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On the Sword

to use against the wicked. Now what God calls good is good, and if he calls thee to slay thy son, it would be a good work. When therefore God wills to do many things through his creatures, as his instruments, which he might accomplish alone and without them, he yet wills so to use us as that we serve each other, and do not go idle, but each one fulfils his own duty to which God has called him. One shall preach, another shall protect him, a third shall till the field, a fourth shall do his work in some other way, so that we shall all eat our bread in the sweat of our faces. Verily, verily, he who rules in a just and Christian way has to sweat enough—he does not go idle.

Now we see again plainly how the above-mentioned word of Christ and the sword so completely agree; wherefore one dare not, for the sake of brotherly love, ungird the sword. Yea, and if I am a Christian and rightly disposed, if I fall into a sin I shall wish and pray that the magistrate may punish me quickly, that I may no more heap sin on sin. Whence it follows that the magistrate may and should punish, not alone from justice, but from the love that he bears to the evil-doer (not to his evil deed); for it is good and profitable to the sinner that a millstone be at once hanged about his neck, and he be drowned in the water (Matt, xviii., 6).


"Ye have heard that it was said to them of old, Thou shalt not kill, but he who kills shall be in danger of the judgment."—Matt. v., 21.

Why is it now, dear brethren, that you cry out to Heaven and shout overloud, "It stands written, 'Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not kill.'" Now we have also