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idolatrous abstractions to which the worship of more cultivated minds was rendered. Penetrating the design, and seizing the spirit of the gospels, the reformers inculcated the faith in which the sentient and the spiritual in man's compound nature had each its appro
riate office; the one directed to the Redeemer in his palpable form, the other to the Divine Paraclete in his hidden agency; while, united with these, they exhibited to a sinful but penitent race the parental character of the Omnipresent Deity. Such is not the teaching of the restored theology. The most eminent of its professors have thrown open the doors of Mr. Froude's oratory, and have invited all passers-by to notice in his prayers and meditations “the absence of any distinct mention of our Lord and Saviour.” They are exhorted not to doubt that there was a real though silent “allusion to Christ” under the titles in which the Supreme Being is addressed; and are told that “this circumstance may be a comfort to those who cannot bring themselves to assume the tone of many popular writers of this day, who yet are discouraged by the peremptoriness with which it is exacted of them. The truth is, that a mind alive to its own real state often shrinks to utter what it most dwells upon; and is too full of awe and fear to do more than silently hope what it most wishes.” It would indeed be presumptuous to pass a censure, or to hazard an opinion, on the private devotions of any man; but there is no such risk in rejecting the apology which the publishers of those secret exercises have advanced for Mr. Froude's departure from the habits of his fellow Christians. Feeble, indeed, and emasculate must be the system, which, in its delicate distaste for the “popular writers of the day,” would bury in silence the name in which every tongue and language has been summoned to worship and to rejoice. Well may “awe and fear” become all who assume and all who invoke it. But an “awe” which “shrinks to utter” the name of Him who was born at Bethlehem, and yet does not fear to use the name which is ineffable;—a “fear” which can make mention of the Father, but may not speak of the Brother, of all—is a feeling which fairly baffles comprehension. There is a much more simple, though a less imposing theory. Mr. Froude permitted himself, and was encouraged by his correspondents, to indulge in the language of antipathy and scorn towards a large body of his fellow Christians. It tinges his letters, his journals, and is not without its influence even on his devotions. Those despised men too often celebrated the events of their Redeemer's life, and the benefits of his passion, in language of offensive familiarity, and invoked him with fond and feeble epithets. Therefore, a good Oxford Catholic must envelope in mystic terms all allusion to Him round whom as its centre the whole Christian system revolves. The line of demarcation between themselves and these coarse sentimentalists must be broad and deep, even though it should exclude those by whom it is run, from all the peculiar and distinctive ground on which the standard of the Protestant churches has been erected.
There is nothing to dread from such hostility and such enemies. A fine lady visits the United States, and, in loathing against the tobacconized republic, becomes an absolutist. A “double first-class” theologian overhears the Evangelical psalmody, and straightway turns Catholic. But Congress will not dissolve at the bidding of the fair; nor will Exeter hall be closed to propitiate the fastidious. The martyrs of disgust and the heroes of revolutions are composed of opposite materials, and are cast in very different moulds. Nothing truly great or formidable was ever yet accomplished, in thought or action, by men whose love for truth was not strong enough to triumph over their dislike of the offensive objects with which it may be associated. Mr. Froude was the victim of these associations. Nothing escapes his abhorrence which has been regarded with favour by his political or religious antagonists. The Bill for the Abolition of Slavery was recommended to Parliament by an administration more than suspected of liberalism. The “Witness to Catholic Views,” “in whose sentiments as a whole,” his editors concur, visits the West Indies, and they are not afraid to publish the following report of his feelings:– “I have felt it a kind of duty to maintain in my mind an habitual hostility to the niggers, and to chuckle over the failures of the new system, as if these poor wretches concentrated in themselves all the whiggery, dissent, cant, and abomination that have been ranged on their side.” Lest this should pass for a pleasant extravagance, the editors enjoin the reader not to “confound the author's view of the negro cause and of the abstract negro with his feelings towards any he should exactly meet;” and Professor Tholuck is summoned from Germany to explain how the “originators of error” may lawfully be the objects of a good man's hate, and how it may innocently overflow upon all their clients, kindred, and connexions. Mr. Froude's feelings towards the “abstract negro” would have satisfied the learned professor in his most indignant mood. “I am ashamed,” he says, “I cannot get over my prejudices against the niggers.”—“Every one I meet seems to me like an incarnation of the whole AntiSlavery Society, and Fowell Buxton at their head.”—“The thing that strikes me as most remarkable in the cut of these niggers is excessive immodesty, a forward, stupid familiarity intended for civility, which prejudices me against them worse even than Buxton's cant did. It is getting to be the fashion with every body, even the planters, to praise the emancipation and Mr. Stanley.” Mr. Froude, or rather his editors, appear to have fallen into the error of supposing that his profession gave him not merely the right to admonish, but the privilege to scold. Lord Stanley and Mr. Buxton have, however, the consolation of being railed at in good company. Hampden is “hated” with much zeal, though, it is admitted, with imperfect knowledge. Louis Philippe, and his associates of the Three Days, receive the following humane benediction—“I sincerely hope the march of mind in France may yet prove a bloody *, “The election of the wretched B. for , and that base fellow, H. for , in spite of the exposure,” &c. Again, the editors protest against our supposing that this is a playful exercise in the art of exaggeration. “It should be observed,” they say, “as in other parts of this volume, that the author used these words on principle, not as abuse, but as expressing matters of fact, as a way of bringing before his own mind things as they are.” Milton, however, is the especial object of Mr. Froude's virtuous abhorrence. He is “a detestable author.” Mr. Froude rejoices to learn something of the puritans, because, as he says, “It gives me a better right to hate Milton, and accounts for many of the things which most disgusted me in his (not in my sense of the word) poetry.”—“A lady told me yesterday that you wrote the article of Sacred Poetry, &c. I thought it did not come up to what I thought your standard of aversion to Milton.” Mr. Froude and his editors must be delivered over to the secular arm under the writ De Heretico Com/urando for their wilful obstinacy in rejecting the infallible sentence of the fathers and opcumenical counsels of the church poetical, on this article of faith. There is no room for mercy. They did not belong to the audience, meet but few, to whom the immortal addressed himself—to that little company to which alone it is reserved to estimate the powers of such a mind, and reverently to notice its defects. They were of that multitude who have to make their choice between repeating the established creed and holding their peace. Why are free-thinkers in literature to be endured more than in religion? The guilt of liberalism has clearly been contracted by this rash judgment; and Professor Tholuck being the witness, it exposes the criminals and the whole society of Oriel, nay, the entire University itself, to the diffusive indignation of all who cling to the Catholic faith in poetry. There are much better things in Mr. Froude's
book than the preceding quotations might ap pear to promise. If given as specimens of his power, they would do gross injustice to a good and able man, a ripe scholar, and a devout Christian. But as illustrations of the temper and opinions of those who now sit in Wycliffe's seat, they are neither unfair nor unimportant. And they may also convince all whom it concerns, that hitherto, at least, Oxford has not given birth to a new race of giants, by whom the evangelical founders and missionaries of the Church of England will be expelled from their ancient dominion, or the Protestant world excluded from the light of day and the free breath of heaven.
Whenever the time shall be ripe for writing the ecclesiastical history of the last and the present age, a curious chapter may be devoted to the rise and progress of the Evangelical body in England from the days of Whitfield to our own. It will convey many important lessons. It will manifest the irresistible power of the doctrines of the Reformation when proclaimed with honesty and zeal, even though its teachers be unskilled in those studies which are essential to a complete and comprehensive theology. It will show that infirmities which, not without some reason, offend the more cultivated, and disgust the more fastidious members of the Catholic Church amongst us, are but as the small dust in the balance, when weighed against the mighty energy of those cardinal truths in the defence of which Wycliffe and Luther, Knox and Calvin, Ridley and Latimer, lived and laboured, and died. It may also prove that recondite learning, deep piety and the purest virtue may be all combined in bosoms which are yet contracted by narrow and unsuspected prejudices. But, above all, it may teach mutual charity; admonishing men to listen with kindness and self. distrust even to each other's extravagant claims to an exclusive knowledge of the Divine will, and the exclusive possession of the Divine favour.
D’AUBIGNE'S HISTORY OF THE GREAT REFORMATION."
[Edinburgh Review, 1839.]
Exglish literature is singularly defective in whatever relates to the Reformation in Germany and Switzerland, and to the lives of the great men by whom it was accomplished. A native of this island who would know any thing to the purpose, of Reuchlin or Hutten, or Luther or Melancthon, of Zuingle, Bucer or OEcolampadius, of Calvin or Farel, must betake himself to other languages than his own.
* History of the Great Reformation of the Sirteenth Century, in Germany, Switzerland, &c. By J. H. Meale D'Aubigns, President of the Theological School of Geneva. 8vo. Vol. I. London, 1838.
To fill this void in our libraries, is an enter prise which might stimulate the zeal, and establish the reputation of the ripest student of Ecclesiastical History amongst us. In no other field could he discover more ample resources for narratives of dramatic interest; for the delineation of characters contrasted in everything except their common design; for exploring the influence of philosophy, arts, and manners, on the sortunes of mankind; and for reverently tracing the footsteps of Divine Providence, moving among the ways and works of men, imparting dignity to events otherwise unimportant, and a deep significance to occurrences in any other view as trivial as a border raid, or the palaver of an African village. Take, for example, the life of Ulric de Hutten, a noble, a warrior, and a rake; a theologian withal, and a reformer; and at the same time the author, or one of the authors, of a satire to be classed amongst the most effective which the world has ever seen. Had the recreative powers of Walter Scott been exercised on Hutten's story, how familiar would all Christendom have been with the stern Baron of Franconia, and Ulric, his petulant boy; with the fat Abbot of Foulde driving the fiery youth by penances and homilies to range a literary vagabond on the face of the earth; with the burgomaster of Frankfort, avenging by a still more formidable punishment the pasquinade which had insulted his civic dignity. How vivid would be the image of Hutten at the siege of Pavia, soothing despair itself by writing his own epitaph; giving combat to five Frenchmen for the glory of Maximilian; and receiving from the delighted emperor the frugal reward of a poetic crown. Then would have succeeded the court and princely patronage of “the Pope of Mentz,” and the camp and the castle of the Lord of Sickengen, until the chequered scene closed with Ulric's death-bed employment of producing a satire on his stupid physician. All things were welcome to Hutten; arms and love, theology and debauchery, a disputation with the Thomists, a controversy with Erasmus, or a war to the knife with the dunces of his age. His claim to have written the Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum, has, indeed, been disputed, though with little apparent reason. It is at least clear that he asserted his own title, and that no other candidate for that equivocal honour united in himself the wit and learning, the audacity and licentiousness, which successively adorn and disfigure that extraordinary collection. Neither is it quite just to exclude the satirist from the list of those who lent a material aid to the Reformation. It is not, certainly, by the heartiest or the most contemptuous laugh that dynasties, whether civil or religious, are subverted; but it would be unfair to deny altogether to Hutten the praise of having contributed by his merciless banter to the successes of wiser and better men than himself. To set on edge the teeth of the Ciceronians by the Latinity of the correspondents of the profound Ortuinus, was but a pleasant jest; but it was something more to confer an immorality of ridicule on the erudite doctors who seriously apprehended, from the study of Greek and Hebrew, the revival at once of the worship of Minerva, and of the rite of circumcision. It was in strict satirical justice, that characters were assigned to these sages in a farce as broad as was ever drawn by Aristophanes or Moliere; and which was destitute neither of their riotous mirth, nor even of some of that deep wisdom which it was their pleasure to exhibit beneath that mask. Much as Luther, himself, asper, incolumi gravitate jocum tentavit, he received with little relish these sallies of his facetious ally; whom he not only censured for employing the lan
guage of reproach and insult, but, harder still, described as a buffoon. It is, perhaps, well for the dignity of the stern reformer that the taunt was unknown to the object of it; for, great as he was, Hutten would not have spared him; and as the quiver of few satirists has been stored with keener or more envenomed shafts, so, few illustrious men have exposed to such an assailant a greater number of vulnerable points. But of these, or of his other private habits, little is generally recorded. History having claimed Luther for her own, biography has yielded to the pretensions of her more stately sister; and the domestic and interior life of the antagonist of Leo and of Charles yet remains to be written. The materials are abundant, and of the highest interest;a collection of letters scarcely less voluminous than those of Voltaire; the Colloquia Mensalia, in some parts of more doubtful authenticity, yet, on the whole, a genuine record of his conversation; his theological writings, a mine of egotisms of the richest ore; and the works of Melancthon, Seckendorf, Cochloeus, Erasmus, and many others, who flourished in an age when, amongst learned men, to write and to live were almost convertible terms. The volume whose title-page we have transcribed, is, in fact, an unfinished life of Luther, closing with his appeal from the pope to a general council. We have selected it as the most elaborate, from a long catalogue of works on the Reformation, recently published on the continent, by the present inheritors of the principles and passions which first agitated Europe in the beginning of the sixteenth century. By far the most amusing of the series is the collection of Lutheriana by M. Michelet, which we are bound to notice with especial gratitude, as affording a greater number of valuable references than all other books of the same kind put together. It was drawn up as a relaxation from those severer studies on which M. Michelet's historical fame depends. But the pastime of some men is worth far more than the labours of the rest; and this compilation has every merit but that of an appropriate title; for an auto-biography it assuredly is not, in any of the senses, accurate or popular, of that much abused word. Insulated in our habits and pursuits, not less than in our geographical position, it is but tardily that, within the entrenchment of our four seas, we sympathize with the intellectual movements of the nations which dwell beyond them. Many, however, are the motives, of at least equal force in these islands as in the old and new continents of the Christian world, for diverting the eye from the present to the past, from those who would now reform, to those who first reformed, the churches of Europe. Or, if graver reasons could not be found, it is beyond all dispute that the professors of Wittemburg, three hundred years ago, formed a group as much more entertaining than those of Oxford at present, as the contest with Dr. Eck exceeded in interest the squabble with Dr. Hampden. The old Adam in Martin Luther (a favourite subject of his discourse) was a very formidable personage; lodged in a bodily frame of surpassing vigour, solicited by vehement appetites, and alive to all the passions by which man is armed for offensive or defensive warfare with his fellows. In accordance with a general law, that temperament was sustained by nerves which shrunk neither from the endurance nor the infliction of necessary pain; and by a courage which rose at the approach of difficulty, and exulted in the presence of danger. A rarer prodigality of nature combined with these endowments an inflexible reliance on the conclusions of his own understanding, and on the energy of his own will. He came forth on the theatre of life another Samson Agonistes “with plain heroic magnitude of mind, and celestial vigour armed;” ready to wage an unequalled combat with the haughtiest of the giants of Gath; or to shake down, though it were on his own head, the columns of the proudest of her temples. Viewed in his belligerent aspect, he might have seemed a being cut off from the common brotherhood of mankind, and bearing from on high a commission to bring to pass the remote ends of Divine benevolence, by means appalling to human guilt and to human weakness. But he was reclaimed into the bosom of the great family of man, by bonds fashioned in strength and number proportioned to the vigour of the H. they were intended to control. here brooded over him a constitutional melancholy, sometimes engendering sadness, but more often giving birth to dreams so wild, that, if vivified by the imagination of Dante, they might have passed into visions as awful and majestic as those of the Inferno. As these mists rolled away, bright gleams of sunshine took their place, and that robust mind yielded itself to social enjoyments, with the hearty relish, the broad humour, and the glorious profusion of sense and nonsense, which betoken the relaxations of those who are for the moment abdicating the mastery, to become the companions of ordinary man. Luther had other and yet more potent spells with which to exorcise the demons who haunted him. He had ascertained and taught that the spirit of darkness abhors sweet sounds not less than light itself; for music, while it chases away the evil suggestions, effectually baffles the wiles of the tempter. His lute, and hand, and voice, accompanying his own solemn melodies, were therefore raised to repel the more vehement aggressions of the enemy of mankind; whose feebler assaults he encountered by studying the politics of a rookery, by assigning to each beautiful creation of his flowerbeds an appropriate sylph or genius, by the company of his Catherine de Bora, and the sports of their saucy John and playful Magdalene. The name of Catherine has long enjoyed a wide but doubtful celebrity. She was a lady of noble birth, and was still young when she renounced the ancient faith, her convent, and her vows, to become the wife of Martin Luther. From this portentous union of a monk and nun, the “obscure men” confidently predicted the birth of Antichrist; while the wits and scholars greeted their nuptials with a thick hail-storm of epigrams, hymns, and dithyram
bics, the learned Eccius himself chiming into the loud chorus with an elaborate epithalamium. The bridegroom met the tempest, with the spirit of another Benedict, by a counterblast of invective and sarcasms, which, afterwards collected under the head of “the Lion and the Ass,” perpetuated the memory of this redoubtable controversy. “My enemies,” he exclaimed, “triumphed. They shouted, Io, Iof I was resolved to show that, old and feeble as I am, I am not going to sound a retreat. I trust I shall do still more to spoil their merriment.” This indiscreet, if not criminal marriage, searcely admitted a more serious defence. Yet Luther was not a man to do any thing which he was not prepared to justify. He had inculcated on others the advantages of the conjugal state, and was bound to enforce his precepts by his example. The war of the peasants had brought reproach on the principles of the Reformation; and it was incumbent on him to sustain the minds of his followers, and to bear his testimony to evangelical truth by deeds as well as words. Therefore, it was fit that he should marry a nun. Such is the logic of inclination, and such the presumption of uninterrupted success. “Dr. Ortuinas” himself never lent his venerable sanction to a stranger sophistry, than that which could thus discover in one great scandal an apology for another far more justly offensive. Catherine was a very pretty women, if Hol. bein’s portrait may be believed; although even her personal charms have been rudely impugned by her husband's enemies, in grave disquisitions devoted to that momentous question. Better still, she was a faithful and affectionate wife. But there is a no less famous Catherine to whom she bore a strong family resemblance. She brought from her nunnery an anxious mind, a shrewish temper, and great volubility of speech. Luther's arts were not those of Petruchio. With him reverence for woman was at once a natural instinct and a point of doctrine. He observed, that when the first woman was brought to the first man to receive her name, he called her not wife, but mother—“Eve, the mother of all living”—a word, he says, “more eloquent than ever fell from the lips of Demosthenes.” So, like a wise and kind-hearted man, when his Catherine prattled, he smiled; when she frowned, he playfully stole away her anger, and chided her anxieties with the gentlest soothing. A happier or a more peaceful home was not to be found in the land of domestic tenderness. Yet, the confession must be made, that, from the first to the last, this love-tale is nothing less than a case of la'sa majestas against the sovereignty of romance, Luther and his bride did not meet on either side with the raptures of a first affection. He had long before sighed for the fair Ave Shonfelden, and she had not concealed her attachment for a certain Jerome Baungartner. Ave had bestowed herself in marriage on a physician of Prussia; and before Luther's irrevocable vows were pledged, Jerome received from his great rival an intimation that he still possessed the heart, and, with common activity, might even vet secure the hand of Catherine. But honest Jerome was not a man to be hurried. He silently resigned his pretensions to his illustrious competitor, who, even in the moment of success, had the discernment to perceive, and the frankness to avow, that his love was not of a flaming or ungovernable nature. “Nothing on this earth,” said the good Dame Ursula Schweickard, with whom Luther boarded when at school at Eisenach, “is of such inestimable value as a woman's love.” This maxim, recommended more, perhaps, by truth than originality, dwelt long on the mind and on the tongue of the reformer. To have dismissed this or any other text without a commentary would have been abhorrent from his temper; and in one of his letters to Catherine he thus insists on a kindred doctrine, the converse of the first. “The greatest favour of God is to have a good and pious husband, to whom you can intrust your all, your person, and even your life; whose children and yours are the same. Catherine, you have a pious husband who loves you. You are an empress; thank God for it.” His conjugal meditations were often in a gayer mood; as, for example, “If I were going to make love again, I would carve an obedient woman out of marble, in despair of finding one in any other way.”— “During the first year of our marriage, she would sit by my side while I was at my books, and, not having any thing else to say, would ask me whether in Prussia the margrave and the house steward were not always brothers.Did you say your Pater, Catherine, before you began that sermon If you had, I think you would have been forbidden to preach.” He addresses her sometimes as my Lord Catherine, or Catherine the queen, the empress, the doctoress: or as Catherine the rich and noble Lady of Zeilsdorf, where they had a cottage and a few roods of ground. But as age advanced, these playful sallies were abandoned for the following graver and more affectionate style. “To the gracious Lady Catherine Luther, my dear wife, who vexes herself overmuch, grace and peace in the Lord! Dear Catherine, you should read St. John, and what is said in the catechism of the confidence to be reposed in God. Indeed, you torment yourself as though he were not Almighty, and could not produce new Doctors Martin by the score, if the old doctor should drown himself in the Saal.”—“There is one who watches over me more effectually than thou canst, or than all the angels. He sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. Therefore be calm.” There were six children of this marriage; and it is at once touching and amusing to see with what adroitness Luther contrived to gratify at once his tenderness as a father, and his taste as a theologian. When the brightening eye of one of the urchins round his table consessed the allurements of a downy peach, it was “the image of a soul rejoicing in hope.” Over an infant pressed to his mother's bosom, thus moralized the severe but affectionate reformer: “That babe and every thing else which belongs to us is hated by the pope, by Duke George; by their adherents, and by all
the devils. Yet, dear little fellow, he troubles himself not a whit for all these powerful enemies, he gayly sucks the breast, looks round him with a loud laugh, and lets them storm as they like.” There were darker seasons, when even theology and polemics gave way to the more powerful voice of nature; nor, indeed, has the deepest wisdom any thing to add to his lamentation over the bier of his daughter Magdalene. “Such is the power of natural affection, that I cannot endure this without tears and groans, or rather an utter deadness of heart. At the bottom of my soul are engraved her looks, her words, her gestures, as I gazed at her in lifetime and on her death-bed. My dutiful, my gentle daughter! Even the death of Christ (and what are all deaths compared to his?) cannot tear me from this thought as it should. She was playful, lovely, and full of love!” Whatever others may think of these nursery tales, we have certain reasons of our own for suspecting that there is not, on either side of the Tweed, a papa, who will not read the following letter, sent by Luther to his eldest boy during the Diet of Augsburg, with more interest than any of all the five “Confessions” presented to the emperor on that memorable occasion. “Grace and peace be with thee, my dear little boy! I rejoice to find that you are attentive to your lessons and your prayers. Persevere, my child, and when I come home I will bring you some pretty fairing. I know of a beautiful garden, full of children in golden dresses, who run about under the trees, eating apples, pears, cherries, nuts, and plums. They jump and sing and are full of glee, and they have pretty little horses with golden bridles and silver saddles, As I went by this garden I asked the owner of it who those children were, and he told me that they were the good children, who loved to say their prayers, and to learn their lessons, and who fear God. Then I said to him, Dear sir, I have a boy, little John Luther; may not he too come to this garden, to eat these beautiful apples and pears, to ride these pretty little horses, and to play with the other children? And the man said, If he is very good, if he says his prayers, and learns his lessons cheerfully he may come, and he may bring with him little Philip and little James. Here they will find fifes and drums and other nice instruments to play upon, and they shall dance and shoot with little crossbows. Then the man showed me in the midst of the garden a beautiful meadow to dance in. But all this happened in the morning before the children had dined; so I could not stay till the beginning of the dance, but I said to the man, I will go and write to my dear little John, and teach him to be good, to say his prayers, and learn his lessons, that he may come to this garden. But he has an Aunt Magdalene, whom he loves very much-may he bring her with him? The man said, Yes, tell him that they may come together. Be good, therefore, dear child, and tell Philip and James the same, that you may all come and play in this beautiful garden. I commit you to the care of God