124H Martin Luther
124H Martin Luther


124H Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Appellatio D. Martini Lutheri ad Concilium a Leone Decimo, denuo repetita & innovata.

Wittenberg: [Melchior Lotter the younger, 1520]     $3,800

Quarto: 19.5 x 14.5 cm. 12 p. Collation: A6

With a woodcut title border by Lucas Cranach (Luther 10). A large copy in 20th c. stiff wrappers. A good copy with light staining.

FIRST EDITION A nice copy in modern wrappers with a tiny bit of light staining at the corner.

Luther’s bold response to Leo X’s bull “Exsurge Domine” in which he asserts the authority of church councils (and, ultimately, of Scripture) over Pope Leo X. All impressions are rare. Despite its ephemeral nature, this copy is very well preserved. Imprint from Benzing and Adams.

With the publication of the papal bull, Luther faced with the grim prospect of excommunication. Unwilling to be condemned without a hearing, Luther issued the present appeal for the convening of a general church council.

In making his appeal for a general council to settle the indulgence controversy, Luther sought both to dilute the pope’s authority and to strengthen his own theological position.

In 1418, the Council of Constance had decreed that the supreme power of the church in matters of faith and practice resided in regularly convened councils. Yet, by the early sixteenth century, the popes had wrested away much of that power. By appearing before a church council rather than the Roman Curia, Luther could effectively “switch judges” by appealing to the authority of Scripture to adjudicate in Luther’s dispute with the pope.

Luther makes his bold appeal (such a move was considered a crime) in the most inflammatory language. He denies the authority of the pope, the antichrist whom Scripture condemns:

“Considering that a general council of the Christian Church is above the pope, especially in matters of faith; considering that the power of the pope is not above but inferior to Scripture; and that he has no right to slaughter the sheep of Christ’s flock, and throw them into the jaws of the wolf; I, Martin Luther, an Augustine friar, doctor of the Holy Scriptures at Wittenberg, appeal by these presents, in behalf of myself and of those who are or who shall be with me, from the Most Holy Pope Leo to a future general and Christian council.

“I appeal from the said pope, first, as an unjust, rash, and tyrannical judge, who condemns me without a hearing, and without giving any reasons for his judgment; secondly, as a heretic and an apostate, misled, hardened, and condemned by the Holy Scriptures, who commands me to deny that Christian faith is necessary in the use of the sacraments; thirdly, as an enemy, an antichrist, an adversary, an oppressor of Holy Scripture, who dares set his own words in opposition to the Word of God; fourthly, as a despiser, a calumniator, a blasphemer of the holy Christian Church, and of a free council, who maintains that a council is nothing of itself.

“For this reason, with all humility, I entreat the most serene, most illustrious, excellent, generous, noble, strong, wise, and prudent lords, namely, Charles Emperor of Rome, the electors, princes, counts, barons, knights, gentlemen, councilors, cities and communities of the whole German nation, to adhere to my protest, and to resist with me the antichristian conduct of the pope, for the glory of God, the defense of the Church and of the Christian doctrine, and for the maintenance of the free councils of Christendom; and Christ, our Lord, will reward them bountifully by his everlasting grace. But if there be any who scorn my prayer, and continue to obey that impious man the pope, rather than God, I reject by these presents all responsibility, having faithfully warned their consciences, and I abandon them to the supreme judgment of God, with the pope and his adherents.”

Benzing 770; Kessler #200; Adams L1853; VD 16 L 3849; Claus-P. 770



125H Martin Luther
125H Martin Luther

125H Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Eyn Sermon von der wirdigen empfahung des heyligenn waren Leychnamß Christi.

[Wittenberg, Johann Rhau-Grunenberg] 1521                       $3,800

Quarto: 15 x20 cm. A4 [8] pp.

FIRST EDITION. A nice copy, sewn but not bound, with a few light stains. With a woodcut title border by Lucas Cranach with the Saxon and Wittenberg arms (see Zimmermann p. 85 and Luther, Titeleinfassung Plate 3.) Lightly foxed. A few underscores.

This is Luther’s sermon preached March 28, 1521, on the Lord’s Supper. The sermon was probably preached before Margrave Albrecht of Brandenburg-Ansbach, Grand Master of Teutonic Knights, and an early supporter of Luther. Luther’s view that the Lord’s Supper gives assurances of salvation, which, according to church teaching, Scripture and tradition denied. This view was one of the first of Luther’s “errors” to be deemed heretical. Already in 1518, when Cajetan was sent to Augsburg to hear Luther’s recantation, Luther’s view of the Lord’s Supper was one of the errors specifically identified by the Church’s representative.

When Leo X issued the papal bull “Exsurge Domine” in 1520, Luther’s view concerning the Lord’s Supper was addressed directly in article fifteen: “Great is the error of those who approach the sacrament of the Eucharist relying on this, that they have confessed, that they are not conscious of any mortal sin, that they have sent their prayers on ahead and made preparations; all these eat and drink judgment to themselves. But if they believe and trust that they will attain grace, then this faith alone makes them pure and worthy.”

Benzing 873; WA. 7. 689 A.; VD 16, L-6571



126 H Martin Luther
126 H Martin Luther

126H Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Das eyn Christliche versammlu(n)g odder gemeyne: recht vn(d) macht habe: alle lere tzu vrteylen: vnd lerer zu beruffen: eyn vnd abzusetzen: Grund vnd vrsach aus der schrifft.

Wittenberg: [Cranach & Döring] 1523                        $2,900

Quarto: 20.5 x 15.5 [16] pp. A-B4 (the last leaf blank)

FIRST EDITION. Bound in modern wrappers. The text is a little stained and there are tears in the inner blank margin but the pamphlet is in overall good condition. With an attractive woodcut border from the workshop of Lucas Cranach. The border, with two lions and foliage, is likely based on a drawing by Cranach himself (see Koepplin / Falk no. 231 Figure 185).

Luther wrote this treatise at the request of the small town of Leisnig, located in electoral Saxony on the river Mulde. Luther went to Leisnig on September 22nd, 1522. The feudal landlord and another representative of the town council asked Luther to provide a biblical rationale for their practice of calling their own priest and preacher and reorganizing the financial structure and style of worship of the parish. Luther immediately set to work on the present work: “That a Christian congregation or assembly has the right and power to judge all teaching and to call, appoint, and dismiss its own teachers, established and proven by Scripture.” In it Luther asserted, “No bishop ought to appoint a parish minister without the consent, choice, and call of the congregation.” The congregation, Luther maintained, is competent to call and depose ministers.

“The treatise was written in such a way that everyone, not just the people of Leisnig, could obtain directives for a proper understanding of congregational authority. Luther clearly emphasized the Word as the basis of ministry: since the congregation shares in the authority of the Word on the basis of baptism it may call its own preachers. Everyone who is baptized may exercise the office of the word, which belongs to the individual Christian as well as to the Christian community. In the later development of the Reformation, congregationalism, so strongly emphasized by Luther here, had to give way to the state church. But Luther emphasized in this treatise and throughout his life that the doctrine of the common priesthood of all believers should be the theological basis for a proper understanding of the role and authority of the pastor who is called to be the ‘priest of priests.’”(Luther’s Works Vol. 39, p. 304)

VD 16, L-4290; Benzing 1569; WA 11.402 A.




Luther on Marriage: Beware the Temptation of Adultery

127 H Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Eine Hochzeit predigt, uber den spruch zun Hebreern am .XIII. Capitel.

Wittenberg, Hans Weiß, 1531                               $4,000

Quarto: 19.7 x 14.7 cm. [24] pp. A-C4

FIRST EDITION of two. A fine copy with broad margins in modern boards. With an elaborate, historiated title border by the monogrammist AW (Zimmermann p. 53).

This is a wedding sermon preached by Luther for an unnamed couple on January 8, 1531, on Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage should be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will punish whores and adulterers.”

Luther’s sermon is a warning -and a rather severe one, given the occasion- to beware the temptations of boredom, curiosity, and shameful lust that threaten to lead the married couple into a life of whoredom and adultery.

Luther writes, “Those who are outside the marital estate and lead immoral lives, such as pimps, think marriage is nothing, but they despise and denigrate both God’s word and this estate, no matter how pious they pretend to be. Those who are married but do not regard it seriously and instead break God’s word and commandment do the same….” Those who enter into marriage “are to make sure that they are careful to keep the marriage bed pure and unstained, which means that the wife keeps to her husband and the husband lets himself be contented with his wife. Where this does not happen, God’s word, the beautiful jewel, is befouled with the devil’s filth and the marital bed is stained and (we might as well say), sh*t in.

Fortunately, if one is mindful of God’s word, it will “create fear and hesitation, or actually loathing and horror” at the thought of adultery. “[The word will] adorn your wife, so that even if she is hideous and hostile, impatient and obstinate, she will be more dear to you because of the word, and will please you more than if she were adorned with vanity and gold.”

As off-putting as much of this is to the modern reader, Luther’s gift for elevated and edifying words is also on display: “If you can look upon your wife as though she were the only woman in the world and there were none besides; if you can look on your husband as though he were the only man in the world and there were none besides, then no king, and not even the sun, will shine brighter and clearer in your eyes than your wife and your husband. For here you have the Word of God that gives you your husband and wife and says, ‘The man shall be yours; the woman shall be yours. That pleases me well. All angels and all creatures find pleasure and rejoice therein.’ For no adornment is above the Word of God, through which you look upon your wife as a gift from God.”(Trans. Karant-Nunn and Wiesner-Hanks, Luther on Women, a Source Book, pp. 150-153)

Benzing 2961; VD 16 L 4932; WA XXXIV/2, 581 A; Kuczynski 1735; Knaake I, 642; Kind 365; Pegg 2265. Title border: Luther 48; Zimmermann p. 53 and note 96