Notices Of New Publications -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 007:27 (Jul 1850)
Article: Notices Of New Publications
Author: Anonymous

Notices Of New Publications

1. Sear’s Life Of Luther1

In reading this volume, we receive a new impression of the wondrous providence of God in adapting means to ends, in fitting instruments for his needs. Calvin, Zuingli and Melanchthon together could not have done Luther’s work. That work called for the hearty, whole-souled, energetic, facetious, we had almost said half-civilized, Luther. When we look out for some individual to take charge of a great enterprise, we are apt to be anxious to obtain a perfect man, wise, prudent, temperate in all things, having his passions and his powers under perfect subjection. We do not remember that there are exigencies, great occasions, which, in a sense, demand imperfect agents. The excess of a good quality may be needed, to carry an actor through some trying emergency. Without overflowing

animal spirits, he might faint and leave his work half done. Without a vein of pleasantry and humor, he might become melancholic or dull. Without an indomitable energy, not always tempered by discretion, he could not have borne his heavy burden. Without a boldness bordering on rashness, he would not have struck the decisive blow at the right time. A perfectly balanced character, especially at a great juncture, is a rare phenomenon. Luther enstamped himself on the heart of his country and of Protestant Christendom to the latest generations. Calvin engraved his intellect on a large section of the Christian world as with an iron pen in the rock forever. Melanchthon’s gentleness and learning are proverbial. Yet Luther’s great intellect and greater heart, and, we may add, great imperfections, were indispensable “in the opening scenes of the Reformation.” Calvin was feared, Melanchthon was loved, Luther was loved and feared. There is perhaps no name in history so fresh, after three centuries, as is his, especially in Protestant Germany. The colors are unfading. It is a household word, imbedded in the hearts of millions, and which parents, unconsciously as it were, hand down to their children and their children’s children. A spring or a tree becomes sacred, if he in a single instance quenched his thirst at the one or sat under the shade of the other. Every incident in his life is investigated. Any one who came in contact with him, whether friend or foe, shares a portion of his immortality. “There is one name, one man in German history, who, recognized indeed, only by half of Germany, still in this half, with the exception of a few who delight in singularity, or who are unfeeling skeptics, is named and celebrated with reverence and admiration as a benefactor and saviour by all others, without distinction of rank or culture.” “Luther is a phenomenon in histo...

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