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cations, but also the tracts of the times in which the mighty name of Luther was on the lips of all Christendom. Yet the fact remains, that even in Germany, the writings of Luther are not read as generally as they deserve. The greatest philolog. ical master of this century never wearied of praising the language of Luther, and many hundreds of German books bave been written in honor of Luther's writings. Just now the Ger- . man government is engaged in the honorable work of publishing another complete and critical edition of Luther's writings. But the world, outside of Germany, knows Luther chiefly as the leader of the Protestant Reformation, and half the Protestant world remembers him as an opponent of unbounded severity. In Germany, bowever, the mere pame of Luther is still a great popular power; his sayings are current coin, and his sentiments find a responsive echo in the breasts of high and low, of profound students and the plain people, who rarely forget a true friend. So good an observer as Hagenbach, the Calvinistic historian, remarks shrewdly that there was an aristocratic tone in Calvin; Luther was democratic, not because he believed in popular power, for he never did, but because he was a man of the people, and because his writings retain the elements of the truest popularity after the lapse of nearly four centuries.

The titles of Luther's principal writings alone would fill the entire space of the present essay.

Walch's edition of his writ. ings is not complete, and fills iwenty-four stout quarto vol. umes. The more critical Erlangen edition is even less complete, and makes about a hundred duodecimo volumes. Yet a reader really familiar with Luther's writings will be reluctant to recommend a selected edition, and to name the literary master pieces which have dropped from the pen of Luther, as showers drop from the skies. The reader of Luther's letters may think them most characteristic of the man ; but in turning to his reformation pamphlets, these will seem essential, while, on general principles as well as upon special investigation, the great theologian's exegetical works may well be held to occupy the place of honor. There remain the volumes of sermons, the catechetical works of immortal value, and the miscellaneous writings. To say what is best of all these riches is like guessing what is best in Shakespeare's plays. It may seem rash to

advise that men learn German in order to read Luther, and it may be rash to recommend all that Luther has written. But it is certain that the reader of Luther's letters, pamphlets, essays. and commentaries, will be repaid precisely as is the student of all Shakespeare's plays, and it is probable that Luther has never written a page that does not bear the vestiges of the great mind to which neither poetry nor philosophy, neither man nor nature, neither Greek and Latin antiquity, nor the logicians and scholastics of the Middle Age were strangers,– a mind filled to overflowing with sentiment, imagination, learning, literary impulses, and, above all else, a religious faith that shook the world. Surely, such a mind and such an author will be studied for ages to come, and as long as men are thirsty for what is noblest and strongest in literature.

It is true that Luther abominated Popery as an institution, and that he turned against the Swiss reformers. Accordingly neither ultramontanism nor distinctive Calvinism will derive much comfort from the tenets of Luther. But nearly as much may be said of the Lutherans themselves, if they go to Luther to find aid and comfort for their modern doctrines and tenden. cies. It is a reasonable question, however, whether the nineteenth century has any right to go to the sixteenth to find out what it should believe, or how it ought to conduct its affairs. For better or worse it has pleased Divine Providence to let us live nearly three hundred and fifty years after Luther, and these centuries cannot have been given to be merely forgotten. We do not ask physicists and astronomers to return to Copernicus for the only or final wisdom.

or final wisdom. But precisely as we return to Shakespeare for true poetry, so it is ever safe to go back to Luther as a great prose writer, though he wrote in German, and to study the Saxon reformer, if we wish to get the benefit of a singularly impressive writer, who was at the same time a great patriot, a great theologian, a great character, and a very great author. Quite likely, but few readers will be disposed to accept Luther's theological tenets, although it would be rash to call them moribund, even in this country. But we do not read Shakespeare for doctrines ; why then should we read Luther for theological opinions, inasmuch as he never cared to inaugurate a system of theology any more than he attempted

to organize a new church or a new sect? As we read Shakespeare for poetry, and are not alienated by the Elizabethan's occasional harshness, so it is well worth while to read Luther for his prose,—despite his passion, despite his theology, and despite his sixteenth-century learning. As men descend into the bowels of the earth for gold or coal, so the modern student may well plunge into the depths of Luther to win gold, silver, and hard iron,—to catch the mighty forces that lifted the better part of Christendom out of dependence, and to learn from personal contact with a profoundly religious character, that a great theological miod somehow commands more power than men of the world are prone to acknowledge.

The year 1630 brought rising Protestantism io a crisis, for the German Emperor bad resolved to avenge the schism which the Augustinian of Wittenberg had occasioned. Luther's friends insisted that he should not risk his life by attending the diet at Augsburg. He remained in Koburg, the name which he playfully reversed into Grubok. From there he wrote a series of epistles altogether unique in the history of letters. Luther bimself had been outlawed, and could not even visit his father, who died about that time. In order to be near his friends at Augsburg, Luther went to the fortress of Koburg, where he promised Melanchthon that three tabernacles should be made, -one for the psalms, one for the prophets, and one for Æsop. To the students whom he used to have at his table in Wittenberg, he wrote the following letter :

Grace and peace in Christ! Dear Gentlemen and FriendsI have received your joint letter, and learned how goes the world. That you may understand in return how things go here, I let you know, that we, namely, myself, Master Vitus and Cyriacus, shall not go to the diet at Augsburg; in fact, we have come to a different kind of diet. Just below our window there is a grove, like a little forest, where the jackdaws and crows have appointed a diet. There is such a coming and going, and such a noise, day and night without end, as if they were all drunk and mad. Young and old scream together that I wonder how long their voices and breath will last. Fain would I know if any of the gentry and knightly squires still tarry with you, for methinks that they have come here from all the world.

I have not seen their emperor ; but their noblemen and big Johns flutter and sputter constantly before our eyes. They are not dressed very preciously, all having one uniform color, being black, with grey eyes to match ; and they sing the same song, but with a lovely differ

ence between old and young, the big ones and the little fellows. Neither do they respect our palace and hall, for their hall is vaulted by the fair, broad sky, their carpet is the open field, decked with fine green branches, and the walls are the end of the world. They do not care for horses and armaments. They move on feathery wheels, with which they escape the guns and flee from persecution. Great, mighty lords they be; but what they resolve, I know not. From an interpreter I learn that they propose a mighty campaign against wheat, barley, oats, malt and grains of every kind, and many of them mean to earn the knighthood and do great deeds.

Thus we sit here in the diet, look and see with loving joy, how the princes and lords together with all the estates of the realm sing merrily and live happily. But we have particular joy when we see them swagger knight-fashion, brandish their bills, and run down all opposition, that victory and honor may be theirs against corn and malt. We wish them all hail and luck, that every one of them may be speared on a fence rail. And I hold that such are the sophists and papists, with their sermons and essays. I must have them all before me in one company, that I may hear their lovely voices and sermons, and behold how very useful they are to examine whatever there is on earth, while they kick from too much leisure. To-day we have heard the first nightingale, for hitherto it would not trust in April. And we have had delightful weather, no rain, save yesterday a little. With you it has been different, perhaps. And now good-bye ; keep our house in good order. From the diet of the jack-daws, April 28, 1530.

MARTINUS LUTHER, D. From the same exile, as he called it, he wrote the famous letter to his son John,-probably the prettiest letter ever received by a young boy. Another letter told in detail what kind of a seal Luther desired to have made for bis use, namely, a black cross fixed in a heart having its natural color, because

does not corrupt nature ;" the heart was to stand in a white rose, and the latter in a sky blue field surrounded by a golden ring. At the same time he wrote to princes of the realm and complained bitterly to Melanchthon that he and the Protestants at Augsburg had looked to Luther. “If it is my cause, I alone will attend to it," he said: "I will not have it that you recognize and name me as the principal and the beginner of this cause." His wife he addressed as “my dear master, Lady Kate," and to a friend in Nuremberg he sent the address, in which he recommended the establishment of public schools together with their compulsory attendance and their support out of the public funds. He congratulated the elector of Saxony on his escape “from the hell at Augsburg." A friend in Augsburg was thanked for two boxes of confectionery, and was told that Luther had lost more than half his time through "a noise and rattling in the head.” The peculiar resolution finally adopted in Augsburg Luther ridiculed as “ worldly wisdom " going to show that Christ can govern "not only talkers, but also fools." Indeed, as he had been shocked from the beginning by the absurdity of the Papal arguments, so he was now amused by the impertinent order that the gospel should remain a strictly local affair. If bis adversaries would but keep the peace, he was very glad to accept it," for the Turk is after us." “We will suffer and yield whatever we can.

the cross

But we beg that they will not ask of us what is not in our power. To a statesman in Augsburg, Luther expressed fair hopes for political peace, and added :

The other day I saw two miracles,--the first, when I looked out of my window, the stars in heaven, together with the whole, beautiful firmament of God; and yet I saw no pillars, on which the master had rested his vault; but the heavens did not fall, and the mighty vault still remains firm. There are those who look for the pillars, and would fain touch and feel them. Inasmuch as they cannot, they wriggle and tremble as if the skies must surely fall from no other cause than that they cannot see and hold the pillars. If they could grasp them, the firmament would stand firm. And the second miracle consisted in vast heavy clouds that hung over us with weight that one might liken them to a vast ocean; yet they had no foundation on which they rested; neither were they contained in a great vessel. Nevertheless they did not fall upon us, but greeted us with a wry face, and hurried off. When they had passed away, there shone forth the foundation and our arch that held them, namely, the rainbow. Forsooth, it was a delicate, thin, slender foundation and arch, that vanished in the clouds, and was rather a haze, such as one sees through colored glass.

From the same fortress, Luther addressed an open letter to the primate of Germany, the cardinal-archbishop of Menz, who was also a secular prince. Agreement in inatters of faith was declared impossible as between Protestants and Catholics, but political peace was offered and urged in pathetic terms. “Good God," Luther added, “our faith does not injure you; it keeps the peace, teaches peace, leaves you undisturbed, and teaches that we must take nothing from you, but leave you everything. That alone ought to be enough to move you to peace, if the truth alone could not do it. Verily, it helps to keep you all, and has done so hitherto.” In the same letter

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