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Thick as a field.”
its wearied faculties in silent adoration of beauties which are presented to us in the Hand that has
nature's gradual development in spring, "Sown the heavens with stars,
its maturity in summer, and its decline in autumn and winter; and many con
siderations have arisen calculated to proAs the sun is hidden by the thick duce a beneficial result. The study of clouds that intervene, and the gloomy the beauties of nature may be rendered weather forebodes the gathering tempest, as improving as it is delightful, if it is the minds of many are depressed, and only regarded in a proper point of view, they regard this as a season peculiarly and the hand of God acknowledged in unpleasant and useless. Doubtless there his various works. Indications have been are many advantages possessed by other observed of unfathomable design in the periods which this does not enjoy; but conception, and power in the execution let the important operations going on in of the great scheme of nature; and if the nature be appreciated, and we shall adore view has not been highly improving, the the goodness of an all-wise and good fault must rest with ourselves. Creator. The earth, it must be remem The analogy which is apparent between bered, almost exhausted by its fruitful the succession of the seasons and the proness, requires a renovation of its strength, gress and decline of human life is geneto accomplish which it must not only rally acknowledged. Spring has been have repose, but an abundance of moist- regarded as the youth of the year, the
Hence the necessity there is for season of pleasing hope, lively energy, the plenteous supplies we enjoy at this and rapid increase; summer has been time; which, discharged from the heavy compared to perfect manhood, the season clouds, swell the streams and rivers, of confirmed strength and undiminished which, overflowing their banks, sweep vigour. Autumn, while it bestows the over the lowland fields and meadows. rich products of full maturity, is yet The water thus furnished penetrates the hastening to decline, and has been aptly arid land, and refreshes the lowest roots compared to that period when the man, of the plants, while the dry leaves which mellowed by age, yields the valuable cover the ground are made rapidly to fruits of wisdom and experience, but decay, and are incorporated with the daily exhibits increasing symptoms of soil, from which, in other forms, they decay; while the coldness of winter has have been taken. Thus, although it been termed the decrepit and hoary old appears the night of the year, the days age of the year. Well has Thomson becoming shorter and darker, spread an drawn a religious and instructive lesson unwonted gloom around; earth grows from the comparison : niggardly of her supplies of nourishment and shelter; man seeks artificial means
“ Behold, fond man !
See here thy pictured life ;-pass some few years, of warmth and hoarded supplies of food; Thy flowering spring, thy summer's ardent strength, the wind whistles ominously through the Thy sober autumn, fading into age,
And pale concluding winter comes at last," naked trees; and the flowing waters be
And shuts the scene. come fixed and immovable; yet a mighty Those dreams of greatness ? those unsolid hopes arrangement is going on for re-supplying Those restless cares ? those busy bustling days? us with the beauties of another year. Those gay-spent, festive nights ? those veering
If we could look within the trunk of thoughts, that denuded tree, whose naked arms
Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life? creak in every blast, we should observe many very important operations. Pre During the season of winter, man paration is there advancing in secret for himself seems to forget the scenes in the renovation of leaf and bark, the con which he loved to mingle. Instead of struction of the flower and the fruit, and a feeding his mind with facts gathered at multitude of other results, as important pleasure from the great book of Nature, as they are delicate and mysterious. Let he consults the tomes which men of these considerations occupy our minds science and literature have placed upon when we look around us with regret, and his shelves; and, as he sits by the cheerprospectively examine those scenes of ing fire, he silently indulges in commuinterest and of beauty, which will be dis- nion with the minds of other men, or played when these preparatory arrange- reads to an attentive family circle many ments are consummated in maturity. important truths. By these means the We have thus examined a few of those thoughts and principles of men of all
Ah! whither now are fied
All now are yanish'a.
Virtue sole survives."
countries and ages are brought before we shall sincerely regret the wasted them; their ideas are modified or displaced periods of the past, and be stimulated by others which their feelings or judg- afresh to avail ourselves of every opporment may dictate, while friendly discus- tunity of serving God and our fellowsion on the various subjects will add to
F. S. W. the general interest and improvement.
Thus the winter evenings, which by some are only associated with what is
TRACES OF LUTHER IN GERMANY. chilling and dreary, are highly regarded by others. It has been said that the bee
We left the palace-town of Potzdamextracts honey and the wasp poison
for such it may justly be termed*- to from the same flower, and this fact illus- go to one connected with
different trates the difference of position occupied by associations, and exhibiting an aspect al. men of opposite tendencies of mind. He most as different-I mean the town of who is discontented with his lot, whether Wittenberg. Potzdam owes all its splen. rich or poor, will dwell on the shortness dour to Frederick the Great, the friend, or chilliness of the day, and on the long if we may call him so, of the infidel Voland wearisome nights; while the man
taire. There we were shown the apartwho is habitually contented with the posi- ment Voltaire had occupied, the book tion in which he is placed, will talk of the in which Voltaire had written, and the happiness of the wintry fireside, the cabinet, with a dining-table made to desweets of refined society, the mental scend and ascend through a trap-door, luxury of books, and thank God for the to be changed or replenished; so that blessings he enjoys. The winds may howl the king might not be interrupted by over the ravaged earth, as though bewail: attendants when he dined there, with ing the departed glories of the year, the Voltaire, and a few other chosen literary clouds may lower and discharge their associates; and, leaving all the splenwatery burden on the earth, the fields dour of Potzdam and Sans Souci, † we may look saturated and dead; but these went to Wittenberg, to view more lowly will only tend to render the love of domes scenes, which are connected with the tic happiness and fireside enjoyments the memories of greater deeds than ever greater.
Voltaire or the celebrated king of PrusAvailing ourselves of the proffered
sia thought of aspiring to. In the marketadvantages, and patiently awaiting the place of that otherwise uninteresting return of nature's beauties, we can calmly town is a bronze statue of the monk of observe the fury of the wintry storm, Wittenberg, Martin Luther, on which are and while the 'inferior animals shrink inscribed in German these often-quoted from their approach, let us regard all the words : " If it be the work of God, it will appearances of winter as evidences of the endure; if of men, it will perish. same infinite benevolence, which brings work has endured, and the relics of Witforth the promises of spring and fulfils tenberg are surely more interesting than the hopes of harvest, and as illustrations
those of Potzdam. of that wisdom which makes momentary
The Augustine convent in which Luevil the source of permanent good. What ther dwelt is a convent no longer, but ever may be the natural or moral
there his cell, his table and chair are
appearances we behold, let it never be forgotten religiously preserved; the Prussian govthat the same Almighty mind reigns amidst ernment also has purchased Melancthon's them all; that all things work together house, and uses it as an orphan asylum. for good to those who love him and seek
I felt it no little honour to sit in his protection and love, and that amidst Luther's chair; and while I did so, the the storms of our moral nature those dis- idea of all the thoughts that must hare positions are matured, which are to awaken
filled and agitated the mind of the reformunder the influence of a greater spring * Potzdam, in the vicinity of Berlin, is called than that of nature, and to exist when its
It possesses four royal revolutions are ended, and time is lost palaces. The dulness of its streets often contrasts
singularly with the splendour of their architecture. in immortality. Another year will soon + The royal palace, “Sans Souci," that is, “Without have passed away, and if we for a mo Care,” is still the most splendid residence of the ment appreciate the fact, that
Prussian monarchs. Even while walking in its magnificent gardens, one feels how unwise it is
in any mortal to name his dwelling “Sans Souci," "One hour of parted time
"Without Care." The late king was a prey to A world's too poor to buy,"
grief. The beautiful statue of his ever-lamented wife is placed in an adjoining temple.
the Prussian Versailles.
ing monk who had long ago occupied it, 'may well be compared to the stable rushed over mine, and plunged me into where Christ was born,"—there his gosa fit of abstraction, which might have pel was born again. lasted inconveniently long, if the good The Augustines made use of that woman who showed the place had not chapel while their church was building ; dissipated it by approaching with a re- but the crowd of hearers which the quest that I would look at Dr. Luther's preaching of Luther attracted, caused the rosary! Wittenberg witnessed the stormy council of Wittenberg to summon him to infancy of the Reformation. The Re the Schloss Kirche, or cathedral of their formation commenced in the struggles town. There still exists the pulpit from of a humble soul, in the cell of a convent which he afterwards preached; and to the at Erfurt-was cradled in the Augustine door of that church he nailed his famous convent of Wittenberg.
theses, or propositions, against the doctrine It was in the year 1508, that Luther of indulgences. was appointed by the elector of Saxony “The fête of All Saints was a very improfessor of theology and philosophy at portant day at Wittenberg, and espethe once famous University of Witten- cially at the church, which the elector berg “Arrived at Wittenberg," says had built and filled with relics. On that his biographer, “he repaired to the con- day these relics, ornamented with gold, vent of the Augustines, where a cell was silver, and precious stones, were exhibited assigned him; for though a professor, he to the eyes of the people, who were did not cease to be a monk.
Thus astonished and dazzled by so much magLuther, who hungered and thirsted for nificence. Whoever on that day attended the word of God, was obliged to devote the church and confessed, received an himself almost exclusively to the study of indulgence. Luther, fully decided, rethe scholastic philosophy of Aristotle. paired courageously on the evening of ... But the labours to which Luther the 31st of October, 1517, All Saints' was then obliged to devote himself were day, to that church where so vast a crowd of great use to him afterwards, in com of pilgrims assembled, and affixed his bating the errors of the schools.". The ninety-five propositions against indulreputation he acquired doubtless seconded gences, to its doors. Neither the elector, his ardent desire to be able to devote nor Staupitz, nor Spalatin, nor any of his himself to theology alone, and at the most intimate friends had been informed end of a year he received permission to of his design." Within that church attend only to biblical theology. Every Luther is buried, and a few feet from his day, at one o'clock, he had to deliver a tomb is that of his friend, the mild and lecture, or exposition of the Bible—"a learned Melancthon. precious hour for the professor and the It was with a sense of profound emodisciples, which caused them to penetrate tion I stood over that tomb; a bronze more and more into the divine sense of tablet in the pavement of the church the sacred revelation, so long lost both simply marks it—a similar one that of to the people and the school!” His Melancthon. One can hardly believe that friend, Staupitz, was one of the principal the mighty voice which almost shook the persons connected with the university, world, is silent in that dwelling-place; and by him Luther was first invited to that the frame which appeared formed preach. The young professor shrunk for ages, which endured labours and from the proposal; he wished to confine watchings, journeyings and perils, fighthimself to his academical functions. “It ings without and fears within, was apis not,” he said, “a small thing to speak pointed, like any other, to run its tiny to men, in God's stead.". Staupitz per- race and return to the dust from whence sisted, and Luther yielded.
it was taken. Oh! how unphilosophical In the square of Wittenberg was an at such a moment appears alì scepticism! old chapel, made of wood, thirty feet long, how resistlessly is the mind compelled to and twenty wide, nearly falling to ruin. believe, that the powers so largely given An old pulpit, made of rude planks, and were never meant to be limited to threethree feet high, received the preacher. score years and ten, but to reach their It was in this poor chapel that the preach- maturity in that after-life in which length ing of the Reformation commenced. of days, even for ever and ever, shall be “ This building," says the contemporary added unto us! of Luther, who relates the circumstance, In going to this church from Luther's * D'Aubigne.
cell, we passed the house of Philip
Melancthon. It was inscribed with these Luther is in Rome; the professor of concise and expressive words: “Here Wittenberg is in the midst of the eloquent lived, taught, and died, Philip Melanc- ruins of the Rome of the emperors and thon.” Melancthon was appointed pro- consuls, of the Rome of the confessors of fessor of ancient languages at the univer- Jesus Christ and of the martyrs, where sity of Wittenberg in the year 1518. formerly were to be found the Virgil whose " Neither Luther, whose acquaintance he works he had carried into his cloister, made the first, nor his colleagues, con and all the other great men, at whose ceived great hopes, in seeing his youth, memory his heart had often beat. He his embarrassment, and his manners. finds their statues, the remains of monuBut four days afterwards he made his ments which still attest their glory. But speech of inauguration, and the young all that glory, all that power has passed boy, as Luther called him, spoke in such away! He recalls at each step the sad elegant Latin, and showed so much presentiment of Scipio shedding tears learning, so sound a judgment and cul- over the ruins of Carthage, its burned tivated a mind, that all his auditors were palaces and prostrate walls, and exclaimfilled with admiration. Afterwards, when ing, “ Thus it will be with Rome!" the commotion which the monk of Wit And, in fact,” said Luther, “the Rome tenberg had raised agitated all Christen- of Scipio and of the Cæsars has been dom, we find Melancthon at Wittenberg, changed into a corpse. There are so more quietly engaged.
many ruins, that the foundations of "Whilst the inhabitants of the eternal houses rest on what were formerly the city were thus agitated, more tranquil roofs." All these ruins said to Luther, scenes passed at Wittenberg; Melancthon that all that is strongest in the eyes spread there a mild but brilliant light. of men can perish by the breath of the Fifteen hundred or two thousand hearers Lord. came from Germany, England, the Low But with these profane ashes are blendCountries, France, Italy, Hungary, and ed those of the saints. He remembers Greece, to attend his teaching; he was this; the sepulchre of the martyrs is not then twenty-four years old, and was not far from those of the Roman generals, and an ecclesiastic."
from their conquerors. Christian Rome, It was from Wittenberg that Luther with all her griefs, has more power over set out on his journey to Rome. Seven the soul of the Saxon monk, than pagan Augustine convents differed on points of Rome, with all her glory. It was here opinion from their vicar-general, and he arrived that letter, in which Paul had was chosen as their agent to represent written, “ The just shall live by faith." these differences to the pope. This visit He is not far from the Appian Way and to Rome had doubtless a powerful in- the Three Taverns. There was the house fluence on the future course of the of Narcissus; here the palace of the reformer.
Cæsars, where the Lord delivered the “It was necessary that he should apostle from the mouth of the lion. Oh, know Rome. Full of the prejudices of how these remembrances fortify the heart his cloister, he had always represented it of the monk of Wittenberg ! to himself as the seat of holiness. He set sented to the pious monk ä spectacle so out; he crossed the Alps; but hardly had unlike that which his devout imagination he descended into the plains of rich and had drawn within his cell at Wittenberg, voluptuous Italy, than he found on every that I can scarcely forbear continuing a side subjects of astonishment and scandal. condensed account of it. The warlike
Finally, after a painful journey Julius 11. then filled the pontifical chair,— under the burning sun of Italy, at the Leo X., as has sometimes been stated. beginning of the summer, he approached Luther often related an anecdote of that the city of the seven hills. His heart was pope.
at prayers when he moved; his eyes sought for the queen of received intelligence that his army had the world and of the church. As soon as been beaten by the French at Ravenna; he discovered the eternal city, the city of he flung the book on the ground, and, St. Peter and St. Paul, the metropolis of addressing St. Peter, “Well!” he cried, Christianity, he fell on his face to the " thou art become a Frenchman! is it ground, and cried out, • Holy Rome, I thus thou protectest thy church?” Then, salute thee!'"*
turning to the Swiss, from whom he hoped
for assistance, he added, “Holy Swiss, of D'Aubigne.
pray for us!
* These extracts are translated from the French
Ignorance, levity, the contempt of all over them these deriding words : “Bread that was sacred, a shameful traffic in thou art, and bread thou shalt remain ; spiritual things—such was the spectacle wine thou art, and wine thou shalt rethat unhappy city presented. Yet the main.” “ Then,” added they, pious monk remained still in his delusions. vate the host, and the people adore it.” "Oh, how I regret that my father and Luther could hardly believe his ears. mother still live," said the pious German The jests of Rome offended him. “I often to himself. “How happy should I was,” said he, "a young monk, grave, and have been to deliver them from the fire pious ; such language sensibly grieved of purgatory now, by masses, prayers, and
me." many other admirable works." He had Luther mixed often with the monks, found light, but darkness was yet far from and with the citizens of Rome. If some being chased
away by it. His heart was of these praised the pope and his retinue, converted, but his mind was not enlight others gave a free vent to their complaints ened;
he had faith and love, but he and sarcasms. « One would not believe," wanted knowledge. It was not easy to said Luther afterwards, “that sins and break forth from that profound night infamous actions were committed at which for so many ages had covered the Rome; it was necessary to see it to world. Luther several times said mass believe it; thus there is a saying, that if at Rome; he performed that action with there is a hell, Rome is built upon it. It all the dignity and unction which it is an abyss from whence issues all sin.” seemed to him to require. But what This spectacle made a great impression affliction seized the heart of the Saxon on Luther's mind; and this impression monk, in beholding the profane me was afterwards increased.
" The nearer chanism of Roman priests in celebrat one approaches to Rome,” said he, several ing the mass ! Those priests, on their years after, " the worse Christians one side, smiled at his simplicity. One finds. They say commonly that one day that he officiated, he found that at goes to Rome the first time to seek for a an adjoining altar, a priest had already rogue; the second time, one finds him ; said seven masses while he had been and the third time, one carries him away saying one. “Go on, go on,” cried at the moment of leaving. But at present another, "send back to our holy Lady her the world is become so clever, that these Son!” making an impious allusion to the three journeys are made in one." transubstantiation of the bread into the One of the most celebrated and probody of our Lord.
found geniuses of Italy—Machiavel, who At that period it was the fashion at the lived at Florence when Luther passed papal court to attack Christianity; and through it to go to Rome, made the same no one could pass for a man of the world remark. “The greatest symptom," said who did not entertain some erroneous or he, “of the approaching ruin of Chrisheretical opinion concerning the dogmas tianity,” (by which he meant Roman of the church. They wished to prove to Catholicism,) “is, that the more people Erasmus, from passages of Pliny, that approach the capital of Christianity, the there was no difference between the souls less they find of the Christian spirit. The of men and those of beasts, and the scandalous examples, and the crimes of young courtiers of the pope asserted that the court of Rome, are the cause of Italy the orthodox faith was the stupid inven- losing all principles of piety, and all relition of certain saints. The title of envoy gious feeling We Italians owe it prinof the German Augustines, caused Luther cipally to the church and to the priests to be invited by several distinguished that we have become unbelieving reproecclesiastics. One day in particular he bates." dined with several prelates, who showed Luther, in later years, felt the value of themselves before him in their natural this journey. “I would not,” said he, colours. Their impious conversation and “ for a hundred thousand florins, but have jesting manners were not concealed, as seen Rome.” It was at Rome that the they believed that he was of one mind monk of Wittenberg was to be indeed with themselves. Among other jests, enlightened; not only as to the state of the they related before the monk, how, while professing church as it then was, but as to saying mass at the altar, instead of the a point of still greater moment-his own sacramental words which should trans way of finding peace with God. This form the bread and wine into the body portion of his history is singularly interand blood of the Saviour, they pronounced esting, and one who has seen the steps,