For Luther, the voice of conscience was not that of grace, but rather that of the Devil!
For this reason, he wrote to a friend that a man vexed by the Devil should occasionally “drink more abundantly, gamble, entertain himself, and even commit some sin out of hatred and spite for the Devil so that we may not give him an opportunity to disturb our consciences with trifles. The whole Decalogue should be erased from our eyes and our souls, from us who are so persecuted and molested by the Devil”.
Along the same line he also wrote: “God only obliges you to believe and to confess (the faith). In all other things He leaves you free, lord and master to do whatever you will without any danger to your conscience; on the contrary, it is certain that, as far as He is concerned, it makes no difference whether you leave your wife, flee from your lord, or are unfaithful to every obligation. What is it to Him if you do or do not do such things?”
The incitement to sin given in a letter to Melanchton on August 1, 1521, is perhaps even more categorical: “Be a sinner, and sin strongly (esto peccator et pecca fortiter), but believe and rejoice even more firmly in Christ, the conqueror of sin, of death, and of the world. During this life, we have to sin. It is sufficient that, by the mercy of God, we know the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Sin will not separate us from Him, even though we were to commit a thousand murders and a thousand adulteries per day”.
Martin Luther, the apostate Augustinian friar from Erfurt,
who in his rebellion lashed out against God, Jesus Christ the
Son of God, the Blessed Sacrament, the Virgin Mary,
and the Papacy.
This doctrine is so bizarre that even Luther himself could scarcely manage to believe in it: “There is no religion in the whole world that teaches this doctrine of justification; I myself, even though I teach it publicly, have a great difficulty in believing it privately”.
Luther himself recognized the devastating effects of his admittedly insincere preaching: “The Gospel today finds adherents who are convinced that it is nothing but a doctrine that serves to fill their bellies and give free reign to all their impulses”.
And Luther added, regarding his evangelical henchmen, that “they are seven times worse than they were before. After the preaching of our doctrine men have given themselves up to robbery, lying, imposture, debauchery, drunkenness, and every kind of vice. We have expelled one devil (the papacy), and seven worse ones have come in”.
“After we understood that good works are not necessary for justification, I became much more remiss and cold in doing good...and if we could return now to the old state of things and if the doctrine of the necessity of good works to be holy could be revived, our alacrity and promptness in doing good would be different”.
All these insanities make it understandable how Luther reached a frenzy of satanic pride, saying of himself: “Does this Luther not appear to you to be eccentric? As far as I am concerned, I think he is God. Otherwise, how could his writings or his name have the power to transform beggars into lords, asses into doctors (of learning), falsifiers into saints, slime into pearls!”
At other times, Luther’s opinion of himself was much more objective: “I am a man exposed to and involved in society, debauchery, carnal movements, in negligence and other disturbances, to which are added those of my own office”.
By Plinio Correa de Oliveira with quotes from:
Fr. Leonel Franca, S.J., A Igreja, a Reforma, e a Civilização [The Church, the Reformation, and Civilization] (Rio de Janeiro, 1934).
Fr. Leonel Edgar da Silveira Franca, S.J., one of the founders of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and its first Rector (1941 -1948).