Luther and the Reformation: eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 145 pages of information about Luther and the Reformation:.

Nor was he without the humility of true greatness.  Newton’s comparison of himself to a child gathering shells and pebbles on the shore, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before him, has been much cited and lauded as an illustration of the modesty of true science.  But long before Newton had Luther said of himself, in the midst of his mighty achievements, “Only a little of the first fruits of wisdom—­only a few fragments of the boundless heights, breadths, and depths of truth—­have I been able to gather.”

He was a man of amazing faith—­that mighty principle which looks at things invisible, joins the soul to divine Omnipotence, and launches out unfalteringly upon eternal realities, and which is ever the chief factor in all God’s heroes of every age.  He dwelt in constant nearness and communion with the Eternal Spirit, which reigns in the heavens and raises the willing and obedient into blessed instruments of itself for the actualizing of ends and ideals beyond and above the common course of things.  With his feet ever planted on the promises, he could lay his hands upon the Throne, and thus was lifted into a sublimity of energy, endurance, and command which made him one of the phenomenal wonders of humanity.  He was a very Samson in spiritual vigor, and another Hannah’s son in the strength and victory of his prayers.

Dr. Calvin E. Stowe says:  “There was probably never created a more powerful human being, a more gigantic, full-proportioned MAN, in the highest sense of the term.  All that belongs to human nature, all that goes to constitute a MAN, had a strongly-marked development in him.  He was a model man, one that might be shown to other beings in other parts of the universe as a specimen of collective manhood in its maturest growth.”

As the guide and master of one of the greatest revolutions of time we look in vain for any one with whom to compare him, and as a revolutionary orator and preacher he had no equal.  Richter says, “His words are half-battles.”  Melanchthon likens them to thunderbolts.  He was at once a Peter and a Paul, a Socrates and an AEsop, a Chrysostom and a Savonarola, a Shakespeare and a Whitefield, all condensed in one.


[22] Froude supplemented.


Some blame him for not using kid gloves in handling the ferocious bulls, bears, and he-goats with whom he had to do.  But what, otherwise, would have become of the Reformation?  His age was savage, and the men he had to meet were savage, and the matters at stake touched the very life of the world.  What would a Chesterfield or an Addison have been in such a contest?  Erasmus said he had horns, and knew how to use them, but that Germany needed just such a master.  He understood the situation.  “These gnarled logs,” said he, “will not split without iron wedges and heavy malls.  The air will not clear without lightning and thunder."[23]

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Luther and the Reformation: from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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