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cluded. Some men are disposed to think with Dionysius of Halicarnassus that the case was otherwise : but Livy's testimony is preferable, whenever he takes the pains of mentioning a circumstance in a detailed manner. - When treating of the reign of Tarquin, Mr. Brodie is led into a disquisition on the origin, in point of time, of the distinction of patrician and plebeian ; a question on which our limits do not permit us to enlarge, and to which we advert merely because, in opposition to a current opinion, he considers the date of this distinction to have been long subsequent to the foundation of Rome. - The Roman history affords repeated examples of memorable changes effected by an appeal to the sensibility of the people. Without dwelling on the well known cases of Lucretia and Virginia, we find that the tyrannical exercise of the power of the creditor over the debtor was strongly checked by recurrences of this description. The law enabled the creditor not merely to imprison his debtor, but to keep him at hard labour : so that the epithet of nexus (bound) was but too appropriate to the unfortunate sufferer. In the 429th year of the city, a young man having surrendered himself to his father's creditor, and being subjected to barbarous treatment, displayed his scourges in public, and was the cause of passing the law to confine the power of the creditor to the effects of his debtor. The rich, however, found means to obtain a suspension of this humane provision ; and it was not till the exposure, about forty years afterward, of a similar case of aggravated cruelty, that the mitigating edict was effectually enforced. The interest of money in Rome was exorbitantly high. In the earlier age, it is said to have amounted to 20 and 25 per cent., and it was not till the 398th year of the city that it was reduced to the rate of 12 per cent. Under these circumstances, the accumulation of debts became so enormous, that it was at last necessary to afford relief to the insolvent citizens out of the public treasury. In the year 408, the rate of interest was reduced, all at once, from 12 to 6 per cent.; a diminution much too rapid to be adopted into practice, and calculated only to shew the complete ignorance of the Romans in matters of finance. The actual rate remained accordingly as before. A consideration of such circumstances as these would tend greatly to remove the prevalent notion that the Romans, as a nation, were addicted to sedition. This charge, applied by the ignorant and unfeeling to almost every free nation, is successfully refuted (p. 35, 271, 317.) by Mr. Brodie; and we fully agree with him that the history of Rome supplies many striking proofs of the sacrifices which a people will ever be ready to make for the enjoyment of tranquillity. Mankind have seldom erred from

a want

a want of forbearance towards their rulers; and, if examples of earlier date were wanting, enough would be supplied by the patient acquiescence which has been manifested by the nations of Europe in the continued oppression of the governments of the present day.

It is now time to pass from the consideration of Mr. Brodie's subject to an examination of the merits of his composition. His original plan was to write a full history of Rome; a plan which he soon exchanged for a relation of the occurrences in her interior politics. Though he has introduced a sufficient proportion of military transactions to give variety and interest to his work; yet much is still wanting to render it a perspicuous or entertaining composition. Mr. B. must plead guilty, in no slight degree, to the too often merited charge of pro. lixity. He is also in the habit of detailing the arguments of political orators, such for example as the Claudii, (p. 67. 327.) at too great a length. Another transgression, less trying to his reader's patience, but more likely to excite ridicule, consists in the use of various singularities of expression. To speak of a person being inflamed (p. 232.) with the desire of « animal love ;' to use (p. 314, &c.) the verb to implement for fulfill; and (p.493.) 'generalism' for generalship, are peculiarities which sound uncouthly on the southern side of the Tweed. Expressions equally remarkable will strike the eye of the reader on turning to p. 180. ; and it would not be proper to omit to mention that we have met with more than one example (p. 49. 307.) of defective grammar, under circumstances which bespeak inattention on the part of the writer rather than of the printer. Again, on turning to the notice of ihe battle of Thrasymene, (p. 485.) we find the Roman loss put down at 40,000 men; a number which, if we are to pay any attention to the report of Livy or to the ordinary exaggetions of military losses, would have been more suitable to a relation of the fatal day of Cannæ. As a concluding objection, we must add that Mr. Brodie appears (p. 368.) to have studied very imperfectly the principle of population. On the whole, however, his work is superior to that of the majority of write ings which fall under the examination of a reviewer. To the soundness of his views and the spirit of his political remarks, much higher praise may safely be allotted. With more me. thod, an attention to condensation, and with the minor but not insignificant advantages of a full index and clear table of contents, his book would have stood a fair chance for extensive perusal. We should have wished, likewise, to have seen the words of any important decision occasionally introduced in the original Latin; because such a practice, when Rey. SEPT. 1814. с


not too frequent, tends to give a pleasant variety to style, par. ticularly in the case of a language which is currently under: stood, and is proverbial for its impressive brevity.

ART. II. The Life of Luther, with an Account of the early Pro

gress of the Reformation. By Alexander Bower. 8vo. Pp. 472.

12s. Boards. Baldwin. 1813. AN ample and impartial narrative of the life of Luther has

regarded in the light of a desideratum among literary men : but, with England, the want of such a work is less a matter of surprize than in the native land of the reformer, where a bookseller, (Mr. Klein of Manheim,) being desirous, about ten years ago, of calling forth an essay on the subject, found it necessary to stimulate the exertions of his literary countrymen by the offer of a premium. This backwardness in writing the life of Luther is the more remarkable, as the works of Seckendorff, Sleidan, and others, affordample materials for the performance of the task; and, with respect to interest of character, it would be difficult to find in the whole range of biography, whether military, political, or ecclesiastical, a personage more marked by clear and prominent features than the Saxon reformer. The total disproportion of strength between him and his mighty opponents forms another point of such importance as to arrest our serious attention; while the practical lesson, taught by the failure of the strong in a contest with the humble, may be held up to us as a most impressive example of the miscalculations of pride and arrogance. All these considerations belong to the life of Luther, and call for illustration at the hands of his biographer. The success which has attended Mr. Bower, in the execution of his task, will in some measure appear from our extracts, and from the compendium which we shall endeavour to give of the biography, particularly of Luther's earlier years; when he pursued his course unaided, and had occasion to discover the peculiarities of his disposition in all the vivacity of their natural colouring.

Luther was born in 1483, at Lisleben in Saxony, and was baptized by the name of Martin, after the Saint to whom the day of his birth is dedicated in the Roman Calendar. The foundation of that devotional ardour, which formed so conspicuous a feature in his character, appears to have been laid by the anxious tuition of his mother. « In matre Margareta, cùm cætere erant virtutes, tum verò præcipue lucebat pudicitia, timor Dei et invocatis ; intuebanturque in eam cæteræ mulieres ut in ex3


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emplar virtutum *.”—His education at school, though not accurately recorded, seems to have been conducted with considerable care; and, fortunately, the admonitions and example of Erasmus had by this time begun a partial reform in the plan of teaching. Some progress had also been made in exchanging the barbarous sophistry of the dark ages for a grammatical study of the Greek and Latin languages: but of logic enough was retained to cause to Luther the loss of several precious years; and it was not until the age of manhood that he became released from the shackles of the perverters of Aristotle. Whether Logic or Classics occupied his attention, his application was so assiduous, that he greatly outstripped his young associates, and impressed his parents with the hope that he could not fail to form a distinguished figure in the profession of the law. In conformity with their wishes, he was induced to make a beginning in that study: but he soon found that it ill accorded with the characteristic ardour of his mind; and a change, which the course of things would have brought about in a few years, was very suddenly effected by the occurrence of an extraordinary circumstance:

• In the year 1504, walking out one day with a young friend, of the name, it is said, of Alexius, they were overtaken by a dreadful thunder-storm, and Alexius was struck dead at his side. The fall of a friend whom he ardently loved, and the awful scene around him, raised in Luther's mind a succession of serious meditations. He saw, or he thought he saw, in a stronger light than ever, the vain and fleeting nature of all terrestrial enjoyments, and determined at once to withdraw himself from their pursuit. Prompt in all his resolutions, he vowed upon the spot that, if God were pleased to deliver him from the danger of his situation, he would enter a monastery, and spend the remainder of his life sequestered from the world and its temptations. It was in vain that his parents, unwilling that he should relinquish the fair prospect before him, endeavoured to dissuade him from this sudden determination. He persisted in his purpose, and regarded the impression of his mind as a special command of the Almighty'

Luther, ardent in all his undertakings, was impatient to conform, in the fullest manner, to the regulations of his new profession. On assuming the monastic garb, he returned his clothes to his father's house, and sent also his annulus magisterii, or ring conferred on him when he was made Master of Arts. His zeal for the patron of his Order, however it had been acquired, was so great that he at one time entertained a wish to exchange his name of Martin for that of Augustine. Non solum acerrimo studio doctrinam Ecclesiæ discit, sed etiam summa discipline serveritate se ipse regit, et omnibus exercitiis Lectionum, disputationum, jejuniorum, precum, omnes longe superat.'

« * Melancthon Præf. T. ii. Luther. Oper.'

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« Luther

· Luther on embracing the monastic profession was very impere fectly acquainted with the routine of the discipline. In these solitary retreats, according to his anticipation, no intrusion of worldly cares was permitted, and life was wholly devoted to the service of God. But he soon found that the portion of humiliating drudgery was not inconsiderable, and that the senior members made it devolve, with an unsparing hand, on the noviciates. This drudgery consisted in the performance of menial and other degrading offices. It is a standing rule in these societies to be independent, either in reality or in appearance, of all external assistance. At one time Luther was obliged to stand as porter at the monastery; at another he was ordered to go through the town to beg. As the monks professed the most abject poverty, the avowal that they lived by begging was accounted no degradation. The rudeness of the age conduced, in some respects, to lessen the mortification; but after making every allowance, it must have been difficult for an independent mind, like Luther's, to reconcile itself to the practice of such an abject employment. Certain it is that his former cheerfulness was now succeeded by frequent fits of melancholy. His impressions respecting his doom in a future state were of the most gloomy cast. Ignorant as yet of those truths of Christianity which alone can afford relief in such a situation, he was under the necessity of seeking support in the advice of others. He disclosed his case accordingly to Staupitz, the head of his Order in Germany. Staupitz, who, as we shall find in the sequel, was a man of superior understanding, spared no pains to restore his mind to tranquillity. He recommended submission, and told him that such trials could not fail to turn out for his good, adding, it is said, that God was to make use of him for the accomplishment of important purposes. He went farther, and prevailed on the prior of the mo. nastery to exempt Luther from the task of degrading services, and to allow him time for the prosecution of his studies, which until then had been discouraged in the convent.'

Two years after he had embraced a religious profession, Luther had the good fortune to discover a Latin copy of the Bible, lying neglected in a corner of the library of the mo. nastery. He laid hold of it with his usual eagerness, and continued to study it with so much diligence that he soon acquired a surprizing facility in referring to any particular passage ; and many of the more striking parts of the New Testament, which were not read to the people in the public service of the church, were committed by him to memory with great ardour and dili gence. Next to the sacred volume, the works of Augustine formed the favourite object of his meditations, and he would read and write with such perseverance, for days together, as to neglect his meals, and even to intermit attendance at the hours of public duty prescribed by the rules of the monastery. Though he was wholly indifferent to the reputation of learning, his name soon became known to the superiors in his own order, and through them to the court of Saxony; and Frederick


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