Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

Another year of blogging has come to end. Do people still read blogs?

If you stop by regularly, thank you! I started this little experiment back in December 2005. Here it is, 2019, and the Reformation is the topic that keeps on giving. This past year I've tried to post one entry per week.  This upcoming year, I'm not sure what I'll be doing, but I'm not ready to pack it in yet. I'm still a small blip on the Lutheran radar. I guess once they become aware I'm not a Lutheran, I must get flagged... or something. Then of course, those in my own camp, the Reformed, well, I'm usually not writing about anything that they're all that interested in. Ah well. My Roman Catholic readers know that I'm not Roman Catholic and that this blog is a nuisance, so at least I'm on the same page with them.

I'm not entirely sure how many people visit here. Then again, it's never been about traffic. I write what I do because I like doing it. I don't advertise, I don't sell stuff. Of course, I am grateful for readership. According to Blogger's statistics feature I've had close to three millions hits. This feature doesn't provide a lot of precise information, but it does list which of my entries are being read, and which sites some of the traffic comes from.

Here's where it gets a little weird. Over this past year, I've noticed traffic from a website entitled, "PlagScan." This website specializes in checking for plagiarism. I wish I knew which of my entries were being checked; that would be interesting to know. It would also be interesting in finding out who was doing it. I suppose that if it's an online polemicist of some sort, I'll find out soon enough if something is found! I've never purposefully plagiarized anything, though I will say that as the years progressed here on this blog, I have become even more precise in documentation. I've been going back through my archives and revamping some of my oldest entries to fix some of the documentation, typically to make it more precise. This year some of my older entries will be revamped and re-posted. Because I'm such a nitpicker on documentation, it would not surprise me at all to find someone actively trying to catch something here on this blog, as a sort of revenge.

Here's where it gets even weirder, and this is something that appears to be troublesome to all of us who use Blogger. I noticed via Blogger's stats page that I was getting traffic from some strange websites, which turned out to be, porn sites.  The first question I wondered about is why would a porn site link to this blog?  True, I do have some entries about Luther's views on polygamy... but... people that visit porn sites... I find it unfathomable that any such person cares about anything other than decadence. I searched around and found this over on Blogger's Help Forum: How do I stop porn sites from sending fake referrals and views to my blog? The person who posed this question stated, "I have a Christian blog and I find this extremely distressing!" The answer thus far? There is no answer. Blogger has no way to stop porn sites from linking to blogs. It appears that the reason these porn sites are linking to blogs is that they're trying to get those of us checking Blogger's traffic stats to inadvertently click on their link to see whose linking to our blogs! Wow, what desperation. I suspect the porn sites are using some sort of blogger list and have some sort of code or algorithm that automatically creates a hit and a link back to their sites. If anyone has any solution or tips to stop this, please let me know.  The only solution I've come up with is: when checking Blogger stats, do not click on anything that sounds weird.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Luther Wrote "Away In a Manger"?


Here's one from a Roman Catholic discussion board about Luther being the possible author of Away in a Manger:

For several years, many traditional choir directors have refused to sing Away in a Manger because they think it was written by Luther. A bit of detective work done by researchers at the US Library of Congress finds Luther was not the author. Further, regardless of who the author is, there is no heresy contained within the stanzas but only a sweet song about baby Jesus.

This link provides information to dispel this myth:
So how did a hymn that first appeared in the United States at the end of the 19th century become connected to the 16th-century German reformer Martin Luther? 
The culprit who made the false association between “Away in a Manger” and Luther appears to have been James R. Murray (1841-1905), who in his Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses (1887)—a most Victorian-sounding title—called it “‘Luther’s Cradle Hymn,’ composed by Martin Luther for his children and still sung by German mothers to their little ones.” However, no one has uncovered an original German version by the reformer. 
Gealy, citing a 1945 article by Richard S. Hill, noted that “illicit inferences” to Luther are partly due to “the association of the carol with the glorification of Luther’s family life as depicted in a series of sentimental engravings done in the early nineteenth century by G.F.L. König . . . [including one that portrayed] Luther with his family on Christmas Eve as frontispiece [for a Christmas book].”
Theophilus Baker Stork (1814-1874), the author of this book, also wrote Luther at Home (1872), in which he stated, “Luther’s carol for Christmas, written for his own child Hans, is still sung.” The irony of this assertion is that we actually have a Luther hymn that may have been written for young Hans, “Von Himmel hoch da komm ich her” (1531), published in Joseph Klug’s Gesangsbuch (1535) and translated by Catherine Winkworth in 1885:
From Heaven above to earth I come,
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing.
Standards for attribution were much less rigorous before the 20th century. For example, in the 18th century, some works ascribed to J.S. Bach because of his stature were not written by the composer. Nineteenth-century shape-note tunebooks have vexed hymnologists for years as they have tried to discern authorship of specific tunes.

Here is "Luther's Cradle Hymn" from Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses (1887). Note the text does read, "composed by Martin Luther for his children and still sung by German mothers to their little ones."

Here is Theophilus Baker Stork's comments from his book, Luther at Home:

Here is Gealy's comment:

Here are some comments from Roland Bainton's Martin Luther's Christmas Book:

Monday, December 17, 2018

Luther: All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned

I was asked about this Martin Luther quote:
All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned.
A quick search shows how popular this quote is. This is another instance in which you will not come across a lot of "Lutheran" web sites using this quote. It appears to be most popular with those involved in the debate over predestination. We'll see this isn't exactly what Luther said. Rather, his words have been augmented and placed in the context of  Calvinism.

As far as I can tell, the popular source for this quote is Lorraine Boettner's book, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Boettner states,
That Luther was as zealous for absolute predestination as was Calvin is shown in his commentary on Romans, where he wrote: "All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned." And Melanchthon, his close friend and fellow-laborer, says: "All things turn out according to divine predestination; not only the works we do outwardly, but even the thoughts we think inwardly"; and again, "There is no such thing as chance, or fortune; nor is there a readier way to gain the fear of God, and to put our whole trust in Him, than to be thoroughly versed in the doctrine of Predestination."
While Boettner's book does a fair job outlining the Reformed doctrine of predestination, his method of citing secondary sources is often less than adequate. For this quote, I suspect Boettner didn't actually utilize Luther's "commentary on Romans, " but rather took the quote from another secondary English source: Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius (Girolamo Zanchi). Zanchius was a contemporary of Luther's (1516-1590).  This writer  is claimed to have stated,
Luther* observes that in Rom. ix., x. and xi. the apostle particularly insists on the doctrine of predestination, "Because," says he, "all things whatever arise from and depend upon the Divine appointment, whereby it was preordained who should receive the word of life and who should disbelieve it, who should be delivered from their sins and who should be hardened in them, who should be justified and who condemned."
*In Praefat, ad Epist. ad Rom.
This English rendering is exact to Boettner's, making it highly likely this was the  source Boettner used (this version certainly predates Boettner as this English text from 1769 demonstrates!).  The original text of Zanchi's was not written in English, but rather, written in Latin. Here's where it gets very complicated. There's debate as to which Latin source was utilized for the English rendering. The English translation was the work of Augustus Toplady. Toplady stated he did not exactly follow Zanchi word for word:
Excellent as Zanchy's original piece is, I yet have occasionally ventured both to retrench and to enlarge it, in the translations. to this liberty I was induced, by a desire of rendering it as complete a treatise on the subject as the allotted compass would allow. I have endeavoured rather to enter into the spirit of the admirable author; than with a scrupulous exactness to retail his very words. By which means the performance will prove, I humbly trust, the more satisfactory to the English reader ; and, for the learned one, he can at any time, if he pleases, by comparing the following version with the original Latin, both perceive wherein I have presumed to vary from it; and judge for himself whether my omissions, variations, and enlargements, are useful and just (link, p. 26-27).
This link outlines the severe problems with Toplady's translation, noting particularly,
The "Problem" with Absolute Predestination is that while it is by far Zanchi's most well known work, it was not technically written by him. It is, in fact, a translation and revised abridgment of a section of Zanchi's corpus completed by Augustus Toplady in the eighteenth century, which spawned a heated epistolary controversy with John Wesley.
I went through a number of Latin sources of Zanchi's writings, and could find no exact matching text to that Toplady attributes to him. The closest I found was this text:

While this snippet has some similarities to the purported English text produced by Toplady, it does not sit in the same context as the English. Note that Zanchi  refers to Luther's comments on Romans 9, 10, and 11, while Toplady has Zanchi referring to "In Praefat, ad Epist. ad Rom." Putting both of these togetherit appears Luther's Preface to Romans is being cited. I'm not sure which version Zanchi utilized.

The German text is found in WA DB 7:23.  The English text used below is found in   LW 35:377. 

In chapters 9, 10, and 11 [of Romans Paul] teaches of God’s eternal predestination—out of which originally proceeds who shall believe or not, who can or cannot get rid of sin—in order that our salvation may be taken entirely out of our hands and put in the hand of God alone. And this too is utterly necessary. For we are so weak and uncertain that if it depended on us, not even a single person would be saved; the devil would surely overpower us all. But since God is dependable—his predestination cannot fail, and no one can withstand him—we still have hope in the face of sin.
Zanchi's Latin text follows the gist of Luther's comments, that in Romans 9-11 salvation is dependent on God's predestination, who will believe or not, who will be freed from sin, etc.  When Luther's words are compared to Toplady's rendering, notice Luther has a bit more Calvinistic "umph"; "All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment," "who should receive the word of life," "who should be hardened in them," "who should be justified and who should be condemned."

It appears to me Toplady was translating Zanchi with Calvinistic zeal, thus rendering Luther's comments more "Reformed" than Lutheran. True, Luther believed in predestination, and there's really nothing in Toplady's rendering that would contradict Luther's overall theology. But, as I've studied Luther, predestination and election were expressed in a different way than those with a Reformed worldview. In his Preface to Romans, consider what Luther then goes to immediately say:
Here, now, for once we must put a stop to those wicked and high flying spirits who first apply their own reason to this matter. They begin at the top to search the abyss of divine predestination, and worry in vain about whether they are predestinated. They are bound to plunge to their own destruction, either through despair, or through throwing caution to the winds.
But you had better follow the order of this epistle. Worry first about Christ and the gospel, that you may recognize your sin and his grace. Then fight your sin, as the first eight chapters here have taught. Then, when you have reached the eighth chapter, and are under the cross and suffering, this will teach you correctly of predestination in chapters 9; 10, and 11, and how comforting it is. For in the absence of suffering and the cross and the perils of death, one cannot deal with predestination without harm and without secret anger against God. The old Adam must first die before he can tolerate this thing and drink the strong wine. Therefore beware that you do not drink wine while you are still a suckling. There is a limit, a time, and an age for every doctrine (LW 35:378).
For Luther it is the hidden God who predestines, but this God is not to be sought after or scrutinized. He is to be avoided. As a pastor, Luther was concerned about those who would be entangled by scrupulous introspection, something that plagued him. Therefore, discussions about predestination were best avoided. The emphasis was placed on the positive proclamations of the Gospel. He would advise his hearers to cling to the positive voice of Christ’s gospel. For Luther, discussions of predestination provide little comfort to the Christ’s sheep.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Luther: “Our bodies are always exposed to Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but Devil’s spells.”

Here's a Martin Luther quote that appeared on the CARM discussion boards:

“Our bodies are always exposed to Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but Devil’s spells.” (Martin Luther)

This quote appears to have been posted by someone with sympathies to the Mormon church in response to a Lutheran participant (see my previous entry for details). The point for using it is to defend Mormonism. In another place the same person states, "...demons causing diseases, etc. like much of Christendom used to believe.? I dunno if there is an official LDS doctrine on that. Maybe we are allowed to have opinions on it. But if you wanna talk about Luther, the founder of the Reformation, he certainly believed that demons were responsible for all kinds of stuff that most today would call wacky superstition."

No documentation was provided, but the same person posted the quote here also claiming, "As quoted by John Mark Ministries." I found two web-pages from John Mark Ministries using this quote. The first page, Quotes From Luther (2003) appears to have been written by the founder of JMM, Rowland Croucher (but I'm not entirely sure). What's interesting is that Croucher(?) listed a number of undocumented Luther quotes taken from someone who had posted them on an open newsgroup. Croucher(?) determined the quotes probably came via this page, from a person that said he "didn't keep track of the exact citations" because he compiled them for his own "amusement." Croucher(?) then goes on to defend Luther, saying at one point, "...we see that these quotes were not collected out of serious or honest interest, but merely for someone’s careless amusement. Thus, the sincerity and reasonableness of both the compilers of the quotes page and the users of these quotes is called into question."  The second JMM page is simply entitled, Martin Luther (2005). This page also contains a number of "shock" undocumented Luther quotes that appear to have been originally posted by someone going by the moniker,"Mark T." The page simply ends with this vague comment, "Despite the previous posts which discredit Martin Luther, all the good that he did for the Christian faith in the first half of the 1500’s. must be remembered." No documentation is provided for the quotes in question from this other web page.

The quote in the form it's in comes from William Hazlitt's edition of the Table Talk. Hazlitt does not provide a reference to the exact source he used for his translation. He numbers the comment, "DLXXXIII." If this entry is taken along with the previous (DLXXXII), both closely correspond to this German translation of the Tischreden:

While Hazlitt may have translated from a German source like this, it is not the original text. WA TR III, 131 (entry 2982b) presents how the text occurred in its original form, which was a mix of German and Latin:

Besides Hazlitt, LW 54:188 has provided a translation of WATR III, 131. Below are both Hazlitt's and that from LW 54.


DLXXXII.  Dr. Luther discoursed at length concerning witchcraft and charms. He said, that his mother had had to undergo infinite annoyance from one of her neighbours, who was a witch, and whom she was fain to conciliate with all sorts of attentions; for this witch could throw a charm upon children, which made them cry themselves to death. A pastor having punished her for some knavery, she cast a spell upon him by means of some earth upon which he had walked, and which she bewitched. The poor man hereupon fell sick of a malady which no remedy could remove, and shortly after died. 
DLXXXIII. It was asked: Can good Christians and God-fearing people also undergo witchcraft? Luther replied: Yes; for our bodies are always exposed to the attacks of Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but devil's spells.

LW 54:188
No. 2982b: Recollection of Witchcraft from His Youth
Between February 12 and March 13, 1533
Luther said many things about witchcraft, about asthma and nightmares, and how his mother had been tormented by a neighbor woman who was a witch: “She was compelled to treat her neighbor with deference and try to conciliate her, for the neighbor had through witchcraft caused her own children such sharp pain that they cried themselves to death. A certain preacher taxed her for this, though in general terms; he, too, was poisoned and had to die, for nothing could restore his health. She had taken the soil from his footsteps, had cast a spell over it, and had thrown it into the water; without this soil he couldn’t be healed.”
Then Luther was asked whether such things can also happen to godly people. He answered, “Yes, indeed. Our soul is subject to a lie. When it’s freed, the body remains subject to murder. I believe that my illnesses aren’t natural but are pure sorcery. However, may God liberate his chosen ones from such evils!”

In comparing Hazlitt to LW 54, the gist is the same, but the content has variations.  In regard to the quote in question, while Hazlitt has Luther blaming Satan for illness, LW has him referring to "pure sorcery." For Luther, this amounts to a distinction without a difference, for sorcery stems from Satan.
Even though this is a Table Talk quote and not something Luther actually wrote, there's really nothing incorrect or blatantly out-of-context. Luther did have a strong belief in the Devil and the power of Witchcraft.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Luther: "If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly"

I was asked about the authenticity of this quote:

This image above is typical of the many presentations of this quote. A simple Google search demonstrates its popularity; it's been cut-and-pasted endlessly. What I found interesting is that I didn't come across a lot of Lutheran websites using the quote. Rather, it appears to be most popular with those of a Calvinistic bent. Similarly, many of Luther's comments about free-will are more popular with Calvinists than Lutherans, at least that's been my experience... that's a topic though for another day. However pithy, witty, or heartwarming (particularly to Calvinists) this quote may be,  I'm not convinced Luther penned it.

The English form of the quote is easy enough to track down. It comes from the sermon, Free Will a Slave by C.H. Spurgeon.  Commenting on John 5:40, Spurgeon states:
This is one of the great guns of the Arminians, mounted upon the top of their walls, and often discharged with terrible noise against the poor Christians called Calvinists. I intend to spike the gun this morning, or, rather, to turn it on the enemy, for it was never theirs; it was never cast at their foundry at all, but was intended to teach the very opposite doctrine to that which they assert. Usually, when the text is taken, the divisions are: First, that man has a will. Secondly, that he is entirely free. Thirdly, that men must make themselves willing to come to Christ, otherwise they will not be saved. Now, we shall have no such divisions; but we will endeavour to take a more calm look at the text; and not, because there happen to be the words "will," or "will not" in it, run away with the conclusion that it teaches the doctrine of free-will. It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to be guided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing. Philosophy and religion both discard at once the very thought of free-will; and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, "If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright." It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free-will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is "Alpha and Omega" in the salvation of men.
The Spurgeon Center cites the date of the sermon as December 2, 1855. The date is relevant in trying to determine where Spurgeon took the quote from. Spurgeon's primary language was English. During this time period, there was only a limited pool of Luther's writings available in English. I think it's safe to rule out Spurgeon reading Luther in German; Spurgeon's education was limited, and I don't think he knew German. This is not to imply that Spurgeon was not intelligent or intellectual. I've read that he may have had a photographic memory. This website states, "Spurgeon had no formal education beyond Newmarket Academy, which he attended from August 1849 to June 1850, but he was very well-read in Puritan theology, natural history, and Latin and Victorian literature." Christian History says he was tutored in Greek and "his personal library eventually exceeded 12,000 volumes." Spurgeon's autobiography states his study of Latin began in 1845. So, it's possible Spurgeon could have read Luther in Latin. 

The pool, therefore, of  where Spurgeon could have taken the quote, even excluding German texts, is rather large: Luther's Latin writings, or perhaps a secondary source which simply cited it. It could have easily been something he picked up from a secondary Puritan source.  Despite this mountain of possible texts, in English, there are two specific books from Luther that discuss "free will" both very popular, and available to Spurgeon in 1855. 

The first is Henry Cole's 1823 English translation of Luther's De Servo Arbitrio (On The Bondage of the Will). There's nothing exactly matching the quote in question, but Luther does say to Erasmus, "While you establish Free-will, you make Christ void, and bring the whole scripture to destruction(p. 360), and also that the advocates for free-will deny Christ (p.357).  He states also,

First, God has promised certainly His grace to the humbled: that is, to the self-deploring and despairing. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled, until he comes to know that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsel, endeavours, will, and works, and absolutely depending on the will, counsel, pleasure, and work of another, that is, of God only. For if, as long as he has any persuasion that he can do even the least thing himself towards his own salvation, he retain a confidence in himself and do not utterly despair in himself, so long he is not humbled before God; but he proposes to himself some place, some time, or some work, whereby he may at length attain unto salvation. But he who hesitates not to depend wholly upon the good-will of God, he totally despairs in himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such an one, is the nearest unto grace, that he might be saved (p.56-57).
The second book is Luther's Table Talk. This anthology of second-hand statements from Luther was widely available in English during Spurgeon's lifetime. One of the chapters is specifically dedicated to Luther's comments on Free will. If Luther actually said what's attributed to him by Spurgeon, I believe Spurgeon may have been summarizing the following Table Talk passage. Note the sentence in bold lettering below.

Another Discourse of Free-will.
 Ah, Lord God ! (saith Luther) why should we boast of our free-will, as if it were able to do any thing in divine and spiritual matters, were they never so small? For when we consider what horrible miseries the devil hath brought upon us through sin (which are innumerable and monstrous), then we might shame ourselves to death. 
For, first, free-will did lead us into original sin, and brought death upon us: afterwards, upon sin followed not only death, but all manner of mischiefs, as we daily find in the world; such as murder, lying, deceiving, stealing, and other evils, insomuch that no man is in safety the twinkling of an eye, neither in body nor goods, which always do hover and stand in danger. 
And, besides these evils, there is yet a greater (as is noted in the gospel), namely, that people are possessed of the devil, who maketh them mad and raging, so that, by reason of sin, the generation of mankind is nothing else but a stinking and filthy privy and habitation of devils. For there lieth on our necks everlasting death and God's wrath. Moreover, we are never in quiet but are plagued here on earth, both in body and soul. Now (said Luther) what goodness can such a spoiled and poisoned creature think, much less perform, that might be pleasing to God, in divine and spiritual matters which concern the salvation of our souls? 
In temporal things which pertain to body and wealth, and to this life, as to govern land and people, to rule in house-keeping, &c., free-will may do something that hath a shew and respect before men; but every thing that proccedeth not out of faith is sin, saith St. Paul. 
We know not rightly what we became after the fall of our first parents; what from our mothers we have brought with us. For we have brought altogether a confounded, a spoiled, and a poisoned nature, both in body and soul: and throughout the whole of man is nothing that is good, as the Scripture saith.
And this is my absolute opinion: (said Luther) he that will maintain and defend man's free-will, that it is able to do or work any thing in spiritual causes, (be they never so small) the same hath denied Christ. This I have always maintained in my writings, especially in those which I wrote against Erasmus Roterodamus; (one of the principal learned men in the whole world) and thereby will I remain, for I know it to be the truth: and though all the world should be against it, and otherwise conclude, yet the decree of the Divine Majesty must stand fast against the gates of hell. 
Touching this point, I find myself much wronged by some, (especially by the Synergists) who prate and allege, that I had altered my harsh opinion concerning free-will, and had mollified the same, (as they term it) seeing it is directly against their errors, and they falsely give out that they are my disciples. 
I confess that mankind hath a free will, but it is to milk kine, to build houses, &c., and no further: for so long as a man is at ease and in safety, and is in no want, so long he thinketh he hath a free will which is able to do something; but when want and need appeareth, so that there is neither meat, drink, nor money, where is then free-will? It is utterly lost, and cannot stand when it cometh to the pinch. But faith only standeth fast and sure, and seeketh Christ. 
Therefore faith is far another thing than free-will ; nay, free- will is nothing at all, but faith is all in all. 
I pray (said Luther) put it to the trial; art thou thou bold and stout, and canst thou carry it lustily with thy free-will when plague, wars, and times of dearth and famine are at hand? In the time of plague thou knowest not what to do for fear; then thou wishest thyself a hundred miles off. In time of dearth thou thinkest, Where shall I have to eat? Thy will cannot so much as give thy heart the smallest comfort in these times of need, but the longer thou strivest, the more it maketh thy heart faint and feeble, insomuch as it is affrighted even at the rushing and shaking of a leaf. These are the valiant acts which our free-will can do and achieve. 
But, on the contrary, faith is the Domina and empress: and although it be but small and weak, yet it standeth, and suffereth not itself to be utterly dejected. Faith hath great and mighty parts, as we see in holy Scripture, and on the loving disciples; waves, winds, seas, and all manner of misfortune do appear even unto death: who in such a case would not be affrighted? But faith (how weak soever) standeth like a wall, and little David- like assaulteth Goliah; that is, it fighteth against sin, death, and all danger, especially it fighteth valiantly when it is a strong and complete faith: a weak faith striveth well, but it is not so bold as strong faith.
Spurgeon's sermons were taken down by "loyal transcriptionists" and then "personally edited" by Spurgeon himself (source). Of the versions of Spurgeon's sermon I checked, the words attributed to Luther are always placed in quotes. It is possible though that Spurgeon may have been summarizing Luther rather than directly quoting Luther.

While I couldn't find anything that exactly matched this quote, it does reflect something Luther would have believed or stated. It surprises me though that such a clever quote, if it's really Luther's, would be so difficult to locate. I do not think Rev. Spurgeon concocted a Luther quote; rather he either was summarizing Luther, quoting someone quoting Luther, or perhaps he simply was mistaken that Luther said it (it was one of the Puritans, for instance). I'm open to correction. If someone has a better passage from Luther that fits what Spurgeon cited, please leave a comment.