IN PLACE OF A FOREWARD
It is not we who can sustain the church, nor was it our forefathers nor will it be our descendants. It was and is and will be the one who says: "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." As it says in Heb. 13: "Jesus Christ, heri, et hodie, et in secula." And in Rev. 1: "Which was, and is, and is to come." Verily he is that one, and none other is or can be.
For you and I were not alive thousands of years ago, but the church was preserved without us, and it was done by the one of whom it says, Qui erat, and Heri.
Again, we do not do it in our lifetime, for the church is not upheld by us. For we could not resist the devil in the papacy and the sects and other wicked folk. For us, the church would perish before our eyes, and we with it (as we daily prove), were it not for that other Man who manifestly upholds the church and us. This we can lay hold of and feel, even though we are loth to believe it, and we must needs give ourselves to the one of whom it is said, Qui est, and Hodie.
Again, we can do nothing to sustain the church when we are dead. But he will do it of whom it is said, Qui venturus est and in secula. And what we must needs say of ourselves in this regard is what our forefathers had also to say before us, as the Psalms and other Scriptures testify, and what our descendants will also experience after us, when with us and the whole church they sing in Psalm 124: "If the Lord himself had not been on our side, when men rose up against us," and Psalm 60: "O be thou our help in trouble, for vain is the help of man."
... May Christ our dear God and the Bishop of our souls, which he has bought with his own precious blood, sustain his little flock by the might of his own Word, that it may increase and grow in grace and knowledge and faith in him. May he comfort and strengthen it, that it may be firm and steadfast against all the crafts and assaults of Satan and this wicked world, and may he hear its hearty groaning and anxious waiting and longing for the joyful day of his glorious and blessed coming and appearing. May there be an end of this murderous pricking and biting of the heel, of horrible poisonous serpents. And may there come finally the revelation of the glorious liberty and blessedness of the children of God, for which they wait and hope with patience. To which all those who love the appearing of Christ our life will say from the heart, Amen, Amen.
LUTHER (W.A. 54, 470 and 474 f.).
DocumentationThis quote was so interesting, I decided to look it up. Barth provides a reference: "WA 54, 470 and 474 f." That seemed simple enough, but it turned out not to be! It's from this writing: Die angebliche “Vorrede D. M. Luthers, vor seinem Abschied gestellet” zum zweiten Band der Wittenberger Gesamtausgabe seiner deutschen Schriften. 1548. This writing is alleged to be Dr. Martin Luther's Preface, Composed Before His Passing to the second volume of the Wittenberg edition of Luther's German writings. Before he died, Luther did provide prefaces to the first volumes of the Latin and German volumes. This second preface though is a bit sketchy. It turns out, the Preface was probably put together after Luther's death by Georg Rörer, a close associate of Luther's. Rörer appears to have utilized three documents, two of which have been identified as earlier writings from Luther, while one of his Luther sources is unknown. Of this mystery source, if it's something Luther actually wrote, no one yet (to my knowledge) has been able to locate it. In essence, Rörer managed to weave three different documents into a Preface to the second volume of the first official collected edition of Luther's writings.
The quote above as cited by Karl Barth is from this hodgepodge posthumous preface. Barth simply cited the cobbled together faux preface as coming from Luther. So when I went to look it up, now I had to figure out if what Barth (and Rörer) cited was from an identified writing from Luther or from the mysterious unidentified source (from someone who may have been Luther). The quote from WA 54:470 appears to be the following (the numbers are lines of the text in WA):
 DEnn du vnd ich sind vor tausent jaren nichts gewest, Da dennoch die  Kirche on Vns ist erhalten worden, Vnd hats der muessen thun, der da heisst,  Qui erat, vnd Heri. So sind wirs jtzt auch nicht bey vnserm Leben, Denn  die Kirche wird durch vns nicht erhalten, weil wir dem Teufel im Bapst,  Rotten vnd boesen Leuten nicht koennen wehren, Vnd vnser halben die Kirche  fur vnsern augen, vnd wir mit jr, muesten zu grunde gehen (wie wir teglich  erfaren) wo nicht ein ander Man were, der beide die Kirche vnd vns scheinbarlich  erhielte, Das wirs moechten greiffen vnd fuelen, ob wirs nicht wolten  gleuben, vnd muessens Den thun lassen, der da heisst, Qui est, vnd Hodie.
 EBen so werden wir auch nichts dazu thun, das die Kircke erhalten  werde, wenn wir tod sind, Sondern der wirds thun, der da heisst, Qui venturus  est, vnd in secula, Vnd was wir in solcher Sachen von vns jtzt sagen,  [Bl. ~+ iij] das haben vnser Vorfarn von sich auch sagen muessen, Wie die Psalmen  vnd Schrifft zeugen, vnd vnser Nachkomen werdens auch also erfaren,  [Ps. 124, 1ff.] das sie werden mit vns vnd der gantzen Kirchen singen den 124. Psalm, Wo  der HERR nicht bey vns were, wenn die Menschen sich wider vns setzen,  [Ps. 60, 13] Vnd Psal. 60. Schaffe vns beistand in der not, Denn menschen huelffe ist  kein nuetze.The last paragraph of the quote begins at the bottom of page 474 and extends to page 475:
 Christus vnser lieber Gott vnd Bischoff vnser Seelen, die er durch sein  thewer Blut erkaufft hat, erhalte seine kleine Herde bey seinem heiligen Wort,  das sie zuneme vnd wachse in der gnade, erkentnis vnd glauben an jn, Troeste
 vnd stercke sie auch, das sie fest vnd bestendig bleibe, wider alle list vnd anfechtungen,  beide des Satans vnd der argen Welt, vnd erhoere doch schier jr  hertzlich seufftzen vnd engstlich harren vnd verlangen nach dem froelichen tage  seiner herrlichen seligen Zukunfft vnd Erscheinung, Das des moerdlichen stechens  vnd beissens in die Versen, der grimmigen gifftigen Schlangen, doch ein mal  ein ende werde, Vnd endlich angehe die offenbarung der herrlichen Freiheit  vnd seligkeit der kinder Gottes, der sie hoffen vnd in gedult warten. Dazu  spreche ein jglich from hertze, so Christus, vnsers Lebens, erscheinung, liebe hat,  Amen, Amen.It turns out, WA 54:470 cited by Barth does come from one of the identified sources: Luther's Against the Antinomians (1539). The last paragraph though is questionable. This would be the last paragraph cited above in English from Barth's forward. This does not appear to be from Against the Antinomians. Nor does it appear to be from the other identifiable source used by Rörer (Preface to Urbanas Rhegius, Refutation of the New Valentinians and Donatists at Munster, 1535).
I can see there in the distance how the devil is puffing out his cheeks so vigorously that he is turning all red as he prepares to blow and rage. But our Lord Christ from the beginning (even when he was in the flesh) struck these puffed cheeks with his fist, so that they emitted nothing but the devil’s stinking wind. He still does this today and will ever continue to do so. For Christ does not lie when he declares, “I am with you always, to the close of the age” [Matt. 28:20], and when he assures us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church [Matt. 16:18]. At the same time we are enjoined to remain awake and to do our part in preserving the light. We read, “Be watchful,” for the devil is called a “roaring lion” who “prowls around, seeking some one to devour” [I Pet. 5:8], and this he did not only in the days of the apostles when St. Peter uttered these words; he does so to the end of time. Let us be guided by this. God help us as he helped our forefathers, and as he will help our heirs, to the honor and glory of his divine name forever. For after all, we are not the ones who can preserve the church, nor were our forefathers able to do so. Nor will our successors have this power. No, it was, is, and will be he who says, “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” As it says in Hebrews 13 [:8], “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” and in Revelation 1 [:8], “He who is and who was and who is to come.” This is his name and no one else’s; nor may anyone else be called by that name.
A thousand years ago you and I were nothing, and yet the church was preserved at that time without us. He who is called “who was” and “yesterday” had to accomplish this. Even during our lifetime we are not the church’s guardians. It is not preserved by us, for we are unable to drive off the devil in the persons of the pope, the sects, and evil men. If it were up to us, the church would perish before our very eyes, and we together with it (as we experience daily). For it is another Man who obviously preserves both the church and us. He does this so plainly that we could touch and feel it, if we did not want to believe it. We must leave this to him who is called “who is” and “today.” Likewise we will contribute nothing toward the preservation of the church after our death. He who is called “who is to come” and “forever” will accomplish it. What we are now saying about ourselves in this respect, our ancestors also had to say, as is borne out by the psalms and the Scriptures. And our descendants will make the same discovery, prompting them to join us and the entire church in singing Psalm 124: “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, let Israel now say,” etc.Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 47: The Christian in Society IV. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, and H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 47, pp. 117–118). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
The last paragraph of Barth's Luther quote says,
...May Christ our dear God and the Bishop of our souls, which he has bought with his own precious blood, sustain his little flock by the might of his own Word, that it may increase and grow in grace and knowledge and faith in him. May he comfort and strengthen it, that it may be firm and steadfast against all the crafts and assaults of Satan and this wicked world, and may he hear its hearty groaning and anxious waiting and longing for the joyful day of his glorious and blessed coming and appearing. May there be an end of this murderous pricking and biting of the heel, of horrible poisonous serpents. And may there come finally the revelation of the glorious liberty and blessedness of the children of God, for which they wait and hope with patience. To which all those who love the appearing of Christ our life will say from the heart, Amen, Amen.
I don't know if Luther wrote this paragraph or not. It's in neither of the identifiable sources Rörer used. Could it be that Rörer wrote his own ending? Perhaps. Regardless, it just goes to show how tricky citing Luther can be, even when you're not trying to use his words against him like Rome's defenders do.