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For a man of his temperament to hush these superstitious terrors, and to abjure the golden idol to which the adoring eyes of all nations, kindred, and languages were directed, was a self-conquest, such as none but the most heroic minds can achieve; and to which even they are unequal, unless sustained by an invisible but omnipotent arm. For no error can be more extravagant than that which would reduce Martin Luther to the rank of a coarse spiritual demagogue. The deep self-distrust which, for ten successive years, postponed his irreconcilable war with Rome, clung to him to the last; nor was he ever unconscious of the dazzling splendour of the pageantry which his own hand had contributed so largely to overthrow. There is no alloy of affectation in the following avowal, taken from one of his letters to Erasmus:


"You must, indeed, feel yourself in some measure awed in the presence of a succession of learned men, and by the consent of so many ages, during which flourished scholars so conversant in sacred literature, and martyrs illustrious by so many miracles. To all this must be added the more modern theologians, universities, bishops, and popes. On their side are arrayed learning, genius, numbers, dignity, station, power, sanctity, miracles, and what On mine, Wycliff and Laurentius Valla, and though you forget to mention him, Augustine also. Then comes Luther, a mean man, born but yesterday, supported only by a few friends, who have neither learning, nor genius, nor greatness, nor sanctity, nor miracles. Put them altogether, and they have not wit enough to cure a spavined horse. What are they? What the wolf said of the nightingale-a voice, and nothing else. I confess it is with reason you pause in such a presence as this. For ten years together I hesitated myself. Could I believe that this Troy, which had triumphed over so many assaults would fall at last? I call God to witness, that I should have persisted in my fears, and should have hesitated until now, if truth had not compelled me to speak. You may well believe that my heart is not rock; and, if it were, yet so many are the waves and storms which have been beaten upon it, that it must have yielded when the whole weight of this authority came thundering on my head, like a deluge ready to overwhelm me."

The same feelings were expressed at a later time in the following words:

"I daily perceive how difficult it is to overcome long cherished scruples. Oh, what pain it has cost me, though the Scripture is on my side, to defend myself to my own heart for having dared singly to resist the pope, and to denounce him as antichrist! What have been the afflictions of my bosom! How often, in the bitterness of my soul, have I pressed myself with the papist's argument, Art thou alone wise? are all others in error? have they been mistaken for so long a time? What if you are yourself mistaken, and are dragging with you so many souls into eternal condemnation? Thus did I reason with myself, till Jesus Christ, by his own infallible word, tranquillized my heart, and sustained it against

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this argument, as a reef of rocks thrown up against the waves laughs at all their fury."

He who thus acknowledged the influence, while he defied the despotism of human authority, was self-annihilated in the presence of his Maker. "I have learned," he says, " from the Holy Scriptures that it is a perilous and a fearful thing to speak in the house of God; to address those who will appear in judgment against us, when at the last day we shall be found in his presence; when the gaze of the angels shall be directed to us, when every creature shall behold the divine Word, and shall listen till He speaks. Truly, when I think of this, I have no wish but to be silent, and to cancel all that I have written. It is a fearful thing to be called to render to God an account of every idle word." Philip Melancthon occasionally endeavoured, by affectionate applause, to sustain and encourage the mind which was thus bowed down under the sense of unworthiness. But the praise, even of the chosen friend of his bosom, found no echo there. He rejected it, kindly indeed, but with a rebuke so earnest and passionate, as to show that the commendations of him whom he loved and valued most, were unwelcome. They served but to deepen the depressing consciousness of ill desert, inseparable from his lofty conceptions of the duties which had been assigned to him. In Luther, as in other men, the stern and heroic virtues demanded for their support that profound lowliness which might at first appear the most opposed to their development. The eye which often turns inward with self-complacency, or habitually looks round for admiration, is never long or steadfastly fixed on any more elevated object. It is permitted to no man at once to court the applauses of the world, and to challenge a place amongst the generous and devoted benefactors of his species. The enervating spell of vanity, so fatal to many a noble intellect, exercised no perceptible control over Martin Luther. Though conscious of the rare endowments he had received from Providence (of which that very consciousness was not the least important) the secret of his strength, lay in the heartfelt persuasion, that his superiority to other men gave him no title to their commendations, and in his abiding sense of the little value of such praises. The growth of his social affections was impeded by self-regarding thoughts; and he could endure the frowns and even the coldness of those whose approving smiles he judged himself unworthy to receive, and did not much care to win. His was not that feeble benevolence which leans for support, or depends for existence, on the sympathy of those for whom it labours. Reproofs, sharp, unsparing, and pitiless, were familiar to his tongue, and to his pen. Such a censure he had directed to the archbishop of Mentz, which Spalatin, in the name of their common friend and sovereign, the elector Frederic, implored him to suppress. "No," replied Luther, "in defence of the fold of Christ, I will oppose to the utmost of my power, this ravening wolf, as I have resisted others. I send you my book, which was ready before your letter reached me. It has not induce

This buoyant spirit sometimes expressed itself in a more pithy phrase. When he first wrote against indulgences, Dr. Jerome Schurf said to him, "What are you about? they won't allow it." "What if they must allow it?" was the peremptory answer.

me to alter a word. The question is decided, | himself openly and freely, careless whether he I cannot heed your objections." They were is alone, or has others at his side. So spake such, however, as most men would have thought Jeremiah, and I may boast of having done the reasonable enough. Here are some of the same. God has not for the last thousand words of which neither friend nor sovereign years bestowed on any bishop such great gifts could dissuade the publication. "Did you as on me, and it is right that I should extol his imagine that Luther was dead? Believe it gifts. Truly, I am indignant with myself that not. He lives under the protection of that God I do not heartily rejoice and give thanks. Now who has already humbled the pope, and is and then I raise a faint hymn of thanksgiving, ready to begin with the archbishop of Mentz a and feebly praise Him. Well! live or die, game for which few are prepared." To the Domini sumus. You may take the word either severe admonition which followed, the princely in the genitive or in the nominative case. prelate answered in his own person, in terms Therefore, Sir Doctor, be firm." of the most humble deference, leaving to Capito, his minister, the ticklish office of remonstrating against the rigour with which the lash had been applied. But neither soothing nor menaces could abate Luther's confidence in his cause, and in himself. "Christianity," he replies, "is open and honest. It sees things The preceding passages, while they illustrate as they are, and proclaims them as they are. his indestructible confidence in himself as the I am for tearing off every mask, for managing minister, and in his cause as the behest, of nothing, for extenuating nothing, for shutting Heaven, are redolent of that unseemly violence the eyes to nothing, that truth may be transpa- and asperity which are attested at once by the rent and unadulterated, and may have a free regrets of his friends, and the reproaches of his course. Think you that Luther is a man who enemies, and his own acknowledgments. So is content to shut his eyes if you can but lull fierce, indeed, and contumelious and withering him by a few cajoleries?" "Expect every thing is his invective, as to suggest the theory, that, from my affections; but reverence, nay tremble in her successive transmigrations, the same for the faith." George, duke of Saxony, the ficry soul which in one age breathed the "Dinear kinsman of Frederic, and one of the most vine Philippics," and in another, the "Letters determined enemies of the Reformation, not on a Regicide Peace," was lodged in the sixseldom provoked and encountered the same teenth century under the cowl of an Augustresolute defiance. "Should God call me to inian monk; retaining her indomitable energy Wittemburg, I would go there, though it should of abuse, though condemned to a temporary dirain Duke Georges for nine days together, and vorce from her inspiring genius. Yet what cach new duke should be nine times more she lost in eloquence in her transit from the furious than this." "Though exposed daily to | Roman to the Irishman, this upbraiding spirit death in the midst of my enemies, and without more than retrieved in generous and philanany human resource, I never in my life de-thropic ardour, while she dwelt in the bosom spised any thing so heartily as these stupid of the Saxon. Luther's rage, for it is nothing threats of Duke George, and his associates in less-his scurrilities, for they are no betterfolly. I write in the morning fasting, with my are at least the genuine language of passion, heart filled with holy confidence. Christ excited by a deep abhorrence of imposture, lives and reigns, and I, too, shall live and tyranny, and wrong. Through the ebullitions reigr " of his wrath may be discovered his lofty selfesteem, but not a single movement of puerile vanity; his cordial scorn for fools and their folly, but not one heartless sarcasm; his burning indignation against oppressors, whether spiritual or secular, unclouded by so much as a passing shade of malignity. The torrent of emotion is headlong, but never turbulent. When we are least able to sympathize with his irascible feelings, it is also least in our power to refuse our admiration to a mind which, when thus torn up to its lowest depths, discloses no trace of envy, selfishness, or revenge, or of any still baser inmate. His mission from on high may be disputed, but hardly his own belief in it. In that persuasion, his thoughts often reverted to the prophet of Israel mocking the idolatrous priests of Baal, and menacing their still more guilty king; and if the mantle of Elijah might have been borne with a more imposing majesty, it could not have fallen on one better prepared to pour contempt on the proudest enemies of truth, or to brave their utmost resentment.

Here is a more comprehensive denunciation of the futility of the attempts made to arrest his course.

"To the language of the fathers, of men, of angels, and of devils, I oppose neither antiquity nor numbers, but the single word of the Eternal Majesty, even that gospel which they are themselves compelled to acknowledge. Here is my hold, my stand, my resting-place, my glory, and my triumph. Hence I assault popes, Thomists, Henrycists, sophists, and all the gates of hell. I little heed the words of men, whatever may have been their sanctity, nor am I anxious about tradition or doubtful customs. The word of God is above all. If the Divine Majesty be on my side, what care I for the rest, though a thousand Augustines, and a thousand Cyprians, and a thousand such churches as those of Henry, should rise against me? God can neither err nor deceive. Augustine, Cyprian, and all the saints, can err, and have erred."

"At Leipsic, at Augsburg, and at Worms, my spirit was as free as a flower of the field." "He whom God moves to speak, expresses

Is it paradoxical to ascribe Luther's boiste rous invective to his inherent reverence for

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One brave spirit.

"There is much royal ignorance in this volume, but there is also much virulence and falsehood, which belongs to Lee the editor. In the cause of Christ I have trampled under foot the idol of the Roman abomination which had usurped the place of God and the dominion of sovereigns and of the world. Who, then, is this Henry, this Thomist, this disciple of the monster, that I should dread his blasfender of the Church! Yes, of that Church of his which he thus extols-of that prostitute who is clothed in purple, drunk with her debaucheries-of that mother of fornications. Christ is my leader. I will strike with the same blow that Church and the defender with whom she has formed this strict union. They have challenged me to war Well, they shall have war. They have scorned the peace I offered them. Well, they shall have no more peace. It shall be seen which will first be weary-the pope or Luther."-"The world is gone mad. There are the Hungarians, assuming the character of the defenders of God himself. They pray in their litanies, ut nos defensores tuos exaudire digneris-why do not some of our princes take on them the protection of Jesus Christ, others that of the Holy Spirit? Then, indeed, the Divine Trinity would be well guarded."

all those persons and institutions, in favour of | unseen, eternal, and remote. which wisdom, power, and rightful dominion, encountered and subdued a hostile world. An are involuntarily presumed? He lived under intellect of no gigantic proportions, seconded the control of an imagination susceptible by learning of no marvellous compass, and though not creative-of that passive mental gifted with no rare or exquisite abilities, but sense to which it belongs to embrace, rather invincible in decision and constancy of purthan to originate-to fix and deepen our more pose, advanced to the accomplishment of one serious impressions, rather than to minister to great design, with a continually increasing the understanding in the search or the embel momentum, before which all feebler minds lishment of truth. This propensity, the basis retired, and all opposition was dissipated. The of religion itself in some, of loyalty in others, majesty of the contest, and the splendour of and of superstition perhaps in all, prepares the results, may, perhaps, even in our fastithe feeble for a willing servitude; and fur- dious and delicate age be received as an aponishes despotism with zealous instruments in logy for such reproofs as the following to the men of stronger nerves and stouter hearts. It royal "Defender of the Faith." steeled Dominic and Loyola for their relentless tasks, and might have raised St. Martin of Wittemburg to the honours of canonization; if, in designing him for his arduous office, Providence had not controlled the undue sensibility of Luther's mind, by imparting to him a brother's love for all the humbler members of the family of man, and a filial fear of God, stronger even than his reverence for the powers and principalities of this sublunary world. Be-phemies and his fury? Truly he is the detween his religious affections and his homage for the idols of his imagination, he was agitated by a ceaseless conflict. The nice adjustment of such a balance ill suited his impatient and irritable temper; and he assaulted the objects of his early respect with an impetuosity which betrays his secret dread of those formidable antagonists (so he esteemed them) of God and of mankind. He could not trust himself to be moderate. The restraints of education, habit, and natural disposition, could be overborne only by the excitement which he courted and indulged. His long-cherished veneration for those who tread upon the high places of the earth, lent to his warfare with them all the energy of self-denial, quickened by the anxiety of self-distrust! He scourged his lordly adversaries, in the spirit of a flagellant taming his own rebellious flesh. His youthful devotion for "the solemn plausibilities of life," like all other affections obstinately repelled and mortified, reversed its original tendency, and gave redoubled fervour to the zeal with which he denounced their vanity and resisted their usurpation. If these indignant contumelies offended the gentle, the learned, and the wise, they sustained the courage and won the confidence of the multitude. The voice which commands in a tempest must battle with the roar of the elements. In his own apprehension at least, Luther's soul was among lions-the princes of Germany, and their ministers; Henry the Eighth, and Edward Lee, his chaplain; the sacramentarians and Auabaptists; the Universities of Cologne and Louvain; Charles and Leo; Adrian and Clement; Papists, Jurists, and Aristotelians; and, above all, the devils whom his creed assigned to each of these formidable opponents as so many inspiring or ministering spirits. However fierce and indefensible may be his occasional style, history presents no more sublime picture than that of the humble monk triumphing over such adversaries, in the invincible power of a faith before which the present and the visible disappeared, to make way for things

The briefs of Pope Adrian are thus disposed of:-"It is mortifying to be obliged to give such good German in answer to this wretched Latin. But it is the pleasure of God to confound antichrist in every thing-to leave him neither literature nor language. They say that he has gone mad and fallen into dotage. It is a shame to address us Germans in such Latin as this, and to send to sensible people such a clumsy and absurd interpretation of scripture."

The bulls of Pope Clement fare no better. "The pope tells us in his answer that he is willing to throw open the golden doors. It is long since we opened all doors in Germany. But these Italian scaramouches have never restored a farthing of the gain they have made by their indulgences, dispensations, and other diabolical inventions. Good Pope Clement, all your clemency and gentleness won't pass here. We'll buy no more indulgences. Golden doors and bulls, get ye home again. Look to the Italians for payment. They who know ye will bay ye no more. Thanks be to God, we know that they who possess and believe the gospel, enjoy an uninterrupted jubilee. Ev


cellent pope, what care we for your bulls? | subject to his control. The Iconoclasts, AnaYou may save your seals and your parchment. baptists, and other innovators, however welThey are in bad odour now-a-days."-"Let come at first as useful, though irregular them accuse me of too much violence. I care partisans, brought an early discredit on the Hereafter be it my glory that men shall victory to which they had contributed. The tell how I inveighed and raged against the reformer's suspicion of these doubtful allies papists. For the last ten years have I been was first awakened by the facility with which humbling myself, and addressing them in none they urged their conquests over the established but respectful language. What has been the opinions of the Christian world beyond the consequence of all this submission? To make limits at which he had himself paused. He bad worse. These people are but the more distrusted their exemption from the pangs and furious. Well, since they are incorrigible, as throes with which the birth of his own docit is vain to hope to shake their infernal pur- trines had been accompanied. He perceived poses by kindness, I will break them, I will in them none of the caution, self-distrust, and pursue them," &c.-"Such is my contempt for humility, which he wisely judged inseparable these satans, that were I not confined here, I from the honest pursuit of truth. Their claims would go straight to Rome, in spite of the to an immediate intercourse with heaven apdevil and all these furies." "But," he con- peared to him an impious pretension; for he tinues, in a more playful mood, "I must have judged that it is only as attempered through patience with the pope, with my boarders, my many a gross intervening medium, that divine servants, with Catherine de Bora, and with light can be received into the human underevery body else. In short, I live a life of pa- standing. Carlostadt, one of the professors of tience." Wittemburg, was the leader of the Illuminati at that university. The influence of Luther procured his expulsion to Jena, where he established a printing press. But the maxims of toleration are not taught in the school of successful polemics; and the secular arm was invoked to silence an appeal to the world at large against a new papal authority.

At the risk of unduly multiplying these quotations, we must add another, which has been quoted triumphantly by his enemies. It is his answer to the charge of mistranslating the Bible. "The ears of the papists are too long with their hi! ha!-they are unable to criticise a translation from Latin into German. Tell them that Dr. Martin Luther chooses that it shall be so, and that a papist and a jackass are the same."

We should reprint no small portion of Luther's works before we exhausted the examples which might be drawn from them, of the uproar with which he assailed his antagonists. To the reproaches which this violence drew on him, he rarely condescended to reply. But to his best and most powerful friend, the Elector Frederic, he makes a defence, in which there is some truth and more eloquence. "They say that these books of mine are too keen and cutting. They are right: I never meant them to be soft and gentle. My only regret is, that they cut no deeper. Think of the violence of my enemies, and you must confess that I have been forbearing."-"All the world exclaims against me, vociferating the most hateful calumnies; and if in my turn, I, poor man, raise my voice, then nobody has been vehement but Luther. In fine, whatever I do or say must be wrong, even should I raise the dead. Whatever they do must be right, even should they deluge Germany with tears and blood." In his more familiar discourse, he gave another, and perhaps a more accurate account of the real motives of his impetuosity. He purposely fanned the flame of an indignation which he thought virtuous, because the origin of it was so. "I never," he said, "write or speak so well as when I am in a passion." He found anger an ineffectual, and at last a necessary stimulant, and indulged in a liberal or rather in an intemperate use of it.

The tempestuous phase of Luther's mind was not, however, permanent. The wane of it may be traced in his later writings; and the cause of it may be readily assigned. The liberator of the human mind was soon to discover that the powers he had set free were not

The debate from which Luther thus excluded others he could not deny to himself; for he shrunk from no inquiry and dreaded no man's prowess. A controversial passage at arms accordingly took place between the reformer and his refractory pupil. It is needless to add that they separated, each more firmly convinced of the errors of his opponent. The taunt of fearing an open encounter with truth, Luther repelled with indignation and spirit. He invited Carlostadt to publish freely whatever he thought fit, and the challenge being accepted, placed in his hands a florin, as a kind of wager of battle. It was received with equal frankness. The combatants grasped each other's hands, drank mutual pledges in a solemn cup, and parted to engage in hostilities more serious than such greetings might have seemed to augur. Luther had the spirit of a martyr, and was not quite exempt from that of a persecutor. Driven from one city to another, Carlostadt at last found refuge at Basle; and thence assailed his adversary with a rapid succession of pamphlets, and with such pleasant appellatives as "twofold papist," "ally of antichrist," and so forth. They were answered with equal fertility, and with no greater moderation. "The devil," says Luther, "held his tongue till I won him over with a florin. It was money well laid out. I do not regret it." He now advocated the cause of social order, and exposed the dangers of ignorant innovators, assailing these new enemies with his own weapons. "It will never do to jest with Mr. All-the-World (Herr Omnes.) To keep that formidable person quiet, God has established lawful authority. It is his pleasure that there should be order amongst us here." "They cry out, the Bible! the Bible!— Bibel! Bubel! Babel!" From that sacred source many arguments had been drawn to prove that all good Christians, were bound, in

imitation of the great Jewish lawgiver, to over- | intense, as to breathe and burn not only without throw and deface the statues with which the the use of vehement or opprobrious words, but papists had embellished the sacred edifices. through a diction invariably calm and simple; Luther strenuously resisted both the opinion and a mass of learning so vast and so perfectly and the practice; maintaining that the Scrip- digested as to be visible every where without tures nowhere prohibit the use of images, ex- producing the slightest encumbrance or emcept such as were designated as a representa- barrassment. To quote from Mr. Hallam's tion or symbol of Deity. But to the war with History of the Middle Ages:-"Nothing, perobjects designed (however injudiciously) to haps, in polemical eloquence is so splendid aid the imagination, and to enliven the affec- as the chapter on Luther's theological tenets. tions, Carlostadt and his partisans united that The eagle of Meaux is there truly seen, lordly mysticism which teaches that the mind, thus of form, fierce of eyes, terrible in his beak and deprived of all external and sensible supports, claws"-a graphic and not unmerited tribute should raise itself to a height of spiritual con- to the prowess of this formidable adversary. templation and repose, where, all other objects But the triumph which it appears to concede being banished, and all other sounds unheard, to him may not be so readily acknowledged. and all other thoughts expelled, the Divine Being will directly manifest himself, and disclose his will by a voice silent and inarticulate, and yet distinctly intelligible. Luther handles this sublime nonsense as it well deserved. "The devil," he says, (for this is his universal solvent,) "opens his large mouth, and roars out, Spirit! spirit! spirit! destroying the while all roads, bridges, scaling-ladders, and paths, by which spirit can enter; namely, the visible order established by God in holy baptism, in outward forms, and in his own word. They would have you mount the clouds and ride the winds, telling you neither how, nor when, nor where, nor which. All this they leave you to discover for yourself."

Carlostadt was an image-breaker and a mystic, but he was something more. He had adopted the opinion of Zuingle and Ecolampadius on the holy communion,-receiving as an emblem, and as nothing else, the sacred elements in which the Roman Catholic Church, after the words of consecration, recognises the very body and blood of the Divine Redeemer. He was, therefore, supported by the whole body of Swiss reformers. Luther, "chained down," as he expresses it, "by the sacred text," to the doctrine of the real presence, had ardently desired to be enfranchised from this opinion. "As often as he felt within himself the strivings of the old Adam, he was but too violently drawn to adopt the Swiss interpretation." "But if we take counsel with reason we shall no longer believe any mystery." He had, however, consulted this dangerous guide too long, thus easily to shake off her company. The text taught him one real presence, his reason assured him of another; and so he required his disciples to admit and believe both. They obeyed, though at the expense of a schism among the reformers, of which it is difficult to say whether it occasioned more distress to themselves, or more exultation to their common enemies.

This is the first and greatest of those "Variations" of which the history has been written with such inimitable eloquence. Nothing short of the most obtuse prejudice could deny to Bossuet the praise of having brought to religious controversy every quality which can render it either formidable or attractive; a style of such transparent perspicuity as would impart delight to the study of the year-books, if they could be rewritten in it; a sagacity which nothing escapes; and a fervour of thought and feeling so

The argument of the "Variations" rests on the postulate, that a religion of divine origin must have provided some resource for excluding uncertainty on every debatable point of belief or practice. But it must be vain to search for this steadfast light amongst those who were at variance on so many vital questions. The required Ductor Dubitantium could, therefore, be found only in the venerable form of the Catholic Church, whose oracles, every where accessible and never silent, had, from age to age, delivered to the faithful the same invariable truths in one continuous strain of perfect and unbroken harmony.

Much as the real contrast has been exaggerated by the most subtle disputant of modern times, it would be futile to deny, or to extenuate the glaring inconsistencies of the reformers with each other, and with themselves. Protestantism may well endure an avowal which leaves her foundations unimpaired. Bossuet has disproved the existence of a miracle which no man alleges. He has incontrovertibly established that the laws of nature were not suspended in favour of Luther and his associates. He has shown, with inimitable address and eloquence, that, within the precincts of moral science, human reason must toil in vain for demonstrative certainties; and that, in such studies, they who would adopt the same general results, and co-operate for one common end, must be content to rest very far short of an absolute identity of opinion. But there is a deep and impassable gulf between these premises and the inference deduced from them. The stupendous miracle of a traditional unanimity for fifteen hundred years amongst the members of the Christian Church, at once unattested by any authentic evidence, and refuted by irresistible proofs, is opposed as much to the whole economy of the moral government of the world, as it is to human experience. It was, indeed, easy to silence dissent by terror; to disguise real differences beneath conventional symbols; to divert the attention of the incurious by a gorgeous pageantry; and to disarm the inquisitive at one time by golden preferments, and at another by specious compromises: and it was easy to allege this timid, or blind, or selfish acquiescence in spiritual despotism, as a general consent to the authority, and as a spontaneous adoption of the tenets of the dominant priesthood. But so soon as men really begin to think, it was impossible that they should think alike. When

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