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world is full of evil, and unworthy of possessing many wise and pious princes : frogs deserve to be ruled by storks.”
In this work, also, Luther foretells inevitable commotions. His words are not inapplicable to the present times. “The people shall become enlightened, and these princely scourges shall fall before the people. I fear this doom is not to be avoided, unless the princes resolve to govern with greater moderation and justice. Your tyranny and violence is no longer to be endured. Beloved princes and sovereigns, you know now what course to pursue ; God will no longer endure it. You can now no longer hunt and drive the people like game, as in the infancy of the world.” The doctrines which he here unfolds are gentle and sublime, and the portrait he draws of a Christian prince, is truly beautiful.
He describes also, admirably, the Jurists, and their old law books, which princes ought to avoid :
“People should so act,” says he, “ that love and natural right may ever predominate. For, if thy judgments be guided by love, then thou wilt be able to decide all causes, without the aid of law books. If, however, thou shouldest lose sight of love and natural justice, thou wilt never be able to pronounce a judgment that will be pleasing in the sight of God, even if thou wert acquainted with every book of law and jurisprudence, but they will only deceive thee the more in proportion as thou studiest them. A truly just judgment cannot be pronounced by the aid of any book, but should proceed directly from the mind, as though no book existed. Therefore, written laws should be under the government of reason, and reason should not be held prisoner by words.”
Luther's works still continued to produce the greatest sensation amongst the German nation. Young preachers arose and preached the gospel; monks and nuns daily burst from the cloisters where they were imprisoned. Amongst others, during Passion week, in the year 1523, nine young women, all of illustrious birth, aided by Leonard Koppe, a lawyer, of the town of Torgau, made their escape from the convent of Nimpfchen, near Grimme. They came to Wittemberg, where Luther took them under his protection, and maintained that young women might, without impiety, quit the cloister. He recommended them to the Elector, requesting him to afford them his assistance, if it were even but in secret; which request was obtained. One of these young women was Catharine Von Boren, who afterwards became the wife of Luther ; she was remarkable for her beauty and virtues. To marry her at that time, however, was a step the reformer ventured not to take. This frequent abandonment of the cloisters, and the necessity of abolishing them in those countries where the reformation had taken place, excited the question, as to what should
be done with the possessions belonging to the monasteries, and with the monks themselves. Luther solved this question, in a very practical and well-imagined work, entitled, Plan for a general Bank, with u Discourse on the application of the Ecclesiastical Revenues. * In this work he observes,
“ The reformation will cause the downfall of all monastic institutions, and similar abominations, which, under the mask of godliness, have been only intent on accumulating wealth ; it must be considered that these lands are the result of universal robbery. It could be wished that monasteries had never existed ; but since they do exist, it is best to let them decay, or accelerate their fall. This may be done two ways. First, by granting free permission to all their inhabitants to quit them : secondly, by every magistracy forbidding any persons to enter, in future, into these establishments. Such as desire to remain in them should be permitted so to do, and should be allowed a maintenance, and even more than they previously enjoyed ; but the lands should be placed in the hands of the magistracy. The revenues arising from these lands should be appropriated to the support of those monks and nuns who should choose to remain in their convents, and to furnish the necessaries of life to such as thought fit to quit them; the remainder should be deposited in the general funds for the relief of the poor. In order to place the true Christian doctrines on a permanent and profitable foundation, so that the inward, no less than the outward man, may feel the beneficial effects of liberty of conscience, it would be necessary to establish schools upon a rational plan.”
For this purpose, Luther published, in the year 1524, an admonition to the magistrates of every German city, to establish and maintain a Christian school.
He describes, with much precision, energy, and truth, the great importance that should be attached to the education and instruction of youth; and calls upon the magistrates to be careful that good instructors and instructresses should be appointed. “ Beloved friends," says he, “ shall there be so great an annual expenditure in ammunition, roads, bridges, dykes, and innumerable such works, for the temporal security and convenience of a city; and shall we hesitate to spend as much on the spiritual necessities of helpless youth?” He then describes the iniquity of the monastic life, the crimes perpetrated in it, and adds, “it is my most earnest wish, desire, and prayer, that all such stables for asses, and schools of the devil, may be cast into perdition, or converted into Christian schools.” “Since," continues he, “ the welfare, honour, and very life of the city is entrusted
to the magistracy and council, they are not doing right in the sight of God and man, if they do not watch, both by day and by night, over its prosperity and improvement. Now the prosperity of a city does not consist only in amassing great wealth, in building strong walls or fine palaces, nor in the possession of military stores; these things, when in the hands of fools, contribute only to make the state of such a city worse : but the real prosperity of a city consists in the multitude of worthy, learned, rational, honourable, and well educated citizens it contains; and they may then collect treasures, and will make a right use of them. And the heathens,” he adds further, “ are a reproach to us, from the care and attention they bestowed on the education of their youth of both sexes.” He then observes, “ that the schools should attend no less to the education of the laity than of the clergy; that the men might be fitted to rule countries and people, and the women to manage their houses, children, and families. This would be the result of providing able and diligent teachers, who should instruct them in languages, and other necessary branches of education; and, by making them thoroughly acquainted with the history of individual states and kingdoms, they might learn to contemplate the world as in a mirror, and thus be prepared to direct their own passage through it, in a godly manner, and know what to desire and what to avoid in this life ; and also to assist others by their counsel and direction.” Finally, after giving excellent advice respecting the regulation of these schools, and recommending that they should be provided with masters for languages, history, and the fine arts, he concludes in these words:
“I beseech you therefore, sirs, not to suffer my sincere and diligent efforts to be all in vain. And should there be some among you, who hold me in such little estimation, that they do not think my advice worth following, or who despise me as one persecuted by tyrants, let them consider that I am not seeking my own profit or advantage, but that of the whole German empire; and were I a Turk or a Heathen, if they were convinced that the Christians only, and not I, would reap the benefit of my counsels, it would be their wisdom to follow them. I now commend you to the grace of God, and may He soften and warm your hearts, to extend your protection to helpless and forsaken youth; that, by divine aid, you may counsel and fit them to dedicate themselves, body and soul, with all diligence, to a blessed and Christian government of the German nation, to the praise and honour of God the Father, through Our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
Thus, animated by trust in God, and the love of his country, did the sublime genius of Luther labour to promote the greatest blessing ever granted to the German nation. What Luther had prophecied, came to pass in the year 1525.
gospel, Münzer, a mer of these coderate and he so elect was thes were of the red to posses such as wor
The peasants, unable any longer to endure the taxes and contributions exacted of them, and weary of the tyranny of the princes, bishops, and noblemen, encouraged by the light of the gospel, assembled in armed multitudes to assert the rights of men Münzer, a man of the best intentions, but an enthusiast, was the chief exciter of these commotions. The claims of the peasants were of the most moderate and reasonable nature. Each community desired to possess the right to elect and depose their priests, and to select such as would preach the word of God, unalloyed by the doctrines of men. They refused to pay any longer the small tithes, but were willing to grant the larger, or the tenth part of the product of the land, for the maintenance of the priest. They desired to be free from slavery, but were ready to obey the government in all just cases. Game, fish, and wood, they required free and untaxed. Soccage, and similar oppressions, to be placed on an easier footing. The princes being resolved to yield nothing, bloody scenes of murder, conflagration, and pillage, ensued. Whilst the princes attacked with arms the rebellious peasants, Luther in his writings alternately besought the princes and bishops to grant the gospel to the people, and to desist from their oppression, and to turn the peasants from sedition and bloodshed.
In the mean time, the peasants were compelled to submit, Münzer taken, and punished with death. The fire would, however, have been suppressed but for a time, had not Luther appeased the minds of the people by his personal appearance.
He travelled to different places-Jena, Weimar-preached, instructed, and softened those whom he came among. He would have gone farther, had not the death of the Elector called him back suddenly to Wittemberg. This prince died 5th May, 1525. During the peasants' war, and soon after the funeral of the Elector, Luther entered into the holy ties of marriage. He was married on the 13th of June, by Dr. Pommer, in the presence of Lucas Kranach and Jobann Apil, to the noble lady, Catharine Von Bore, formerly a professed nun. He was then forty; she, twenty-six. He resolved on this marriage suddenly, partly to please his father, partly to enjoy the pleasures of marriage. This marriage proved a very happy one, for his wife was fair, good, faithful, and affectionate. The papists, who preferred lust and unnatural crimes, to the married state, exclaimed loudly against this step of Luther's, and even arraigned the honour of his wife. Not long after, Luther became involved in a schism, which was the occasion of the unfortunate division between those who styled themselves Lutherans, and the others of the reformed religion.
VOL. X. PART II.
voured bore, in the yearf the sacramenitile book
Zwinglius, the Swiss reformer, had given a solemn interpretation of the words of Christ, “ This is my body," which, in the eyes of Luther, appeared blasphemous. Many violent publications were issued by both parties,-the most vehement of which proceeded from Luther; the German theologians were divided into two parties. The Landgrave of Hesse endeavoured to reconcile these champions of faith, in a council held at Marburg, in the year 1529. "They agreed in all points, except in the one article of the sacrament.
Luther had lately published a little book, containing a collection of wood-cuts and satirical songs against the papal state, with a preface and a very long discourse, entitled, « Popery, and its Members, delineated and described. *" The whole was the production of a humorous imagination, and Lother observes in the discourse, that popery had not yet been nearly enough satirized, ridiculed, and caricatured.
Since the suppression of the insurrection of the peasants, the papal see had become more elated, and seemed to be disposed to greater harshness than ever. “We must, therefore, avoid supineness, but set forth this idolatrous race in its true colours,” said Luther. Such is the purport of this book, which is no libel, but an open censure of that public and audacious impiety which God will assuredly punish. He, however, quickly abandoned this kind of warfare, and devoted himself wholly to the promotion of the evangelical worship of God. His first step in this affair, was the publication of a workt “ On the German Mass and Form of Worship.” “Three kinds of worship,” he says, “ may be retained ; for I would in no wise banish the Latin language from divine service; and did it lay in my power, supposing the Greek and Hebrew languages were as well understood amongst us as the Latin, and were as musical, I would cause them to be read and sung on alternate Sundays in the churches. But the third kind, which appertains to the real evangelical constitution, must not be so openly dispensed to the generality of people ; but those who seriously desire to become Christians and acknowledge the gospel by word and deed, must sign their names and meet privately in some house for the purposes of prayer, reading, baptism, and receiving the sacrament, and performing other Christian duties.” Luther thus inculcated a domestic, private, and internal religion, no less than public observance of outward forms of worship. The principal part of the German form of worship was to consist in hearing the word of God, and in a catechism, compiled with almost childish simplicity.