Page images

cised in behalf of a friend and pa- fit person to be appointed Greek tron. Such had Reuchlin been to Professor. Six years residence at *Melancthon. He had stimulated the former place had endeared him him to proficiency in his studies, to many friends, who beheld his and had given him a Bible, which departure with great emotion, as had been his constant companion. he mounted his horse to proceed He had diligently read it, and en- through Nuremberg and Leipsic, deavoured to ascertain its meaning, stopping awhile at both places to as one who sought for hidden trea- form acquaintance with the princisures. He had made useful notes pal literary characters. At Leipon the margin, and had been ac sic the University invited him to customed to take it with him to dinner; where, as a diffident and church to assist his devotion; giv- inexperienced young man, he was ing, however, occasion to malicious quite confused with the compliremarks from other students, who ments which it was thought necesseeing him with a book very diffe- sary to pay him, according to the rent from the missal, complained custom of the age. Every time a that Philip could not forego the fresh dish was placed before him, pleasure of reading the classics some collegian arose to address even in time of divine service. His him with a set speech, to which mind probably received early im- courtesy required some sort of pressions favourable to Protes reply. As he considered these retantism from the perusal of the sa- petitions superfluous, and felt them cred volume; and thus, if his friend inconvenient, he at length said, “I owed to him in some degree his pray you, gentlemen, permit me to escape from the thunders of the listen to your addresses, and to reVatican, he might owe to that ply to one and all afterwards; for friend, as Paul hinted to Phile- really I am not prepared at so short mon, “ his own self besides.” It a notice to give my answers the neappears, that while attending the cessary variety.” This polite retheological lectures of Dr. Lemp, monstrance had the effect of prewho used to draw a figure of tran- venting further congratulation *. substantiation on the table to illus He reached Wittenberg on the trate his remarks, our young stu 25th of August, and made his indent was shocked at the presump- augural oration on the 29th. Its tion of his master; and from some subject was, the necessity of corexpressions in his writings he seems recting the studies of the youth; to have had misgivings in partici- and while the hearers admired the pating the idolatrous worship of learning, elegance, and reflection the Popish communion *. How- of the Professor, himself only ever this be, the time was now ap- twenty-one years of age, they had proaching, when intercourse with a practical exhibition of the supeLuther should produce similarity of riority of mind to matter, as they sentiment.

witnessed his attenuated frame and His removal from Tubingen to mean exterior. Wittenberg, in 1518, was chiefly Luther, who had been ten years effected through the instrumentality a member of this academic body, of Reuchlin, whose desire it was was delighted with the young to fill the chairs of the infant Uni- stranger; and in the warmth of his versity with able men, and whose heart, wrote to the Secretary of knowledge of the qualifications of Government to use his influence, in Philip, induced him to recommend opposition to the economists at him to the Elector of Saxony as a court, to obtain a liberal salary;

* Melch. Adam, p. 158.

* Camerar. p. 26.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

declaring, that for his own part he to Herculianus, 'the noblest emwould not desire a better Greek ployment of life is to use philosophy preceptor. But modesty is the as a guide to divine knowledge. if beautiful attendant on talent. Me- this be not sufficiently clear to any lancthon himself described this let him consider that the brass change of situation to a friend some was sent by the King of Tyre for time after in the following terms: the Temple of Solomon, as well as “ Capnio (Reuchlin) sent me into superior metal; so, as the science Saxony quite a boy, little suspect- of theology comprehends Hebrew ing that I was no more fit for the and Greek literature, and Latins burden he was laying upon me than drink from these streams, it is nean ass, as the saying is, to play cessary that we should be acquaintmusic t."

ed with these languages, unless we The systematic arrangement and are content to wear the mere masks lucid mode in which he conducted of divines. There we shall discohis lectures soon became known, ver the true beauties of language, and drew great numbers of students and attain accurate notions of to Wittenberg in preference to terms. And then, with a knowother academies, where the instruc- ledge of the literal meaning of tion in liberal arts was more con- words, we shall understand the fused and involved. Attached as argument, notwithstanding any obhe was to general literature, he scurity which may have been thrown could not be insensible to the ad- upon it by paltry glosses or contravantage of cultivating the friend- dictory explications. Whenever ship of his more learned colleagues; we approach the fountains of truth but that better principle, which en we shall begin to grow wise in deared to him the cause of religion Christ, his commandments will bemore than scholastic attainment, come plain, and we shall be rerendered an intimacy with Luther galed by the blessed nectar of heathe more valuable acquisition. Car- venly wisdom. When we have lostadt generally made the third in gathered the clusters of Engedi, their religious conferences, and the Bridegroom will come leaping they doubtless experienced a fulfil- upon the mountains, skipping upon ment of the promise of the great the hills, and with the kisses of his Teacher, “ Where two or three mouth, and the savour of his good are met together in my name, there ointments poured forth, will anoint am I in the midst of them.” Mean- those who are conducted into the while, the students must have per- palaces of Eden., United to Him ceived in Melancthon an example we shall live and thrive, contemof his own precepts. In his inau- plating Zion and Salem in the segural address, he had used these cret silence of adoration. Such is remarkable expressions: “ But the the fruit of celestial knowledge, manner in which you apply to sa- which will always claim our prime cred studies is of the greatest im- regard when divested l; of human portance. These, above all other fancies.” pursuits, require judgment, expe Biographers have noticed the rience, and diligence. Ever bear dealings of Providence in the intiin mind, that the perfume of divine macy between Luther and Melancointments far surpasses the aro- thon, both as to the season in which matics of human literature. Under they were brought together, and as divine direction, the study of libe- to the difference of their constitural arts may be turned to sacred tional character. Luther required purposes; for, as Synesius hinted the advice and sanction of one, † Ep. ad. Baumgartn. Tom. Lugd. Epp.. whose erudition he could trust,

whose piety he might revere, and

P. 54.

whose virtues he could admire; temptuous and virulent reply; but and such a friend he found in the not without being followed, on the extraordinary youth from the right part of Melancthon, by a rebank of the Rhine. Melancthonjoinder; his first controversial spewanted an associate, to whose ex- cimen; distinguished by that mildperience he might defer, and whose ness, elegance, and acuteness, wisdom and perseverance he might which never forsook him in the learn to emulate. Luther was zea- theological arena.

He observes, lous, dauntless, vehement; Me “ Eccius is confident of victory, lancthon, cultivated, cautious, mild. from his appeal to the Fathers. When the heroism or vigour of the But how does this avail him? Truly one was mixed with rashness or in- I do not undervalue, I highly estemperance, it was moderated or teem, those lights of the church softened by the gentleness of the and defenders of Christian docother; whose timidity and pru- trine. Yet, when I find them difdence, in return, were encouraged fering from each other in their inand energized by the intrepidity of terpretation of Scripture, it is the former. “When Philip," says surely wise to make that Scripture, Camerarius, “perceived in Mar- and not human opinion, our final tin his goodness of disposition, appeal. As there is always one power of genius, and superiority of simple meaning in Scripture lanunderstanding, he venerated and guage, for divine truth is clear and loved him above all others. Luther plain, let us endeavour to discover on his part beholding in Philip, it by collation of passages, or by probity, information, faithfulness, the general strain of a particular candour, patience, industry, criti- discourse. We are directed to cism, and eloquence unrivalled, prove the sacred records, as we he not only loved him in return, examine the decrees and sentibut, though his superior and elder, ments of men, by bringing them made him his principal familiar, to the touchstone, and trying their trusted him with all his sentiments, consistency. And it is more sarequiring his in return, and finding tisfactory to consult their judgment his knowledge increase by the on the meaning of Scripture, from communication.”

those places in which they are Melancthon accompanied Lu- professedly explaining it, than ther and Carlostadt to the cele- where they are only indulging in brated disputation at Leipsic, in rhetorical "description. We all 1519; on which occasion he had an 'know, that our particular disposiopportunity of gaining an accession tions and views incline us to difof religious information, as he ferent interpretations. heard his friends maintain the cause apt to fix on this or that interpretaof truth against the subtilties of tion which interests and pleases Eccius.

so much in- us; and as the polypus will take its terested in the proceedings, that, colour from the rock to which it while Carlostadt was engaged with clings, so we are too ready to force his Papal adversary, he could not our sentiments to a conformity with refrain from-whispering in his ear preconceived notions. Indeed it some useful aggestions, which pro- not unfrequently happens, that the voked Eccius to cry out, “Hold mind

may admit, and for a time be your tongue, Philip; mind your own exceedingly gratified with, an opibusiness, and do not interfere with nion, which afterwards fails to imme.” He afterwards sent an ac- press it in the same manner; and count of the conference to Eco thus the Fathers of the church have lampadius; which, falling into the fondly quoted Scripture in a way, hands of Eccius, produced a con- which, though not absolutely re

We are

He was

prehensible, is yet foreign to the magistrate of Wittenberg. This purpose; and one may say of them, lady was qualified to minister to as the Greeks did of bad racers, his domestic comforts, by a con

They run well, but out of the geniality of manners and disposiline.” I do not hesitate to say, tion. Her piety, liberality, pruthat sometimes the Fathers þave dence, and decorum, are noticed given interpretations of Scripture, by his biographer, who was on under glowing religious feelings, terms of intimacy with the family. which might not be positively in She brought him two sons and as correct; but which appear ill to many daughters, and conducted accord with the literal sense to us, his household with exemplary orwho are placed in different circum- der and regularity. Their nuptials stances. There is a secret manna were celebrated on St. Catherine's and food of the soul, to which day, the 25th of November. He Paul alludes, as requisite to be had previously commenced a course spiritually discerned, which is more of Lectures on the Epistle of Paul easily tasted than described. But to the Romans; and had been so who sees not, that the Scriptures indefatigable in his attendance at have been often misapplied in the the school, as to render it necesdifferent controversies which have sary to advertise his pupils of his occurred, of which innumerable intended absence on the weddingexamples might be adduced; soday, by a concise but significant that it has frequently happened, placard: especially of late, that their ex

“ Take notice, Philip gives you leave to position has been at variance with play, the original text. As to the mode And reads no lecture on St. Paul to-day." of interpretation usual in the His disinterestedness as a lecschools, it is a very Proteus, trans- turer is remarkable. He laboured forming the sense of Scripture into two years, without a salary, in inallegories, tropes, and figures; structing the classes in biblical diverting the truth from its literal, knowledge; and when a pension grammatical, or historical mean of two hundred florins was assigned ing, into any miserable and de- him by the elector of Saxony, he based channel *.' Luther wrote to waved its acceptance, by saying, Spalatinus in commendation of this “ I am unable to devote myself to reply; and whoever refers to the the duty with sufficient attention to corruption which has flowed into warrant a pecuniary remuneration.” the Latin and Greek communions, The Elector, however, by Luther's from the

vicious style of too many advice, intimated that it would of the Fathers, will acknowledge suffice to give one or two lectures the justice of these remarks; while, in a week, as his health might perat the same time, they often throw mit. such valuable light on certain por The acuteness of his feelings, in tions of the sacred record, as behalf of his friend, will readily be renders it no easy task to separate conceived, when Luther was nethe chaff from the wheat, or to de- cessitated to appear at Worms. termine the exact point at which a He was much edified, however, Protestant should leave one of at beholding the religious heroism these guides, after travelling with and pious determination of that him a certain distance.

great man, “ Martin still lives and In the succeeding year he en- prospers,

he observes, in an tered into the conjugal state with epistle to Hess, “notwithstanding Catharine Crappin, daughter of a the fury and rage of Leo, the ex

tent of whose power has been hi* Opp. tom. i. fol. 365. therto unquestioned. No one ap

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

seen, whe

proves the Bull which Eccius is April, 1521*. Philip replied in enforcing, except such as consultan able, though occasionally sartheir own ease more than the suc- castic, “ Apology for Luther, in cess of the Gospel. We are cer- opposition to the furious Decree tainly in no danger from it at pre- of the Parisian Theologasters +.” sent, though the hierarchy raves “ During the past year," he oband thunders. Would that you serves,

“ the sophists of Cologne could witness the fearful hesitation and Louvaine condemned the Goswith which this decree is carried pel in a string of bare propositions, into effect, on account of the di unsupported by either reason or lemma in which its abettors find Scripture; and now the Parisian themselves placed, between gene- divines have pursued the same unral opinion on one hand, and the warrantable course. By the spirit Pope's displeasure on the other; of the decree it


be while there are many who would ther it proceed from God, who is rather be openly accused of any not the author of malice, or from crime, than deficiency of zeal in

another quarter.

It would seem the cause of the Pontiff. You are incredible, that such a work should doubtless acquainted with the pro- issue from an university, distinceedings at Worms, though I may guished for remarkable men, and add a little on that topic. Charles especially for the learned and is urged again and again to pro- pious Gerson. The prefatory epistle scribe Luther by an edict; and is filled with womanish fury and there is much consultation on its monkish weakness; and must have expediency. If the Papists could been written by some hired deprevail in their vengeance, they claimer. What does it contain ? would destroy us; and they are

• Oh! Luther is a Manichæan! a vexed at any hindrance to the au- Montanist! he pays no respect thority of Rome. They hope to to such divines as we are; he is out obtain from the Emperor some of his senses; he must be burnt more decisive ground on which to alive!' Luther is accused of heproceed. But nothing can inti resy, not because he differs from midate Martin Luther, who is Scripture, but from the holy faready to lay down his life for the thers, councils, and universities, furtherance of the Gospel." whose opinions are regarded as the

To anxiety for the fate of Luther first principles of faith! And are was added a sense of the respon the articles of our religion to be sibility of his own situation, when determined by the opinions of men ? he found himself placed as it were How can this be, when, as Occam at the head of the reforming party himself allows, if you will not bein Germany, by his friend's con- lieve me, they are so liable to err ? finement at Wartenberg. Prayer, Not so taught Paul, ‘Other foundfor divine aid, was the means of ation can no man lay, than that is strengthening his spirit, while a laid, which is Jesus Christ.'-Lusterling principle regulated all his ther’s capital offence, then, is this : movements, and counteracted his that he has presumed to differ constitutional timidity. The Saxon from your judgment. But what, professor wrote to him from time after all, is decreed by the counto time, expressing his thorough cils, when some things are false dependence on his fidelity and dis- and others true, when some are cretion. He had soon occasion to agreeable to Scripture, and others exercise his pen in defence of Lu- contrary to it? The final appeal ther, against the Sorbonne divines,

* Dupin, Eccl. Hist. B. ii. c. 11. who published a formal condemna

of Lutheri, Opp. tom. ii. Jen. Lat. fol. tion of his writings on the 15th of 443, et seq.

« PreviousContinue »