Luther, His Life and Work

Luther, His Life and Work

Luther, His Life and Work

Luther, His Life and Work

Excerpt

Everywhere Western civilisation stands bewildered at the sight of the ruins of its thousand-year-old culture. No corner of its territory has been left unscathed, no part of men's material possessions left undamaged, none of men's spiritual foundations left unshaken. Everything has been turned upside down by the great cataclysm of the last thirty years. Everything seems to have become meaningless. Everything which before was certain has been plunged into doubt, and again and again our faltering footsteps stumble into confusion. Stark fear stares out of the depths of the darkness which obscures our future. Will the wheel of a seemingly unrelenting fate roll on over us, and what will remain of everything which till now had made life seem fine and pleasant; or are there still springs of truly vital spiritual power, pouring forth from the very depths of life, which is pure and strong enough to restore our courage--courage not merely to carry on with life which for so many has become impoverished and uncertain, but courage to fight defiantly against the fate which threatens to overtake us.

One may approach the life of a great man such as Luther from many different angles. To a German, Luther's character has always borne an unmistakably national stamp and he has appeared as one of the most important architects and personalities of the national, intellectual tradition and way of life. In Germany he has always been hailed as a 'national hero'. All this has now changed. To-day the survey of his life affects us no longer simply as a portion of German or Western intellectual history: it now bears upon the whole question of our spiritual . . .

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