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whom he looked upon as having perverted the gospel truth, has taught us to regard him as the iron man of the old poem, who passed through the world upon a terrible mission, invincible and irresistible, to be feared not loved. But the bonds which bound him to the great human family were strong in proportion to the strength of the passions which tended to drive him away. So that his being still revolved in the orbit of humanity. To know him aright, we
, must look upon him not only as braving men and devils, at Worms and Wartburg, but also in his humble home at Witienberg, amid his grave friends and laughing children, moralizing upon all natural objects, and finding in all, food for admiration and reflection. One evening he saw a bird sitting upon a tree.
« This little bird,” said he, “has taken his evening meal, and here he will sleep in safety. He troubles himself not; cares not for the morrow; just as David speaks of the man who dwelt under the shadow of the Almighty. He sits contentedly upon his tw g, and lets God care for him."
. Ah! if Adam's fall had not marred everything, what a noble and beautiful creature man would have been, adorned with all knowledge and wisdom! What a blessed life he would have lived, without any disease, disquiet, or misfortune. He would have had joy in all creatures, and every change and alternation would have been a delight; and would finally have laid aside this temporal life, and been changed without tasting of death. Yet even in this poor life in how many of his creatures has God depictured and set forth the resurrection of the dead."
“ Pythagoras says that the moving of the constellations produces a inost delightful harmony and melody ; but men have become unmindful of it by continual custom. So it is with us. We have beautiful creatures all around us, but they are so common that we regard them not.”
6 It is wonderful to how many uses, for all men throughout the wide world, the Lord God has ajapted wood. There is wood for burning and for building, for tables and chairs, for wheels and pails. Wood is one of those indispensable things which men must have.”
Of Death.--"We ought not to be afraid of death, since we have laid fast hold of the Word of Life, yea, of the Lord of Life himself, who has conquered death for us.
“ It is before God a precious and noble thing to die for the name and cause of Christ. We are all mortal, and must die for the sake of sin; but if we die for Christ's sake, it is a most honorable death. We thereby acquire a heavenly heritage, and sell our lives dearly enough. When Christians pray for a long life and for tranquillity, they do it not for their own sakes, for death to them is gain; but for the sake of posterity and the Church."
« The fear of death, is death He who has got the fear of death out of his heart, neither tastes nor feels death itself.” Some one asked him what the taste of death was. He answered, ' Ask my Kate there, if
she felt anything when she was all but dead.' She replied : * Herr Doctor, I felt nothing at all.' He rejoined, “Therefore say I that the fear of death is the greatest part of dying. What, and how great is the taste of death, we may learn from Christ in the Garden, when he exclaimed, "My soul is sorrowful, even unto death.' Christ died in the Garden, for to taste of death is to die. But what do you think of the words, “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death ?? I look upon them as the weightiest words in the whole Bible, though that was a great cry which Jesus uttered upon the cross, My father, my father, why hast thou forsaken me?' No man can express it in words. No angel can understand it. The blood poured through the gouts of sweat. For this tasting of death, we are told, a creature strengthened the Creator."
That touch of nature which makes the whole world kin," was nowhere more strikingly manifested than in Luther's conduct at the death-bed of his daughter. She died at the age of fourteen. While
. she lay sick the father said, “She is very dear to me; but, dear Lord, if it is thy will to take her hence, I shall know with joy that she is with thee.” Approaching her as she lay in bed, he said to her, “Magdalene, my little daughter,' thou wouldst gladly remain with thy father here, and thou wouldst also gladly go to thy father there.' Said she, “Yes, dear father, as God will."
Then said the father, Thou dearest little daughter, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak;' and turning away he added, "she is very dear to me. If the flesh is so strong, what must the spirit be?" As she was at the point of death, the father fell upon his knees by her bedside, and weeping bitterly, prayed that God would release her. She expired in his arms. At the grave he said, “ [ have sent a saint to heaven ; yea, a living saint.” When he saw his wife very sorrowful, weeping, and lamenting, he said to her, “Bethink thyself, my dear Kate, where she bas gone. It is well with her. But flesh will quiver, and blood will flow. Do the best thou canst. Children do not dispute. They believe what they are told. All with them is simple. They die without pain or anguish, without agony of body, without the struggle of death, just as though they fell asleep.'
The anguish of grief soon wears itself out. The stern realities of life pressed too hard upon the great Reformer to allow him long to do otherwise than rejoice that his child had passed away from the evil to come. “A boy,” said he afterwards, “can take care of himself in any country, if he will but work; but a poor girl must have some support. A boy can attend the schools and become a great man; not so the poor girls. And so I very willingly give up this my daughter to the Lord God. I would, as far as Hesh goes, gladly have had her by me longer. But he has taken
, her away, and I thank hiin.” And afterwards, “ If my daughter
, 1 The tenderness and pathos of the original is unapproachable in a tra nslationMagdalenichen, mein Töchterlin.
Du lieber Töchterlin.
Magdalene could be brought to life, and could bring me the whole Turkish empire, I would not take it. With her it is well; for 'blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Whoso is dead, has the surety of eternal life. I would that I, too, and all my children might depart, for evil times are coming. Tbere is no more help or counsel on earth, that I can see, save the judgment day; and I do hope that God will not long delay it, for covetousness and license increase, and are no longer even a scandal. Princes and rulers can no longer govern.”. Were one to ask, Was Luther a happy man, we would answer,
a No. He had a hard task to perform on earth, and was too sorely beset with trials within and without, to be happy, in any ordinary sense of the word. But he did more than achieve happiness. He fulfilled the task laid upon him. All men, as Plato said of old, are placed here upon a military post, which they may not leave without permission. Luther not only did not desert his post, but defended it to the last, with heroic endurance, and died with his armor on. He did not even have a foresight of the stately tree which would grow up from the feeble shoots which he planted. He died in the full persuasion that the last days were at hand, and that he lived in the midst of that great apostasy, which he believed was the sure precursor of the final judgment.
God sees not as man sees.-" This is finely shown by Adam. When he had only two sons, the first-born was called Cain. • That which is made the head of the house;' Adam and Eve thought Cain was to be the man of God, the blessed seed who was to bruise the serpent's head. When Eve again conceived, she hoped it would be a daughter, that the dear son might have a wife. When she brought forth another son, she called him Abel, that is, (vanity, nothingness,' as though she had said, " It is all over with my hope ; I have been deceived.' This is an image of the world, and of the church of God; and we may hence see how it is always wont to turn out. Cain, the godless scoundrel, became a great lord on the earth, while the pious Abel was his servant and subject. But God reversed all this, for Cain was rejected, and Abel accepted, and became the dear child of God, though it did not seem so, but the contrary. Ishmael, too, had a fine name, 'whom God heareth, while Isaac was naught. Esau was called the doer, the man,' as though he would do everything; but Jacob was nothing at all. Absalom is the father of peace. Such a show and pretence do the wicked always make in the world. But they were, in truth and fact; despisers, mockers, and rebels. We can judge and decide upon these matters from God's Word; let us therefore prize the dear Bible, and diligently read it.”.
The Decalogue—“The Decalogue is a doctrine above all doctrine. The Apostles' creed is of worth above all worth. The Lord's Prayer is a prayer above all prayers. The litany is a joy above all joy."
“We should preach and insist upon the
affirmative part of the Decalogue: Thou shalt, etc.”.....“ The first table is of small account in the world; the second stands in some little estimation, because transgressors are now and then pun
. ished.”......“ The decalogue is the logic of the gospel; the gospel the rhetoric of the decalogue. Christ has all that is in Moses, but Moses has not all that is in Christ.”.....
6. The first commandinent imports that God is and will be our God. This will continue of force throughout all eternity. All the other commandments will come to an end; for in the future life, all worship, and polity, and regimen, will cease. But God and the first commandment will remain here, there, everywhere, and for evermore.”
“We can see that Moses was a good doctor, by the great care with which he lays down and treats of the first commandment. David is a gate, a door, leading out of Moses. He had diligently studied Moses, and so became a great poet and orator. The Psalıns are nothing but syllogisms upon the first commandment; as, God regards the poor; I am poor; therefore God regards me.”
“Sins which we know to be such, are against the second table, and men often turn from them when repentance is preached to them. Sins which we do not know to be such, are against the first table; men seldom repent of these. Saul sinned against the first, David against the second table. Ah! dear Lord, let me rather fall into sins which I know to be such, as murder, theft, adultery, than into those which I do not consider sins. Our Lord God hates nothing more sorely, than that men will not allow that they have sinned, as we see in the case of Saul.”
Of the Works of God. God is a perfect master of all trades. As a tailor, he makes a coat for the deer, which he may wear a thousand years,
and it will never tear. As a shoemaker, he makes for him shoes, his hoofs, which outlast himself. He is a cook, too, for the sun, which is his fire, cooks and ripens everything.".. “There go our preachers, the beasts of the field—the milk-makers, the butter-makers, the cheese-makers-who preach to us daily, of faith in God, of trust in him as our father, that he will care for us, and provide for us."......“ God has made enough for us all, the seas are our cellar, the forests our chase, the earth is full of silver and gold, and of fruits innumerable, and all made for our sakes; the earth itself is our corn-bin and store-chamber.”
Pre-requisites for understanding the Bible.-“ No one can understand Virgil, in his Bucolics, unless he have been five years a shepherd. No one can comprehend Virgil in the Georgics, unless he have been five years a husbandman. No one, I think, can fully understand Cicero, in his Epistles, unless he have been twenty years conversant with great affairs of state. Let no one think he has mastered the Holy Scriptures, unless he have for a hundred years directed the affairs of the Church with the prophets, as did Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and his apostles.”
1. Eclectic Moral Philosophy, prepared for Literary Institutions and general use. By
Rev. J. R. Boyd, A.M. Harper and Brothers, pp. 424, 12mo.
There is a peculiarity in the plan of this work which struck us unfavorably, until on examination, we discovered the great skill and ability with which its obvious difficulties were not only obviated, but turned to a good account. The compiler has first laid out the comprehensive framework of a moral system, the filling up of which is constituted of detached passages of some twenty of the best writers on morals, so much of their writings only being used as bears upon, or explains the dogma under consideration. Thus, on the topic of the immutability of moral distinctions, his argument is derived from Dewar; that on the rule of moral obligation, from Wardlaw; the argument on the ground of moral obligation from Dr. Dick, Dr. Chalmers, and Dr. Dewar; and in the argument against Expediency, great use is made of Dymond. So through the whole work, the various positions are explained, argued, or illustrated, by the writings of standard authors, so pared and trimmed as to dove-tail handsomely into the main structure. Of course, this system of practical eclecticism is not carried out without some sacrifice of unity, both of style and of sentiment; but the surprise is that the compiler has been able to make his vast piece of Mosaic hold together so well, and to present a surface so seemly and agreeable. As it is, it is a really trustworthy and admirable system of morals, imbued with a truly Christian spirit, pursuing its end with a meihod and aim which many a treatise of single authorship fails to show. The moral principles of the system we are not disposed to discuss. It will sufficiently characterize them for the purpose of such a notice as this, to say that, in the main, ihey are not dissimilar to those of Dr. Wayland's well known work, whose pupil and friend the compiler confesses himself to be. The work has an additional advantage, which no other of the kind can possess, of suggesting to the pupil the works and authors where the various topics are more extensively treated. It is, in fact, an excellent guide-book for an exploration of the wide and tangled field of moral science.
2. A History of Rome, from the Earliest Times to the Death of Commodus, A.D. 192.
By DR. LEONHARD Schmitz, F. R. S. E. Harper and Brothers, pp. 568, 12mo. This is designed as a popular history of the Roman empire; and has its chief recommendation in its adoption of the principles and views of Niebuhr. We believe it is the first attempt at a popular Roman history, since the German Hercules purged the Augean stables of fiction, legend, and nonsense, of which our former notions of the origin of that nation were mainly composed. Dr. Schmitz was a friend and disciple of Niebuhr, and in constructing his history, has carried Niebuhr's historical pyrrhonism quite far enough; but it is certainly time that our manual histories of Rome should begin to contorm to the aspects of that history as understood by the learned. The careful, earnest fidelity of the author, bis great learning and comprehensive views, and especially, the true classic spirit with which his mind and heart are imbued, give so great a literary superiority to the work, that we cannot doubt it will become the text-book on the subject, wherever it is known.
3. History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century. By J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE,
D.D. Translated by H. White, B.A. The translation carefully revised by Dr. D'Aubigné. 4 rols., 12mo. American Tract Society. The religious world are pretty generally aware that the American Tract Society issued some two years since, an edition of this great work as it was then published, with a few erasures of what were supposed to be sectarian or denominational remarks of the author, in order to adapt it to the catholic principles on which the Society is based. The omissions were, however, thought by some to be too important