When God wills to punish a people or a kingdom, He takes away from it the good and godly teachers and preachers, and bereaves it of wise, godly, and honest rulers and counselors, and of brave, upright and experienced soldiers, and of other good men. Then are the common people secure and merry; they go on in all willfulness. They care no longer for the truth and for the divine doctrine; nay, they despise it, and fall into blindness. They have no fear or honesty; they give way to all manner of shameful sins, whence arises a wild, dissolute, and devilish kind of living, as that we now, (alas!) see and know only too well. We cannot long endure. I fear the axe is laid to the root of the tree, soon to cut it down [Martin Luther, Table Talk (Gainsville, Fl.: Bridge-Logos, 2004), 45-46].