Saturday, September 26, 2009

Get plenty to eat and drink

Table Talk recorded by John Schlaginhaufen.  Spring, 1532.

Those who are assailed by doubts should be given plenty to eat and drink.  Early this morning the devil was disputing with me concerning Zwingli, and I discovered that a person who is well-fed is better fitted for disputation with the devil than a person who is fasting.  Think, for example, of the bishop who, when his sister came to him troubled with such great thoughts that she could not free herself from them, have her plenty to eat and drink.  Three days later he asked her how she felt.

'Very well,' she replied.
'What has happened to the thoughts that before troubled you?'
'I have quite forgotten them,' she answered.

Accordingly you should eat and drink and enjoy yourself.  Those who are afflicted with spiritual temptations should be given plenty to eat and drink, but whoremongers and those assailed by lust should fast.

(From Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel.  Translated and edited by Theodore G. Tappert)
(painting from Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a detail of 'Peasant Wedding' 1568)

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