Eyes and Ears in Luther (Again)

Once more on Luther’s House Postil sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent.

Last week we looked at the way in which Luther’s account of “reason” (eyes) and “faith” (ears) informed his view of the Triumphal Entry and his sacramentology. But this basic insight is not, for Luther, an isolated one that refers only to this or that doctrine. It is, rather, one might say, ahem, “systemic.” It is something of a leitmotif.

Thus it appears again in his sermon on Luke 21:25-36 about the signs of the end times and the Last Day. He puts it like this:

Thus also will it be with us at the last day, should we live to see it. It will be terrible to behold when the heavens and the earth begin to be wrapped in flame; but a Christian must not look at the appearance, but hear how Christ explains it; namely, that it is a beautiful blossom, a young, thrifty branch, so that, although nature may be terrified at the dreadful sight, the heart may nevertheless cleave to the word, strengthen itself against the external appearance and say: Well, be not afraid, since it neither is, nor means anything injurious, but only that my Redeemer and redemption are near at hand. So now be welcome to me, O God, my dear Lord Jesus, and come, as I have my lifelong often prayed that Thy kingdom might come, and the kingdom of the devil at last have an end. Whoever can thus receive the Lord Jesus, will in a moment be translated to eternal glory, where he shall shine as the sun.

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