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On the Sword

Christ did not wish to punish with fire. And so we ought not to do it, nor should we use fire, water, sword or gallows." Answer: Look further, dear brothers, where Christ comes to the end, [and see] what was the authority and command given him by God. Consider also therewith what is the power of superiors. Do that and you shall already have an answer. Christ is come, as he himself says, not to judge men, condemn them or punish them with fire, water or the sword. He did not become man for that. But his command and authority was to make men hold with the word; that power he had received when he became man. So he says himself (Luke xii., 14), "Who has made me a judge between you and your brother?" As if he had said, You may find another judge. I am not here for that purpose, that I should seize another power and command over you. On the contrary, the power and authority of the magistrate is given by God, that he should protect and guard the pious, and punish the wicked and destroy them; therefore has he hung the sword at their side, and since it is at their side they must use it. Now God always punishes the wicked, perhaps with hail, rain or sickness, and also through certain men who have been appointed and chosen thereto. Wherefore Paul calls the magistrate a "minister" of God. For what God might do of himself he often wills to do through his creatures, as through his instrument.

Yes, and although the devil, Nebuchadnezzar and many other wicked men are also called in Scripture servants of God, still it is far otherwise with an orderly government, when according to the command of God it punishes the wicked for the good of the pious and innocent. But the devil and his crew do nothing for the