صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

inspires this evanescent ardor, in order to divert the parties from prayer."

Dr. Luther said, in reference to those who write satirical attacks upon women, that such will not go unpunished. “ If the author be one of high rank, rest assured he is not really of noble origin, but a surreptitious intruder into the family. What defects women have, we must check them for in private, gently by word of mouth; for woman is a frail vessel.” The doctor then turned round and said, “ Let us talk of something else.”

There was at Frankfort-on-the-Oder a schoolmaster, a pious and learned man, whose heart was fervently inclined to theology, and who had preached several times with great applause. He was called to the dignity of deacon; but his wife, a violent, fierce woman, would not consent to his accepting the charge, saying she would not be the wife of a minister.

It became a question, what was the poor man to do? which was he to renounce, his preachership or his wife? Luther at first said jocosely, “Oh, if he has married, as you tell me, al widow, he must needs obey her.” But after awhile he resumed severely: “ The wife is bound to follow her husband, not the husband his wife. This must be an ill woman, nay, the Devil incarnate, to be ashamed of a charge with which our Lord and his Apostles were invested. If she were my wife, I should shortly say to her, “Wilt thou follow me, aye or no ? Reply forthwith;' and if she replied, • No,' I would leave her, and take another wife."

The hair is the finest ornament women have. Of old, virgins used to wear it loose, except when they were in mourning. I like women to let their hair fall down their back; 'tis a most agreeable sight.

SAYINGS OF LUTHER. I HAVE no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is the gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us.

The strength and glory of a town does not depend on its wealth, its walls, its great mansions, its powerful armaments; but on the number of its learned, serious, kind, and well-educated citizens.

[ocr errors]

Greek and Latin are the scabbard which holds the sword of the Spirit, the cases which inclose the precious jewels, the vessels which contain the old wine, the baskets which carry the loaves and fishes for the feeding of the multitude.

Only a little of the first fruits of wisdom - only a few fragments of the boundless heights, breadths, and depths of truth have I been able to gather.

My own writings are like a wild forest, compared with the gentle, limpid fluency of his [Brenz's] language. If small things dare be compared with great, my words are like the Spirit of Elijah, - a great and strong wind, rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks; and his is the still small voice. But yet God uses also coarse wedges for splitting coarse blocks; and besides the fructifying grain, he employs also the rending thunder and lightning to purify the atmosphere.

I must root out the stumps and trunks, and I am a rough woodsman who must break the road and prepare it: but Magister Philip [Melanchthon] goes on quietly and gently, plows and plants, sows and waters joyfully.

Be temperate with your children; punish them if they lie or steal, but be just in what you do. It is a lighter sin to take pears and apples than to take money. I shudder when I think what I went through myself. My mother beat me about some nuts once till the blood came. I had a terrible time of it; but she meant well.

Never be hard with children. Many a fine character has been ruined by the stupid brutality of pedagogues. The parts of speech are a boy's pillory. I was myself fogged fifteen times in one forenoon, over the conjugation of a verb. Punish if you

а must; but be kind too, and let the sugar-plum go with the rod.

My being such a small creature was a misfortune for the Pope. He despised me too much. What, he thought, could a slave like me do to him to him who was the greatest man in

the world? Had he accepted my proposal he would have extinguished me.

The better a man is, the more clearly he sees how little he is good for, and the greater mockery it is to him to hold the notion that he has deserved reward. Miserable creatures that we are, we earn our bread in sin. Till we are seven years old, we do nothing but eat and drink and sleep and play; from seven to twenty-one we study four hours a day, the rest of it we run about and amuse ourselves; then we work till fifty, and then we grow again to be children. We sleep half our lives ; we give God a tenth of our time; and yet we think that with our good works we can merit heaven. What have I been doing to-day? I have talked for two hours, I have been at meals three hours, I have been idle four hours: ah, enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord !

The barley which we brew, the flax of which we weave our garments, must be bruised and torn ere they come to the use for which they were grown. So must Christians suffer. The natural creature must be torn and threshed. The old Adam must die, for the higher life to begin. If man is to rise to nobleness, he must first be slain.

The principle of marriage runs through all creation, and flowers as well as animals are male and female.

Praise be to God the Creator, who out of a dead world makes all live again. See those shoots, how they bourgeon and swell on this April day! Image of the resurrection of the dead ! Winter is death; summer is the resurrection. Between them the spring and autumn, as the period of uncertainty and change. The proverb says —

“Trust not a day
Ere birth of May.”

Let us pray our Father in heaven to give us this day our daily bread.

We are in the dawn of a new era; we are beginning to think something of the natural world which was ruined in Adam's fall. We are learning to see all around us the greatness and glory of the Creator. We can see the Almighty hand - the infinite goodness — in the humblest flower. We praise him, we thank him, we glorify him; we recognize in creation the power of his word. He spoke, and it was there. The stone of the peach is hard, but the soft kernel swells and bursts when the time comes. An egg - what a thing is that! If an egg had never been seen in Europe, and a traveler had brought one from Calcutta, how would all the world have wondered /

If a man could make a single rose, we should give him an empire; yet roses, and flowers no less beautiful, are scattered in profusion over the world, and no one regards them.

PATER NOSTER.

(Exposition of the Lord's Prayer.) “Our Father.— This is certainly a most excellent beginning or preparation, whereby we are led to know how He to whom we are about to pray should be named, honored, and addressed; and how every person should approach Him, that He may be gracious and inclined to hear. Of all the names of God, therefore, there is no one the use of which renders us more acceptable unto Him than that of Father; and it is a most lovely, sweet, and deeply comprehensive name, and full of mental affection. It would not be so sweet and consoling to say " Lord” or “ God,” or “ Judge,” because the name “ Father" (in natural things) is ingrafted in us, and is naturally sweet. And for this reason the same name is pleasing unto God, and greatly moves Him to hear us. And, also, it brings us into a knowledge of ourselves as the sons of God; by which also we greatly move the heart of God; for no voice is sweeter unto a father than that of a child. This is further discovered unto us by what follows.

Who art in Heaven.” — By these words we plainly show our miserable straits of mind, and our exiled state, and are powerfully moved to pray, as well as God to hear. For he who begins to pray, “ Our Father Who art in heaven," and does it from the inmost recesses of his heart, therein confesses that he has a Father, and that it is He who is in Heaven; and he confesses also that he himself is an exile, and left to travel here upon earth. And hereupon there must necessarily follow an inward affection of heart, such as that son has who is living far from his own country, among strangers, and in exile and calamity. For it is as if he should say, “O Father, Thou indeed art in heaven, but I, Thy miserable son, am far away from Thee upon earth”; that is, in exile, perils, calamities, and straits, and amid devils, enemies, and various difficulties. He, therefore, who thus prays has his heart directed and lifted up toward God, and is in a state to pray, and to obtain grace of God. ...

The use of the name, therefore, evidences great confidence in God; which confidence in Him we ought, above all things, to hold fast; because besides this one Parent there is no one that can aid us in coming to heaven; but, as it is written, “No man hath ascended into heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven"; on whose shoulders and wings only it is that we can ascend to heaven. Otherwise all word-mongers may say the Lord's Prayer; who, nevertheless, know not what the words signify. But what I consider to be prayer is that which proceedeth from the heart rather than from the mouth.

THE MARTYRS' HYMN.

Flung to the heedless wind, or on the waters cast,
The martyrs' ashes watched shall gathered be at last;
And from that scattered dust, around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed of witnesses for God.
The Father hath received their latest living breath;
And vain is Satan's boast of victory in their death.
Still, still, though dead, they speak, and trumpet-tongued,

proclaim
To many awakened lands the One availing Name.

EIN FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT.
A SAFE stronghold our God is still,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He'll help us clear from all the ill
That hath us now o’ertaken.
The ancient Prince of Hell
Hath risen with purpose fell;
Strong mail of craft and power
He weareth in this hour —

On earth is not his fellow.

By force of arms we nothing can
Full soon were we down-ridden;
But for us fights the proper man,
Whom God himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, Who is this same ?
Christ Jesus is his name,
The Lord Zebaoth's Son
He, and no other one,

Shall conquer in the battle.

« السابقةمتابعة »