Luther Quote of the Day

1. Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, Thou hast been made very great. He is called “made great,” (magnificatus)1 because He was made small and humiliated: small, when He went forth from the Father and came into the world, made man, and indeed suffered, was crucified, and died. But He went back to the Father and was manifested that He is God. Therefore He first appeared as man and then as God, first made small and then made great. He was made very great, because He had been made very small. He emptied Himself, etc. (Phil. 2:7).

Second, “He is made great” in us, that is, when we acknowledge Him as magnified and confess Him as magnified. But this is tropology. Thus He is constantly made small and made great, but this is not the main thought here. No proud man magnifies Christ, but himself. But he who exceedingly humbles himself exceedingly magnifies Him. Only the humble magnify Him, and to them He is a great Lord and exceedingly to be praised, because they are exceedingly blameworthy to themselves. The more you disparage yourself, the more you praise God, and the more you displease yourself, the more He pleases you, and vice versa.

Third, anagogically, for the divinity is magnified when it is acknowledged as great by the creatures. It is surely to be noted that he does not say “great,” but “made great,” in a passive sense, because He is made great by others. Thus Ps. 34:3 reads: “O magnify the Lord with me”; and the blessed Virgin says (Luke 1:46): “My soul magnifies the Lord.” But this magnifying takes place when His works and gifts are regarded as great, as this psalm does below (v. 24): “O Lord, how great are Thy works.” The blessed Virgin says (Luke 1:49): “He has done great things for me”; and Ps. 111:2: “Great are the works of the Lord.”

Corollary. It follows that no one can magnify God and His gifts unless he himself is first made great by the gifts of God. For the more he is enlightened, that much greater he esteems the gifts of God and His works, and conversely, the less he is enlightened, the less he regards them. Therefore it is characteristic of the magnified and enlightened soul to magnify God in His individual works.

Psalm 104

Luther’s works, vol. 11: First Lectures 2
Psalms 76-126
p 316-317


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