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than judicious in avoiding them.
Avarice was on the whole his ruling passion; and he remained an instance almost singular, of a man placed in a high station, and possessed of talents for great affairs, in whom that passion predominated above ambition. Even among private persons, avarice is nothing but a species of ambition, and is chiefly incited by the prospect of that regard, distinction, and consideration, which attends on riches.
CHARACTER OF MARTIN LUTHER. As Luther was raised up by Providence to be the author of one of the greatest and most interesting revolutions recorded in history, there is not any person, perhaps, whose character has been drawn with such opposite colours. In his own age, one party, struck with horrour and inflamed with rage, when they saw with what a daring hand he overturned every thing which they held to be sacred, or valued as beneficial, imputed to him not only all the defects and vices of a man, but the qualities of a demon. The other, warmed with admiration and gratitude, which they thought he merited, as the restorer of light and liberty to the Christian church, ascribed to him perfections above the condition of humanity; and viewed all his actions with a veneration bordering on that, which should be paid to those only who are guided by the immediate inspiration of Heaven. It is his own conduct, not the undistinguishing censure, nor the exaggerated praise of his contemporaries, which ought to regulate the opinions of the present age concerning him. Zeal for what he regarded as truth, undaunted intrepidity to maintain it, abilities both natural and acquired to defend it, and unwearied industry to propagate it, are virtues which shine so conspicuously in every part of his behaviour, that even bis enemies must allow him to have possessed them in an eminent degree. To these may be added, with equal justice, such purity, and even austerity of manners, as became one who assumed the character of a reformer; such sanctity of life as suited the doctrine which he delivered ; and such perfect disinterestedness, as affords no sliglit presumption of his sincerity. Superior to all selfish considerations, a stranger to the elegances of life, and despising its pleasures, he left the lionours and emoluments of the church to bis disciples; remaining satisfied himself in his original state of professor in the university, and pastor to the town of Wittemberg, with the moderate appointments annexed to these offices.
His extraordinary qualities were alloyed with no inconsiderable mixture of human frailty, and human passions. These, however, were of such a nature, that they cannot be imputed to malevolence or corruption of heart, but seem to have taken their rise from the same source with many of his virtues. His mind, forcible and vehement in all its operations, roused by great objects, or agitated by violent passions, broke out, on many occasions, with an impetuosity which astonishes men of feebler spirits, or such as are placed in a more tranquil situation. By carrying some praiseworthy dispositions to excess, he bordered sometimes on what was culpable, and was often be
trayed into actions which exposed him to censure. His confidence that his own opinions were well founded, approached to arrogance ; his courage in asserting them, to rashness; his firmness in adhering to them, to obstinacy; and his zeal in confuting his adversaries, to rage and scurrility. Accustomed himself to consider every thing as subordinate to truth, he expected the same deference for it from other men; and, without making any allowances for their timidity or prejudices, he poured forth, against those who disappointed him in this particular, a torrent of invective mingled with contempt. Regardless of any distinction of rank or character, when his doctrines were attacked, he chastised all his adversaries, indiscriminately, with tlie same rough hand : neither the royal dignity of Henry VIII. nor the eminent learning and ability of Erasmus, screened them from the abuse with which he treated Tetzel or Eccius. But these indecencies of which Luther was guilty, must not be imputed wholly to the violence of his temper. They ought to be charged in part on the manners of the age. Among a rude people, nnacquainted with those maxims, which, by putting continual restraint on the passions of individuals, have polished society, and rendered it agreeable, disputes of every kind were managed with heat, and strong emotions were uttered in their natural language, without reserve or delicacy. At the same time, the works of learned men were all composed in Latin; and they were not only authorized, by the example of eminent writers in that language, to use their antagonists with the most illiberal scurrility; but, in a dead tongue, indecencies of every kind appear less shocking than in a living language, whose idioms and phrases seem gross, because they are familiar.
In passing judgment upon the characters of men, we ought to try them by the principles and maxims of their own age, not by those of another. For although virtue and vice are at all times the same, manners
and customs vary continually. Some parts of Luther's behaviour, which to us appear most culpable, gave no disgust to his contemporaries. It was even by some of those qualities which we are now apt to blame, that he was fitted for accomplishing the great work which he undertook. To rouse mankind, when sunk in ignorance or superstition, and to encounter the rage of bigotry armed with power, required the utmost vehemence of zeal, and a temper daring to excess. A gentle call would neither have reached, nor have excited those to whom it was addressed. A spirit, more amiable, but less vigorous than Luther's, wonld have shrunk back from the dangers which he braved and surmounted. Towards the close of Luther's life, though without a perceptible declension of his zeal or abilities, the infirmities of his temper increased upon him, so that he daily grew more peevish, more irascible, and more impatient of contradiction. Having lived to be witness of his own amazing success; to see a great part of Europe embrace his doc
and to shake the foundation of the papal throne, before which the mightiest monarchs had trembled, he discovered, on some occasions, symptoms of vanity and self-applause. He must have been indeed more than man, if, upon con
templating all that he actually accomplished, he had never felt any sentiment of this kind rising in his breast.
Some time before his death he felt his strength declining, his constitution being worn out by a prodigious multiplicity of business, added to the labour of discharging his ministerial function with unremitting diligence, to the fatigue of constant study, besides the composition of works as voluminous as if he had enjoyed uninterrupted leisure and retirement. His natural intrepidity did not forsake him at the approach of death. His last conversation with his friends was concerning the happiness reserved for good men in a future world; of which he spoke with the fervour and delight natural to one, who expected and wished to enter soon upon the enjoyment of it.
ABDICATION OF THE EMPEROR CHARLES V.
CHARLES resolved to resign his kingdoms to his son, with a solemnity suitable to the impor. tance of the transaction; and to perform this last act of sovereignty with such formal pomp, as might leave an indelible impression on the minds, not only of his subjects, but of his successor. With this view, he called Philip out of England, where the peevish temper of bis queen, which increased with ber despair of having issue, rendered him extremely unhappy; and the jealousy of the English left him no hopes of obtaining the direction of their affairs. Having assembled the