"To be deep in history as put forth by Catholic apologists, is to engage in wild goose chases."
The wild goose chase continues. I should have kept a record of how many of these Roman Catholic-used Luther quotes I've tried to track down over the years.
I wish these guys would just read a context and cite from a context. When we cite one of their popes saying something outrageous the cry is "Show me the context!" When the question is reversed, well, one gets back an eleven page PDF file or a blog entry on typos. "To be deep in history is to cease being Protestant!" Yet, when I go check their historical claims, none of them (so far) will do anything to help.
This is from St. Francis de Sales'(1567-1622) Catholic Controversy:
"The Scriptures," says S. Jerome, ( Adv. Lucif. 28. ) "consist not in the reading but in the understanding:" that is, faith is not in the knowing the words but the sense. And it is here that I think I have thoroughly proved that we have need of another rule for our faith, besides the rule of Holy Scripture. 'If the world last long, said Luther once by good hap (Contr. Zwin. et. Oecol)”, “it will be again necessary, on account of the different interpretations of Scripture which now exist, that to preserve the unity of the faith we should receive the Councils and decrees and fly to them for refuge." He acknowledges that formerly they were received, and that afterwards they will have to be." [source]
Well, here we have an even earlier source for this Luther quote. de Sales documents it as "Contr. Zwin. et. Oecol". I don't own this book, so I have to get it and check it to see if the web page I used as a source got it right. The source as Balmes quotes it is "Luther writing to Zwinglius.... "He never says "letter". In the 1ate 1800's, Henry George Ganss cites it as "Epist. ad Zuingl. ap. Balmes, p. 423." Well, it seems relatively plausible Ganss used Balmes as his source.
The more I study this quote, the more it may not be from a letter to Zwingli (as Steve Ray claims). The main writing from Luther against Zwingli and Oecolampadius is the one I've been referring to all along, That These Words Of Christ, “This Is My Body,” etc., Still Stand Firm Against The Fanatics (1527) [LW 37]. This was Luther's first main work against the Swiss, and, it was not an obscure work. I find it much more plausible that de Sales would have a version of this popular treatise, rather than a book of Luther's letters. I'd have to check to see when Luther's letters first were published (I checked: early sparse versions of Luther's letters were indeed available in the late 16th Century, but did not sell well. See Robert Kolb's Martin Luther as Prophet, Teacher, and Hero, pp.151-152).
If indeed the quote turns out to be from a letter, and the letter dates from around the same time as That These Words Of Christ, “This Is My Body,” etc., Still Stand Firm Against The Fanatics (1527), and a context can be found, It will probably be the case that the letter context states the same thing that the treatise context states, in which case, Luther was cited out of context, saying something much different than Ray claims.
By the way, anyone with some free time today who would like to help out, can check this source for the quote, or check if Luther wrote any letters to Zwingli. I don't have the time to do it today.