Luther and the Reformation: eBook

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

Michelet, also a Romanist, pronounces Luther “the restorer of liberty in modern times;” and adds:  “If we at this day exercise in all its plenitude the first and highest privilege of human intelligence, it is to him we are indebted for it.”

“And that any faith,” says Froude, “any piety, is alive now, even in the Roman Church itself, whose insolent hypocrisy he humbled into shame, is due in large measure to the poor miner’s son.”

He certainly is to-day the most potently living man who has lived this side of the Middle Ages.  The pulsations of his great heart are felt through the whole corpus of our civilization.

“Four potentates,” says the late Dr. Krauth, “ruled the mind of Europe in the Reformation:  the emperor, Erasmus, the pope, and Luther.  The pope wanes; Erasmus is little; the emperor is nothing; but Luther abides as a power for all time.  His image casts itself upon the current of ages as the mountain mirrors itself in the river which winds at its foot.  He has monuments in marble and bronze, and medals in silver and gold, but his noblest monument is the best love of the best hearts, and the brightest and purest impression of his image has been left in the souls of regenerated nations.”

Many and glowing are the eulogies which have been pronounced upon him, but Frederick von Schlegel, speaking from the side of Rome, gives it as his conviction that “few, even of his own disciples, appreciate him highly enough.”  Genius, learning, eloquence, and song have volunteered their noble efforts to do him justice; centuries have added their light and testimony; half the world in its enthusiasm has urged on the inspiration; but the story in its full dimensions has not yet been adequately told.  The skill and energy of other generations will yet be taxed to give it, if, indeed, it ever can be given apart from the illuminations of eternity.[27]

FOOTNOTES: 

[26] “From the commencement of the religious war in Germany to the Peace of Westphalia scarce anything great or memorable occurred in the European political world with which the Reformation was not essentially connected.  Every event in the history of the world in this interval, if not directly occasioned, was nearly affected, by this religious revolution, and every state, great or small, remotely or immediately felt its influence.”—­Schiller’s Thirty Years’ War, vol. i. p. 1.

[27] “Luther was as wonderful as he was great.  His personal experience in divine things was as deep as his mind was mighty, large, and unbounded.  Though called by the Most High, and continued by his appointment, in the midst of papal darkness, idolatry, and error, with no companions but the saints of the Bible, nor any other light but the lamp of the Word to guide his feet, his heaven-taught soul was ministerially furnished with as rich pasture for the sheep of Christ, as awful ammunition for the terror and destruction

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