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provided with neceffaries, fuffered great hardfhips by the way. After having confumed all the corn they could find, they were obliged to live upon herbs, and even upon the bark and leaves of trees. Thus haraffed and fatigued, a peftilence began to complete their mifery; and, after a fatiguing journey of forty-five days, in which they were purfued rather by vultures and beasts of prey than by men, they came to the Hellefpont, where they had crossed over ; and marched from thence to Sardis. Such was the end of Xerxes' expedition into Greece: a measure begun in pride, and terminated in infamy. GOLDSMITH,
Character of Martin Luther.
As Luther was raised up by Providence to be the author of one of the greatest and most interesting revolutions recorded in history, there is not perhaps any perfon, whose character has been drawn with fuch oppofite colours. In his own age, one party, ftruck with horror and inflamed with rage, when they faw with what a daring hand he overturned every thing which they held to be facred, or valued as beneficial, imputed to him not only all the defects and vices of a man, but the qualities of a demon. The other, warmed with admiration and gratitude, which they thought he merited, as the restorer of light and liberty to the Chriftian church, afcribed to him perfections above the condition of humanity; and viewed all his actions with a veneration bordering on that, which should be paid to thofe only who are guided by the immediate inspiration of Heaven. It is his own conduct, not the undistinguishing cenfure, nor the exaggerated praife of his contemporaries, which ought to regulate the opinions of the prefent age concerning him. Zeal for what he regarded as truth, undaunted intrepidity to maintain it, abilities both natural and acquired to defend it, and unwearied induftry to propagate it, are virtues which shine so confpicuously in every part of his behaviour, that even his enemies must allow him to have poffeffed them in an eminent degree. To thefe may be added, with equal justice, fuch purity, and even aufterity of manners, as became one who affumed the character of a reformer; fuch fanctity of life as suited the doctrine which he delivered; and difinterestedness fo perfect, as affords no slight prefumption of his fincerity.
Superior to all selfish confiderations, a ftranger to the elegances of life, and defpifing its pleafures, he left the honours and emoluments of the church to his difciples; remaining fatisfied himself in his original state of profeffor in the univerfity, and paftor to the town of Wittemberg, with the moderate appointments annexed to thefe offices.
His extraordinary qualities were alloyed with no inconfiderable mixture of human frailty, and human paffions. These, however, were of fuch a nature, that they cannot be imputed to malevolence or corruption of heart, but feem to have taken their rife from the fame fource with many of his virtues. His mind, forcible and vehement in all its operations, roufed by great objects, or agitated by violent paffions, broke out, on many occafions, with an impetuofity which aftonishes men of feebler fpirits, or fuch as are placed in a more tranquil fituation. By carrying fome praise-worthy dispositions to excess, he bordered fometimes on what was culpable, and was often betrayed into actions which expofed him to cenfure. His confidence that his own opinions were well founded, approached to arrogance; his courage in afferting them, to rafhnefs; his firmnefs in adhering to them, to obstinacy; and his zeal in confuting his adverfaries, to rage and fcurrility. Accustomed himself to confider every thing as fubordinate to truth, he expected the fame deference for it from other men; and, without making any allowances for their timid. ity or prejudices, he poured forth, against those who disap pointed him in this particular, a torrent of invective mingled with contempt. Regardless of any distinction of rank or character, when his doctrines were attacked, he chastised all his adversaries indiscriminately, with the fame rough hand: neither the royal dignity of Henry VIII. nor the eminent learning and ability of Erafmus, fcreened them from the abufe with which he treated Tetzel or Eccius. But these indecences of which Luther was guilty must not be imputed wholly to the violence of his temper. They ought to be charged in part on the manners of the age. Among a rude people, unacquainted with those maxims, which, by putting continual reftraint on the paffions of individuals, have polifhed fociety, and rendered it agreeable, difputes of every kind were managed with heat; and ftrong emotions were uttered in their natural language without referve or delicacy. At the fame time, the works of learned men were all compofed in Latin; and
they were not only authorised, by the example of eminent writers in that language, to ufe their antagonists with the moft illiberal fcurrility; but, in a dead tongue, indecences of every kind appear lefs fhocking than in a living language, whofe idioms and phrases feem grofs, because they are familiar.
In paffing judgment upon the characters of men, we ought to try them by the principles and maxims of their own age, not by thofe of another. For although virtue and vice are at all times the fame, manners and customs vary continually. Some parts of Luther's behaviour, which to us appear most culpable, gave no disgust to his contemporaries. It was even by fome of thofe qualities which we are now apt to blame, that he was fitted for accomplishing the great work which he undertook. To roufe mankind, when funk in ignorance or fuperftition, and to encounter the rage of bigotry armed with power, required the utmost vehemence of zeal, and a temper daring to excess. A gentle call would neither have reached, nor have excited those to whom it was addressed. A fpirit more amiable, but lefs vigorous than Luther's, would have fhrunk from the dangers which he braved and furmounted. Towards the clofe of Luther's life, though without a perceptible declenfion of his zeal or abilities, the infirmities of his temper increased upon him, fo that he daily grew more peevish, more irafcible, and more impatient of contradiction. Having lived to be witness of his own amazing fuccefs; to fee a great part of Europe embrace his doctrines; and to fhake the foundation of the Papal throne, before which the mightiest monarchs had trembled, he difcovered, on fome occafions, fymptoms of vanity and felf applaufe. He must have been indeed more than man, if, upon contemplating all that he actually accomplished, he had never felt any fentiment of this kind rifing in his breast.
Some time before his death he felt his ftrength declining, his conftitution being worn out by a prodigious multiplicity of bufinefs, added to the labour of difcharging his ministerial function with unremitting diligence, to the fatigue of conftant study, befides the compofition of works as voluminous as if he had enjoyed uninterrupted leisure and retirement. His natural intrepidity did not forfake him at the approach of death. His laft converfation with his friends was concerning the happiness reserved for good
men in a future world; of which he spoke with the fervour and delight, natural to one, who expected and wifhed to enter foon upon the enjoyment of it.
The good and the bad man compared in the feafon of adverfity.
RELIGION prepares the mind for encountering, with for. titude, the most fevere fhocks of adverfity; whereas vice, by its natural influence on the temper, tends to produce dejection under the flightest trials. While worldly men enlarge their poffeffions, and extend their connexions, they imagine that they are ftrengthening themfelves against all the poffible viciffitudes of life. They fay in their hearts, My mountain ftands ftrong, and I shall never be moved.” But fo fatal is their delufion, that, instead of strengthening, they are weakening that which only can fupport them when thofe viciffitudes come. It is their mind which must then fupport them; and their mind, by their fenfual attachments, is corrupted and enfeebled. Addicted with intemperate fondnefs to the pleafures of the world, they incur two great and certain evils; they both exclude themselves from every refource except the world; and they increase their fenfibility to every blow which comes upon them from that quarter.
They have neither principles nor temper which can stand the affault of trouble. They have no principles which lead them to look beyond the ordinary rotation of events; and, therefore, when misfortunes involve them, the profpect must be comfortless on every fide. Their crimes have difqualified them from looking up to the affiftance of any higher power than their own ability, or for relying on any better guide than their own wisdom. And as from principle they can derive no fupport, fo in a temper corrupted by profperity they find no relief. They have loft that moderation of mind which enables a wife man to accommodate himself to his fituation. Long fed with falfe hopes, they are exafperated and ftung by every disappointment. Luxurious and effeminate, they can bear no uneafinefs. Proud and prefumptuous, they can brook no oppofition. By nourishing difpofitions which fo little fuit this uncertain ftate, they have infufed a double portion of bitterness into the cup of wo; they have fharpened the edge of that fword which is lifted up to fmite them. Strangers to all the temperate
fatisfactions of a good and a pure mind; ftrangers to every pleasure except what was feafoned by vice or vanity, their adverfity is to the laft degree difconfolate. Health and opulence were the two pillars on which they refted. Shake either of them, and their whole edifice of hope and comfort falls. Proftrate and forlorn, they are left on the ground; obliged to join with the man of Ephraim, in his abject lamentation, "They have taken away my gods, which I have made, and what have I more ?"-Such are the caufes to which we must afcribe the broken fpirits, the peevish temper, and impatient paffions, that fo often attend the declining age, or falling fortunes of vicious men.
But how different is the condition of a truly good man, in thofe trying fituations of life! Religion had gradually prepared his mind for all the events of this inconftant ftate. It had inftructed him in the nature of true happiness. It had early weaned him from an undue love of the world, by difcovering to him its vanity, and by fetting higher profpects in his view. Afflictions do not attack him by furprife, and therefore do not overwhelm him. He was equipped for the ftorm, as well as the calm, in this dubious navigation of life. Under thofe conditions he knew himself to be brought hither; that he was not always to retain the enjoyment of what he loved; and therefore he is not overcome by difappointment, when that which is mortal, dies; when that which is mutable, begins to change; and when that which he knew to be tranfient, paffes awala
All the principles which religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favourable to ftrength of mind. It will be found, that whatever purifies, fortifies alfo the heart. In the courfe of living "righteoufly, foberly, and piously," a good man acquires a fleady and well-governed Spirit. Trained, by divine grace, to enjoy with moderation the advantages of the world, neither lifted up by fuc cefs nor enervated by fenfuality, he meets the changes in his lot without unmanly dejection. He is inured to temperance and restraint. He has learned firmnefs and felfcommand. He is accustomed to look up to that Supreme Providence, which difpofes of human affairs, not with reverence only, but with truft and hope.
The time of profperity was to him not merely a season of barren joy, but productive of much ufeful improvement. He had cultivated his mind. He had ftored it with ufeful knowledge, with good principles, and virtuous difpofitions.