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places (being but few) which might offend,
3* has been followed in the Translation of the present work. .
It is somewhat remarkable that the present production of Luther, together with the BONDAGE OF THE WILL, and most of his other works which have been lately published in the series of NUMBERS, have never appeared before in the English language; though they contain matter so important and valuable. The present work, in particular, from having remained so long buried in the German and Latin, has certainly been a loss to many of the favourers of divine and experimental truth : and therefore it is hoped, that it will meet with a cordial reception from them, and be made useful unto their best interests. With these few observations, the Reader is left to converse with Luther himself, in his Commentary
* The Translators' Preface to the Commentary on the Galatians.
High Priest, we desire to join ours, and to entreat thee together with him, that thy word of truth may ever shine among men, and that it may be our guide.--And these were the prayers that we used to hear Luther also put up daily, and it was in the midst of such prayers as these, that his peaceful soul, about the sixty-third year of his age, was called away from his mortal body.
Posterity possesses many monuments both of his doctrine and of his piety. He published first, his dutrinal works. In which he set forth that doctrine which is unto salvation, and indispensable to man, and which instructs the upright concerning repentance, faith, and the true fruits of faith; concerning the use of the sacraments; concerning the difference between the law and the gospel, and between the gospel and philosophy; concerning the dignity of the order politic; and finally, concerning all the principal articles of that doctrine, which must be set forth and maintained in the church. He then published his works of refutation: in which he disproved and exposed many errors prejudicial to men. He published moreover his works of erposition: which contain many commentaries on the prophetic and
apostolic scriptures: in which works, even his enemies confess that he surpasses all the commentaries extant.
“That these are works of great merit, all good men well know. But truly, for utility and labour, all these works together are surpassed by his version of the Old and New Testament: in which there is so much clearness, that the German reading of itself supplies the necessity of commentary. Which version, however, is not quite alone; there are annexed to it annotations of great learning, together with descriptions of the subject-heads,
It is usual to preface a work, submitted to the notice of
The character which the work professes to bear is-to deliver FAITHFULLY the mind of Luther; retaining, LITERALLY, as much of his own WORDING, PHRASEOLOGY, and EXPRESSION, as could well be admitted into the English version—the principles to which the Translator proposed and endeavoured to adhere, in his English version of Luther's profound and invaluable Treatise on the BondAGE OF THE WILL, which has lately been presented to the British Church.
To these introductory observations, the Translator adds nothing more than the following appropriate extract from the Preface written by Melancthon, and prefixed by him to that edition of his beloved Luther's works, which he published at Wirtemberg, from the Press of Seitz in the year 1551, shortly after the death of his Christian brother and fellow-labourer in the ministry of Christ.
“Let us therefore give thanks unto God, the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who willed, that by the ministry of his servant Martin Luther, the mire and poison should again be cast out of the fountains of evangelical truth, and the pure doctrine restored to the church. Wherefore, it becomes us and all good men throughout the world, to think of this, and to unite in prayers
and desires, and to cry unto God with fervent hearts, that he would confirm' in us what he has thus wrought, for his holy temple's sake.—This, O living and true God, eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the author of all things in thy church, this is thy word and promise-—" For mine own sake will I have mercy upon you. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it, that
my name be not blasphemed,” Isaiah xlviii.-—I cry unto thee with my whole heart, that for thine own glory, and for the glory of thy dear Son, thou wouldst never cease to gather unto thyself from among us, by the preaching of the Gospel, an eternal church. And that, for the sake of thy dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was crucified for us and rose again, our Mediator and Intercessor, thy Holy Spirit may in all things rule our hearts, that we may
thee in truth, and serve the acceptably. -“And since thou hast created mankind to the end that thou mightest be acknowledged and called upon by all men, and hast for that intent, manifested thyself in so many eminent testimonies, who have borne witness of thee; suffer not this army of witnesses to fail, from whom thy word of truth sounds forth. And since thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, just before his final agony, prayed for us, saying, “ Father, sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth,” to these prayers of our