn deß Lebens / und der Schatz aller Weisheit.”

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appears in later postils in response to the Calvinistic doctrines of God and double predestination. We find at 1:19 that the Roman Catholic charge that Spangenberg copied Corvin is not without grounds. Spangenberg clearly borrows from Corvin in his interpretation of 1:19, to show that the preaching office is a glorious office when carried out rightly and destructive if carried out by those who have no understanding of the Scriptures.⁷⁴ Echoing Luther’s preface, Spangenberg warns that pastors must remain students of Scripture: “You first have to study thoroughly before you teach others, so that you don’t become school masters before becoming students or preach before first becoming competent and called to do so.”⁷⁵ He differs from Corvin, however, in that he treads lightly in his application to the hearers of the word in 1:19 – 20. It may simply be a difference in their intended audience. Spangenberg applies James’ exhortation to be slow to wrath explicitly to young preachers who are criticized for their long and sloppy sermons. Rather than snapping in anger, they should take the criticism, look to improve, and not allow such things to sow discord in the congregation.⁷⁶ Spangenberg does not entirely neglect the reference to hearers in 1:21, who must put away all wickedness and receive the implanted word. Drawing as he had at 1:18 on the parable of the sower, he urges Christians to clear the stones and thorns of wickedness from their hearts and to put away the old Adam with all his evil lusts and desires. The person who has received the seed of the divine word and grace is not able to follow after wicked desires: “For what do Christ and Belial, light and darkness have in common? (2. Cor. 6[:15]).”⁷⁷ According to Spangenberg, then, the exhortation of James to put away evil and receive the word addresses the new man and not, as it were, a neutral creature who could choose between good and evil. The tree is either good or bad. In summary of the pericope, Spangenberg gives again a synopsis of James’ teaching. He urges Christians to ascribe, as James does, every good thing to God. Spangenberg also introduces for the first time in his exposition of James 1 the distinction between two kinds of righteousness, which would guide later Lutheran interpretations of James 2. The righteousness of faith that allows a person to stand before God has been given completely in baptism. But the righteous-

 Corvin, Kvrtze außlegung der Episteln (1545), XII v; Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 362.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 362.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 362.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 362.

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ness of works that is demonstrated before the world must still be learned.⁷⁸ Spangenberg then follows the argument of James, to teach what these works are. The baptized Christian learns the righteousness of works by repenting of anger and anything that would prevent one from receiving the word with patience. “Prepare your hearts, says St. James, to make it a good field, so that the implanted word will stay planted, grow roots, and produce fruit.”⁷⁹ For Spangenberg, as for Luther and others, James 1:17– 21 leads him to teach that the righteousness of works or new obedience is completely dependent on the word, which has the power to save souls and produce fruit that lasts to eternal life.

Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 In his Rogate sermon, Spangenberg explains the purpose or scopus of the entire letter. He does not deal with faith or the righteousness of faith, but the righteousness of works, and rails against those who think they are righteous and blessed alone per fidem historicam, when they confess with their mouth the articles of faith concerning the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, but do not have the fruits of faith that follow. Such people have always been around, and they still are.⁸⁰

Spangenberg’s interpretation of James on this point recalls the strong influence that the epistle had on Melanchthon’s argumentation in Article IV of the Apology about true faith and true worship of God.⁸¹ Two things stand out in this sermon: Spangenberg’s explanation of being a doer of the word, which he interprets to be true worship (Gottesdienst), and the role of the mirror of God’s word in the Christian life. Spangenberg says that a doer of the word not only speaks rightly of God.

 Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 363. “Und dieweil sie durch die Tauffe sind Kinder GOttes worden / und haben die Gerechtigkeit des Glaubens / so vor GOtt gilt / wol gelehret / sollen sie auch die Gerechtigkeit der Werck / so vor den Menschen gilt / lernen.”  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 363.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 371.  Ap IV, 48 – 60, in BSLK, 169 – 172.

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You must also find yourself in true faith and in a new life, not only hearing the word with your ears, but also holding the word in your heart and use it [ins Werk bringen], as Christ says in Luke 11: Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.⁸²

Spangenberg again speaks of works as a product of the word and faith, and not something that originates in the will or is prodded by the law. The works that follow faith, however, are closely related to the first table of the law and right worship. Spangenberg says, “It’s not enough to hear. You also have to latch onto the word and guard it, use it and direct your whole life according to it. Now if you want to bring your faith to light with your works, be sure to do the works that God has written in His word.”⁸³ In contrast to the Catholic superstitions, as he calls them, Spangenberg urges true works and true worship from God’s word, which includes trusting God above all things (First Commandment) and caring for widows and orphans (1:27; the second table of the law). The Christian must, therefore, study the word and to look into it as into a mirror. Concerning the image of the mirror, Spangenberg declares, This is a superb simile, for just as a person’s image in a mirror is soon forgotten when one turns away, so it is with a lazy hearer of the word [umb einen bösen Zuhörer], who does not truly take it in and hold God’s word constantly in his heart and direct his whole life according to the gospel.⁸⁴

His comments are significant, because Spangenberg sees the mirror as projecting back the image of the gospel. The mirror is not a legal demand, but a reflection of the whole Christian life conformed to the gospel message. For Spangenberg, and for many other Lutheran interpreters after him, the law of liberty is a technical term for the gospel. He asks, “Why does James call it a perfect law of liberty?” Drawing on Corvin, he responds, He calls it perfect because the gospel is a perfect doctrine that alone makes the human conscience free and happy. Since when was the law of Moses perfected? If the law could have made people righteous, godly, and perfect then, as St. Paul says, it would not have been necessary for Christ to come into the world to give another doctrine, namely, the gospel, through which the law is annulled [auffgehaben].⁸⁵

 Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 372.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 372.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 372.  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 372; auffgehaben = aufgehoben. DWb, 1:653 – 656.

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Spangenberg continues the metaphor by connecting James’ words and the early image of the implanted word to Psalm 1. He says: “Whoever hears God’s word and the gospel and holds it before his eyes like a mirror and, as Psalm 1 says, never turns it away from his eyes is like a tree planted by steams of living water that produces fruit at the proper time.”⁸⁶ For Spangenberg, the law of liberty is gospel in the wide sense, which includes repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, gospel is here synonymous with the Torah of Psalm 1. Thus far we have seen Luther use the mirror typically as the revealing power of the law to show sin, though sometimes he applies a broader understanding of the word to include the gospel. Spangenberg, who tends to fix the interpretation of the word, mirror, and law of liberty to the gospel, as Althamer and Corvin had done, also hints that the law of liberty could be interpreted broadly as Torah, and therefore includes the law. Spangenberg’s intentional introduction of Psalm 1 into the interpretation of the law of liberty is, as far as I can tell, a refining of the interpretive tradition of this passage. After Spangenberg, it becomes characteristic of Lutheran interpreters in the sixteenth and seventeenth century to equate the “word” in James 1:18 – 25 with the Torah.⁸⁷ The word of which James speaks is a mirror that causes the mind to brighten with the knowledge of sin, God’s will, and God’s grace in Christ. This multifaceted application of the mirror will be picked up and developed by later postillers with familiar imprints of Lutheran theology.

Lucas Lossius (1508 – 1582) Lucas Lossius, Lüneburg schoolmaster and Lutheran hymnist, wrote pericopic textbooks for his Latin school students in an effort to teach the faith and the

 Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 373 ff.  In his influential hermeneutical works, the seventeenth-century Lutheran and student of Johann Gerhard, Salomo Glass, teaches that according to Psalm 119:105 the word of God, Torah, is light and brightens the mind. Glass offers a philological explanation of the verb ‫ ָי ִ֗איר‬, a hiphal form of ‫אוֹר‬, from Psalm 119:130 and shows that the word itself causes light in the mind (illuminat). Salomo Glass, Christlicher Glauben=Grund. Das ist / Deutliche Ausführung / daß allein die H. Schrifft der Christilichen Lehr / Glaubens und Lebens / waares principium, vester Grund / sichere Regel / und unbetriegliche Richtschnur; Hingegen aber / was dißfals von des Papsts und desselben Kirchen autorität / item von traditionen / Kirchenbräuchen / Vätern / Concilien etc. von alten und neuen Päpstischen Scribenten / vorgegeben wird / falsch / irrig und verführisch sey (Nürnberg: Wolfgang Endter, 1654), 76.

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artes of grammar, logic, and rhetoric simultaneously.⁸⁸ These influential Latin expositions indicate that many young people were being taught to interpret and explain James 1. Lossius divides up his treatment of each pericope into five parts:⁸⁹ (1) a fourlined poem (tetrastichon) that students should memorize as a summary of the epistle lesson; (2) the argumentum of the text, usually no more than 20 lines, which explains the main points of doctrine in the pericope; (3) the Vulgate translation of the pericope; (4) the explicatio of the text, in which Lossius gives a fuller exegesis of the pericope and draws on examples from the rest of Scripture;⁹⁰ and (5) objections and solutions from other places in Scripture, in which Lossius trains his students in biblical logic using syllogisms and giving them the opportunity to compare, contrast, and harmonize those passages of Scripture that appear to disagree with the text.

Cantate: James 1:16 – 27 The Tetrastichon that students were to learn by heart for Cantate Sunday appears as follows, with a loose translation below: Dat bona uera Deus, perfectaque munera solus: Ipse sed interitus est homo causa sibi.

 Lucas Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae, quae per curriculum totius anni leguntur in Ecclesia, diebus dominicis et sanctorum festis praecipuis, Graece: Cum brevibus eorum argumentis, scholiis, et difficiliorum thematum investigationibus (Frankfurt am Main: Christian Egenolff, 1590). The original appeared in print in 1566. I came across two other editions in 1578 and 1590, and cite the 1590 edition. Frymire comments on the didactic nature of Lossius’ work that “these textbooks were limited to those who attended Latin grammar schools, but they are indicative of relentless efforts to combine instruction in the artes with religious indoctrination.” Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 163.  This is a correction to Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 490 – 491, who admits that he did not have the opportunity to consult Lossius’ text. He relies on the division of the gospel pericopes given by W. Görges, “Lucas Lossius, ein Schulmann des 16. Jahrhunderts,” in Programm des Johanneums zu Lüneburg zur Feier des funfzigjährigen Bestehens der Realschule und der funfzigjährigen Amtsthätigkeit der Oberlehrers und Inspektors Karl-Friedrich August Kühns am 15. Oktober 1884 (Lüneburg, 1884), 3 – 23. According to Görges, Lossius divides up each text into seven parts, but this only applies to his gospel expositions. The two extra divisions for the gospel pericopes contain a numbered list of doctrinal summaries from the text and then a second list of the most important dogmatic loci.  His explication of James 1:16 – 21 for Cantate is, for example, six pages long on octavo leaf.

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Viuifico genuit sancti nos semine uerbi, Vt donet nobis coelica dona, Deus.⁹¹ God alone gives truly good and perfect gifts, While man alone caused his own destruction. God gave us birth by the life-giving seed of His holy word, And now bestows on us His heavenly gifts.

According to Lossius, the main argumentum of James 1:16 – 21 concerns God’s good and perfect gifts to body and soul. After dispelling any misunderstandings that God could be the creator of evil or sin, Lossius emphasizes that the heavenly gifts are gifts with location. They can be found in this life and have, as it were, a distribution center. In the church (in ecclesia), Lossius argues, God alone is the Maker and Preserver (conditor et conseruator) of all good things, to whom we must pray and expect all blessings for body and soul.⁹² Even the gifts of the body are received rightly only through the revelation of the word, which God has caused to shine in His church through the preaching office and must not be extinguished by immodesty or wrath.⁹³ The connection between the preservation of the body and the proclamation of the word reflects Luther’s catechetical insight into the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, a text Lossius’ students would have known: “God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.”⁹⁴ Further echoes of the Catechism appear in Lossius’ exposition. According to Lossius, James exhorts us to study and meditate on the word, whose light God uses to call, gather, and enlighten His church.⁹⁵ A running theme throughout his exposition of James 1:16 – 21 is Luther’s explanation to the Third Article of the Creed⁹⁶ which locates the divine gifts of faith, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life in Christendom (Christenheit) through the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments. The ecclesial dimensions of Lossius’ exposition become clear from his interpretation of the heavenly gifts. Like other expositors, Lossius lists a variety of spiritual blessings that God gives, but his list signifies a more comprehensive  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 179v.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 179v.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 179v.  SC III:4, in BSLK, 513.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 179v. “Deinde hortatur ad studium & meditationem uerbi Dei, cuius lucem, inter caetera coelestia beneficia Deus per filium suum, rursus accendit, & per eam colligit Ecclesiam, eamque regenerat ad haereditatem uitae aeternae.”  SC II:3, in BSLK, 512.

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and stable view of the church and her marks. “Spiritual gifts,” he writes, “include true knowledge of God, righteousness, forgiveness of sins, faith, the doctrine of the gospel, the sacraments, true teachers of the church, patience under the cross, love for the neighbor, and other fruits of the Spirit, which St. Paul lists in Galatians 5.”⁹⁷ Lossius summarizes 1:18 – 21 as an exhortation for Christians to walk in newness of life. The new life, he explains, is filled with all manner of virtue (purity, gentleness, temperance, etc.), since there are fruits of the gospel’s proclamation among believers.⁹⁸ The virtuous life of the Christian, however, is not dependent on them according to 1:21. Rather, “the Holy Spirit who is received through the external voice of the gospel [per externam uocem Euangelij], is effective in the minds, kindles faith, by which we are justified, that is, we are accepted by God freely through the mediation and renewal of the mind, so that we receive a new understanding of the law of God, etc.”⁹⁹ The external voice of the gospel, therefore, brings the Christian to a right understanding of the law. This point, that the causa finalis of the eternal gospel is merely to understand the law rightly, deserves further consideration, since it appears to contradict Luther. Lossius does not explain the phrase any further in his argumentum, nor does he return to it in his explication of the text. But since the third use of the law is such an important development within Lutheranism, we should keep it in view as we track later interpreters. What we discover in Lossius is an arrangement of James 1:16 – 21 that follows step for step the order of the Augsburg Confession, Articles IV-VII: the word of the gospel creates faith and regenerates (IV); but since this creative word needs to be preached to create faith, God established the preaching office (V); the preaching of the gospel, when it creates faith also produces fruits in the Christian life (VI), and the Holy Spirit calls and gathers the church through the preaching of the gospel and the right administration of the sacraments (VII). As mentioned above, Lossius gives his students objections to the text in the form of syllogisms. For this pericope, Lossius gives biblical objections concerning the cause of sin, temptation, and the wrath of man.¹⁰⁰ For the latter, he gives the examples of Christ’s wrath against the moneychangers in the temple and

 Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 181. This appears in Lossius’ explication of the text.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 180r.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 180r. “Nam spiritus sanctus, qui per externam uocem Euangelij accipitur, est efficax in mentibus, accendit fidem, qua iusti, hoc est, accepti sumus Deo, gratis, per mediatorem, & revouat mentes, ut concipiant nouos motus consentientes legi Dei, &c.”  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 183v-184v.

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Moses’ wrath against Korah’s rebellion. For the sake of argument and exercise, Lossius concludes that, on account of their anger, Christ and Moses did not produce the righteousness of God. Students were supposed to study the syllogisms and follow Lossius’ logical critique of the objection based on further arguments from Scripture.

Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 Lossius gives the following summary (Tetrastichon) of the lesson for his students to learn by heart. Again an English translation is offered below. Quid tibi uirtutis laudem, quid nomina sumis, Qui fructus nullos religionis habet? Sis uerbi effector, non sis auditor inanis, Est pietas factis uera probanda bonis.¹⁰¹ For what virtue shall I praise you? What name do you bear, You, who are bare of religion’s fruits? If you are a doer of the word, listen with care, For true piety is marked by good deeds.

By the time of Lossius, this has become the standard Lutheran interpretation of these verses. Lossius expresses the power of the gospel from James according to its manifestation by works. Faith receives the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and eternal life and is followed by fruits. Whenever fruits are lacking, so is faith; otherwise faith becomes merely an assent to the truthfulness of the gospel without real trust in in the merits of Christ pro me. Lossius targets the dangers of this historical knowledge of Christ and reprimands those who think that they are saved “tantium propter externam profeßionem doctrinae Christi, nulla interim testimonia uerae pietatis seu fidei edentes, sed in peccatis perseuerantes contra conscientiam.”¹⁰² Consequently, those who persist in sin against conscience cannot be saved. The text of James prompts Lossius here to describe the effect of the gospel as the production of works: “True faith in the gospel is efficacious [efficax] through good works.”¹⁰³ He asserts first that these must be works prescribed in the word of God, and then says that the Holy Spirit works effectually in the hearts (in mentibus) of the regenerate “by mortifying carnal lusts and doing

 Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 185r.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 185r.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 185r.

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good works of all kinds, which James clearly lists here: believing the gospel, to remain constant in confessing it, to bridle the tongue, visit orphans and widows, and to keep oneself unstained from the world, etc.”¹⁰⁴ The effect of the gospel, through which the Holy Spirit works in the heart and produces good works, caused Lutherans to view James not as a moral tract but as a book with rich apostolic theology. The greatest of these works is, as Luther put it in his famous tract On Good Works (1520), faith in Christ.¹⁰⁵ James’ rebuke that merely hearing the word is not salvific leads Lossius to describe a brief ordo salutis concerning the nature of the gospel: “For the Holy Spirit is not efficacious except through the external voice of the gospel. Therefore [James] adds the exhortation to obey the word.”¹⁰⁶ The obedience to the word is, says Lossius, twofold: “First is faith, that we assent [assentiamur] to the gospel, then comes the newness of life, that our way of life [mores] agrees with the law of God and that we do not persist in sin against our conscience.”¹⁰⁷ Thus Lossius agrees that the word determines both faith and life (fides et mores). The holistic treatment of the effects of the gospel, however, is not a blending of justification and sanctification. Although Lossius interprets the works that follow faith as a product of the gospel and, in that way, a divine work, they are not the basis for salvation, as he explains in his second syllogism. This second syllogism is instructive for understanding these distinctions (or lack of distinctions) in his explanation of being a doer of the word. Is James admonishing us to become doers of the law, doers of the gospel, or, in some way, doers of both? Lossius gives the following syllogism of antecedent and consequence to explain the charge that James teaches a righteousness of works: Concerning the Righteousness of Works. [Antecedent] James says: The doer of the word will be blessed in his doing. [Consequence] Therefore, blessedness or eternal life is granted on account of obedience to the law or good works merit eternal life. I respond to the antecedent with the following distinction: James understands here universal obedience, not only to the law, but most especially [maxime] to the gospel. This obedience is true faith that assents [assentiens] to the gospel and newness of life follows it. Now concerning preservation, which is also necessary for salvation, as Christ says, ‘Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.’ The gift of eternal life, however, is not attributed to good works or

 Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 185r.  WA 6, 204, 25 – 26 (Von den guten Wercken, 1520). “Czum andern, Das erste und hochste, aller edlist gut werck ist der glaube in Christum.”  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 185v.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 186r.

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new obedience as by merit. And because obedience is imperfect and impure, Paul too calls eternal life a gift of God in Romans 6[:22].¹⁰⁸

Lossius’ addition of preservation as part of salvation here, which he draws from James’ admonition to remain (permanserit) with the law of liberty, may be more perceptive exegetically than it looks at first glance. According to James, the life of the Christian and true faith implies the reality of the sacred cross; Christians must keep themselves unstained from the world (James 1:27) and, if they should suffer, then “count it all joy” (James 1:2). Lossius thus sees the good works and the new life flowing from faith not as a merit of action but as a willing and joyful reception of the cross. Finally, we consider Lossius’ interpretation of the mirror. He interprets both the mirror and the law of liberty strictly as gospel. It comes as no surprise that he interprets the law of liberty as gospel, since Althamer and Corvin did the same, while Luther did not exclude the application of the gospel. In a similar fashion to Althamer and Corvin, he argues that the law of liberty cannot mean the law of Moses, because the law of Moses accuses and damns consciences on account of sin.¹⁰⁹ Lossius’ interpretation of the mirror is, however, an anomaly in the interpretive tradition. He gives no suggestion that the mirror could reflect the law of God to bring about repentance. Instead, he argues that the one who looks into the mirror “is the one who diligently hears the gospel and from it discerns the will of God.”¹¹⁰ Lossius thus confirms Spangenberg’s suggestion that the mirror reflects the gospel and ascribes the doing of the word to the effects of the gospel, while ignoring the possibility that the mirror shows us our sin. If he were aware of Luther’s exposition, this would be a clear departure from it. Lossius is somewhat exceptional as a postiller insofar as his postils were intended to be exercises that wed the arts and faith for Latin school boys. His exposition of James lacks the pastoral tone of some other postils. For example, Luther’s insight into the two ages and the struggle of conscience over the now-and-not-yet nature of God’s promises finds no place in Lossius’ exposition. But whatever Lossius lacks in broader pastoral application, he makes up for with didactic clarity and precision. For young students, the practice of working through Lossius’ syllogisms and clear expositions year after year would serve as the basis for their biblical hermeneutic. His thorough exposition of the pericopes, including James 1, would have become ingrained in the minds of the educated. Frymire notes, “As

 Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 188v – 189r.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 187r.  Lossius, Evangelia et Epistolae (1590), 186v.

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a result of such drilling year after year, educated laypersons could be expected to attend sermons well informed of the pericopes and their exegesis. Such scriptural passages were, indeed, integral to their religious culture.”¹¹¹

David Chytraeus (1530 – 1600) The Rostock professor and later contributor to the Formula of Concord, David Chytraeus, wrote his postil at the request of his young university students, just as his colleague Simon Pauli would do a decade later. For his eager students, Chytraeus prepared in Melanchthonian fashion a loci exposition of each pericope, Dispositio Epistolarum (1563).¹¹² Unlike the detailed pedagogy of Lossius, which was intended to train students in the logic of the Scriptures, Chytraeus’ postils are arranged to guide future pastors in their sermon preparation and to help them quickly discern what articles of faith are taught in each lesson, so as not to lose the forest among the trees. He typically offers readers the main articles of faith taught in the pericopes and divides them up into a collection of loci.

Cantate: James 1:16 – 27 Chytraeus’ exposition of James 1:16 – 21 confirms what we have seen thus far. His Dispositio or arrangement of the pericope falls into five loci: (1) concerning the cause of sin and the immutability of God and His gifts; (2) concerning regeneration; (3) concerning the humility to learn rather than teach; (4) concerning wrath; and (5) concerning the reception of the word. Two points stand out from an otherwise straightforward explanation of the text. First, Chytraeus makes the necessary pastoral observation that Christians still struggle with the inborn sin of which James speaks in 1:13 – 15.¹¹³ Without that insight, young preachers may be tempted to think that truly regenerate Christians would not struggle daily with carnal desires. He therefore urges his students to preach

 Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 163.  Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563). Frymire reports that an English translation was published in London in 1570. Dauid Chytraeus, A Postil or orderly disposing of certeine Epistles usually red in the Church of God, vppon the Sundayes and Holydayes throughout the whole yeere, trans. Arthur Golding (London: H. Bynneman, 1570).  Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 233 – 234. “Haec concupiscentiam etiam in renatis saepe cue fomes concipit et gignit peccata actualia […].”

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the simul iustus et peccator that is so central to Lutheran theology and pastoral care. Second, Chytraeus, commenting on 1:18 concerning regeneration, argues that the effects of the new birth cannot be relegated to moral behavior. The result of the new birth is a life of worship and faith: out of the pure and incorruptible seed, through the word of the living God we have been regenerated, as if recreated to live a new, spiritual, and eternal life that consists of a true knowledge of God, of calling on Him rightly [vera invocatio Dei], of resting in Him [acquiescens] with real trust, of true love and true obedience, all of which are the most acceptable sacrifices and worship of God.¹¹⁴

As we have noted in others and should by now recognize as common to all Lutheran expositors, Chytraeus, too, sees the Christian life active in faith and love as a result of the creative word of God. Chytraeus picks up on Luther’s emphasis on hearing the externum verbum as God’s means of sanctifying Christians and bringing about a holy life. The word is the cause of change in the res (the tree) and is therefore also the cause of its propria (the fruits).¹¹⁵ For Luther, as well as for Chytraeus, the works that flow from a righteous person, such as true knowledge of God and right worship, are gifts of the gospel. “Even confession and thanksgiving is a gift received from [God]. How much more the gifts for which we give thanks!”¹¹⁶

Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 Chytraeus is one of the few postillers who opted to craft a sermon on the theme of prayer¹¹⁷ rather than on the Rogate text directly. Although he does give a brief summary of the text at the end of the postil, the arrangement of the pericope carries on the longstanding tradition of instruction on prayer during Kreuzwoche or litaniarum dies, the three days from Rogate Sunday to Ascension. The lessons appointed for Kreuzwoche included another reading from James: James 5:16 – 18,

 Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 236.  WA 40/II, 456, 13 – 16 (Ennarratio Psalmi LI, 1532). Commenting on 1 Samuel 10:7, Luther argues that the works of a righteous man are righteous, but the righteous works do not make a man righteous. “Hic non unum aliquod opus proponit, sed spiritu mutatum mittit quasi in sylvam operum, quia enim iam est factus alius vir, ideo etiam sequuntur alia opera.”  WA 40/II, 457, 29 – 30. “Nam etiam ipsa confessio et gratiarum actio est donum aliunde acceptum, quanto magis ista dona sunt de quibus agimus gratias.”  Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 239 – 245.

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with the gospel from Luke 11:5 – 13.¹¹⁸ It is difficult to say how often pastors preached on James 5 in the sixteenth century. It is well known, however, that in his Sermon on Prayer and Procession in the Week of Rogation (Eyn Sermon von dem gepeet und procession yn der Creutz wochen, 1519)¹¹⁹ Luther had called for the reform of the processions for Kreuzwoche or else recommended that the bishops and princes dispense with them entirely.¹²⁰ The popular reception of Luther’s 1519 sermon may have influenced the popularity of the processions. Moreover, the fact that postillers rarely included a sermon on James 5:16 – 18 in their collections indicates that sermons on James 5 may have been rather infrequent. Spangenberg includes James 5 for Kreuzwoche in his postils, though other postillers do not. Nevertheless, the wide circulation of Spangenberg’s postils supports the theory that at least some pastors would preach James 5 during Kreuzwoche. It is not out of the question, then, that some congregations could have heard up to three sermons on James in less than three weeks, and this potentially every year.¹²¹ While pastors had the option of expounding on James 5, the appointed lesson for Kreuzwoche, they could have followed Luther’s model given in 1519 and offered their hearers general instruction on prayer. This is what Chytraeus does and may give an indication of church practice, at least in northern Germany. Luther’s sermon is not based on any particular text, though Luke 11:9 – 13 and James are cited. Notably, however, it is not James 5 that comes through in Luther’s sermon, but rather James 1:6 and the exhortation to pray

 WA 2, 172 (Introduction to Luther’s Sermon on Prayer and Procession, 1519). “Die Kreuzwoche umfaßt die Tage zwischen Rogate und Himmelfahrt (litaniarum dies) und fiel 1519 auf 30. Mai bis 1. Juni. Kirchlich dafür verordnete Perikopen sind Jac. 5, 16 – 18 und Luc. 11, 5 – 13.”  WA 2, 175 ff.  WA 2, 178, 4– 18. “Als nu leyder eyn solcher lesterlicher mißbrauch auß den procession worden ist, das man yn der procession nur sehen und gesehn seyn will, eytell unnutz geschwetz und lechrey treyb, Ich will geschweygen großere stuck und sund, dar zu die dorff procession allererst doll worden seyn, da man mit sauffen und yn tabernen ßo handelt; mit den Creutzen und fanen ßo feret, das nit wunder were, das unß gott yhn eynem jar vorterben lies, Und endlich da hyn kommen, das großer ursach vorhanden seyn alle procession eynteyls und feyrtag gantz ab zuthun, dann yhe geweßen seyn sie eynzusetzen. Hie solten die bischoff und auch weltlich ubirkeit zu sehen, das solch mißbrauch abgethan oder die procession gantz auffgehaben wurden: wer vill besser yn der kirchen vorsamlet, gepett und gesungen, dan mit solchem frechen weßen gott und seyne heylige zeychen vorspottet, und werden die ubirherrn geystlich und weltlich gar schwere rechnung geben, die solch mißbrauch dulden odder, ßo sie den mißbrauch nit mugen wandeln, Die procession nit gar nidderlegen: ist viell besser keynn procession dan solche procession.”  Spangenberg, Postilla der Episteln und Evangelien jn drey Theil (1683), 382– 386. Like his other postils, the interpretation is in question-and-answer form, and focuses especially on the Fifth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, forgive us our trespasses.

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in faith without doubt.¹²² We find this in Althamer’s commentary, when at James 1:5 – 8 he gives a thorough explanation of Christian prayer that follows the contours of Luther’s 1519 sermon. Chytraeus’ sermon does as well.¹²³ He also includes other insights that suggest an assimilation of Luther’s instruction to Peter the Barber, in which Luther famously teaches a fourfold method of praying the Catechism or passages of Scripture: (1) invocation and examination of God’s teaching in this particular passage of His word; (2) thanksgiving for God’s teaching and a mediation on the commands and promises of the word; (3) repentance and confession of sin in light of God’s word; and (4) the petition which flows from this word of God, which is followed by a hearty amen, in firm trust that God hears the prayers of His saints.¹²⁴ Chytraeus’ instruction on prayer for Kreuzwoche (1563) has the following outline: 1. Invocation of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 2. The Lord’s mandate to pray. 3. Repentance or the Confession of Sins. 4. Consideration of God’s promise of the forgiveness of sins and His promise to hear our prayers. To this belong six parts: a. Our Father invites us to pray for our benefit and blessing. b. With prayer comes also the Christian’s cross. c. God does not tell us when He answers prayer.

 WA 2, 176, 1– 10. “So yhmand alßo bittet, das er tzweyfeltt an der erhorunge gottis unnd alleyn da hyn setzt auff ebentewr seyn gepeet, es gescheh odder nit, der thutt zwey boße stuck, das erst, das er seyn gepeet selbs zu nicht macht und umb sunst erbeytet. dan alßo spricht sanct Jacobus der Apostell [sic!]: Wer von gott bitten will, der bitte alßo, das er nit tzweyfell ym glauben, dan ßo er tzweyfelt, ist er gleych eyner bulgen des mehres, die der windt hyn und her wegt, und der selb mensch nehm yhm nit fur, das er ettwas von gott erlange. Das meynet er alßo, das des selben menschen hertzen nit still helt, darumb kan yhm gott nichts geben, der glaub aber helt das hertz still und macht emphelig gottlicher gaben.”  WA 2, 175 ff. Luther’s instruction on prayer (1519) has the following outline: 1. Right prayer begins with the promises of God. 2. One should not doubt the promises of God (Luke 11:9 ff). 3. One should not doubt that God hears (James 1:6). 4. Prayer is not based on the earnestness of one’s asking, but on God’s faithfulness to His promises. 5. Be persistent in prayer. 6. In Kreuzwoche, stick with the litany or the prayers of the church. 7. What to pray for: a) Good weather, crops, gifts for the body, and protection from the plague of the body. b) Protection against the plague of the soul, namely, sin.  WA 38, 358 – 374. A good example of Luther’s method in that tract is his paradigmatic prayer of the Third Commandment: WA 38, 366, 16—367, 14.

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d. Bodily blessing are not a right, but a gift: God must first give them. e. Faith embraces the divine promise of Christ and stands firm in prayer as one whose sins are forgiven. f. Remember all the spiritual and earthly blessings for which Christ teaches us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. He concludes the section with instruction concerning the significance of prayer for theology. According to Chytraeus, all theology or the doctrine of God is not contemplative theōrētika, whose end is to acquire knowledge alone; theology is praktiká, whose daily exercises include repentance, faith, prayers, afflictions, and consolations, so that in all things of life, in deliberation and actions, theology is put to use just as this present epistle from James urges.¹²⁵ Chytraeus’ brief explanation of the Rogate pericope (James 1:22– 27)—if someone should want to preach on that instead of a sermon of general instruction on prayer—is broken down into two parts. The first part, new obedience, is clearly depicted in James’ image of the mirror. Here Chytraeus says that James describes the word of God as a mirror, “in which we contemplate both the filth of our sins that must washed and purged, and also the pattern [norma] of the divine will, to which all of our life, our thoughts and actions, should be directed.”¹²⁶ Chytraeus’ description of the mirror as a reflection of the will of God, the norma, rule, or pattern after which Christians should model their life would be brought into the Formula of Concord concerning the tertius usus of the law. The Formula interprets the mirror, as Spangenberg suggested, in the sense of Torah. Following citations from Psalm 1 and 119, the Formula states: “For the law is a mirror [in Latin: ‘is likened to the clearest mirror’], in which the will of God and what pleases Him is clearly portrayed, so that one can hold it before believers and without ceasing preach it to them.”¹²⁷ Chytraeus, however, does not link the mirror to the law here. The context of James, it seems, compels him to speak about the reflection of the will of God as the gospel, in a similar vein as Lossius. Accordingly, the mirror of the divine word is, first and foremost, the instrument to remove sin. Those who hear the word of God and refuse to do it or who do not intend to wash the filth of their impure nature, to flee from sin, and to begin a new and beautiful life that agrees

 Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 243.  Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 244.  SD VI, 4, in BSLK, 963. “Dann das Gesetz ist ein Spiegel [lex Dei instar speculi limpidissimi], in welchem der Wille Gottes und was ihme gefällig, eigentlich abgemalet ist, das man den Gläubigen stets fürhalten, und bei ihnen ohn Unterlaß fleißig treiben soll.”

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with the will of God, are like a man who looks at his natural face in the mirror and who does not care to do anything about the blemishes of his face.¹²⁸

Only the gospel can remove the stains of sin. Therefore, when James speaks of doing the word, he means primarily to receive the forgiveness of sins. Secondarily, however, and only when sins are removed, he also means that Christians should conform their whole life to the reflection of the divine will. This conformity, according to Chytraeus, is grounded in the creative word of the gospel. But the one who looks into the perfect law of liberty, that is to say, the one who diligently hears, learns, and considers the gospel, through which we are freed from sin and death, and remains in a firm faith and obedience, not being an oblivious hearer, but one who works, that one will be blessed in his doing, that is, he will prove and declare himself to be blessed. For a true faith expresses itself in works.¹²⁹

Spangenberg’s connection of James 1:23 – 25 to Torah is here equated with the will of God. Chytraeus argues that once a person is forgiven, freed from sin and death, and the Christian life is then patterned after the will of God as revealed in Scripture, good works flow freely. His second section of the pericope is an explanation of those good works. Again, the foremost works of true Christianity are the works of the first table of the law. Even those that could be interpreted as moral imperatives of the second table of the law, such as holding the tongue and resisting wrath, are related to the first table. According to Chytraeus, being a doer of the word means to have a right knowledge of God and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and His word, to have the forgiveness of sins for the sake of Christ, and to shine forth with this knowledge of Christ, also in faith to bridle our tongues when we speak of God in our preaching and in divine worship [in sermonibus de Deo et cultibus divinis], and in other situations, so that it is not said of our preaching and worship that they are at odds with the word of God. We are also to care for orphans and widows, and finally keep ourselves unstained from the world, that is, from all sin.¹³⁰

The centrality of right worship, right confession, and faith in God gives shape to the Christian life of mercy and other virtues. In summary, Chytraeus emphasizes—I think more clearly than we have seen up to this point—the effect of the mirror of God’s word on the Christian. The mir-

 Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 244.  Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 244.  Chytraeus, Dispositio epistolarum (1563), 244– 245.

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ror has the dual function of revealing sin and causing repentance on the one hand, and, on the other, communicating and confirming the gospel promises of forgiveness and eternal life in Christ. It is helpful to understand that the interpretation of the mirror as law and gospel, which began with Luther and now takes a more definite shape here with Chytraeus, grew out of or in reaction to the controversies in Lutheranism concerning law and gospel and the third use of the law. For his part, Chytraeus tries to keep in balance the need for repentance, faith, and new obedience in the Christian life, all of which are revealed in the word of God and effected by that word.

Simon Pauli (1531 – 1591) Pauli, whom we met at the beginning of the chapter, matriculated at Wittenberg in 1552, studied several years with Melanchthon, and received his master’s degree in 1555.¹³¹ Following the trail of Chytraeus, he was called to Rostock to serve both as cathedral preacher and professor of theology at the university, and received his doctorate in Rostock on the same day as Chytraeus, 29 April 1561.¹³² Pauli worked alongside Chytraeus and served at different times as rector of the University (1566, 1570, 1582, and 1588). He may have been inferior to Chytraeus in intellectual rigor but he made up for it with his gifts for preaching and pastoral care.¹³³ Although a student of Melanchthon, Pauli states in the preface to the second part of his postils (1572) that he intentionally sought to speak in the way of Luther and uphold the doctrine as the reformer taught it.¹³⁴ This is especially the case in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.¹³⁵

 K. E. H. Krause, “Pauli, Simon.” ABD 25:273 – 274.  K. E. H. Krause, “Pauli, Simon.” ABD 25:273.  Krause notes, ABD 25:273, that Pauli was a gifted theological counterpart to Chytraeus. “Ein treuer Schildknappe des David Chyträus, dem er in Gelehrsamkeit nachstand, an Predigtgabe und praktischem Sinn aber überlegen war, hat er seitdem bis zu seinem Tode mit jenem gemeinsam alle Gutachten der theologischen Facultät verfaßt und vertreten, als eifriger, wortgetreuester Halter an Luther’s Ausdruck […].”  See Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 508 – 538; especially, 510 – 511. In his preface, Pauli pledges his allegiance to the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession as it was taught by Luther. “Also sind bald nach des seligen Luthers tode / Gottlose enderungen vnd verfelschungen der waren Religion (von jme geleutert vnd ernewert) vnd vielfeltige jrthume vnd Secten / auch vnter der Auspurgischen Confession namen / in vnsere Kirchen eingedrungen / Das also der Teuffel vnter dem falschen schein vnd namen der Auspurgischen Confession / nichts anders suchet / denn das er die ware Confession / vnd reine Göttliche Lehr / so in der selben Confession begriffen / sich vnterstanden hat. Denn die Auspurgische Confession vnd

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Significant to the discussion of James is Pauli’s view on the Majoristic and antinomian controversies. In seeking a middle road between Georg Major and Nikolaus von Amsdorf, Pauli insists that Luther’s teaching concerning good works, particularly Luther’s explanation of faith in his preface to Romans, is the proper interpretation of Article VI of the Augsburg Confession concerning new obedience.¹³⁶ Faith is a living, active thing, from which works spontaneously flow. For Luther, the word to which faith clings is creative, delivers the Holy Spirit, and spontaneously brings forth good fruits. Works are a necessary consequence of faith in Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit in the word. Yet in contrast to Luther, at least in Pauli’s preface to his postils, he does not link the necessary cause of good works with faith, word, and Spirit, but rather with the necessity of divine order. Pauli writes: [Because faith is a living thing] good works that God commands must necessarily follow faith in all the converted, not out of compulsion, but because the divine wisdom and righteousness has made this arrangement that all reasonable creatures should be obedient to God their Creator, and all those who have been freed from sin out of grace for Christ’s sake should no longer sin but live in righteousness and holiness. But these statements, ‘one must do good works to be saved’ or ‘good works are necessary for salvation’ or ‘it is impossible to be saved without good works,’ Luther expressly rejected, because, as they

Apologia / wie zu ersehen / wenn die alten vnd newen Exemplaria gegeneinander gehalten vnd gelesen werden / in den newlichsten Drücken vielfeltig geendert vnd gemehret / vnd offt gefehrlich etliche wort ausgelassen / auch etliche hochwichtige Artickel also geendert vnd gestellet sind / das auch diese Secten / welche D. Luther auffs ernstlichste verdampt / vnd von vnsern Kirche abgesondert hat / jtzund die Augspurgische Confession / zu jrer jrthumb Schanddecket brauchen können.” Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), A2r – A2v.  Pauli gives the most attention in his preface to the controversies over the sacrament of the altar and Christology, in which he shows his commitment to Luther’s teaching. Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 166r. See also on this point Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 534– 535.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), A4r. “Es hat aber Doctor Luther den jtzt gedachten sechsten Artickel der Augspurgischen Confession / das der Glaube sol gute früchte bringen / vnd das man müsse gute Wercke thun / die Gott befohlen hat / also erkleret / Das der Glaube / dieweil er nicht ein blosser vnd loser Wohn oder Dünkel des Hertzen ist (wie die falschgleubigen haben) sondern ein krefftiges newes lebendiges wesen / so bringe er viel frücht / thu jmmer guts: gegen Gott mit loben / dancken / beten / predigen / vnd lehren: Gegen dem nehesten / mit lieben / dienen / helffen / raten / geben / leihen / vnd leiden allerley vbels bis in den tod.” See Luther’s comments, WADB 7, 10, 30 ff. (Preface to Romans, 1522/46), as well as Melancthon’s explanation of faith in Apology IV. Both are instructive to later Lutheran interpreters of James, especially 2:19 and the understanding of fides historica.

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stand, in their genuine and natural sense, they are completely contrary to the central statements concerning our salvation.¹³⁷

Pauli, like Luther, denies that works are salvific, but he differs from Luther when he argues that a sort of metaphysical order is the cause of a human being’s good works. Whereas Luther speaks about the spontaneity of good works that flow from the gospel, Pauli points to an overarching order (Ordnung) of divine wisdom and righteousness.¹³⁸ I point out the apparent difference in expression not to make a judgment about Pauli as a true follower of Luther. Rather, Pauli’s dogmatic expressions about the necessity and cause of good works are significant because they illustrate that a theologian’s dogmatic expressions should be read in consultation with his exegesis. In Pauli’s case, his sermons on James tell us how he understands the relationship between faith, works, and the word of God. In a text that is clearly about the need for good works in the Christian life, we will look especially at Pauli’s explanation of the cause of good works. Is it law or is it gospel?¹³⁹ His postils (1572),¹⁴⁰ like those of Chytraeus (1563), were intended especially to teach university students a basic hermeneutic for reading Scripture by em-

 Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), A4r. “Derhalben müssen die guten Werck / die Gott gebotten hat / notwendig / in allen bekerten dem Glauben folgen / nicht aus zwang / sondern dieweil Göttliche weisheit vnd gerechtigkeit die ordnung gemacht hat / das alle vernünfftige Creaturen / Gotte jrem Schöpffer sollen gehorsam sein / vnd alle so aus gnaden vmb Christi willen von den Sünden erlediget sind / nicht mehr sündigen / sondern in gerechtigkeit vnd heiligkeit leben sollen. Aber diese Reden: Das man mus gute Wercke thun / die Seligkeit dadurch zu erlangen / Das gute Wercke zur Seligkeit vonnöten sein: Das vnmüglich sey / ohn gute Wercke selig zu werden. Hat D. Luther ausdrücklich verworffen / dieweil sie in jrem eigentlichen / natürlichen verstande / wie sie lauten / diesen Heuptsprüchen von vnser seligkeit / gantz zu wider sind.”  It is true that the Formula writers would later use God’s order of the planetary circuits to describe the new life of a Christian (SD VI, 6, in BSLK, 964), but this serves as an illustration of continuity in the Christian life, rather than as the sole cause of good works.  Some modern systematicians have attempted to demonstrate that the law holds a special place in the Christian life after the gospel and faith have come. Paul Althaus and Wilfried Joest have both argued for an evangelical use of the law that is consistent in Luther’s thought, either by an “evangelical command” (Althaus) or a distinction between “legal” and “evangelical imperatives” (Joest). Lauri Haikola challenged their position and argued that the tertius usus viewed as an overarching, eternal, and objective legal order that is necessary for every Christian is a clear departure from Luther. See Lauri Haikola, Usus Legis (Uppsala: Berlingska Boktryckeriet, 1958). We find this view of the law certainly in Pauli.  For helpful overview of Pauli’s postils, see Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 508 – 538

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ploying the loci method of exegesis.¹⁴¹ However, unlike those of Chytraeus, these were also intended to teach young pastors how to preach the Scriptures persuasively according to the art of rhetorica, and the sermons were ones he had preached himself.¹⁴² Pauli’s postils are a signpost in the Lutheran postil tradition.¹⁴³ All later postillers that I examined try in one way or another to match Pauli’s thoroughness and rhetorical strategy. They may not have copied his every insight, and in some instances they seek to correct him, but they did aspire to his ability to draw from the pericopes clear doctrine and present that doctrine as winsomely in their expositions as he had done. One may argue that some of them, especially Simon Musaeus (1573, a year after Pauli) and Siegfried Sack (1589), succeeded.

Cantate: James 1:13 – 21 Pauli argues that this pericope was placed in the lectionary to complement the gospel lesson for Cantate from John 16:5 – 15 and the teaching that the Holy Spirit will accuse the world of sin.¹⁴⁴ His Cantate sermon on James is unique in that it extends the pericope to include 1:13 – 15 and to treat temptation and the origin of evil. The inclusion allows him to play the two images of birth against each other, the birth of original sin and the new birth of the gospel. In good rhetorical fashion, Pauli gives a summary of the main doctrines from the text. Therefore, the epistle for today is a teaching concerning original sin or the evil works that people do, where this sin originates, and what kind of fruit it produces. The epistle also teaches concerning good works of godly and pious Christians and where these originate.

 According to Thomas Kaufmann, the German postils of the epistle and gospel lessons went through 14 editions from 1572– 1615. Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 509. “Die Druckorte waren Frankfurt (2), Wittenberg (5), und Magdeburg (7).”  Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 511.  As far as structure, Robert Kolb’s presentation of Georg Major’s preaching, Robert Kolb, “Georg Major as Preacher,” in Georg Major (1502 – 1574): Ein Theologe Der Wittenberger Reformation, Leucoreastudien zur Geschichte der Reformation und der Lutherischen Orthodoxie, ed. Irene Dingel and Günther Wartenberg (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2005), 93 – 121, overlaps in many ways with what I have found in Pauli’s sermons. However, there are also similarities it seems in content, especially concerning the life of new obedience.  Pauli made a habit of drawing together the gospel and epistle lessons for each Sunday. Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 515. “Wo es sinnvoll erscheint, versucht er in einer Epistel- oder Evangelienpredigt auch auf den jeweiligen Evangelienund Episteltext desselben Sonntags einzugehen und so die Predigten der beiden Hauptgottesdienste aufeinander zu beziehen.”

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It teaches concerning the word of God through which children of wrath and of the devil are born again and become children of grace and of God.¹⁴⁵

Pauli separates the sermon into three parts: (1) concerning sin; (2) concerning good works; and (3) concerning new birth through the word and the new life that follows. Pauli’s exposition is extremely thorough, and deserves more attention than I can give it here. I concentrate on his discussion of the causes of sin and good works. In the sermon’s first section concerning sin and at James’ statement that God tempts no one in 1:13, Pauli urges his readers to take this passage in the context of James 1:12 and the teaching that Christians remain steadfast under trials and temptations. He explains that versuchen in verse 13 does not mean bewahren, as in a test by which God purifies His children. Pauli defines versuchen as tempting toward and defines his tempting in terms of causation. “Sondern versuchen wird allhie genomen / für die vrsache / dadurch einer zu sündigen gebracht wird.”¹⁴⁶ The question concerning the causes of sin and evil leads Pauli to interpret James 1:13 – 15 as a commentary on Genesis 1– 3 and the disturbing origin of evil from Satan (John 8; 1 John 3), from the man (Rom. 5; Gen. 5; Ecclus. 25), and from the woman (Gen. 3) in God’s perfect creation.¹⁴⁷ Following St. Augustine’s interpretation of Genesis 3, Pauli presents a striking theological anthropology: How could (says Augustine) the woman believe the devil, unless there were not in her already prideful arrogance? But God did not create Eve with this prideful arrogance, for God made her to be completely and perfectly good. Yet through her free will and from the devil’s words, pride crept in and she became lured and enticed by her own desires, which the devil stirred up and awakened in her by his lies, so that she reached for the fruit, took and ate it, and gave it to her husband.¹⁴⁸

 Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 82r. “Jst demnach die heutige Epistel eine Lehr von der Sünde / oder bösen Wercken / so die Menschen thun / Woher sie sind / vnd Was für früchte sie geberen. Von den guten Wercken der Gottseligen fromen Christen / Woher die sind / Vnd von dem Wort GOTTES / dadurch die Kinder des Zorns vnd des Teuffels zu Kindern der gnaden / vnd Gottes widergeborn werden.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 82v.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 83v.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 83v.

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The cause of sin is therefore Satan and the prideful arrogance of the human will, which led to the spread of death throughout all creation.¹⁴⁹ Now, says Pauli, even the creation of humankind has been so corrupted that the entire substance of man is evil, including both the lower faculties or the external attributes, and the higher faculties, such as reason, will, and human affects. Das tichten des Menschlichen hertzen ist böse von Jugent auff. Figmentum, welches verdeudschet ist: das Tichten / heisset das Wesen des gantzen Menschen: das Gemüt: den Willen: das Hertz: alle inwendige Kreffte: vnd alle auswendige Glieder / Dis wesen des Menschen / oder die Substantz / dauon er ist / mit allem was er tichtet vnd machet / ist böse.¹⁵⁰

Sin, according to Pauli, pervades all of human existence and creation to such an extent that it fundamentally alters human nature. Against the Roman Catholic teaching that original sin is merely the guilt of sin, Pauli says original sin is also “ein Verderben des gantzen Menschliches Wesens / wie wir singen: Durch Adams fal ist gantz verderbet / Menschlich natur und wesen / dieselbige gifft ist auff vns geerbet.”¹⁵¹ It is noteworthy that James 1:13 – 15 leads Pauli to articulate an anthropology that is not far removed from Matthias Flacius, whose teaching at this point could not have been unknown to him.¹⁵² That is not to say that Pauli embraces Flacius’

 Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 83v. “Kan demnach vnserm HERRN Gott / in keinem wege / die schuld / das diese Sünde geschehen / gegeben werden. Denn wenn in den Menschen die böse lust nicht were / welche nicht von Gott / Sondern von des Teuffels vnd Menschen freien willen / herkomen ist / so lebete er Gotte / vnd seinem gesetze gleichformig. WJe die böse Lust / als eine Mutter / schwanger gehet / mit allen bösen wircklichen Sünden / welche sie letzlich auch gebieret: Also ist widerumb die Wircklichen Sünde schwanger mit dem Tode / denselbigen gebieret sie auch endlich.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 83r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 83r. See also SD I, 1, in BSLK, 844, which places those who teach that sin is the substance and nature of fallen human beings in the camp of Flacius. “Dann ein Teil hat gestritten, weil ‘durch Adams Fall ist ganz vorderbt menschlich Natur und Wesen,’ daß nunmehr nach dem Fall des vorderbten Menschen Natur, Substanz Wesen oder ja das fürnehmsten, höchste Teil seines Wesens als die vornünftige Seele in ihrem höchsten Grad oder Kräften, die Erbsünde selbst sei, welche Natur- oder Personsünde genennt worden […].”  Kaufmann reports that in 1572 (though it seems perhaps earlier than that) Pastor Matthäus Rutze, preacher at St. Nikolai in Rostock, had “with great zeal justified this false doctrine from the pulpit.” He also reports that Runze had been influential among the students and published his support of Flacius’ teaching on original sin. In 1579, Pauli and Chytraeus wrote a Gutachten against Flacius’ supporters. Kaufmann, Universität und lutherische Konfessionalisierung (1997), 198.

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teaching on original sin as the formal substance of man,¹⁵³ but neither does he denounce Flacius’ teaching at an opportune time. In his Clavis Scripturae, Flacius’ position on original sin sounds very similar to Pauli’s exposition of James 1:13 – 15. Flacius writes: Therefore, this inverted substantial form or formal substance in the highest grade, which provides the human being chiefly with that thing that the creator desired him to be, that now changes him according to its formal cause so that he is the image and son of the devil, and provides him that horrible fate to become the old Adam—this thing, which we call original sin, I assert to be the true and sole font of sin.¹⁵⁴

And in the same discussion, Flacius argues: In this manner, therefore, I have recently realized and asserted that original sin, in its first rank, is a substance because the rational soul and especially its most noble and substantial powers, namely reason and will (which were created so wondrously that they were the true image of God, the fount of all justice, honesty and piety and clearly, essentially, just as gold or gems) are now, by the trick of Satan, precisely and utterly inverted. Thus they have become the true and living image of Satan and are like manure or rather the unchanging hellish flames. [This transformation] is as if some completely sweet and pure mass is infected by a most venomous leaven and is deeply and substantially changed and transformed through the fermentation of that mass.¹⁵⁵

Although he avoids Flacius’ language of sin as the formal substance of man, Pauli’s description of post-lapsarian humanity does not make any attempts to preserve the dignity of man, until he is created anew in Christ. According to Pauli, the whole substance of a human being has been transformed from its original state, which includes the disposition, the will, the heart, all inward powers, and all external members, so that whatever man produces is corrupt and evil.¹⁵⁶ Although Pauli shows interest in the metaphysical causes of good works, in the end Pauli does not interpret man philosophically or ontologically, but theologi-

 Luka Ilić, Theologian of Sin and Grace: The Process of Radicalization in the Theology of Matthias Flacius Illyricus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014), 159 – 228; especially, 188 – 195.  Ilić, Theologian of Sin and Grace (2014), 190. Ilić’s translations of Flacius are used throughout this section.  Ilić, Theologian of Sin and Grace (2014), 191.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 82v. “[…] das Tichten / heisset das Wesen des gantzen Menschen: das Gemüt: den Willen: das Hertz: alle inwendige Kreffte: vnd alle auswendige Glieder / Dis wesen des Menschen / oder die Substantz / dauon er ist / mit allem was er tichtet vnd machet / ist böse.”

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cally, as Luther urges his students to do in his lectures on Psalm 51.¹⁵⁷ In light of the debates concerning original sin in the 1560s and 1570s, it is significant that Pauli inserts this section from James 1:13 – 15 on original sin into the Cantate pericope. Yet it seems odd that he inserts new verses to address a controversial topic without a word against Flacius. The dominance of the doctrine of sin in this postil sermon, based on a pericope that did not traditionally include 1:13 – 15, indeed suggests Pauli’s awareness of the current theological debates. Pauli’s extra effort to use further arguments from James to teach on a disputed topic, such as sin and its effects on the substance of man, demonstrates again how this letter found its way into the major theological debates of post-Reformation Lutheranism. It may also indicate that Pauli was still sorting out his thoughts about the post-lapsarian anthropology of Matthias Flacius. Although Pauli is adamant that the full disclosure of the doctrine of original sin is the only way to show the sweetness and incomprehensible character of the doctrine of grace, rebirth, and the new life of faith, he nevertheless seems to safeguard the gospel with the doctrine of the law. It is unclear if this is his intention. As mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, Pauli does not state clearly that works flow from the power of the gospel. Rather he suggests that works necessarily follow faith due to God’s Ordnung, an overarching divine law to which creation must submit. Therefore, in his exposition of James 1:16 – 21, we need to look more closely at Pauli’s understanding of the cause of good works. In the second part of his sermon, he moves from the origin of evil into a discussion of the origin of good works.¹⁵⁸ Tying together James 1:18, 1:21, and 1 Peter 1:23, Pauli writes, “Therefore out of the pure, incorruptible seed of the divine word, we are born again as new people, who live and can live a new pure life, just as God’s word is pure and without sin.”¹⁵⁹ The word is the source of the new birth, and the Holy Spirit is active in the word. Clearly Pauli upholds a monergistic view of justification.¹⁶⁰ What is unclear, however, is how he relates the

 WA 40/II, 327, 17– 22 (Lectures on Psalm 51, 1532). “Non igitur agimus hic de cognitione hominis Philosophica, quae definit hominem esse animal rationale etc. Physica haec sunt et non Theologica. Sic Iureconsultus loquitur de homine possessore et domino suarum rerum, Medicus loquitur de homine sano et aegro, Theologus autem disputat de homine PECCATORE. Haec hominis substantia est in Theologia et hoc a Theologo agitur, ut hanc suam naturam peccatis corruptam homo sentiat.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 86v.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 86v. “Also werden aus dem reinen vnuergenglichem Samen des Gottlichen worts / durch den heiligen Geist widergeborn newe Menschen / die ein new rein leben füren / vnd füren können / wie Gottes wort rein vnd ohn Sünde ist.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87r. “Das ein Christ eine newe Creatur Gottes wird / darzu thut er nichts / sondern Gott thuts allein / nach seinem willen.”

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regeneration and justification through the word and Spirit to the new obedience and sanctification that necessarily follow the new birth. In this sermon, Pauli presents two realities. First, God creates a new creature through the word of truth. Second, the new creature must do good works. But the relationship between these two realities lacks the clarity of his discussion of original sin and its fruits. Rather than emphasize the cause of the good fruits, Pauli describes what works (virtues) Christians should cultivate, using the five examples of James: (1) be quick to listen; (2) quick to hear; (3) slow to wrath; (4) put away all filthiness and wickedness; and (5) flee all actual sins that flow from the well of sin, namely, the old nature. These are the works that James expects will follow regeneration.¹⁶¹ It may indicate something about Pauli’s perceived audience that he relates most of these fruits of the new birth to preachers. According to Pauli, to be quick to hear is “to be learned, a virtue by which one is quick to hear with special earnestness and great expediency, and lay hold of the seed of the divine word.”¹⁶² Yet this virtue extends beyond the study of the divine word and applies also to learning well the languages and the arts.¹⁶³ Many doctors of the church do not listen, he explains, but aim only to impress. They go about like fools, refusing to learn from others, especially from Holy Scripture.¹⁶⁴ In his exposition of the phrase “slow to speak” (1:19), Pauli insists that this has been the cause of much trouble in the church after Luther’s death. The virtue of being quiet guards people from flippant judgments and loose speech in divine matters of which they know little.¹⁶⁵ Pauli offers as a commentary on the postReformation disputes among Lutherans a marvelous story from Melanchthon about two farmers who were both arguing for the purity of Luther’s doctrine. One insisted that the teachings of Dr. Martin are the pure doctrine, while the other insisted that Dr. Luther taught the pure doctrine. Without being able to reach an agreement, they came to blows.¹⁶⁶ According to Pauli, James speaks to those who have not been trained to dispute about theological matters in  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87r. “MJt diesen vnd den folgenden worten redet er von etlichen Früchten / so auff die Widergeburt erfolgen sollen.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87r. “Die erste ist / das man sol schnel hören / das ist / Lehrsam sein / welchs eine tugent ist / die mit sonderlichem vleis / vnd mit grosser schnelheit höret / vnd ergreiffet den Samen Göttliches wortes.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87r. “Darnach auch vleissig vnd schnel höret / was sonsten von guten Sprachen vnd Künsten zu lernen ist.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87r. “Viel vnterstehen sich zu vrtheilen / von Geistlichen Religions sachen / welche sie doch nicht verstehen / vnd darüber zu richten / jnen nicht befohlen.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87v.

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the church. It is best, says Pauli, that people stick with the Bible and Luther’s Catechism and leave it to those who are trained in disputation and have been called to do so, in other words, university professors and doctors of the church. All Christians should be prepared to give an answer with fear and humility to anyone who asks about the hope that is in them (1 Pet. 3:15 – 16), but not presume that they should dispute and flippantly make judgments about doctrine.¹⁶⁷ The third fruit of the new birth, being slow to wrath (1:20), includes three virtues: patience, humility, and long-suffering.¹⁶⁸ After offering the negative examples of Job and Jeremiah, who became impatient in their suffering and were led to wrath,¹⁶⁹ Pauli says that the preacher should be conformed to the image of Christ, who patiently bore His cross: “Vnd das Exempel Christi / welcher vns mit Demut vnd Sanfftmuth / so dem Zorn nichts nachgibt / fürgehet / vnd fürleuchtet. Matth. 11. Lernet von mir / denn ich bin Sanfftmutig / vnd von hertzen Demütig.”¹⁷⁰ The fourth and fifth fruits of the new birth regard the necessity of fleeing sin. Notably, however, Pauli interprets filthiness (Vnsauberkeit) as the sin of nature, that “evil, inborn desire (Lust) or original sin.”¹⁷¹ He interprets wickedness (Bosheit) as the actual sins that “are conceived and born of the evil lust.”¹⁷² Therefore, Christians are called to both flee and fight against the old Adam and his deeds. The only place where Pauli connects the works of the new creature with the word of God is at 1:21. But even here, Pauli does not spell out the power and effect of the word on the Christian life. Instead he concentrates on the hearer’s reception of the word that must take place according to the virtue of humility, for it is the nature of the word to interpose the cross on the Christian life:

 Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87v. “Drumb thuen die Zuhörer am besten / das sie bey der Bibel / vnd bey Doctoris Lutheri Catechismo bleiben / vnd lassen die jenigen disputieren / die es gelernet haben / vnd die dazu beruffen sind. Jr bekentnis von der lehr / sollen vnd müssen sie thun / wie Sanct Peter spricht / 1. Pet. 3. Seid alle zeit bereit / zur verantwortung jedermann / der grund foddert der hoffnung / die in euch ist / vnd das mit sanfftmutigkeit vnd furcht. Aber leichtfertig von der lehr zu vrtheilen vnd zu disputieren / stehet jnen nicht zu.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87v.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87v. “Das ist / des Menschen zorn / thut nicht / was mit Gottes Gerechtigkeit vberein stimmet / Oder was Gott für Recht helt / vnd recht zu sein in seinem Wort verkündiget. Job / Jeremias / vnd andere / die in jrem Creutz vngedultig werden / vnd für zorn wider Gott murren / thun nicht was für Gott recht ist. Denn Gott wil / das sie sich vnter seiner gewaltigen hand demütigen / vnd im Creutze Gedult vnd Gehorsam erzeigen.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 87v.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 88r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 88r.

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Wherever God’s word is, there is also the cross, as St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians that the gospel is a word of the cross, not only because it preaches the crucified Christ but also because the gospel brings with it the cross. Therefore, it must be received and kept with meekness. It can save your souls.¹⁷³

Although Pauli sees a connection between the word and the cross, by which he interprets the Christian life as conformity to Christ in suffering and preservation by the saving word, he attempts to make clear two sets of responsibilities: God’s responsibility to save and the Christian’s responsibility actively to pursue the virtuous life that God’s law commands in His word. In his summary to his Cantate sermon, the division between the saving word and the responsibility of each Christian to respond with good works becomes especially clear: This, then, is the sense of St. James in today’s epistle: our Lord is not the cause of sin or evil. All actual sin is conceived and born of evil desire or original sin, as from a mother. God, however, is the only source of all good and perfect gifts. We are reborn by God through His word, so that we would do good works, namely, that we would be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, that we would put aside all filthiness and wickedness, and with meekness or patience in suffering receive the word of God, which is the power of God whereby our souls are saved.¹⁷⁴

While upholding the all-sufficiency of the gospel to give new life and save the soul, Pauli struggles to leave the production of good works to the power of God’s saving word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. One expects Pauli to express the fruits of faith and new birth as he had done with original sin and its fruits, namely, that from this new birth, through the power of the word, flow good works of both the first and second table. But in this sermon, he does not.

Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 Pauli recognizes a continuity between James 1:17– 21 and the Rogate pericope from James 1:22– 27. His sermon on James 1:22– 27 begins with a rehearsal of the arguments of James 1:13 – 21. He describes the Christian life born of the word of truth and then offers a summary the day’s reading:

 Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 88r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 88r.

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This epistle is an admonition to new obedience or a new life which is guided by the divine word. The summary of the epistle in short is this: ‘I admonish you to cleanse and wash the stains and filth of sin that you see in the mirror of the divine word, and that you adorn yourselves according to the image of the new man.’¹⁷⁵

With much more assertiveness than Luther, Corvin, Spangenberg, or the other postillers up to this point, Pauli declares that the mirror is two-sided: one mirror is law; the other is the gospel.¹⁷⁶ This motif of two mirrors becomes permanently fixed in the tradition starting with Pauli. All interpreters hereafter take up the image to teach law and gospel. Of the sixteenth-century Lutheran postillers on James, Pauli gives the most extensive description of the law and its catechetical application.¹⁷⁷ He suggests five different uses of the law. First, the law proves that God exists and that He is good and wise, since the law and what it commands is good and wise. Second, and similar to the first use, the law reveals that God is merciful, long-suffering, honest, and chaste, because the laws reveal the nature of the lawgiver.¹⁷⁸ Third, the law is a mirror in which we see the image of God, as God intended us to have it in the beginning; thus the law teaches us a pre-lapsarian anthropology.¹⁷⁹ Fourth, the law is also a mirror, as we found accentuated in Luther, to show the corruption of sin (usus elenchticus).¹⁸⁰ Finally, he says, after we have washed and been cleansed, the law becomes a mirror in which we see how to adorn ourselves, so that the image of God in us will constantly be renewed.¹⁸¹ The final  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 96r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 97v. “Wje aber zwey Heubtstück sind der Göttlichen Lehr / nemlich das Gesetz / vnd Euangelium / also sind auch zween Spiegel / darinne wir vns beschawen. Der eine Spiegel ist des Gesetzes / der Andere des Euangelij.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 97v.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 97v. “Denn weil Gottes Gesetze diese erzehlete vnd dergleichen Tugenden von vns erfoddert / müssen für allen dingen sie in jm selbst sein.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 97v. “Zum dritten siehestu in dem Spiegel des Gesetzes / was das bildnis Gottes / vor dem Fall Adae gewesen ist / wie herrlich vnd schön die Menschliche natur damit ist geschmücket gewesen / vnd wie herrlich noch die Engel Gottes im Himel / mit diesem bilde gezieret vnd gescmücket sind. Das siehestu wie in der Meschlichen natur gewesen für dem fall / vnd in den Engeln noch ist / ware erkentnis vnd anruffung Gottes / ware furcht Gottes / ware liebe Gottes / warer gehorsam gegen Gott / ware hertzliche Barmhertzigkeit / ohn Zorn vnd Bitterkeit / ware Keuscheit / vnd dergleichen herrliche Tugenden […].”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 97v. “Jn diesem Spiegel siehestu mit was schwartzen / scheuslichen Flecken der Finsternis vnd Blindheit / so Gott nicht recht erkennet / vnd der bösen Lüsten […].”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 97v. “Zum Fünfften siehstu in diesem Spiegel / wie du / nachdem du die Klicke vnd Flecken der Sünde abgewischet vnd abgewaschen hast / dich wider zieren vnd schmücken solt / auff das das Bildnis Gottes in dir ernewer werde / vnd du Gott wolgefallen mögest.”

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description of the mirror is clearly an attempt to articulate the third use of the law (usus didacticus), as the Formula writers would later call it,¹⁸² and to teach according to the Ten Commandments which works Christians should do. The Christian who sees in the law’s reflection the pre-lapsarian image of God and the reflection of the restored imago Dei in Christ will learn to be adorned with divine virtues.¹⁸³ Pauli thus maintains a positive use of the law (even where there is no sin), to guide and to instruct Christians in doing good works. As mentioned above, Pauli marks a growing stability in the postil tradition on James, especially with his application of the mirror in James 1:23 as law and gospel. Like the mirror of the law, the mirror of the gospel reveals more than one reflection. According to Pauli, the mirror of the gospel reveals by special revelation what the law could not. First, the gospel reveals that God is triune, and that this one God is worthy of praise and requires praiseworthy virtues.¹⁸⁴ Second, the gospel reflects the will of God in Christ, so that we may believe in Him.¹⁸⁵ And finally we see in the mirror of the gospel how to wash the stain of sin through holy baptism and the blood of Christ.¹⁸⁶ Pauli’s description of the Christian life appears in many ways to run the way of the law. He is careful not to add works into justification, but his description of new obedience is often cast within a legal framework. This apparent weakness is overcome in part by his clear exposition of the mirror as both law and gospel, since it allows him to teach the reception of the word as a matter of repentance and the forgiveness of sins.¹⁸⁷ Furthermore, his assertion that the mirror of God’s

 It is also noteworthy that Pauli does not offer any teaching of the law that correlates to the first use of the law (usus politicus).  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 98r. “Wer also geschmücket ist / der gefelt Gott wol / vnd mit diesen Tugenden werden wir gezieret vnd geschmücket sein im ewigen Leben. Derhalben / wer da wil wissen / wie herrlich vnd schön er mit allen Göttlichen Tugenden ohn flecken vnd runtzeln wird gezieret sein im Himelreich / der trete für den Spiegel des Göttlichen Gesetzes / vnd sehe darinnen das Bilde seiner künfftigen herrlichen vnschuld vnd schönen schmucks.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 98r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 98r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 98r.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 98r – 98v. “DEmnach müssen wir beide Spiegel / des Gesetzes vnd des Euangeln / allezeit für vns haben / auff das wir vns / darinne beschawen / vnd erkennen was für vnfletige Flecken wir an vns haben / vnd wie / vnd wo durch sie zu reinigen vnd abzuwaschen sind. Da müssen wir zu erst ansehen den Spiegel des Gesetzes / darinnen befinden wir die Flecken der Sünde die an vns sind. Darnach im Spiegel des Euangelij sehen wir / das wir in vnser Tauffe gereinigt sind / vnd teglich vns weiter von den Sünden reinigen sollen vnd müssen / durchs Blut Jhesu Christi / zur vergebung für vnsere Sünde vergossen. Jn das Blut Jhesu Christi müssen wir eintauchen den Püschel Jsopen / vnsers Glaubens / oder Busse / so im Glauben geschiehet / vnd vns damit Besprengen vnd reinigen / wie Dauid im 51. Psalm spricht.”

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word reveals the imago Dei is indicative of the efforts of Luther’s heirs to articulate a distinctly Lutheran anthropology.¹⁸⁸ Pauli seems to be a step closer than previous postillers at this passage to presenting, in Augustinian fashion, the entire Heilsgeschichte according to the four conditions of the imago Dei: the image God originally gave in Eden, the image man lost in the fall into sin, the image God has begun to restore in Christ, and the image that God will bring to completion on the day of resurrection. His discussion of the law of liberty follows the same pattern as his interpretation of the mirror. Although he clearly states that a good tree produces good fruit and therefore faith produces good works as evidence that faith is genuine,¹⁸⁹ Pauli, at least in these sermons, does not describe sanctification or new obedience as an ongoing divine work of the Holy Spirit through the word. He concentrates primarily on the human responsibility of hearing the word and doing it. This certainly means repenting and washing away sins, but ultimately the doing of the word is interpreted as obedience to God’s law, by which we maintain and adorn the restored image of God in us.¹⁹⁰ In summary, Pauli is pivotal to the postil tradition, since his method and detailed rhetorical presentation of the pericopes are paradigmatic for later postillers. As regards his exposition of James, his teaching on original sin from James 1:13 – 15 resonates (at least in 1572) with the theological anthropology of Matthias Flacius. Pauli’s teaching concerning the new birth and the cause of good works, however, signifies an ongoing struggle to communicate the word of God effectually in the everyday lives of his hearers. Rather than a concrete emphasis on the power of the word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as the cause of good works in the Christian life, Pauli’s preaching tends toward a rhet-

 For a helpful discussion of Lutheran anthropology and the fallen and restored image of God in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see Bengt Hägglund, “Was ist der Mensch?” in Chemnitz – Gerhard – Arndt – Rudbeckius: Aufsätze zum Studium der altlutherischen Theologie (Waltrop: Spenner, 2003), 159 – 173.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 99r. “Auff diesen Glauben durch das vollkomene Gesetz der Freyheit / das Euanglium / erlanget / folgen die guten Wercke / welche von dem Glauben / dadurch man Gerecht vnd Selig wird / vnd zu gleich / mit von der Seligkeit / zeugen / als die guten Früchte zeugen / vnd die erklerung thuen / das der Baum gut ist. Denn Sanct Jacob wil nicht hie lehren / das wir durch die Werck gerecht werden / sondern das die Werck von der Seligkeit / die allein durch den Glauben an Jhesum Christum erlanget wird / zeugen / oder den jenigen der aus dem Glauben gute Wercke thut / erkleren das er recht gleube / vnd durch den Glauben selig ist.”  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 101v. “DEmnach / wollen wir aus dem Spiegel des Göttlichen worts / nicht allein erkennen lernen / die flecken vnd klicke vnserer Sünde / sondern wollen sie auch abwischen vnd abwaschen mit dem Blut Jhesu Christi / vnd vns widerumb schmücken vnd zieren nach den Tugenden des bildnis Gottes / darzu wir erschaffen sind / vnd in diesem Schmuck feste vnd bestendig bleiben.”

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orical appeal to the regenerate will. Other postillers on James do not follow Pauli’s emphasis on the positive nature of the law. Although they also teach the necessity of good works in the Christian life, later postillers instruct their hearers in new obedience and the new life not in the context of the law, but as a result of the power and effect of the gospel. As we will see, they take up many of Pauli’s tropes and use them to teach, among other things, the power of the law to call sinners to repentance and the power and effect of the gospel to create faith and produce good works.

Chapter Summary Part of my work thus far has been to show the nuances of interpretation and application of certain metaphors in James. I have suggested that these images of light, birth, growth, and the reflection of the mirror from James 1 powerfully ignite some of the most pressing theological discussions of Reformation and postReformation theology. Questions of original sin, temptation, and the origin of evil (1:13 – 15), the nature of God, the illumination of the Spirit, and the media salutis (1:17), regeneration, imago Dei, and new obedience (1:18), the right reception of the word (1:21), the necessity of good works (1:22– 23), the proper distinction between law and gospel (1:17; 1:23 – 25), and the right worship of God (1:26 – 27) appear in many of the theological controversies that swept through the Lutheran Church after the 1530s (antinomian, Majoristic, Osianderian, Flacian, synergistic, and predestinarian). Especially beginning with Pauli, these controversies in Lutheranism sharpen the exegesis of the postillers. Predestination, the nature of God, and the origin of evil, which appeared to be so central in Pauli’s exposition of James 1, later become a theological locus fixed in the interpretive tradition as a response to Calvinistic doctrine. Pauli’s instruction concerning the positive nature of the law in the Christian life is clearly a response to perceived antinomian teachings (Amsdorf) and perhaps due to the tendencies that he had observed among his students and parishioners to neglect the law. On the other hand, his repeated assertions that works cannot earn God’s favor are in response to the motto that works are necessary to salvation (Major). The exposition of James 1 is telling of one’s theological positions in the midst of these controversies leading up to the Book of Concord. However, a presentation of their expositions of James 1:16 – 27 should not only demonstrate how Lutherans sorted out the theological challenges of the times or positioned themselves in the controversies, but also show how they were interpreting the text itself. I have tried to avoid generalizations about the Lutheran reception of James by exploring concretely what the postillers were teaching from the epistle. Just as

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important as the production of these sermons is what their production meant for Lutheran congregations and the proclamation of the word from Lutheran pulpits. To be sure, the printed sermons do not tell us exactly what was being preached in every Lutheran pulpit. For instance, an inclusion of an epistle sermon on James in the postils does not mean that Lutheran pastors were preaching epistle sermons in their congregations. However, as we have seen with Althamer, pastors could have been, and it is safe to assume they were, preaching on James more frequently than the publications indicate. And even if James was not being heard from the pulpit, it was certainly being heard in Lutheran catechesis, as pastors taught concerning sin, temptation, and the power of the word. The postils that I examine in the next chapter, those of Simon Musaeus (1573) and Siegfried Sack (1589), show a growing solidarity in the Lutheran exposition of James. They point to the growing concern among postillers and pastors to teach the faith. Simon Musaeus, who was also a student of Melanchthon in Wittenberg, insists that postils should use the loci method of exegesis, but that these loci should be drawn from the Catechism. The difference between the postils that we have examined and the postils of Musaeus and Sack can be seen in the way they draw loci from James. Whereas the earlier postillers emphasized new obedience according to the Ten Commandments or a general description of the gospel and the necessity of good works, Musaeus and Sack turn to a creedal and Christocentric hermeneutic. We might even call this a means-of-grace hermeneutic that sees Christ and the Spirit at work through the word and sacraments to create and preserve faith and to bring about good works in those who believe.

4 James 1:16 – 27 from Simon Musaeus to Lutheran Orthodox Preaching Simon Musaeus (1521 – 1576) Simon Musaeus, a gifted theologian who wrote many exegetical, dogmatic, pastoral, and catechetical works, studied in Frankfurt an der Oder and in Wittenberg.¹ However, his gnesio-Lutheran sensibilities caused him to be pushed from one post to another, and he was often in transition. He served as preacher or professor in over ten different cities in his career and never stayed in one place for more than three years. Part of his enduring legacy in Lutheranism is his theological influence through family connections. His oldest daughter Barbara married Tilemann Heshusius (4 February 1566). His younger daughter, Marie, married Daniel Hoffman, later prominent Lutheran dogmatician from Helmstedt. Musaeus’ postils on the epistle lessons were published first in 1573, a year after Pauli’s went on the market, and appeared in the following years in various formats.² A 1589 printing appeared in an octavo edition. Compared with the folio editions that he also published, these smaller books were more affordable. Although they came in three separate volumes, each was small enough that laity could have used them to follow along with sermons at church or used them conveniently at home for family devotions. In his preface and dedication to Duke Johann Wilhelm (1530 – 1573),³ Musaeus begins with a laud of God’s kingdom and His spiritual governance in  RGG4 5:1591. Outside of the standard German bibliographical articles, little research has been done on Musaeus. For a more detailed biographical sketch and a sample of his preaching, see Wilhelm Beste, Die bedeutendsten nachreformatorischen Kanzelredner der älteren lutherischen Kirche des Reformationszeitalters in Biographien und einer Auswahl ihrer Predigten (Leipzig: Gustav Meyer, 1858), 192– 201. J. A. Steiger has given an analysis of Musaeus’ holistic pastoral care for those suffering from depression (melancholia). See Johann Anselm Steiger, Melancholie, Diätetik und Trost: Konzepte der Melancholie-Therapie im 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg: Manutius Verlag, 1996), 20 – 29. He also offers a critical edition and brief commentary on Musaeus’ tract, Melancholischer Teufel (1572). See Johann Anselm Steiger, Medizinische Theologie: Christus Medicus und Theologia Medicinalis bei Martin Luther und im Luthertum der Barockzeit (Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2005), 210 – 246.  Reprints of his postils on the epistles appeared in 1574, 1575, and 1589. By 1590 his epistle sermons went through a total of 12 printings. See Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 495, n. 149. I used a complete edition of his postils from 1583 for the sermon on James, but I refer to his preface in the 1573 edition.  Around the time that Musaeus finished his preface (Laetare 1573) Duke Johnn Wilhelm died (2 March 1573). https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-006

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Christ. His preface reveals theological convictions that conform to the message of James 1, especially concerning the power of the word. Musaeus declares that God “has secured in this life His complete reign and spiritual governance among us through His oral and written word and in the preaching office of law and gospel [Predigampt deß Gesetzes vnd Euangelij].”⁴ Christ’s royal scepter is the law and the gospel by which He rules from His hidden throne, to gather His sheep who wander through this valley of sorrow.⁵ Musaeus’ description of God’s revelation in His word is frequently expressed as a revelation of God’s character and will (wesen vnd willen). Echoing a theme that reoccurs in Lutheran expositions of James 1:17, Musaeus teaches that to know God’s word is to know God and His will, and nothing can be known of God outside of His word.⁶ It is significant that the human reception of God’s word is not central to Musaeus’ preface, although for someone preparing to receive the word of God through his postils, such an emphasis would have been appropriate. Instead, Musaeus concentrates on God’s active delivery of the the word through the preaching office of law and gospel. The purpose of Musaeus’ postils was to deliver the word of God in a tangible way to Christians in every walk of life, to teach them the articles of the faith, urge and edify them toward holy living, and especially to prepare them to die.⁷ Characteristic for the genre, his postils were intended to serve as devotional material that communicated the sum of the Christian faith and should be read as the living voice of God among His people. The nature of Musaeus’ pastoral care can be detected in his evangelical consolation to his hearers and readers concerning the reception of the word. He does not place the responsibility of receiving the word on the individual as an exercise of the intellect or will. Instead, Musaeus, like Luther, describes the reception of the word in the context of tentatio. Christians are in the midst of a cosmic battle over the word of God, in which Satan, the world, and the sinful flesh seek to obscure and belittle the word and rob it

 Musaeus, Postilla Das ist Ausslegung aller Episteln / so durchs gantze Jar an Sontagen vnd namhafftigen Feyertagen / in der Kirchen vblich vnd gebreuchlich sind / in drey Theil gefasset vnd gestellet (1573), A2r. As far as I can tell, Musaeus is the only postiller to use the phrase “preaching office of the law and gospel.” The designation is telling of Musaeus’ theology of the word and understanding of the pastoral office.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A2r.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A2r. “Also / daß er ausser solchem wort mit keinem Menschen auff Erden in güte vnd gnaden wil zuschaffen haben / sondern es sollen stracks seyn vnd heissen / Leute ohne Gott / die ohne sein reines Wort wandeln vnd fahren.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A4v.

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from the heart. God is not unaware of the struggle. “Now God sees,” writes Musaeus, how we poor people, through the devil’s deception and enticement, regard nothing so little and get bored with nothing so much as with His precious word, and throw away eternal life for the cares and concerns of this dying maggot sack. With unbridled desire and energy we go off to satisfy and comfort ourselves with all the things in this fleeing life that we already have and have never lacked.⁸

The resonance with Luther’s postil sermon on James 1:17 (14 May 1536), in which Luther weighed the good and perfect gifts against the temporal blessings and explained the daily struggle to received the word, concerning the good and perfect gifts weighed on a scale with temporal blessings, is noteworthy. Musaeus even explains, just as Luther had in that sermon, that Christians now belong to God and are called to live a life in, but not of, this dying world. Theirs is the future life. Knowing that human beings would fall into sin and sorrow were it not for God’s gracious preservation, Musaeus vividly describes God as the doorkeeper of damnation and destruction, who mercifully shuts the door at every turn and guards and protects His people from every evil of body and soul.⁹ For Musaeus, human nature is so corrupt and so inclined to despise God’s word that there is nothing in us, in our reason, will, or understanding, that could receive the word. It must be a miracle that comes only through prayer for divine assistance. Therefore, the bridge between the word delivered and the word received, according to Musaeus, is not a human response to the word, as in a leap powered by the human will or understanding. That is to say, the word of God does not appeal to any power in the individual; the word is of itself powerful. As Musaeus explains, earnest prayer (oratio) is a bridge between proclamation and reception, not on its own merit, but insofar as it seeks to flee from the destructive nature of the sinful heart and receive the life-giving power of the divine word (meditatio). Therefore it says in Psalm 119:36, “Lord, incline my heart to Your Word and not to selfish gain.”¹⁰ He also describes the reception of the word by fruitfully taking up Luther’s analogy of the blessed exchange: This is how God portrays [vorbilden] His saving word for us in the Bible. He fashions the word as though it were a special workshop, a treasure chamber, and door through which

 Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A2r.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A2r – A2v.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A2v.

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we come to Him with our poverty and He comes to us with His heavenly riches, to take us to Himself and to make souls rich and save them eternally.¹¹

Musaeus then unmistakably weaves together the Jamesian themes of word, prayer, and wisdom. Referencing Wisdom 7:14, Musaeus says that wisdom is an endless treasure, and those who take hold of her are friends of God. For God does not love anyone who does not remain in wisdom. Even though Musaeus does not quote James here, the language of wisdom reflects his understanding of the word as it appears in James (3:13 – 18; 4:5). The language suggests again that Lutherans were at home in the biblical worldview of James, even when they were not expounding on the text directly. Already in his introduction, Musaeus has presented the Jamesian themes of preaching and the reception of the word of God. The gift of the word that comes down from above (James 1:17– 18) is synonymous with wisdom that comes down from above (James 3:17). He then moves to the effective power of the eternal word to save and likens it to a medicine for the soul—also a Jamesian theme (James 5:13 – 15). Musaeus writes: We search endlessly for temporal supplies and medical treatments, when our bodies get weak or sick, so that we don’t die of hunger, nakedness, or plague. But why don’t we search all the more for the word of God as the richest of all treasure chests, the costliest of all medicines, and the heavenly pantry, so that with our daily bread for the body we may also fill our soul and keep it strong and well against all spiritual sickness and spiritual death? Just as the Son of God says in Matthew 4[:4], ‘that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’¹²

Musaeus develops the themes here to include not only the word’s power to save (salvatio), but, also with his allegory of food and medicine for the soul, he illustrates the word’s power to keep and to preserve Christians in the faith (preservatio fidei). Musaeus combines God’s preservation of the faithful to St. Paul’s image in Ephesians 6 of the full armor of God and word of God as the sword. The word of God defends the Christian from all the attacks of the devil, the world, and the sinful flesh, just as Christ defended Himself from Satan (Matt. 4:1– 11; Luke 4:1– 13) with the words “it is written […], it is written.”¹³ To describe God’s plan of salvation, Musaeus uses the simile of a splendid castle, surrounded by a deep moat and towering walls, impenetrable to all

 Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A2v.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A2v.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A3r.

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those standing outside.¹⁴ No one can enter into the safety of the castle unless the king mercifully extends the bridge. And this God did in Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. Musaeus’ harmony with Althamer and Luther regarding Christ and His gifts is notable. The Father mercifully sends Christ to open up the way to Paradise and Christ Himself is the light of the Father. However, it is difficult to distinguish between the light of Christ who is the light of the Father, and the light of the gospel. Musaeus simply lets Christ and His word coalesce through the image of light. He moves from the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, by which God made for us a way, to the preaching office and the gift of the Holy Spirit, who lights the way of Christ. It is good to keep in mind that with Althamer’s translation and exegesis the phrase “Father of light” (James 1:17) came into the tradition as a Christological reference. Musaeus seeks to resolve some of the tension between Christ as the light and the word (externum verbum) as the light. After Christ ascended, Musaeus says, “He became our heavenly sun and light through the institution of the preaching office of the gospel and through the sending of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and He opened to us the Father’s heart and His merciful will concerning our salvation.”¹⁵ Now that the light of God’s saving word shines, Christians ought to take advantage of the time of God’s grace and not waste it on the invented religion of the Papists and Jesuits and on the deceptive teaching of all the enthusiasts and sects.¹⁶ The light of the Father is therefore Christ, His word, and the Holy Spirit’s pure distribution of that word through the preaching office and means of grace. Against those who cast doubt on the sufficiency of God’s word, Musaeus emphasizes the unity of Scripture and its common purpose. Yet he admits that not all Scripture is the same, and that the epistle lessons certainly seem to be a different sort of Scripture than the gospel pericopes.¹⁷ In a key passage, Musaeus distinguishes between the nature of the gospel pericopes and that of the epistle pericopes. He describes the gospel accounts as histories about Christ’s life, death and resurrection, His preaching and miracles, and everything that He did to win salvation for us. Whereas the gospel accounts are intended to show us God’s character, will, and work (wesen, willen, und werck), the epistles have a different purpose. Musaeus explains: The epistles however are written by the apostles after the ascension of Christ while they distributed the fully finished salvation, that is, they wrote them in the midst of practice,

   

Musaeus, Musaeus, Musaeus, Musaeus,

Postilla Postilla Postilla Postilla

(1573), (1573), (1573), (1573),

A3r – A3v. A3v. A4r. A4r.

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experience, and suffering, because they had received the command of Christ to go through the whole world with the preaching office of the gospel, in order to plant Christ’s kingdom and church and to show clearly to all people the right way to the eternal Fatherland. They had to respond to all the swift attacks and traps of the devil, the world, and the flesh which constantly afflict and tempt Christians. They had to address all the afflictions that Christians experienced throughout the world and give answer to all sorts of cases and questions. For this reason, the epistles are more suited to the daily training of the Christian life in its various vocations and activities than the gospels—although both belong together and go hand in hand, so that one can explain the other, as one will notice in my exposition and in the arrangement of the pericopes.¹⁸

Musaeus’ hermeneutic of the epistles therefore places James in the center of the congregational life. James, like the other apostles, wrote to address particular situations and pastoral concerns. The value of James for the Lutherans was obviously not its exhaustive doctrinal treatment of the entire body of Christian doctrine, but its pastoral tone and specific address to Christians who, in the midst of temptation and persecution, are tempted to grow weary of the word that they have received and to forget their high and eternal calling. His explanation of his method gives his readers a key to his epistle sermons.¹⁹ He sets out in his exposition of the epistle pericopes to offer the simple truth of the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures according to the standard or analogy (Richtscheidt) of the Catechism. By using the Catechism and by pulling together the most important passages and examples of Scripture in his expositions, he is able to treat almost the entire body of doctrine (corpus doctrinae) throughout the church year. The Catechism is also Musaeus’ method. He makes a brief apology both for keeping the same method of catechetical exegesis as he had in his postils on the gospel lessons and for only offering one sermon on each lesson. He suggests that pastors take one epistle sermon and make three or four out of it if needed, as they had apparently been doing with his sermons

 Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A4r. “Aber die Epistel / sind von den Aposteln gestellet / nach der Himelfart Christi / mitten in der austeilung der volbrachten Erlösung / das ist / mitten in praxi, erfahrung vnd anfechtung / da sie aus befehl Christi mit dem Predigampt des Euangelij durch die gantze welt gegangen / sein Reich vnd Kirche gepflanzt / allen Menschen die richtige strasse zum ewigen Vaterland trewlich geweiset / vnd allerley geschwinde stösse vnd hindernis vom Teuffel / welt vnd eignem fleisch drüber erlitten vnd versuchet / auch allerley gebrechen der Christen erfaren / vnd auff mancherley felle vnd fragen müssen antwort geben. Aus dieser vrsachen / sind die Epistel zur teglichen vbung Christliches wesens / in allerley stenden vnd geschefften bequemer / denn die Euangelia: Wiewol sie beide mit einander gehen sollen / damit sie einander die hand gereichen / vnd eins das ander erkeren / wie in dieser auslegung vnd gestelter ordnung zusehen.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A4v.

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on the gospel lessons. However, he encourages them to stick to the method he has provided, because it allows especially untrained hearers to become accustomed to the arrangement and better comprehend the content. His comments reveal part of the reality of congregational life in Germany. He suggests that if a preacher keeps changing his method from year to year, or worse, from sermon to sermon, the simple people will gain little from his preaching, even if they hear the same passages every year. Yet it was not only the simplicity of the people that concerned Musaeus, but the death rate. “Our people don’t live that long, so it’s impossible for many of them to hear the same text three or four times with various expositions and divisions. They are constantly flying away one after the other.”²⁰ Finally, Musaeus makes a distinction between worldly and sacred rhetoric. In worldly things, it is common practice for a rhetorician to take one subject and look at it from many different angles, to show the hearers that they have perhaps not understood a matter rightly and to bring them to a new understanding. In theological and spiritual matters, Musaeus says, it is not advisable to concentrate on only one thing. Especially in sacred rhetoric, the whole is greater than the parts. Like Pauli, Musaeus encourages pastors to use similar vocabulary, divisions, and applications year after year, so that the people can learn them. By using the same texts each year and by giving a simple and round (rundt) exposition of the texts for a period of time, the preacher will see that the texts begin to stick with their hearers.²¹ Musaeus provides us with another clear example of how Lutheran postillers understood James within the broader context of the prophetic and apostolic writings and its pastoral message for the church. The message of James, with its admonition to put away all filthiness, to receive the implanted word that is able to save souls (1:21), and to be doers of this implanted word, aligns itself perfectly with the goals of Lutheran postils. Musaeus hoped that from his postils “every Christian, young and old, would know how to govern his whole life in a Christian manner toward God and toward the neighbor, in good times and in bad times, in life and in death, toward enemies and toward friends, with both faith and godly living, to edify and protect his soul.”²² He believed the best way to accomplish this was to attach the major themes of each pericope to the various parts of the Catechism.

 Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A4v.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A5r.  Musaeus, Postilla (1573), A4v.

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Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 Musaeus follows his own advice and arranges the Cantate pericope into three lessons from the Catechism: the First Article of the Creed, the Third Article of the Creed, and the Third Commandment.²³ His division, however, influences the exposition itself. We may remember that Luther, in his exposition of James 1:17, avoids the association of the good and perfect gifts with the temporal blessings of God and interprets them strictly as spiritual blessings. In 1536, he said that the distinction was between the present and future life, or the gospel in time and in glory; and in his 1539 sermon against the antinomians, the good gift is law and the perfect gift is the gospel. Althamer, Corvin, Spangenberg, and others interpret the gifts as both earthly and spiritual blessings. In his loci exegesis according to the Catechism, Musaeus interprets James 1:16 – 17 and the preceding context of 1:13 – 15 as an exposition of the First Article of the Creed concerning God the Father and His nature, will, and work.²⁴ He grounds the work of God in the creation account. God is the Father of all light in time and in eternity. He does not change. Musaeus applies the phrase to the lights of creation, sun and moon, and to the illumination of the heart, the gift of heavenly wisdom which God had originally given to angels and human beings. Although some angels and all humans have fallen from their original state, this is not an indication that God has changed, taken back, or regretted His good and perfect gifts of wisdom.²⁵ According to Musaeus, God does not take His gifts lightly, but gives them in earnest; He is not like a man who changes his mind

 I now refer to a quarto edition: Simon Musaeus, Postilla: Das ist: Außlegung der Episteln und Evangelien, welche durchs gantze Jahr, an allen Sontagen, und ander namhafften Festen, in d. Kirchen ublich und bräuchlich sind, 2. Teil: Ostern bis auffs Advent (Frankfurt am Main: Basseus, 1583).  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 44. “1. Von Gottes natur / willen vnd werck / nach dem ersten Artickel vnsers glaubens / wie nichts denn alles gutes von jm kommen / derhalben jm niemand die Sünde / noch etwas böses sol zumessen.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 46 – 47. “Also sagt auch S. Jacobus hie / Jrret nit…von dem Vater des Liechts. Da heist ers klar eine jrrige meinung von Gott / wenn man jhn anderß achtet / denn für ein Vatter alles Liechts / beyde deß Ewigen im andern Leben / vnnd deß zeitlichen an Sonne vnd Mond / ja auch deß Geistlichen im Hertzen / welches ist die Weißheit / die er anfänglich beyde Engeln vnd Menschen mit getheilet / nit zu jrem schaden vnd vnvollkömlich / daß sie von jhm fallen solten / sondern als ein gute vnd vollömliche gabe / daß sie dadurch wol hetten mögen stehen / mit Got ewiglich leben / vnd sich jres falls erwheren. Vnd damit niemand gedencke / ja es mag wol seyn / daß Gott anfänglich sein liecht / beyde Engeln vnd Menschen / zur guten vnnd vollkömlichen Gaben mit getheiler vnd geschenckt. Aber es hab jhn berauwen / vnd habs jnen wider entzogen / daß sie haben müssen fallen vnnd sündigen.”

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(Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29).²⁶ His exegesis of 1:13 – 17 repudiates, more virulently than other postillers, those who ascribe the evil in the world and in the human heart to God’s nature, will, and work. Musaeus summarizes 1:13 – 17 as a rejection of the Manichean heresy, “which sticks in the flesh of godless men and devils.”²⁷ In clear terms, Musaeus insists that the evil in this world cannot be ascribed in any way to God, whose nature, will, and work is to give every good and perfect gift. All misfortune arises from us alone against God’s thought and will.²⁸ Musaeus’ second part begins with James 1:18, which belongs to the Third Article of the Creed or the powerful working of God to recreate those who are spiritually dead and make them members of His church and heirs of eternal life.²⁹ Here Musaeus explains that James leads us from the First Article of the faith to the Third, from the first bodily creation to the second spiritual creation, or sanctification (Heiligung).³⁰ Drawing on early church motifs of the Heilsgeschichte (Irenaeus), Musaeus, not unlike Pauli, interprets the new creation and sanctification as a recapitulation of the first. James sets the first creation against the new creature, and shows that God, who is the Father of light and the Spring of all good things, indeed created us in the beginning as the most lovely of all creatures after His own image, and adorned us with good and perfect gifts.³¹

Through the Fall the image was lost; man “cast his endowed wisdom, righteousness, and life from the light and into the horrid darkness of foolishness, unrighteousness, and death.”³² God’s restoration of the image takes place, according to Musaeus, not only by sending His Son for our redemption, but also by creating us anew as His creatures.³³ Musaeus makes the first explicit comparison between  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 47. Besides Numbers 22 and 1 Samuel 15, Musaeus cites Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 5, 1 John 1, Sirach 15, and Daniel 9. His many citations indicate that his postils were intended to be used as a study guide for reading of Scripture.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 44.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 44.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 44– 45. “2. Von dem sonderlichen hohen werck vnd wolthat Gottes an vns / nach dem dritten Artickel vnsers Christlichen glaubens / daß er vns verdorbene vnd Geistlich todte Weltkinder vmb Christi deß Mittlers willen / zu Gliedern seiner Kirchen geheiliget / vnd zu neuwen Creaturen vnd Erben deß ewigen Lebens gemacht.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 48.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 48.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 48.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 48. “Aber dieweil wir jm vmbgeschlagen / vnd auß dem Liecht seiner mit getheilten Weißheit / Gerechtigkeit vnnd Lebens / in die schräckliche Finsterniß aller tho-

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the original and the new creation from these verses. He maintains from the context in James that the new creation was a greater work of God, “for in the first creation, God made man from the clay of the earth and breathed into him a life-giving breath [Seele], as Moses describes in Genesis 1– 2. But here James says that He begot us or (in his way of speaking) God ἀπεκύησεν, that is, He gave birth as a mother births a child into the world from her own body.”³⁴ Like Luther (Cantate 1537), Musaeus draws strongly from James on the birth analogy. In order for this new birth to take place, the word of truth (he says) is needed, namely, the gospel through which God truly works in us with His Spirit and forms us into His image, giving us again His heavenly wisdom, righteousness, and life, as St. Paul says in Romans 1: “The gospel is the power of God that saves everyone who believes it.” So the gospel is the power of God for salvation, as St. Paul clearly says and the gospel is the word of truth, as St. James testifies, through which God, like a mother who gives birth anew, makes us spiritually alive.³⁵

God, like a mother, gives birth to us through the gospel and makes us spiritually alive. The conception of the new creation through the gospel stands, for Musaeus, in direct contrast to the teaching of Caspar Schwenkfeld and other spiritualists who deny the power of the external word to convert and regenerate.³⁶ The power of the word affects the new life. Musaeus does not address, as Pauli had, new obedience in terms of human responsibility. According to Musaeus, God has made us His first fruits, so that, as Luther put it in his explanation to the Second Article of the Creed, “we might be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.”³⁷ Musaeus, quoting Ephesians 1:3 – 12, describes the new life according to God’s adoption and promise of the eternal inheritance. Rather than

rheit / vngerechtigkeit vnd Todsgefallen / hat er vns durch seinen Son / den Mittler / nit allein lassen erlösen / sondern vns auch auffs new zu seinen Creaturen zu schaffen.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 48. “Wie S. Jacobus allhie solche neuwe schaffung nach allerley vmbständen also abmahlet / dz sich Gott hie viel mehr kosten leßt / denn in der ersten Schöpffung / da er schlechts den Menschen aussem Erdenkloß gemacht / vnd jm einelebendige Seele eyngeblasen / wie Moses / Gen. 1. vnd 2. schreibet / Hie aber sagt S. Jacobus / habe er vns gezeuget / oder (wie es in seiner sprach lautet) ἀπεκύησεν / dz ist / geboren / wie ein Mutter ein kind auß jrem leibe an die Welt bringt.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 48.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 48. “So muß der Schwenckfelt liegen / als ein verzweiffelter Ketzer / der es für einen todten Buchstaben / vnkräfftig vnd vnnötig zu vnser bekehrung vnd erleuchtung lestert.”  SC II:2, in BSLK, 511.

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placing a new demand of obedience on the new creature, Musaeus says that being new creatures and the first fruits of God’s creation is a great comfort for us Christians: “We are the most dear children, the next in line for the inheritance, those who will sit at His breast for all eternity and be His glory and joy.”³⁸ In the final section of the sermon on 1:19 – 21, Musaeus applies these verses to the Third Commandment. Here he does not speak of our obedience (Gehorsam), but instead describes how God trains us through His word (von fruchtbarlicher vbung Göttliches worts).³⁹ According to Musaeus, James gives three characteristics (eigenschafften) belonging to every newborn child of God, so that as good disciples and hearers of the word we steadily grow and are saved.⁴⁰ First, he warns at 1:19—just as Luther had against the enthusiasts, and others had applied to young preachers—that one should not quickly become a master of the word and burst out with whatever comes into their head: “That is a wretched plague that corrupts every preacher and hearer.”⁴¹ Musaeus, therefore, admonishes preachers with a summary of St. Paul’s words to Timothy: “Stick to reading, so that everyone can see your progress” (1 Tim. 4:12).⁴² The second characteristic of a good disciple is humility and patience. Musaeus applies this especially to hearers of the word who should be ready humbly to receive correction and discipline from the preaching of repentance and from the cross.⁴³ The last characteristic of a true disciple of the word is true repentance. That is, true disciples will flee from the sins against their conscience (1:20). Musaeus laments that many hear the preaching of repentance and are struck by the words, but then refuse to flee from their sin. They “remain in the same filth as before and are not sorry for their sins and do not pray to improve their life.”⁴⁴ Musaeus made it a practice to end each of his sermons with a prayer that summarized the lesson. This sermon ends with a prayer of praise to God the Father for both the first creation and the new creation through the word of truth. He adds this final petition: “Incline our hearts to Your word, so that throughout all our days we may hear it with humility, without wrath, putting aside all wickedness, so that we grow and remain in this new birth that You have begun in us.”⁴⁵

 Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 49.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 49.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 49.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 50.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 50.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 50.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 50.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 52. “Summa dieser Epistel ins Gebett verfasset. WJr dancken dir HERR Gott Himmlischen Vatter / daß du vns nicht allein anfänglich an vnsern aller ersten Eltern

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What stands out in Musaeus’ exposition is the birth imagery and the restoration of the imago Dei. He does not draw on agricultural imagery, such as the parable of the sower or 1 Peter 1:23 concerning the imperishable seed. Yet his message from James 1:16 – 21 is thoroughly grounded in God’s gracious activity through His word and Spirit. Now that the new creation has come in Christ and through His word, Christians are called to put aside the old self with all its desires and grow from day to day by receiving the word that can save and keep their souls eternally.

Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 Musaeus offers an ecclesiological interpretation of James 1:22– 27. The message belongs to the Third Article of the Creed, particularly the phrase, “the communion of saints” and the distinction between the visible and hidden church. Drawing on the parables of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24– 30) and the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31– 46), Musaeus applies James’ message both to preachers and members of the church, who with various discernible signs are set apart from the hypocrites and posing Christians, who serve the devil in the Christian name, until, on the day of judgment, they are eternally separated as tares from the good wheat, as goats from obedient sheep, or even as ulcers from a healthy body, and thrown into the abyss of hell with the devils.⁴⁶

He then ties the epistle in with the theme of Rogate (pray!), to teach that we must learn to sing faithfully in prayer to God. Musaeus uses the example of the nightingale, who does not screech like the owl or boom like the great bittern, causing a hideous and unbearable sound, but sings a beautiful tune that pleases God in heaven and moves Him graciously to hear our prayer.⁴⁷

/ als ein Vatter alles liechts / nach deinem Göttlichen Bild geschaffen / vnd mit guten vnd volkömmlichen Gaben gezieret / sondern auch nach dem Fall vmb Christi vnsers einigen Mittlers willen wider zu Gnaden angenommen / vnd durch das wort der Warheit zu gliedern deiner Kirchen gemacht / vnd geheiliget zun Erstlingen deiner Creaturen / neige vnsere Hertzen zu deinem Wort / daß wirs vnser lebenlang ohn zorn / mit sanfftmut vnnd ablegung aller boßheit hören / vnd in angefangener neuwen geburt wachsen vnnd verharren / der du mit deinem lieben Son vnd heiligen Geist lebest vnd regierest ein warer Gott jmmer vnd ewiglich / AMEN.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 53.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 53. Musaeus draws attention to an important aspect of Lutheran theology that also plays a significant role in Lutheran exegesis, namely, that God can through prayer be moved mercifully to change His mind toward His creatures. J. A. Steiger has shown

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Musaeus draws together the major themes of James 1, including prayer and true faith, and sees the lesson for Rogate as an unbroken continuation of the previous Sunday.⁴⁸ After James has explained how God recreates His fallen creatures through the word, he now offers several tests (Proben und Werckzeichen), “so that by these one can examine and perceive both in himself and in others whether he is a true Christian or a hypocrite, as St. Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 3 [sic, 13:5]: ‘Test [versuchet / πειράζετε] yourselves to see if you are in faith. Test yourselves [prüfet euch selbs / ἑαυτοὺς δοκιμάζετε]. Or do you not realize that Christ is in you?’”⁴⁹ As just mentioned, Musaeus places the Rogate pericope in the locus of the Third Article of the Creed. However, his division of the sermon places the three major parts under one or more of the commandments, to test whether one is a true Christian. Musaeus formulates the text’s major parts negatively, according to the unsavory characteristics of those who preach and hear the word. One must test oneself and others against the commandments to make plain whether one is true or not. The first part, and the one to which Musaeus gives the most attention in his exposition (1:22– 25), is an examination of the Third Commandment, to show that not everyone hears and receives the word in the same way. The second part (1:26) is an examination from the Second and Eighth Commandment, to discern who holds their mouth in check before God and the world. And the final section (1:27) is an examination of all the commandments in general.⁵⁰

the importance of prayer in the Lutheran exegesis of Jonah, that even in the depths of hell a prayer that lays hold of the promissio can overcome the power of hell: “Noch in der Hölle, in der Gott nicht gelobt wird (Jes 38,18), ja gar nicht ist, ist und bleibt die göttliche promissio gültig, daß der Glaube die Macht hat, Gott herbeizuzitieren und durch das Gebet (und sei es nur ein Stoßgebet) die Hölle zu überwinden. Insofern ist Jona exemplum fidei: Weil er die Allmacht des Glaubens vorexerziert, Gott dazu zwingt, seine Verheißung wahrzumachen, das Schreien des Beters nicht ungehört zu lassen, und dadurch die Hölle in einen Ort ungeahnter Gottesnähe verwandelt.” Johann Anselm Steiger, “Jonas Hölle. Ein auslegungsgeschichtlicher Beitrag zu Luthers Interpretation des Alten Testaments”, in Innovation durch Wissenstransfer in der Frühen Neuzeit. Kultur- und geistesgeschichtliche Studien zu Austauschprozessen in Mitteleuropa, ed. J. A. Steiger, Sandra Richter, and Marc Föcking, Chloe: Beiträge zum Daphnis 41 (Amsterdam and New York : Brill / Rodopi, 2010), 55-77; here, 67. There is further study that could be done on the Lutheran theology of prayer as drawn from James (1:6– 8, 3:3, and 5:13 – 20). It is not by chance that in his commentary on Jonah (1526), Luther turns on several occasions to James, in order to teach about faith and prayer.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 53 – 54. “Es hengt aber diese heutige Epistel an der vergangenen heute acht tage / als einerley vngetrennete Predigt.”  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 54.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 54.

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Musaeus remarks that James is not dealing with blatant rejection of God’s word. For St. James is not speaking here of the gross hypocrites, such as the papists who seek and establish the church and salvation outside of God’s word in purely human arrangements. He is speaking of the subtlest and finest hypocrites, who confess the pure teaching with true Christians and let themselves be berated as evangelical.⁵¹

The danger with this sort of inspection, of course, is that it can turn into a witch hunt. Musaeus avoids this insofar as he does not attempt to deal programmatically with an evaluation of true Christianity, to rid the church of all hypocrites, as would later be the case in radical Pietism. Instead he acknowledges the subtleties of a good pastoral application of the law and the need for self inspection in light of God’s word. The issue for James, as he sees it, is not that lazy Christians are deceiving others and corrupting the fellowship of the church, but rather that by having outward fellowship in the true church and not internally in their own hearts they only deceive themselves, and the Day of Judgment will make it plain. God already knows the heart. God does not look at outward appearances, to see whether you hear His word in the congregation and blabber on about it. God looks at the foundation of the heart, to see whether His word has taken root through faith and has blossomed through good works. If He does not find it so, He will surely damn you as a hypocrite.⁵²

God will judge the genuineness of the inward being and not the appearance of godliness. Yet the Christian life is not merely inward. Musaeus states: True Christians […] have both internal and external communion with the Christian Church and hear the word not only externally with the ear, but receive it with the heart through the working of the Holy Spirit, and are made holy and converted, so that, if they were secure in their sins, they start to fear them by the preaching of the law. Or if they were despairing, they begin to be comforted by the preaching of the gospel, through faith in Christ, and show forth their faith through new obedience and guard themselves from intentional sins against conscience. This is just what the Third Article of our Christian faith says, that true Christians are a communion of saints, who have the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.⁵³

 Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 55.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 56.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 56.

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What is most striking in this passage and telling of Musaeus’ exegesis of this pericope as a whole is his application of the mirror as law and gospel. Musaeus and later postillers pick up on this interpretive strategy from Pauli and develop it further, especially Hartmann Creide in the seventeenth century. Pauli had used the mirror to give a rather elaborate anthropology of pre-lapsarian humanity. Musaeus, however, says simply that God’s law and gospel is a bright mirror of our nature and the essence and will [wesen vnd willen] of God that is placed before all people to reflect back and expose them even down to their pores […]. But those who look in the mirror are not at all the same; there are two kinds.⁵⁴

Musaeus lists the expectations of those who are faithful hearers, and develops here something of an ordo salutis. When true Christians look into the mirror of the law, they see their sins, repent and wash. And when true Christians look into the law of liberty (gospel), they believe and trust it, give thanks for it, fight against sin, and contemplate further the word that has been preached to them. This is the Christian who, James says, “will be blessed in his doing” (1:25). Musaeus is aware of misinterpretations on this point. If the true Christian is the one who studies the word and is blessed for his perseverance, is not the study of the word and the perseverance of the saints a human work? Musaeus not only explains the passage but seeks to lay out a hermeneutic for the whole epistle: For in no way does he ascribe salvation to one’s own doing and work. Rather, he distinguishes throughout his entire epistle between a true, living faith and hypocrisy, and says: “A true, living faith could not and must not be without works and fruits, even though one is certainly justified and saved without any works. But if a man is without works, he is completely dead, that is, he is full of useless hypocrisy.” That is therefore the first point of this epistle concerning the testing of faith, to distinguish between true Christians and hypocrites.⁵⁵

 Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 57.  Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 57– 58. Denn er mit nichte einiger that vnd Werck die Seeligkeit zuschreibt / sondern in seiner gantzen Epistel durchauß den rechten lebendigen Glauben vnderscheidet von Heucheley / vnd sagt: Ein rechter lebendiger Glaub könne vnd müsse ohne Werck vnnd früchte kurtzumb nicht seyn / ob er wol ohn alle Werck gerecht vnd selig machet. Jst er aber ohn Werck / so ist er gantz todt / das ist / nichtig vnd lauter heucheley / das ist nun der erst Punct dieser Epistel von der ersten Probe vnnd vnderschiede der rechten Christen vnnd Heuchler.

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In summary, the entire epistle concerns the testing of true Christians, so that their faith would be genuine and distinguished in this world from that of the hypocrites. Although works and the fruits of faith do not justify or save a person, a true Christian is never without them, as the examples of Abraham, Rahab, Job, Elijah, and the prophets demonstrate. As a final note on Musaeus, his summary prayer shows how by reading the passages with the Catechism, he steers clear of the difficulty Pauli had with the responsibility of the hearers. Whereas Pauli left little room for the powerful working of the word and Spirit, and instead emphasized the believer’s necessary response to the word in obedience to the norma legis, Musaeus places the whole life of the Christian under the work of the Holy Spirit and His word. Summary of this Epistle in Prayer Form: We give thanks to You, Lord God, heavenly Father, that you have revealed to us your saving word and have called us into the communion of Your holy, Christian church. Renew our evil nature through Your Holy Spirit with every passing day, so that we may not decay with the great masses of hypocrites and dead members of your church. As true Christians, make us both hearers and doers of Your word who unceasingly examine themselves with the same, as our mirror, that we would wash the dirt and filth of our sin from us, control our tongues, and keep ourselves unstained from the vileness of the world, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, our eternal Mediator and Savior. Amen.⁵⁶

It should be clear by now that certain theological topics arise among the students of Wittenberg and heirs of Luther in the postil tradition on James 1: the nature of God and His good gifts, prayer and suffering, the power of the word to regenerate, the necessity of good works, and now the stability of the mirror as a twofold reflection of law and gospel. With Pauli and Musaeus, there is developing awareness of the need to articulate a balanced anthropology, one that views man from pre- and post-lapsarian perspectives, as well as from the perspective of the new creation in Christ and the full restoration of the image of God at the final consummation or day of resurrection.

 Musaeus, Postilla (1583), 61. Summa dieser Epistel ins Gebett verfasset. WJr dancken dir HERR Gott Himmlischer Vatter / daß du vns dein seligmachendes wort geoffanbaret / vnd zu der gemeinschafft deiner heyligen Christlichen Kirchen beruffen. Verneuwe vnser böse natur durch deinen heiligen Geist je lenger je mehr / daß wir nicht mit dem grossen hauffen der heuchler vnnd todter Glieder deiner Kirchen verderben / sondern als warhafftige Christen / deines Worts beyde Hörer vnd Thäter seyen / vnd dasselbige als vnsern Spiegel on vnterlaß also anschauwen / daß wir vnser heßliche mahlen vnnd schandtflechen drauß abwischen / vnser Zunge zämen / vnnd vns von der schnöden Welt vnbefleckt halten / durch Jesum Christum deinen lieben Son vnsern ewigen Mittler vnnd Heyland / Amen

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The sermons on James 1 thus far can serve as a commentary on many of the disputes that the Formula of Concord of 1580 sought to resolve. The sermons on James 1 that I will consider next come after 1580. Though more expansive, these later sermons remain consistent with the doctrines, images, and tropes of the Lutheran postil tradition that is indebted to Luther. Even if they never read all five of his sermons on James 1, the later postillers show an uncanny similarity to Luther in their homiletical and exegetic treatment of those pericopes from James.

Siegfried Sack (1527 – 1596) We begin after the Formula with Siegfried Sack (1527– 1596), the gifted cathedral preacher in Magdeburg, whose sermons on the epistles, Erklerung über die Episteln, were published posthumously (1598) by his family. They report that Sack was in the process of preaching these sermons through a second time before publishing them, but was called to rest before he could finish. According to the preface, his treatment of the epistles were carefully weighed and “he put them on the golden scale of the holy, divine word, explained and confirmed the doctrine therein, pointed out and refuted the false doctrine, arranged the interpretation according to the standard (Richtschnur) of the divine word, and defended the truth.”⁵⁷ Sack’s sermons on James are preeminent examples in the decade that followed the Formula of Concord. Sack was the first Lutheran preacher at the Magdeburg Cathedral, St. Catherine’s. He, too, studied in Wittenberg and was a student of Melanchthon. In Magdeburg, he soon became a popular preacher for his doctrinal soundness, linguistic precision, and clarity of style.⁵⁸ His postils are easy to follow, edifying, and thorough. Each sermon would have easily provided pastors enough material to prepare more than one sermon from the text.

Cantate: James 1:16 – 21 Sack follows Musaeus and arranges James 1:16 – 21 primarily under the Third Article of the Creed concerning sanctification. “For through the new birth we, who

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), A2v.  For a succinct overview of Sack’s life and work and for helpful insights into Sack’s method and pastoral care, see Cornelia Niekus Moore, Patterned Lives: The Lutheran Funeral Biography in Early Modern Germany (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006), 137– 147.

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according to our nature were children of wrath and impurity, are made holy and made into children of God.”⁵⁹ Sack also connects the pericope of James to the death and resurrection of Christ. The topic is treated during this time of the church year, because the new birth is also a fruit of the passion and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, just as almost every gospel and epistle from Easter to Pentecost speak of the benefit of the suffering and resurrection of Christ.⁶⁰

According to Sack, then, James belongs to those passages in Scripture that speak of the fruit of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. He argues that the pericope should also be read in light of the gospel lesson from John 16 and the sending of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the gifts that come down from above can be seen as the gifts of the Spirit at Pentecost. In another effort to put James in context, Sack explains the Introit from Psalm 98 (which he twice mistakes for Psalm 79). Sack, like Musaeus, speaks of the beautiful song of Cantate Sunday. Instead of a nightingale (Musaeus), Sack offers the metaphor of the harp from Revelation 14:2 to speak about the sweet song of the gospel in James. This is an exalted doctrine. Therefore this Sunday is called Dominica Cantate, as we hear in the Introit: “Sing to the Lord a new song” from Psalm 79 [sic, 98]. One can see why this Introit was arranged for this day, since it serves as a reminder of the new, exalted, and incomparable doctrine that no human being can grasp by his natural strength, namely, the doctrine concerning the new birth that is revealed in the gospel. Therefore the doctrine of the holy gospel is called a new hymn or a new song that sounds so much more beautiful than the old song of the the law that thundered and flashed, terrified and lit up the sky. In contrast to the law, the little song of the New Testament sounds like a sweet harp, just as the mysterious revelation of Revelation 14 describes. In this way, we surely have a beautiful and comforting doctrine in this epistle.⁶¹

The emphasis on law and gospel at every step is characteristic of Sack’s exegesis. He also stands closest to Luther’s sermons on this point. It is not merely that James preaches the law or that James preaches the gospel; what matters is that he does both, because God works through both law and gospel as means

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 366.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 366. Up to this point, Sack is the only postiller outside of Luther (Cantate 1536) to make this connection.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 367.

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to save lost and condemned creatures.⁶² Law and gospel, the Straffpredigt and the Trostpredigt,⁶³ are God’s means of killing and making alive. Or, to use the medical analogy that frequently appears in the postils, law and gospel are together the divine diagnosis and remedy for saving sinners. At 1:17, Sack points out just as Luther had that James uses general language, and therefore allows for a wide application. By this phrase he means that everything in the world, in heaven and on earth, is good and can be called good. He leaves nothing out, but gives God the glory and says that everything comes from Him. Whatever good we have, whether of body or soul or of things temporal or of things eternal, they are all His gifts: His gift of grace, His charity, and portions of His loaf. Whoever does not recognize it is not a Christian.⁶⁴

Although Sack says that the text teaches the general truth of God’s richness and mercy toward impoverished and sinful humanity, he is noticeably free in his application of the good and perfect gifts and suggests three different variants. His own division puts the manifold gifts of God into two categories: (1) the external blessings (earthly, in time, bodily, perishable) and (2) the inner blessings (heavenly, eternal, spiritual, imperishable). However, he also suggests that one could divide it threefold: (1) bona naturalia (body, soul, reason, fruits of the earth); (2) bona moralia (discipline, respectability, virtue, which are derived from the Ten Commandments); and (3) bona spiritualia (grace, forgiveness, true knowledge of God, faith).⁶⁵ Sack’s distinction of the three gifts appears to be taken directly from Pauli, who distinguished between three kinds of gifts from the Father of light: natural, moral (the good gifts), and spiritual (the perfect gifts). The gifts of nature (bonum naturale), says Pauli, include everything that God creates and upholds in creation for the good of humankind. The gifts of morality (bonum morale), he says, include anything having to do with human virtue: “It is any work that agrees with the law of God.”⁶⁶ Pauli notably includes among the moral blessings the works of the first table: to know God rightly, to call on Him rightly, and to fear and love Him. The spiritual and perfect gifts (geistliche güter), Pauli says, are

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 366. “Durch diese Mittel / durchs Gesetz vnd Euangelium werden wir newgeboren / dadurch werden wir aus Kindern des Zorns / Kinder der Gnaden. Gleich dasselbe lehret auch die Epistel / vnd rühmet sonderlich die Newegeburt / als eine herrliche gabe Gottes / dadurch wir erleuchtet / vnd Gottes Kinder werden.’’  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 366.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 372.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 372.  Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 85v.

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those gifts that “bring us eternal salvation, namely, God has given us His Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, eternal blessedness and life.”⁶⁷ The difference between Sack and Pauli, however, is that Pauli connects the true knowledge of God to the bona moralia and the first table of the law, whereas Sack links this special knowledge of God to the bona spiritualia or gospel. Sack offers a final option: St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s distinction of the gifts as bona creationis, bona redemptionis, and bona gloriae would also be appropriate.⁶⁸ In his 1536 Cantate sermon, Luther, too, had used Bernard’s distinction between the present gifts of redemption and the future gifts of glory.⁶⁹ Sack clarifies the phrase “Father of light” with six applications. The wide application in Sack is noteworthy, because it summarizes what we have observed from Luther to Musaeus. First, Sack suggests that James calls God the Father of light because light is essential to God’s nature (ratione essentiae).⁷⁰ Yet according to Sack, one must distinguish between the created lights of planets or angels and the light that is uncreated, eternal, and an immutable quality of God’s essence.⁷¹ Second, the phrase can be applied to God the Father’s begetting (ratione generationis). Thus the light refers to Christ, the light of the world, who is begotten of the Father from eternity.⁷² Third, Sack says that one could apply the phrase to God as the creator of light (ratione creationis) in reference to Genesis 1. Fourth, Sack says that the Father of light can refer to the spiritual illumination of the

 Pauli, Postilla, Teil II (1572), 85v. Pauli summarizes the three gifts of nature, morality, and the spiritual gifts of divine revelation, with an elegant use of chiasmus. He turns the chiasmus around the question, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7) and follows the pattern a-b-c | c-b-a. The result is a simplified presentation of Iranaeus’ recapitulation theology, wherein the gifts of God’s creation point fallen humanity to the gifts of redemption and redemption in Christ leads God’s new creation back to the created order of Eden.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 373.  It is beyond the scope of this study, but I suspect that a closer examination of Luther’s reception of St. Bernard, who frequently refers to James in his writings, would reveal that Luther’s exegesis of the letter was shaped in part by the medieval father.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 370.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 370. “Er wird aber ein Wesentlich Liecht genant / zum vnterscheid des erschaffenen Liechts / Quia Lux est essentialis, non accidentalis, increata, aeterna, immutabilis. Jn den Creaturen aber ist das Liecht Lux accidentalis, creata, temporalis & mutabilis. Ein erschaffen Liecht / das einen anfang hat vnnd verwandelt werden kan. Also sind die H. Engel auch Substantia lucida, helle Creaturen / müssen aber von dem Göttlichen Wesen vnterschieden werden.”  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 370. “Er wird auch also genant Ratione generationis vel respectu filii, dieweil er seinen Son von Ewigket gezeuget / welcher ein Wesentlich Ebenbild vnnd der Glantz seiner Herrligkeit ist / Splendor gloriae.”

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Holy Spirit (ratione lucis spiritualis) through whom a new light is ignited in human hearts to make children of darkness into children of light, who know God rightly and have true faith in Christ.⁷³ Fifth, since God has made children of light, they also walk in the light and He leads them in the light. The phrase therefore applies to the works of the children of God in their given vocations (ratione gubernationis).⁷⁴ Finally, Sack suggests that God and His gifts should be understood as an antithesis to Satan and his works (ratione differentiae et immutabilitatis). God cannot change, and therefore neither can His gifts.⁷⁵ The long list of applications should not be seen as loose exegesis of the text, but as both a comprehension of the exegetical tradition and a genuine conviction of the richness of the sensus literalis that allows for multiple applications. For Sack, the many applications do not cloud the meaning of the passage, but rather magnify the text in light of the rest of Scripture. At 1:18, Sack demonstrates how Lutheran pastors were attempting to fortify the confessional identity of their people by giving a detailed explanation of the doctrine of regeneration. Since many St. Catherine’s parishioners were former Roman Catholics,⁷⁶ Sack is especially careful to point out why Lutherans reject the Catholic teaching regarding gratia de congruo et de condigno. ⁷⁷ Neither a person’s works prior to grace, nor a person’s work after grace can earn God’s favor. Regarding the works that follow regeneration, Sack argues that James excludes

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 371. “Ratione lucis Spiritualis Wegen des Geistlichen Liechts. Dann darzu gibt er vns den H. Geist / damit vnsere Hertzen erleuchtet / vnnd ein newes Liecht darinnen angezündet werde / nemlich das rechte erkentnis Gottes / vnnd wahrer Glaube an den HErrn Jesum Christum. Daher werden die Gleubigen / Kindes Liechts / vnd die Vngleubige Kinder der Finsternis genennet.’’  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 371.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 371. “Lucifer war ein schöner herrlicher Engel. Jst aber in einen Geist der Finsternis verendert worden. Die Menschen waren nach Gottes Ebenbild erschaffen / sind aber durch die Sünde zu Teuffels Laruen worden. Es leuchtete im Menschen ein herrlich Liecht / vnd ein vollkommenes Erkentnis Gottes. Nun aber ist ein schrecklicher Wechsel des Liechts vnd der Finsternis geschehen. Also ist Gottes Güte / Gnade vnd Verheissung vnwandelbar / vnnd bleibe jmmer für vnd für bey denen die jn fürchten. Luc. 1. Psalm. 102: Tu idem ipse es. Du bleibest wie du bist / vnnd deine Jhar nennen kein ende.’’  Moore, Patterned Lives (2006), 139.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 373. “Die Scholastici geben für / das ein Mensch sich selbs zur Gnaden bereiten vnd etwas thun könne / dadurch Gott der HERR schüldig werde jhnen seine Gnade zu geben de congruo. Wann dann die Gnade den Menschen / wie etliche reden / tanquam in vrceolos vacuos eingegossen / darnach gebüre dem Menschen die Gnade de condigno / als wann ers Wirdig / vnnd mit seinen Wercken verdienet hette. Der Apostel aber schleust alles aus vnnd schreibets alleine GOtt dem HErrn zu / wie zun Ephes. am 2. Wir sind seine Werck / geschaffen in Christo Jesu etc.’’

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all our works and ascribes everything to the Lord God alone.⁷⁸ Thus, sanctification, though accomplished in the regenerate, is a divine act brought about by the Holy Spirit. In this context, Sack suggests that one should include holy baptism in their reading of James 1:18, because the Holy Spirit works through both word and baptism to regenerate.⁷⁹ Again, we see Sack reading James together with the greater witness of Scripture. Because both the word and baptism are tools of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the new birth, the addition of baptism at 1:18 is not a foreign import to the text, but belongs properly to the sacred logic of the Scriptures to communicate the gospel. At 1:19, Sack, like others, believes that James is primarily addressing preachers. The preachers should not demand that their people humble themselves to the divine word and work of the Holy Spirit without first leading by example. Preaching is not only a matter of skill, since God can work great things through even the simplest preacher, but also a matter of faithfulness to the divine word.⁸⁰ The text also applies secondarily to all other vocations. And Sack gives, according to the Table of Duties in the Catechism, various applications of the need to be patient and listen rather than to speak. Against all works of human invention, James teaches that the fruits of new birth ought to follow according to the Richtschnur that God has given in His word.⁸¹ Like Musaeus, Sack states that works must necessarily follow the new birth, but he saves a thorough exposition of the cause of these good works for the next Sunday.

Rogate: James 1:22 – 27 Sack’s Rogate sermon is a rich exposition of the major themes we have met thus far. He therefore serves as a proper place to close out the sixteenth-century exegesis and offer us a preview of the seventeenth century. In many ways, Sack

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 373.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 374. “Darvon mus auch die heilige Tauffe nicht außgeschlossen werden / dann der heilige Geist wircket beydes durchs Word / vnnd auch durch die heilige Tauffe.’’  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 376. “Es vermanet aber S. Jacobus nicht allein die Zuhörer / sondern auch die Prediger selbs / Dann wie sich die Zuhörer in der Werckstadt des heiligen Geistes gern sollen finden lassen / Also sollen die Prediger auch selbs ein gut Exempel geben / vnd gern anderer Lehrer Predigt anhören vnd Christlich daruon Vrtheilen. Sollen niemands verachten. Dann Gott der HERR auch durch die allergeringsten vnnd einfelligsten Prediger bey den Zuhörern grossen nutz schaffen kan. Darumb sol man keine Predigt / so weit sie dem Göttlichen Wort gemes ist / einem zerlapten Bettlers Mantel vergleichen.’’  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 376.

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brings us back full circle to Luther, both in terms of his pastoral application of law and gospel as well as his hermeneutic for deciphering the Epistle of James. Sack confirms several points of exegesis that we have observed in other postillers, and discloses a striking parallel between his reading of James and that of Luther. We first look at his exegesis of verse 1:22 and what it means to be a doer of the word. We will then examine his application of the mirror from James 1:23 – 25. First, to understand Sack’s exegesis of the phrase “a doer of the word,” we must first attend to his definition of terms in James 1:22– 25. James, he argues, does not define the term “word” strictly as law. Nor does he define it strictly as gospel. He suggests that the term should be understood in its context and that one should follow James’ application of it. Thus “doing the word” in this context can mean doing the gospel just as much as it can mean doing the law. David, too, uses “word” and “law” in Psalm 119 to include both law and gospel. For the word law does not always mean the Ten Commandments, but is often used in a general way to mean doctrine, and is also understood now and again as the comforting doctrine of the gospel, as in Psalm 119[:92]: “Had your law not been my comfort, I would have perished in my affliction.” Here one must not understand anything of the doctrine of the law, but understand the comforting doctrine of the gospel. When one explains this epistle of James according to the doctrine of the holy gospel, then everything is straight and clear, as we will hear.⁸²

Sack is obviously not the first to point out James’ broad use of the terms “word” and “law of liberty” but his explanation is certainly the most comprehensive. Sack applies the broader interpretation of the terms in James to the words of Jesus in the parable of the sower. In fact, he inserts a small homily on the parable into his sermon on James, and suggests that they share a common theme: not that people hear the word and do not do it, but that those who refuse to do the word do not hear it rightly. ⁸³ Thus the real hypocrite is the one who hears the word and does not repent.⁸⁴ According to Sack, James’ admonition correlates to Christ’s in Luke 8:15, which was not a moral call to duty, but a powerful ser-

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 383.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 385. “Nun folget aber weiter die vermanung S. Jacobi / das es nicht gnugsam ist / das man Gottes Wort höret sondern man mus es auch recht hören / also spricht Christus / Luc. 8.”  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 386.

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mon to change the hearts of his hearers.⁸⁵ The comparison with Christ’s word was Sack’s way of teaching his audience how to read James and avoid false interpretations. “I wanted to explain this more fully so that my reader can better examine the true meaning of St. James and see that, as long as it is not twisted through false glosses, it is not contrary to the divine word, since Christ Himself says the same thing as James.”⁸⁶ In response to the Roman Catholic argument that James teaches we are saved only by being doers of the word, that is, by doing good works and not by faith alone, Sack urges his audience not to read James legalistically (legaliter). James is not referring to our fulfilling of the law, but refers instead to the fulfillment of the law in Christ.⁸⁷ In other words, the Catholics misinterpret the passage because they do not allow for the full completion of the law in Christ. But what happens when the law is already fulfilled? Sack says that “we as the children of God are still responsible to do good works. After we have been saved by grace through faith, we begin a new life and we do as much in this corrupt nature as can happen through the help and aid of the Holy Spirit.”⁸⁸ Yet for Sack the necessity of good works is not the central message from James, since that would simply be a return to the law. A second misinterpretation of James arises when one does not hold both law and gospel together. Sack’s argument echoes almost verbatim Luther’s unpublished 1539 sermons against the antinomians. He writes, Secondly they are wrong to apply the word of God here only to the law. For the word of God consists of a twofold doctrine: first the law, then the gospel. And both are of the utmost necessity for our salvation, though each according to its own measure. When therefore we are commanded to hear God’s word, the law is not excluded, as antinomians do, and neither is the gospel excluded, as pharisees have done. We have to learn both. First we must learn what the law commands and that it truly commands a perfect obedience to every commandment. But since it has become impossible for us to do it in this corrupted nature of ours, as I said, so we must learn what purpose the law serves in our corrupted

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 386. “Da braucht Christus gleich die Wort / die Jacobus gebraucht hat / dann er fordert beydes / Erstlich das man sein Wort hören sol / darnach das mans auch thun sol. […]. Und solche Predigt des HERrn Christi wird gerühmet / als eine gewaltige Predigt […].”  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 386.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 387. “Wann man die Wort S. Jacobs legaliter verstehen wolte / so ists war / das die / so das Gesetz vollkömlich halten / durch vollkömliche erfüllung des Gesetzes selig werden. Es mangelt aber daran / das kein Mensch in der Welt zu finden / der es vollkömmlich halten köndte / Sintemal Christus allein der Mann ist / der es hat erfüllen können.”  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 387.

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nature, and what its ministry [Ampt] is. And St. Paul says that by the law comes knowledge of sin. Therefore, the law does not show us our piety and our holiness, but our sins, poverty, and transgressions, God’s wrath and the curse. The law wants to show us how we have transgressed all of God’s commandments, both of the first and the second table of the law, that on account of our transgressions we stand under the wrath of God and under the curse of the law, and that on account of our corrupt nature we cannot help ourselves out of this miserable condition. The gospel, however, puts before us the Lord Jesus Christ and everything that He has done on our behalf, how He died for us, how He offered up His body for us, and shed His precious blood for us, and through His merit saved us from sin, devil, death, and hell. We should know this, believe in Christ, and put all our trust in Him. The gospel also teaches us not to live as pagans and Turks, but after we have been justified by grace, we should allow the fruits of our faith to be seen and live in good works.⁸⁹

According to Sack, the ministry of the law is to reveal sin, God’s wrath, and the curse, without giving us a glimpse of our piety: semper lex accusat. ⁹⁰ The corrupt condition of human nature makes any fulfillment of the law impossible, and thus the law becomes a killer. As Luther puts it, “Lex occidit per impossibilitatem suam.”⁹¹ Christ, however, has died the death sentence of the law and has become the one accused and accursed by the law (Gal. 3:13). The gospel is the offering of this Christ, who has completely satisfied the law through His death. Consequently, the good works or the fruits of faith are, for Sack, categorically a product of the gospel, since Christ has already fulfilled the law and its requirements. Sack’s careful distinction between law and gospel captures significant aspects of the Lutheran reading of James and demonstrates how preachers taught their people to lead their lives according to the epistle’s message. Far from browbeating, Sack’s fruitful use of the metaphor in 1:23 – 25 demonstrates a piety of repentance and faith that was characteristic of early modern Lutheran preaching.⁹²  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 387.  Ap IV, 38, in BSLK, 167, 28-31. “Lex iram operatur […]. Lex enim semper accusat conscientias et perterrefacit.” BC 126. “The law works wrath […]. For the law always accuses and terrifies conscience.”  WA 39/I, 383, 22.  Although Lutheran pastors were obviously concerned with guarding their people from the lures of the world and their own flesh, their preaching of repentance or good works should not be categorized as moralistic. John Frymire writes concerning the flood of epistle postils that appeared on the market in the latter half of the sixteenth century: “Early modern Germans may not have substantially improved their [the people’s] mores after 1555, but the circulation of 45,000 copies of postils containing only epistle sermons suggests, at the very least, that a number of them were browbeaten to do so on a regular basis.” Frymire, Primacy of the Postils (2010), 165 – 166. Frymire seems to misjudge both the theological foundation and the pastoral sensibilities of the Lutheran postillers. However, Frymire’s count, which is very conservative since it only

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Following in the tradition, Sack applies the metaphor of the mirror to law and gospel. Just as we understand God’s word to be both law and gospel, so here we have a twofold spiritual mirror. The first is the Zornspiegel, the mirror of wrath. The other is the Gnadenspiegel, the mirror of grace. The first shows us our impurity. The other shows us the means, way, and measure by which we can become pure.⁹³

Sack develops Luther’s imagery of the law and gospel as lights. Both shine brightly and communicate with the observer. The law teaches man to know himself as a sinner. Hence, Sack writes, Although we were created in the image of God and were immeasurably beautiful and glorious creatures before the fall, we have now become masks [Larven] of the devil; it’s not only that faces have become filthy with the stain of sin, but they have also been horribly torn and mangled so that the image of God is totally unrecognizable. The mirror of the law shows us this impurity of our corrupt nature, and reminds us how miserably we’ve been corrupted by sin.⁹⁴

Yet “the mirror of grace is a thousand times brighter and lovelier than the mirror of the law.”⁹⁵ Sack also reaches back to Luther’s baptismal imagery that was also present in Pauli, to suggest that the mirror of the gospel points us to the blood of

includes the separate printing of the epistle postils, shows that at the very least 90,000 Lutheran sermons on James were in circulation between 1555 – 1620. Again, it suggests that Lutheran exegesis of James 1 was very well known to pastors and laity, and shaped, along with other epistle sermons, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Lutheran piety.  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 391. “Wie aber Gottes Wort begreifft beydes das Gesetz vnd das Euangelium / also sind zweyerley Geistliche Spiegel. Das eine ist ein ZornSpiegel: Das ander ein Gnadenspiegel. Der eine zeiget vns vnsere Vnreinigkeit / Der ander aber das Mittel / Weise vnnd Masse / wie wir können rein werden.”  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 391. “Wir sind wol nach Gottes Ebenbild erschaffen /vnd vber die massen schöne vnd herrliche Creaturen gewesen für dem Fall. Sind aber durch des Teuffels getrieb zur Teuffels Laruen worden / vnd ist vnser Angesicht nicht allein durch den vnflat der Sünden verunreiniget / sondern auch jemmerlich zerrissen vnd zerfleischet also / das man Gottes ebenbild nicht wol spüren kan. Solche vnreinigkeit der verderbten Natur zeiget vns der Spiegel des Gesetzes / vnd erinnert vns / wie kleglich wir durch die Sünde verderbet sind.”  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 391. “Der ander Spiegel ist das heilige Euangelium / vnd ist ein Gnadenspiegel / viel Tausentmal heller / schöner vnd lieblicher als der Spiegel des Gesetzes.”

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Christ that purifies us of all sin. The language is richly baptismal, yet without once mentioning baptism explicitly.⁹⁶ When we step before this mirror, it shows us the water, by which we can wash our faces of all the impurities of sin. This doesn’t happen in the Elbe or with water from a spring, with soaps or lye for the body. Makeup won’t help either. For this, God the heavenly Father established a special kind of water and lye, which is called the precious blood of Christ His Son, which purifies us of all sins (1 John 1:[7]). We must take hold of this spiritual water with spiritual hands, namely, with faith. When we’ve been washed with it, we are once again pure and beautiful, and so the image of God is in some measure renewed in us. And therefore we please our heavenly Father when we follow this pattern of bathing and washing ourselves. The gospel, however, teaches us that we should take care once we’ve been bathed, purified, and cleansed by the blood of Christ that we don’t immediately soil ourselves, that is, that we don’t go off again like pigs and slop around in the sewer of sin, but begin to live in new obedience and according to His will.⁹⁷

Sack maintains that the Christian life consists of hearing the word and acting accordingly. To be a doer of the law, according to Sack’s interpretation of James, is primarily to repent, since repentance is the causa finalis of the law in this life. To be a doer of the gospel, however, is primarily to believe in Christ and wash oneself in His blood. From Sack’s perspective this twofold, law-gospel interpretation of James comes directly from the text: Many have disputed about this saying of James [to be a doer of the word]. But when one looks at the context, it becomes clear that he is describing the metaphor of the mirror, so that he can compare true and lazy hearers, and praise those as upright hearers of the word and doers of the word who carefully inspect themselves in the mirror of the divine

 The imagery is reminiscent of Luther’s sermons on John 19:31– 37 and his exposition on the riven side of Christ. See WA 28, 406, 20 ff. (Wochenpredigten über Johannes, 1529).  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 391– 392. “Wann wir vor dieser Spiegel tretten / so zeiget es vns das Wasser / damit das Angesicht von aller Vnreinigkeit der Sünden kan gereiniget werden. Solches aber geschieht nicht durch Elb oder Brunnenwasser / durch eusserlcihe Laugen oder Seiffen / auch nicht mit schmincken / sondern dazu hat GOtt der Himlische Vater ein sonderlich Wasser vnd Laugen verordnet / welchs da heist das thewre Blut Christi seines Sohns / welchs vns von allen vnsern Sünden reiniget / 1. Johan. 1. Dis Geistliche Wasser müssen wir mit Geistlichen Henden / nemlich mit dem Glauben ergreiffen. Wannn wir damit gewaschen werden / so werden wir widerümb rein vnd schön / so wird das Ebenbild Gottes etlicher massen in vns ernewert. Vnnd also gefallen wir vnserm Himlischen Vater / wann wir auff die weise gebadet vnd gewaschen sind. Es erinnert vns aber das Euangelium auch / das wir vns fürsehen sollen / da wir durch das thewre Blut Christi gebadet / gereiniget vnd abgewaschen sein / das wir vnser Angesicht nicht auffs newe verunreinigen mögen / das ist / das wir vns nicht wie ein Saw nach der schwemme widerümb im Kot der Sünden welzen / sondern einen newen gehorsam anfangen / vnd nach Gottes willen leben.’’

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word and also do what they are reminded to do. For this reason, he concludes that whoever does this will be saved, as if to say, that person has a sure sign that he will be saved and not condemned. It’s nothing other than what Christ says in Matthew 7[:26].⁹⁸

Sack’s application of the mirror fits squarely with Luther’s hermeneutic for reading and applying the Psalter. We see our true selves in the mirror of the divine word. Luther writes: Do you want to see the holy Christian church painted in living color and form and put in one little picture? Then take up the Psalter and you have a fine, bright, pure mirror that will show you what the church is. Indeed, you will also find yourself in it and the true gnothi seauton, as well as God Himself and all creatures.⁹⁹

In his exposition of James, Sack picks up on the reformer’s theology of the word as drawn from the Psalter. James refers to the word of God that shows us our true self. The word has the power to create a new reality for those who examine it. The mirror of the law reveals that we are sinful beyond measure: our old fallen selves. The mirror of the gospel reveals that we are completely righteous for the sake of Christ: our new selves in Christ. Sack’s exposition of these verses also picks up on the tension that Luther saw between promise and fulfillment. Luther had wrestled with the tension most vividly in his 1536 Cantate sermon on the first fruits of creation (James 1:18). Sack, however, does it here in the Rogate sermon with clear dogmatic definitions. He associates the perfect law of liberty with its perfect fulfillment in Christ and with the imputation of His righteousness, a righteousness that is fully given but not yet fully realized. In this life, we receive Christ’s perfect righteousness through imputation. In the life to come, we receive His righteousness

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 392. “Man hat viel Disputirens vber diesem Wort gehabt. Wann man aber den Contextum ansihet / so ists offenbar / das er dis Wort gebraucht in der Beschreibung vom gleichnis des Spiegels / Da er gegeneinander helt / rechte vnd faule Zuhörer / vnd rühmet die für rechtschaffene Zuhörer / vnd für theter des Worts / die sich im Spiegel Göttliches Worts fleissig beschawen / vnd thun auch was sie durchs Wort erinnert werden. Darauff schleust er / wer das thut / der wird selig / als wolt er sagen: Der hat ein gewis warzeichen / das er nicht verdammet / sondern selig wird. Jst nichts anders / als das Christus sagt Matth. 7.”  WADB 10/I, 105, 4– 9 (Preface to the Psalter, 1545). “SVmma, Wiltu die heiligen Christlichen Kirchen gemalet sehen mit lebendiger Der Psalter malet die heilige Kirchen mit jrer rechte farbe. Farbe vnd gestalt, in einem kleinen Bilde gefasset, So nim den Psalter furdich, so hastu einen feinen, hellen, reinen, Spiegel, der dir zeigen wird, was die Christenheit sey. Ja du wirst auch dich selbs drinnen, vnd das rechte Gnotiseauton finden, Da zu Gott selbs vnd alle Creaturn.”

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through consummation, where we will be perfect as before the Fall.¹⁰⁰ Thus, while maintaining the most striking similarities with Luther’s exegesis on these verses concerning the future life, Sack draws together the insights of his fellow postillers concerning creation and restoration of the pre-lapsarian image of God. Sack’s postil sermons are an important place to round out the postils for the sixteenth century, not only for his ability to bring together the Lutheran postil tradition on James 1 but also for his summary of the Lutheran hermeneutic of James. For the first time since Luther and Corvin, Sack gives an explanation of the church’s spotty reception of James. The issues concerning the letter’s authority are due primarily to the misinterpretations of James, and not to the message itself. Sack, in his Rogate sermon, gives us a summary of the Lutheran hermeneutic of James: We need to remember what has been said about the Epistle of James both in ancient times and in our day. For it is not counted among the canonical Scriptures, but as part of the Apocrypha. This happened because it contains many difficult sayings that give the appearance that James wanted to ascribe salvation to good works, which does not agree with the standard [Richtschnur] of the divine word. Therefore, it has been held that the epistle was not written by an apostle, but might have been written by someone else who was called James. Such is the opinion of Eusebius in book 2, chapter 23. And especially there was reason to doubt its authenticity because false teachers in every age have tried to prove the merit of good works from this epistle—and they still do.¹⁰¹

 Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 392– 393. “Das ers aber ein Gesetz nennet / geschicht darümb / das dis wort generaliter gesetzt wird / wie es gar gemein ist in der Schrifft / vnd in genere eine Lehr bedeutet / vnd in specie bisweilen vom Gesetz / bisweilen aber vom Euangelio verstanden wird / wie wir auch zuuor erinnert haben / als Ps. 118 [119]. […] Dann da lernen wir / wie wir vom Teuffel / Tod vnd Helle bereyet werden / vnd wie wir durch Christi vollkommen gehorsam wider zur vollkommenen Gerechtigkeit kommen können / nemlich in diesem lebe per Imputationem / das vns die Gerechtigkeit aus Gnaden zugerechnet werde / Jm zukünfftigen leben aber per Consummationem / da kommen wir denn in statum perfectionis, da werden wir wider vollkommen werden.’’  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 381– 382. “Ehe wir aber zu der Erklerung dieses Texts greiffen / müssen wir erinnern / was beydes vor Alters / vnd auch zu vnser Zeit von den Episteln Jacobi gehalten worden. Dann man sie nicht vnter die scripta Canonica, sondern vnter die Apocrypha gerechnet / Die weil etliche harte wort darinnen befunden werden / welche das ansehen haben / als wann Jacobus den guten wercken die seligkeit zuschreiben wolte / welches mit der Richtschnur des Göttlichen Werts nicht vbereinstimmet / darümb mans auch dafür gehalten / das diese Epistel von keinem APostel / sondern von jemands anders / der etwa Jacobus geheissen / geschrieben sein möchte. Wie auch Eusebius lib. 2. cap. 23. dessen gedenckt. Vnd sonderlich hat dazu auch vrsach geben / Dieweil die falschen Lehrer zu allen Zeiten jhren Jrrthumb vom Verdienst der guten Werck aus dieser Episteln haben erweisen wollen.Wie auch noch auch heutiges Tages.”

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Sack then reports how they abuse the epistle and gives examples from Scripture to show that their interpretation cannot be correct, since it contradicts the rest of Scripture and compromises the article of justification.¹⁰² More importantly for the epistle’s reputation, however, is Sack’s argument that James could not contradict the doctrine confessed at the council of Jerusalem. Consequently, the teaching of the entire epistle must be interpreted as an expression of the apostolic doctrine.¹⁰³ Sack’s hermeneutic is identical to Luther’s, who argued the same way in defense of James, though with his familiar flair for sensational rhetoric. That epistle of James causes us so much trouble, because the papists latch onto it alone and leave all the rest [of Scripture]. Thus far I have been accustomed to dealing with and interpreting it according to the sense of the rest of Scripture. For you will agree that from it nothing can be set forth against the revealed Holy Scripture. If therefore they will not accept my interpretations, I will tear it to pieces. I’m about ready to throw Jimmy in the oven like the priest in Kalenberg.¹⁰⁴

Luther and his heirs had a way of hearing James that harmonized with the rest of the apostolic choir. Although we have observed some various nuances in the tradition, the theological and hermeneutical boundaries are set already with Luther. We notice that there is not a drastic change in the sixteenth-century tradition. Rather than a break with Luther, there is a return to him. When faced with some of the difficulties of the text, such as the mystery of why some receive the word and others turn out to be hard soil, Lutherans tend to move into descriptive language from the Scriptures and to ascribe the cause of  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 382. “Also wird zwar diese Epistel von alten Ketzern / vnd auch von vnsern WIdersachern gedeutet. Es kan aber diese meinung nicht sein. Dann erstlich leufft diese meinung wider die gantze heilige Schrifft / dann die gantze Schrifft Lehret / das wir aus lauter gnade durch den Glauben an Jhesum Christum ohne Verdienst vnserer Wercke selig werden.”  Sack, Erklerung über die Episteln (1598), 382– 383. “Zu dem haben auch die Apostel ein Decretum zu Jerusalem in ihrem Synodo gemacht / Wie man in Actis Apostolorum findet / das alle APostel ein hellig lehren solten / das wir durch den Glauben an Jhesum Christum selig werden. Dieweil den Jacobus in solchem Decretum approbirt, so ist kein zweifel / das er auch nichts anders gelehret / als was die Gemeine Lehr aller Aposteln gewesen / darümb müssen auch seine Schrifften nach diesem decreto reguliert werden / so bekennet er auch ohne das klerlich in dieser Epistel / das alle gute Gaben von GOtt sind / Vnd das auch vnsere Bekerung vnd Newgeburt ein Werck Gottes sey. Wie solte er dann den Menschlichen Wercken die Seligkeit zu schreiben? Das er aber etwas hart auff die Wercke dringet / das thut er nicht der meinung / als wann die Wercke ein Verdienst der Seligkeit sein kondten / Sondern nur wieder den falschen Wahn der Maulchristen / dawider er zum hefftigsten geprediget.’’  WA 39/II, 199, 19 – 25 (Doctoral Disputation of Heinrich Schmedenstede, 7 July 1542).

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conversion solely to God, whether by the Holy Spirit who applies the merits of Christ or, as David Hollaz would later put it, through the instrumental causes of salvation, namely, the means of grace.¹⁰⁵ The application of the word of God as both law and gospel is also what shapes the Christian life. The Lutheran postillers therefore did not come to the text of James to browbeat their people, but instead to urge their people to holy living by the preaching of repentance and the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake.

James in the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy Having traced some of the developments of preaching on James in the sixteenth century, we now turn our attention finally, and ever so briefly, to the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Until quite recently, Lutheran Orthodoxy was stigmatized by scholars as period of theological aberration from Luther.¹⁰⁶ But in fact, the Lutheran practical exegesis of the sixteenth century matures steadily into the Age of Orthodoxy. The century following the publication of the Book of Concord of 1580 was regarded by many as doctrinaire, dead, and an unfortunate relapse into the medieval metaphysics of Aristotle.¹⁰⁷ The generic critique, based on a perceived break from Luther, viewed Lutheran Orthodoxy not as an amplified expression of Luther’s theology but as a bloated, abnormal growth of it, one that required aggressive treatment. However, recent studies have found much life in this seemingly dead age.¹⁰⁸ Beyond the well-documented theologia polemica of the seventeenth century, Luther’s followers were busy providing a rich supply

 David Hollaz, Examen Theologicum Acroamaticum Universam Theologiam Thetico-Polemicam Complectens (Stockholm and Leipzig: Gottfried Kiesewetter, 1750), 991.  Johann Anselm Steiger, Fünf Zentralthemen der Theologie Luthers und Seiner Erben: Communicatio, Imago, Figura, Maria, Exempla: mit Edition zweier Christologischer Frühschfriften Johann Gerhards (Leiden: Brill, 2002), xi. “Die lutherische Orthodoxie—aus welchen Beweggründen auch immer—möglichst weit von Luther abzurücken und sie als eine Verfallserscheinung zu bezeichnen, hat eine lange Tradition.”  For a brief summary of the animosity against Lutheran Orthodoxy, which began among the radical pietist Gottfried Arnold, see among others: Johann Anselm Steiger, Philologia Sacra: Zur Exegese der Heiligen Schrift im Protestantismus des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlagsgesellschaft, 2011), 6; Robert Kolb, “Lutheran Theology in SeventeenthCentury Germany,” Lutheran Quarterly XX, (2006): 431; Kenneth G. Appold, “Academic Life and Teaching in Post-Reformation Lutheranism” in Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550 – 1675 (2008), 65 – 68.  See Robert Kolb, “Lutheran Theology in Seventeenth-Century Germany” (2006), 429 – 456, for a helpful overview of the literature.

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of devotional and catechetical material, prayer literature, hymnody, poetry, and pastoral tracts to edify and comfort the church both individually and corporately.¹⁰⁹ Their overwhelming production of books was due, above all, to their diligent study of Holy Scripture. Lutheran pastors and university theologians flooded the markets with biblical commentaries, sermons, and devotional materials to promote a richer study of the Bible among people in all stations of life. Scholarship’s renewed interest in these Lutheran sermons, commentaries, and devotional materials continues to hint at a closely knit theological tradition, in which Luther’s heirs carefully studied and assimilated the reformer’s writings into their theology. In his observations concerning Luther’s reception in the Age of Orthodoxy, Steiger has suggested that our limited picture of seventeenth-century exegesis has, in a sense, also limited our picture of Luther.¹¹⁰ Perhaps no biblical Auslegungsgeschichte demonstrates Steiger’s point more clearly than the historical interpretation of James. Lutherans continued to draw on Luther not only in their preaching, but in every facet of their biblical instruction. Abraham Calov’s annotations to the Lutherbibel in 1682 are a good example.¹¹¹ Between nearly every verse of Scripture, Old and New Testaments, Calov interposes exegetical and pastoral insights from Luther’s works. Calov’s annotations not only demonstrate how exhaustive Luther’s exposition of Scripture had been, but they also show how Luther interpreted every book of Scripture. Perhaps it should be no surprise

 Many have now made the observation. But Ernst Koch gives a helpful survey of the Lutheran ecclesial culture which embraced Luther’s pastoral theology and developed a praxis pietatis for the church. Ernst Koch, Das konfessionelle Zeitalter – Katholizismus, Luthertum, Calvinismus (1563 – 1675) (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2000), 240 – 259.  Steiger, Fünf Zentralthemen (2002), xii-xiii. “Befaßt man sich mit der im höchsten Maße fundierten Luther-Kenntnis der Barocktheologen, so wird Schritt für Schritt sichtbar daß nicht selten genau diejenigen Schriften Luthers zu den am häufigsten zitierten und verarbeiteten gehören, die innerhalb der heutigen Luther-Forschung nur ganz am Rande das Interesse auf sich ziehen. Dies mag u. a. damit zusammenhängen, daß man im 17. Jahrhundert Luther stärker in actu der Exegese der Heiligen Schrift rezipierte und ihn also—anders als heute—nicht so sehr auf bestimmte Themen hin befragte (“Luther und…”).”  Abraham Calov, Der Andere und Epistolische Theil Des Neuen Testaments / darinnen enthalten seyn Die von GOtt eingegebene Heilige Send=Schreiben Der hocherleuchteten Aposteln S. Pauli / S. Petri / S. Johannis / S. Jacobi / und S. Judä / Nebst dem Dritten Prophetischen Theil des Neuen Testaments / der heimlichen Offenbarung S. Johannis / Mit derselben deutlichen / aus dem Context, und Parallel=Sprüchen der Heiligen Schrifft / nach der eigentlichen Intention und Meinung des Heiligen Geistes / dargethanen Erklärung / und heilsamen Nutz im lehren / widerlegen / Ermahnung / und Straffe / auch kräfftigen Trost / Mit Anführung der geistreichen Außlegungen des Mannes Gottes Lutheri, Aus allen seinen Schrifften / Tomis und Postillen / mit Fleiß außgearbetet Von D. Abraham Calovium (Wittenberg: August Brüning, 1682), 1271– 1314.

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considering the breadth and the depth of Luther’s study of Holy Scripture, but Calov is able for his annotations to the Epistle of James to gather enough direct interpretations from Luther’s writings to comment on nearly the whole book. Therefore, although the reformer never wrote a commentary on James, Calov was sufficiently versed in Luther’s exegetical works to assemble the commentary on James that Luther never wrote. The significance of Luther for the history of biblical interpretation, especially for Lutheran biblical interpretation, can hardly be overestimated. Calov’s comments in his dedication to the Bible represent a common sentiment among Lutheran expositors: It is my estimation, and the judgment of many orthodox theologians, that among all the interpreters of Holy Scripture, except of course for the prophets and apostles, no one can be found who is a better or more thorough expositor and interpreter of Holy and Divine Scripture than that precious man of God, Luther, of whom the late Doctor Johannes Brenz rightly boasted in his letter to Master Johannes Tettelbach: ‘Only Luther lives in his writings; compared to him we are just dead letters.’¹¹²

Calov’s admiration of Luther’s exegesis cannot be regarded as party loyalty. As we will see, Luther’s heirs, including Calov, did not all agree with him about the authorship of James. Nonetheless, they recognized Luther’s theological gravitas as an interpreter of Holy Scripture and his many uses of James. As they studied his exegesis to learn from it, they also assimilated his biblical interpretation into their own understanding of Scripture, sometimes consciously but at other times without noticing.

Preaching James in the Seventeenth Century Lutheran homiletical practice reaches a new level of maturity in the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy, both in erudition and rhetoric. Far from being a period of stuffy dogmatism, the seventeenth century was an epoch of sincere devotion and pastoral care. Even the dogmatic texts with their careful use of Aristotelian cat-

 Abraham Calov, Das Neue Testament / verdeutschet durch D. Martin Luthern / Nach der eigentlichen Intention und Meinung des Heil. Geistes, Aus den Worten des Grund=Texts, Wie auch Aus dem Context, und Parallel-Sprüchen, und aus den Schrifften des theuren Mannes GOttes Lutheri, Jn dem einigen wahren Buchstäblichen Verstande, zum heilsamen Gebrauch, mit Lehren, Widerlegen, Erinnerung, und Trost fürgestellet durch D. Abraham Calovium, P.P. Primar. der Theologischen Facultät und des Geistlichen Consistorii Seniorem, Pastorem, auch Churfs. Sächs. GeneralSuperintendenten in Wittenberg (Wittenberg: Christian Schrödter, 1682), 3 v.

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egories and definitions were motivated by the sincere conviction that all theology is practical, giving comfort to weak consciences and strengthening faith. Steiger’s comments concerning the purpose of Johann Gerhard’s dogmatics applies also to the theological motives of other Lutheran dogmatists: Dogmatics, according to Gerhard, is not pursued for its own sake, but chiefly in view of the applicatio, the application of the teaching to the comforting task of preaching and to the pastoral care of individuals. Dogmatic assertions are not made to stand in the abstract, but they are to be fused with life in a biblical way. They must be brought into relationship with the living biblical message. They must prove themselves valid in preaching, and also in pastoral care. They must legitimize themselves ever again as that message that comforts, that frees, and that reassures a person’s conscience. Dogmatics is pursued, according to the intent of the Reformation and of Orthodoxy, as true dogmatics whenever it is solely concerned with helping the conscience reach certainty and peace through preaching and pastoral care.¹¹³

What is true of the dogmatics of this period must also be true of the preaching. Steiger notes elsewhere that: The homiletics of early Protestantism made it possible to let the rhetoric learned at the university with its elite technicality step out and, through the oral proclamation of the word of God, make it part of the society. In concert with the language of the people already present in Luther’s translation of the Bible, in the Catechism, and in the hymnal, the rhetoric being heard in the pulpit ennobled the German language and the people learned that language.¹¹⁴

In the following and concluding section of this volume, I offer two examples of seventeenth-century preaching on James simply as an introduction to the riches of the Age of Orthodoxy: the homiletical commentaries of Balthasar Kerner and Hartmann Creide. Their sermons clearly demonstrate how the voice of James was still being heard in the Lutheran Church of the seventeenth century.

Balthasar Kerner (1582 – 1633) Kerner was the son a Lutheran pastor, also Balthasar Kerner (1533 – 1609). His father served for over forty-five years as preacher in Ulm (1562– 1607), and thirty of those at the great fourteenth-century cathedral Ulmer Münster, which boasted

 Johann Anselm Steiger, “Pastoral Care according to Johann Gerhard,” Lutheran Quarterly 10, (1996), 224.  Johann Anselm Steiger, “Rhetorica sacra” (1995), 534.

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the highest steeple in the world after its construction.¹¹⁵ The young Kerner was born in Ulm in 1582, studied in Straßburg (1598 – 1601), where he received his master’s degree in philosophy. From 1607– 1633 he served in the ranks of clergy at Ulmer Münster. During his lifetime, Kerner had published several works, mostly funeral sermons, but also two sermons on the centennial celebration of the Reformation in Ulm (1617).¹¹⁶ However, his major publications, including his commentary on James (60 sermons), were published posthumously by the following generation of pastors in Ulm. The imperative to publish his works indicates the deep impression this gifted preacher left on the city of Ulm, its people, and clergy. Besides his sermon collections on James (1639), his other posthumous publications included a homiletical commentary on the Epistle of Jude, Juda Redivivus in 35 Predigten über die Epistel Judä (1635/46), a homiletical commentary on the Book of Ruth, Erklärung des Büchleins Ruth in 32 Predigten (1646), a large collection of funeral sermons, Köstliche Hochzeit=Perlen in 105 auserlesenen Predigten (1650, 1670), and finally a massive homiletical commentary on the Book of Tobit, Tobias, das ist Schriftmässige Erklärung des Büchlins Tobiae in 364 Predigten (1653). One may wonder how Kerner managed to prepare so many sermons on these admittedly obscure biblical books and still preach regularly on Sundays. But a look at the congregational life at the cathedral Ulmer Münster and the state of Lutheranism in Ulm puts Kerner’s preaching interests in perspective. Bernd Breitenbruch reports that in Kerner’s day there were typically 550 sermons preached in the church every year.¹¹⁷ Therefore, Kerner had the opportunity to preach sermon series on particular books throughout the week. His predecessor in office was Johann Veesenbeck (1548 – 1612), who succeeded Formula writer Jakob Andreaes in Tübingen and lectured on Melanchthon’s Loci Communes (1577– 1580). Veesenbeck was called to Ulm in 1582 and became instrumental in establishing a confessional Lutheran identity in the city.¹¹⁸ According

 DBA 1:226, “Kerner, Balthasar.” According to a report, Kerner’s father once, during a bout of the pest in Ulm, went to visit all of his sick parishioners, 228 in all, to give them the Lord’s Supper. His fellow clergy in the city put him in quarantine for a month and prevented him from administering the sacrament or hearing private confession in his congregation.  Balthasar Kerner, Zwo Christliche Jubelpredigten. Die Erste / Von dem Päbstischen Ablaß / den 31. Octob. deß 1617 Jahrs: zu Glückseliger Vorbereitung deß Evangelischen Lutherischen JubelFests. Die Ander / Von Herrn D. Martino Luthern Seeligen / daß Gott der Herr / durch jhn / mit dem Reformation-Werck / etwas sonder Herrliches gethan vnd verrichtet habe. Den 4. Novemb. zu Vlm Bey Volckreicher Versamblung im Münster gehalten (Ulm: Johann Meder, 1618).  Bernd Breitenbruch, “Münsterprediger Und Münsterpredigten in Reichstädtischer Zeit,” in 600 Jahre Ulmer Münster: Festschrift, Forschungen zur Geschichte der Stadt Ulm, Bd. 19 (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1977), 406.  DBA 1:295 – 296, “Veesenbeck, Johann.”

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to Breitenbruch, Veesenbeck introduced a “strenge Gesetzreligion”¹¹⁹ and in the process established a lasting abode for Lutheran Orthodoxy in the city. Breitenbruch classes Veesenbeck’s preaching as “dry, wooden, unimaginative, and formulaic” and concludes that his preaching “shows how negatively Orthodoxy in general influenced the preaching culture in Ulm.”¹²⁰ Although Breitenbruch’s judgment on Veesenbeck’s preaching may have some truth to it, it is also important to recognize the kind of ecclesiastical culture that Veesenbeck established for Kerner and the coming generations of preachers in Ulm. For instance, it was largely through Veesenbeck’s influence that the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper was so resolutely confessed in Ulm, a city previously under the sway of Zwinglian theology. It was also on account of Veesenbeck that Luther’s Catechism was used to instruct the faith and the practice of private confession and absolution was restored to the church (1582).¹²¹ Though perhaps not the most captivating preacher, Veesenbeck nevertheless established in Ulmer Münster the consistent method of loci preaching that we have observed in our postil writers and would became standard in Ulm into the eighteenth century. His sermons followed the typical fourfold arrangement: the exordium to introduce the text and offer an outline to the hearers, doctrina to refute false doctrine and confirm true doctrine from the pericope, applicatio to apply the doctrine to the lives of his hearers, and conclusio to summarize the text with its major points of doctrine.¹²² According to Breitenbruch, Kerner mastered this heuristic method without ever falling into formulaic preaching.¹²³ In the preface to Kerner’s homiletical commentary on James, Georg Burckhardt gives a helpful overview of the homiletical practices and rhetorical strategies of seventeenth-century preaching.¹²⁴ Burckhardt explains that he prepared Kerner’s sermon collection to meet the growing need to get useful books into pastors’ libraries and into Christian homes during the Thirty Years’ War:

 Breitenbruch, 600 Jahre Ulmer Münster (1977), 414.  Breitenbruch, 600 Jahre Ulmer Münster (1977), 414.  DBA 1:295.  Breitenbruch, 600 Jahre Ulmer Münster (1977), 416.  Breitenbruch, 600 Jahre Ulmer Münster (1977), 416. “Rein formal betrachtet bleibt Veesenbecks Predigtmethode für fast ein Jahrhundert herrschend auf der Münsterkanzel. Das is nicht unbedingt negativ zu bewerten, denn sprachlich begabteren Leuten gelingt es, sie heuristisch zu nutzen, ohne dem in ihr angelegten Schematismus zu verfallen. Dies gilt besonders von Balthasar Kerner, der seit 1606, also noch zur Amtszeit Veesenbecks, but zu seinem 1633 erfolgten Tode Prediger iim Münster war.”  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), AA 1v.

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I prepared these for the sake of teachers, since many of their books during the last round of looting and raids have been maliciously stolen. Because of the uncertainty of the times, the lack of money to buy newer more expensive books, and because many of our pastors have been forced to sell the expensive ones rather than have them stolen, they are left with impoverished libraries. But now they can take up these excellent and methodically sound sermons, and use them daily in place of a larger collection.¹²⁵

It is noteworthy that Kerner’s sermons on James may have been the only means to further train some pastors in biblical interpretation and in a sound homiletical method of exposition. Burckhardt explains that the rhetorical category of usus (Nutz und Gebrauch dieser Lehre) may not meet some pastors’ expectations. They may be hoping for something more Meisterlich, Pathetisch, and Beweglich, to offer more forms of elocutionary mastery, pathos, and persuasion in the rhetorica sacra ¹²⁶ to persuade their hearers by accommodating to them the biblical doctrine. However, Burckhardt defends Kerner and his own editing efforts concerning the brevity of the usus section. He argues that the discretion of the preacher concerning the aptitude of his congregation should determine the application of the doctrine to his hearers. “If a preacher has no discretion, neither Veit Dietrich [i. e., Luther’s Hauspostille] nor Herr Kerner (both now blessed), nor anyone else can help him.”¹²⁷ In the introduction to his sermon series, Kerner discusses the nature of the Epistle of James, its authority, and its usefulness to Christians. He explains to his hearers that both the ancient and more recent teachers have various opinions about the epistle. He cites Nicephorus, Eusebius, Jerome, Athanasius, Oecumenius, and Luther. Luther’s criticism naturally received the most attention. Kerner uses a summary of Luther’s criticism as a foil to defend James. He also notes that many orthodox teachers, as well as some Calvinists (Calvin, Beza, Aretius, J. Piscator, and others) have made the same arguments to defend James.¹²⁸ Kerner argues against Luther that James does not contradict Paul insofar as James has a different scopus: not justification properly, but the fruits of justification, namely, sanctification and good works.¹²⁹ In response to Luther’s criticism that James says almost nothing of Christ, he suggests that although James does

 Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), AA 2r.  Johann Anselm Steiger, “Rhetorica sacra” (1995).  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), A2v.  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 12– 14.  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 13. “Dann 1. sprechen sie / daß Jacobus S. Paulo / vnd andern / nicht gantz vnd gar wider lehre / sintemal er auff einen andern Scopum gesehen / dahin auch Paulus vnd andere Apostel gehen / wie geliebts GOtt / bey Erklärung dieser Epistel außführlich soll dargethan werden.”

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not give a detailed account of Christ’s death and resurrection, he nevertheless addresses Christ’s saving work by condemning mere historical faith and by describing justifying faith as a faith active in love and good works.¹³⁰ Kerner also points to James’ pastoral concern and the recipients’ previous instruction in the apostolic doctrine as explanations for the letter’s limited scopus. Since his audience had been thoroughly instructed concerning the righteousness of Christ, he addresses the abuse of that righteousness and exhorts them to pursue the fruits of faith, Christian virtues, and to flee all sins and vices.¹³¹ Kerner also gives several reasons why his hearers should praise the epistle and adhere to it. First, citing 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21, Kerner argues that the letter is a holy epistle, delivered directly by the Holy Spirit through the hand of James. In other words, the letter is inspired by God and therefore bears the mark of divine authority.¹³² Second, one should adhere to the epistle because it is a catholic epistle, that is, it is universally applicable, not only to the Jews but also to all Christians, so that, as it says in Romans 15:4, by the patience and encouragement in the Scriptures we might have hope. Therefore, Kerner insists, “This epistle is fittingly sent to the Christians of our day, because Christians nowadays think it’s enough to boast about the Christian faith and name, but then go off and do whatever they want. James, however, shows in this epistle with detailed arguments that this is not the case.”¹³³ Finally, Kerner

 Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 13. “2. Daß ob er wol den Articul vom Leyden vnd Aufferstehung Christi nicht außführlich handle / wie Paulus / so thut er doch meldung dessen / in dem er schreibt / daß der Mensch nicht durch einen Historischen oder blossen / sondern durch den Glauben / der durch die Liebe vnd gute Wercke thätig ist / gerecht werde. Zu dem / so sey es nicht vonnöthen / daß die Apostel allezeit einerley schreiben / darumb auch Johannes nichts sonders in seiner 1. Epistel von Christ dem gecreutzigten melde / weil er davon weitleufftig in seinem Evangelio geschrieben.”  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 13. “Über das habe Jacobus auff seine Zuhörer vnd Christen zu seiner Zeit fürnemblich gesehen / welcher zwar gewust / wie sie durch Christum mögen gerecht vnd ewig selig werden / aber solche Lehr zu allerey Sünden mißbraucht haben / darumb er sie fürnemblich zu den Früchten deß Glaubens / allen schönen Tugenden ermahnen wöllen / dagegen die Laster vnd Vntugenden straffen.”  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 13. “1. Weil sie ein Heilige Epistel ist / dann sie auch durch Trib vnd Eingeben deß H. Geistes von dem Jacobo ist geschreiben worden / sintemals omnis scriptura est θεόπνευστος, 2. Tim. 3. 16. Vnd ist noch nie keine Weissagung auß Menschlichem Willen herfür bracht / 2. Pet. 1. 21.”  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 13. “2. Jst es eine Catholische Epistel / das ist ein allgemeine Epistel / die nicht allein den glaubigen Juden / sondern auch vns Christen ist zu gutem hinderlassen worden / auff daß wir durch Gedult vnnd Trost der Schrifft Hoffnung haben mögen / sintemal alles was zuvor geschrieben ist / das ist vns zur Lehr geschrieben /u. Rom. 15. 4. Vnd schicket sich auch dies Epistel gar artig auff die Christen vnserer Zeit / dann dieselbige auch

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argues that James is a useful epistle, since it treats many necessary points of Christendom. He then outlines the entire epistle according to its usefulness. Chapter one teaches: (1) to be patient in suffering; (2) to believe without doubting; (3) to pray for divine wisdom; (4) rightly to use wealth; (5) to withstand temptation; (6) to hear the word of God diligently; and (7) to live in the fear of God.¹³⁴ Chapter two tells us (1) that we should not despise poor Christians, since faith in Christ does not depend on appearances and (2) that good works toward God and our neighbor should proceed from faith. In chapter three, James shows (1) that a person should bridle the tongue and (2) what divine wisdom is. In chapter four, there are a number of instructions about virtues and vices, such as (1) how to flee discord and strife and (2) how to cool the lusts of the flesh. In chapter five, he condemns those who misuse their wealth, urges patience, counsels how one should faithfully care and wait on the sick. Lastly, he urges them to pray and demonstrates the power and effect of prayer. In other words, this epistle addresses many beautiful and necessary parts of the faith.¹³⁵ As mentioned above, Kerner’s commentary is organized into sixty sermons. Each sermon has two parts, except for his fifty-second sermon on James 5:4– 6, which has three. Each part has a particular rhythm that roughly follows the structure of Veesenbeck. His introduction usually incorporates an example or two from the Old Testament, New Testament, the church fathers, or pagan antiquity. The two parts are then each divided into three sections: (1) a question that

meynen / es sey gnug / wann sie sich deß Christlichen Glaubens vnd Nahmens rühmen / sie thun gleich darbey was sie wöllen / aber daß es darmit nicht außgerichtet sey / das beweiset Jacobus in dieser Epistel außführlich mit etlichen Argumenten.”  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 14. “3. Jst diese Epistel auch eine Nutzliche Epistel / weil von vielen nutzlichen vnd nothwendigen Puncten vnsers Christenthumbs darinnen gehandelt wird. Dann im 1. Cap wird angezeiget 1. Man soll gedultig in Anfechtung werden. 2. Man soll festiglich glauben ohn einigen Zweiffel. 3. Man soll die Göttliche Weißheit von GOtt bitten. 4. Die Reichtumb recht gebrauchen. 5. Die Versuchungen dulden. 6. Gottes Wort mit fleiß hören. 7. Jn waarer Gottesforcht wandeln.”  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 14. “Jm 2. Cap. Wird vermeldet: 1. Man soll die arme Christen nicht verachten / dann der Glaube an Christum leyde kein Ansehen der Person. 2. Gehandelt / von den guten Wercken / auß welchen der Glaub gegen GOtt vnd dem Nechsten gezeiget werde. Jm 3. Cap. zeiget Jacobus an 1. daß man die Zung soll im Zaum halten. 2. Worinn die Göttliche Weißheit stehe. Jm 4. sind etliche Lehren von Tugenden vnd Lasterin / als 1. daß man Zanck vnd Hader fliehen. 2. Die fleischliche Wollüst dämpffen solle. Jm 5. Cap. straffet er die jenige / die jhrer Reichthümb mißbrauchen: vermahnet zur Gedult / rathet man soll der Krancken trewlich pflegen vnd warten. Letztlich vermahnet er zum Gebett / vnd zeiget dessen Krafft vnd Würckung an. Sehen also / daß viel schöne vnd nothwendige Stuck in dieser Epistel gehandelt werden.”

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arises from the text; (2) the doctrine that the text teaches or brings to mind (Lehr vnd Erinnerung); and (3) the use and application of this teaching (Nutz vnd Gebrauch dieser Lehr). Kerner consistently breaks down the use and application of the doctrine into three points: (a) zur Widerlegung, namely, what does this text teach to reject? (b) zum Trost, what comfort does this text give? and (c) zur Vermahnung, what admonition does this text give? Kerner’s commentary and that of Hartmann Creide (1649) would be worthy of their own study. Their method of preaching allowed them to lay hold of every verse of James and shake it for its fruits. For example, on the verses explored in our study, James 1:13 – 27, Kerner preaches eight sermons (Sermons XXVII).¹³⁶ By giving the outline of one of his sermons and a few examples of his exegesis, the reader should become familiar with his interpretation and homiletical application. Below is Kerner’s sermon outline on James 1:16 – 17 (Sermon XI)¹³⁷ with a few examples of his preaching from the text.¹³⁸ After a brief introduction,¹³⁹ the sermon is divided as follows: I.

Der Erste Theil / The First Part . Woher alles gutes komme / From where all things come . Lehr vnd Erinnerung / Doctrine and Reminder A. natürliche Güter (bona creationis) / Gifts of creation B. geistliche Güter (bona gratiae) / Gifts of grace . Erlösung von Sünd / Tod / Teufel vnd Hell / Redemption . Wiedergeburth / vnd Ernewerung deß H. Geistes / New Birth . Gerechtigkeit so für Gott gilt / Righteousness before God . Kindschafft für Gott / Sonship before God C. Güter der Herrligkeit (bona gloriae) / Gifts of glory . Nutz vnd Gebrauch dieser Lehr / Usefulness and Use of this Doctrine A. Zur Widerlung des Irrthumbs der Calvinisten / Error of Double Predestination B. Zum Trost im Creutz vnd Leyden / Comfort in cross and suffering C. Zur Vermahnung. Daß wir vns demüthigen vnter die gewaltige Handt Gottes / vnd jhm für seine gute Gaben dancken / Exhortation to be humble and receive all things from God and give thanks for His gifts II. Der Ander Theil / The Second Part . Was Jacobus vnserm HErren vnd GOtt für schöne Ehrentitul vnd Nahmen gebe / The honorable title and name James gives to our Lord and God

 Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 131– 243.  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 146 – 159.  Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 146 – 159.  In this case, Kerner discusses the cornu copiae in pagan literature. Some wise pagans, he argues, the poets and philosophers must have believed that the cornu copiae was God Himself. Kerner suggests that if God is the fons boni and truly the summum bonum, then He is most certainly the cornu copiae or cornu salutis (Ps. 18:2; Luke 1:68 – 69). Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 146.

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A. Patrem luminum, Einen Vatter des Lichts / A Father of light B. Deum immutabilem, Einen vnwandelbaren GOtt / An immutable God . Lehr vnd Erinnerung: God is called the Pater luminum A. Ratione essentiae / He is uncreated, essential, eternal, immutable light B. Ratione generationis / The Father begets light (lumen de lumine) C. Ratione creationis / He creates and preserves light in His creation

As is evident in II.2.B., Luther’s (Althamer’s) translation of φώτων as a singular prompts a Christological reading of the text. Kerner in section II.2.C. also includes an interpretation of the plural “lights” and regards God as the Father of the planets and stars. We may note that Kerner’s outline follows closely that of Sack. For instance, St. Bernard’s distinction between the good and perfect gifts (bona creationis, bona gratiae, and bona gloriae) are used fruitfully here. Moreover, we find in Kerner a very developed rhetorical style, in which he employs biblical, classical, and patristic figures, images, exempla, etc., to capture his audience and impress the text visually on his hearers. Kerner begins his sermon with an example of the cornu copiae, to which pagan literature and fables ascribed special powers. Kerner uses the example as a prosaic syllogism, by which he progresses from the general to the particular, moving his hearers from superstitious fantasy to biblical reality. Starting with the major premise, Kerner writes, “Like a lucky coin, a magic lamp, or St. Otmar’s bottomless bottle of wine, people believed the cornu copiae could grant them whatever they wished.”¹⁴⁰ Kerner then progresses to the poets and philosophers, the minor premise: “Now the old poets and philosophers in Egypt and elsewhere were learned people, so it seems they understood and described the cornu copiae as God Himself. He is the fons boni, indeed, the summum bonum […].”¹⁴¹ Kerner then reaches his conclusion: “God is the real Cornu copiae, Cornu salutis, the horn of salvation, from whom comes every good and perfect gift.”¹⁴² Another of Kerner’s pedagogical tools is the incorporation of the church’s hymnody into his preaching. In this sermon on James 1:17, he uses Martin Schalling’s hymn (1567), Herzlich lieb hab ich Dich, O Herr, as a further demonstration (along with John 3:27; 1 Cor. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:10) that everything we possess is a divine gift: “Es ist ja HErr dein Geschenck vnd Gab / Mein Leib / Seel vnd alles was ich hab / Jn diesem armen Leben.”¹⁴³ Breitenbruch summarizes Kerner’s preaching:

   

Kerner, Kerner, Kerner, Kerner,

Jacobs-Stab Jacobs-Stab Jacobs-Stab Jacobs-Stab

(1639), 146. (1639), 146. (1639), 146. (1639), 149.

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His goal in preaching is above all didactic, which is typical for his day. What makes his preaching so pleasing is his talent for the narrative, his ability to describe something visually and with extreme clarity. His primary means for doing this is exemplum narratives and proverbs. The connection between the text and the points of doctrine are almost always fluid.¹⁴⁴

Breitenbruch notes further that the exemplum narratives were intended by Kerner to demonstrate the doctrine that the text presents.¹⁴⁵ In Kerner we see both homiletical brilliance wedded to theological soundness.

Hartmann Creide (1606 – 1656) Now we turn to Hartmann Creide,¹⁴⁶ born in Friedberg and preacher in Friedberg and Augsburg. He studied at the University of Giessen and in 1624 received his master’s degree in theology from Marburg (1626), the new home of the Lutheran University of Gießen. He then returned to his hometown to serve as deacon (1626 – 1649). In 1649, he was called to be deacon and later pastor in Augsburg and became famous for his sermon collections, especially his funeral and wedding preaching.¹⁴⁷ Creide also published postils on both the gospel and epistle lessons for the church year (1646 – 1655), and a homiletical commentary on the book of Jeremiah’s Lamentations in 82 sermons—a powerful call to repentance that compares Germany during the Thirty Years’ War to a besieged and conquered Jerusalem—¹⁴⁸and several other sermon collections. The two separate

 Breitenbruch, 600 Jahre Ulmer Münster (1977), 417.  Breitenbruch, 600 Jahre Ulmer Münster (1977), 418. “Exempelerzählungen dienen der Erläuterung der Lehre, die in der Predigt demonstriert werden soll.”  For the following bibliography, DBA 1:325, “Creide, Hartmann.”  Hartmann Creide, Nuptialia. Oder 50 christliche Hochzeit-Sermonen, uber unterschiedliche biblische Sprüch (Frankfurt am Main: Johann Beyer, 1661 – 1670); Hartmann Creide, Funeralia, Oder Christliche Leichpredigten : Darinnen auff die nothwendige Kunst/ recht zu glauben/ Christlich zu leben/ und seelig zu sterben/ gewiesen wird (Frankfurt: Johann Beyer, 1662).  Hartmann Creide, Jeremiae Klag Teutschlands Plag/ Das ist/ Schrifftmässige Erklärung der Klaglieder deß heiligen hocherleuchten Propheten Jeremiae: Darinnen der Juden Zeit mit unsern Zeiten conferirt. im Geistlichen / Weltlichen und Häußlichen Stand betroffen / mit vielen Exempeln / beschrieben wird (Frankfurt am Main: Johann Beyer, 1647), 796 – 798. As a close to his sermons on Lamentations, Creide preached a brief sermon on Matthew 11:16 – 17 concerning the preaching of Christ and John the Baptist: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” At the very end of this sermon, Creide makes reference to the sower and the seed and the reception of the word. Like Luther in his sermons on James, Creide recognizes that preachers must hold to the promise of God’s word and not to the word’s seeming

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printings of his commentary on the Epistle of James (1649/56) suggest that it was in demand. His commentary is even more substantial than Kerner’s, with over a 1000 pages that includes 91 full sermons on the epistle. It is clear that Creide relied on Kerner’s work and every now and again lifted whole sections.¹⁴⁹ And so it would seem that Kerner is the unmentioned inspiration for Creide’s sermon series on James. As precursors to his Jakobs-Schatz, Creide published in the same year as his Postilla Epistolica (1646) two portions of his sermon series on James: one publication titled The Dance of the Godless and the Rich, based on James 5:1– 6,¹⁵⁰ and a second called Idea Mundi, consisting of five sermons on James 4:1– 3 concerned with Christian living mid the world’s present corruption.¹⁵¹ Creide was preparing his commentary on James with these writings¹⁵² and indeed had them published with the James commentary three years later. lack of success. “Gleichwie aber der Same Göttliches Worts / ob er wohl den dritten Theil verlohren geht. Denn etliches fällt an den Weg vnd wird zertretten / vnd die Vögel deß Himmels fressens auff / etliches fällt auff einen Felsen vnd verdorret / weil es nicht Safft hat / etliches fällt vnter die Dorn / vnd die die Dorn gehen mit auff vnd erstickens / so trifft doch der vierde Theil ein gut Land an / vnd bringt hundertfältige Frucht / Luc. 8.v.5. Also wollen wir auch die Hoffnung schöpffen / wenn schon vnsere sawere gehabte Müh vnd Arbeit in diesen Klaglieder Predigten zum dritten Theil verlohren ist / so werden sie doch noch bey etlichen jhren reichen Nutzen geschaffet haben. Denn ewer Arbeit im HErrn soll nicht verlohren seyn / sagt Paulus / I. Cor. 15.v.58.”  For just one example, Creide borrows paragraphs from Kerner’s exordium on James 1:17. Compare Kerner, Jacobs-Stab (1639), 146, with Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 196.  Hartmann Creide, Talaipōria Divitum, Der Gottlosen Reichen Kehrab. Ex Epist. Jacobi cap. 5. v. 1. – 6.: Darinnen der grosse Jammer beschrieben/ und nach Anleytung deß Texts mit vielen schönen Allegorien und Exempeln. welchen ihnen die Gottlose Reichen durch schändlichen Mißbrauch ihres Golds und Silbers/ durch Pracht und Ubermuth/ Fressen und Sauffen/ allermeist aber durch Geitz und Unbarmhertzigkeit gegen die Armen ubern Halß führen / In unterschiedlichen Predigten mit Fleiß auffgesetzt/ und in Truck gegeben (Frankfurt am Main: Johann Beyer, 1646).  Hartmann Creide, Idea Mundi, Das ist: Ein lebendig Muster und Conterfeyt / der heutigen verdampten Welt / wie sie der Apostel Jacob schon zu seiner Zeit abgerissen vnd beschrieben hat / darauß leicht abzunehmen, was die Ursach sey deß allgemeinen Landverderbens / daß der verlorne edle Fried nicht wider empor kommen vnd floriren kan: Jn fünff Predigten erkläret (Frankfurt am Main: Johann Beyer, 1646).  Creide, Talaipōria Divitum (1646), A4r. “Wenn dan gute vnd nützliche Bücher / die zur Erbawung der Chirstlichen Kirchen angesehen seyn / GOttes Lob vnd Ruhm verkündigen / vnd manchem angehenden Prediger / der ein oder das ander Buch H. Schrifft erklären soll / wol zu statten kommen / so hab ich mich auch die Müh nicht verdriessen lassen / neben der Postilla Epistolica, auch andere meine bißher gehaltene Predigten zu concipiren, darauß mir vor dißmal beliebet ad praegustum quasi gegenwärtiges Tractätlein auß der Epistel Jacobi von dem schändlichen Mißbrauch deß Reichthumbs / welcher in diesem letzten Feyerabend der Welt so sehr hat vberhand genommen / daß man nit mehr meinet daß es Sünde sey / vnnd wenig bißher seynd

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Just a few examples from his commentary will show how Creide develops some of the characteristic elements of the Lutheran exegesis of James 1. Creide brings our study of Lutheran preaching on James 1 to a close, and rightfully so. His clarity is truly a culmination of the major themes we have met throughout this study. Creide excels in clarity through his use of distinct Aristotelian categories to teach the faith and shows himself an excellent student of the Lutheran dogmatic and postil tradition. Creide puts dogmatic exactness and exegetical rigor to work in the service of his proclamation of law and gospel, a habitus that characterizes much of Lutheran-Orthodox preaching. Creide recognizes that the new birth from John 1:18 is both now and not yet. He casts the new birth into the context of God’s creation, as Pauli, Musaeus, and Sack had also done, and defines it according to Luther’s explanation of the baptismal life of repentance and faith, daily dying and rising through one’s baptism. This rebirth occurs daily through the word and the holy sacraments. As in the first creation the Lord God did not make the world all at once, but successively, from one day to another […]. In the same way, God maintains this order in this second creation, that He doesn’t make us whole all at once, but per gradus, and lets us grow and increase in faith from one day to the next, so that our inner man may be renewed from day to day (2 Cor. 4:16).¹⁵³

Creide then teaches the spiritual rebirth according to the Aristotelian causae. ¹⁵⁴ The causa principalis of the new birth is God the Father, who alone can give life. The causa materialis is the Christian whom God has delivered from sin and death through Christ. The causa formalis, the way in which we are reborn, is through God’s unmerited love, grace, and mercy. Creide develops the passage homiletically with the biblical imagery of birth and childrearing, and describes (in the language of Isa. 46:1 and 66:9) God’s character as that of a mother: Just as a mother finds nothing about her child that would move her to great love and affection, since if she were to consider the pain that the baby caused her and what she had to endure on its account, she would be more inclined to murder it rather than keep it. Yet she doesn’t do it. Rather, when she sees the child she has borne, she no longer thinks of the fear she had in labor because of her joy that this human child is born into the world (John 16:21). So, too, God the heavenly Father conceived and gave birth to us through Christ, not because of the works that we did in righteousness, but out of pure grace and mercy (Tit. 3:5).¹⁵⁵

gefunden worden / die sich erkühnet hätten den Gottlosen Reichen das Capitul zu lesen / dem günstigen Leser zu communiciren, die gantze Epistel soll / geliebt es GOtt / hernach folgen.”  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 204.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 205 – 210.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 209.

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The causa instrumentalis, the means through which God gives birth to us, is, as expected, the word of truth. The gospel here, however, is not limited to the preached word but includes the sacraments as visible sermons: “Included in this is holy baptism, which Paul calls the bath of regeneration (Tit. 3:5) and the ancient church father Augustine calls verbum visibile invisibilis gratiae, the visible word of God’s invisible grace.”¹⁵⁶ Creide successfully uses the Aristotelian causes to decipher the text and to teach the various aspects of regeneration. As we see in his use of the familiar biblical images of birth and the motherly character of God’s mercy, Creide maintains clear pedagogy with rich visual and biblical language, even as he applies Aristotelian categories. The precision of his exegesis rarely stifles his vivid proclamation. Creide then interprets the causa finalis, the goal of the new birth in 1:18, with an extensive use of Old Testament imagery concerning the first fruits (Exod. 23:19) under the heading Appellationem metaphoricam: “The Apostle James applies this metaphor to the newborn Christians and compares them to the very best first fruits.”¹⁵⁷ Creide takes up this Old Testament imagery to express discipleship as worship. The Christian life after baptism is a life of sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) that is predicated on God’s own sacrifice in Christ and the purification of His people. “Now just as the first fruits had to be carried to the priest in a basket, sanctified, and offered to the Lord, so we too ought to give our bodies up as a living and holy sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord God, as the Apostle Paul urges us (Rom. 12:1).”¹⁵⁸ Here blending Paul with James 1:18, Creide exhorts his hearers to offer their bodies up in pure worship to God and uses a variation of the rhetorical strategy, effictio, in which the body is described from head to toe, to print a mental image in the minds of his hearers: So now we must offer up to the Lord God our heart and turn our thoughts to Him at all times. We must offer up our tongue and proclaim His glory, offer up our ears and hear His voice, offer up our eyes and lift them to the hills from where our help comes (Psalm 121:1), offer up our hands and break bread with the poor as if we were doing it for Him (Matt. 25:40), offer up our feet and with David take joy when we go to the house of the Lord and place our feet in the gates of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:1– 2), offer up our body and life for His name’s sake with the sure confidence that whoever loses his life will find it (Matt. 10:19). When we do that, we not only please God in this time of grace (Gnadenzeit) like the first fruits in the Old Testament but also in the time to come, when the full harvest

 Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 210.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 210.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 211.

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is gathered in and we come home with shouts of joy and bring in our sheaves (Psalm 126:6).¹⁵⁹

In this way, Creide lifts the final cause of the new birth out of the moral realm and into the eschaton, the future life that captured Luther’s attention from this verse over a century before. As a final example of Lutheran preaching in the seventeenth century, we return to the image of the mirror (1:23 – 24). The expansive nature of Kerner and Creide’s preaching may give the impression that regardless of the text any application is plausible. But here again we find distinctly Lutheran elements amplified in their exposition. The prominence of the preaching office of law and gospel (Musaeus) is present in Creide, as it also is in Kerner. And both share Musaeus’ doctrinal precision. Putting the metaphor of the mirror to work, the major themes from James 1 of cross, prayer, repentance, and a living faith are developed extensively in Creide’s sermon. In his exordium, Creide introduces the mirror with a brief exposition of Exodus 34:29 and the shining face of Moses. “We can take from this passage what an exalted majesty and radiance God must have, since even mortal Moses is saturated with it, so that his face shone like the sun […]. For our dear God is πατήρ φώτων, a Father of lights, says James 1:17.”¹⁶⁰ The Old Testament example leads him to Paul’s interpretation of the veil of Moses in 2 Corinthians 4:1– 6, and a Christological theology of the word. Creide suggests that God did not want to overwhelm us with the power and the radiance of His majesty as it will be in Paradise, and therefore has hidden Himself behind the veil of the word, which for Paul is nothing other than the revelation of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Therefore He presents Himself not with the unveiled face that belongs to eternal life (1 Cor. 13:12), but hangs a veil, and speaks to us not only through His ministers and messengers—true teachers and preachers, who are nothing other than ambassadors in God’s stead (2 Cor. 5:20), so that whoever hears them hears God Himself (Luke 10:16)—but God also presents Himself in the dark mirror of His revealed word, which God has publicly hung in the midst of the Christian Church, so that each person can gain therein the knowledge of God and examine himself. Therefore the word is expressly called a flawless mirror of divine power and an image of His goodness (Wisd. of Sol. 7:26).¹⁶¹

Creide reads the revelation of the word and the delivery of that word through the preaching office as the glory of the face of God in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 4:6), as his

 Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 212.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 260.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 261.

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prayer which draws on the language of Hebrews 1:3 indicates: “Now may our dear Lord and Savior Christ Jesus / who is the exact imprint of God’s nature / and the radiance of His glory / impart to us grace / so that we learn and hear in this text what is fruitful / Amen.”¹⁶² Creide develops the metaphor of the mirror like the many previous interpreters and regards the mirror as both law and gospel, a mirror of grace and a mirror of wrath, though his rhetorical style is even more detailed and exhaustive than Kerner. His sermons expectedly bear the marks of a much more developed doctrine of Scripture. For example, Creide uses the metaphor of the mirror to distinguish the Lutheran view of Scripture from that of the Catholics and the Reformed. Against the Papists, who said that Scripture is obscure, Creide says, “the mirror is bright, and even though there is a difference between the person and the form that the mirror presents, it is still an archetype of that person. Thus, when God presents His nature and His will in His word, we recognize Him and by this knowledge we are saved.”¹⁶³ He continues the metaphor to defend against the Calvinists. He says that some mirrors can manipulate the image they reflect and make them look hideous or contorted. But the word of God clearly tells us what God’s will is. God does not have a secret unknowable will, as the Calvinists say.¹⁶⁴ According to Creide, both the Papists and the Calvinists attach doubt to the Scriptures, because they argue that God has hidden something from His creatures. Whereas the Catholics cast doubt on the litterae, the Calvinists cast doubt on the nature and will of God. Creide interprets this discrepancy of our knowledge not as lack of clarity on the part of Scripture, but rather as a problem of time and the current limitations caused by our sinful nature. He inserts Paul’s word about seeing dimly and says that the time will come when the imperfection will end and perfection will be, when we will see face to face or, in the words of Jeremiah, one will not tell the other, “know the LORD,” for we will all know Him. In summary, Creide uses the mirror to move beyond self-reflection and right reception of the word. Much more than in the sixteenth century, Creide’s exegesis embodies a fully developed doctrine of the word, its clarity, its all-sufficiency, and its power. Though his sermons do not seem to possess the fluidity of Kerner’s preaching, his expositions on James were nevertheless popular, decidedly Lutheran, and certainly offer yet another bright example that the voice of James echoed from Lutheran pulpits and shaped the Lutheran culture of piety in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

 Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 261.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 268.  Creide, Jacobs-Schatz (1649), 268.

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Chapter 4: James 1:16 – 27 from Simon Musaeus to Lutheran Orthodox Preaching

Concluding Remarks I believe it is fair to say that modern scholars continue to underestimate the hermeneutical and rhetorical precision of Luther and his theological heirs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In their careful and often colorful exegesis of James 1, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Lutherans demonstrate a lively biblical theology that extends far beyond the Pauline context. Rather than conform James to Paul, Luther and his heirs looked intently into the mirror that James held before them. Or to use another metaphor, James has a way of speaking that resonates with the rest of Scripture and Luther and his heirs could not escape that harmony. The vivid imagery of James 1 concerning sin, divine gifts, the power and effect of God’s word, the new creation and its preservation through repentance and faith overflowed in Lutheran preaching. Though perhaps Luther and his heirs were in some ways slow to speak, they nevertheless heard the voice of James, attended to it, and let it sound from their pulpits.

Summary Theses 1.

2.

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The value of the Epistle of James to Lutheran theology and practice cannot be restricted to the acceptance or rejection of the book’s canonical authority. The historical questions of canonicity, however important they may be, tell us very little about how the message of this catholic epistle was being heard in the Lutheran Church of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Likewise, Luther’s criticism of James in no way tells the whole story of the Lutheran interpretation of James, nor does it even tell us the whole story of Luther’s interpretation of the letter, since he clearly praises it for teaching the divine law in his preface to the letter. Although Luther argues in his biblical prefaces that the Epistle of James is straw compared to other New Testament books, since it does not preach the eternal gospel as he had come to expect from an apostle, Luther does not mean that straw is useless when placed on the foundation of Christ. Luther uses the analogy not to evaluate the inspiration of biblical books but only to evaluate the content of what is preached by distinguishing between law and gospel. Insofar as the epistle is law, it is not eternal, just as Moses is not eternal. For Christ is the end of the law (Rom. 10:4). Luther and some of his students of the sixteenth century criticized the Epistle of James to oppose Roman Catholic interpretations that sought to undermine the analogia fidei as revealed in the canonical Scriptures. Against Roman Catholic opponents who argued that James teaches justification by works and thus not justification by faith alone, Luther and his students maintained that James cannot, and in fact does not, undermine the clear teachings of Paul or any other biblical author. From Luther’s perspective, if his Roman Catholic opponents could not understand the clear and simple words of St. Paul, that one is justified by faith without works, why bother explaining a more nuanced passage from James? The doctrinal disagreement between Lutherans and Catholics was not personal opinion, but ultimately due to a varying and radically divergent biblical hermeneutic. Because it still remains historically uncertain whether James is canonical, Luther and his heirs maintained St. Augustine’s position that the disputed books of Scripture (antilegomena) could not determine the church’s doctrine. However, they never denied that the Epistle of James is filled with useful and necessary teachings for the church. Luther is neither apathetic nor ignorant about the message of James. He studied the book and translated it with careful consideration of its sense and meaning.

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Scholarship’s consensus that Luther—blinded by his affection for the Pauline expression of justification by faith alone—could not accept James has to be reconsidered, since Luther’s attitude towards the letter was by no means always polemical. Luther’s surprisingly frequent use of James in his preaching, teaching, and pastoral care challenges modern readings of Luther that suggest, strictly based on his criticism, that the reformer “rejected” James. 8. The 1530s mark a period of change for Luther and his students, as pressing pastoral concerns caused them to see the usefulness of James in the congregational setting. 9. Luther’s student, Andreas Althamer (1500 – 1539), reformer in BrandenburgAnhalt, and the first Lutheran commentator on James, influenced Luther as much as Luther influenced him. Whereas Althamer’s first commentary (1527) was influenced by Luther’s criticism, his second commentary (1533) was influenced by Luther’s pastoral exegesis. And alternately, Luther’s later editions of the German Bible suggest Luther’s dependence on Althamer’s 1533 translation and interpretation of James. 10. Althamer’s 1533 commentary (reprinted in Wittenberg in 1555) makes a significant contribution to the history of interpretation. Althamer’s commentary offers a revised German translation. Throughout the commentary, Althamer generally follows Luther’s 1530 translation of the German Bible. But at 1:17 he makes a significant interpretive shift in the translation. In his 1522 and 1530 translations of the New Testament, Luther had translated the phrase ἀπό τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων as “Vater der Liechter,” a plural rendering and faithful to the Greek original. However, Althamer renders the phrase, “von dem Vater des liechts” (from the Father of Light) and reads James 1:17 primarily as a Christological reference. 11. Althamer’s translation apparently pleased Luther, because in his publication of the complete Biblia of 1534, just a year after Althamer’s commentary was published in Wittenberg, Luther altered his translation of this passage and others to conform to Althamer’s translation. Because of its inclusion in the Lutherbibel, Althamer’s Christological reading of James 1:17, “Vater des Lichts,” would remain fixed in Lutheran interpretive history. 12. A close examination of Althamer’s interpretation of James 1:17– 18 indicates that he gleaned this Christological insight into James from his careful study of Luther’s exegesis. A comparison of Luther’s exegesis of 1 Peter 1:23 and Althamer’s exegesis of James 1:17– 18, side by side, reveals that Althamer had refashioned Luther’s exegesis of 1 Peter to coincide with his own Christological reading of James 1.

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13. Like Luther, Althamer never believed that the author was an apostle. Yet he demonstrates how a still-critical Lutheran reader of James can expound fruitfully on the text and from it give sound pastoral care to his congregation. It becomes clear from his 1533 commentary that Althamer’s experience as a preacher, Seelsorger, and church visitor transformed his view of James and allowed him to see its needful message for the church. 14. 1534 marks a turn in Luther’s general treatment of James that would remain until his last edition of the Bible in 1545. He removed the statement in his biblical preface “I will not count it in my Bible […]” and the comment that James is “a real epistle of straw.” Althamer’s commentary seems to have been the leading cause of Luther’s new posture toward James. 15. In the years that followed his 1534 edition of the Bible, Luther preached five sermons on James 1:16 – 27 (1535 – 1539). (In the appendix of this work, I offer a complete English translation of the collection. I believe that a fair appraisal of Luther’s view of James must include his practical exegesis of the letter.) 16. Luther’s sermons on James are filled with rich biblical motifs (agriculture, birth, light, and mirror) that bring out important themes of Luther’s theology (law and gospel, suffering, repentance, regeneration, and the future life). But all of these, the biblical motifs and the theological loci, fall under the overarching theme of the word of God and its power. 17. The centrality of the word in Luther’s exposition of James makes a significant contribution to the Lutheran postil tradition. Although later postil sermons on James are generally more developed in structure and organization than Luther’s five sermons, they nevertheless maintain the reformer’s interpretation of James 1 that the whole course of the Christian life is inseparably bound to the word of God. 18. In his sermons on James 1, and in contrast to his criticisms, Luther does not belabor questions about the letter’s apostolic character, though neither does he ignore them. He has theories about the author’s intent and audience, but very little to say about the author himself. Though not an apostle, Luther’s James is certainly an apostolic messenger who wrote to a church corrupted by their own desires within and afflicted by the world’s persecution without. Among his many isagogical reflections, Luther argues that James is a bearer of the gospel. He even says that James preaches the same gospel as St. Paul does in Romans! 19. Even though Luther did not label James a “pastoral epistle,” he certainly interprets it as such. Starting with Luther, James 1:16 – 21 is consistently interpreted as a commentary on Christ’s parable of the sower (Luke 8:4– 15). Both passages offer comfort to preachers who must sow the seed of God’s word

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among their congregations and watch as it fails to take root due to inexperience, impatience, or the allurements and cares of the world. Careful attention to Luther’s sermons should encourage further studies to consider the many other places in the Luther corpus where Luther speaks like James, uses the letter’s language, and follows the author’s reasoning. Luther’s exegesis and homiletical application of James also set an interpretive pattern that can be traced through later Lutheran expositions. Luther’s exegesis is consistent from sermon to sermon. That is, he does not alter his interpretation, but reads the same message from the same text. Luther’s consistency here advances the thesis that Luther had a particular interpretation of the text which can be compared with the Lutheran postils on these verses. Although only one of Luther’s sermons was published (Cantate 1536) and made available to later generations in Luther’s Church Postils, Luther’s interpretation of James 1, his theological insights, and pastoral concerns all appear in one way or another in later Lutheran preaching. Luther, his students, and heirs had a shared theology that incorporated James and, at the same time, had a shared hermeneutic that heard the voice of James in a similar way. Those who investigate further the interpretations of James by Luther’s heirs will be met with a myriad of tropes and exegetical insights that harken back to Luther’s way of reading the Bible. The Lutheran commentaries of A. Althamer, M. Flacius, L. Osiander, J. Winkelmann, J. Brochmand, and A. Calov contain enough evidence to make modern scholars reconsider their criticism of sixteenth- and seventeenthcentury Lutherans for rejecting or neglecting James, even if it is admittedly difficult to know with certainty the impact these commentaries had on pastors and laity. However, the voice of James was always heard in Lutheran churches. The church’s historic lectionary, to which Luther also adhered, included two readings from James in Eastertide (Cantate, 1:16 – 21 and Rogate, 1:22– 27). The inclusion of these verses from James 1 ensured that the central teachings of the epistle, which are well represented in James 1:16 – 27, were ingrained in the proclamation and piety of the Lutheran Church. Lutheran preachers’ commitment to the ancient lectionary became an important means through which the voice of James reached Lutheran communities of the early modern period. The postils provide a rich sampling of how Lutherans, including Luther, were reading and applying the message of James. These printed sermons on James 1:[13]16 – 27 indicate how the message would be preached by pastors throughout Lutheran territories. The Lutheran postils of A. Corvin (1539), J. Spangenberg (1544), L. Lossius (1552), D. Chytraeus (1563), S.

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Pauli (1572), S. Musaeus (1573), S. Sack (1598), and others exemplify the Lutheran use of this controversial epistle. The postils are therefore the proper entrance into the wider interpretation of the letter in Lutheranism and the clearest place to begin tracing the reception of that interpretation. The epistle’s needful and poignant message for the church that comes to life in Luther and his heirs’ preaching and teaching proves to be a necessary component of Lutheran theology. The themes of James that appeared first in Althamer and Luther (Christian suffering, prayer, the baptismal life, the efficacy of the word, law and gospel, the office of the ministry, and sanctification) are developed in these postil sermons on James. Careful attention to these themes as they develop in the postils on James 1 allows for an evaluation of over a hundred years of interpretive history. The postil sermons on James 1:16 – 27 demonstrate how Lutherans would handle the major themes of the entire letter in their commentaries (Thesis 23): Christian suffering, prayer, the baptismal life, the efficacy of the word, the office of the ministry, sanctification, and good works. It is clear from their frequent use of James that the epistle helped shape the piety of the Lutheran Church through the preaching of Luther and his heirs. In modern theology, good works are predominantly described as social works, acts of love in a horizontal relationship toward the neighbor. Lutherans in the sixteenth century, however, rarely understood good works toward the neighbor in isolation from the greater works, namely, faith in Christ and true worship of God. The Lutheran interpretation of James is just one example of how Lutherans taught true faith that shows itself in good works. But their reading of James indicates that, in general, they did not approach the question of works anthropologically. That is, good works were not regarded as a product of the human will per se, but as a product of the word of God that through faith is creatively working in the heart and springing forth from the heart. If faith comes by hearing the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17), so do the works that proceed from faith. They, too, are created by the gospel. To be a doer of the word, as James puts it (1:22), meant for Luther, and increasingly for his heirs, to let the word of God have its way with them, that is, the word is effectual both as law and gospel. By the law, God reveals sin and causes repentance in the heart. By the gospel, God reveals the promise of eternal life in Christ, creates and sustains faith, and causes good works to sprout up. Although the Lutheran interpreters of James 1 in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries preach repentance from James 1, they overwhelm-

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ingly place the chapter under the locus of sanctification and the fruits of the gospel. A general characteristic of the postils is their catechetical exegesis which employed the loci method, that is, the authors frame their exegesis around the chief parts of the Catechism and their subsections (First Commandment, Third Article of the Creed, etc.). In their preaching, they would ask themselves: “To what part of the Catechism does this text belong?” They approached James with this same catechetical framework. They not only asked generally: “What does it mean to be a doer of the word? What is the mirror?” They also asked more specifically: “To what part of the Catechism does being a doer of the word belong? What reflection do I see in the revelation of God’s word?” Catechetical instruction is necessary not only to promote external discipline, but also because every Christian needs constant instruction. Although the Scriptures are clear and enlighten the heart, Luther says that no one can master them in this life, not only because the devil, the world, and the sinful flesh never cease to stifle, steal, and smother the clear and yet profound message of Christ, but also because there is no end to the riches of God’s word. Each postiller’s exposition of James 1 prior to 1580 reveals his theological positions in the midst of the controversies leading up to the Book of Concord. However, the postillers were not merely positioning themselves in these controversies; rather, they were drawing on the riches of God’s word and interpreting it for the admonition and comfort of God’s people. David Chytraeus’ description of the mirror (James 1:23 – 35) as a reflection of the will of God, the norma, rule, or pattern after which all Christians should model their lives would be brought into the Formula of Concord concerning the tertius usus of the law. Chytraeus describes more clearly than any earlier postiller the effect of the mirror of God’s word on the Christian. The mirror has the dual function of revealing sin and causing repentance on one hand, and communicating and confirming the gospel promises of forgiveness and eternal life in Christ on the other. Simon Pauli marks a growing stability in the postil tradition on James, especially with his application of the mirror in James 1:23 as law and gospel. Simon Musaeus concentrates on God’s active delivery of the word through the preaching office of law and gospel. This Christocentric or means-ofgrace hermeneutic is characteristic of his preaching and resembles Luther’s own preaching.

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40. Musaeus’ hermeneutic of the epistles places James in the center of the congregational life. James, like the other apostles, wrote to address particular situations and pastoral concerns. The value of James for the Lutherans is obviously not its exhaustive treatment of the entire body of Christian doctrine, but its pastoral tone and specific address to Christians who, in the midst of temptation and persecution, are tempted to grow weary of the word that they have received and to forget their high and eternal calling. 41. James’ admonition to “receive the implanted word that is able to save your souls” (1:21) and to “be doers of the word” (1:22) aligns itself perfectly with the goals of the Lutheran postils. To be doers of the word means to hear it rightly, that is, to believe it. 42. After the Book of Concord, the Lutheran postils undergo marked expansions in their application of the biblical texts. 43. The long list of applications that appear in Sack, Kerner, and Creide are not indulgent ornamentations of the text. Rather, they demonstrate a healthy comprehension of the exegetical tradition and a genuine conviction that the richness of the sensus literalis allows for multiple applications of the biblical text. The many applications are not offered to cloud the meaning of the passage, but rather to magnify the text in light of the rest of Scripture. 44. Luther and his heirs had a way of hearing and preaching James that harmonized with the rest of the apostolic choir. Although there are some various interpretive nuances, the theological and hermeneutical boundaries are set already with Luther. There is no drastic interpretive change from 1530 to 1650 in the Lutheran postil tradition. 45. Luther’s heirs did not all agree with him about the authorship of James. Nonetheless, they recognized Luther’s theological gravitas as an interpreter of Holy Scripture. They studied his exegesis to learn from it, but they also assimilated his exegesis into their own understanding of Scripture, whether consciously or unconsciously. 46. Whatever questions may have dogged this book, Luther and his theological heirs heard the Holy Spirit’s voice in James and communicated that voice with growing certainty, clarity, and intensity.

Appendix: Annotated English Translations of Luther’s Five Sermons on James (1535 – 1539) The sermons below are arranged according to the church year, as Hartmut Günther has done in his reconstruction and translation of Luther’s sermons into modern German.¹ Therefore, Luther’s sermons on Cantate from 1536, 1537, and 1539 come first, followed by his first and last sermons on James from Rogate Sunday in 1535 and 1539. I consulted Günther’s translation and other available reconstructions when available, such as Georg Buchwald’s collection in 1905 of Luther’s unpublished sermons (1537– 1540). For the 1536 sermon, which appears in Luther’s Kirchenpostille, I consulted the new English translation found in The American Edition of Luther’s Works (AE 77:216 – 223). I give the coordinating page number to Luthers Werke (WA) with the sign | to indicate a page break, followed by the page number in brackets, < >. These are in bold, to make the original reference easier to locate. Straight brackets [ ] indicate additional clarifications or citations that are not in the notes. If there are places where the notes are unclear, I indicate that in the footnotes or with brackets [ ]. Finally, I have tried to keep an oral rather than written tone. Contractions and conversational language are used whenever possible. Overall, I have tried to smooth out the stops and starts that inevitably appear in any sermon taken down in note form.

Cantate Sunday: A Sermon by Dr. Martin Luther on James 1:16 – 21 (14 May 1536) Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of light, with whom there is no variation or change of light and darkness. He has begotten us according to His will through the word of truth, so that we would be the firstborns of His creation. Therefore, dear brothers, let each man be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to anger. For the wrath of man does not accomplish what is righteous before God.

 Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers Epistel-Auslegung, Bd. 5 (1983), 439 – 456. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-008

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Therefore, put away all filthiness and all wickedness and receive with meekness the word that is planted among you, which is able to save your souls.² | This epistle is written to all Christians, especially those who had to suffer greatly under the many persecutions from the unbelieving world, as St. James explains at the start of his letter: “Dear brothers, count it all joy when you encounter trials of various kinds and know that your faith, when it is upright, produces endurance; but let endurance remain steadfast until the end…” (1:2– 4). Right after that he says again: “Blessed is the man who endures the trial” (1:12). People are torn from the gospel in two ways: first by wrath and impatience, and second by evil desires. In this chapter, James deals with these two parts. You encounter wrath (he says) when you’re persecuted, when you have to give up possessions and honor, even your body and life for the sake of Christ the Lord and become (if you must) fools, footstools, and cinderellas to the whole world. It hurts; you feel miserable, dejected, and depressed, especially when you know that those who persecute you have it easy. They have honor, power, and wealth, while you alone must suffer constantly. That’s why St. Peter also exhorts us from Psalm 34[:13]: Whoever wants to be a Christian has to be prepared to shun evil and do good, to pursue peace and be able to shut his mouth and hold his tongue, so that he does not swear or become impatient, but instead leave all these things to God (1 Pet. 3:11– 12). The first part of this instruction terrifies people and causes them to stumble horribly. Of course they would embrace the gospel, if they could only avoid the suffering, disgrace, and shame that they have to bear because of it. The world | would’ve been full of Christians long ago, had that precious holy cross not been laid on them or if only others could control their anger and impatience. But the cross makes them hesitate and think: “I’d rather stick with masses than with those Christians. Otherwise, I’ll suffer the same fate.” The other reason why people are torn from the gospel is the lusts of the world or (as James calls it) filthiness. It’s a vile plague, even in the church. It happens to those who hear the gospel and suddenly think they understand it and can do whatever they want. Without a second thought they dive in and drown themselves in the lust, pride, and greed of the world. Their only care is how to get rich and have a good time. We preachers see all this happening right before our eyes; we worry that our people won’t change. But don’t assume that we’ll have it any better than the apostles and prophets. We have to press on —both for ourselves and for our hearers—so that we guard ourselves and them

 The translation follows Luther’s German Bible.

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from this blasphemy by preaching, so that we don’t get upset and complain impatiently against God, and also so that we act kindly to all people. That way, anger is suppressed and curbed everywhere, and patience and gentleness will reign among. This is how the whole chapter goes, as I’ve said, and it’s the reason why we should be patient and not retaliate against those who cause us all this trouble— especially those who despise the word of God and become so ungrateful that they persecute us. That’s why he says consider the possessions you have from God, that is, every good and perfect gift that comes down from above. So place your suffering on a scale with the gifts from above and weigh them both. You’ll see that divine possessions rain down on you more heavily than insults, disgrace, and shame. Even though you’re afflicted now and provoked to impatience by ingratitude, contempt, and persecution, compare it to the reward and the comfort you have with Christ and His gospel. You’ll soon find that you have more | reason to be merciful to those who seek your harm than you do to complain or get angry with them. The same goes for all those who live in worldly lusts or (as he calls it) filthiness. You’ll discover that it’s not worth letting yourselves be influenced by them or following after them and falling away from the gospel. Compared to the glorious, divine blessings and riches that you have, they’ve got nothing but a moldy crumb of bread. Consider this, then, and don’t let yourselves be led astray either by those who follow the world’s sacrilege and wickedness and who disgrace you and hurt you or by the success and prosperity of those who have wealth and possessions in the world and live in luxury by following their own passions. Instead, lift up your eyes and see what the Father has given you from His divine possessions and perfect gifts, etc. But we want to make a distinction between the good gifts that we have in this world and the perfect gifts that we await in the future life. James himself makes this distinction when he says: “He gave birth to us by the word of life,³ so that we might be the beginning, the first fruits of His creatures and His new human beings.” Take hold and understand these words, “good and perfect gifts,” as everything good God has already given us and everything we still expect to receive in heaven and on earth, both here and there. Now if we Christians could take stock and stir each other up as to what kind of treasures and lavish possessions we have—I won’t even mention here the earthly, corruptible, and transient things, such as temporal possessions, honor, a healthy body, etc., but I speak here of the spiritual and eternal possessions that we have

 A misquote of 1:18. Luther may be thinking of “the word of life” from Philippians 2:16 and 1 John 1:1.

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in Christ—we would soon agree that they are a thousand times more splendid than anything the world can offer. Some people would give thousands of gulden to be able to see with both eyes. They want to see so badly that, in order to have both eyes, they’d gladly lay sick for a year or bear some other | affliction, because it would be so insignificant compared to having that which they desire most. But, as I said, we’re not talking about that now, even though injury to things of the body can never compare to the benefits we have from this physical life. Who can earn or merit even one of the littlest gifts of God (such as one day of seeing the light and the sun brightly shining), even if he suffered ten days to have that one day? But as long as you have this physical life, you have a greater treasure still that far outweighs all the gold and silver and all the troubles you suffer. We’re speaking now about the possessions that we have from the resurrection of Christ that are rightly preached during Eastertide.⁴ There it says: “All good and perfect gifts come […] from the Father of light.” He’s now begun to assemble and build, and wants to make us into His children and heirs. That has taken place, says James, through the gospel, which he calls the “word of truth.” What do we have then? Much already: our hearts are enlightened and happy, we’ve come away from all sin, error, fear, and terror and stepped into the shining truth, so that a Christian can judge every doctrine of both sects and devil that may come upon the earth. Isn’t that a splendid treasure and priceless gift that we are so enlightened and taught by God that we can rightly judge concerning every matter of doctrine and life on earth, and speak and instruct anyone about how they should live and what they should do and avoid? So we might as well boast that even here on earth we have a Father who is called “the Father of light,” from whom we receive such good things for which anyone would happily give up body and life to have. Oh what I would have given in my darkness for someone to have delivered me from holding that loathsome Mass and other abominations, and from the agony and terror of my conscience from which I could get no relief! Would that someone instructed me to rightly understand just one Psalm! I would have rather crawled on the ground to the end of the world than suffer as I did. But now—praise God!—we have this | exalted treasure in

 WA 41, 582, 3 – 4. “Wir reden aber jtzt eigentlich von den gütern, so wir haben durch die Aufferstehung Christi, davon auff diese Osterliche zeit gehört zu sagen.” Klug’s printed text deviates from Rörer’s notes. According to Rörer’s notes, Luther is speaking not of the gifts that should be preached during Eastertide, but of James. That is, the Epistle of James (or at least this pericope from James) pertains to the resurrection: “Sed ista Epistola pertinet ad resurrectionem mortuorum, quod iam habemus herliche, kostliche gab.”

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abundance. We have the same blessed light: the priceless and precious word of God. What is suffering and misery compared to that light? Moreover, we have a pure and happy conscience that can stand against every kind of terror, sin, and trial, and lay hold of the sure hope of everlasting life. These are the exalted, marvelous gifts and possessions: the gospel, holy baptism, the power of the Holy Spirit, and comfort in every conflict. So what if somebody hurts you a little or takes some earthly possession from you? What’s that compared to this? Or, if you have the divine possessions that no one can take from you or diminish in this life, why would you complain or get angry? If you’re forced to give up money, possessions, honor, and favor, just think: “I have a treasure more precious than all the prestige and possessions of the world.” In the same way, when you see others living in lavish splendor, audaciously gratifying themselves as they please, think: “What do they have? It’s a lousy morsel and stale bread. I, on the other hand, have divine grace to know God’s will and work and to know everything in heaven and on earth.” Look at the treasures (he says) that you’ve received from the Father of light already. They are magnificent and splendid possessions! But it shouldn’t stop there. You’re still waiting for the truly perfect possessions and gifts, since, as it stands with you here on earth, the possessions and gifts are always imperfect, and we can’t recognize or take hold of our treasure the way we’d like. We’re still just the “first fruits of His creatures.”⁵ He’s begun in us, for sure, but He doesn’t want to keep us that way. No, as long as we remain in faith and don’t succumb to wrath and impatience, He’ll bring us to the true and eternal possessions, to the perfect gifts, where we’ll never go astray, stumble, get angry, or sin. | When that happens, James continues, we’ll be a creation in which there’s no variation or change between light and darkness. That means we won’t be such fickle and wavering things as we are in this Christian life—today happy, tomorrow sad, first standing, then falling, etc. That’s how it is in the natural world, too: first light, then dark, first day, then night, once cold, now hot, here a mountain, there a valley. Same with us: it’s healthy today, sick tomorrow, etc. All these things, too, shall pass away and in its place a [new] creation shall arise in which there is no shifting at all, only constant and eternal goodness. Then, without ceasing, we shall gaze into the Majesty. There will be no darkness, no death, no plague, no frailty, just pure light, joy, and blessedness. So when the world at-

 Here “Erstlinge seiner Creaturn,” as in Luther’s Bible translation. In the following section, however, Luther intermingles several terms to say the same thing: creatur (sg.), wesen, and geschepff. All of these denote something that is made, either by God or men.

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tacks and provokes you to wrath or to desire evil things, you must look ahead and ponder that pure light, joy, and blessedness. That is, look to the high, heavenly possessions that are assuredly promised to you. Your head, Christ, has already seated Himself in heaven, so that He may also bring you there whole. These possessions ought to be more valuable and more precious to you then the earthly possessions we’ll leave behind. That ought to be how Christians think and act, so that we learn to regard our possessions and treasures as magnificent and great, and to thank God for the grace and gifts that have begun here, such as a true knowledge, understanding, righteousness, and life. We ought to constantly look ahead and strive, so that what is perfect would come to us also, so that we’d be rid of the imperfect and frail things of this life that we still carry around our necks and that drag us further down and cause us | to be easily enticed away from the gospel. And it’s this [understanding of the future life] that ought to help us and give us a reason to bear the precious, holy cross, to suffer persecution, and to shun the temptation of the world and its example. We see how poor people are so wantonly pulled away from the word and faith, in which they could have unspeakable grace and possessions, and instead they seek the world’s worthless handouts that they could get anytime by begging. Therefore, he says now: “Why do you worry about the things here below? Even though God gives these as well, they’re going to perish; they can’t last forever. Shouldn’t you instead rejoice and take comfort in the exalted and heavenly possessions that you already have in abundance and that can never be taken from you?” To clarify, he says, “He gave birth to us willingly or according to His will through the word of truth, etc.” That is the first but also the highest thing He’s done for us and given us from above, namely, that He gave birth to us and made us His children or heirs, and so we are. He even calls us “newborn children of God.” How or by what means has this happened to us? Through the word of truth or the true word. With this he sees and takes a wide swing at all the hordes and sects around him who have a word of their own and proudly boast about their doctrine. But they aren’t speaking of the word of truth that makes us children of God, because they teach nothing and know nothing about how one is born of God | through faith. Instead they do nothing but blather on about the works we do as those born of Adam. But we have and know this word by which God has made us His dear children and has justified us (when we believe it) not by works or by law. For a Christian is a Christian on account of his new birth. It doesn’t happen by carving or mending with works, as Moses’ pupils and all the teachers of works want to do, by giving regulations that force people to do a work here and a work there, and yet accomplish nothing. That’s not how it is with Christians. Christians

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are new creatures and are called “newborn children of God,” as St. John says in John 1[:13]. These (St. John says) are the ones who believe in the name of Christ and who hang on with their heart to the word (which James here praises as being the great and mighty gift). God has through Christ forgiven them their sins and taken them into grace, etc. They also endure various trials, suffering, and hardships. But you already have this little jewel here on earth, because He has blessed you that you’re now His children by birth. How will He not also give you everything else [Rom. 8:32]? From where did this new birth come? Not from your own will, or from your ability, or your own doing. Otherwise, those of us in monkery would’ve already had it with our many works, even without the word. But this new life is from or by His will (says James). It never enters our heart or crosses our mind that this is how we should | become children. Our new life has neither grown in our garden nor welled up from our spring. Rather it comes down from above, from the Father of light who has revealed it to us through His word and the Holy Spirit, and He has put it in our hearts through His apostles and their disciples, from whom the word has come to us. Therefore, it is not earned by our doing or merit, but it’s been given to us by His Fatherly will and pleasure, out of pure grace and mercy. So we’ve become (he says) “the first fruits of creation,” that is, His newly formed creation and work. James distinguishes here between God’s creation and the world or the creations of men,⁶ as St. Peter also does in 1 Peter 2[:13]: “Be subject to all human creations,”⁷ that is, be subject to whatever human beings should demand, order, create, and make. For example, a prince can make a financial minister, an officer, a notary, to accomplish whatever needs to be done. But God has another new creation and creature. He created, so that it’s His own work, without any human cooperation and ability. Therefore, a Christian is called God’s new creation, and God alone creates him above and beyond all other created things and works, even though he’s still only the beginning, the dawn [of His new creation]. He daily works on us until we’re complete and then we truly will be a divine creation, pure and bright as the sun, without any sin or transgression, completely and utterly radiating in divine love. You should take a closer look at all this and consider carefully what magnificient possessions, what honor and glory you’ve already received from God: you are made heirs of the future life, where there will be no imperfection or flux, but

 “Scheidet hiemit seine Creatur von der welt oder menschlichen Creaturn” WA 41, 581, 21– 22.  “Seid unterthan aller menschlichen Creaturn.” Luther’s 1545 translation of 1 Peter 2:13 reads: “Seid vnterthan aller menschlicher Ordnung vmb des HErrn willen […].”

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a pure, perfect, divine being, just as He Himself is. Therefore, you shouldn’t let the poor, pitiful beggar’s sack that | the world chases entice you to anger. Rather, rejoice in the divine possessions and thank God that He’s made you worthy of them. Compared to this, you should despise everything else you experience here, whether sweet or bitter. For what is all the suffering on this earth (says St. Paul) except a brief moment compared to the future, eternal glory that will be revealed to the children of God [Rom. 8:18]? Therefore, James concludes, “Let every person be quick to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger.” That is, we should be quick to listen and comfort, but slow to argue, complain, curse, and rebuke God and our neighbor. With that, he does not forbid a person to speak or rebuke, to be angry or punish, when God commands it or the need demands it. Rather, we shouldn’t seek or be quick to punish of our own accord, even if we’re provoked. We shouldn’t act until we’ve heard and attended to the word (the right and truthful word), since it tells us how we should be governed and led at all times. Everything we say, rebuke, or punish should flow from the word. James gives his reason for being slow to anger: “For the wrath of man does not produce what is righteous before God.” Even the pagans said as much, “Wrath is but brief rage, etc.,”⁸ as experience also tells us. If, therefore, you feel anger welling up in you (as Psalm 4 says) do not sin, but go to your room and let the storm pass. Don’t let anger overcome you, so that you act on it. Don’t get hot-tempered or become quickly enraged and fuming mad, even if someone has hurt or harmed you | or spoken evil against you. Rather, see that you conquer the temptation and don’t give in to it. That is the first point: Christians should be on guard, so that they don’t fall prey to wrath or impatience. They should instead consider what tremendous possessions and gifts they have. The way of this world and its possessions in no way compares to what they already possess. In the same way, he now speaks of the second part, saying, “Therefore, put aside all filthiness and all wickedness, etc.” By filthiness he means the impure way of life of this world with all its lust, debauchery, and mischief. Such behavior should be far from you Christians, since you have such great and glorious possessions. If you could only see and recognize them rightly, you would regard every worldly way of life and every lust as mere trash, since that’s what they are. Compared to your good, perfect, heavenly gifts and possessions, these are nothing but filth.

 “Jra furor brevis est.” Horace, Epistolae 1.2.26.

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“And receive the word that is planted among you with meekness.” You already have the word. You didn’t think it up or earn it yourselves; by God’s grace He gave you the word and has planted it among you, so that it may dwell among you richly as it is preached, heard, read, and sung (even as, by God’s grace, it dwells among us now). For with the word nothing is lacking— God be praised! But it also depends on whether you receive it, benefit from it, and make use of it with meekness, so that you constantly hold and keep it, and don’t let it be taken from you by wrath, persecution or by the allure of worldly pleasures. Just as Christ also says in Luke 21[:19]: “Hold on to your souls by endurance.” For whoever wants to win the victory over the devil and the world must be gentle and patient. But as long as we grab at them and throw punches, we won’t be able to hang on to the word. Against | sin, we should struggle and fight. But if we let others get on our nerves, and take out our frustration⁹ by getting revenge, we don’t accomplish anything. And then, for all our effort, we lose our treasure: the precious word. Therefore receive the word that has been buried and planted among you, so that you keep it and bring forth its fruit. For it’s the kind of word (he says in conclusion) “that can save your souls.” What more do you want? You have the word and promise of every divine possession and gift. Not only that, it can also save you, so long as you hold on to it. Why then do you keep asking for the world and everything (good or bad) it can offer? What harm or help can the world provide you now that you possess this treasure? Notice here how James gives the power to the oral word or the preached gospel. He says it can save your soul, just as St. Paul sings his praise of the word in Romans 1[:16]. The gospel that Paul preached is the power of God that saves all those who believe it. This word is now planted among you and in you, so that you can take sure comfort from it and hope in your salvation. Only examine yourselves whether you’re being pushed and pulled away from the word by the world’s wrath and filthiness, or whether you’re receiving and keeping this word with patience and purity that God so graciously and richly gave to you without effort or merit on your part. What would others do if they could have or know such a treasure as this? How many have worked and continue to labor who don’t have the word and nevertheless strive and want so badly to get to heaven and be saved? And still they can’t attain it, even if they would martyr themselves to death and set up and practice all kinds of service to God [Rom. 10:1– 3]. How would you have it? Would you rather remain with the word and hold on

 DWb 11, Sp. 2568: unser mutlin kuelen = Schadenfreude an etwas sättigen.

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to this treasure by which God makes you His children and saves your souls? Or would you rather have the world, sinking into destruction and damnation, tear you away from the word by persecution, lust, and filth?

Cantate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:16 – 21 by Dr. Martin Luther (29 April 1537) This section of the epistle that St. James wrote is directed to Christians converted from Judaism, as his prologue says [1:1]. Since it sounds a bit strange and appears not to fit together, one gets the sense that he may have been a hearer of the apostles, conversed with them, and heard their sermons. He seems to have collected these private conversations and written them down as they stand here. I think it’s likely that the apostles not only preached in public but also at home. That appears to be the case with this sermon. It, too, appears to have been written without proper arrangement, and its scopus is hard to follow. But the sum of it consists in these two points: (1) He exhorts and entreats us to remain in the word that we have heard, and ultimately he means, | “the word of the Lord remains forever” [1 Pet. 1:25]. (2) He shows us the power and strength of the word. That’s what he’s dealing with in the first chapter. As if to say: “I’ve heard from the apostles how the saints should live. We are to remain with the word that we have heard, because it has the power to save us.” Many sects appeared after the apostles. Some taught this, others taught that. Paul and Peter lamented it—John much more. They advised all Christians to remain with the word that they heard and to avoid strange doctrines, because the word is the reason they’re saved; without it they’re not. So he says here in the beginning: “You’ll be attacked by various teachers. Yet there’s only one doctrine. Those who persevere in it remain. Those who embrace it are well, even while they’re being persecuted.” He says, therefore, “Do not be deceived” (1:16). It’s as if he were saying: “The devil attacks on two fronts: (1) through false apostles who teach inconsistently. They’re the meddlesome teachers who say one thing today and tomorrow another. As soon as they’ve finished meddling about in one place, they move on to the next; they’re always seeking a new path, preaching to suit their desires, and making merry for themselves with the ministry of God’s word. The apostles taught these things, and I heard it from them. (2) Satan attacks through those who force you away from the doctrine. So when the word is preached, persecution comes on us in these two ways: first by a devious tongue, and then by violence. We know that it’s Satan, that dragon and lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Therefore we stand firm against the power of the lion’s paws and the might of the dragon’s tail. I mean that we stand firm against the pseudo-apostles.” So he

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says: “Remain with the word that is planted in you, and keep watch of yourselves.” And this is the fruit of the word: “it is able to save your souls” (1:21). This way of speaking is a bit unclear. I’d say it more simply: “You’ll have many spirits who will boast about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and say that they have the Spirit’s illumination to interpret dreams.” They’ll say, “it’s not my opinion; it’s the truth from the Holy Spirit, etc.” That’s what the pope does. He says he comes from the Holy Spirit, because he sits in God’s seat. The papists boast that they have the Holy Spirit, His gifts, and that they’re the church. But they confuse people with their magnificent titles, and then add Scripture to confuse them even more, as all pseudo-apostles do. But Christians must stick to the word that has been planted and grounded in them. Of course it’s necessary to hear what God says. But the devil tried to strip even our Lord God of His crown with the word. He said to Christ in Matthew 4: “I gladly hear God’s truth.” This sort of talk can lead people astray. Therefore, before I believe it, I have to make sure it agrees with the word that is planted in me, namely, the word that proceeds from the mouth of Christ and thereafter is planted by the apostles. If that’s the word, then I have a true and perfect gift from God. With these words, James takes a stab at the vicious sectarians, especially those who say they have the Holy Spirit. They’re the worst! They puff themselves up and make such a commotion that they trample poor Christians. You may say that you have the Holy Spirit and are the church. That’s a nice gift, “a perfect gift,” in fact. But is what you say really a divine mandate? Is it the word of truth? Now if their word agrees with the word through which God gave birth to me, fine. I accept it. If, on the other hand, the word is from pseudo-apostles, it won’t last. For this reason, David speaks in Psalm 119[:113] how he hates the double-minded and the fickle; they’re like branches swaying in a towering tree that bend and flex. Thus Paul says: “let us grow up in the Spirit, so that we are not moved, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” [Eph. 4:14]. As the tree goes, so go the branches. As the doctrine goes, so go the hearers. We certainly saw it happen in the papacy whenever | they founded a new order. After the Carthusians, there came the order of Elijah, and so on. We had Christopher, St. George, and then pilgrimages. They pawned each of them off as a gift of God, as if they were doctrine. But if we hold these things up to the doctrine of Christ, and believe in Him and love Him, these doctrines are nothing. They are to the doctrine of Christ what the devil is to God. If, on the other hand, something isn’t opposed to the doctrine of Christ, let it be. If it’s God’s gifts, it’s true, upright, and perfect, and will remain. For whatever comes from God is good for us and saves, because what He does is perfect. For God is not fickle or double-minded. Whatever He gives is the best and is perfect. But the gifts of the devil and of men are ever so fickle and changing, even when it comes to temporal

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gifts. That goes not only for the gifts that we give, but also those we receive. For example, if today I give someone my coat, tomorrow I get angry and want it back. Again, if the Lord gives us wife and home, we get tired of them and want nothing to do with them.¹⁰ As it is, nobody can stick to the gifts that he receives from God; everyone wants what everyone else has. The ungodly are like the sea when it swells. As the wind blows, so go the waves, even when it comes to temporal gifts and earthly possessions. False doctrine doesn’t stand still; it doesn’t stay in one place. Today one way of thinking is right, tomorrow it’s something else. That’s why, since the time of the apostles, new doctrines keep appearing, and attack the foundation of our doctrine. They strike quickly. Our Lord God is not like that at all: whatever He does, He stands by it. If I were God, I’d get so tired of this world and want to change it, so that the sun wouldn’t always run the same course. But God’s work never changes. He stands by marriage, even though He’s seen so many broken marriages. No one is able to be that consistent—neither man nor devil. Therefore, remain with the true and best gifts and let us not be ensnared by false doctrines that appear to be perfect gifts. He is perfect. He upholds the good and then His word breaks through. For His “word endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:25). And we see that it’s true: from the time of the apostles down to us, we administer the same baptism and the same sacrament that He instituted—even if the devil rages wildly and although he may lead many astray. Any word planted by the devil will not remain. But God remains, as He did when He first began. See, then, that if you are called through the word, baptism, and the sacrament, you have the true and perfect gifts. God remains with those gifts forever, unless the word ceased to be preached or we corrupted baptism and absolution, because whatever He establishes remains, even if the whole world rages against it. But the gifts haven’t been changed. They’re still perfect, because He¹¹ came down from above, etc. [1:17]. When I hear the word or I’m baptized, it’s not a human gift; it comes from the Father of light who dwells in pure light that always shines and always remains. Just as He Himself radiates and shines, so do His gifts.

 WA 45, 79, 11– 12. “Item si dominus dat uxorem, domum, sols wol so verdrossen, ut nihil cupiam […].”  The sentence changes from the plural “perfecta dona” to the singular “quia venit desuper.” The shift could be due to Rörer’s transcription of the biblical quote (James 1:17). Thus “the perfect gift (sg.) came down from above.” The context seems to favor a reading of the singular as a reference to Christ, which makes the gifts perfect on earth “because God Himself came down from above.”

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So be on guard for those changing doctrines. They won’t last; they fade away. The sectarians and others do nothing but modify and change the doctrine; they’re like day and night. They don’t remain; instead they jump from one thing to the next. As it goes in the Latin, apud ipsos vicissituninis obumratio,¹² that is, for them doctrine is always one darkness after another.¹³ But His word is steady and stands in eternity, as do those who hold to it, regardless of whether they improve or change for the better. As it is, however, man’s reason doesn’t stick to one thing, not even in earthly matters unless forced. Otherwise, no man would stay with his wife. Pseudo-apostles change. You find nothing but flip-flopping. But not so with our Lord God. He is light and He remains, and what He gives is light, so that baptism is His radiance and it remains. No one can change the gospel that He’s given, | not even God Himself. Pseudo-apostles change and they try to change the gospel, too. But with God it’s not, “today darkness; tomorrow daylight,” because with Him it’s eternal day. Therefore we shouldn’t be moved by their words when they tell us: “Look, the Spirit of God! Truth!” No, look to the word that gave birth to you. They may come and preach as they’d like, but I accept nothing else. If you deviate from the word, you do it to your own peril. God is called “the Father of light.” As it was in the beginning when He first shone, so He continues to shine. There’s no darkness in Him, that is, unless you create it yourself. James preaches against every false doctrine and worship, because these are opposed to the First Commandment. The words that follow, “He gave birth to us by the word of truth,” don’t spring from his own head; they’re from the apostles, since they agree with the apostles John and Paul. What do we have to do with pseudo-apostles? We’ve come once for all to our Shepherd and Bishop [1 Pet. 2:25], not born of ourselves [John 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:23], the way the “changers” are attempting by whittling away at themselves, trying to make us something by our own powers and abilities. But we’re not made of ourselves; we’re not carved in the head like a Franciscan monk. Who carved him? Who told him to do it? But he’ll say, “It honors God that I do penance for sins and share my good works with others.” I say, “That’s how you make a graven image!” But God doesn’t whittle; God creates us through mother church. Within the mother’s womb, in which the child is conceived, there is the holy gospel. In the gospel we are conceived and through it God makes us into His own image. The gospel makes neither Franciscan, nor man, nor woman, but from it a Christian is

 “in them is variation of shadow.”  James 1:17 reads in the Latin: “Omne datum optimum, et omne donum perfectum desursum est, descendens a Patre luminum, apud quem non est transmutatio, nec vicissitudinis obumbratio.”

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born, regardless of station, whether emperor or pig farmer. It’s not the baby born of its parents. It’s the child who has never-ending milk and food [1 Pet. 2:2] and belongs to everlasting life. The word alone does it; it’s a perfect gift. “He gave birth to you by the word of truth” (1:18). Why then would we reject such a splendid birth from the holy gospel through the church and instead choose to have our gray hairs chiseled in the devil’s name by human works? You are human beings born of God, not some image sculpted by men. You’re begotten. Our works have nothing to do with it! As little as a child assists in its own birth, so little have we done for our spiritual birth. God is the Father, His word through the church is the mother. That is to say, the word of truth is the mother. It’s not a natural nativity. By specifying that the word is of the truth, he’s taking a swing at others who preach the word and say they have the Spirit and truth. Through the true word we have begun to believe, to be baptized, and that is why we’re “the first fruits of His creatures.” And this happened “according to His good will,” not because of our prayers, blackmail, or bargains. He simply wanted to. Therefore, give thanks humbly, earnestly, and constantly. You didn’t buy this. You’ve received the gift freely. Now you see what the apostles were preaching publicly and in the home. As if they wanted to say: “Many people cast aside God’s gifts. But you, guard them. The gift you’ve received doesn’t wobble; it’s the word of pure truth. We are ʻthe first fruits,’ the beginning, the dawning of His new creation. He has begun to create us, and He will also perfect us. In this life we’re only the beginning of His creation, but He’ll give birth to us perfectly in the world to come where there is eternal blessedness. That’s when He’ll gather in the first fruits of the harvest.” But “be quick to hear and slow to speak,” he exhorts. That is, “Don’t become a preacher on a whim.” That sounds like something the apostles would’ve preached from house to house. He’s not talking about speaking in the public square. He means we shouldn’t be quick to teach in the church. Pseudo-apostles can’t keep quiet. “I have to speak,” they say. For us monks, | the thought was so entrenched in the heart that we figured we had to preach. It is the common affliction of the world: everyone wants to be a teacher rather than a student. “But,” he says, “gladly be students. Listen rather than speak, especially when it comes to God’s word.” Those who are so full of themselves don’t do well with God’s word. They’ve obviously never sensed its power; otherwise, they’d prefer listening to it. “It is,” he says, “better and safer to hear than to preach.” He’s not talking about true preachers, but about those meddlers who always desire to preach. You tell them, “Hold it!” and they say, “No!” They can’t help but burst. The true preachers would always rather listen than speak. But pseudo-apostles are so full of themselves that they won’t shut up until they’ve dumped out all their filth on people. They don’t hold to the gift

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and the word that gave birth to them. But whoever refuses to strive in his teaching for something more than satisfying his own lusts, “it would be better for him to have a millstone strapped around his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). Therefore, pay attention that we preach not for our glory, but for the benefit and instruction of the elect. It’s as if he said: “You may be quick to speak with skill. But listen to those who know better.” In summary: 1. We should prefer hearing the word and to keep on hearing it, rather than get fancy with it. 2. We shouldn’t become angry, because that’s what tyrants do who persecute the word and its teachers.

Cantate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:16 – 21 by Dr. Martin Luther (4 May 1539) “He will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25).

Although this epistle doesn’t exactly match up with Eastertide—a time when we are, above all, to preach on the resurrection, the Holy Spirit, and other lofty articles—we’ll nevertheless keep it in place, since that’s how [the lectionary] is arranged, lest we cause a stir. James (whether he was the apostle or someone else) wrote this epistle at the time when a dispute broke out about the gospel and in a place where the apostles proclaimed the word of Christ concerning the forgiveness of sins and the grace of God, and taught that no one is saved by their works or the law. To them this was an unbearable sermon, because from their mother’s womb they had heard only the law. They weren’t able to listen to or accept a sermon that told them the law wouldn’t help them toward salvation. Such has been our experience, too. For the most part the papists can still accept that Christ is the Savior, without our merit and works. But the additional modifier—that if Christ’s blood has done it, then it can’t be through our works—makes them furious. They can’t bear the inclusion that one ought to reject their works of the law and canonical codes. We preach to them as James did to the Jews. We say that one shouldn’t get angry so easily, but should meekly let the word enter in. Now it’s very likely that the Jews heard of Christ: He is the Messiah promised to the patriarchs; and whoever believes in Him will be saved. They admitted the affirmative, but not the negative, which says, if you want to have the word of grace concerning the Messiah, you have to leave behind the opinion that you are saved by the law of Moses and the old customs. Thus a dispute broke out. That is the wrath James is talking about. Don’t be quick or swift to anger. Rather, be quick to hear. Beloved, first listen to the cause of dispute and don’t

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get impatient. Now when people hear that | masses, pilgrimages, habits, and tonsures do nothing, that something more precious is needed to save them from eternal death, they don’t listen. Even if they have their own reason to help and guide them according to the Ten Commandments, it’s of no avail. They don’t hear God’s word, so instead they immediately call people heretics, condemn, and drown them. They refuse to listen to the fact that those whom they condemn also know the word that says, “Christ, the Son of God, was made man, died for sins, and was raised to eternal life.” If the scholastics were prudent here and actually listened, they would say: “If it cost so much for Him to be conceived by the Holy Spirit, unblemished, born without sin from the Virgin Mary, and if He did all this to take away my sins, then a habit and tonsure won’t do, for these were neither born of the Virgin Mary nor are they the Son of God who died for me.” If they heard that, maybe they’d be converted. They could admit that He died, but the nullification of our works, habits, and tonsures meant death and the devil to them. Unlike our opponents, the Jews had a legitimate reason to be confused. In accord with God’s command from heaven, Moses gave them the law and commanded them that they were to keep it at the cost of their life. The papists can’t say that God prescribed pilgrimages. They have neither Moses nor the prophets on their side. But (they say) we have it based on good intentions and devotion. They call it God’s commandment and cite the church as their authority. The Jews knew for sure what God commanded; they don’t. The Jews could have stood strong and said: “We accept the Christ whom you preach, but we don’t have to do away with the law.” The Jews also tell us the truth about ourselves, that we all die. But being a monk is nothing; you might as well be a devil. The papists are ten times worse off than the Jews. They can’t even prove their case in Holy Scripture as can the Jews, who were simply misled in the matter. They thought the law of Moses lasted forever, instead of seeing that God commanded it to be in place only until the coming of Christ. Moses was intended to be a servant and prophet to constantly point the people ahead to the future Messiah, to whom they must listen when He arrives. They had this pious thought: “If the Messiah | is supposed to do it all, the doctrine of the law is useless.” Even then they knew that the law of Moses was not the real thing and that it couldn’t save them. Hence the prophets said that the true Messiah will come; Moses simply won’t do. That’s how people were saved under Moses. He points away from himself to another who will save. If they were able to be saved by their laws, there would be no other work to preach. But the law has been given so that the people would come together and hear what they are to do, namely, to await and to hope in Him who will do a greater work.

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So we preach the law, even though we don’t have Moses [Rom. 2:14]: “Thou shall honor your father and your mother,” etc., so that the people maintain outward discipline and know what’s expected of them before God. But we don’t rest on this, but rather on Him who fulfilled the law. So the apostles and their disciples had their hands full with the Jews, just as we do with the papists. The Jews accepted that Christ died and confessed the faith of the apostles. But then they said, “If Christ does it all, our righteousness is nothing.” That’s when the dispute broke out; they fought and resisted and refused to accept it. So James exhorts them here as a brother and writes to the Jews who were offended by the doctrine, especially about that second part. The first part, that the Messiah had come, they accepted. But they couldn’t accept that they had to leave the law behind. That doesn’t mean that the law is of no use, but only that it’s not given in order to help their illness; it’s meant to diagnose it, because [without it] they wouldn’t know what sin is, just as we heard today in our gospel pericope.¹⁴ However little the law is preached is exactly how little one knows what sin, death, and adultery are. Christ, however, has a different sermon to preach. Isaiah 62 [61:1– 2] says how He came to those who already felt the law and were aware of their sin. Christ says that no one will be damned unless that person does not believe in Me, because I take away sin, so that it cannot harm you. The law must be preached, but not as the Jews were wanting, that the law would justify. Rather the law must be preached, so that the people know what they have to do and what they must not do, so that they may receive their Savior with joy and thereafter sin no more. “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above,” he says. Don’t tear yourselves up inside with your old way of thinking, just because you want to keep the law. You’re receiving the Messiah. You’ve been baptized into Him, and yet you still want | to keep the law according to the old sense. So you can’t distinguish between the law and the gospel (just like the papists!). But don’t fall into this error. Rather learn rightly and understand that the law and the gospel are distinguished from each other. The law has to be there, so that we know which sins Christ died for. Those sins will be put on display for you through the law, and the law will direct you to strive after Christ, but it won’t give Him to you. The Father, however, has given Him to you in the Virgin’s lap. You should therefore limit your understanding of the law to this: the law doesn’t help toward salvation, but Christ does. Christ saves me from sin and death. You may say: “My monastic order does the same thing.” But James replies, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brother.” It’s necessary for us to have the perfect gift; and that gift is Christ. Discern, therefore, between

 John 16:5 – 15

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the law and grace, Christ’s work and our work. Both are necessary, but keep each in its own sphere. You say, “I’m going to be kind and merciful.” Then God will reward you here and in the life to come. But if you think that that righteousness is the same as having Christ, you are deceived. The righteousness that obtains eternal life does not belong to the law. So don’t bicker and squabble about that. Everything having to do with that righteousness has to come from above. Therefore James uses the general expression “every good and perfect gift comes down from above.” He says, however, if you want rely on holiness, it had better come from above. If you’re upright, wise, and learned, why then are you haughty? What you have received is heavenly [James 3:17]. And there’s even something greater than that first gift—I mean the best gift. Good works of the law and a right understanding of the law come from above, too. Even after being a doctor of theology for thirty years, I still didn’t understand the Ten Commandments as well as you do now. It’s truly a precious gift and marvelous light to know the Ten Commandments rightly. It’s a gift that far exceeds wealth and health, and yet it’s still not the real thing. The perfect gift is behind it, namely, the gospel. But in this passage, James is speaking about the gifts that belong to the doctrine of the law. So Paul says: “The law is good, righteous, and holy” (Rom. 7:12). And I know of a number of princes with their cities who praise God, because from this doctrine of the law they’ve understood the good estate of matrimony, and so on. They say: “God be praised, I don’t have to run to St. James | or crawl into a cloister; if I’m Christian, I can serve God as mayor, city counselor, and citizen, too.” But everyone thinks: “What will I do? I can’t be saved if I serve God in a worldly estate.” So they join a monastery. As for you, let the law be a splendid gift, a treasured possession, and a truly lavish gift that comes down from above, because the papists, the sophists, and the canonists have utterly obscured the Ten Commandments. But it’s still not the real thing. Don’t be deceived. It’s a precious light and heavenly wisdom. True. That’s why the papists can’t speak about monasticism the way that the Jews speak about the law and say it’s from above. But it’s still necessary that you add in the perfect gift to the truly good gift, so that you don’t cast the perfect gift aside, but receive it, too. Let that good and precious law be a godly gift that illuminates the world and, yes, also the Christian church according to its commandments, so that both may know how far they are from keeping it. But this isn’t the true and perfect gift; that gift is the gospel and Christ, the Son of God. The first gift shows and sheds light on what we should do and what we should not do. But this very gift shows us constantly that we don’t do it. That’s why we need a perfect gift to come and put things right. Through the law you know what you’re supposed to do, and you feel what you didn’t do.

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But Christ has come into the world to save sinners, and bind up their wounds, as Isaiah says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me […] to bind up the brokenhearted” (Isa. 61:1). So it is for anyone who holds on to this gift; he needs nothing else, because he is redeemed, his wounds are bound up, his heart is comforted, and sin and death have been paid for. Is that not perfect? Sin is absent, righteousness is present, and you have life and salvation before God. It’s altogether perfect! Only don’t cast aside this perfect gift in favor of the good gift. And don’t just be hearers, but also doers. Don’t be like the Jews who say, “The Messiah has come and we’re baptized and believe in Him, but we still have to do the law.” That’s just like the papists who say, “We know that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, etc., but you can’t be saved | unless you remain a monk.” That’s what it means to hear the gospel and not act according to it. With the gospel there is no commandment and there will never be a commandment. It won’t be the same above as it is here on earth. Here things change, and the two ages, the heavenly and the earthly, interchange with each other. When the day appears, the night turns away; they are opposites. Here James wants to praise the perfection of the gospel with an allegory.¹⁵ With us, there’s variation: today happy, tomorrow sad. But with the Father and the gospel everything is made whole. The same can’t be said for the law, because it is superseded. The forgiveness of sins, however, remains forever. We change, to be sure, because we’re still flesh and blood, but the doctrine of the gospel is in itself changeless, because in that doctrine we find pure blessedness and joy, without variation or change. But even though we have the gospel, things still change in us; even though we hold fast to the light of the gospel now, the devil will every now and then make it night for us. That’s how it goes for us in this life: mountain and valley, day and night, rich and poor. To sum it up: as long as you are in the word, you too remain without variation or change. The gospel doesn’t change with the law. You won’t find any other doctrine that remains forever. Just as the law still remains—since God won’t stop being God and we won’t stop being His creatures—think how much more the doctrine of the gospel will remain! Outside of these two doctrines there is not only variation and change, but utter darkness and night. Certainly the devil and sin can sometimes turn day into night for us, but that doesn’t mean that James condemns the law; he wants us to uphold it. “He gave birth to us” (1:18). Now James explains what the exalted word and the perfect gift are. The good gift shines and says what to do, but it doesn’t give birth. God has to give birth to us in a new way, not from Adam; our nature must be transformed. The law says: “Adam, you have sinned.” But it doesn’t

 Referring to James 1:17.

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make a different Adam or different sons of Adam. It does say: “You shall love God, etc.,” but it doesn’t make it happen, nor does it help. But along with the good gift you have the perfect gift. You have the word of truth, by which God gives salvation and through which He’s given birth to you. By the word He has made us His children, newly conceived, not on account of our merits or works, but according to His good will. He did this happily and mercifully, so that we might be the first fruits of His creatures, that is, we are born and shall be new human beings—something that will take place on the Last Day. Until then, hear the word gladly. | Let us not become angry. Wrath doesn’t accomplish anything in earthly matters, how much less will it accomplish in these weighty matters. But “receive the word with meekness.” Listen carefully to it. It’s not quickly mastered. Wrath and judgment have no place here. Listen to what is preached about wrath, so that you don’t grumble about the word. And to you papists: if the law strikes you, it’s due to your foolishness. If the Jews hadn’t done what the law requires, how likely is it that you will do it? Yet as long as we live, light is pure and it has no darkness; it’s perfect. So hear it gladly; don’t shout it down and make judgments about it, but let us be born again and again until we are made totally new in the future life. But in the meantime, prayer is not ineffective (James 5:16). The pope and his own don’t permit us to pray.¹⁶ But God answers our prayer. We give thanks that we were rescued. The attack started about a year ago, but God spared us.¹⁷ And this year was sure to happen, had God not put that wicked man to death and guided and protected us.¹⁸ We are thankful and joyful. We boast in God, praise Him for thrwarting the plans of the enemy. But now let us see to it that we pray and give thanks, so that God continues to preserve His gospel just as He has done thus far.

 For the context surrounding the death Duke George, refer to Julius Köstlin, Martin Luther: Sein Leben und seine Schriften, 2 vols (Berlin: Alexander Duncker, 1903), 2:415; Martin Brecht, Martin Luther (1987) 65 – 74.  Luther is referring to the papal bull of Pope Paul III in which the pope called for a council to convene in Vicenza on 1 May 1538.  On 17 April 1539, Duke George, “the Bearded” of Albertine Saxony and great enemy of Luther and the Lutheran cause, died without an heir to his throne. Martin Brecht, Martin Luther (1987) 3:73, comments: “In his first reaction Luther associated the death of George and of his sons with his inexorable anti-Reformation attitude. In this case, however, it was not joy in someone else’s misfortune that motivated him, although for him, in view of the fate of the Reformation, George’s death was an answer to prayer. Luther would have preferred it if the duke had not died and had repented, as Luther had earlier advised. George’s accursed death was an admonition to repent.”

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Rogate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:21 – 27 by Dr. Martin Luther (2 May 1535) “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.” There you hear it, how in the time of the apostles they all had to toil and labor with Christians, in order to urge them to have true faith, not without works but a faith that shows itself with good fruits. Because this is always the way of things, Christ Himself gives the parable about the seed [Matt. 13:3– 9; Luke 8:4– 8]. The prophets experienced this, as do we and the apostles before us. Therefore, as long as our Lord God allows the gospel to be pure, we have to preach, exhort, pray, and implore that Christians be roused to be true, not false. Now not everyone will come. We can’t prevent seed from falling on the path, or among the thorns, or on rocky soil. Nevertheless, the office of the ministry must on this point adamantly persist, exhort, and instruct, as not only James does, but also the prophets and apostles, so that whoever wants to be Christian may be serious about it and not hypocritical. The hypocrites are those who come to the word and let themselves think they believe. But if you actually look at their life, you’d see that there’s an old Adam in there. They do nothing but hear. And when the time comes for them to show their Christian faith they become miserly, proud, jealous, and wrathful. The gospel has no effect on them, except that they get fluff in their ears and hearts and with that they want to teach us all. These sectarians are springing up all over and have become Christians’ worst enemies. It would have been better had they never heard the gospel at all. First, they become smug and bored. As soon as they hear it, they say: “I know it all!” That’s when the devil creeps in with fables and clumsy doctrines; they persecute real Christians and become tyrants. And if somebody tells them that’s what they are, they look for revenge and murder. Therefore the apostles warn and entreat us to continue preaching as they did and not become mute, so that people are exhorted to true faith and an upright life. For the devil is not lazy; he rips people from faith and drives them into all manner of sins. The apostles experienced this, and we see it too. Whoever takes our warning, good. Whoever won’t, be off with you. If you don’t want to be good soil, then you’ll be rocky. This is how James preaches: “Dear children, since you are now Christians, think like Christians. Put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness.” This message is for you. You’re different than the pagans. They’re filthy and wicked. Of course they are, they’re under the power of the devil. But you’ve been transplanted from the devil’s forest into the garden of the Lord your God. So you ought to be better than the pagans. Take care, then, that you rid yourself of all impurity, which the apostles call “vices of the flesh”: prostitution, adultery, and all man-

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ner of vices of words and works. Guard yourself from them so that you don’t become gluttons, whoremongers, debauchers, drunkards, and other such things. That life makes for a ghastly existence. They listen to disgraceful music and lure the weak with their games. That’s why we have to diligently guard against it. Don’t live an unchaste life as the gentiles do. | God is holy and so are you. The gentiles’ god was a filthy pimp (hurwirt), disgusting and vile, whom they served with debauchery, adultery, and all manner of iniquity. But among you—prostitution and all that—let it not even be heard. That business about an unchaste body and wicked deeds: it includes every evil act that we do to another, or those things that not I but my flesh does when I let it have its way. It only harms my neighbor. First, therefore, comes discipline, chastity, and then putting away whatever opposes charity to one’s neighbor, that is, cheating, lying, deceiving, scamming, and hurting his reputation, slandering his wife and children. These are the shameful sins against the neighbor. Charity, however, demands the opposite. Therefore, you must also cast away the evil ungodly life and receive the word. You may ask: “Have not James’ hearers already received the word?” Of course they have! That’s why they have to put away all filthiness and wickedness, and be kind and friendly to their neighbor. How so? James speaks in the way of the apostles and says: “Contend for the preaching of the word. It’s planted among you. You yourselves are the tree; God has implanted the seed, just as Christ says (Matt. 13:8). There is the word and the instruction of an apostle who constantly preaches the word. So receive it and hold on to it. But be diligent to learn it and see that it’s not taken from you by the desires of this world and the devil’s treachery. You have it. By the grace of God it’s been planted among you and visited you. So welcome it and don’t get sick and tired of it! But receive the word with meekness, for whoever wants to have the word and keep it, should receive it as the word that saves, so that we live innocently and modestly and act kindly to our neighbor. Now if they can’t persecute us on account of our life, they’ll persecute us on account of the word. Since they can’t hold anything evil against us, we can be sincere and joyful on account of the word, because that’s really why they persecute us. Therefore, James says, love and cherish the word more than anything on earth and don’t lose it through impatience. For you are not called to become impatient or to follow after the old Adam. We are called to be patient; we can’t do anything more than that. If the gentiles love you while you live among them, good. If they persecute you, then suffer. We who are without authority have to suffer those who have it. With our flesh and blood, we’re tempted to complain. But you have the word, which is our Lord God’s seedling, not of man but of heaven; it has the power to save your

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souls. It’s necessary, though, that you receive the word with meekness. True faith does not permit that you become impatient and violent. Therefore, that seedling is very precious to you, even though the world despises it, because its fruit is eternal life. That word is planted in you. And it will become a plant in your heart that bears fruit, so that you live forever. This fruit is different than that of an actual tree, from which swine and beasts and men eat. Those are just earthly plants. The plant that I’m speaking of is the one God planted through the preaching of the apostles, and it ought to grow into such a strong tree that it saves your soul. I’m not talking about your belly, but about your soul, which God protects and feeds and saves by this word. That’s pure Pauline! “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God” (Rom. 1:16). Paul, too, calls the gospel a seedling that is preached through a human mouth. It’s so powerful that whoever believes it is a tree planted and rooted | so firmly that it saves. And Christ says: “Whoever drinks the water that I give him […], it will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). The word should be so powerful that it not only quenches our bodily thirst that keeps coming back, but that it also quenches our eternal thirst and gives us eternal life. The human heart believes that the word spoken by a human mouth is the eternal and omnipotent power to save souls. The preaching itself is able to speak this divine power directly into the heart, so that everyone who believes it is saved. This can’t be said of the books of the law or philosophy. Such glory can be given to no other teaching, except this word, which is the divine power to bring about eternal life. The law of Caesar has human power that operates and governs the home and gives peace to the world. But the divine power that God gives to the word is such that whoever believes it will never be cast into the flames, but be carried up into heaven and saved. For this reason, let us not be dismayed by the persecution of this world. Don’t be swayed by it, because even if the world persecutes us, it’s nothing compared to this treasure and seedling that bears fruit in the heart. For the soul never dies, and if that’s true, then neither does the body, for even though it dies, it does not die. Therefore, don’t let this seedling wither; treasure the word and delight in it. Put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and consider what an immense gift you have in the word. Don’t become like those lazy spirits, who—before they’ve even heard—say they know and see all. The devil can play that game with us, too. He can lull you to sleep, so that you become lazy and stay away from church, and then, sure enough, the sermon and the sacrament will lose their taste entirely. In The Lives of the Fathers they write about a certain priest. Even if they made it up, it’s a marvelous story.

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There was a man who was so holy that every day an angel brought him a beautiful loaf of bread, and he wouldn’t take any other food or drink. And what happened to him? He started to feel, because he was so holy, that the angel was his personal chef and butler. So he stopped praying so fervently and his original zeal began to fade. After a few days of this, he became so apathetic and lazy that he didn’t want to pray anymore. The angel brought him bread still, but it seemed less appealing, every day thereafter he found the bread to be increasingly bland and unappealing. That’s when the devil started to entice him with something more, to seek joy and pleasure in the passions of the world: money, wealth and riches, food and drink, and beautiful women. Not recognizing the devil’s disguise, he got up, took his staff in hand and set off to see the world. As he was on his way, he came across a monastery that had served as a refuge in the desert during the persecutions. So he stopped in for the night. The monks were very glad to see him and encouraged him to give a sermon, to comfort them. He obliged, but, then, as he began to exhort them, he found that he was really preaching to himself. By the time he’d finished the sermon, his own preaching had converted him. Immediately thereafter, he returned to his cell and repented.

This is what James is saying: guard against laziness and apathy. It’s not good for us to get lazy, because it invites the devil and his works. If that man hadn’t repented, he would have become one of the worst people on earth, because all those who fall away from the church become worse off than the pagans (1 Cor. 10:12). Even the Pope and his devils aren’t as vicious to us as these others, because they deserted us, and now they’ve got seven demons (Matt. 12:45). That’s why Paul says, “Let the one who stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). It’s easy for Satan to put thoughts in our heart, just as he had done to the man who ate with angels. But I know what happens to me if I don’t pray with my whole heart: I discover again and again how cold and lazy I am—and I despise myself. Therefore, take up the word that | is planted in you. Let yourselves be instructed, so that you don’t become lazy. This helps those in good soil, but those in the thorns won’t listen. Among the many sins the sin we’re talking about here is sluggishness regarding the Divine Service. It’s slothfulness—a nasty sin that slides in like a snake. The papists say it’s when they can’t get up early for Mass. But it’s not only that. It’s also a sin that slides in during true worship, with genuine preaching. Just when you’re pondering the sermon, praying and basking in the word as it descends, that’s when security, slothfulness, and laziness find their way in, those secret, vicious, and uncontrollable sins. Even the greatest saints have to deal with them. All over the world people are deceived when they hear the gospel. Sinners become saints and then imagine that they can’t sin anymore. But just look in the Psalms. David writes: “Blessed is the man who delights in the Law of the Lord” (Ps. 1:1). He’s an expert! Yet how did he fare as he lay secure on his cushion, staring down at Bathsheba while she bathed? He fell into such gross adultery, murder, and blasphemy of God. What

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caused it? It was that destructive vice of laziness that overtakes a person like a snake. That’s why we urge the children to stick to the Catechism, to pray morning and evening, etc. I learned the Our Father as did you, but I feel that if I fail to pray it no other prayer comes to mind. Yet if I truly consider the Our Father, it’s new to me every day. And that’s because it’s God’s word not man’s. Therefore, it has the divine power that either beautifully gives me those simple thoughts that I hadn’t had before, or else rouses me from my coldness and slothfulness to pray with my whole heart. If this prayer should take effect and awaken you and ignite Christ in your heart, let that be enough. But if it should kindle in you even more pious thoughts, all the better! The papists do not consider the meaning or the sense of the Lord’s Prayer, neither do the nuns consider the meaning of the Psalter. That’s because they don’t regard prayer as genuine devotion. We don’t want to preach or to pray without first considering the meaning of what we’re saying. We preach and pray in order to amend ourselves and awaken faith in us when it grows weak, because it’s going to be attacked. Therefore, you must not become secure and slothful, but must guard yourselves against security and slothfulness. Don’t let the word wither; you have this treasure. It’s not bread or cheese, beer or wine, or a hundred thousand other things. No, the treasure you possess is something so powerful that it saves you. Therefore, treasure the word and don’t let it corrode. What follows in this passage concerns false Christians, so that you recognize that Christians are of two kinds. There are those who hear and do nothing. And those who hear and do. Those who hear and do nothing are deceptive. But whom do they deceive? Themselves. But who actually believes that they’re deceiving themselves? People are so proud that they sink into hell and think they’re in heaven. So watch out that it doesn’t happen to you. A person can become his own demon, his own worst enemy. Who is the greatest enemy? It’s the one who leads me into hell and then tells me that he’s led me into heaven. True, nobody can do this so well as the devil. But James says that you can do it, too. You would do well to be afraid of yourself, since nobody is so dangerous to me as I am to myself. You should make the sign of the cross as a reminder of that. Those who are secure think they’re Evangelicals, Christians on their way to heaven, but in the end they’ll find nothing but fire and flame. They’re deceiving themselves. It isn’t the preacher’s fault; he did his part and planted the word. Woe to the preacher who is silent, who doesn’t warn them or speak against their sin. But if the preacher spoke and taught rightly and planted diligently, in that case, I’m the problem. I heard the word but deceived myself; I thought I had it but I | had it not.

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It’s a bizarre thing to say that a person deceives himself. But that’s exactly what we heard about that priest. If you see a person who has one foot in heaven, pull him back down quickly to earth before he tries to put the other one in. He’ll fall, if he’s not upright. Those who think they’re in heaven can’t imagine it any other way. Whenever they get the chance to preach the word, all they do is tell us we’re saved. That’s when you should say: “Pull that foot back! Don’t you realize that hell has you? You think you have one foot in heaven, but you’re fooling yourself; you’re really in hell with both. You say you’re saved because you think you couldn’t possibly lack anything and that you couldn’t get any better. But that makes you worse. You say that you’ve got one foot in heaven. You imagine you’re already there. But in reality you’re ten feet deep in hell.” But since we lack neither God nor the apostles, may it not happen to us, that we become hearers only and not doers. Let us not be like those who look intently at a mirror, go away, and then forget what they just saw. That’s how it is with those who hear the word with just one ear and think they’ve got it mastered. That’s why every person should be suspicious of himself and regard himself as guilty of all deceit, because false security can plunge him into the abyss of hell. Therefore, let him contemplate being a doer of the word. But if you’re set on it, you’ll become your own devil. Let us then pay careful attention to these words. James has heard from the apostles, from John and Peter, to preach so that Christians live chaste and decent lives before others, as it says in 2 Timothy 2, knowing that people are slothful and lazy. We hear nowadays: “Gospel, gospel! Faith, faith!” I’ve heard that old song before. Don’t play me that tune. The true expert is the one who knows the power of the word and faith and not the one who talks about it. As regards the false Christians, James says that no matter how much they hear they still won’t become doers. They deceive themselves and become sectarians instead; they become enemies of the gospel and all Christians. Therefore, may everyone be instructed by the word and never think that he has heard it enough. For he will soon grow cold and apathetic. We all need to wash and bathe ourselves constantly.

Rogate Sunday: A Sermon on James 1:21 – 27 by Dr. Martin Luther (11 May 1539) Since no other epistle lesson is assigned for today, let’s preach on this one—even though, if something else were assigned, we could use that instead. Now we just heard him say that “every good and perfect gift comes down from above,” and we’ve heard that he’s preaching this message to stubborn Jews who quarreled about the gospel and didn’t want to let it in after the

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law. For this reason, they beat | Christ the Lord and the apostles to death. And the dispute went on until they died. It’s still true today that the Jews accept no other doctrine than the law of Moses; everything else is damned and cursed. Therefore, the fate of the gospel is that it suffers three attacks: the first happens when the gospel is preached and made known, yet people refuse to let go of the old doctrine. The second happens when the gospel gets the upper hand and people get lazy and do nothing. The last attack to the gospel happens when the heretics corrupt it. Thus the gospel is hemmed in on every side. First, the Jews are hardened in the old law, and they boast that it’s been given from heaven and inscribed on tablets not by Moses, but by God Himself. And there they stand. They refuse to budge from it and thus they persecute the gospel as something new and seditious. Therefore James warns them to be slow to anger. If a person is quarreling about the precious gospel, it’s impossible for him to understand it. If you admonish him once, twice, and then a third time, leave him (Tit. 3:10). The gospel won’t enter into a quarrelsome heart; it’s impossible. Rather, the gospel requires a heart that receives the implanted word with meekness. He who demands to know more than his teacher will learn nothing. So says St. Paul, that they are contentious and contradict the truth, never listening [2 Tim. 3:8]. The more one preaches to them, the more arrogant they become, because the gospel requires a contrite heart that freely hears how things stand with God. Otherwise the heart is like water in a rushing stream which the sun’s rays are unable to penetrate and warm.¹⁹ Those who are contentious won’t accept it. That’s an inevitable fault of the gospel. Wherever the gospel is persecution is close at hand. The pope and the monks have seduced the people to such an extent that the entire world believes that their obedience and the merits of the saints will save them. But when the gospel comes and rebukes them and shows them instead Christ [the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,]²⁰ then we find two sorts: those who quarrel and those who persecute. And they both want to be right. When they sense that they are wrong, they beat us to death. That’s the fortune of the gospel. It’s intended for the tenderest of consciences, and those who are contentious and persecute immediately come after them. Those who are contentious don’t listen; they only quarrel and get in the way of others. The word, however, has been planted among us, so  Aurifaber expands and clarifies this thought: “[…] also seind dieselbigen Herzen auch unruhig, verwirret, halten nicht stille, daß das Evangelium sie unterrichte, lehre, erleuchte und bekehre.” That is: “[…] thus these kinds of hearts are also restless, distracted, and do not hold still, in order to have the gospel instruct, teach, enlighten and convert them.”  Aurifaber’s addition.

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that we would gladly hear and guard ourselves from anger. This word is an exceedingly great | word, one “that is able to save your souls.” The papists have our same confession of faith, pray the same Our Father, and nevertheless come to Him with their merits. What are they saying? They confess that Christ is God, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. This is such a great article of faith that it fills the whole world. But we Christians hardly realize what we’re saying here: God’s Son became man and is born! Not even the angels in heaven meditate on this article enough. If we grow cold to it and cannot grasp it, how will those who are contentious, full of anger, arrogant and foolish understand it? Yet they persist with their arguments. They say that with God there is no change. And since God gave the law once, He cannot bring the law to an end, otherwise God is no longer immutable. There’s another group that agrees with the gospel and believes, but they have Satan right by their side to turn them either into heretical spirits or lazy Christians. The heretics think they can make the faith better than the gospel teaches it, and so they hold back the word of the law from the people. It goes to show that they have neither law nor gospel. We Christians are a different sort. We need to distinguish between both law and gospel, light and darkness, and to what extent the law and to what extent the gospel are to be preached. Real Christians have this right understanding of Scripture and are thus able to ward off both Jews and Pope. We don’t reject the law; we still need the law before and after the gospel. The law serves, so that we know what to do and what to leave undone. From the sufferings of Christ, we clearly recognize the weight of sin, but we don’t see specific sins. The law, however, lays bare our specific sins. Therefore, we receive both the good gift and the perfect gift together. We won’t listen to the Jews who want salvation through the law or the Pope who wants salvation through his monks. That’s not how to observe the law; we reject their use of it. We first must recognize from the law that we are sinners and learn what we are to do. Then we do it by the help and power of the gospel. We have this doctrine of distinguishing law and gospel richly among us. And with it we have more than enough to study our whole lives long. Not everyone can distinguish law and gospel. That comes from above, from the Father. You may be able to distinguish with the mouth, but the thing itself is difficult. The law exposes sin, condemns, sentences, and damns. The gospel forgives sins and gives grace and mercy, in order that we do what pleases God. | But look how many actually make this distinction! I can’t do it either. In speech and in writing it’s hard enough. But when unbelief, the devil, and the flesh fight against me, I feel as though I’m still in my sins. Sometimes I don’t feel anything, and don’t even pay attention to whether I’m in faith or out. Other times, I

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feel my sin so deeply that I’m afraid, and can feel nothing else. That’s no good either. On top of all this, these dunces, the antinomians, come along and make it so that people don’t listen to what God demands. They think they’re Christians and say that the law shouldn’t be preached. Do you really think you shouldn’t preach “You shall have no other gods”? What about honor your parents? What about look at yourself in the mirror? What about the forgiveness of sins? There’s a hypocrite under every person’s skin, and you want to encourage the hypocrite in them? They’re rushing along as swiftly as the Elbe! They say: “If you rebuke people, they’ll only have a wicked conscience.” This is exactly what I heard when I was young. It is written that when the Antichrist appears the people will be led astray [Matt. 24:11] and say, “There is no God!” They will no longer believe anything. They say that the old god under the papacy is not the true God, but they also reject God without the papacy. I’m speaking about lazy Christians who still say no one should punish people or rebuke them. But if people are not rebuked, as is happening now, people believe that they’re Christians without changing anything about themselves. And thus they soon lose Christ. If they don’t recognize their sin, they won’t need Christ. Under the papacy, I was aware of my many sins against the second table of the law, but concerning my sin against the first table, I knew nothing at all. I didn’t believe that it was a sin not to trust God. Emser wrote against me and said that I had introduced false doctrine when I wrote that a person may be sure he is saved when he believes in Christ.²¹ If a person does not place his trust in Christ and doesn’t know what sin is, he doesn’t need Christ. If I think I haven’t sinned and that a monk’s habit can help toward salvation, then I don’t need Christ. So then I can say: “If I do this and don’t do that, | then I’ll be saved.” What is lacking? It’s that I haven’t understood the commandments. Nowadays we’ve said: “Monk, you’re damned, because you don’t trust in Christ.” But people were still being taught that if you don’t trust in the mercy of God, you can simply call on the saints. If the law isn’t preached and doesn’t shine brightly, shadows creep in. When you don’t have faith in the Son of God and also don’t realize that you’re lost, then the law has to tell me what I didn’t know, namely, that it’s a sin not to trust in the mercy of God. Yes, in fact, that is the greatest sin. As long as there is unbelief, works won’t help, even if I were crucified like Christ. For nothing pleases God except that which proceeds from faith.

 Hieronymus Emser, (1478 – 1527). See: WA 47, 751, n. 1.

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Under the papacy, they consider it the greatest presumption, arrogance, and sin for someone to regard himself as standing in the grace of God. That’s what I meant that they do not understand Moses, because Moses commands us to believe it. But he has put a veil over his eyes, so that no one would know what sin is. Instead one is forced to discern according to reason, as a judge or a lawyer would do in cases of manifest sin. But doubt and despair do not come by the law of reason (lege intellecta). I preach the law thus: that one should not doubt the mercy of God. But sometimes I feel that I doubt more than is good for me and I can’t seem to trust that I’m a child of God. But as long as this is secure: “I am baptized!” I have no need to doubt. It is therefore not a sin of pride for a Christian to trust in God’s grace and mercy and say: “I know that I’m baptized through the blood of the Sinless One.” A Christian doesn’t say: “I have 1000 ducats” or “I’m doing fine on my own.” Rather, he says: “Whatever I have, I’m still condemned, even if I had all the possessions in the world and the holiness of angels and the virginity of Mary. Nevertheless, I must be damned because the sin of unbelief clings so deeply inside of me.” I know I should believe and not doubt that I’m baptized and trust I’ve heard the gospel of Christ, who was given into death for me. I should have this trust planted so deeply in my heart that I could ward off the devil and death. But see how you feel. You’ll find that the law is often stronger than the gospel. For I know the art of being uncertain and of trusting very little, far better than I know its opposite. So look in the mirror to see how the heart is bent. You’ll say, “If only I were certain that God’s Son died for my sins!” because the art of doubting comes easy to us; it’s inborn from our parents. But the heart that resists unbelief will say: “Good grief, I believe! And although | it’s true that I’m weak, nevertheless I’m washed in the blood of the Lamb and all these things are still true, even though I believe them in such weakness.” So we show sin to be sin through the law, so that people aren’t allowed to imagine that they have faith without first inspecting their hearts through the mirror of the law, to see how full of uncertainty they are. When these dunces²² hear the law, they grow a thick skin around their hearts—thicker than a camel’s skin. But if I feel it in my heart that the law is strong and my faith is weak, then I fall to my knees and say: “Help, LORD, for Jesus’ sake! I’m sinking!” Then that little faith flies right into the mighty wind of the law. Because they don’t take this view of the law, though, they don’t see the comfort of the gospel. When the antinomians deal with the law, they take that which ought to show us our sins and make it look bright and shiny. But if we don’t see our sins, nothing will urge us to

 The antinomians.

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pray the Our Father, “forgive us our trespasses.” Without this petition Christ neither helps nor hears, and we soon become lazy. Therefore, we constantly need to look in the mirror and learn from both the preaching of the law and the comfort of the gospel.²³ He who hears the word and does not become a doer is like a man who looks in a mirror, who, after he goes away, immediately forgets what he looks like (1:23). So what’s the use of the mirror? It’s to see what’s not right, so that you can run for a cloth and wash off the dirt, so that you would be pristinely adorned. That’s how we should use the mirror of the law and that’s why it’s been given to us, so we’d inspect it carefully. So look at it and don’t step away so soon, not until you’ve taken that cloth and washed the filth that’s on you and come out as pure as can be. But whatever you do, don’t throw away that mirror from the sermon! Go and stand in front of the mirror and ask: “Dear law, let’s take a look at each other.” The law says: “Love God; praise God, since He’s become your Father through Christ.” That’s the mirror: trust God! Look in your heart and you’ll see how clear that mirror is. And when you look, I guarantee you’ll find a nasty snot in your nose—if not, you don’t have a nose at all. In the mirror, my trust in God, my joyful conscience, and my faith falter. So fall on your knees and call to heaven: “There’s still more to wash! Help me, so that | my heart becomes pure and my faith steady, that I may not only do what the second table commands outwardly, but do all things from the bottom of my heart. Then you’ll see the use of the law. The law requires that you have a perfect faith and that you’re steady in faith. If you let the sectarians have their way and establish their heresy, you’ll soon discover that you’ve become as black as a Moor, with horns and scraggly hair. You’ll look like a devil and see that you’re filthy, regardless of what you say. Therefore, James calls the law a mirror. Whoever doesn’t do what the law says is like a woman who looks at herself in the mirror and then forgets what she saw. Her make-up is smeared under her eyes and she forgets what a filthy sow she is. Therefore, get in front of that mirror to see exactly how badly you’re soiled. Those who never hear that they should amend their lives and purify themselves forget that they’re dirty. But whoever sees what he’s lacking and how he falters, cries out constantly for help. Are you not lacking any faith? Well then, you’re higher and holier than all the prophets and apostles. They all felt their lack of faith and unbelief. So you’d be the first who hasn’t felt it; and it’s a pretty good sign that you’ve got a double-layer of camel’s skin and there’s not a mirror in sight. That makes you the worst of all, because you not only have unbelief, but you want to promote unbelief as your best virtue.

 Aurifaber’s additon.

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You’ll find in your heart that your faith is weak, and then you’ll see in the second table that you’re greedy and that your old Adam still holds sway. Not only that, you’ll see how lazily you hear God’s word. So don’t turn that mirror away; flip it back again. And when you see yourself in the mirror, go from it like a bride who sees a smudge on her face, who goes to the sink, having seen exactly where the dirt is, and doesn’t stop washing until it’s gone. However, if she cares nothing for how she’s adorned, she’ll be a constant mess. That’s how it is when we throw out the law and don’t attend to it. Furthermore, the antinomians say that works according to the law are not necessary and that Christ has taken away all sins. True! But there’s a huge difference between taking away all sins and taking away all the sins in my heart, because I feel as though I don’t have faith and joy in the resurrection of Christ as I should. The law says that you should believe, be full of joy, and thank God who gave His Son and who has done this so that you can believe and give thanks to Him. But does that mean that I do it? No. | Rather, look to see whether you still have filth on your face; surely you’ll find some. So pray: “God, strengthen my faith!” And Peter says: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). And Paul says: “Not that I have already grasped this or am already perfect […]” (Phil. 3:12). I fight for it day and night. I pray and train myself, so that the longer I do it the more I trust, the more sure I become, and the more weary I become of this life, and die with Paul. It’s as though James is saying: “I wanted to establish you firmly, so that grace may be multiply to you. From a lack of faith comes the fear of death and the horror of judgment. But these feelings are forbidden. That is, the law forbids me to have any other gods, because God is the only one who will help me. If you’re afraid, it’s simply unbelief. That is why you have to learn rightly how to use the mirror. Stay there and don’t leave it until you’ve first washed your face. As long as we see where we’re lacking, we will also see what a fine art it is for one to hold the law and God’s grace together. You may say: “I feel no evil, no sin.” Well then, the Ten Commandments are abolished, you don’t need the Lord’s Prayer, and Christ is abolished, too. If, however, the only thing that’s real to you is the law, terror, doubt and evil thoughts about God, that’s not right either. Then one should trust and be assured: “I am baptized and have heard Christ preached and I truly believe that He died for my sins.” Train yourself in that, so that the Morning Star rises in your heart (2 Pet. 1:19). We live in a dark place, in which the light of grace shines dimly and the light of the law shines far more brightly. This is how to preach against lazy Christians, especially against the antinomians, who not only think they have perfect grace, but also teach others that they have it, too. When people think they have nothing but grace, that’s when

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the terrors of the law are useful. We need to have the mirror pressed up to our noses, so that we’d see whether our love for God is really as strong as our love for our own life or 100,000 gulden. If you do that, you terrify people. Then, when death comes, they crumble in an instant, because they aren’t prepared for death. In the epistle from last Sunday, James had instructed and warned those who are attacked from the left with the law. Here he warns those who are attacked on the right, who received the word, but have become false Christians because they forgot it. They hear it and deceive themselves. The word they’re hearing isn’t tricking them; it’s just that they don’t look in the mirror, and so they forget the word. The latter are the sectarians who refuse to accept that we are to uphold both the small and the great light. Before God, the law is small; | with us it’s great. The very opposite is true with the light of grace. You have the pure doctrine, but let us be on guard that we don’t fall, that is, that we don’t live securely, without considering whether we love God and our neighbor. If we fall, no one has deceived us but ourselves. So whenever you say, “Now I believe that God is my gracious Father,” you should also pray: “God, strengthen my faith!” If it’s not, you’ll turn into a false, dead Christian—a pagan twice over. The antinomians divorce the law from faith; but here, in this life, that’s impossible. There, in the life to come, it will be possible, because there prophecy, the word, and faith will no longer be necessary. The antinomians make the same mistake with faith and its fruits. They don’t understand that here we must say, “We know in part,” half and half [1 Cor. 13:9]. Those who rightly experience the word think: “If only I had half of it right!” But as long as we’re here, we have to keep both law and gospel together, so that we grow. The law shows us our wicked deeds, sins, and whatever is lacking. The gospel shows us where to find the remedy. Certainly when grace is strong and faith is sure, as they were for Agnes,²⁴ the law is nearly smothered. If, however, you feel impatient, and the law shines brightly and the gospel dimly, get on your knees, take that cloth, and wash yourself. If you can’t see the stain, let the Holy Spirit inspect you. Then you won’t be a forgetful hearer, but one who looks into “the law of liberty.” That’s a Jamesian term. He only wants to apply this phrase to the Ten Commandments. But we’ll have to go easy on him, since he didn’t have the apostolic spirit. And so we shouldn’t be surprised to find him lacking their acumen. But his point is this: there are some of you who despise the doctrine and the sacraments. Now I have done my duty as a preacher, because I taught and warned

 Agnes was a Roman martyr in the third century, who, in Christian artwork, is depicted after her namesake as a lamb.

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you about this. But you city officials ought to admonish these people, too. As often happens, God punishes a whole city or province for the sake of one person. All the people of Israel were struck because of one man according to Judges 7.²⁵ These communal sins, which Scripture calls alien sins, are strapped on us at the neck. If I don’t call something sin when I know it’s a sin, I’m guilty of it too. The Lord says in Ezekiel 3[:17– 18]: “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” Therefore, you civil magistrates, admonish them not to despise God and His word, so that God doesn’t charge us with their guilt. I won’t give any names now, but I will later. Right now they’re not to commune with us. Elector John also gave the mandate that no one should serve these people alcohol during the Divine Service, especially in a time of famine. See to it that this alien sin doesn’t overtake us too. We should do what we can to help them honor God and obey their magistrates.

 Joshua 7.

Bibliography Abbreviated Sources ADB AE

Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. 56 Volumes. Leipzig, 1875 – 1912. Luther’s Works. Edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Helmut T. Lehmann, and Christopher Boyd Brown. 79 Volumes. Philadelphia and St. Louis, 1955-. BC The Book of Concord. Edited by Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert. Minneapolis, 2000. AC Augsburg Confession Ap Apology to the Augsburg Confession SC Small Catechism LC Large Catechism SA Smalcald Articles Tr Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope Ep Epitome of the Formula of Concord SD Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord BSLK Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche. 12th Edition. Göttingen, 1998. ESV The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. DBA Deutsches Biographisches Archiv. Edited by Bernhard Fabian. München, 1982 – 1998. DWb Deutsches Wörterbuch. Edited by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. 33. Volumes. Leipzig, 1854 – 1971. NPNF1 Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series. Edited by Philip Schaff. 14 Volumes. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994. RE Realenzyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche. Edited by Albert Hauck. 3rd Edition. Leipzig, 1896 – 1913. RGG4 Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Edited by Hans Betz, Don Browning, Bernd Janowski, and Eberhard Jüngel. 4th Edition. 8 Volumes. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1998 – 2007. TRE Theologische Realenzklopädie. Edited by Gerhard Krause and Gerhard Müller. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1977 – 2005. WA D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. 73 Volumes. Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1883 – 2009. WADB D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Deutsche Bibel. 12 Volumes. Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1912 – 1921. WATr D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Tischreden. 6 Volumes. Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1912 – 1921.

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Index of Persons Agricola, Johann 58 Althamer, Andreas 8 f., 11, 22, 24, 28 – 52, 60, 68, 71, 145, 148, 181, 190 – 193 Andreaes, Jakob 175 Appold, Kenneth 26, 171 Armbruster, Jörg 14, 43 Augustine (of Hippo) 2, 11, 16, 185, 189

Grotius, Hugo 31 Günther, Hartmut 56, 197 Haar, Johannes 6, 15, 71, 73 Hengel, Martin 22 Hoffman, Daniel 141 Hollaz, David 171

Bauckham, Richard 3 f. Baumgart, Johannes 18 Bayer, Oswald 49, 75 f. Bayle, Pierre 31 Bernard of Clairvaux 160 Brecht, Martin 57 f., 216 Breitenbruch, Bernd 175 f., 181 f. Brenz, Johannes 173 Brochmand, Jesper 22 f., 192 Bugenhagen, Johannes 16 f., 61, 64

John the Steadfast 33 Johnson, Luke Timothy 7 f., 21 f.

Calov, Abraham 23, 172 f., 192 Chemnitz, Martin 11 Chytraeus, David 24, 192, 194 Cooper, Derek 7, 14 Corvin, Anton 24, 148, 169, 192 Creide, Hartmann 23, 155, 174, 180, 182 – 187, 195 Cruciger, Caspar 55, 61

Leyser, Polycarp 9 Lossius, Lucas 24, 192 Lotz, David 14 Luther, Martin 1 – 26, 28 – 35, 37, 41 – 46, 48 – 51, 53 – 89, 141 – 143, 148, 150 f., 153, 156, 158 – 160, 163 – 174, 176 f., 181 f., 184, 186, 188 – 195, 197 – 201, 203, 206, 211, 216 f., 222 Luther, Martin 1

Dibelius, Martin 65 Dietrich, Veit 177 Ebeling, Gerhard 27 Eck, Johann 1 f., 16 Eichholz, Georg 22 Erasmus 1, 10 Flacius, Matthias 9, 11, 22, 192 Frymire, John 24, 50, 55, 141, 165 f. Georg III (Anhalt-Dessau) 33 George “the Bearded” of Saxony (1471 – 1539) 57 Graf-Stuhlhofer, Franz 6

https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-010

Karlstadt, Andreas 58 Kawerau, Gustav 7 – 11, 22, 28, 32 f. Kerner, Balthasar 23, 174 – 183, 186 f., 195 Kierkegaard, Søren 3 Kolb, Robert 67, 171 Kolde, Theodor 8 f., 22, 32 f. Krause, K. E. H. 1

Marcion 4 Maxfield, John 18 Meinertz, Max 7 f., 10 Melanchthon, Phillip 8 f., 22, 30, 32 f., 157, 175 Musaeus, Simon 24, 141 – 156, 158, 160, 162, 184, 186, 193 – 195 Osiander, Andreas 33 Osiander, Lucas 9, 22, 192 Pauli, Simon 24, 62, 141, 147, 149 f., 155 f., 159 f., 166, 172, 184, 193 f. Popkes, Wiard 66 Preus, J. A. O. 10 – 13

242

Index of Persons

Preus, Robert 22 Prierias, Sylvester 1 Reu, Michael 5, 9, 54 Rhegius, Urbanus 59 Rivet, Andre 31 Rörer, Georg 55 f., 66, 72, 200, 208 Rürer, Johann 33 Sack, Siegfried 24, 141, 157 – 170, 181, 184, 193, 195 Scaer, David 4, 6 f. Seeberg, Reinhard 74

Spangenberg, Johann 24, 46, 48, 50, 53, 148, 192 Spengler, Lazarus 33 Steiger, Johann Anselm 26, 68, 75, 141, 152 f., 171 f., 174, 177 Stolle, Volker 48 Veesenbeck, Johann

175 f., 179

Walther, Wilhelm 5 Westendorf, Craig 76, 81 Winckelmann, Johannes 22 f.

Index of Subjects adoption 42, 73, 102, 150, 180 Age of Orthodoxy 21 f., 26, 75, 171 f., 174 analogy 11, 16, 18, 41, 48, 77 – 79, 143, 146, 150, 159, 189 – analogy of faith 11, 39 anthropology 20, 68, 129 f., 132, 136 – 138, 155 f. antilegomena 11 f., 189 antinomians 57 f., 64, 77, 80, 87, 148, 164, 225 f., 228 f. Apostles’ Creed 41 – First Article of the Creed 41, 69, 71, 108, 114, 148 – Second Article of the Creed 33, 150 – Third Article of the Creed 41, 71 – 74, 86, 96, 114, 148 – 149, 152 – 154, 158 apostolic 1 f., 4, 13 f., 19, 21, 28, 30, 33 f., 54, 63 – 67, 83, 97, 102, 117, 146 f., 170, 178, 191, 195, 229 application of the text 5, 73, 100, 105 assurance of salvation 43 Auslegungsgeschichte 8, 10, 21, 25 f., 41, 50, 55, 99, 172, 190 authority 1 f., 4, 7, 9 f., 12 – 15, 20, 30, 35, 54, 75, 91, 169, 177 f., 189, 212, 218 authorship 2, 10, 12 f., 34 f., 57, 63 – 66, 173, 195 baptism 24, 41, 45, 49 f., 68 f., 87, 90, 108 f., 137, 162, 166 f., 184 f., 193, 201, 208 f. blessings 71, 73, 89, 108, 114, 143, 148, 159, 199 – earthly blessings 71, 74, 101, 122 Calvinist 7, 31, 90, 109, 139, 177, 180, 187 canon 2 f., 5, 7, 10 – 14, 35, 169, 189, 211 catachresis 17 catechism 6 f., 21, 33, 39, 41, 46, 49 f., 56, 74, 83, 86, 89, 91 – 93, 95 – 98, 105, 114, 122, 133, 136, 140 f., 146 – 148, 156, 162, 171, 174, 176, 194, 221, 231 causation 36, 39, 65, 85, 95, 112 f., 115, 129, 131, 167, 170 f., 184 f., 193, 198 https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-011

Christ 2 f., 9, 13 – 21, 23, 29 f., 35 – 41, 43 – 49, 51, 58 – 60, 62, 64 – 66, 68 – 71, 74, 76 – 81, 83 f., 86 – 88, 100 – 112, 114 – 117, 121 f., 124 – 126, 128, 131 f., 134, 136 f., 140, 142, 144 – 146, 152 – 154, 156 – 165, 167 f., 171, 174, 176 – 179, 182, 184 – 187, 189, 191, 193 f., 198 – 200, 202 f., 205 – 208, 211 – 215, 217 – 221, 223 – 228, 230 Christology 4, 42, 45 f., 68 f., 126, 145, 181, 186, 190 Codex Corbeiensis 65 commentary 6 – 10, 16, 21 – 23, 26, 28 – 35, 38 f., 41 – 43, 45 f., 49 f., 52 f., 60, 74, 93 f., 121, 129, 133, 141, 153, 157, 172 – 176, 179 f., 182 – 184, 190 – 193 communicatio idiomatum 68 confession 8, 68, 115, 120, 122, 124 – 126, 174, 176, 224, 231 – confession of sins 122 – confession of the faith 3 confessional identity 161 confessionalization 91 conformity 22, 36, 78, 124, 134 consolation 123, 142 creation 49, 68, 71, 79 f., 108, 129 f., 132, 148 – 151, 159 f., 168 f., 180 f., 184, 197, 201, 203, 210 creed 33, 41, 69, 71, 74, 86, 96, 114, 148 – 150, 152 f., 158, 194 criticism 3, 5, 7 f., 10 – 12, 15, 19, 22, 28, 30, 32, 34 f., 54, 64, 83, 93, 105, 109, 177, 190 – 192 – criticism of James 4, 10, 19, 84, 105, 189 cross 36 – 38, 40 f., 45, 49, 52, 67, 82, 102, 106, 108, 114, 118, 122, 134, 151, 180, 186, 198, 202 f., 221 darkness 43 – 46, 68, 101, 108 f., 149, 161, 197, 200 f., 209, 215 f., 224 despair 78, 87, 226 devil 40, 44, 49, 61, 70, 74, 76, 79 f., 83, 87 f., 101, 107, 128 – 131, 142 – 146, 149,

244

Index of Subjects

152, 161, 165 f., 194, 200, 205 – 208, 210, 212, 215, 217 – 222, 224, 226 f. doctrine 2, 4 f., 11, 16, 20, 26, 29 – 32, 38 f., 44, 56 – 59, 63, 66, 68, 74 f., 84, 86, 91 – 93, 95 – 101, 103, 105, 108 f., 111, 113 f., 123, 125, 128, 130 – 133, 139, 146, 157, 161, 164, 170, 176 – 180, 182, 187, 189, 195, 200, 202, 206 – 209, 212 – 215, 217, 223 – 225, 229 dogmaticians 10 – 13 Dogmengeschichte 26 Eastertide 23, 54, 57, 61 – 63, 72, 79, 192, 200, 211 education 75, 90, 92, 94 f., 97 f. epistle of straw 1, 15, 43, 64, 191 eternal life 21, 40, 62, 79, 86, 110, 114, 116 f., 120, 124, 143, 149, 186, 194, 212, 214, 219 exegesis 2, 4, 6 – 11, 13 – 19, 21 f., 24 – 27, 30 – 34, 36 f., 39, 41 f., 45 f., 49 – 55, 57, 65, 68, 70, 73, 75 – 78, 84, 90 f., 95 f., 98, 100 – 102, 104, 109 f., 112 – 114, 118, 121, 124, 126 f., 129, 137, 139 f., 145 f., 148 f., 152 f., 155, 157 f., 160 f., 163 f., 166 f., 169 – 173, 177, 180 f., 184 – 195 experience 33, 60 f., 75 f., 145, 191, 204, 211, 229 faith

1 – 4, 6, 9, 11 f., 16, 19 – 21, 25, 28, 31 – 33, 37 – 41, 49, 51 f., 55 f., 61, 63, 69, 71, 73, 75, 79 f., 82 – 88, 91 f., 94, 96 f., 100 – 104, 108 – 112, 114 – 119, 121 – 127, 132, 138, 140, 142, 144, 147, 149, 153 – 156, 159, 161, 164 f., 167, 174, 176 – 179, 184, 188, 193, 198, 201 f., 213, 217, 219, 221 f., 224 – 229 – faith alone 3, 9, 16, 21, 87, 104, 164, 189 f. – faith and love 39 f., 58, 120 – faith and works 37 f., 84 f. – faith without works 1, 3, 9, 19, 189 – living faith 1, 25, 91, 155, 186 Father of light 29, 42 f., 46, 68 f., 74, 76, 79, 84, 101, 108, 145, 149, 159 – 161, 180, 186, 190, 197, 200 f., 203, 208 f.

flesh

25, 41, 44, 46 – 48, 69, 78, 88, 107, 146, 149, 165, 179, 215, 217 f., 224 forgiveness 20, 25, 44, 66, 91, 100, 112, 114, 116, 122 – 124, 137, 155, 159 f., 171, 211, 215, 225 fruits of faith 38, 85, 110, 135, 156, 165, 178 good and perfect gifts 40 f., 46, 69 – 72, 80, 101, 113 f., 143, 148 f., 159, 181, 199 f. gospel 3, 6 f., 14 f., 17, 19 – 21, 29 – 31, 35, 41, 44 – 48, 50 – 52, 58 – 61, 63 f., 66, 68 – 74, 76, 78 – 81, 83 – 88, 92 – 94, 98 f., 101, 103 f., 106 – 108, 111 – 118, 120, 123 f., 127 f., 132, 135, 137 f., 140, 145 f., 148, 150, 154 f., 158 – 160, 162 – 168, 182, 185, 189, 191, 193 f., 198 – 202, 205, 209 – 211, 213 – 217, 219 f., 222 – 224, 226 f., 229 grace 35, 60, 66, 81, 101, 104, 108 f., 112, 126, 128, 130 – 132, 140, 145, 159, 162, 164 – 166, 180, 184 – 187, 194, 201 – 203, 205, 211, 214, 218, 224, 226, 228 f. hermeneutics 3 f., 14 f., 22, 67 – 69, 75, 84, 97 – 99, 112, 118, 127, 140, 146, 155, 163, 168 – 170, 188 f., 192, 194 f. Holy Spirit 3, 12 f., 18, 41, 47, 58, 62, 75, 79, 82, 86, 101 f., 104, 108, 114 – 117, 122, 126, 128, 132, 135, 138 – 140, 145, 152, 154, 156, 158, 160 – 162, 164, 170, 178, 195, 201, 203, 207, 209 – 212, 215, 219, 224, 229 homolegoumena 11 illumination 74 f., 108, 139, 148, 161, 207 image of God 52, 77 f., 131, 136 – 139, 152, 157, 166 f., 169 immutability of God 119 implanted word 29, 49 f., 54, 68, 80 f., 83 f., 86, 96, 102, 109 – 111, 147, 195, 217, 223 inerrancy 5, 75 inspiration 5, 13, 18, 183, 189 Jewish Christians

29, 36, 59, 206

Index of Subjects

justification 2, 9, 19 – 22, 30, 32, 35, 68, 84 f., 101, 103 – 105, 108, 115, 117, 130, 132, 137, 155, 165, 170, 177, 189 f., 202 Kingdom 40, 89, 141, 150 – Christ’s kingdom 83, 145 Kreuzwoche 120 – 122 laity 23, 32, 90, 98, 141, 166, 192 law 2, 4 f., 9, 14 f., 19 f., 29 f., 44 f., 49, 51 f., 58, 60, 66, 76 f., 83 – 88, 104, 111 f., 115, 117 f., 123 – 125, 127, 132, 134 – 139, 148, 154 f., 159 f., 163 – 168, 189, 193 f., 202, 211 – 216, 219 f., 223 – 229 – natural law 104 law and gospel 14 f., 20, 40, 56 – 58, 63, 68, 80, 87 f., 90 f., 99, 105, 124, 135, 137, 139, 142, 155 f., 158 f., 163 – 166, 171, 184, 186 f., 189, 191, 193 f., 213, 224, 229 law of liberty 2, 30, 49, 51 f., 87 f., 96, 104, 111 f., 117 f., 124, 137, 155, 163, 168, 229 lectionary 24, 41, 54, 61 – 63, 93 f., 96 – 98, 128, 192, 211 legalism 58 Leipzig Debate 1 liberal arts 112 f. light 11, 22, 42 – 46, 48 f., 57, 68 f., 78, 88, 101, 108 f., 111 f., 114, 122, 131, 139, 145, 148 f., 154, 158, 160 f., 166, 181, 191, 195, 197, 200 – 202, 208 f., 214 – 216, 224, 228 f. loci method 95 – 98, 127, 140, 194 love 9, 38 f., 41, 85, 108, 115, 120, 144, 160, 178, 184, 193, 203, 207, 216, 218, 227, 229 Logos 45 f. Lutheran 1, 3 f., 7 – 13, 16, 18 f., 21 – 26, 28, 31 – 34, 36, 41, 50, 52 – 55, 57, 68, 75 f., 84, 88, 90 – 95, 97 – 101, 104 – 106, 111 f., 116, 119 f., 126 f., 133, 136 f., 139 – 142, 144, 146 f., 152 f., 157, 161, 165 f., 169 – 176, 182, 184, 186 – 193, 195, 216

245

– Lutheran interpretation 7, 9 – 11, 13, 21 f., 25, 34, 46, 50, 52, 81, 84, 99, 109, 116, 189, 193 – Lutheranism 7 f., 10, 22, 24 f., 27, 31, 55, 115, 124, 132, 139, 141, 171, 175, 193 – Lutheran Orthodoxy 5, 21, 26 f., 75, 171, 173, 175 – Lutheran reading 10, 52, 165 – Lutheran tradition 3 f., 8, 34 Luther’s Bible 14, 23, 34, 42, 45, 50, 60, 107, 190, 198 Luther’s New Testament 2, 4 Luther’s theological heirs 7, 21, 91, 188, 195 Manichean 108, 149 means of grace 46, 139, 145, 171 mercy 124, 159, 184 f., 203, 224 – 226 mirror 29, 41, 49, 51, 57, 75, 78, 80, 87 f., 96, 110 – 112, 118, 123 f., 135 – 137, 139, 155 f., 163, 166 – 168, 186 – 188, 191, 194, 222, 225 – 229 morality 16, 19 f., 52, 75, 104, 116, 119, 124, 159 f., 164, 186 mysticism 54 New Testament 1 – 4, 10 – 16, 19, 21, 32, 36, 42 f., 56, 64, 66 f., 73, 93, 99, 158, 172, 179, 189 f. obedience 51 f., 67, 108, 110, 117, 120, 123 – 126, 128, 132, 135, 137 – 140, 150 f., 154, 156, 165, 167, 223 Office of the ministry 24, 80, 193, 217 office of the ministry 52, 90, 99, 142 Old Testament 13 – 15, 19, 49, 75, 93, 102, 179, 185 f. oratio, meditatio, tentatio 67, 75, 143 Ordnung 62, 93, 126 f., 132, 146, 203 parable of the sower 29, 38, 49 f., 68, 70, 76, 80 f., 83 f., 86, 99, 102, 107, 109, 152, 163, 191 parable of the wheat and the tares 152 pastors 17 f., 23, 25, 32 f., 41, 52, 62, 81 – 83, 90 – 98, 100, 102 f., 105 – 109, 114 f., 119 – 121, 127, 132, 139 f., 142,

246

Index of Subjects

145 – 147, 151 f., 157, 161 f., 165 f., 172, 175 – 177, 182, 186 f., 191 f., 194, 198, 210 Pauline 4, 9, 22, 85, 188, 190, 219 philosophy 19, 175, 219 postils 5, 11, 18, 23 – 25, 34, 48, 50, 52 f., 55, 57, 61, 69, 88, 90 – 100, 105 f., 109, 113, 118 f., 121, 125 – 127, 137 – 142, 146 f., 149, 156 f., 159, 165 f., 169, 182, 184, 191 – 195, 197 prayer 24 f., 29, 37 – 41, 52, 54, 58, 78, 90, 101, 107, 114, 120 – 123, 143 f., 151 – 153, 156, 171, 179, 186 f., 193, 210, 216, 221, 228 preservation 79, 117, 134, 143 f., 188 promise 21, 38, 44, 57, 73, 82, 87, 89, 102, 122, 150, 168, 182, 205 – God’s promise 118, 122 – Promise of eternal life 193 – Promise of forgiveness 124, 194 Reformation 5, 8, 16, 21 f., 25, 27, 34, 58, 75, 92, 99 f., 128, 131, 133, 139, 171, 174 f., 216 Reformed 7, 187 regeneration 45, 48, 57, 72, 74 f., 88, 119, 132, 139, 161 f., 185, 191 – new birth 40 f., 45 – 49, 73 f., 76, 78, 101, 108, 119, 128, 132 – 135, 138, 151, 158, 162, 180, 184 – 186, 202 f. – new creation 41, 149 – 152, 157, 160, 188, 203, 210 – rebirth 54, 72, 86, 132, 184 repentance 20, 88, 91, 100, 112, 118, 122 – 125, 137 f., 151, 165, 167, 171, 182, 184, 186, 188, 191, 193 f. rhetoric 19, 44, 68, 98, 112, 147, 170, 173 f. righteousness 19, 32, 38, 41, 43, 72, 85, 103, 108 – 110, 114 – 117, 126 f., 149 f., 160, 168, 178, 180, 184, 202, 213 – 215 Roman Catholic 5, 10 – 13, 16, 19 f., 24, 29 – 32, 58, 60, 64, 86, 90, 104 f., 109, 130, 145, 161, 164, 170, 187, 189, 207, 211 – 216, 220 f., 224 sacramentarians

58

sacraments 68 f., 114 f., 140, 184 f., 229 sanctification 20, 24, 30, 35, 38, 41, 67, 86, 90, 108, 117, 132, 138, 149, 158, 162, 177, 193 f. Schriftprinzip 26 Scripture 1 – 6, 10 – 15, 18, 20 f., 26 f., 29 – 31, 36 f., 39, 47, 49, 54, 60, 66 f., 75, 77, 79, 91 – 93, 95 – 100, 102, 104, 106 f., 109, 113, 115, 119, 122, 124, 127, 133, 145 f., 149, 158, 161 f., 169 f., 172 f., 178, 187 – 189, 194 f., 207, 212, 224, 230 – Luther’s view of Scripture 5 Seelsorger 60, 75, 191 sin 1 f., 15, 20, 29, 35, 39 f., 44, 47, 50, 58, 66 f., 74, 77 – 79, 81, 87 f., 91, 100, 108, 112, 114 – 119, 122 – 126, 128 – 132, 134 – 139, 143, 151, 154 – 156, 160, 165 – 167, 171, 178, 184, 188, 193 f., 200 f., 203 – 205, 209, 211 – 213, 215, 217 f., 220 f., 223 – 226, 228 – 230 – original sin 40, 128, 130 – 132, 134 f., 138 f. sinful flesh 49, 69 f., 77 f., 88, 107, 142, 144, 194 soteriology 7, 73 suffering 19, 24, 36 – 38, 40, 48 f., 52, 56 f., 67, 69 f., 75, 78, 80, 88, 90, 133 f., 136, 141, 145, 156, 179 f., 191, 193, 198 f., 201, 203 f., 224 temptation 25, 39 f., 56, 67, 75 f., 115, 128 f., 139, 146, 179, 195, 202, 204 Ten Commandments 63, 136, 140, 159, 212, 214, 228 f. tentatio 40, 67, 73, 75, 142 the Apology 8, 22, 33, 35, 110 the church 10 f., 13, 16, 18 f., 21, 23, 25, 27 f., 32 f., 41, 53 f., 58 – 60, 62 – 64, 69, 79, 83, 86, 88, 92 – 94, 96 – 98, 105 – 107, 114 f., 119, 122, 133, 146 f., 152, 154, 168 f., 172, 175 f., 179, 181 f., 189, 191 – 193, 197 f., 207, 210, 212, 220 the Formula of Concord 8, 88, 119, 123, 157, 194, 231 Torah 17, 112, 123 f. Trinity 46, 55, 63, 88, 96

Index of Subjects

wisdom 3 f., 25, 38, 41, 101, 106, 108, 126 f., 144, 148 f., 179, 214 word of God 9, 13, 36 – 38, 41, 45 f., 48, 50 – 52, 57, 60, 64, 67 f., 75, 77, 79 f., 85, 88, 91, 93, 101 – 103, 106 – 112, 116, 120, 122 – 125, 127, 132 – 135, 137 f., 142 – 145, 154, 157, 162, 164, 166, 168 f., 171, 174, 179, 182, 185, 187 f., 191, 193 f., 199, 201, 206, 210, 212, 221, 228 – efficacy of the word 24, 52, 77, 90, 193 – power of the word 36, 49 f., 56 f., 68, 77, 84, 135, 138 f., 142, 150, 156, 222 word of truth 29, 40, 45 f., 50, 68, 72, 75, 77, 101, 132, 135, 151, 185, 197, 200, 202, 207, 209 f., 216 works 2 f., 6, 9, 16, 19 f., 26, 29 f., 32, 34, 37, 47, 55 f., 59, 65 f., 78 – 80, 84 – 86,

247

103 f., 108, 110 – 112, 116 f., 120, 124, 126 – 128, 132, 134, 136 f., 139, 141, 155 f., 159 – 162, 165, 172 f., 175, 184, 189, 193, 197, 202 f., 210 – 212, 216 – 218, 220, 225, 228, 231 – good works 9, 20, 24 f., 32, 49, 51, 56, 78, 84 – 86, 91, 100, 103 f., 108, 116 – 118, 124, 126 – 129, 131 f., 134 – 136, 138 – 140, 156, 162, 164 f., 169, 177 – 179, 193, 209, 214 – works of the law 58, 84 f., 103, 211 worship 25, 38, 110 f., 119 f., 124, 139, 185, 193, 209, 220 wrath 2, 47, 58, 69 f., 109, 114 f., 119, 124, 128, 132 – 134, 151, 158, 165 f., 187, 197 f., 201 f., 204 f., 211, 216

Biblical Citations Old Testament Genesis 1–3 3:1 – 19 3:6 5 15 22

129, 150 79, 129 77 129 2, 2, 39

Exodus 16 23 33:20 34

39 49 77 49

Leviticus 26:10

18

Numbers 3 23:19

49 149

Deuteronomy 8 17:19 – 20

39 18

Joshua 7

230

1 Samuel 15:29

149

Psalms 1 1:1 4 34:13 51 51:5 98 102:25 – 28 119 119:113 121:1 122:1 – 2

111 – 112 220 204 198 20 77 158 44 163 207 185 185

Isaiah 14:30 38:18 46:1 53 55:11 61:1 – 2 66:9

102 153 48, 184 19 82 213 184

Jeremiah 31:34 Ezekiel 3:17 – 18

187 230

Apocrypha Wisdom of Solomon 7:14 144 7:24 186

https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110535747-012

Ecclesiasticus 15:11 – 20 39 25 129

250

Biblical Citations

New Testament Matthew 4:1 – 11 4:21 5:20 – 26 7:26 10:19 11:25 11:28 12:45 13:1 ff. 13:24 – 30 13:52 18:6 24:11 24:35 24:40 25:31 – 46

39, 144 2 55 168 185 106 – 107, 110 134 220 38, 48, 68, 80, 217 – 218 152 64 211 225 19 185 152

Mark 4:1 – 20

80

Luke Luke 4:1 – 13 8:4 ff. 10:16 11:5 – 13 11:28 21:19 24:27

144 48, 68, 80 – 86, 99, 163, 191, 217 186 120 – 122 102 205 14

John 1:1 – 14 1:13 3 4:14 5:31 6 6:6 8 15 16:1 – 15 16:21

48 – 49 79, 209 47 219 4 39 39 43, 51, 129 2 93, 128 184

Acts 12:2

2, 55

Romans 1:16 2:14 3 3:20 4:15 5 5:12 6:12 7:12 8 8:3 8:18 8:23 8:32 10:1 – 3 10:4 10:17 12:1 13:1 – 7 15:4

80 – 86, 205, 219 213 13 85 15 129 77 117 214 8 69 204 72 203 205 15, 189 193 185 91 178

1 Corinthians 1:21 1:31 2 3:10 – 17 4:6 4:16 10 10:12 13:9 13:12 15

107 30 13 15 – 18, 103 187 45 – 48 39 220 229 73, 186 61

2 Corinthians 1:19 44 3:13:5 153 5:20 6:14 – 16 40, 109 Galatians

Biblical Citations

1:6 3:13 3:24 4:19 5 5:13

59 165 15 45 – 48 41 15

1:16 – 27

Ephesians 1:3 – 12 2 3:3 – 4 4 4:14 4:22 – 28 5 6:10 – 17

150 47 106 45 207 88 43 63

1:18

Philippians 2:1 – 11 3:12

78 228

2 Timothy 2:14 – 26 3:8 3:16

222 223 178

Titus 3:5 – 8 3:10

45, 184 – 185 223

Hebrews 1:3

187

James 1

1:1 1:2 – 3 1:3 – 8 1:12 1:13 1:14 1:15 1:16

1:26 1:27 2 2:21 – 24 2:24 – 26 3:3 3:13 – 18 4:1 – 3 4:3 4:5 5:1 – 6 5:13 – 18

25, 34, 41 – 53, 56 – 57, 67 – 89, 93, 139, 180 23, 55, 69, 77, 90, 94, 110, 113 – 115, 132, 135, 139, 152, 158, 191 – 193, 197 – 216. 29, 41, 41 – 46, 67 – 79, 84, 101, 108, 143 – 145, 159, 181, 186, 190 15, 29, 41 – 48, 50, 67, 68, 71 – 74, 78, 84 – 86, 101, 108, 119, 132, 144, 161 – 162, 168, 190 52, 102, 109, 133, 151 109, 133, 150 29, 49 – 50, 67, 70, 78, 80 – 86, 115, 132 – 134, 147, 150, 195 103, 193, 195 23, 54 – 55, 64, 88, 90, 94, 105, 112, 123 – 125, 135, 139, 163, 192, 217 – 230 29, 49, 80, 87, 103, 153, 165, 186, 194, 211 104, 153 104, 111, 118, 154 9 – 10, 19, 33, 109 2, 8, 104 16 153 144 183 39 144 183 39, 120 – 121, 153, 216

1 Peter 1:23 1:25 2:1 – 2 2:13 – 25 2:21 2:21 – 25 3:11 – 12 3:15 – 16 5:8

45 – 47, 132, 152, 190, 209 77, 206, 208 79, 210 91, 203 48 77 – 79 198 133 206

1:16 – 21

1:17

1:19 1:20 1:21

1:22 1:22 – 27

1:23 – 25

24, 26, 52, 61, 63, 76, 79 – 80, 99, 102, 169, 184, 186, 188, 190, 193 – 194 206 37, 118, 198 36 – 39, 122, 153 38, 129, 198 29, 119, 128 – 132, 138 – 139, 148 119, 128 – 132, 138 – 139, 148 40, 79, 119, 128 – 132, 138 – 139, 148 41 – 43, 67, 86, 148

251

252

2 Peter 1:19 1:21 3:18 1 John 1 3 3:2

Biblical Citations

11 228 178 228

43 129 73

2 John

11

3 John

11

Revelation 14:2

11 158