Psalm 1:2 – Martin Luther on meditating on the law of the Lord –

“With respect to “day and night,” whether you understand them literally or figuratively for assiduosly, or allegorically for the time of adversity and prosperity, it matters not at all; for the righteous man, even when sleeping, loves and thinks upon the law of the Lord. The Psalmist saith then of this man that is “blessed,” that his “will”‘ will be in the law of the Lord. He will neither look at, nor love, nor hate any created thing whatever, either good or evil, but will, by this ” will,” be entirely raised above all things that are created. What wonder therefore is it, that such a man should be blessed, who, being endowed with this heavenly will, has no taste whatever for those things by which the ignorant judges of blessedness are dashed to and fro. Moreover, as such an one is by this his will now made one with the Word of God for love always unites the lover and the object loved, he must of necessity taste how good, sweet, and pure the holy and wonderful Word of God is, that it is the greatest of all good! But this they cannot taste, who have their hand or their tongue only in the law, while their will is immersed in the filth of the things of this world. For there are many prating ones who talk much about the law of the Lord, and pretend much about it, but who do not yet love it. It does not read, blessed is the man whose tongue is in the law of the Lord, nor whose hand, nor whose mind and speculations are in it; for by these things men are only puffed up, and bless themselves, as if they were already saints and saved. Moreover, this “will” comprehends the whole life of man. For if the man has his will, which is the fountain-spring of his life, and his head, in the law, there is no fear that he will keep any other member out of it. For wherever love leads, the whole heart and body follow it And herein observe the different conversation of the godly and the ungodly — The ungodly begin their righteousness from without, and then go on to that which is within They first feign works and then words, and then they go on to the exercising of thoughts; and this is the greatest height to which they attain And here, they begin to be teachers of others, and whatever they think. say, or do, they will have to be holy and divine; yet, after all, they never attain unto this secret “will.” But the godly begin within from this holy “will,” then follows “meditation,” and then the external work, and afterwards, the teaching of others, as we shall see hereafter.

“And in his lazv doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

Meditation is not without damnation, unless there be first the “will;” but love of itself leads to meditation. This “will” is to be sought by us from heaven, as I have said, by humble faith in Christ, when we are brought to despair of all strength in ourselves. And mark this well. It is the manner and nature of all lovers to talk freely, to sing, to write, to compose, and to amuse their thoughts, on their loves, and to hear the same things. And so also this lover, this n^an that is “blessed,” has his love, the law of the Lord, always in his mouth, always in his heart, and always, if he can, in his ear. For “he that is of God heareth God’s words,” John 8 47. “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage,” Ps. 119 :54. And again, “I will meditate always in thy statutes,” ver. 16. And thinkest thou that they are blessed men, who turn over swine’s husks, and who talk day and night about natural things, about the opinions of men, about prebendaries, dignities, and the power and privileges of churches, and a thousand other vanities of the same kind ? No! They are far more miserable than those who talk about the loves of maidens and the fables of the poets. For the latter know that they are acting foolishly, and can sometime repent of what they have done. But the former, thinking that they are all the while acting wisely and holily, die in their ungodliness; and too late to repent, that the laws which they have made have only heaped destruction and ungodliness on their own heads, because they meditated not on the law of the Lord.” 1

 Luther, Martin, 1483-1546; Lenker, John Nicholas, 1858-1929. Luther’s commentary on the first twenty-two Psalms : based on Dr. Henry Cole’s translation from the original Latin (Kindle). Sunbury, Pa. : Lutheran’s in All Lands Co..

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