Luther and the Reformation: eBook

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

But if he was rough betimes, he could be as gentle and tender as a maiden, and true to himself in both.  He could fight monsters all day, and in the evening take his lute, gaze at the stars, sing psalms, and muse upon the clouds, the fields, the flowers, the birds, dissolved in melody and devotion.  Feared by the mighty of the earth, the dictator and reprimander of kings, the children loved him, and his great heart was as playful among them as one of themselves.  If he was harsh and unsparing upon hypocrites, malignants, and fools, he called things by their right names, and still was as loving as he was brave.  Since King David’s lament over Absalom no more tender or pathetic scene has appeared in history or in fiction than his outpouring of paternal love and grief over the deathbed, coffin, and grave of his young and precious daughter Madeleine.  “I know of few things more touching,” says Carlyle, “than those soft breathings of affection, soft as a child’s or a mother’s, in this great wild heart of Luther;” and adds:  “I will call this Luther a true Great Man; great in intellect, in courage, affection, and integrity; one of our most lovable and precious men.  Great not as a hewn obelisk, but as an Alpine mountain, so simple, honest, spontaneous; not setting up to be great at all; there for quite another purpose than being great.  Ah, yes, unsubduable granite, piercing far and wide into the Heavens; yet, in the clefts of it, fountains, green, beautiful valleys with flowers.  A right Spiritual Hero and Prophet; once more, a true Son of Nature and Fact, for whom these centuries, and many that are yet to come, will be thankful to Heaven.”


[23] “It must be observed that the coarse vituperations which shock the reader in Luther’s controversial works were not peculiar to him, being commonly used by scholars and divines of the Middle Ages in their disputations.  The invectives of Valla, Filelfo, Poggio, and other distinguished scholars against each other are notorious; and this bad taste continued in practice long after Luther down to the seventeenth century, and traces of it are found in writers of the eighteenth, even in some of the works of the polished and courtly Voltaire.”—­Cyclopaedia of Soc. for Diffus. of Useful Knowledge.


A lone man, whose days were spent in poverty; who could withstand the mighty Vatican and all its flaming Bulls; whose influence evoked and swayed successive Diets of the empire; whom repeated edicts from the Imperial throne could not crush; whom the talent, eloquence, and towering authority of the Roman hierarchy assailed in vain; whom the attacks of kings of state and kings of literature could not disable; to offset whose opinions the greatest general council the Church of Rome ever held had to be convened, and, after sitting eighteen years, could not adjourn without conceding much to his positions; and whose name the greatest and most enlightened nations of the earth hail with glad acclaim,—­necessarily must have been a wonder of a man.[24]

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