RPM, Volume 13, Number 16, April 17 to April 23, 2011

The Bondage of the Will




By Martin Luther

DISCUSSION: FIRST PART
Section LXVII.



Sect. LXVII. — BUT here Reason, who is always very knowing and loquacious, will say, — This is an excellently invented scape-gap; that, as often as we are pressed close by the force of arguments, we might run back to that to-be-revered will of Majesty, and thus silence the disputant as soon as he becomes troublesome; just as astrologers, do, who, by their invented epicycles, elude all questions concerning the motion of the whole heaven. —

I answer: It is no invention of mine, but a command supported by the Holy Scriptures. Paul, (Rom. ix. 19,) speaks thus: "Why therefore doth God find fault; for who hath resisted His will? Nay, but O man, who art thou that contendest with God?" "Hath not the potter power?" And so on. And before him, Isaiah lviii. 2, "Yet they seek Me daily, and desire to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness: they ask of Me the ordinances of justice, and desire to approach unto God."

From these words it is, I think, sufficiently manifest that it is not lawful for men to search into that will of Majesty. And this subject is of that nature, that perverse men are here the most led to pry into that to-be-revered will, and therefore, there is here the greatest reason why they should be exhorted to silence and reverence. In other subjects, where those things are handled for which we can give a reason, and for which we are commanded to give a reason, we do not this. And if any one still persist in searching into the reason of that will, and do not choose to hearken to our admonition, we let him go on, and, like the giants, fight against God; while we look on to see what triumph he will gain, persuaded in ourselves, that he will do nothing, either to injure our cause or to advance his own. For it will still remain unalterable, that he must either prove that "Free-will" can do all things, or that the Scriptures which he adduces must make against himself. And, which soever of the two shall take place, he vanquished, lies prostrate, while we as conquerors "stand upright!"



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