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letters; while all recent historians of the Reformation, especially D'Aubigné and Waddington, * have dug deep, and with immense advantage, in the same mine. Not only do they form, as De Wette says, “a diary, as it were, of Luther's life,' gleichsam ein Tagebuch seines Lebens, but here better than in almost any history, because more minutely, may the whole early progress of the Reformation be traced.

As we conceive that Luther's character could be nowhere more advantageously studied than in this voluminous correspondence, we propose in the present Article to make it the basis of a few remarks on his most prominent intellectual and moral qualities.

No modern author, in our opinion, has done such signal injustice to Luther's intellect as Mr Hallam, whose excellent and well practised judgment seems to us, in this instance, to have entirely deserted him. • Luther's amazing influence on the revolutions of his own age, and on the opinions of mankind, seems,' says he, to have produced, as is not unnatural, an exag'gerated notion of his intellectual greatness.'† And he then proceeds to reduce it to assuredly very moderate dimensionsfounding his judgment principally on Luther's writings.

Now, if Mr Hallam had been nothing more than a mere critic, we should not have wondered at such a decision. It would have been as natural in that case to misinterpret the genius of Luther as for Mallet to write the life of Bacon and


• We cannot mention the name of Dr Waddington, without thanking him for the gratification we have derived from the perusal of the three volumes of his History of the Reformation, and expressing our hopes that he will soon fulfil his promise of a fourth. Less brilliant than that of D'Aubigné, his work is at least its equal in research, certainly not inferior in the comprehensiveness of its views, or the solidity of its reflections; and in severe fidelity, is perhaps even superior. Not that, in this last respect, we have much to complain of in D'Aubigné; but as he has great skill in the selection and graphic disposition of his materials, so be sometimes sacrifices a little too much to gratify it-as, for example, in the dramatic form he has given to Luther's narrative of his interview with Miltitz-(Vol. II. p. 8-12.) There is also a too uniform brilliancy, and too little repose about the style.—But it were most ungrateful to deny the rare merits of the work. We only hope its unprecedented popularity may not deprive us of another volume from the pen of Dr Waddington. His History of the Reformation is in our judgment very superior to his previous work, which we had occasion to notice, in less favourable terms, in our account of it in this Journal.

Introduction to the Literature of Europe, vol. i. p. 513. .

' forget that he was a philosopher. But when we reflect that Mr Hallam is not a mere literary critic, and that whatsoever honours he may have achieved in that capacity, are yet inferior to those which he has attained as a philosophical historian, we confess our astonishment at the low estimate he seems to have formed of Luther's intellect.

This seems to have arisen from contemplating Luther's character too exclusively in the point of view suggested by the literary nature of the work on which the critic was at the time engaged. It is true that the Reformer's mind did not belong exclusively, or even prevailingly, to either of the two principal types with which we more usually associate genius, and which almost divide the page of literary history between them. The one is the prevailingly philosophical temperament, with numberless specific differences; the other the prevailingly poetical, with differences equally numerous : the passion of the one class of minds is speculative and scientific truth-that of the other, ideal beauty. Yet there is another and not less imposing form of human genius, though it does not figure much on the page of literary history, which has made men as illustrious as man was ever made, either by depth or subtlety of speculation,by opulence or brilliancy of fancy. This class of minds unites some of the rarest endowments of the philosophical and poetical temperaments; and though the reason in such men is not such as would have made an Aristotle, nor the imagination such as would have made a Homer, these elements are mingled in such proportions and combinations as render the productthe tertium quidnot less wonderful than the greatest expansion of either element alone. To these are superadded some qualities which. neither bard nor philosopher ever possessed, and the whole is subjected to the action of an energetic will and powerful passions. Such are the minds which are destined to change the face of the world, to originate or control great revolutions, to govern the actions of men by a sagacious calculation of motives, or to govern their very thoughts by the magical power of their eloquence. They are the stuff out of which great statesmen, great conquerors, great orators, are made ;-by the last, however, not meaning the mere mob

orator,' who attains and preserves a powerful influence by just following the multitude he appears to lead, and who, if popular, is popular in virtue of Swift's receipt for becoming a wise man—that is, by agreeing with whatever any one may tell you ; we mean the man who, if need be, can stem the torrent as well as drift upon it; who, upon occasion, can tell unpalatable truths and yet rivet attention. To be such an orator requires many

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of the qualities of the philosophical statesman-the same deep knowledge of the mechanism of human nature in general, the same keen perception of the motives and feelings of the so-conditioned humanity with which it has to deal, the same ready appreciation of the topics and arguments likely to prevail, the same sagacity in calculating moral causes and effects; and we need not wonder, therefore, that the great statesman and the persuasive orator have so often been found united in the same individual.

Now, to achieve any of the great tasks to which this class of minds seem born ; to manage vast and difficult affairs with address, and bring them to an unexpectedly prosperous issue ; to know how to seize the critical moment of action with proper decision, or to exercise patience and self-control in waiting for it; to penetrate the springs of human conduct, whether in the genus or the individual; to sway the minds of whole communinities, as whole forests bow at once before the voice of the tempest; to comprehend and calculate the interaction of numberless causes and effects; to originate and execute daring enterprises in the face of many obstacles, physical and moral, and not only in the midst of opposite wills and conflicting interests, but often by means of them—all this seems to us to imply as wonderful a combination of intellectual qualities as that which enables the mathematical Analyst to disentangle the intricacies of a transcendental equation, or the Metaphysician to speculate profoundly on the freedom of the human will, or the origin of evil. Nor do those who have been both authors and actors in the real drama of history, appear to us less worthy of our admiration than those who have but imagined what the former have achieved. There are, unquestionably, men who have been as famous for what they have done, as others have been or can be for what they have written.

It is precisely to such an order of genius-whatever his merits or defects as a writer, that the intellect of Luther is, in our judgment, to be referred; and, considered in this point of view, we doubt whether it is very possible to exaggerate its greatness. In a sagacious and comprehensive survey of the peculiarities of his position in all the rapid changes of his most eventful history; in penetrating the characters and detecting the motives of those with whom he had to deal ; in fertility of expedients; in promptitude of judgment and of action; in nicely calculating the effect of bold measures, especially in great emergencies—as when he burnt the Papal Bull, and appeared at the Diet of Worms; in selecting the arguments likely to prevail

, with the mass of men, and in that contagious enthusiasm of character which imbues and



inspires them with a spirit like its own, and fills them with boundless confidence in its leadership ;-in all these respects, Luther does not appear to us far behind any of those who have played illustrious parts in this world's affairs, or obtained an empire over the minds of their species.

And surely this is sufficient for one man. No one ever thinks the intellect of Pericles or Alexander, Cromwell or Napoleon, inferior to the highest order, merely because neither of them has left ingenious treatises of philosophy, or beautiful strains of poetry, or exhibited any of the traces either of a calm or beautiful intellect. And in like manner it is enough for Luther to be known as the author of the Reformation.

Such are the original limitations of the human faculties, and so distinct the forms of intellectual excellence, that it is at best but one comparatively little sphere that even the greatest of men is qualified to fill. Take him out of that, and the giant becomes a dwarf-the genius a helpless changeling. Aristotle, though he wrote admirably on rhetoric, would have made, we fear, but an indifferent Demosthenes ; and Demosthenes would probably have been but an obscure expounder of the principles of his own art. After making all allowances for the influence of education, and conceding that it is difficult to calculate the condition of any mind under a different training, we are compelled to admit that there are cases, and those usually of minds pre-eminently great in a single department, where the native bias is so strong, that it is beyond the art of all the school-mastering in the world to alter it.

Earnestly contending that Luther's intellect is to be princi

pally regarded in the light we have indicated, we yet must provfess our belief, that even in a purely literary point of view Mr

Hallam has done him less than justice. When we consider the popular design of his writings, and that they fulfilled it, many of their apparent defects will disappear; and when we consider their voluminousness—the rapidity with which they were thrown off—and the overwhelming engagements under the pressure of which they were produced, many defects may well be pardoned.

. A word or two on each of these topics.

As to their character, they were chiefly designed ad populum addressed to human nature so-and-so conditioned; and whether we look at what history has told us of the state of that public mind to which they appealed, or to their notorious effects, we think it must be admitted that they were admirably calculated to accomplish their purpose. We have already said that we must look in the mind of Luther for the species of greatness which may fairly be expected there ; and not for one to which an intel

lect so constituted could make no pretensions. No man will challenge for him the praise of metaphysical subtlety, or calmness of judgment in dealing with evidence. To neither the one nor the other surely can he lay claim, who flatters himself that he has found an escape from the absurdities of transubstantiation in the equal absurdities of consubstantiation; or who thinks himself warranted in setting aside the evidence for the authenticity of the Epistle of James, because he supposes he has found a sentence in it which contradicts his interpretation of an Epistle of Paul—the authenticity of which has no higher evidence. The class of intellects to which we have ventured to refer that of Luther, are robust and sagacious rather than subtle or profound; little fitted for the investigation of abstract truth, and impatient of whatever is not practical ; better adapted for a skilful advocacy of principles than for calm investigation of them, and little solicitous, in their exhibition, of philosophic precision or theoretic completeness. Seizing with instinctive sagacity those points which are best calculated to influence the common mind, they are not very ambitious (even if they could attain it) of the praise of a severely logical method. But they well know how to do that for which in his turn the mere philosopher would find himself strangely incapacitated. They estimate precisely the measure of knowledge or of ignorance, the prejudices and the passions of those with whom they have to deal, and pitch the whole tone of argument in unison with it. They judge of arguments, not so much by their abstract value, or even by the degree of force they may have on their own minds, as by the relation in which they are likely to be viewed by others : if necessary, they prefer even a comparatively feeble argument, if it can be made readily intelligible, and be forcibly exhibited, to a stronger one, if that stronger one be so refined as to escape the appreciation of the common mind.

And such topics they treat with a vivacity and vehemence of which a philosopher would be as incapable as he would be disgusted with the method. He is but too apt, when he assumes the uncongenial office of a popular instructor, to generalize particular statements into their most abstract expression; he resembles the mathematician, who is not satisfied till he has clothed the determinate quantities of arithmetic in the universal symbols of algebra ; he must assign each argument its place, not according to its relative weight, but according to his own notions of its abstract conclusiveness; he must adopt the only method which philosophical precision demands, and to violate it would be more than his fastidious taste can prevail upon itself to concede to that vulgar thing—the practical.


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