He Scatters the Peoples Who Delight in War

“It is not right to start a war just because some silly lord has gotten the idea into his head. At the very outset I want to say that whoever starts a war is in the wrong.  And it is only right and proper that he who first draws his sword is defeated, or even punished, in the end.  This is what has usually happened in history.  Those who have started wars have lost them, and those who fought in self-defense have only seldom been defeated.  Worldly government has not been instituted by God to break the peace and start war, but to maintain peace and to avoid war….God tolerates no injustice and he has so ordered things that warmongers must be defeated in war.  As the proverb says, ‘No one has ever been so evil that he does not meet someone more evil than he is.’  And in Psalm 68: [30] God has the psalmist sing of him, ‘Dissipat gentes, quae in bella volunt,’ that is, ‘He scatters the peoples who delight in war.’ ” Martin Luther, Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved, in Luther’s Works, vol. 46, p. 118.      [Emphasis added]Martin Luther-Cranach


“It is easy to start a fight, but we cannot stop the fighting whenever we want to.  What have all these innocent women, children, and old people, whom you fools are drawing with you into such danger, ever done to you?  Why do you insist on filling the land with blood and robbery, widows and orphans? Oh, the devil has wicked plans! And God is angry; he threatens to let the devil loose upon us and cool his rage in our blood and souls. Beware, dear sirs, and be wise! Both of you are equally involved! What good will it do you intentionally to damn yourselves for all eternity and, in addition, to bequeath a desolate, devastated, and bloody land to your descendants, when you still have time to find a better solution by repenting before God, by concluding a friendly agreement, or even by voluntarily suffering for the sake of humanity?  You will accomplish nothing through strife and violence.” Martin Luther, Admonition to Peace: A Reply to the Twelve Articles of the Peasants in Swabia, in Luther’s Works, vol. 46, p. 42.

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