Luther and the Reformation: eBook

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

In the early periods of the mediaeval Church her missionaries came to these fiery warriors of the North and followed the conquests of Charlemagne, to teach them that they had souls, that there is a living and all-knowing God at whose judgment-bar all must one day stand to give account, and that it would then be well with the believing, brave, honest, true, and good, and ill with cowards, profligates, and liars.  It was a simple creed, but it took fast hold on the Germanic heart, to show itself in sturdy power in the long after years.

This creed, in unabated force, descended to Luther’s parents, and lived and wrought in them as a controlling principle.  They were also strict to render it the same in their children.

Hans Luther was a hard and stern disciplinarian, unsparing in the enforcement of every virtue.

Margaret Luther[2] was noted among her neighbors as a model woman, and was so earnest in her inculcations of right that she preferred to see her son bleed beneath the rod rather than that he should do a questionable thing even respecting so small a matter as a nut.

From his childhood Luther was thus trained and attempered to fear God, reverence truth and honesty, and hate hypocrisy and lies.  Possibly his parents were severer with him than was necessary, but it was well for him, as the prospective prophet of a new era, to learn absolute obedience to those who were to him the representatives of that divine authority which he was to teach the world supremely to obey.

But no birth, or blood, or parental drilling, or any mere human culture, could give the qualities necessary to a successful Reformer.  The Church had fallen into all manner of evils, because it had drifted away from the apostolic doctrine as to how a man shall be just with God; which is the all-conditioning question of all right religion.  There could then be no cure for those evils except by the bringing of the Church back to that doctrine.  But to do anything effectual toward such a recovery it was pre-eminently required that the Reformer himself should first be brought to an experimental knowledge of what was to be witnessed and taught.

On two different theatres, therefore, the Reformation had to be wrought out:  first, in the Reformer’s own soul, and then on the field of the world outside of him.

FOOTNOTES: 

[2] The maiden name of Margaret Luther, the mother of Martin, was Margaret Ziegler.  There has been a traditional belief that her name was Margaret Lindeman.  The mistake originated in confounding Luther’s grandmother, whose name was Lindeman, with Luther’s mother, whose name was Ziegler.  Prof.  Julius Koestlin, in his Life of Luther, after a thorough examination of original records and documents, gives this explanation.

WHAT THE REFORMATION WAS.

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