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The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll


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Oscar Wilde


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


Luther's Table talk

by Martin Luther

Excerpt:

Luther's Ignorance in Popery.

"Thirty years back," said Luther, "the Bible was unknown, the prophets were nameless, and held impossible to be understood: when I was thirty years old, I had seen no Bible, and thought there had been no epistles or gospels but those in the Postills.* At length, by accident, I found a Bible in the library at Erfurth,—the same I read oftentimes, to the great wondering of Dr. Staupitz.

"In such darkness," said Luther, "governed the Pope, with great superstition. I," said Luther, " should

• The Postills are the portions of Scripture appointed by the Roman Breviary, or Roman Catholic Prayer Book, to be read on particular days.

never have dared to fall upon the Pope's angelical shine and lustre, had not St. Paul, with dear and bright witnesses *, shown the future blindness of popedom; and also if Christ, the Son of God, with great thunderbolts had not beaten down the high majesty of the Pope, where he says, 'In vain do they toorship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.' (Isaiah, xxix.) If Isaiah alone had written the same, and Christ himself had not repeated and alleged it against the Pharisees, it would have been utterly despised."

"In popedom," said Luther, "I was also a presumptuous worker of seeming holiness; when I celebrated that abominable idol, the mass, then I presumptuously trusted and relied thereupon. But at that time I saw not the knave that lay hid thereunder. I did not put my confidence in God, but in my own righteousness and good works. I rendered no thanks to God for the Sacrament, but God must be glad to give me thanks, in that I would vouchsafe to sacrifice and offer up his Son to him. This may justly be called blaspheming and deriding God, and when one went ta say mass, he used this proverb:—' I will go and lift up a child to the Virgin.'"

"When I was in my monkery at Erfnrth," said Luther, "I was, as St. Paul saith, (Romans, ix. 16.) a wilier and a runner; but I ran the longer the farther from the true righteousness which availeth before God ,therefore what I now have was not gotten by that race."

* 2 Thess. ii. 1, &c. 1 Tim. iv. 1, &e. Col. ii. 16, &c.

The Bondage of Luther's Conscience under Popedom.

When Luther first began to celebrate mass, and to make the crossings, mira gestieulatione digitorum, and could not rightly hit the old customs, he would say, "Mary, God's mother, how am I plagued with the mass, and these crossings, which I can never hit aright. Ah! Lord God," said Luther, "we were in those times poor plagued people, and yet it was nothing but mere idolatry. They so terrified some with the words of consecration (specially those who were good and godly, and meant seriously *) that they trembled and quaked at the pronouncing of the words,' Hoc est corpus meum;' for they were to pronounce them sine ulla hesitatione. He that stammered, or left out but one word, committed a great sin. Moreover, the words were to be spoken without any strange cogitations, and so that none of the standers by might hear him. Such an honest friar," said Luther, "was I for fifteen years together; the Lord forgive it me."

"When I was a young man at Isleben, I went with the rest in procession, on the day of Corpus Christi, and had on my priest's attire: it happened that I was in such sort affrighted before the Sacrament, which Dr. Staupitz carried, that I thought I should have fallen down stark dead. Now when the procession was ended, I confessed, and opened my grief to Dr. Staupitz. He said, 'O! your thoughts are not Christ's.' These were

• This was Luther's own case. He was always, like St. Paul, before his conversion, as well as afterwards, a strictly conscientious roan.


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