And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man:
So will I also be for thee.
—Hosea 3.3.

[Against the Antinomians, by Dr. Martin Luther.]

A Treatise against Antinomians written in an Epistolary way, by
D. Martin Luther, translated out of the high Dutch original; containing
the mind of Luther against Antinomians and a recantation
of John Agricola Eislebius their first father.
Doctor Martin Luther, Against Antinomians.

To the Reverend and most Learned M. Gasper Guttil, Doctor
and Pastor at Eisleben his singular good friend in Christ.1

Loving Mr. Doctor,
I SUPPOSE you received long ago the disputations against those new spirits the Antinomians which have undertaken to thrust the law of God, or the ten commandments out of the Church, and to remit them to the secular court: which kind of proceeding in points of divinity, I never imagined, that it should have entered into any man's purpose, much less into his practice. But God warns us by such passages, to take heed to ourselves, and not to fancy the Devil so far from us, as those secure daring spirits presume. Verily, God must incessantly be implored, with fear, humility, and earnest supplications, that we may have his assistance and protection; Otherwise truly it may soon come to pass, that the Devil will present before our eyes, such a Phantasm, that we should swear it were the true Holy Ghost itself, as not only those ancient Heretics, but in our time also examples (which have been and still are great and dreadful) do forewarn.

I could indeed have easily forgotten all these things, which had so much grieved me, but that I rested in hope, that by means of those forementioned disputations, I had performed my part, and defended myself. But Satan would not be content with this, but still he brings me upon the stage, as if matters stood not so ill betwixt me and them. I am afraid that had I died at Smalkalden, I should have been proclaimed forever the Patron of those Spirits, because they appeal to my Books, although they have done it behind my back, without my knowledge and against my will. Nor did they afford me so much respect, as to shew me one word or syllable of it, or to confer with me about it. I was therefore necessitated to convent more than once M. John Agricola, besides my former dealings with him in the disputation itself, and in the presence of our Doctors and Divines (because he had been the beginner and Master of this Game) I did let him know all my mind, that he might be throughly sensible, what a pleasure he had done to my Spirit, which I repute also to be of good proof.2

Whereupon he humbly submitted himself (as much as words and behaviour could evidence) promising to intermeddle no further, if he had gone too far, and to comply with us in the same judgment. This so overruled my belief, that I was satisfied. But it being otherwise construed, yea vaunted of, in pamphlets sent hither, that Doctor Martin and M. Eisleben were in good terms; I further pressed him to publish in print, an open Recantation, there being no other remedy left, to expel this poison from the town of Eisleben and the country round about. To this likewise he willingly assented, & offered himself. Fearing he should not hit it so well, as to gain a due approbation by it, he most earnestly referred the matter to myself, entreating me to do it, as well as I could, professing for his part that he would be well contented with it. This induced me to undertake it, & now presently to perform it, especially lest it should be given out, after my decease, either by M. Eislebius himself, or by any other, that I had neglected these things, and permitted them to pass without control.

D. M. Luther vehement against Antinomians who abolish the Law, setteth down the Recantation of John Eislebius in the name of Eislebius.

To come then to the matter; the said J. Eisleben, Mr. of Arts, willeth me to make a recantation in his behalf, of what he had preached, or written against the Moral Law, or Ten Commandments; and to profess that he is of the same judgment as we are here at Wittenberg, as likewise at Augsburg, according to the tenor of our confession and Apology tendered to the Emperor: And if hereafter he shall hold or teach the contrary, he willeth me to pronounce the same to be Null and condemned. I could find in my heart to commend him for stooping so low, but it being so manifest, that he was one of my best and nearest friends, I will spare my praises for another, lest the cause should be prejudiced by it, as if I had not gone in good earnest about it. If he continue in this lowliness of mind, God can, and will exalt him, but if he transgress, he may be sure that God can as well throw him down.

Let me therefore entreat you, good M. Doctor, that you would take this to be written not as to yourself alone, but that you would make it known to others, wherever you can, especially to those that cannot read. For therefore also it is printed, that everyone, who will, or can read, may peruse it, lest it should be conceived that it was penned only for your sake: Since I am not able to disappoint Satan by any other means, who still labours by writings to traduce or misconstrue both my person and opinions.

And truly, I wonder exceedingly, how it came to be imputed to me, that I should reject the Law or ten Commandments, there being extant so many of my own expositions (and those of several sorts) upon the Commandments, which also are daily expounded, and used in our Churches, to say nothing of the Confession and Apology, and other books of ours. Add hereunto the custom we have to sing the Commandments in two different tunes;3 besides the painting, printing, carving, and rehearsing them by children, both morning, noon, and evening; So that I know no other way than what we have used, but that we do not (alas!) as we ought, really express and delineate them in our lives and conversations. And I myself as old as I am, use to [have it for my custom to] recite them daily, as a child, Word for Word; so that if any should have mistaken, what I had written, he might (seeing and feeling as it were, how vehemently I use to urge these Catechetical exercises) in reason have been persuaded to call upon me, and demand these or the like questions. What? Good Doctor Luther, dost thou press so eagerly the ten Commandments, and yet teachest withal, that they must be rejected? Thus they ought to have dealt with me; and not secretly undermine me behind my back, and then to wait for my death, that so they might afterwards make of me what themselves pleased. Well, I forgive them, if they leave these courses. Verily, I have taught and still teach, that sinners must be moved to Repentance by the preaching & pondering of the sufferings of Christ, that they may see how great the wrath of God is against sin: and that it cannot be otherwise expiated but by the death of the son of God: Which is not mine, but Bernard's doctrine. But why doe I mention Bernard? It is the doctrine of the whole Christian world, and which all the Prophets and Apostles have delivered. But how doth it hence follow,4 that therefore the law must be taken away? I find no such inference in my Logick; and I would gladly see or hear that Logician, that would demonstrate the truth of this conclusion. When Isaias saith, chapter 53, I have smitten him for the sins of my people; I pray tell me; here Christ's sufferings are preached, that he was smitten for our sins: Is the Law hereby rejected? what is the meaning of these words: For the sins of my people? Is not this the sense of them: Because my people have sinned against my law, and not kept the same? Or can it be imaginable, that there should be any sin, where there is no law? Whosoever abrogates the law, must of necessity abrogate sin also.5 If he must suffer sin to be, he must much more suffer the being of the law. For the Apostle saith: Rom. 5: Where no law is, there is no sin. If there be no sin, then Christ is nothing. For why died he, if there were no law nor sin, for which he ought to die? Hence you may see, that the Devil intends, by this Ghostly Gambold to take away, not so much the law, as Christ, the fulfiller of the law.

For he knows too well, that Christ may quickly & lightly be forgotten: but the law being engraven in the bottom of the heart, it is impossible to raze it out, as you may observe in the complaints, which are uttered by the blessed Saints of God in the Psalms, that are not able to undergo the wrath of God: which can be nothing else by the lively preaching of the law in their consciences. And the Devil also is not ignorant of this that it is impossible the law should be taken out of the hearts of men, as the Apostle proves in his second chapter to the Romans, verses 14, 15. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law (In the German Copy: which received not the law by Moses) do by nature the things contained in the Law, they having not the Law, are a Law to themselves: which shew the work of the Law written in their hearts &c. His main plot therefore is, to make people secure, and to teach them, to slight both law & sin, that when they are once suddenly overtaken, either by death, or in an evil conscience, they might without any remedy sink into hell; as having been accustomed to all manner of sensuality, and taught nothing else in Christ but a sweet security; so that when terrors of conscience seize on them, they take it for a certain sign, that Christ (who can be nothing but sweetness itself) had reprobated and forsaken them. This the Devil seeks and would fain compass.

But it appears to me, that these fanatick spirits are of opinion, that all those, which attend the preaching of the word, must needs be such Christians, as are altogether without sin:6 whereas indeed they are such, whose hearts are altogether sorrowful and pensive, such as fear God and feel their sins, and therefore they ought to have comfort administered unto them. For to such the love of Christ can never be made sweet enough, but they still need more and more of it, as I have found in experience in a great many to say nothing of myself. But these teachers are themselves far short of such Christians, because they are so jocund and secure; Much less their Auditors, who likewise are as fearless and fool-hardy. There is a godly Virgin, an excellent singer who speaks thus in a certain Hymn, He hath filled the hungry with good things, but the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath put down the Mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. And his mercy is on them that fear him, from generation to generation. God cannot but be angry (if there be any truth in the Magnificat) with such spirits, who are secure and dread nothing, and such of necessity must those bold Bayards be, which take away both law and sin.

The preaching of the Law necessary both before & after conversion.

Let me therefore beseech you (Good Mr. Doctor) to continue, as hitherto you have, in the pure doctrine, and to preach, that sinners can, and must, be drawn to Repentance, not only by the sweetness of grace, that Christ suffered and died for us, but also by the terrors of the Law. For when they pretend, that we must follow but one kind of Method in teaching the Doctrine of Repentance (to wit, that Christ suffered for us) lest all Christendom should deviate from the true and only way; this is little to the purpose. For it is our duty to improve all manner of means (such as are divine Menaces, Promises, Punishments, Blessings, and whatever helps we can) to bring men to Repentance: I mean, by all the Precedents in the word, to bring them to the acknowledgment of sin, and of the Law. Thus do all the Prophets, Apostles and Saint Paul, Rom. 2. Knowest thou not that the goodness of God leads thee to Repentance? But admit I had taught or said, that the Law should not be preached in the Church (although the contrary be evident in all my writings, and in the constant practice of my Catechising from the beginning) why should men so stiffly adhere to me, and not rather oppose me, who having ever taught otherwise, were now revolted from myself (even as I dealt with the Pope's Doctrine?) For I will, and may boast of it in truth, that there is no Papist nowadays so conscientious, and in such good earnest, as once I was. For those that now profess Popery, do it not for any fear of God, (as I a poor wretch was given over to do) but they seek something else, as the world may see, and themselves know. I was fain to learn by experience, what Peter writes: Crescite in cognitione Domini [Grow in the knowledge of our Lord 2 Pet. 3.18.] Nor do I find, that any Doctor, Council, or Fathers (though I should distill their books, and extract the quintessence out of them) have on a sudden, and in their first entrance perfected their Crescite [growing], Or that the word Crescite, should be as much as perfectum esse. For instance, Peter himself did learn his Crescite from Paul, Gal. 2, and Paul from Christ himself, who told him by way of encouragement, Sufficit tibi gratia mea, &c. [My grace is sufficient for thee—2 Cor. 12.9.]7

Good God! will not men endure it, when the holy Church acknowledgeth her sins, believes the remission of sins, asks in the Lord's Prayer, the forgiveness of sins? But how come we to know what sin is, if there be no Law, nor conscience?8 And where shall we learn what Christ is, and what he hath done for us? if we could not know, what the Law is, which he hath fulfilled, or what sin is, for which he hath satisfied? And though we should not stand in need of the law for our part, but could pull it out of our hearts (which yet is impossible) notwithstanding there is a necessity of preaching it in respect of Christ (which also is done, and must be done) that the world may know, what he hath either done or suffered for us. For who could know, what, and wherefore Christ hath suffered for us, if nobody could tell, what sin was, or the law?

The Law preached with Christ's sufferings, for the preaching thereof, terrifieth more.

I conclude therefore, that the Law, will we, nill we, must be preached, if we mean to preach Christ, though we should not use the word Law. For, do what you can, the conscience will be terrified by the Law, when it is told, that Christ was to fulfill the Law for us, at so dear a rate. Why therefore should any go about to abolish it, when it cannot be abolished? Yea, when by the abolition of it, it is the more firmly established, and deeper rooted? For the Law terrifies far more dreadfully, when I am told, that Christ the Son of God must necessarily satisfy the same for me, than if without Christ, and such great torments of the Son of God, it had been preached to me, with bare threatenings. For in the Son of God, I really see the wrath of God, which the Law declares but verbally, and with far less operation and efficacy.

Alas! that my own friends should thus molest me; I have enough to do with Papists, I might say almost with Job, and Jeremiah: O that I never had been born! Yea, I might almost say: O that I had never appeared in Books! I did not care, but would be content, if all of them were already perished, and that the works of such haughty spirits, might be sold in all Book-seller's shops, which is that indeed they would have, that so they might be satiated with their goodly vain-glory.

Again, I must not count myself better than our Lord Jesus Christ, the Master of the house, who complains once and again: In vain I have laboured, and spent my strength in vain. But it is so, the devil is lord in the world, and I could never be brought to believe, that the devil was the Master and god of this world, till I found by a pretty deal of experience, that Princeps Mundi, Deus hujus sœculi [prince of the world, god of the age], was also one of the Articles of Faith: Howbeit the children of men still remain in their unbelief, and I myself but weakly believe it. For every one is in love with his own way, and all persuade themselves, that the devil sure lives beyond Sea, and that they carry God in their pocket.

But for the godly, which desire salvation, we must live, preach, write, do, and suffer all things. Otherwise, if you regard the devil and false brethren, it were better to preach and to write nothing at all, but presently to die and to be buried. For, do what you can, they will be still perverting and traducing all things, and raise mere Scandals and mischiefs, according as the devil doth ride or lead them. There is no remedy, but we must, and will fight and suffer. We must not think to fair better than the blessed Prophets and Apostles, which were used as we are.

They have invented to themselves a new Method, which is that the doctrine of Grace should be preached in the first place, & afterwards the revelation of wrath, that by no means forsooth the word Law might be heard or spoken of. This is a curious Crotchet9 wherein they might please themselves imagining that they can turn and wind the whole Scripture as they list, that so they may be Lux mundi [the light of the world]: But Paul must, and shall be that light, Rom. 1. These men see not how the Apostle teacheth that which is directly opposite to their tenents, denouncing first the wrath of God from Heaven, and making all the world to be sinners and guilty before God; When he hath made them so, then he teacheth further, how they may obtain Grace, and be justified, and this the first three Chapters mightily and clearly evince. But is it not a singular blindness & folly of theirs, to conceit that the manifestation of wrath must be something else, beside the law? which cannot possibly be. For the manifestation of wrath is nothing else, but the Law, where it is acknowledged and felt, according to that of the Apostle, Lex iram operatur [the law worketh wrath—Rom. 4.15.] And have they not now bravely hit it, when in abrogating the Law, they teach it again, by teaching the "Revelation of wrath"? But thus they preposterously put the Cart before the Horse, teaching the Law after the Gospel, and wrath after grace.

But what foul errors the Devil drives at by those juggling Gypsies, I discern (in part) well enough, but cannot now stand to discuss them. And because I hope they will proceed no further, it shall not need.

Conceit of singularity an occasion of Antinomianism.

It hath been a special piece of pride and presumption in those men, that they would bring something to light, that is new and singular, that the people might say, Here's a brave fellow indeed! Here's another Paul! Have they of Wittenberg engrossed all knowledge? have not I also a good head? Yes, truly, thou hast a head, but it is such a head, that seeks its own glory, and beslummers [exposes to mockery] itself in his own wisdom. For you resolve to casheer [annul] the Law, and yet would preach wrath which only the law must do. Thus you do no more in effect, but throw away the poor letters L.A.W. but ratify the wrath of God which is pointed at, and signified by those letters, save that withal you wreath Paul's neck behind him and put that, which is foremost, hindermost. Is not this forsooth a high mystery, and a good reason, why all the world should stand amazed at it? But let this suffice at this time; For I hope, seeing that M. Eisleben is converted, and makes a recantation, that they likewise which have been his followers, will surcease: which God grant! Amen. From all these premises, if we would, we might learn to understand the histories from the beginning of the Church, that evermore when the Church of God, did shine forth at any time, and if its little flock began to be gathered, then the Devil, espying the Divine light, raised from all corners huge great storms and hideous tempests, to put it out: And though one or two puffs were stayed, and kept off, yet he never gave over to bluster through some other hole against the same light, without any end or ceasing. And so he will continue to do, I warrant you till doom's-day.

Luther's suffering from Sects.

I think, that I alone (to omit the Ancients) have undergone more than twenty several storms and sects, by which the Devil hath puft at me.

The first was the Papacy. And I persuade myself, that almost all the world knows, by how many tempestuous winds of Bulls and Books, the Devil by those his instruments hath raged against me, how direfully they have torn me in pieces, devoured and brought me to nothing. I confess that sometimes I have also bestowed some little breath upon them, but it did them no good, but made them more angry and mad, raging and raving, without any intermission, till this day.

And when I was almost freed of the fear of these devilish whirlwinds, another stormatical devil, breaks in upon me through another hole, by Munster, and those uproars, which had near blown out my candle. But when Christ had almost stopped that gap, Satan breaks some panes of glass in my window by Carlstadt whirling and whizzing, that I thought he would have carried away both wick and candle; but here also God assisted his poor Taper, preserving it that it was not blown out.

After this came the Anabaptists, who to put out the light, thought to have thrown the house out at window.

Into hazard all they brought,
But their wills they have not wrought.
Some also have raged against the ancient Doctor, the Pope, and Luther altogether, as Servetus, Campanus, and the like.

As for those which have not openly in print fallen upon me, since their venomous malignant papers and speeches, touched only my person, I will not insist upon them. Only let me add thus much, that by my own experience (If I should not reflect on histories) I have learned that the Church will never be at quiet for the good word's sake; but must still expect more new tempests from Satan, as it hath been from the beginning, as you may read in the Ecclesiastic and Tripartite history, and in the books of the holy Fathers. But should I live yet a hundred years, and could I (by the grace of God) appease not only the former sects, and modern storms, but also those, which should arise hereafter; Yet I see well, that no rest can by such endeavours be procured to our posterity, so long as the Devil lives and domineers. This makes me also pray for a gracious hour, as desirous to be quiet of such matters.

A warning to the following generations to look for sectaries, such as Antinomians, Familists, Anabaptists, and yet to believe that the power of Christ shall preserve his own Church.

O you of succeeding generations, pray likewise, and study diligently, the word of God! Preserve the poor Taper of God. Be warned and armed, as those that must look every hour, where the Devil will attempt to extinguish the light, either by breaking the whole window, or a piece, or else by pulling off the door or the roof. For he dies not till the last day. I and thou must die, and when we are dead, yet he remains the same, that he was ever, For the Fiend cannot leave his storming.

I see yonder afar off, how vehemently he blows his cheeks, till he grow red; intending to bluster and storm. But as Christ our Lord from the beginning (even in his own person) did strike with his fists upon those pouch-mouthed cheeks of his, that they proved but mere blasts of the Devil (though they left but an ill stench behind them) so he will do still both now and forever, For he cannot lie when he saith, I am with you to the end of the world. And the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church. But let us do our duty withal, as we are commanded, which is to watch and to preserve the light, as much as in us lieth. It is written, Be vigilant, and the devil is called Leo rugiens, a roaring Lion, who goes about seeking whom to devour, not only in the Apostle's time, when Peter spoke those words, but to the world's end. This we must look for: the Lord help us as he hath holpen our forefathers, and as he will help our posterity, to the honour and praise of his glorious name, to all Eternity.

For alas! what are we, that we should be conservators of the Church; our forefathers could not do it, nor can they that come after us. He only it is, that hath been, that is, and that shall be: He that saith, I am with you to the end of the world; or as it is, Heb. 13, Jesus Christ heri & hodie & in sœcula [Jesus Christ, yesterday, and to day, and forever.] And in the Revelation, He that was, that is, and that shall be. This is the man, thus he is called, and there is none other besides him. For thou and I were nothing a thousand years ago, when the Church of God was preserved without us; For He did it, who is called Who was and Yesterday, [Qui erat, & heri.] Nor can we do it now in these our days; For the Church is not preserved by us, because we cannot stave off Satan, who is in the Pope, Sectaries, and other Malignant people. And for ought we can do, the Church might be ruined before our eyes, and we with the Church, (as we have daily experience) were there not another who doth visibly protect both Church and us. This is so palpable a truth, that we may even touch and feel it, had we no mind to believe it; And therefore he only must do it, who is styled who is ever and today, [qui est semper & hodie.] Nor are we able to do ought for the preservation of the Church, when we are dead. But he will do it who is called Who is to come, and who is forever, [Qui ventures est, & in sœcula.] And what we now say of ourselves in this point, the same also our Progenitors were forced to say, according as the Psalms and other Scripture testify: Yea, our posterity will even experience the same, and must sing with us and the whole Church, the 124th Psalm, If God were not with us, now may Israel say, &c.10

O! What a lamentable thing is it, that we should have so many dreadful examples before us, of such men, who were so highly conceited of themselves, as if they had been the only pillars to support the Church, and as if the Church had been founded upon them; and yet see to what a shameful end they were brought at last. Yet these terrible judgments of God, cannot abate our pride and daring, nor make us lowly and humble! What is befallen Muncer in our time (to say nothing of Elder and former ages) who was persuaded, that the Church could not subsist without him, but that he might bear and rule her? And of late the Anabaptists have warned us (with a vengeance) to remember, how puissant, and nearly advancing that specious Devil is, and how perilous it is to have such gallant thoughts of ourselves. Let us be wise at last and learn when we enterprize anything, first, to look (According to the counsel of Isaiah) into our hand, whether it be God or an Idol, whether it be gold or clay. But all this avails not; for we still remain secure, without fear or care. We can put the devil far from us, and believe not, that there is such a body of flesh in us, as Paul complains, Romans 7, That he could not do that which he would, and that he was led captive. For we (forsooth) are those Heroick Champions that need not fear our flesh and thoughts! but we are all Spirit, and have wholly captivated both flesh and devil; so that whatsoever we think, or is cast into our minds, that must be a certain truth, and infallibly the Holy Ghost. How can it be otherwise? Therefore, what other fine Catastrophe could be looked for at last, but that both horse and rider must break their necks! But enough of those lamentations. The Lord Christ be, and remain our Lord Christ, blessed forever, Amen.


Footnotes:

1. This edition of Luther's treatise "Against the Antinomians," is excerpted from Samuel Rutherford's "Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist," (1648), part II, chapter XI, pages 69-80, where it is translated from the High Dutch in its entirety. The reader may wish to compare the text to a more recent translation available in Luther's Works (American Edition), volume 47, pages 107-119, the text of which he will find to be in agreement with that which is provided here. Underlined headings are marginalia provided in Rutherford's "Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist," whereby he seeks to direct the reader to make applications and comparisons with regards to the Antinomians of his own day, which are no less relevant at the present time. All footnotes are provided by Rutherford, saving only numbers 1, 2, and 10, provided by the present editor.

2. This last phrase, in the American Edition of Luther's Works, is translated: "a spirit for which I also, by the way, have some regard!" as a satirical response to Agricola's claim of being more faithful to the spirit of the early Luther than Luther himself was. (Volume 47, page 108.)

3. This was no custom in the Apostolic Church, but by superstition kept for the times being the dawning of Reformation.

4. Contrary to this, Towne the Antinomian saith, assert. free grace, p. 3. we are freed from the Moral Law or Decalogue, with all its authority, dominion, offices, and effects. So [likewise] Saltmarsh, free grace, p. 140.

5. But our Antinomians say we can no more sin, being once Justified, than Christ himself. Eaton, Honey Comb. c.3. p.25. Saltmarsh, free grace, 140, 146. 44. honey com. c.45.

6. Justified persons have sin dwelling in them, yet is it the current doctrine of the Antinomians of our time, to teach that a believer is not to sorrow for sin, nor to fear either ill of sin or punishment, but to live forever in a merry pin, yea, he wants nothing that the glorified in heaven have (saith Saltmarsh, free grace. p.140.) but believe he is in heaven, and is in heaven.

7. Yet Town asser. grace, p. 76,77, pleadeth for perfection both of persons and works, of believers & all Antinomians do the same, as I prove.

8.  Antinomians will not yield it lawful to a believer to pray for remission of sins. Towne saith, David in the flesh, and out of weakness prayed for it, Psalm 51, asser. p. 103.

9. Germany: a stool for Cats. Antinomians are against all Law-humiliation that goeth before conversion, contrary to Luther's method in this passage.

10. N.B. Dr. Luther was a Christian who had well impressed upon his senses the Catholic Unity of the Church of Jesus Christ. When the Saints of God lift their voices to him in Praise with the words of his Psalms, they join in a universal chorus of all true Christians, breaking every boundary of language, time, and place, and harmoniously offering up to God the canonical praises that he has set in their hearts and upon their tongues, with one united voice, as in Psalm 124 below. Thus Luther, "Our posterity… must sing with us and the whole Church, the 124th Psalm."

1   Now Israel may say, and that truly,
     If that the Lord had not our cause maintain'd;
2   If that the Lord had not our right sustain'd,
     When cruel men against us furiously
     Rose up in wrath, to make of us their prey;

3   Then certainly they had devour'd us all,
     And swallow'd quick, for ought that we could deem;
     Such was their rage, as we might well esteem.
4   And as fierce floods before them all things drown,
     So had they brought our soul to death quite down.

5   The raging streams, with their proud swelling waves,
     Had then our soul o'erwhelmed in the deep.
6   But bless'd be God, who doth us safely keep,
     And hath not giv'n us for a living prey
     Unto their teeth, and bloody cruelty.

7   Ev'n as a bird out of the fowler's snare
     Escapes away, so is our soul set free:
     Broke are their nets, and thus escaped we.
8   Therefore our help is in the Lord's great name,
     Who heav'n and earth by his great pow'r did frame.