BLTC Press Titles


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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll


The Life of Luther Written by Himself

by Martin Luther

Excerpt:

• "Luther, at six years old, could read and write with ease. His parents, though fond of their children, were very strict with them. Luther mentions that one day, for merely stealing a hazel-nut, his mother beat him till the blood flowed; and he says, that he had such fear of his father that he always hid in the chimney-corner when he had done anything to anger him."—Audi.v, Hisloire de Martin Luther, Oth edit., 1845.

e "Margaret Lindemann, Luther's mother, was originally a servant at the baths—a virtuous, chaste, and God-learing girl. She was considered the pride of Moerha. John Luther, some time after he became a miner, managed to purchase out of his savings a plot of ground; and we find him, subsequently, filling a magisterial office, delegated to him by the friendship and esteem of his ft How-townsmen. It is not known how many children he had besides Martin. There were two who died of the plague which desolated I'.i.rope in the commencement of the Kith century; and one of his daughters married the scribe Ituhel de Mansfeldt, whose name occasionally occurs in Luther's currespvndence. When Melnncthon married, John Luther was invited to be present, and took his seat among the heir enists, doctors, savans, and literary men. there assembled."—Audix.

Martin Luther, or Luther, or Lutter, or Lother1—for he signed his name all these ways—was born at Eisleben, on the 10th November, 1483, at eleven o'clock in the evening.2 Sent at an early age to the free school of Eisenach (1489), he used to sing before people's houses to gain his daily bread, as was the wont, at that time and later, with many poor students in Germany. It is from himself that we learn this circumstance: "Let no one in my presence speak contemptuously of the poor fellows who go from door to door, singing and begging bread propter Deum I You know the psalm says— Princes and kings have sung. I myself was once a poor mendican't seeking my bread at people's houses, particularly at Eisenach, my own dear Eisenach 1"

1 The papists, it has been observed, reckon Luther the beaut of i In: Apocalypse, and have seriously endeavoured to discover in his name the famous mystical number—666. Lindanes and Astiilphus have adopted the following calculation:—M, 30; A, 1; R, 80; T, 100; J 9; N, M; L, 20; A, 1; U, 200; T, 100; E, 15; H, 80=666. Floramo nd de Remond, too, calculates this number from the Greek word XovBfpava, Lutherans, thus:—A, 80; O, 70; T, 400; 6, 9; E, ft' P, 100; A, I; N, 90; A, 1=666: while another writer calculate* Mo, from the name Martin Lutero. De Mysteriis Numerorum, p. G'.ti. It is worthy of remark, that a similar calculation of this jargon is mad : l.v the same enthusiast in Hebrew. These fanciful conjectures ore refuted by David Poreno, (Comment, in Apoc. xiii. 747,) who denies that the number (160 can be found by these numeral letters. "Nomen Lutheri verum, Grace vel Hebreece, quomodocumque scribos, numemm 006 non reddit. Est Greece, \ovtiq, sicut 908; vel XovOrjo, 717; vel \ov9tpnq, 847."

* No trifling disputes among the learned have there been on the date of Luther's birth, chiefly agitated by Roman-catholic writers, iu'n-r he appeared, as they term him, the grand keresiarch. In this they turned astrologers, falsifying the day and hour of his birth, that they might draw 1.i s character to their liking—believing, or pretending to believe, that he man could have effected such a singular revolution in the church, unless he her 1 been under the influence of the devil. Some maintained that he was born on the 22nd October, 1483—specifying even the hour and the minute, as Flo, amond de Remond, and the famous Jerome Cardan declare; while a writer named Gauricus, a Romish prelate, says it was on the 22nd October, 1484, at ten minutes past one P.m.—thus differing from his contemporaries a whole year, though he found his astrological reveries to coincide completely with those of Remond and Cardan. It is amusing to see the inference which Gauricus, in common with the others, draws from this calculation. 'This is strange, and, indeed, terrible; five planets, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Mercury, to which may be added the Sun and Moon, being in conjunction under Scorpio, in the ninth station of the heavens, which the Arabians allotted to religion, made this Luther a sacrilegious heretic, a most bitter and profane enemy to the Christian faith. From the horoscope being directed to the conjunction of Mars, he died without any sense of religion.

After awhile1 he obtained a more regular subsistence, an 1 an asylum in the house of dame Ursula Cotta, widow of Hans Schweikard, who took compassion on the poor wandering boy. By the assistance of this charitable woman, he was enabled to study four years at Eisenach.' In 1501, he was entered at the university of Erfurt, in Thuringia,3 where his father, now in better circumstances, managed to support him. Luther, in one of his works, records the goodness of his benefactress, in words glowing with emotion; and he was throughout life grateful, in a more especial manner, to the whole sex for her sake

His soul, most impious, soiled to hell, there to be scourged for ever with the fiery whips of Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megeera.'


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