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(Translated by E. Myers)

These sermons are intended first of all for personal study and edification of genuine Christians who truly hunger for the bread of life and thirst for the living water, and thus diligently seek to know themselves and Christ ever more perfectly, knowing that "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3). Such true Christians have the Father's assurance that those who seek shall also find, to those who knock it shall also be opened.

Second, these sermons are intended for those small groups of Christians who are springing up all over the country and establishing Christian churches in their homes in accord with the earliest customs of the Christians in the days of the apostles, for "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" says Christ. (Matt. 18:20) These small flocks of Christ must often, because of the lack of faithful pastors, temporarily get along without pastors or with men who have a minimum of preparation to serve as elder or pastor. But such truly born-again Christians desire to feed on and be fed with that which truly edifies, strengthens and comforts in their day to day battles against the detestable devil, the deceitful world, and their own fifth column - the sinful flesh. But being of one heart and soul, having the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, with great power and boldness they give witness of the grace that works in them, as they continue steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer. Some meet in their homes, others in sanctuaries specially built for that purpose, but all of them grow daily in grace and knowledge of Christ and witness with their whole life and being to Him who lives within them and rules their hearts and lives.

Thirdly these sermons are also intended to call back the erring and lukewarm into whose hands the Lord may deem fit to place these sermons, as well as to convert those whose hearts have never been turned away from the devil's religion, their self-chosen ways, and this world and life, to God, His kingdom, His way, His truth, and His life.

We wish to call the reader's attention to several items which will help him more readily understand these sermons. Words like Christians, Christendom, church, and the like are often used in their wider and broader sense so as to include all those who call themselves by those names, without regard as to whether or not they actually are CHRISTians and belong to His Church. The reader should also remember that these words were originally addressed to a 19th century audience. Therefore description of prevailing circumstances, ways of life, statistics, and the like may no longer be applicable today. Nevertheless, the truths illustrated thereby are eternal and do not change.

These sermons are purposely and intentionally not copyrighted for several reasons. First, the translation of these messages represents labors freely given for the privilege of serving the Lord and being of assistance to the Lord's elect. Secondly, we want these messages to receive the widest circulation possible. We only desire that the text, whenever used, may not be altered without godly and weighty reasons.

These messages can be most profitably digested if read repeatedly. There is more meat herein than can normally be digested at one meal, and more truth than can be assimilated in one reading!

May God's name hereby be hallowed, His kingdom come, and His will be done to the glory and praise of His precious name.


The author of these sermons, Dr. Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, was "the most commanding figure in the Lutheran Church of America during the nineteenth century." Born October 25, 1811, at Langenchursdorf, Saxony, Germany, at eighteen he took up the study of theology at the University of Leipzig. Rationalism held sway in the Lutheran State churches as well as at the university. Being forced to leave the university for one semester, he employed his time by diligently studying Luther's writings in his father's library. He perfected his thorough familiarity with the works of the Reformer by employing a second period of illness in Perry County, Mo., in the same manner. He graduated in 1833, became a private tutor, and was ordained to the ministry in 1837. Walther's firm Biblical stand met with such opposition and persecution on the part of his congregation and church hierarchy that he resigned his pastorate, joined the Saxon emigrants, and settled in Perry County, Missouri.

Walther took a leading part in organizing a confessional Lutheran synod, and at the formation of The Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, he was elected its first president. He occupied the presidency for a total of 17 years. He was elected professor of theology of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1850, a position he occupied until his death on May 7, 1887. He also took a leading part in establishing the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, of which he became its first president. Though he was a lover of peace, he did not refuse to take a leading part in the controversies of his day.

For many years he was the pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Louis. He established Der Lutheraner, Lehre und Wehre, and a Bible society, all of which eventually led to the establishment of Concordia Publishing House. His writings were so numerous that they were sufficient to make a full-size "five-foot bookshelf."

Last updated September 1, 2014.

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