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other, the ancestors of Martin were called Luther-dirty people. Martin was born of comparatively poor parents ; yet they were wisely attentive to his early education, and when he was eighteen years of age they sent him to the University of Erfurt, hoping that he might in time become a successful Jawyer. While there he shunned the study of law, gave himself to literature and music, and seems to have exhibited the usual jovial careless disposition of a German student. At the age of twenty-two the event occurred which altered the current of his life. One of his fellow students was killed at his side by lightning, and Luther made a vow to become a monk; which vow he soon kept by entering the Augustine convent at Erfurt, carrying with him only a Virgil and à Plautus, and he was ordained in 1507. Soon after commenced that series of spiritual doubts and temptations, which he has so pathetically described, and which he conquered by the reception of the great doctrine of Justification by faith. When twenty-five years of age, he was appointed professor of philosophy in the University of Wittenberg, and there gradually grew in mental strength, intellectual independence, and personal popularity. In 1510, when twenty-seven years old, he went on an ecclesiastical mission to Rome, which led to momentous results. This crisis in Luther's life is well described in the following quotation : “He proceeded to Italy, which he looked upon as the centre of Christendom, with his heart full of spiritual hopes and devout expectations; but he was sorely disappointed and shocked at what he there saw. He found pomp and pride, gross sensuality, hypocrisy, and treachery, as he tells us, even in the convents which were his halting-places on the road. He told the monks at Milan that they ought to fast on Fridays, and he was nearly killed for his pains. His health became affected by these occurrences; he fell ill at Bologna, and was confined to his bed for some time. Having recovered, he continued his journey to Rome, and, on his arrival, repaired to the convent of his order, near the gate Del Popolo. There he knelt on the ground, bathed with the blood of martyrs'; he hurried to the various sanctuaries with which the capital of the Christian world abounds; but, on looking to those around him—the inmates of the Holy City-he found, to his surprise and grief, what many a young enthusiast has experienced before and since on entering the world, that names and realities, professions and practice, are quite different things. Luther was, in fact, single in his faith and his religious fervour. Rome at that time, after having passed through the scandalous pontificate of Borgia, was ruled by the choleric and warlike Julius II., who represented the Church militant upon earth, and who was then busy about his schemes of humbling Venice and driving the French out of Italy. His cardinals were able diplomatists, men of the world, and learned Latinists, better acquainted with Cicero than the Bible. In visiting the churches, Luther was shocked at the indecent hurry with which the priests went through the service of the mass, and at the blasphemous jests which he sometimes heard.
Even the ministers of the altars made no secret of their unbelief. Luther remained only a fortnight at Rome; he hurried back to his native Germany with his head bewildered, his feelings distressed, and his religious belief greatly shaken. He used to say, however, in after years, that he would not for one hundred thousand florins have missed that journey to Rome; for, without it, he should have been tormented by the fear of being unjust to the Pope during his subsequent controversy with the papal power."
In 1517, Tetzel and his infamous indulgences became prominent. This spiritual quack carried about a picture of the devil tormenting poor souls in hell, and had written upon his money-box
“As the money in you pop,
The souls from purgatory hop.” The anger of Luther was aroused, and“ the ninety-five Theses," nailed to the door of the church at Wittenberg, were the result. Henceforth the sayings and doings of Luther mingle themselves inseparably with the history of Germany, Europe, and the wide world. “The form of the monk of Wittenberg emerging from the receding gloom of the middle ages appears towering above the sovereigns and warriors, statesmen and divines, of the sixteenth century, who were his contemporaries, his antagonists
, or his disciples.” He died at his native place in the year 1546, in the sixty-third year of his age, and the following is a record of the last moments and words of this grandly notable man:-“In the last night Count Albert came, and the Countess, with two physicians, and brought him some shavings from the tusk of a sea unicorn-deemed & sovereign remedy. He took it, and slept till ten. Then he awoke, and attempted once more to pace the room a little; but he could not, and returned to bed. Then he slept again till one.
Everything depended on how long he slept and how he woke. The first words he spoke when he awoke sent a shudder of apprehension through their hearts. He complained of cold, and asked them to pile up more fire. Alas! the chill was creeping over him which no effort of man could remove. Dr. Jonas asked him if he felt very weak. 'Oh,' he replied, “how I suffer! My dear Jonas, I think I shall die bere, at Eisleben, where I was born and baptized.' His other friends were awakened, and brought in to his bedside. Jonas spoke of the sweat on his brow as a hopeful sign, but Dr. Luther answered, 'It is the cold sweat of death. I must yield up my spirit, for my sickness increaseth. Then he prayed fervently, saying, 'Heavenly Father! everlasting and merciful God! Thou hast revealed to me Thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Him have I taught; Him have I experienced ; Him have I confessed; Him I love and adore as my beloved Saviour, Sacrifice, and Redeemer --Him whom the godless persecute, dishonour, and reproach. Oh, heavenly Father, though I must resign my body, and be borne away from this life, I know that I shall be with Him for ever. poor soul up to Thee.'
He then added, Father, into Thy
hands do I commend my spirit. Truly God hath so loved the world.' Then Dr. Jonas said, 'Venerable father, do you die trusting in Christ, and in the doctrine you have constantly preached ?' He answered by an audible and joyful 'Yes.' That was his last word on earth.
Gently once more he sighed, and, with hands folded on his breast, yielded up his spirit to God without a struggle.”
Bible Natural Philosophy,
By W. J. MILLAR, C.E.
FTER our earth had been fitted to become the abode of animate А
forms, we find reference made to the measurement of time. Thus
we read (Gen. i. 14)—“And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years. Here we have the various phenomena stated which occur through the medium of the sun and moon in connection with the earth. The seasons are due to the revolution of the earth around the sun. The earth, as it sweeps onward in its curving path, receives the sun's rays upon its surface, and, through the inclination of the polar axis to the plane of the annual orbit, these rays strike more or less obliquely on the surface; their heating power being greater over those parts, such as between the tropics, where the sun is more directly overhead. These changes are very noticeable, as in the long summer day the sun at noon is high in the heavens and remains long above the horizon ; again, in the short winter day, we have the sun low down and setting at an early hour. Between these two extremes we have intermediate effects, and hence the seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter recur from year to year in unbroken sequence. The signs spoken of may mean the eclipses of both sun and moon, and the phases of the latter during her monthly orbit.
Eclipses of the sun occur when the moon is in such a position that she prevents the sunlight from reaching the earth. If the sun's disc is wholly covered by the body of the moon we have a total eclipse. Eclipses, therefore, are due to the shadow of the moon passing across our earth. It is rarely that such a position is obtained, as the moon's orbit is inclined to that of the earth, Total 's eclipses of the sun are visible over but a small extent of the earth surface; only a narrow band of shadow being thrown by the moon as she passes across the sun's disc. Such eclipses were looked upon in old times with feelings of awe and dread, and were regarded as omens of impending danger; battles in some cases being prevented or interrupted by such phenomena.
By means of total eclipses the constitution of the sun has been studied, a curious corona of light appearing around the dark body of the moon combined with reddish coloured flames; the latter are believed to be due to the combustion of large masses of hydrogen gas.
Eclipses of the moon are caused by the earth coming between the former and the sun ; in this case, the eclipse is due to the projection of the earth's shadow upon the surface of the moon. Such eclipses are much less striking than those of the sun. The phases of the moon have long been regarded as signs, whether of religious observance or of meteorological changes. The appearance of the new moon was adopted by the Jews and other nations as a time of festival.
Weather-wise people frequently refer to the changes of the moon in support of certain views in regard to probable weather. Almanacs also carefully note the moon's age and phases.
It does not, however, appear that the moon has any appreciable influence on the weather. Sir John Herschel has stated that the only noticeable influence was a tendency to clear the sky of cloud at and about periods of full moon. Both sun and moon serve as time measurers. Thus, through the earth's rotation, we have the day of twenty-four hours, and, by the circuit of the moon around our globe, we have the lunar month of about twenty-nine and a half days; our word month coming from a Saxon word signifying the moon.
By means of these bodies mariners are enabled to fix their position at sea. In ancient times, as well as in modern, we find the seamen guided on their course by observations of the heavenly bodies. In Paul's voyage to Rome, as described in Acts xxvii., we read that “when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”
By means of instruments and tables prepared with scientific precision, seamen can now determine their position with exactness; the latitude, or position north or south of the equator, being obtained by taking the sun's elevation at noon, and the longitude, or position east or west of a fixed point, such as Greenwich, being found either by lunar observation or by chronometer.
REASONS FOR RENOUNCING INFI- prophecies pointed, in Him they re
DELITY. Two Sermons, by George ceived their fulfilment, and in Him Sexton, LL.D., &c. London: G. types and symbols seemed to find S. Sexton, 75, Fleet Street. Price
their fitting realization. One Shilling
that fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, which I have read to you to-night,
until I saw how marvellously accurate We are glad to introduce to the was the description which it gave of a notice of our readers these two able Being who was to live on the earth discourses, not only on account of hundreds of years afterwards. It their intrinsic worth, but because
looks to me now like a leaf torn out of the antecedent history of the
of the New Testament and transferred
to the Old. I was familiar with it, of preacher. Dr. Sexton was for many
course, in my early life, but I think I years one of the most formidable
must have forgotten that there was public opponents of Christianity any such chapter in the Bible. I found in the ranks of the Secular- fancy I must have completely overists, and was recognised by the looked it during the time I was an leading infidels as their most cul- unbeliever, so marvellously did it tured and successful advocate. The impress me when I came to read it return of such an one to the con
again. Well, concluding that Christ victions which these sermons indi
was really and truly the sent of God,
I had reached what is called the more cate is a great triumph for the truth; orthodox form of Unitarianism. My and we heartily congratulate their friends naturally supposed I should author on the bold and outspoken stop at this point. There was a fine manner in which he affirms and field of labour open before me amongst defends his complete confidence in,
Unitarians. I had many excellent and reliance upon, Divinely-revealed
friends in the Unitarian denomination, truth. In the course of his sermons
and it is but fair to say that my
sympathy and leanings were in that Dr. Sexton tells us somewhat of the
direction. I began again to preach, process both of his declension and of
or, as I preferred to describe it, to his recovery. He says:
deliver discourses on Sundays on reli.
gious subjects. Three years ago I “ As far as I can recollect, my first preached the anniversary sermons for doubts, when a young man and a my old friend of more than twenty Christian minister, were on the sub- years, the Rev. F. R. Young, of ject of the Lord's Divinity, and from Swindon—then a Unitarian, but now that point I came to reject the no longer connected with that denoObristian doctrines one by one, until, mination. I collected around me a as you know, I merged into extremest large congregation in London, to unbelief. Now I returned very much whom I lectured or preached every in the same way.
From looking at Sabbath day. This gradually deChrist as a great and Illustricus Re- veloped itself into a church, which former, I came to see that He must still remains, although terribly shaken have been a teacher inspired of God. by my further change of views with Was He a prophet, I asked myself, of regard to the person of Christ. This the same order as the prophets of the one subject haunted me night and old dispensation? Yes, I concluded day. I could get no rest of mind for He was this, and more. To Him the thinking of it. I began to see that the