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FROUDE'S BIOGRAPHY OF LUTHER., Issue 7904, 11 May 1889
FROUDE'S BIOGRAPHY OF LUTHER.
TO THE EDITOB. Sir, —Herein he sets before us "the chief features of Luther's actions and character." Luther has " modelled the history of mankind entirely for good. Ho revived and maintained the spirit of piety and reverence in which, and by which alone, real progress is possible." The spiritual forces of the world are again broken up, and we want another maßter-mind reformer. Religion is discredited. The Bible is kicked out of the national school. Ministers of religion are cowardly, and men of science j are indifferent. Epicureanism is supplanting Christianity, and morals are becoming relaxed. We want a man of the piety, honesty, and intelligence of Luther. Jerome's Latin Bible, which he accidentally! met with in the library of Erfurt, opened up a new light to the soul of Luther. He studied it carefully, and wo are again excluding it from our schools. In his day, as in ours, " the very name of Christian was a synonym of a fool." We have a revelation from Heaven, and yet we exclude it from our national schools. He preached great sermons in Wittenberg after returning from Rome, where he witnessed the hollowness and hypocrisy of the i priesthood. Froude tells us that "he preached with an energy of conviction upon sin and atonement, on human worthlessness, and the mercy and grace of the Almighty. His impassioned words were drawn fresh through his own heart from the Epistles of Paul. His look, his manner, his demoniac eyes—brilliant black, with a yellow rim round the iris like a lion's—were startling and impressive. To Leo the Tenth, Christianity was a profitable failure. Indeed, " superstition had ceased to be a delusion, and had passed into conscious hypocrisy." Luther's voice and pen, like a spark of living fire, set the world blazing. The principle of liberty contended with the principlo of authority* and hence the Reformation. His tracts were circulated in hundreds of , thousands. He gave the
Bible to Germany in her own tongue. To Luther "the Bible waa the sole infallible authority, where every Christian for himself could find the truth and the road to salvation, if he faithfully and piously looked for it." Accordingly he showered out his pamphlets against Popery, and even against fanatios of the Carlstaclt and Miinser species. The peasant war or insurrection showed his wisdom conspicuously. " Publishers made fortunes out of his writings, but he never received a florin for them." He married, and by his happy life testified to priests that " the world has no more precious treasure than holy matrimony. God's best gift is a pious, cheerful, God - fearing, home-keeping wife, to whom you can trust your goods, body, and lite." Read Luther's table talk, and see what a noble soul he waß—the man who changed the face of the world. He says :—" Never do we act better than when we know not what we are doing, or than when we think we are foolish and imprudent, for strength is perfected in weakness, and the best we do is what comes straight from the heart." Monks he regarded, like a certain Bishop of Warsburg, as only " hogs and gluttons, who did nothing but eat, drink, and sleep, and were of no more profit than as many rats," or colonial professors. Luther predicted that "mankind will turn into Epicureans and care for nothing. They will not believe that God exists." We see this prediction fulfilled in Dunedin. Infidels tell us that the "false spiritual despotism which dominated Europe would have fallen from its own hollowness. But a lie may perish, and no living belief may rise again out of the ruins. A living belief can rise only out of a believing human soul, and that any faith, any piety, is alive now in Europe, even in the Roman church itself, whose insolent hypocrisy he humbled into shame, is due in large measure to the poor miner's Bon 3who was born in a Saxon village four hundred years ago." When will another such hero of the boul arise again ? Christendom is ripe for him. People now believe neither in the Church nor in the Bible. Atheism, Agnosticism, Epicureanism, etc., are making sad [havoc of the souls of sinful men and fallen women. The ministers of the Gospel are generally regarded as professional hirelings, hypocrites, and wolves in sheep's clothing.—l am, etc., J. G. S. Gkakt. Dunedin, May 10.
FROUDE'S BIOGRAPHY OF LUTHER., Issue 7904, 11 May 1889
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