Old Doxoblogy

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tuesday Tombsday-Melancthon's Funeral Oration For Martin Luther


"In orations such as the present, much is usually said of the individual excellencies of those whom we wish to commend; passing however, in silence over this part of my theme, it is my design to dwell principally on that main point, the call to gospel ministry; and here we may unite in opinion with all just thinkers, that if Luther has illustrated a wholesome and necessary doctrine in the church, we ought to return thanks unto God, that He has been pleased to raise him up to this work, whilst his personal labours, his faith, his constancy, and his other virtues are to be commended, and his memory to be held most dear by all good men. Let this therefore be the beginning, of our oration.

The Son of God, as Paul says, sits on the right hand of the Eternal Father, and gives gifts unto men; these gifts are the voice of the Gospel and of the Holy Spirit, with which, as He imparts them, He inspires Prophets, Apostles, Pastors and Teachers, and selects them from this our assembly, that is to say, from those who are yet in the rudiments of divine knowledge, who read, who hear, and who love the prophetic and apostolic writings; nor does he often call to this warfare those who are in the exercise of established power, but it even pleases him to wage war on these very men through leaders chosen from other ranks. It is cheering and instructive to take a retrospect of the church throughout all past ages, and to contemplate the goodness of God who has sent out from its bosom gifted ministers in so unbroken a series, that as the first of these have passed away, others have pressed closely in their footsteps.

The line of the first fathers is well worthy of our consideration. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methusalem, Noe, Sem, and Abraham, who was raised up to be a fellow-helper of Sem and his associate in the all-important work of spreading true religion; and although at this time Sem was still dwelling in the neighbourhood of Sodom, the people had lost the recollection both of his precepts and those of Noe, and were altogether abandoned to the worship of idols. To Abraham succeeded law and Jacob; next Joseph_who kindled the light of truth throughout all Egypt, at that time the most flourishing kingdom in the world. After these, we read of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and David; then Elisha, of whose ministry the prophet Isaiah was a partaker; then Esdras, Onias, and in succession the Maccabees, Simeon, Zacharias, and John the Baptist: and lastly, Christ and His Apostles. It is delightful to behold this unbroken chain, which is a clear testimony to the presence of God in his church.

After the Apostles followed a band, which although somewhat weaker, was nevertheless honoured with the blessing of God. Polycarp, Irenaeus, Gregory the Niocaesarien, Basilius, Augustinus, Prosper, Maximus, Hugo, Bernardus, Taulerus, and others; and although this later age has become more corrupt, yet God has always preserved a remnant of the faithful, whilst it is evident that the light of the gospel has now been peculiarly manifested through the preaching of Luther.

He is therefore to be numbered with that blessed company, the excellent of the earth, whom God has sent forth for the gathering together and the building up of his church, and whom we truly recognize as ornaments of the human race.

Solon, Themistocles, Scipio, Augustus, and others were indeed great men, who founded, states, or ruled over vast empires; yet do they rank far below our spiritual leaders, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Paul and Luther. "

For more texts by or about Martin Luther, visit Project Wittenberg.


Reformer said...

Praise be to the Lord for men like Luther. He was man on whose shoulder we stand and spirtual giant to whom the present church owes a great debt. I think it was Llyod-Jones who used to always say "The best of men are men at best." But somehow, when I think of Luther, I think he was a bit more better than the best of men we have among us today.

May God raise up today true men who will stnd firmly for the grace and glory of God alone!

May I be one of them, by the grace and mercy of God.

Thanks for the poignant thought Jeremy!

Breuss Wane said...

Oh that it would be our privilege to "press closely in their footsteps".

Great post!

Shawn L said...


I agree, but also know we sometimes think of them as great because they are without doubt or sinfulness. I was thinking of this as I was watching "Luther" with my sister last night. She just was fascinated with it and his life and I explained a bit more of his life.

I also know of the struggles in His life and battles for a time (spiritual warfare or internal with the flesh).

To me we as Christians today see Him as such a giant in the faith, but I was thinking about how he saw probably saw himself in the everyday. There was such a cost for following for Him, but many times he had doubts and fears.

He must have felt depressed from many things. He reminds me of those who are great in the faith, because they are so humbled before God!

They are so fascinated with scripture and God that their life on the outside at that moment just doesn't always make sense. He took the way of the offense of the cross and we as Americans don't always realize how much we take away our cross from many things in our suffering, in our battles against the flesh, or in our battles for

We as americans have a bad understanding of blessings from God and I many times have to rethink everything. For example, John Owen lost all of His 11 Children and was very blessed, or Job, or John Bunyan's prison.

To me americans are forgetting that these look like totally unsucessful lives from the worlds point of view and worldly wisdom shows these people went a wrong direction. Many times I'm afraid evangelicals are adopting such a horrid understanding of this and see blessings from God so differently.

Same in the fact that Luther must have been so freightened from continued possible death for the faith. I pray we would consider the cost and take up our cross and follow Christ anywhere.

Shawn L said...


Awesome one again. May God bless you! I love to come to your blog.

Bhedr said...

Another good post. Luther was one who truly understood what it was to be freed from striving.


Excellent thoughts! Hey in that movie Joseph Fiennes calls himself a wandering star. Did Luther say that or is that Hollywood?

Joe said...

I marched with him in St Augus...no, wait, that was Dr. Martin Luther KING, Jr.

I enjoyed the reading, but wonder about how one pronounces "Melancthon."

Shawn L said...


I don't that that is a historic quote from him, but I think it may have conveyed some of the feeling he must have gone through all of this. For example, during the The Peasants' War. I can't imagine.

I liked the movie alot and realize it is just a movie (I wish someone would put on a 6 hour movie with more detail), but missed how God worked through the scriptures to cement in his mind biblical understanding of justificational.

Bhedr said...

Hey Shawn,

Thanks and you are probably right, he did indeed face some dark times. Yeah I could really get lost in a good 6 hour flick. my wife would go crazy though so I don't know if she would watch it. We like to watch a movie together. I don't think she'd like that one too much...ha ha ha.