Page images
PDF
EPUB

LUTHER AND THE REFORMATION.

LUTHER CONTINUES HIS TRANS

LATION OF THE BIBLE WITH
THE ASSISTANCE OF MEL-
ANOTHON, 1523-4.

[graphic]

TROM the confused

Ferowd

of the icon

oclasts, and their fanatical excesses, we enter once more Luther's silent cell, to witness the quiet progress of his translation of the Bible. At his side stands the younger friend and assistant of the reformer, Philip Melancthon, the distinguished teacher of the Greek language at the young university. According to Luther's description, he was “a mere youth in age, figure, and appearance; but a man when one considered the extent of his knowledge.”

This was the beautiful period of their friendship, when each labored in the same spirit at their common task, full of admiration of the higher gifts of the other. “See how beautiful and lovely it is when brethren not in understanding? The apostle says, dwell together in unity!"

that we proceed from knowledge to knowlLuther says in 1522, “ No commen- edge. The Gospel of St. John is the tator has come nearer to the spirit of the true and pure Gospel, the principal GosApostle Paul than my Philippus." pel, because it contains more of Jesus

Luther's opinions of the Scriptures were Christ's own words than the rest. In somewhat curious. “I frankly own,” he like manner, the Epistles of St. Paul and says, “ that I know not whether or no I St. Peter are far above (?) the Gospels am master of the full meaning of the of St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke. Psalms; although I have no doubts about In fine, St. John's Gospel and his First my giving their correct sense. One man Epistle, St. Paul's Epistles,-especially will be mistaken in some passages, another those to the Romans, Galatians, and in others. I see things which Augustin Ephesians,-and St. Peter's First Epistle, overlooked ; and others, I am aware, will are the books which show thee Jesus see things which I miss. Who will dare to Christ, and which teach thee all that is assert that he has completely understood a necessary and useful for thee to know, single Psalm? Our life is a beginning and though thou wert never to see any other a progress; not a consummation. He is book.” He did not consider either the the best, who comes nearest to the spirit. Epistle to the Hebrews or the Epistle of There are stages in life and action—why | St. James of apostolic authority.

LUTHER AND MELANCTHOX TRANSLATING THE BIBLE,

[graphic][merged small]

The lower classes, the peasantry, who had the beginning, the aim was a terrible war so long slumbered under the weight of against the established order of things, feudal oppression, heard princes and the against every kind of order—a war on learned speak of liberty, of enfranchise- property, as being a robbery of the poor ; ment, and they applied to themselves that a war on knowledge, as destructive of which was not spoken for them. The natural equality, and a tempting of God, reclamation of the poor peasants of Suabia who had revealed all to his saints. Books will remain, in its simple barbarism, a and pictures were inventions of the devil. monument of courageous moderation. The peasants first rose up in the Black By degrees, the eternal hatred of the poor Forest, and then around Heilbronn and to the rich was aroused ; less blind than Frankfort, and in the county of Baden and in the jaquerie, but striving after a Spires ; whence the flame extended into systematic form, which it was only to Alsace, and nowhere did it assume a more attain afterward, in the time of the English fearful character. It reached the Palatlevelers, and complicated with all the inate, Hesse, and Bavaria. The leader forms of religious democracy, which were of the insurgents in Suabia was one of the supposed to have been stifled in the mid- petty nobles of the valley of the Necker, dle age. Lollards, Beghards, and a crowd the celebrated Goetz of Berlichingen, of apocalyptic visionaries were in motion. Goetz with the Iron Hand, who pretended At a later moment, the rallying cry was they had forced him to be their general the necessity for a second baptism : at against his will.

[ocr errors]

The reformation in the Church is in can fit it, I mean to take my Kate to wife danger of being swallowed up by a political ere I die, in despite of the devil, although I revolution ; the internal freedom of the hear that my enemies will continue. I Christian is to justify rebellion against hope they may not take from me my the state. This stormy flood Luther op- courage and my joy. A few weeks later, poses with his whole being ; shudderingly on June 13th, he was united to Katharina he seems to look into a bottomless abyss for life in the house of the town-clerk that opens before his people.

(Stadtschreiber) of Wittenberg : his friend In May, 1525, he wrote to his brother- Bugenhagen blessed the sacred union, in in-law from Seeburg, where he had warned the presence of the lawyer Apel and of the people against rebellious proceedings: Lukas Kranach. “ Beloved Heavenly “ Though there were many more thousand Father," so did he pray, “as thou hast peasants, they are all of them robbers and given me the honor of thy name and of murderers, who take to the sword for the thine office, and willest also that I should sake of their own gratification, and who be called and be honored as a father, grant want to make a new rule in the world, me grace, and bless me, that I may govern for which they have from God neither and nourish my dear wife, child, and law, nor right, nor command ; they like- servants in a divine and Christian manner. wise bring disgrace and dishonor upon the

I have not known how to word of God and upon the gospel : yet I refuse to my beloved Lord and Father still hope that this will not continue nor this last act of obedience to his will which last. Well, when I get home, I will pre- he claimed of me, in the good hope that pare myself for death with God's help, and God may grant me children. Also that I await my new masters, the robbers and may confirm my doctrine by this my act murderers. But sooner than approve of and deed; seeing that I find still so many and pronounce right their doings, I would faint hearts, notwithstanding the shining lose a hundred necks, so God in his light of the gospel. . . I have mercy help me!

reaped such great discredit and contempt “In this my conscience is secure, from this my marriage, that I hope the although I may lose my life. It endureth angels will rejoice and the devils weep. but a short time, until the right Judge The world and her wiseacres know not cometh, who will find both them and us. nor understand this word, that it is divine Their doings and their victories and holy.

If matrimony be cannot last long.”

the work of God, what wonder that the He had already warned the peasants, world should be offended thereat? Is it some time previously, in his “ Admonition not also offended that its own God and to Peace," and said : “Be ye in the right Maker has taken upon himself our Aesh as much as ye may, yet it becometh no and blood and given it for its salvation, as Christians to quarrel and to fight, but to a redemption and as food ? . . suffer wrong and bear evil. Put away the Matrimony drives, hunts, and forces man name of Christians, I say, and make it not into the very innermost and highest moral the cover for your impatient, quarrelsome, condition ; that is to say, into faithand unchristian intentions. That name I since there is no higher internal condition will grudge you, nor leave it you, but tear than faith, which dependeth solely upon it away from you by writing and preaching, the word of God.

Let the as long as a vein beats in my body." wife think thus : My husband is an image

of the true high head of Christ. In the same manner the husband shall love his

wife with his whole heart, for the sake of From the agitation caused by his oppo the perfect love which he seeth in Christ, sition to the iconoclasts Luther had return who gave himself for us. Such will be a ed to his Bible; from the annihilating Christian and divine marriage, of which struggles of a political revolution he turned the heathens know nothing. to the symbolical erection of a Christian It is the highest mercy of God when a household—to the foundation of a family married couple love each other with their in the true German and evangelical spirit. whole hearts through their whole lives.”

Even during the storm of insurrection His bride, Catharine von Bora, was a he wrote in the spring of 1525: " And if I | young girl of noble birth, who had escaped

LUTHER'S MARRIAGE.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

from her convent; was twenty-four years tremely poor. Preoccupied with houseof age, and remarkably beautiful. It ap- hold cares, and anxiety about his future pears that she had been previously at- family, he turned his thoughts to acquiring tached to a young student of Nuremberg, a handicraft. “If the world will no longer Jerome Baumgartner; and Luther wrote support us in return for preaching the to him, (October 12th, 1524 :)—“ If you word, let us learn to live by the labor of desire to obtain your Catharine von Bora, our own hands.” Could he have chosen, make haste before she is given to another, he would no doubt have preferred one of whose she almost is. Still she has not the arts which he loved—the art of Albert yet overcome her love for you. For my Durer, and of his friend Lucas Cranachpart, I should be delighted to see you or music, which he calls a science inferior united.” He writes to Stiefel, a year to theology alone ; but he had no master. after his marriage, (August 12th, 1526 :) So he became turner. “Since our bar“Catharine, my dear rib, salutes you. barians here know nothing ofart or science, She is, thanks to God! in the enjoyment my servant Wolfgang and I have taken to of excellent health. She is gentle, obedi- turning.” He commissioned Wenceslaus ent, and complying in all things, beyond Link to buy him tools at Nuremberg. He my hopes. I would not exchange my also took to gardening and building. “I poverty for the wealth of Cræsus." have planted a garden,” he writes to SpalaLuther, in truth, was at this time ex- | tin, “ and have built a fountain, and have

THE OONTROVERSY BETWEEN LUTHER AND ZWINGLI

ON THE SACRAMENT.

succeeded tolerably in both. Come, and be Gardening was no great resource, and crowned with lilies and roses." (December, Luther found himself in a situation equally 1525.) In April, 1527, on being made a strange and distressing. This man, who present of a clock by an abbot of Nurem- governed kings, saw himself dependent berg, “ I must,” he says, in acknowledging on the elector for his daily food. its receipt,—“I must become a student of mathematics in order to comprehend all this mechanism, for I never saw anything like it.” A month afterward he writes : “ The turning tools are come to hand, and Ten years earlier Luther had stood at the dial with the cylinder and the wooden Leipzic opposed to the principal and dexclock. I have tools enough for the pres- terous theological champion of the court ent, except you meet with some newly- of Rome ; here, at Marburg, we find him invented ones, which can turn of them- opposing the spiritual head of the Swiss selves, while my servant snores or stares Reformation. Wittemberg and Zurich, at the clouds. I have already taken my Saxony and Switzerland, represented by degree in clockmaking, which is prized by their most distinguished professors, deme as enabling me to tell the hour to my bated in the castle at Marburg, from the drunkards of Saxons, who pay more at- 1st to the 4th of October, 1529, upon the tention to their glasses than the hours, and theological interpretation of the sacrament care not whether sun, or clock, or whoso of the Lord's supper, and upon the words regulates the clock, go wrong. (May employed in instituting it. 19th, 1527.) “You may absolutely see The profound mystery of the sacrament my melons, gourds, and pumpkins grow; of the Lord's supper, in its depth and so I have known how to employ the power entirely beyond the range, and seeds you have sent me.” (July 5th.) | indeed opposed to the scholastic contro

[graphic][merged small]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »