“In his first advent, God came in a thick, black cloud with fire, smoke, and thunder; He came with a great sound of trumpets, so fierce that the children of Israel were filled with fear and dread and said to Moses, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.But you speak with us . . . and let not God speak with us, lest we die.” At that time he gave them the Law. The Law is cruel; we do not like to hear it. The Law is such a terror to our reason that at times we fall into despair, for indeed it shows us our utter weakness. It is so heavy a burden that the conscience knows not where to turn, or what to do.
“Christ in his advent is not fierce, but meek and merciful. He does not come on the mountain, but in the village.
On Sinai he came with terror, now he comes with meekness.
There he came with thunder and lightening; here he comes with hymns of praise.
There he came with the great sound of trumpets; here he comes weeping over the city of Jerusalem.
There he came with fear; here he comes with consolation, joy and love.
“Behold, herein you find the difference between the Law and the Gospel, to wit, that the Law commands while the Gospel gives all things freely. At the first advent the children of Israel fled before the voice of God, but now our desire to hear it cannot be stilled. Therefore when you are in anxiety and tribulation, you shall not run to Mt Sinai, that is to say, look to the Law for help. Neither shall you think that you yourselves have power to atone, but rather shall you look for help in Jerusalem, that is to say, in the Gospel which says, ‘Your sins are forgiven you; go your way, from henceforth sin no more.'”
— Martin Luther, 1522