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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Value and Power of Music
By Martin Luther (1483–1546)
 
MUSIC is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God. To it Satan is exceedingly hostile. Thereby many temptations and evil thoughts are driven away; the devil cannot withstand it. Music is one of the best arts: the notes give life to the text; it expels the spirit of sadness, as one observes in King Saul. Some of the nobles and usurers imagine that they have saved for my Gracious Elector three thousand gulden yearly by cutting down music. Meanwhile they spend thirty thousand gulden in useless ways in its place. Kings, princes, and lords must support music, for it is the duty of great potentates and rulers to maintain the liberal arts and laws; and although here and there, ordinary and private persons have pleasure in and love them, still they cannot sustain them.  1
  [When some singers were rendering several fine and admirable motettes of Senfl, Dr. Martin Luther admired and praised them highly. He remarked:] Such a motette I should not be able to compose, even if I were to devote myself wholly to the art. Nor could Senfl, on the other hand, preach on a psalm as well as I. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifold; just as in one body the members are manifold. But nobody is content with his gifts; he is not satisfied with what God has given him. All want to be the entire body, not the limbs.  2
  Music is a glorious gift of God, and next to theology. I would not exchange my small musical talent for anything esteemed great. We should accustom the youth continually to this art, for it produces fine and accomplished people.  3
 
 
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