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The Great Consolation

December 07, 2018
By Martin Luther

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

PSALM 116:15

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The Great Consolation

We see, moreover, with what great care Moses, or rather, the Holy Spirit, describes even the most trifling actions and passions of the patriarchs, among which none of the showy and prodigious works such as the monks and the self-righteous boast of are prominent. But these passions are especially outstanding and golden because they have this promise, that not only their death and blood are precious in the sight of the Lord (Psalm 116:15), but that even the hairs of their head are precious and numbered (Matthew 10:30). Therefore the Holy Spirit did not deem it unworthy to linger over these domestic and pastoral works and passions. For faith is exercised very well in these matters, and there ensues a sacrifice well-pleasing to God. Therefore we should continually fix our eyes on these examples of the patriarchs that we may learn that also our deeds which are done in faith, and likewise the afflictions which we endure in faith, are all acceptable to God and like a continual sacrifice. This is a great consolation for believers. The life of the godly appears to be an idle life and without any fruit and worth. But this is our great glory, that we know that our tears and each of the drops that fall from our eyes are numbered by God and that all things are written before the eyes of God and gathered in a golden vessel, so to say (cf. Psalm 56:8).

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 6:123-24)

December 7