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M. GEORGE RORARY TO THE GODLY READER,
I COULD not, godly reader, avoid commending this work to thee, (which without doubt is of itself acceptable,) the more especially on this account, because, it was the last of the doctrinal writings of the author, Martin Luther of pious memory; and because it was the last labour of that most learned translator, and most holy man, Caspar Cruciger.—Thus, it seems as if the very title and matter of the work, "The last words of David," brought with them the signal for death, which came both upon the author and the translator* immediately after the work was finished.
With regard to Luther, indeed, the event followed the signal somewhat later. He died on the 18th of February 1546, the third year after this work was published. But, with respect to Cruciger, his death followed immediately upon his finishing the translation. For although he was exceedingly ill for many months, and debilitated in body from most excruciating pains in his intestines, yet, he still persevered in his version of this work, and finished the greater part of it during his illness, and revised and corrected it when finished. And this is wonderful to us in two respects: first, that his life should be spared so long, when all the powers of his body were destroyed and exhausted by the violence of the disease: (the faculties of his senses and mind excepted, which remained in all their acuteness and per
*The original was written by Luther in German, and translated from the German into Latin by Cruciger.-It is from the Latin that the present translation is derived.
fection to his latest breath :) and then, that he should have strength of body under all that weakness and excruciating pain, to go through the labour of reference and writing. But however, as soon as he had put the finishing stroke to his translation, which he did with expressions of joy; the day after, by a peaceful departure as one falling asleep, he was called out of this life where he had usefully served the church, unto the eternal church, and to the all-sweet enjoyment of God, and of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, together with that of the prophets and apostles, and of David, Luther, and all the saints. Hence, it would appear, that he was thus gifted of God with strength, and had his life prolonged just that time, that he might translate into the Latin tongue the whole of this most useful and necessary work of Luther, (wherein, from "The last words of David" he has piously and learnedly set forth the two natures in Christ and his offices,) that it might be read also by all the churches beside the German.
Wherefore, godly reader, embrace this work with a grateful heart, and enjoy with all gladness the last labours of those great men David, Luther, and Cruciger, and their last confession concerning the SON OF GOD the Messiah and our Saviour, which they made against all the power of persecutors and the corruptions of crafty deceivers. And, together with us, pray the eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would preserve this great light of his own doctrine in his church, at this day, in all its brightness: and that he would long preserve among us the other godly teachers that are left, and, after them, raise up other burning and shining lights, who may ward off and dispel that darkness of the " last days" of the world, which are so much to be feared!-Farewell!
Wittemberg, A. D. 1549.
"LAST WORDS OF DAVID."
2 SAM. XXIII. 1-7,
Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse suid, the man that was confirmed concerning the Messiah of the God of Jacob, sweet in the Psalms of of Israel, said,
The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word sounded on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the the Rock of Israel spake to me: he that is a just ruler among men, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun ariseth, even as a morning without clouds; when the tender grass springeth out of the earth by the clear shining after rain. For my house is not so before God: because he himself hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. But the sons of Belial are all of them as thorns destined to be thrust away, which cannot be gathered with hands. But the man that shall pluck them out must be fenced with iron and spears; so that they shall be utterly burned with fire in their own place.
[This is Luther's own version of the original Hebrew: which the present Translator has been very particular in giving correctly and literally because the arguments and matter of the whole Treatise depend upon it.]
St. Jerom affirms, that he felt a great inclination to undertake at once a translation of the books of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into Latin; because he saw, that we Christians were held up to derision by the