28 December 2009

Merry Christmas! Day Four

And so the feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. From a Luther homily upon this day:

If Caesar Augustus of Rome, himself, had wanted to present them with his whole empire, he would not have served them so well as Herod did by his butchery. He tore the little children from their mothers' bosoms, and sent them to heaven, making nothing less than martyrs of them, whose blood is precious in the sight of God! For the parents it was a terrible thing, but it happened for the eventual good of the children. They felt no anguish in their souls. So the Lord took them away at the time of His own advent into the world, as a sweet smelling sacrifice to Himself. Thus much good would yet come from Herod's murdering. (House Postilla 3:260


Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Thanks! I fully expected to find this in that discounted Baker Books edition. No Holy Innocents there, it seems, unless I'm mistaken.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Dr. Luther is guilty of preaching false doctrine here.

Why do they go to heaven? Were they conceived without original sin?


Dixie said...

No...it's in the discounted Baker Books my husband has...Volume 7, page 260.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Sounds like Dr. Luther is guilty of preaching false doctrine here.

Child sacrifice?

William Weedon said...


No, no false doctrine at all. The children were innocent via being grafted into the people of promise on the 8th day after their birth: circumcision, the OT Baptism. Further, they were given the grace of the baptism of blood - to shed their blood for the sake of Christ. Neither Luther nor Augustine mean that thereby they "earned" heaven, but that through martyrdom they were brought into heaven.


I have it in vol. 3 of the House Postilla p. 260. I think it depends on whether you have the combined postils or the church as distinct from the house postils.


Yes, Herod is guilty of child sacrifice - but our gracious God can and does work through the evil men commit to accomplish his blessed ends - such as bringing these little ones into his heavenly Kingdom.

Larry Luder said...

May our blessed Feast of the Holy Innocent honor those martyred in the stead of Christ in found in Matthew 2:16-18.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Thank you, Dixie & Rev. Weedon. Not knowing of a special feast section at the end of this edition, I mistakenly expected to find it in the "Christmas section" of the church year, closer to the beginning of the House Postils.