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PREFACE OF MARTIN LUTHER
THESE my homilies concerning the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, which St. John has delivered down to us in his seventeenth chapter, I not only saw with pleasure printed and brought forth into public, but myself requested my particular friend, M. CASPAR CRUCIGER, to undertake the labour of collecting them and reducing them into a regular form, (for I had not time and leisure to do it myself,) that he might put them into the hands of others. For I was fully persuaded, that this crumb and this cup of cold water would be useful and acceptable unto godly Christians who hunger and thirst after righteousness; whom alone I desire to serve in these labours. But as to those full and over-wise spirits who loathe my writings, they have more than enough already, and do not want my help; whom in this labour of mine I do not study to gratify one jot; excepting it be, that they might have something new, to furnish them with an occasion for exhibiting some flaming specimen of their own great teaching abilities.-But, these homilies I commend to be read by all the beloved members of Christ, commending myself to their prayers. The grace of God be with us us!
SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL BY ST. JOHN.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee, &c.
AMONG all the works of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ought to have a desire to know what state of body, or what gestures he used, when he prayed and spoke with his dearest Father. For, in other respects, many particulars are committed to writing and handed down to memory,-how he preached when he addressed the people, and how he wrought his signs and miracles; but very few particulars concerning the manner in which he prayed. But this very manner is here described in many words, which he made use of in praying to the Father for his disciples, and which he left them, as it were, for a memorial; which nevertheless, are not regarded by them. Whereas, if the same did not stand recorded in writing, we should perhaps be ready to go in search for them even to the ends of the world, if it were possible, without weariness. For this prayer is fervent, and proceeding from the inmost soul; wherein he opens and wholly discloses to us the secret recesses of his own heart, and the will of the Father most sweetly inclined towards us. The words of this very prayer, however, are such, that if heard in our ears without the Spirit, sound like childish nothings; and as having neither power nor savour, nor being worthy of mention. For reason and human wisdom accounts all those things that are not sounded forth in grand and great expressions, and that