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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 1 of 2)

The saying is attributed to Bartholomaeus Usingen


LATER BOOKS: J. Koestlin, _Martin Luther, sein Leben und seine Schriften_, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1889); Th. Kolde, _Martin Luther. Eine Biographie_, 2 vols. (Gotha, 1884, 1893); A. Hausrath, _Luther's Leben_, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1904); Lindsay, _Luther and the German Reformation_ (Edinburgh, 1900); Kolde, _Friedrich der Weise und die Anfaenge der Reformation mit archivalischen Beilagen_ (Erlangen, 1881), and _Die deutsche Augustiner-Congregation und Johann v. Staupitz_ (Gotha, 1879); A. Hausrath, _M. Luther's Romfahrt nach einem gleichzeitigen Pilgerbuche_ (Berlin, 1894); Oergel, _Vom jungen Luther_ (Erfurt, 1899); Juergens, _Luther von seiner Geburt bis zum Ablassetreil_, 3 vols. (Leipzig, 1846-1847); Krumhaar, _Die Grafschaft Mansfeld im Reformationszeitalter_ (Eisleben, 1845); Buchwald, _Zur Wittenberg Stadt- und Universitaetsgeschichte in der Reformationszeit_ (Leipzig, 1893); Kampschulte, _Die Universitaet Erfurt in ihrem Verkaeltniss zu dem Humanismus und der Reformation_ (Trier, 1856-1860).

_ 131 Albrecht Duerer's Tugebuch der Reise in die Niederlande_. Edited by Dr. Fr. Leitschuh (Leipzig, 1884), pp. 28-84.

132 Nicholas, born at Lyre, a village in Normandy, was one of the earliest students of the Hebrew Scriptures; he explained the accepted fourfold sense of Scripture in the following distich:

style="text-align: justify;"> "_Litera_ gesta docet, quid credas _Allegoria_, _Moralis_ quid agas, quo tendas _Anagogia_."

Luther used his commentaries when he became Professor of Theology at Wittenberg, and acknowledged the debt; but it is too much to say:

"Si Lyra non lyrasset, Lutherus non saltasset."

133 There is one persistent contemporary suggestion, that Luther was finally driven to take the step by the sudden death of a companion, for which a good deal may be said. Oergel has shown, from minute researches in the university archives, that a special friend of Luther's, Hieronymus Pontz of Windsheim, who was working along with him for his Magister's degree, died suddenly of pleurisy before the end of the examination; that a few weeks after Luther had taken his degree, another promising student whom he knew died of the plague; that the plague broke out again in Erfurt three months afterwards; and that Luther entered the convent a few days after this second appearance of the plague.--Cf. Georg Oergel, _Vom jungen Luther_ (Erfurt, 1899), pp. 35-41.

134 Cf. above, pp. 127 ff.

135 In my chapter on Luther in the _Cambridge Modern History_, ii. p. 114, where notes were not permitted, I have said with too much abruptness that John of Paltz was "the teacher of Luther himself." Luther was certainly taught the theology of John of Paltz, and the latter was residing in the monastery during two years of Luther's stay there; but it is more probable that Luther's actual instructor was Nathin.

136 In the _Tischreden_ (Preger, Leipzig, 1888), i. 27, the saying is attributed to Bartholomaeus Usingen, who is erroneously called Luther's teacher in the Erfurt convent. Usingen did not enter the convent before 1512. He was a professor in the University of Erfurt, not in the convent.

137 N. Selneccer, _Historia . . . D. M. Lutheri_: "Jussus est omissis Sacris Bibliis ex obedientia legere scholastica et sophistica scripta."

138 Modern Romanists describe all this as the self-torturing of an hysterical youth. They are surely oblivious to the fact that the only great German mediaeval Mystic who has been canonised by the Romish Church, Henry Suso, went through a similar experience; and that these very experiences were in both cases looked on by contemporaries as the fruits of a more than ordinary piety.


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