Obrazy na stronie

only 18. They were both slenderly and science, wbich have raised the made, and very youthful in their ap- nations of modern Europe so high pearance,

above their predecessor, may be The concourse of spectators during chiefly traced to the reformation of the procession was immense, every Luther. He appears, then, in this part that could command a vicw be. age of biography, to deserve well the ing crowded with people. A great tribute of a recording volume. We number attended the place of execu- thus conceive the public to be intion, which was on the south edge of debted to Mr Bower for undertaking a very large pasture

inclosure. to supply a desideration in the Eng. About half past two o'clock, a lish language, as well as for the in-, very heavy rain came on, and as the dustry and research with which he roads had been previously very dusty, has collected the various materials of the people who had to return were which his narrative was necessarily completely wet and dirty before they composed. reached town.

There can be no doubt that this Every thing was conducted with revolution, like every similar

one, the utmost propriety and regularity, was connected with the general state and we are happy to add, that not of men's minds during that age ; the withstanding the immense crowd, no circumstances indeed by which it was accident, that we have heard of, hap- prepared, have been often and ably pened, excepting that of an individual illustrated. Yet Mr Bower's obserwho was driven over the side of the vation is probably just, that, to a mound by the pressure of the crowd, common eye, nothing could have apand received some slight bruises. peared less probable, ihan that a great

blow should then be struck against the empire of the church of Rome.

All the attempts formerly made upon SCOTTISH REVIEW,

her tenets had sunk beneath the I. The Life of LUTHER ; with an Ac- powerful means of suppression which

count of the early Progress of the she had never scrupled to employ ; REFORMATION. By ALEXANDER excommunication, the sword, and the BOWER, 8vo. 12s.

stake. Bohemia no longer contained

the adherents of Huss and Jerome ; 1T would be impossible perhaps to while the slender remnants of the

name an individual of any age, Waldenses and Albigenses were shut who has exercised so extensive an in- up in the most inaccessible valleys or fluence on the fortunes of the human the Alps. Luther himself was at race, as the distinguished person whose first far from conceiving the design memoirs form the subject of the pre- of shaking a system so powerful, and sent volume. Not only the leading enforced by sanctions so formidable. events of the political system, but the He began life, a siocere believer in whole train of ideas and sentiments this religion, and was even burried, by in the most enlightened part of the his devout and ardent temper, into world, continued, for centuries, to re- the extreme of its austerities. At an volve as it were round the revolution early age, he determined to renounce which he effected. It attained its the world, and to bury himself in a direct object of restoring religion convent. Neither the prospects of a to its original purity; and it diffu- brilliant fortune, not the intreaties of sed also the spirit of civil liberty, his relations, nor the regrets of pumeand of philosophical enquiry. All rous friends to whom his social qualithose wonderful attainments in art ties endeared him, could divert him


from this purpose.


He became a lives of most men some critical momonk of the Augustinian order, and ment which forms, as it were, the even entertained thoughts of changing leading star to all their future purhis name from Luther to Augustine. suits. Such a moment was this to On reading afterwards the early de- the mind of Luther. He perused dication of Samuel to the service of over and over the sacred volume ; God, he is said to have lamented, all its most remarkable passages were that he himself had not received a soon deposited in his memory; and similar consecration.

the command which he thus acquired Luther soon surpassed all his con of its texts, proved an important ad. ventual brethren, both in study, and vantage to him in his future controin every species of fasting and morti- versies. Although he had yet made fication. He expected now to be no declaration against the church of able to devote himself entirely to Rome, his mind inay be considered as pious occupations, and probably che- now fully prepared for taking a dea risbed also the secret hope of rising in cisive step. The opportunity soon time to those honours which could offered, when Germany was inundabe enjoyed within the walls of a mo ted and scandalized by a deluge of innastery. At present, however, he dulgences, which having now befound, that humbler occupations come completely what we term a job, awaited him. It was the boast of were issued in defiance of every rule the Augustinians, that they made use of common sense, morality, and decoof no servants, and performed for Even those who wished best themselves all offices, even the most to the church were willing to listen menial. This, however, proring a to an attack upon this mode which task too burdensome for the superi- she employed for enriching the ors of the order, they devolved these meanest of her creatures. No period functions upon their noviciates. Lu therefore could be more seasonable ther was sometimes stationed as por- for issuing the famous disputation, by ter at the gate, sometimes was sent which Luther called in question her through the city to beg alms. His authority thus to remit the sins of lofty mind was seized with the deep- her contributors. From that moest disgust at the indignity to which ment, his history is connected with he was thus subjected, and the seeds that of Germany, of Europe, and of perhaps were secretly sown, of that the World. Our author follows him immortal hatred with which the mon diligently through his bold and sucastic life was afterwards regarded by cessful career ; but as our limits perhim. The confinement and glooin mit us not to accompany him through of his situation, operating upon a se this wide field, we shall merely gleanu rious and ardent character, gave rise a few circumstances relating to his to symptoms of religious melancholy. private life. Although Luther was Struck with alarm respecting the not long of declaring himself entirely state of his soul, he consulted the hostile to all monastic orders, and most eminent doctors, without ob had converted his brethren in the containing any relief; and his active mind vent to the same opinion, yet he was might thus have continued to prey the very last that left its walls; a upon itself, had it not been roused to circumstance which proves the steadi. action by two remarkable occurren ness of his character, and that he was ces. The first was the discovery of a in no indecent haste to reap the fruits copy of the Bible, which lay neglected of his own opinions. The same obin a corner of the monastery where servation does not exactly apply to he resided. There is perhaps in the his next proceeding, which was that


of contracting marriage with a nun, and business, in the same manner as who had also left her convent. Vows if I had not discharged my part in of celibacy may not be advisable; these duties in the early period of yet it appears somewhat doubtful, if life.” P. 273. those by whom they are entered into are therefore exempted from their Notwithstanding this weakness, obligation. Above all, it behoved however, the activity of his mind Luther, wino was now become a man induced him to undertake a journey so completely public, to avoid every to Eisleben, which he accomplished, thing which could afford a handle but fell soon after into a state of exfor impeaching the motives upon treme debility, and expired on the which he acted. It was alleged in 17th February. The following letthose days, that to taste the sweets ter, written by a friend to the elector of matrimony was often a leading mo- of Saxony, gives an interesting active for embracing the reformed count of his last moments. faith ; and that change of religion, like a comedy, led always to this ter " It is with a sorrowful heart that mination. Luther, however, never I communicate the following informade any efforts to raise himselfmation to your Highness. Although above the original poverty of his si- our venerable father in Christ, doctor tuation, although his splendid con Martin Luther, felt himself unwell nections might easily have opened before leaving Wittemberg, as also him the way. He declined even the during his journey to this place, and project of opening a school or aca- complained of weakness on his arrival; demy, and sought rather to limit his he was nevertheless present at dinner wants, than to augment his means. and supper every day in which we

Luther continued to enjoy unbro were engaged in the business of the ken health till the sixty-second year counts. His appetite was pretty of his age. His constitution began good, and he used humorously to obthen rapidly to decline. His last serve, that in his native country they days were embittered by a dispute well knew what he ought to eat and with the lawyers of Wittemberg on drink. His rest at night also was the subject of clandestine marriages. such as could not be complained of. So strong was its effect upon him, His two youngest sons, Martin and that he quitted for some time that Paul, were accustomed, along with city, which had long been his favour- me and one or two men-servants, to ite residence. The Wittembergers, sleep in his bed-room, accompanied however, mortified and grieved at sometimes by M. Michael Cælius, a this removal, which tarnished the clergyman of Eisleben. As he had lustre of their university, made such for some time back been accustomed concessions, as induced him to return.' to have his bed warmed, we made it His maladies, meanwhile, continued a rule to do this regularly before be to gain ground. On the 17th Jan- retired to rest. Every night, on takuary 1546, he wrote to a friend. ing leave of us, he was accustomed to

say, “ Pray to God that the cause of “I write to you, though old, der his church may prosper, for the Councrepid, inactive, languid, and now cil of Trent is vehemently enraged possessed of only one eye. When against it.” The physician who atdrawing to the brink of the grave, I tended caused the medicines to which had hopes

obtaining a reasonable he had been accustomed to be brought share of rest, but I continue to be from Wittemberg; and his wife, of overpowered with writing, preaching, her own accord, sent some others.


The affairs of the counts of Mansfeld the same room; Coelius was in the continued to require his attention adjoining room. At one in the every other day, or sometimes at an morning he awoke Ambrose and me, interval of two days. He was ac and desired that one of the adjoining customed to transact business for one rooms might be warmed, which was or two hours, along with Wolfgang, done. He then said to me, “ O Joprince of Anhalt, and John Henry, nas, how ill I am! I feel an oppresCount Schwarzburg. But yesterday, sive weight at my breast, and shall Wednesday the 17th of February, certainly die at Eisleben.” I anprince Anhalt, Count Schwarzburg, swered, “ God, our heavenly Father, and the rest of us, prevailed on him to will assist you, by Christ whom you remain in his study till mid-day have preached." Meantime, Amand to do no business. He walked brose made haste and led him, after through the room in his undress, he got up, into the adjoining room. looked at times out of the window, He got thither without any other asand prayed earnestly. He was all sistance, and in passing the threshold along pleasant and cheerful, but took said aloud, “ Into thy hands I comoccasion to say to Cælius and me, mit my spirit.” He then began to " I was born and baptized at Eisle- walk about, but in a short time asked ben, what if I should remain and die for warm linen cloths. Meantime here.” In the early part of the we had sent into the town for two evening he began to complain of an physicians, who came immediately. oppression at his breast, and had it Count Albert likewise being called, rubbed with a linen cloth. This af- he came along with the countess, the forded him some ease. A little after, latter bringing some cordials and other he said, “ It is not pleasant to me to medicines. Luther now prayed, saybe alone," and repaired to supper in ing, “O my heavenly Father, eternal the parlour. He ate with appetite, and merciful God, thou hast revealed was cheerful, and even jocular. He to me thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. expounded several remarkable pas. I have preached hiin, I have confessages in Scripture, and said, once or sed him, I love him, and I worship twice in the course of conversation, him, as my dearest Saviour and Re“ If I succeed in effecting concord deemer, him whom the wicked perbetween the proprietors of my native secute, accuse, and blaspheme." He country, I shall return home and rest then repeated three times the words in my grave.'

of the Psalm, “Into thy hands I comAfter supper he again complain- mit my spirit-God of truth, thou pd of the oppression at his breast, hast redeemed me.” Whilst the and asked for a warm linen cloth. physicians and we applied medicines, He would not allow us to send for he began to lose his voice and to beinedical assistance, and slept on a come faint; nor did he answer us, couch during two hours and a half. though we called aloud to him and Cælius, Drachsteg, the master of the moved him. On the countess again house, whom we called in along with giving him a little cordial, and the his wife, the town-clerk, the two physician requesting that he would sons and myself, sat by him watching attempt to give an answer, he said, till half-past eleven. He then de- in a feeble tone of voice, io Cælius sired that his bed might be warmed, and me, " yes,” or “ no,” according which was done with great care. I, as the question seemed to require. his two sons, his servant Ambrose When we said to him, “ Dearest fawhom he had brought from Wittem- ther, do you verily confess Jesus berg, and other servants, lay down in Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour


and Redeemer ?” he replied, “ Yes," “ Let us now turn aside from Luso as to be distinctly hard. After. ther's public character, and contemward his forehead and face began to plate him in the scenes of private get cold; and although we moved life. Warm as he was in temper, him, and called him by name, he gave and unaccustomed to yield to authori no answer, but, with his bands clasp- tative demands, he yet possessed much ed, continued to breathe slowly un- of the milk of human kindness. Few til he expired, between two and men entered with more ardour into three o'clock. John Henry, Count the innocent pleasures of society.Schwartzburg, arrived early, and was His frankness of disposition was ap present at his death. Though much parent at the first interview, and his affected by the loss of bim who has communicative turn, joined to the been our teacher during twenty-five richness of his stores, rendered bis years, we have thought it proper to conversation remarkably interesting. give your Highness the earliest inti- In treating of humorous subjects, he mation of his death, that you may be discovered as much vivacity and play. pleased to givejus directions concern- fulness as if he had been a man unacing the funeral. We shall remain customed to serious research. The here until we receive them. We visitor of Luther's domestic circle pray also that you may write to the was assured of witnessing a pleasing count how to proceed. He would union of religious service with conlike to retain the body in Luther's jugal and paternal affection. His native country, but he will obey the fondness for music continued during orders of your Highness. We also life, and spread a charm over the disbeg your Highness to write to his charge of his serious duties. He was wife, to Melancthon, Pomeranus, and always a zealous advocate for the use Cruciger, because you know better of music in public worship. In an how to do it than we. May God, evening before parting from his family our omnipotent Father, comfort you and his friends, he was in the habit and us in our' affliction*.

of regularly singing a hymn. Thi. “ Eisleben, Thursday,

he usually did in a high key, and 18th Feb. 1546." P. 274,-8. with all the advantage of a delightful

voice. In his hours of, occasional At the close of the work, Mr dejection, music proved his most Bower has, as might be expected, pleasant and effectual restorative. given a very elaborate and candid It was much to be regretted that his exbibition of Luther's character.- constitution, though apparently roImpetuosity, confidence in his own bust, by no means afforded him the opinion, and contempt for that of steady enjoyment of health. Wheothers, were the chief blemishes which ther from taking too little exercise, alloyed its general excellencies. These or from the repeated occurrence of consisted in his unbounded zeal for true mental agitation, he was subject to religion, his contempt of wealth and frequent and severe head-aches. In honours, and the fortitude with which respect to diet, he was remarkably he braved every danger, in the cause abstemious, a habit probably acquired to which he had entirely devoted in the monastery, and continued in himself. The following particulars consequence of the sedentary nature respecting his private habits will also of his occupations. be found interesting.

The diffusion of religious knowledge being always foremost in Li

ther's mind, he was fond, when along Sicid L. xvi. Seckend. L. iii. 634, et seq. with his friends, of turning the con


« PoprzedniaDalej »