Coleridge’s Literary Remains, Volume 4. by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Produced by Jonathon Ingram, Clytie Siddall and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team! THE LITERARY REMAINS OF SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE COLLECTED AND EDITED BY HENRY NELSON COLERIDGE, ESQ. M.A. VOLUME THE FOURTH ALBI DISCIP ANGLVS LONDON WILLIAM PICKERING 1839 CONTENTS ADVERTISEMENT Notes on Luther Notes on St Theresa Notes on Bedell Notes on Baxter Notes on
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Produced by Jonathon Ingram, Clytie Siddall and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team!












Notes on Luther

Notes on St Theresa

Notes on Bedell

Notes on Baxter

Notes on Leighton

Notes on Sherlock

Notes on Waterland

Notes on Skelton

Notes on Andrew Fuller

Notes on Whitaker

Notes on Oxlee

Notes on A Barrister’s Hints

Notes on Davison

Notes on Irving

Notes on Noble

Essay on Faith

* * * * *


For some remarks on the character of this publication, the Editor begs to refer the Reader to the Preface to the third volume of these Remains. That volume and the present are expressly connected together as one work.

The various materials arranged in the following pages were preserved, and kindly placed in the Editor’s hands, by Mr. Southey, Mr. Green, Mr. Gillman, Mr. Alfred Elwyn of Philadelphia, United States, Mr. Money, Mr. Hartley Coleridge, and the Rev. Edward Coleridge; and to those gentlemen the Editor’s best acknowledgments are due.

Lincoln’s Inn,
9th May, 1839.

* * * * *


* * * * *


I cannot meditate too often, too deeply, or too devotionally on the personeity of God, and his personality in the Word, [Greek: Gio to monogenei], and thence on the individuity of the responsible creature;–that it is a perfection which, not indeed in my intellect, but yet in my habit of feeling, I have too much confounded with that ‘complexus’ of visual images, cycles or customs of sensations, and fellow-travelling circumstances (as the ship to the mariner), which make up our empirical self: thence to bring myself to apprehend livelily the exceeding mercifulness and love of the act of the Son of God, in descending to seek after the prodigal children, and to house with them in the sty. Likewise by the relation of my own understanding to the light of reason, and (the most important of all the truths that have been vouchsafed to me!) to the will which is the reason,–will in the form of reason–I can form a sufficient gleam of the possibility of the subsistence of the human soul in Jesus to the Eternal Word, and how it might perfect itself so as to merit glorification and abiding union with the Divinity; and how this gave a humanity to our Lord’s righteousness no less than to his sufferings. Doubtless, as God, as the absolute Alterity of the Absolute, he could not suffer; but that he could not lay aside the absolute, and by union with the creaturely become affectible, and a second, but spiritual Adam, and so as afterwards to be partaker of the absolute in the Absolute, even as the Absolute had partaken of passion ([Greek: tou paschein]) and infirmity in it, that is, the finite and fallen creature;–this can be asserted only by one who (unconsciously perhaps), has accustomed himself to think of God as a thing,–having a necessity of constitution, that wills, or rather tends and inclines to this or that, because it is this or that, not as being that, which is that which it wills to be. Such a necessity is truly compulsion; nor is it in the least altered in its nature by being assumed to be eternal, in virtue of an endless remotion or retrusion of the constituent cause, which being manifested by the understanding becomes a foreseen despair of a cause.

Sunday 11th February, 1826.

One argument strikes me in favour of the tenet of Apostolic succession, in the ordination of Bishops and Presbyters, as taught by the Church of Rome, and by the larger part of the earlier divines of the Church of England, which I have not seen in any of the books on this subject; namely, that in strict analogy with other parts of Christian history, the miracle itself contained a check upon the inconvenient consequences necessarily attached to all miracles, as miracles, narrowing the possible claims to any rights not proveable at the bar of universal reason and experience. Every man among the Sectaries, however ignorant, may justify himself in scattering stones and fire squibs by an alleged unction of the Spirit. The miracle becomes perpetual, still beginning, never ending. Now on the Church doctrine, the original miracle provides for the future recurrence to the ordinary and calculable laws of the human understanding and moral sense; instead of leaving every man a judge of his own gifts, and of his right to act publicly on that judgment. The initiative alone is supernatural; but all beginning is necessarily miraculous, that is, hath either no antecedent, or one [Greek: heterou genous], which therefore is not its, but merely an, antecedent,–or an incausative alien co-incident in time; as if, for instance, Jack’s shout were followed by a flash of lightning, which should strike and precipitate the ball on St. Paul’s cathedral. This would be a miracle as long as no causative ‘nexus’ was conceivable between the antecedent, the noise of the shout, and the consequent, the atmospheric discharge.

The Epistle Dedicatory.

But this will be your glory and inexpugnable, if you cleave in truth and practice to God’s holy service, worship and religion: that religion and faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is pure and undefiled before God even the Father, which is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep yourselves unspotted from the world.

James i. 27.

Few mistranslations (unless indeed the word used by the translator of St. James meant differently from its present meaning), have led astray more than this rendering of [Greek: Thraeskeia.] (outward or ceremonial worship, ‘cultus’, divine service,) by the English ‘religion’. St. James sublimely says: What the ‘ceremonies’ of the law were to morality, ‘that’ morality itself is to the faith in Christ, that is, its outward symbol, not the substance itself.

Chap. I. p. 1, 2.

That the Bible is the word of God (said Luther) the same I prove as followeth: All things that have been and now are in the world; also how it now goeth and standeth in the world, the same was written altogether particularly at the beginning, in the first book of Moses concerning the creation. And even as God made and created it, even so it was, even so it is, and even so doth it stand to this present day. And although King Alexander the Great, the kingdom of Egypt, the Empire of Babel, the Persian, Grecian and Roman monarchs; the Emperors Julius and Augustus most fiercely did rage and swell against this Book, utterly to suppress and destroy the same; yet notwithstanding they could prevail nothing, they are all gone and vanished; but this Book from time to time hath remained, and will remain unremoved in full and ample manner as it was written at the first.

A proof worthy of the manly mind of Luther, and compared with which the Grotian pretended demonstrations, from Grotius himself to Paley, are mischievous underminings of the Faith, pleadings fitter for an Old Bailey thieves’ counsellor than for a Christian divine. The true evidence of the Bible is the Bible,–of Christianity the living fact of Christianity itself, as the manifest ‘archeus’ or predominant of the life of the planet.

Ib. p. 4.

The art of the School divines (said Luther) with their speculations in the Holy Scriptures, are merely vain and human cogitations, spun out of their own natural wit and understanding. They talk much of the union of the will and understanding, but all is mere fantasy and fondness. The right and true speculation (said Luther) is this, Believe in Christ; do what thou oughtest to do in thy vocation, &c. This is the only practice in divinity. Also, ‘Mystica Theologia Dionysii’ is a mere fable, and a lie, like to Plato’s fables. ‘Omnia sunt non ens, et omnia sunt ens’; all is something, and all is nothing, and so he leaveth all hanging in frivolous and idle sort.

Still, however, ‘du theure Mann Gottes, mein verehrter Luther’! reason, will, understanding are words, to which real entities correspond; and we may in a sound and good sense say that reason is the ray, the projected disk or image, from the Sun of Righteousness, an echo from the Eternal Word–‘the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world’; and that when the will placeth itself in a right line with the reason, there ariseth the spirit, through which the will of God floweth into and actuates the will of man, so that it willeth the things of God, and the understanding is enlivened, and thenceforward useth the materials supplied to it by the senses symbolically; that is, with an insight into the true substance thereof.

Ib. p. 9.

The Pope usurpeth and taketh to himself the power to expound and to construe the Scriptures according to his pleasure. What he saith, must stand and be spoken as from heaven. Therefore let us love and preciously value the divine word, that thereby we may be able to resist the Devil and his swarm.

As often as I use in prayer the 16th verse of the 71st Psalm, (in our Prayer-book version), my thoughts especially revert to the subject of the right appreciation of the Scriptures, and in what sense the Bible may be called the word of God, and how and under what conditions the unity of the Spirit is translucent through the letter, which, read as the letter merely, is the word of this and that pious but fallible and imperfect man. Alas for the superstition, where the words themselves are made to be the Spirit! O might I live but to utter all my meditations on this most concerning point!

Ib. p. 12.

Bullinger said once in my hearing (said Luther) that he was earnest against the Anabaptists, as contemners of God’s word, and also against those which attributed too much to the literal word, for (said he) such do sin against God and his almighty power; as the Jews did in naming the ark, God. But, (said he) whoso holdeth a mean between both, the same is taught what is the right use of the word and sacraments.

Whereupon (said Luther) I answered him and said; Bullinger, you err, you know neither yourself, nor what you hold; I mark well your tricks and fallacies: Zuinglius and OEcolampadius likewise proceeded too far in the ungodly meaning: but when Brentius withstood them, they then lessened their opinions, alleging, they did not reject the literal word, but only condemned certain gross abuses. By this your error you cut in sunder and separate the word and the spirit, &c.

In my present state of mind, and with what light I now enjoy,–(may God increase it, and cleanse it from the dark mist into the ‘lumen siccum’ of sincere knowledge!)–I cannot persuade myself that this vehemence of our dear man of God against Bullinger, Zuinglius and OEcolampadius on this point could have had other origin, than his misconception of what they intended. But Luther spoke often (I like him and love him all the better therefor,) in his moods and according to the mood. Was not that a different mood, in which he called St. James’s Epistle a ‘Jack-Straw poppet’; and even in this work selects one verse as the best in the whole letter,–evidently meaning, the only verse of any great value? Besides he accustomed himself to use the term, ‘the word,’ in a very wide sense when the narrower would have cramped him. When he was on the point of rejecting the Apocalypse, then ‘the word’ meant the spirit of the Scriptures collectively.

Ib. p. 21.

I, (said Luther), do not hold that children are without faith when they are baptized; for inasmuch as they are brought to Christ by his command, and that the Church prayeth for them; therefore, without all doubt, faith is given unto them, although with our natural sense and reason we neither see nor understand it.

Nay, but dear honoured Luther! is this fair? If Christ or Scripture had said in one place, ‘Believe, and thou mayest be baptized’; and in another place, ‘Baptize infants’; then we might perhaps be allowed to reconcile the two seemingly jarring texts, by such words as “faith is given to them, although, &c.” But when no such text, as the latter, is to be found, nor any one instance as a substitute, then your conclusion seems arbitrary.

Ib. p. 25.

This argument (said Luther), concludeth so much as nothing; for, although they had been angels from heaven, yet that troubleth me nothing at all; we are now dealing about God’s word, and with the truth of the Gospel, that is a matter of far greater weight to have the same kept and preserved pure and clear; therefore we (said Luther), neither care nor trouble ourselves for, and about, the greatness of Saint Peter and the other Apostles, or how many and great miracles they wrought: the thing which we strive for is, that the truth of the Holy Gospel may stand; for God regardeth not men’s reputations nor persons.

Oh, that the dear man Luther had but told us here what he meant by the term, Gospel! That St. Paul had seen even St. Luke’s, is but a conjecture, grounded on a conjectural interpretation of a single text, doubly equivocal; namely, that the Luke mentioned was the same with the Evangelist Luke; and that the ‘evangelium’ signified a book; the latter, of itself improbable, derives its probability from the undoubtedly very strong probability of the former. If then not any book, much less the four books, now called the four Gospels, were meant by Paul, but the contents of those books, as far as they are veracious, and whatever else was known on equal authority at that time, though not contained in those books; if, in short, the whole sum of Christ’s acts and discourses be what Paul meant by the Gospel; then the argument is circuitous, and returns to the first point,–What ‘is’ the Gospel? Shall we believe you, and not rather the companions of Christ, the eye and ear witnesses of his doings and sayings? Now I should require strong inducements to make me believe that St. Paul had been guilty of such palpably false logic; and I therefore feel myself compelled to infer, that by the Gospel Paul intended the eternal truths known ideally from the beginning, and historically realized in the manifestation of the Word in Christ Jesus; and that he used the ideal immutable truth as the canon and criterion of the oral traditions. For example, a Greek mathematician, standing in the same relation of time and country to Euclid as that in which St. Paul stood to Jesus Christ, might have exclaimed in the same spirit: “What do you talk to me of this, that, and the other intimate acquaintance of Euclid’s? My object is to convey the sublime system of geometry which he realized, and by that must I decide.” “I,” says St. Paul, “have been taught by the spirit of Christ, a teaching susceptible of no addition, and for which no personal anecdotes, however reverendly attested, can be a substitute.” But dearest Luther was a translator; he could not, must not, see this.

Ib. p. 32.

That God’s word, and the Christian Church, is preserved against the raging of the world.

The Papists have lost the cause; with God’s word they are not able to resist or withstand us. * * * ‘The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together, &c’. God will deal well enough with these angry gentlemen, and will give them but small thanks for their labor, in going about to suppress his word and servants; he hath sat in counsel above these five thousand five hundred years, hath ruled and made laws. Good Sirs! be not so choleric; go further from the wall, lest you knock your pates against it. ‘Kiss the Son lest he be angry, &c’. That is, take hold on Christ, or the Devil will take hold on you, &c.

The second Psalm (said Luther), is a proud Psalm against those fellows. It begins mild and simply, but it endeth stately and rattling. * * * I have now angered the Pope about his images of idolatry. O! how the sow raiseth her bristles! * * The Lord saith: ‘Ego suscitabo vos in novissimo die’: and then he will call and say: ho! Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Justus Jonas, John Calvin, &c. Arise, come up, * * * Well on, (said Luther), let us be of good comfort.

A delicious paragraph. How our fine preachers would turn up their Tom-tit beaks and flirt with their tails at it! But this is the way in which the man of life, the man of power, sets the dry bones in motion.

Chap. II. p. 37.

This is the thanks that God hath for his grace, for creating, for redeeming, sanctifying, nourishing, and for preserving us: such a seed, fruit, and godly child is the world. O, woe be to it!

Too true.

Ib. p. 54.

That out of the best comes the worst.

Out of the Patriarchs and holy Fathers came the Jews that crucified Christ; out of the Apostles came Judas the traitor; out of the city Alexandria (where a fair illustrious and famous school was, and from whence proceeded many upright and godly learned men), came Arius and Origenes.

Poor Origen! Surely Luther was put to it for an instance, and had never read the works of that very best of the old Fathers, and eminently upright and godly learned man.


The sparrows are the least birds, and yet they are very hurtful, and have the best nourishment.

‘Ergo digni sunt omni persecutione’. Poor little Philip Sparrows! Luther did not know that they more than earn their good wages by destroying grubs and other small vermin.

Ib. p. 61.

He that without danger will know God, and will speculate of him, let him look first into the manger, that is, let him begin below, and let him first learn to know the Son of the Virgin Mary, born at Bethlehem, that lies and sucks in his mother’s bosom; or let one look upon him hanging on the Cross. ** But take good heed in any case of high climbing cogitations, to clamber up to heaven without this ladder, namely, the Lord Christ in his humanity.

To know God as God ([Greek: ton Zaena], the living God) we must assume his personality: otherwise what were it but an ether, a gravitation? –but to assume his personality, we must begin with his humanity, and this is impossible but in history; for man is an historical–not an eternal being. ‘Ergo’. Christianity is of necessity historical and not philosophical only.

Ib. p. 62.

‘What is that to thee’? said Christ to Peter. ‘Follow thou me’–me, follow me, and not thy questions, or cogitations.

Lord! keep us looking to, and humbly following, thee!

Chap. VI. p. 103.

The philosophers and learned heathen (said Luther) have described God, that he is as a circle, the point whereof in the midst is every where; but the circumference, which on the outside goeth round about, is no where: herewith they would shew that God is all, and yet is nothing.

What a huge difference the absence of a blank space, which is nothing, or next to nothing, may make! The words here should have been printed, “God is all, and yet is no thing;” For what does ‘thing’ mean? Itself, that is, the ‘ing’, or inclosure, that which is contained within an outline, or circumscribed. So likewise to ‘think’ is to inclose, to determine, confine and define. To think an infinite is a contradiction in terms equal to a boundless bound. So in German ‘Ding, denken’; in Latin ‘res, reor’.

Chap. VII. p. 113.

Helvidius alleged the mother of Christ was not a virgin; so that according to his wicked allegation, Christ was born in original sin.

O, what a tangle of impure whimsies has this notion of an immaculate conception, an Ebionite tradition, as I think, brought into the Christian Church! I have sometimes suspected that the Apostle John had a particular view to this point, in the first half of the first chapter of his Gospel. Not that I suppose our present Matthew then in existence, or that, if John had seen the Gospel according to Luke, the ‘Christopaedia’ had been already prefixed to it. But the rumor might have been whispered about, and as the purport was to give a psilanthropic explanation and solution of the phrases, Son of God and Son of Man,–so Saint John met it by the true solution, namely, the eternal Filiation of the Word.

Ib. p. 120. Of Christ’s riding into Jerusalem.

But I hold (said Luther) that Christ himself did not mention that prophecy of Zechariah, but rather, that the Apostles and Evangelists did use it for a witness.

Worth remembering for the purpose of applying it to the text in which our Lord is represented in the first (or Matthew’s) Gospel, and by that alone, as citing Daniel by name. It was this text that so sorely, but I think very unnecessarily, perplexed and gravelled Bentley, who was too profound a scholar and too acute a critic to admit the genuineness of the whole of that book.


The Prophets (said Luther) did set, speak, and preach of the second coming of Christ in manner as we now do.

I regret that Mr. Irving should have blended such extravagancies and presumptuous prophesyings with his support and vindication of the Millennium, and the return of Jesus in his corporeal individuality, –because these have furnished divines in general, both Churchmen and Dissenting, with a pretext for treating his doctrine with silent contempt. Had he followed the example of his own Ben Ezra, and argued temperately and learnedly, the controversy must have forced the momentous question on our Clergy:–Are Christians bound to believe whatever an Apostle believed,–and in the same way and sense? I think Saint Paul himself lived to doubt the solidity of his own literal interpretation of our Lord’s words.

The whole passage in which our Lord describes his coming is so evidently, and so intentionally expressed in the diction and images of the Prophets, that nothing but the carnal literality common to the Jews at that time and most strongly marked in the disciples, who were among the least educated of their countrymen, could have prevented the symbolic import and character of the words from being seen. The whole Gospel and the Epistles of John, are a virtual confutation of this reigning error–and no less is the Apocalypse whether written by, or under the authority of, the Evangelist.

The unhappy effect which St. Paul’s (may I not say) incautious language respecting Christ’s return produced on the Thessalonians, led him to reflect on the subject, and he instantly in the second epistle to them qualified the doctrine, and never afterwards resumed it; but on the contrary, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, c. 15, substitutes the doctrine of immortality in a celestial state and a spiritual body. On the nature of our Lord’s future epiphany or phenomenal person, I am not ashamed to acknowledge, that my views approach very nearly to those of Emanuel Swedenborg.

Ib. p. 121.

Doctor Jacob Schenck never preacheth out of his book, but I do, (said Luther), though not of necessity, but I do it for example’s sake to others.

As many notes, ‘memoranda’, cues of connection and transition as the preacher may find expedient or serviceable to him; well and good. But to read in a manuscript book, as our Clergy now do, is not to preach at all. Preach out of a book, if you must; but do not read in it, or even from it. A read sermon of twenty minutes will seem longer to the hearers than a free discourse of an hour.


My simple opinion is (said Luther) and I do believe that Christ for us descended into hell, to the end he might break and destroy the same, as in Psalm xvi, and Acts ii, is shewed and proved.

Could Luther have been ignorant, that this clause was not inserted into the Apostle’s Creed till the sixth century after Christ? I believe the original intention of the clause was no more than ‘vere mortuus est’–in contradiction to the hypothesis of a trance or state of suspended animation.

Chap. VII. p. 122.

When Christ (said Luther) forbiddeth to spread abroad or to make known his works of wonder; there he speaketh as being sent from the Father, and doth well and right therein in forbidding them, to the end that thereby he might leave us an example, not to seek our own praise and honor in that wherein we do good; but we ought to seek only and alone the honor of God.

Not satisfactory. Doubtless, the command was in connection with the silence enjoined respecting his Messiahship.

Chap. VIII. p. 147.

Doctor Hennage said to Luther, Sir, where you say that the Holy Spirit is the certainty in the word towards God, that is, that a man is certain of his own mind and opinion; then it must needs follow that all sects have the Holy Ghost, for they will needs be most certain of their doctrine and religion.

Luther might have answered, “positive, you mean, not certain.”

Chap. IX. p. 160.

But who hath power to forgive or to detain sins? Answer; the Apostles and all Church servants, and (in case of necessity) every Christian. Christ giveth them not power over money, wealth, kingdoms, &c; but over sins and the consciences of human creatures, over the power of the Devil, and the throat of Hell.

Few passages in the Sacred Writings have occasioned so much mischief, abject slavishness, bloated pride, tyrannous usurpation, bloody persecution, with kings even against their will the drudges, false soul-destroying quiet of conscience, as this text, ‘John’ xx. 23. misinterpreted. It is really a tremendous proof of what the misunderstanding of a few words can do. That even Luther partook of the delusion, this paragraph gives proof. But that a delusion it is; that the commission given to the Seventy whom Christ sent out to proclaim and offer the kingdom of God, and afterwards to the Apostles, refers either to the power of making rules and ordinances in the Church, or otherwise to the gifts of miraculous healing, which our Lord at that time conferred on them; and that ‘per figuram causce pro effecto’, ‘sins’ here mean diseases, seems to me more than probable. At all events, the text surely does not mean that the salvation of a repentant and believing Christian depends upon the will of a priest in absolution.

Ib. p. 161.

And again, they are able to absolve and make a human creature free and loose from all his sins, if in case he repenteth and believeth in Christ; and on the contrary, they are able to detain all his sina, if he doth not repent and believeth not in Christ.

In like manner if he sincerely repent and believe, his sins are forgiven, whether the minister absolve him or not. Now if M + 5 =5, and 5-M = 5, M = O. If he be impenitent and unbelieving, his sins are detained, no doubt, whether the minister do or do not detain them.

Ib. p. 163.

Adam was created of God in such sort righteous, as that he became of a righteous an unrighteous person; as Paul himself argueth, and withall instructeth himself, where he saith, The law is not given for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient.

This follows from the very definition or idea of righteousness;-it is itself the law;–[Greek: pas gar dikais autonomos.]


The Scripture saith, God maketh the ungodly righteous; there he calleth us all, one with another, despairing and wicked wretches; for what will an ungodly creature not dare to accomplish, if he may but have occasion, place, and opportunity?

That is with a lust within correspondent to the temptation from without.

A Christian’s conscience, methinks, ought to be a ‘Janus bifrons’,–a Gospel-face retrospective, and smiling through penitent tears on the sins of the past, and a Moses-face looking forward in frown and menace, frightening the harlot will into a holy abortion of sins conceived but not yet born, perchance not yet quickened. The fanatic Antinomian reverses this; for the past he requires all the horrors of remorse and despair, till the moment of assurance; thenceforward, he may do what he likes, for he cannot sin.

Ib. p. 165.

All natural inclinations (said Luther) are either against or without God; therefore none are good. We see that no man is so honest as to marry a wife, only thereby to have children, to love and to bring them up in the fear of God.

This is a very weak instance. If a man had been commanded to marry by God, being so formed as that no sensual delight accompanied, and refused to do so, unless this appetite and gratification were added,–then indeed!

Chap. X. p. 168, 9.

Ah Lord God (said Luther), why should we any way boast of our free-will, as if it were able to do anything in divine and spiritual matters were they never so small? * * * I confess that mankind hath a free-will, but it is to milk kine, to build houses, &c., and no further: for so long as a man sitteth well and in safety, and sticketh in no want, so long he thinketh he hath a free-will which is able to do something; but, when want and need appeareth, that there is neither to eat nor to drink, neither money nor provision, where is then the free will? It is utterly lost, and cannot stand when it cometh to the pinch. But faith only standeth fast and sure, and seeketh Christ.

Luther confounds free-will with efficient power, which neither does nor can exist save where the finite will is one with the absolute Will. That Luther was practically on the right side in this famous controversy, and that he was driving at the truth, I see abundant reason to believe. But it is no less evident that he saw it in a mist, or rather as a mist with dissolving outline; and as he saw the thing as a mist, so he ever and anon mistakes a mist for the thing. But Erasmus and Saavedra were equally indistinct; and shallow and unsubstantial to boot. In fact, till the appearance of Kant’s ‘Kritiques’ of the pure and of the practical Reason the problem had never been accurately or adequately stated, much less solved.

26 June, 1826.

Ib. p. 174.

Loving friends, (said Luther) our doctrine that free-will is dead and nothing at all is grounded powerfully in Holy Scripture.

It is of vital importance for a theological student to understand clearly the utter diversity of the Lutheran, which is likewise the Calvinistic, denial of free-will in the unregenerate, and the doctrine of the modern Necessitarians and (‘proh pudor!’) of the later Calvinists, which denies the proper existence of will altogether. The former is sound, Scriptural, compatible with the divine justice, a new, yea, a mighty motive to morality, and, finally, the dictate of common sense grounded on common experience. The latter the very contrary of all these.

Chap. xii. p. 187.

This is now (said Luther), the first instruction concerning the law; namely, that the same must be used to hinder the ungodly from their wicked and mischievous intentions. For the Devil, who is an Abbot and a Prince of this world, driveth and allureth people to work all manner of sin and wickedness; for which cause God hath ordained magistrates, elders, schoolmasters, laws, and statutes, to the end, if they cannot do more, yet at least that they may bind the claws of the Devil, and to hinder him from raging and swelling so powerfully (in those which are his) according to his will and pleasure.

And (said Luther), although thou hadst not committed this or that sin, yet nevertheless, thou art an ungodly creature, &c. but what is done cannot he undone, he that hath stolen, let him henceforward steal no more.

Secondly, we use the law spiritually, which is done in this manner; that it maketh the transgressions greater, as Saint Paul saith; that is, that it may reveal and discover to people their sins, blindness, misery, and ungodly doings wherein they were conceived and born; namely, that they are ignorant of God, and are his enemies, and therefore have justly deserved death, hell, God’s judgments, his everlasting wrath and indignation. Saint Paul, (said Luther), expoundeth such spiritual offices and works of the law with many words.

Rom. vii.

Nothing can be more sound or more philosophic than the contents of these two paragraphs. They afford a sufficient answer to the pretence of the Romanists and Arminians, that by the law St. Paul meant only the ceremonial law.

Ib. p. 189.

And if Moses had not cashiered and put himself out of his office, and had not taken it away with these words, (where he saith, ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee another prophet out of thy brethren; Him shall thou hear’. (Deut. xviii.)) who then at any time would or could have believed the Gospel, and forsaken Moses?

If I could be persuaded that this passage (Deut. xviii. 15-19.) primarily referred to Christ, and that Christ, not Joshua and his successors, was the prophet here promised; I must either become a Unitarian psilanthrophist, and join Priestley and Belsham,–or abandon to the Jews their own Messiah as yet to come, and cling to the religion of John and Paul, without further reference to Moses than to Lycurgus, Solon and Numa; all of whom in their different spheres no less prepared the way for the coming of the Lord, ‘the desire of the nations’.

Ib. p. 190.

It is therefore most evident (said Luther), that the law can but only help us to know our sins, and to make us afraid of death. Now sins and death are such things as belong to the world, and which are therein.

Both in Paul and Luther, (names which I can never separate),–not indeed peculiar to these, for it is the same in the Psalms, Ezekiel, and throughout the Scriptures, but which I feel most in Paul and Luther, –there is one fearful blank, the wisdom or necessity of which I do not doubt, yet cannot help groping and straining after like one that stares in the dark; and this is Death. The law makes us afraid of death. What is death?–an unhappy life? Who does not feel the insufficiency of this answer? What analogy does immortal suffering bear to the only death which is known to us?

Since I wrote the above, God has, I humbly trust, given me a clearer light as to the true nature of the ‘death’ so often mentioned in the Scriptures.


It is (said Luther), a very hard matter: yea, an impossible thing for thy human strength, whosoever thou art (without God’s assistance) that (at such a time when Moses setteth upon thee with his law, and fearfully affrighteth thee, accuseth and condemneth thee, threateneth thee with God’s wrath and death) thou shouldest as then be of such a mind; namely, as if no law nor sin had ever been at any time:–I say, it is in a manner a thing impossible, that a human creature should carry himself in such a sort, when he is and feeleth himself assaulted with trials and temptations, and when the conscience hath to do with God, as then to think no otherwise, than that from everlasting nothing hath been, but only and alone Christ, altogether grace and deliverance.

Yea, verily, Amen and Amen! For this short heroic paragraph contains the sum and substance, the heighth and the depth of all true philosophy. Most assuredly right difficult it is for us, while we are yet in the narrow chamber of death, with our faces to the dusky falsifying looking-glass that covers the scant end-side of the blind passage from floor to ceiling,–right difficult for us, so wedged between its walls that we cannot turn round, nor have other escape possible but by walking backward, to understand that all we behold or have any memory of having ever beholden, yea, our very selves as seen by us, are but shadows, and when the forms that we loved vanish, impossible not to feel as if they were real.

Ib. p. 197.

Nothing that is good proceedeth out of the works of the law, except grace be present; for what we are forced to do, the same goeth not from the heart, neither is acceptable.

A law supposes a law-giver, and implies an actuator and executor, and consequently rewards and punishments publicly announced, and distinctly assigned to the deeds enjoined or forbidden; and correlatively in the subjects of the law, there are supposed, first, assurance of the being, the power, the veracity and seeingness of the law-giver, in whom I here comprise the legislative, judicial and executive functions; and secondly, self-interest, desire, hope and fear. Now from this view, it is evident that the deeds or works of the Law are themselves null and dead, deriving their whole significance from their attachment or alligation to the rewards and punishments, even as this diversely shaped and ink colored paper has its value wholly from the words or meanings, which have been arbitrarily connected therewith; or as a ladder, or flight of stairs, of a provision-loft, or treasury. If the architect or master of the house had chosen to place the store-room or treasury on the ground floor, the ladder or steps would have been useless. The life is divided between the rewards and punishments on the one hand, and the hope and fear on the other: namely, the active life or excitancy belongs to the former, the passive life or excitability to the latter. Call the former the afficients, the latter the affections, the deeds being merely the signs or impresses of the former, as the seal, on the latter as the wax. Equally evident is it, that the affections are wholly formed by the deeds, which are themselves but the lifeless unsubstantial shapes of the actual forms (‘formae formantes’), namely, the rewards and punishments. Now contrast with this the process of the Gospel. There the affections are formed in the first instance, not by any reference to works or deeds, but by an unmerited rescue from death, liberation from slavish task-work; by faith, gratitude, love, and affectionate contemplation of the exceeding goodness and loveliness of the Saviour, Redeemer, Benefactor: from the affections flow the deeds, or rather the affections overflow in the deeds, and the rewards are but a continuance and continued increase of the free grace in the state of the soul and in the growth and gradual perfecting of that state, which are themselves gifts of the same free grace, and one with the rewards; for in the kingdom of Christ which is the realm of love and inter-community, the joy and grace of each regenerated spirit becomes double, and thereby augments the joys and the graces of the others, and the joys and graces of all unite in each;–Christ, the head, and by his Spirit the bond, or unitive ‘copula’ of all, being the spiritual sun whose entire image is reflected in every individual of the myriads of dew-drops. While under the Law, the all was but an aggregate of subjects, each striving after a reward for himself, –not as included in and resulting from the state,–but as the stipulated wages of the task-work, as a loaf of bread may be the pay or bounty promised for the hewing of wood or the breaking of stones!


He (said Luther), that will dispute with the Devil, &c.


I. Abstractedly from, and independently of, all sensible substances, and the bodies, wills, faculties, and affections of men, has the Devil, or would the Devil have, a personal self-subsistence? Does he, or can he, exist as a conscious individual agent or person? Should the answer to this query be in the negative: then–

II. Do there exist finite and personal beings, whether with composite and decomponible bodies, that is, embodied, or with simple and indecomponible bodies, (which is all that can be meant by disembodied as applied to finite creatures), so eminently wicked, or wicked and mischievous in so peculiar a kind, as to constitute a distinct ‘genus’ of beings under the name of devils?

III. Is this second ‘hypothesis’ compatible with the acts and functions attributed to the Devil in Scripture? O! to have had these three questions put by Melancthon to Luther, and to have heard his reply!

Ib. p. 200.

If (said Luther) God should give unto us a strong and an unwavering faith, then we should he proud, yea also, we should at last contemn Him. Again, if he should give us the right knowledge of the law, then we should be dismayed and fainthearted, we should not know which way to wind ourselves.

The main reason is, because in this instance, the change in the relation constitutes the difference of the things. A. considered as acting ‘ab extra’ on the selfish fears and desires of men is the Law: the same A: acting ‘ab intra’ as a new nature infused by grace, as the mind of Christ prompting to all obedience, is the Gospel. Yet what Luther says is likewise very true. Could we reduce the great spiritual truths or ideas of our faith to comprehensible conceptions, or (for the thing itself is impossible) fancy we had done so, we should inevitably be ‘proud vain asses.’

Ib. p. 203.

And as to know his works and actions, is not yet rightly to know the Gospel, (for thereby we know not as yet that he hath overcome sin death and the Devil); even so likewise, it is not as yet to know the Gospel, when we know such doctrine and commandments, but when the voice soundeth, which saith, Christ is thine own with life, with doctrine, with works, death, resurrection, and with all that he hath, doth and may do.

Most true.

Ib. p. 205.

The ancient Fathers said: ‘Distingue tempora et concordabis Scripturas’; distinguish the times; then may we easily reconcile the Scriptures together.

Yea! and not only so, but we shall reconcile truths, that seem to repeal this or that passage of Scripture, with the Scriptures. For Christ is with his Church even to the end.


I verily believe, (said Luther) it (the abolition of the Law) vexed to the heart the beloved St. Paul himself before his conversion.

How dearly Martin Luther loved St. Paul! How dearly would St. Paul have loved Martin Luther! And how impossible, that either should not have done so!


In this case, touching the distinguishing the Law from the Gospel, we must utterly expel all human and natural wisdom, reason, and understanding.

All reason is above nature. Therefore by reason in Luther, or rather in his translator, you must understand the reasoning faculty:–that is, the logical intellect, or the intellectual understanding. For the understanding is in all respects a medial and mediate faculty, and has therefore two extremities or poles, the sensual, in which form it is St. Paul’s [Greek: phronaema sarkos]; and the intellectual pole, or the hemisphere (as it were) turned towards the reason. Now the reason (‘lux idealis seu spiritualis’) shines down into the understanding, which recognizes the light, ‘id est, lumen a luce spirituali quasi alienigenum aliquid’, which it can only comprehend or describe to itself by attributes opposite to its own essential properties. Now these latter being contingency, and (for though the immediate objects of the understanding are ‘genera et species’, still they are particular ‘genera et species’) particularity, it distinguishes the formal light (‘lumen’) (not the substantial light, ‘lux’) of reason by the attributes of the necessary and the universal; and by irradiation of this ‘lumen’ or ‘shine’ the understanding becomes a conclusive or logical faculty. As such it is [Greek: Logos anthropinos].

Ib. 206.

When Satan saith in thy heart, God will not pardon thy sins, nor be gracious unto thee, I pray (said Luther) how wilt thou then, as a poor sinner, raise up and comfort thyself, especially when other signs of God’s wrath besides do beat upon thee, as sickness, poverty, &c. And that thy heart beginneth to preach and say, Behold, here thou livest in sickness, thou art poor and forsaken of every one, &c.

Oh! how true, how affectingly true is this! And when too Satan, the tempter, becomes Satan the accuser, saying in thy heart:–“This sickness is the consequence of sin, or sinful infirmity, and thou hast brought thyself into a fearful dilemma; thou canst not hope for salvation as long as thou continuest in any sinful practice, and yet thou canst not abandon thy daily dose of this or that poison without suicide. For the sin of thy soul has become the necessity of thy body, daily tormenting thee, without yielding thee any the least pleasurable sensation, but goading thee on by terror without hope. Under such evidence of God’s wrath how canst thou expect to be saved?” Well may the heart cry out, “Who shall deliver me from the ‘body of this death’,–from this death that lives and tyrannizes in my body?” But the Gospel answers–“There is a redemption from the body promised; only cling to Christ. Call on him continually with all thy heart, and all thy soul, to give thee strength, and be strong in thy weakness; and what Christ doth not see good to relieve thee from, suffer in hope. It may be better for thee to be kept humble and in self-abasement. The thorn in the flesh may remain and yet the grace of God through Christ prove sufficient for thee. Only cling to Christ, and do thy best. In all love and well-doing gird thyself up to improve and use aright what remains free in thee, and if thou doest ought aright, say and thankfully believe that Christ hath done it for thee.” O what a miserable despairing wretch should I become, if I believed the doctrines of Bishop Jeremy Taylor in his Treatise on Repentance, or those I heard preached by Dr.—-; if I gave up the faith, that the life of Christ would precipitate the remaining dregs of sin in the crisis of death, and that I shall rise in purer capacity of Christ; blind to be irradiated by his light, empty to be possessed by his fullness, naked of merit to be clothed with his righteousness!

Ib. p. 207.

The nobility, the gentry, citizens, and farmers, &c. are now become so haughty and ungodly, that they regard no ministers nor preachers; and (said Luther) if we were not holpen somewhat by great princes and persons, we could not long subsist: therefore Isaiah saith well, ‘And kings shall be their nurses’, &c.

Corpulent nurses too often, that overlay the babe; distempered nurses, that convey poison in their milk!

Chap. XIII. p. 208.

Philip Melancthon said to Luther, The opinion of St. Austin of justification (as it seemeth) was more pertinent, fit and convenient when he disputed not, than it was when he used to speak and dispute; for thus he saith, We ought to censure and hold that we are justified by faith, that is by our regeneration, or by being made new creatures. Now if it be so, then we are not justified only by faith, but by all the gifts and virtues of God given unto us. Now what is your opinion Sir? Do you hold that a man is justified by this regeneration, as is St. Austin’s opinion?

Luther answered and said, I hold this, and am certain, that the true meaning of the Gospel and of the Apostle is, that we are justified before God ‘gratis’, for nothing, only by God’s mere mercy, wherewith and by reason whereof, he imputeth righteousness unto us in Christ.

True; but is it more than a dispute about words? Is not the regeneration likewise ‘gratis’, only by God’s mere mercy? We, according to the necessity of our imperfect understandings, must divide and distinguish. But surely justification and sanctification are one act of God, and only different perspectives of redemption by and through and for Christ. They are one and the same plant, justification the root, sanctification the flower; and (may I not venture to add?) transubstantiation into Christ the celestial fruit.

Ib. p. 210-11. Melancthon’s sixth reply.

Sir! you say Paul was justified, that is, was received to everlasting life, only for mercy’s sake. Against which, I say, if the piece-meal or partial cause, namely our obedience, followeth not; then we are not saved, according to these words, ‘Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel’. 1. Cor. ix.

Luther’s answer.

No piecing or partial cause (said Luther) approacheth thereupto: for faith is powerful continually without ceasing; otherwise, it is no faith. Therefore what the works are, or of what value, the same they are through the honor and power of faith, which undeniably is the sun or sun-beam of this shining.

This is indeed a difficult question; and one, I am disposed to think, which can receive its solution only by the idea, or the act and fact of justification by faith self-reflected. But, humanly considered, this position of Luther’s provokes the mind to ask, is there no receptivity of faith, considered as a free gift of God, prerequisite in the individual? Does faith commence by generating the receptivity of itself? If so, there is no difference either in kind or in degree between the receivers and the rejectors of the word, at the moment preceeding this reception or rejection; and a stone is a subject as capable of faith as a man. How can obedience exist, where disobedience was not possible? Surely two or three texts from St. Paul, detached from the total ‘organismus’ of his reasoning, ought not to out-weigh the plain fact, that the contrary position is implied in, or is an immediate consequent of, our Lord’s own invitations and assurances. Every where a something is attributed to the will. [2]

Chap. XIII. p. 211.

To conclude, a faithful person is a new creature, a new tree. Therefore all these speeches, which in the law are usual, belong not to this case; as to say ‘A faithful’ person must do good works. Neither were it rightly spoken, to say the sun shall shine: a good tree shall bring forth good fruit, &c. For the sun ‘shall’ not shine, but it doth shine by nature unbidden, it is thereunto created.

This important paragraph is obscure by the translator’s ignorance of the true import of the German ‘soll’, which does not answer to our ‘shall;’ but rather to our ‘ought’, that is, ‘should’ do this or that,–is under an obligation to do it.

Ib. p. 213.

And I, my loving Brentius, to the end I may better understand this case, do use to think in this manner, namely, as if in my heart were no quality or virtue at all, which is called faith, and love, (as the Sophists do speak and dream thereof), but I set all on Christ, and say, my ‘formalis justitia’, that is, my sure, my constant and complete righteousness (in which is no want nor failing, but is, as before God it ought to be) is Christ my Lord and Saviour.

Aye! this, this is indeed to the purpose. In this doctrine my soul can find rest. I hope to be saved by faith, not by my faith, but by the faith of Christ in me.

Ib. p. 214.

The Scripture nameth the faithful a people of God’s saints. But here one may say; the sins which daily we commit, do offend and anger God; how then can we be holy?

‘Answer’. A mother’s love to her child is much stronger than are the excrements and scurf thereof. Even so God’s love towards us is far stronger than our filthiness and uncleanness.

Yea, one may say again, we sin without ceasing, and where sin is, there the holy Spirit is not: therefore we are not holy, because the holy Spirit is not in us, who maketh holy.

‘Answer’. (John xvi. 14.) Now where Christ is, there is the holy Spirit. The text saith plainly, ‘The holy Ghost shall glorify me, &c.’ Now Christ is in the faithful (although they have and feel sins, do confess the same, and with sorrow of heart do complain thereover); therefore sins do not separate Christ from those that believe.

All in this page is true, and necessary to be preached. But O! what need is there of holy prudence to preach it aright, that is, at right times to the right ears! Now this is when the doctrine is necessary and thence comfortable; but where it is not necessary, but only very comfortable, in such cases it would be a narcotic poison, killing the soul by infusing a stupor or counterfeit peace of conscience. Where there are no sinkings of self-abasement, no griping sense of sin and worthlessness, but perhaps the contrary, reckless confidence and self-valuing for good qualities supposed an overbalance for the sins,–there it is not necessary. In short, these are not the truths, that can be preached [Greek: eukairos akairos], _in season and out of season_. In declining life, or at any time in the hour of sincere humiliation, these truths may be applied in reference to past sins collectively; but a Christian must not, a true however infirm Christian will not, cannot, administer them to himself immediately after sinning; least of all immediately before. We ought fervently to pray thus:–“Most holy and most merciful God! by the grace of thy holy Spirit make these promises profitable to me, to preserve me from despairing of thy forgiveness through Christ my Saviour! But O! save me from presumptuously perverting them into a pillow for a stupified conscience! Give me grace so to contrast my sin with thy transcendant goodness and long-suffering love, as to hate it with an unfeigned hatred for its own exceeding sinfulness.”

Ib. p. 219-20.

Faith is, and consisteth in, a person’s understanding, but hope consisteth in the will. * * Faith inditeth, distinguisheth and teacheth, and it is the knowledge and acknowledgment. * * Faith fighteth against error and heresies, it proveth, censureth and judgeth the spirits and doctrines. * * Faith in divinity is the wisdom and providence, and belongeth to the doctrine. * * Faith is the ‘dialectica’, for it is altogether wit and wisdom.

Luther in his Postills discourseth far better and more genially of faith than in these paragraphs. Unfortunately, the Germans have but one word for faith and belief–‘Glaube’, and what Luther here says, is spoken of belief. Of faith he speaks in the next article but one.

Ib. p. 226.

“That regeneration only maketh God’s children.

“The article of our justification before God (said Luther) is, as it useth to be with a son which is born an heir of all his father’s goods, and cometh not thereunto by deserts.”

I will here record my experience. Ever when I meet with the doctrine of regeneration and faith and free grace simply announced–“So it is!”–then I believe; my heart leaps forth to welcome it. But as soon as an explanation nation or reason is added, such explanations, namely, and reasonings as I have any where met with, then my heart leaps back again, recoils, and I exclaim, Nay! Nay! but not so.

25th of September, 1819.

Ib. p. 227.

“Doctor Carlestad (said Luther) argueth thus: True it is that faith justifieth, but faith is a work of the first commandment; therefore it justifieth as a work. Moreover all that the Law commandeth, the same is a work of the Law. Now faith is commanded, therefore faith is a work of the Law. Again, what God will have the same is commanded: God will have faith, therefore faith is commanded.”

“St. Paul (said Luther) speaketh in such sort of the law, that he separateth it from the promise, which is far another thing than the law. The law is terrestrial, but the promise is celestial.

“God giveth the law to the end we may thereby be roused up and made pliant; for the commandments do go and proceed against the proud and haughty, which contemn God’s gifts; now a gift or present cannot be a commandment.”

“Therefore we must answer according to this rule, ‘Verba sunt accipienda secundum subjectam materiam.’ * * St. Paul calleth that the work of the law, which is done and acted through the knowledge of the law by a constrained will without the holy Spirit; so that the same is a work of the law, which the law earnestly requireth and strictly will have done; it is not a voluntary work, but a forced work of the rod.”

And wherein did Carlestad and Luther differ? Not at all, or essentially and irreconcilably, according as the feeling of Carlestad was. If he meant the particular deed, the latter; if the total act, the agent included, then the former.

Chap. XIV. p. 230.

“The love towards the neighbour (said Luther) must be like a pure chaste love between bride and bridegroom, where all faults are connived at, covered and borne with, and only the virtues regarded.”

In how many little escapes and corner-holes does the sensibility, the fineness, (that of which refinement is but a counterfeit, at best but a reflex,) the geniality of nature appear in this ‘son of thunder!’ O for a Luther in the present age! Why, Charles! [3] with the very handcuffs of his prejudices he would knock out the brains (nay, that is impossible, but,) he would split the skulls of our ‘Cristo-galli’, translate the word as you like:–French Christians, or coxcombs!

Ib. p. 231-2.

“Let Witzell know, (said Luther) that David’s wars and battles, which he fought, were more pleasing to God than the fastings and prayings of the best, of the honestest, and of the holiest monks and friars; much more than the works of our new ridiculous and superstitious friars.”

A cordial, rich and juicy speech, such as shaped itself into, and lived anew in, the Gustavus Adolphuses.

Chap. XV. p. 233-4.

“God most certainly heareth them that pray in faith, and granteth when and how he pleaseth, and knoweth most profitable for them. We must also know, that when our prayers tend to the sanctifying of his name, and to the increase and honor of his kingdom (also that we pray according to his will) then most certainly he heareth. But when we pray contrary to these points, then we are not heard; for God doth nothing against his Name, his kingdom, and his will.”

Then (saith the understanding, [Greek: To phronaema sarkos]) what doth prayer effect? If A–prayer = B., and A + prayer = B, prayer = O. The attempt to answer this argument by admitting its invalidity relatively to God, but asserting the efficacy of prayer relatively to the pray-er or precant himself, is merely staving off the objection a single step. For this effect on the devout soul is produced by an act of God. The true answer is, prayer is an idea, and ‘ens spirituale’, out of the cognizance of the understanding.

The spiritual mind receives the answer in the contemplation of the idea, life as ‘deitas diffusa’. We can set the life in efficient motion, but not contrary to the form or type. The errors and false theories of great men sometimes, perhaps most often, arise out of true ideas falsified by degenerating into conceptions; or the mind excited to action by an inworking idea, the understanding works in the same direction according to its kind, and produces a counterfeit, in which the mind rests.

This I believe to be the case with the scheme of emanation in Plotinus. God is made a first and consequently a comparative intensity, and matter the last; the whole thence finite; and thence its conceivability. But we must admit a gradation of intensities in reality.

Chap. XVI. p. 247.

“When governors and rulers are enemies to God’s word, then our duty is to depart, to sell and forsake all we have, to fly from one place to another, as Christ commandeth; we must make and prepare no uproars nor tumults by reason of the Gospel, but we must suffer all things.”

Right. But then it must be the lawful rulers; those in whom the sovereign or supreme power is lodged by the known laws and constitution of the country. Where the laws and constitutional liberties of the nation are trampled on, the subjects do not lose, and are not in conscience bound to forego, their right of resistance, because they are Christians, or because it happens to be a matter of religion, in which their rights are violated. And this was Luther’s opinion. Whether, if a Popish Czar shall act as our James II. acted, the Russian Greekists would be justified in doing with him what the English Protestants justifiably did with regard to James, is a knot which I shall not attempt to cut; though I guess the Russians would, by cutting their Czar’s throat.


‘But no man will do this, except he be so sure of his doctrine and religion, as that, although I myself should play the fool, and should recant and deny this my doctrine and religion (which God forbid), he notwithstanding therefore would not yield, but say, “If Luther, or an angel from heaven, should teach otherwise, _Let him be accursed_.”‘

Well and nobly said, thou rare black swan! This, this is the Church. Where this is found, there is the Church of Christ, though but twenty in the whole of the congregation; and were twenty such in two hundred different places, the Church would be entire in each. Without this no Church.

Ib. p. 248.

“And he sent for one of his chiefest privy councillors, named Lord John _Von Minkwitz_, and said unto him; ‘You have heard my father say, (running with him at tilt) that to sit upright on horseback maketh a good tilter. If therefore it be good and laudable in temporal tilting to sit upright; how much more is it now praiseworthy in God’s cause to sit, to stand, and to go uprightly and just!'”

Princely. So Shakspeare would have made a Prince Elector talk. The metaphor is so grandly in character.

Chap. XVII. p. 249.

“_Signa sunt subinde facta, minora; res autem et facta subinde creverunt_.”

A valuable remark. As the substance waxed, that is, became more evident, the ceremonial sign waned, till at length in the Eucharist the ‘signum’ united itself with the ‘significatum’, and became consubstantial. The ceremonial sign, namely, the eating the bread and drinking the wine, became a symbol, that is, a solemn instance and exemplification of the class of mysterious acts, which we are, or as Christians should be, performing daily and hourly in every social duty and recreation. This is indeed to re-create the man in and by Christ. Sublimely did the Fathers call the Eucharist the extension of the Incarnation: only I should have preferred the perpetuation and application of the Incarnation.


A bare writing without a seal is of no force.

Metaphors are sorry logic, especially metaphors from human and those too conventional usages to the ordinances of eternal wisdom.

Ib. p. 250.

Luther said, “No. A Christian is wholly and altogether sanctified. * * We must take sure hold on Baptism by faith, as then we shall be, yea, already are, sanctified. In this sort David nameth himself holy.”

A deep thought. Strong meat for men. It must not be offered for milk.

Chap. XXI. p. 276.

Then I will declare him openly to the Church, and in this manner I will say: “Loving friends, I declare unto you, how that N. N. hath been admonished: first, by myself in private, afterwards also by two chaplains, thirdly, by two aldermen and churchwardens, and those of the assembly: yet notwithstanding he will not desist from his sinful kind of life. Wherefore I earnestly desire you to assist and aid me, to kneel down with me, and let us pray against him, and deliver him over to the Devil.”

Luther did not mean that this should be done all at once; but that a day should be appointed for the congregation to meet for joint consultation, and according to the resolutions passed to choose and commission such and such persons to wait on the offender, and to exhort, persuade and threaten him in the name of the congregation: then, if after due time allowed, this proved fruitless, to kneel down with the minister, &c. Surely, were it only feasible, nothing could be more desirable. But alas! it is not compatible with a Church national, the congregations of which are therefore not gathered nor elected, or with a Church established by law; for law and discipline are mutually destructive of each other, being the same as involuntary and voluntary penance.

Chap. xxii. p. 290.

Wicliffe and Huss opposed and assaulted the manner of life and conversation in Popedom. But I chiefly do oppose and resist their doctrine; I affirm roundly and plainly that they teach not aright. Thereto am I called. I take the goose by the neck, and set the knife to the throat. When I can maintain that the Pope’s doctrine is false, (which I have proved and maintained), then I will easily prove and maintain that their manner of life is evil.

This is a remark of deep insight: ‘verum vere Lutheranum’.

Ib. p. 291.

Ambition and pride (said Luther), are the rankest poison in the Church when they are possessed by preachers. Zuinglius thereby was misled, who did what pleased himself * * * He wrote, “Ye honorable and good princes must pardon me, in that I give you not your titles; for the glass windows are as well illustrious as ye.”

One might fancy, in the Vision-of-Mirza style, that all the angry, contemptuous, haughty expressions of good and zealous men, gallant staff-officers in the army of Christ, formed a rick of straw and stubble, which at the last day is to be divided into more or fewer haycocks, according to the number of kind and unfeignedly humble and charitable thoughts and speeches that had intervened, and that these were placed in a pile, leap-frog fashion, in the narrow road to the gate of Paradise; and burst into flame as the zeal of the individual approached,–so that he must leap over and through them. Now I cannot help thinking, that this dear man of God, heroic Luther, will find more opportunities of showing his agility, and reach the gate in a greater sweat and with more blisters ‘a parte post’ than his brother hero, Zuinglius. I guess that the comments of the latter on the Prophets will be found almost sterile in these tiger-lilies and brimstone flowers of polemic rhetoric, compared with the controversy of the former with our Henry VIII., his replies to the Pope’s Bulls, and the like.

By the by, the joke of the ‘glass windows’ is lost in the translation. The German for illustrious is ‘durchlauchtig’, that is, transparent or translucent.


When we leave to God his name, his kingdom and will, then will he also give unto us our daily bread, and will remit our sins, and deliver us from the devil and all evil. Only his honor he will have to himself.

A brief but most excellent comment on the Lord’s Prayer.

Ib. p. 297.

There was never any that understood the Old Testament so well as St. Paul, except only John the Baptist.

I cannot conjecture what Luther had in his mind when he made this exception.

Chap. XXVII. p. 335.

I could wish (said Luther) that the Princes and States of the Empire would make an assembly, and hold a council and a union both in doctrine and ceremonies, so that every one might not break in and run on with such insolency and presumption according to his own brains, as already is begun, whereby many good hearts are offended.

Strange heart of man! Would Luther have given up the doctrine of justification by faith alone, had the majority of the Council decided in favor of the Arminian scheme? If not, by what right could he expect OEcolampadius or Zuinglius to recant their convictions respecting the Eucharist, or the Baptists theirs on Infant Baptism, to the same authority? In fact, the wish expressed in this passage must be considered as a mere flying thought shot out by the mood and feeling of the moment, a sort of conversational flying-fish that dropped as soon as the moisture of the fins had evaporated. The paragraph in p. 336, of what Councils ought to order, should be considered Luther’s genuine opinion.

Ib. p. 337.

The council of Nice, held after the Apostles’ time, (said Luther) was the very best and purest; but soon after in the time of the Emperor Constantine, it was weakened by the Arians.

What Arius himself meant, I do not know: what the modern Arians teach, I utterly condemn; but that the great council of Ariminum was either Arian or heretical I could never discover, or descry any essential difference between its decisions and the Nicene; though I seem to find a serious difference of the pseudo-Athanasian Creed from both. If there be a difference between the Councils of Nicea and Ariminum, it perhaps consists in this;–that the Nicene was the more anxious to assert the equal Divinity in the Filial subordination; the Ariminian to maintain the Filial subordination in the equal Divinity. In both there are three self-subsistent and only one self-originated:–which is the substance of the idea of the Trinity, as faithfully worded as is compatible with the necessary inadequacy of words to the expression of ideas, that is, spiritual truths that can only be spiritually discerned. [4]

18th August, 1826.

Chap. XXVIII. p. 347.

God’s word a Lord of all Lords.

Luther every where identifies the living Word of God with the written word, and rages against Bullinger, who contended that the latter is the word of God only as far as and for whom it is the vehicle of the former. To this Luther replies: “My voice, the vehicle of my words, does not cease to be my voice, because it is ignorantly or maliciously misunderstood.” Yea! (might Bullinger have rejoined) the instance were applicable and the argument valid, if we were previously assured that all and every part of the Old and New Testament is the voice of the divine Word. But, except by the Spirit, whence are we to ascertain this? Not from the books themselves; for not one of them makes the pretension for itself, and the two or three texts, which seem to assert it, refer only to the Law and the Prophets, and no where enumerate the books that were given by inspiration: and how obscure the history of the formation of the Canon, and how great the difference of opinion respecting its different parts, what scholar is ignorant?

Chap. XXIX. p. 349.

‘Patres, quamquam saepe errant, tamen venerandi propter testimonium fidei.’

Although I learn from all this chapter, that Luther was no great Patrician, (indeed he was better employed), yet I am nearly, if not wholly of his mind respecting the works of the Fathers. Those which appear to me of any great value are valuable chiefly for those articles of Christian Faith which are, as it were, ‘ante Christum’ JESUM, namely, the Trinity, and the primal Incarnation spoken of by John i, 10. But in the main I should perhaps go even farther than Luther; for I cannot conceive any thing more likely than that a young man of strong and active intellect, who has no fears, or suffers no fears of worldly prudence to cry, Halt! to him in his career of consequential logic, and who has been ‘innutritus et juratus’ in the Grotio-Paleyan scheme of Christian evidence, and who has been taught by the men and books, which he has been bred up to regard as authority, to consider all inward experiences as fanatical delusions;–I say, I can scarcely conceive such a young man to make a serious study of the Fathers of the first four or five centuries without becoming either a Romanist or a Deist. Let him only read Petavius and the different Patristic and Ecclesiastico -historical tracts of Semler, and have no better philosophy than that of Locke, no better theology than that of Arminius and Bishop Jeremy Taylor, and I should tremble for his belief. Yet why tremble for a belief which is the very antipode of faith? Better for such a man to precipitate himself on to the utmost goal: for then perhaps he may in the repose of intellectual activity feel the nothingness of his prize, or the wretchedness of it; and then perhaps the inward yearning after a religion may make him ask;–“Have I not mistaken the road at the outset? Am I sure that the Reformers, Luther and the rest collectively, were fanatics?”

Ib. p. 351.

‘Take no care what ye shall eat’. As though that commandment did not hinder the carping and caring for the daily bread.

For ‘caring,’ read, ‘anxiety!’ ‘Sit tibi curae, non autem solicitudini, panis quotidianus’.

Ib. p. 351.

Even so it was with Ambrose: he wrote indeed well and purely, was more serious in writing than Austin, who was amiable and mild. * * * Fulgentius is the best poet, and far above Horace both with sentences, fair speeches and good actions; he is well worthy to be ranked and numbered with and among the poets.

‘Der Teufel’! Surely the epithets should be reversed. Austin’s mildness–the ‘durus pater infantum’! And the ‘super’-Horatian effulgence of Master Foolgentius! O Swan! thy critical cygnets are but goslings.

N.B. I have, however, since I wrote the above, heard Mr. J. Hookham Frere speak highly of Fulgentius.

Ib. p. 352.

For the Fathers were but men, and to speak the truth, their reputes and authorities did undervalue and suppress the books and writings of the sacred Apostles of Christ.

We doubtless find in the writings of the Fathers of the second century, and still more strongly in those of the third, passages concerning the Scriptures that seem to say the same as we Protestants now do. But then we find the very same phrases used of writings not Apostolic, or with no other difference than what the greater name of the authors would naturally produce; just as a Platonist would speak of Speusippus’s books, were they extant, compared with those of later teachers of Platonism;–‘He was Plato’s nephew-had seen Plato–was his appointed successor, &c.’ But in inspiration the early Christians, as far as I can judge, made no generic difference, let Lardner say what he will. Can he disprove that it was declared heretical by the Church in the second century to believe the written words of a dead Apostle in opposition to the words of a living Bishop, seeing that the same spirit which guided the Apostles dwells in and guides the Bishops of the Church? This at least is certain, that the later the age of the writer, the stronger the expression of comparative superiority of the Scriptures; the earlier, on the other hand, the more we hear of the ‘Symbolum’, the ‘Regula Fidei’, the Creed.

Chap. XXXII. p. 362.

The history of the Prophet Jonas is so great that it is almost incredible; yea, it soundeth more strange than any of the poets’ fables, and (said Luther) if it stood not in the Bible, I should take it for a lie.

It is quite wonderful that Luther, who could see so plainly that the book of Judith was an allegoric poem, should have been blind to the book of Jonas being an apologue, in which Jonah means the Israelitish nation.

Ib. p. 364.

For they entered into the garden about the hour at noon day, and having appetites to eat, she took delight in the apple; then about two of the clock, according to our account, was the fall.

Milton has adopted this notion in the Paradise Lost–not improbably from this book.

Ib. p. 365.

David made a Psalm of two and twenty parts, in each of which are eight verses, and yet in all is but one kind of meaning, namely, he will only say, Thy law or word is good.

I have conjectured that the 119th Psalm might have been a form of ordination, in which a series of candidates made their prayers and profession in the open Temple before they went to the several synagogues in the country.


But (said Luther) I say, he did well and right thereon: for the office of a magistrate is to punish the guilty and wicked malefactors. He made a vow, indeed, not to punish him, but that is to be understood, so long as David lived.

O Luther! Luther! ask your own heart if this is not Jesuit morality.

Chap. XXXIII. v. 367.

I believe (said Luther) the words of our Christian belief were in such sort ordained by the Apostles, who were together, and made this sweet ‘Symbolum’ so briefly and comfortable.

It is difficult not to regret that Luther had so superficial a knowledge of Ecclesiastical antiquities: for example, his belief in this fable of the Creed having been a ‘picnic’ contribution of the twelve Apostles, each giving a sentence. Whereas nothing is more certain than that it was the gradual product of three or four centuries.

Chap. XXXIV. p. 369.

An angel (said Luther) is a spiritual creature created by God without a body for the service of Christendom, especially in the office of the Church.

What did Luther mean by a body? For to me the word seemeth capable of two senses, universal and special:–first, a form indicating to A. B. C. &c., the existence and finiteness of some one other being ‘demonstrative’ as ‘hic’, and ‘disjunctive’ as ‘hic et non ille’; and in this sense God alone can be without body: secondly, that which is not merely ‘hic distinctive’, but ‘divisive’; yea, a product divisible from the producent as a snake from its skin, a precipitate and death of living power; and in this sense the body is proper to mortality, and to be denied of spirits made perfect as well as of the spirits that never fell from perfection, and perhaps of those who fell below mortality, namely, the devils.

But I am inclined to hold that the Devil has no one body, nay, no body of his own; but ceaselessly usurps or counterfeits bodies; for he is an everlasting liar, yea, the lie which is the colored shadow of the substance that intercepts the truth.

Ib. p. 370.

The devils are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark pooly places, ready to hurt and prejudice people, &c.

“The angel’s like a flea,
The devil is a bore;–“
No matter for that! quoth S.T.C.
I love him the better therefore.

Yes! heroic Swan, I love thee even when thou gabbiest like a goose; for thy geese helped to save the Capitol.

Ib. p. 371.

I do verily believe (said Luther) that the day of judgment draweth near, and that the angels prepare themselves for the fight and combat, and that within the space of a few hundred years they will strike down both Turk and Pope into the bottomless pit of hell.

Yea! two or three more such angels as thyself, Martin Luther, and thy prediction would be, or perhaps would now have been, accomplished.

Chap. XXXV. p. 388.

Cogitations of the understanding do produce no melancholy, but the cogitations of the will cause sadness; as, when one is grieved at a thing, or when one doth sigh and complain, there are melancholy and sad cogitations, but the understanding is not melancholy.

Even in Luther’s lowest imbecilities what gleams of vigorous good sense! Had he understood the nature and symptoms of indigestion together with the detail of subjective seeing and hearing, and the existence of mid-states of the brain between sleeping and waking, Luther would have been a greater philosopher; but would he have been so great a hero? I doubt it. Praised be God whose mercy is over all his works; who bringeth good out of evil, and manifesteth his wisdom even in the follies of his servants, his strength in their weakness!

Ib. p. 389.

Whoso prayeth a Psalm shall be made thoroughly warm.

‘Expertus credo’.

19th Aug. 1826.

I have learnt to interpret for myself the imprecating verses of the Psalms of my inward and spiritual enemies, the old Adam and all his corrupt menials; and thus I am no longer, as I used to be, stopped or scandalized by such passages as vindictive and anti-Christian.


The Devil (said Luther) oftentimes objected and argued against me the whole cause which, through God’s grace, I lead. He objecteth also against Christ. But better it were that the Temple brake in pieces than that Christ should therein remain obscure and hid.



In Job are two chapters concerning ‘Behemoth’ the whale, that by reason of him no man is in safety. * * These are colored words and figures whereby the Devil is signified and showed.

A slight mistake of brother Martin’s. The ‘Behemoth’ of Job is beyond a doubt neither whale nor devil, but, I think, the hippopotamus; who is indeed as ugly as the devil, and will occasionally play the devil among the rice-grounds; but though in this respect a devil of a fellow, yet on the whole he is too honest a monster to be a fellow of devils. ‘Vindiciae Behemoticae’.

Chap. XXXVI. p. 390.

‘Of Witchcraft’.

It often presses on my mind as a weighty argument in proof of at least a negative inspiration, an especial restraining grace, in the composition of the Canonical books, that though the writers individually did (the greater number at least) most probably believe in the objective reality of witchcraft, yet no such direct assertions as these of Luther’s, which would with the vast majority of Christians have raised it into an article of faith, are to be found in either Testament. That the ‘Ob’ and ‘Oboth’ of Moses are no authorities for this absurd superstition, has been unanswerably shewn by Webster. [5]

Chap. XXXVII. p. 398.

To conclude, (said Luther), I never yet knew a troubled and perplexed man, that was right in his own wits.

A sound observation of great practical utility. Edward Irving should be aware of this in dealing with conscience-troubled (but in fact fancy-vexed) women.


It was not a thorn in the flesh touching the unchaste love he bore towards Tecla, as the Papists dream.

I should like to know how high this strange legend can be traced. The other tradition that St. Paul was subject to epileptic fits, has a less legendary character. The phrase ‘thorn in the flesh’ is scarcely reconcilable with Luther’s hypothesis, otherwise than as doubts of the objectivity of his vision, and of his after revelations may have been consequences of the disease, whatever that might be.

Ib. p. 399.

Our Lord God doth like a printer, who setteth the letters backwards; we see and feel well his setting, but we shall see the print yonder in the life to come.

A beautiful simile. Add that even in this world the lives, especially the autobiographies, of eminent servants of Christ, are like the looking-glass or mirror, which, reversing the types, renders them legible to us.

Ib. p. 403.

‘Indignus sum, sed dignus fui–creari a Deo’, &c. Although I am unworthy, yet nevertheless ‘I have been’ worthy, ‘in that I am’ created of God, &c.

The translation does not give the true sense of the Latin. It should be ‘was’ and ‘to be’. The ‘dignus fui’ has here the sense of ‘dignum me habuit Deus’. See Herbert’s little poem in the Temple:

Sweetest Saviour, if my soul
Were but worth the having,
Quickly should I then control
Any thought of waving;
But when all my care and pains
Cannot give the name of gains
To thy wretch so full of stains,
What delight or hope remains?

Ib. p. 404.

The chiefest physic for that disease (but very hard and difficult it is to be done) is, that they firmly hold such cogitations not to be theirs, but that most sure and certain they come of the Devil.

More and more I understand the immense difference between the Faith-article of ‘the Devil’ ([Greek: tou Ponaerou]) and the superstitious fancy of devils: ‘animus objectivus dominationem in’ [Greek: ton Eimi] ‘affectans’; [Greek: outos to mega organon Diabolou hyparchei].

Chap. XLIV. p. 431.

I truly advise all those (said Luther) who earnestly do affect the honor of Christ and the Gospel, that they would be enemies to Erasmus Roterodamus, for he is a devaster of religion. Do but read only his dialogue ‘De Peregrinatione’, where you will see how he derideth and flouteth the whole religion, and at last concludeth out of single abominations, that he rejecteth religion, &c.

Religion here means the vows and habits of the religious or those bound to a particular life;–the monks, friars, nuns, in short, the regulars in contradistinction from the laity and the secular Clergy.

Ib. p. 432.

Erasmus can do nothing but cavil and flout, he cannot confute. If (said Luther) I were a Papist, so could I easily overcome and beat him. For although he flouteth the Pope with his ceremonies, yet he neither hath confuted nor overcome him; no enemy is beaten nor overcome with mocking, jeering, and flouting.

Most true; but it is an excellent pioneer and an excellent ‘corps de reserve’, cavalry for pursuit, and for clearing the field of battle, and in the first use Luther was greatly obliged to Erasmus. But such utter unlikes cannot but end in dislikes, and so it proved between Erasmus and Luther. Erasmus, might the Protestants say, wished no good to the Church of Rome, and still less to our party: it was with him ‘Rot her and Dam us’!

Chap. XLVIII. p. 442.

David’s example is full of offences, that so holy a man, chosen of God, should fall into such great abominable sins and blasphemies; when as before he was very fortunate and happy, of whom all the bordering kingdoms were afraid, for God was with him.

If any part of the Old Testament be typical, the whole life and character of David, from his birth to his death, are eminently so. And accordingly the history of David and his Psalms, which form a most interesting part of his history, occupies as large a portion of the Old Testament as all the others. The type is two-fold-now of the Messiah, now of the Church, and of the Church in all its relations, persecuted, victorious, backsliding, penitent. N.B. I do not find David charged with any vices, though with heavy crimes. So it is with the Church. Vices destroy its essence.


The same was a strange kind of offence (said Luther) that the world was offended at him who raised the dead, who made the blind to see, and the deaf to hear, &c.

Our Lord alluded to the verse that immediately follows and completes his quotations from Isaiah. [6] I, Jehovah, will come and do this. That he implicitly declared himself the Jehovah, the Word,–this was the offence.

Chap. XLIX. p. 443.

God wills, may one say, that we should serve him freewillingly, but he that serveth God out of fear of punishment of hell, or out of a hope and love of recompence, the same serveth and honoreth God not freely; therefore such a one serveth God not uprightly nor truly.

_Answer_. This argument (said Luther) is Stoical, &c.

A truly wise paragraph. Pity it was not expounded. God will accept our imperfections, where their face is turned toward him, on the road to the glorious liberty of the Gospel.

Chap. L. p. 446.

It is the highest grace and gift of God to have an honest, a God-fearing, housewifely consort, &c. But God thrusteth many into the state of matrimony before they be aware and rightly bethink themselves.

The state of matrimony (said Luther) is the chiefest state in the world after religion, &c.

Alas! alas! this is the misery of it, that so many wed and so few are Christianly married! But even in this the analogy of matrimony to the religion of Christ holds good: for even such is the proportion of nominal to actual Christians;–all _christened_, how few baptized! But in true matrimony it is beautiful to consider, how peculiarly the marriage state harmonizes with the doctrine of justification by free grace through faith alone. The little quarrels, the imperfections on both sides, the occasional frailties, yield to the one thought,–there is love at the bottom. If sickness or other sorer calamity visit me, how would the love then blaze forth! The faults are there, but they are not imprinted. The prickles, the acrid rind, the bitterness or sourness, are transformed into the ripe fruit, and the foreknowledge of this gives the name and virtue of the ripe fruit to the fruit yet green on the bough.

Ib. p. 447.

The causers and founders of matrimony are chiefly God’s commandments, &c. It is a state instituted by God himself, visited by Christ in person, and presented with a glorious present; for God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone’: therefore the wife should be a help to the husband, to the end that human generations may be increased, and children nurtured to God’s honour, and to the profit of people and countries; also to keep our bodies in sanctification.

(Add) and in mutual reverence, our spirits in a state of love and tenderness; and our imaginations pure and tranquil.

In a word, matrimony not only preserveth human generations so that the same remain continually, but it preserveth the generations human.

Ib. p. 450.

In the synod at Leipzig the lawyers concluded that secret contractors should be punished with banishment and be disinherited. Whereupon (said Luther) I sent them word that I would not allow thereof, it were too gross a proceeding, &c. But nevertheless I hold it fitting, that those which in such sort do secretly contract themselves, ought sharply to be reproved, yea, also in some measure severely punished.

What a sweet union of prudence and kind nature! Scold them sharply, and perhaps let them smart a while for their indiscretion and disobedience; and then kiss and make it up, remembering that young folks will be young folks, and that love has its own law and logic.

Chap. LIX. p. 481.

The presumption and boldness of the sophists and School-divines is a very ungodly thing, which some of the Fathers also approved of and extolled; namely of spiritual significations in the Holy Scripture, whereby she is pitifully tattered and torn in pieces. It is an apish work in such sort to juggle with Holy Scripture: it is no otherwise than if I should discourse of physic in this manner: the fever is a sickness, rhubarb is the physic. The fever signified! the sins –rhubarb is Jesus Christ, &c.

Who seeth not here (said Luther) that such significations are mere juggling tricks? _Even so_ and after the same manner are they deceived that say, Children ought to be baptized again, because they had not faith.

For the life of me, I cannot find the ‘even so’ in this sentence. The watchman cries, ‘half-past three o’clock.’ Even so, and after the same manner, the great Cham of Tartary has a carbuncle on his nose.

Chap. LX. p. 483.

George in the Greek tongue, is called a ‘builder’, that buildeth countries and people with justice and righteousness, &c.

A mistake for a tiller or boor, from ‘Bauer’, ‘bauen’. The latter hath two senses, to build and to bring into cultivation.

Chap. LXX. p. 503.

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