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most important vols, for church hi? ]ie stood a mediator between The last vol. (second part) cor^^ manufacturer of arms very ample Indices (145-3781 Add to these: EpistoUe, Jw 'nd the Emperor Maximilian I.; his Bindseil. Halle, 18' celebrated Hebraist Reuchlin, who pre
Compare also Bind Bible, and directed his studies at Pforz
28). Carl Kra- , m.-i •
« . t and lubineen.
Beziehungen P ° °
pp. 185. !°f those rare scholars who mature early, and Il;o"Loa-aii'ue their productive labors in undiminished vigor to old age. He mastered all the branches of knowledge, especially classical philology, and graduated as Master of Arts in Tubingen, Jan. 25, 1514, when only seventeen years of age. He wrote and spoke Greek and Latin better than his native German, and composed poetry in those languages. He began his public career in the University of Tubingen, as lecturer on ancient literature, and editor of the comedies of Terence (1516), and translator of Aratus, and Plutarch (1518). He made preparations for a correct edition of Aristotle, who had been "mutilated, barbarously translated, and become darker than the sibylline oracles," though he never carried it out. In 1518 he published a Greek grammar, which passed through many editions.
Erasmus, the first scholar of his age, and best judge of literary merit, foresaw the future significance of this precocious youth, and paid him, in 1516, a glowing tribute of admiration for eminence in the classics, acumen in demonstration, purity and elegance of style, rare learning and comprehensive reading, tenderness and refinement.1 Melanchthon wrote
1 In his Com. on Tliessal. (Annotat. in N. Teat., Basel, 1515, p. 555): "At Deum immortalem, quam non spem tie se prcebet admodum etiam adolescens ac pene puer Philippus ille Melanchthon, utraque literatura pene ex aequo suspiciendus [not suscipienditu]! Quod inventionis acumen! Quce sermonis puritas [et elegantia\\ Quanta reconditarum rerum memorial Quam varia lectio! Quam verecundiw regimque prorsus indolis festivitas!" Erasmus dates the preface of these Annolationes from 1515, but they were not published till 1516, together with the first edition of his Greek Testament. In the second ed. of the Annot., Bas. 1520, and in the ed. of 1522, as well as in vol. vii. of his Opera, Bas. 1540, the eulogy on Melanchthon is a eulogy on Erasmus in Greek verse (September, 1516), and never forgot his eminent services to classical and biblical studies. A modern Catholic historian, notwithstanding his doctrinal objections, calls Melanchthon "the most brilliant phenomenon which proceeded from the Erasmian school, equal to his master Erasmus in many respects, superior to him in others. Riches of knowledge, the choicest classical culture, facility of expression, versatility of composition, rhetorical fullness and improvisation, united to untiring industry, — this rare combination of excellences fitted him above all others for the literary leadership of the mighty movement."1
Melanchthon embraced theology in his encyclopaedic studies, without having the priesthood in view, but was rather repelled by the dry scholasticism which then prevailed in Tiibingeu. He quietly and naturally grew into his theological position, without violent changes and struggles like those of Luther. His experience was that of John rather than of Paul. He had received a pious training at home; he delighted in public worship, the lives of saints, and especially in the careful study of the Bible, which accompanied him even on his walks. His eyes were opened to the abuses in the Church, and the need of reform. His classical tastes and his intimacy with Reuchlin, the noble champion of Hebrew learning against monkish ignorance and obscurantism, predisposed him in favor of the evangelical movement which had broken out at Wittenberg a few months before he left Tubingen.
omitted. (I examined these various editions in the Royal Library of Berlin, July, 1886, to verify conflicting and inaccurate statements of historians.) In a letter to Melanchthon, April 22, 1019, Erasmus shows a little sensitiveness, but still professes great admiration for him, and hopes that he may more than fulfill that most favorable expectation which Germany had formed of his genius and piety. "Corp Ref.," I. 76 sq.; comp. Mel.'s letter to Erasmus, ibid. fol. 50 sq.
1 Dr. Dollinger, Die Reformation (1846), vol. i. 349.
His fame spread so rapidly that he received calls from the universities of Ingolstadt, Leipzig, and Wittenberg. He concluded to go to Wittenberg as professor of Greek, at the modest salary of one hundred guilders. This salary was doubled in 1526, but Luther and the Elector had difficulty to induce him to accept.1
Reuchlin had strongly recommended him to the Elector Frederick. "I know no man among the Germans," he wrote, "who is superior to Master Philip Schwarzerd except Erasmus Roterodamus, who is a Hollander, and surpasses us all in Latin."2 He applied to his nephew, in prophetic anticipation, the promise of God to Abraham, Gen. 12:1-3.8
So far the aged scholar did great service to the cause of the Reformation. But when it threatened to end in a split of the Church, Reuchlin withdrew, like Erasmus and Staupitz. He was afraid of being called a heretic. He moved from Stuttgart to Ingolstadt in 1519, and lived for a while in the house of Dr. Eck. He even tried to draw Melanchthon from Wittenberg to Ingolstadt, but in vain; he recalled his promise to bequeath to him his valuable library, and gave it to his native city of Pforzheim. The pestilence drove him from Bavaria back to Wiirtemberg; he taught Greek and Hebrew grammar at Tubingen in 1521, and died at Stuttgart in the communion of the Roman Church, June 30, 1522.4
1 Luth. ad Principeni Electorem, Feb. 0, 1526: "Es hat E. K. F. G. in der Ordnung der Universitat befehlen lumen M. Philippsen 200 ft. jahrlich zu gebcn. Nun beschwert sick der Mensch, solches zu nehmen; denn weil er nicht vermarj so steifund taglich in der Schrift zu lesen, mSeht er's nicht mil gutem Qewissen nehmen," etc
2 In a German letter to Frederick, dated July 25, 1518. See "Corp. Reform.," I. 33.
8 He wrote to him from Stuttgart, July 24, 1518 (ibid. I. 32): "Egredere de terra tua . . . el magnificabo nomen tuum, erisque benedictus. Har Genesis xii. Ita mihi praisagit animus, ila spero fulurum de te, mi Philippe, meum opus et meum solatium."
* Geiger, Joh. Reuchlin, scin Leben und seine Werke, Leipz., 1871; Horawitz, Zur Biographie und Correspondenz J. Reuchlin's, Wien, 1877; Strauss, Ulrich v. Hutten, 13k. I. chap. 7 (p. 132 sqq. of the 4th ed.); and Kliipfel, In Herzog2 xii. "15-724.
§ 40. Melanchthoria Early Labors.
Although yet a youth of twenty-one years of age, Melanchthon at once gained the esteem and admiration of his colleagues and hearers in Wittenberg. He was small of stature, unprepossessing in his outward appearance, diffident and timid. But his high and noble forehead, his fine blue eyes, full of fire, the intellectual expression of his countenance, the courtesy and modesty of his behavior, revealed the beauty and strength of his inner man. His learning was undoubted, his moral and religious character above suspicion. His introductory address, which he delivered four days after his arrival (Aug. 29), on "The Improvement of the Studies of Youth," 1 dispelled all fears: it contained the programme of his academic teaching, and marks an epoch in the history of liberal education in Germany. He desired to lead the youth to the sources of knowledge, and by a careful study of the languages to furnish the key for the proper understanding of the Scriptures, that they might become living members of Christ, and enjoy the fruits of His heavenly wisdom. He studied and taught theology, not merely for the enrichment of the mind, but also and chiefly for the promotion of virtue and piety.2
He at first devoted himself to philological pursuits, and did more than any of his contemporaries to revive the study of Greek for the promotion of biblical learning and the cause of the Reformation. He called the ancient languages the swaddling-clothes of the Christ-child: Luther compared them to the sheath of the sword of the Spirit. Melanchthon was master of the ancient languages; Luther, master of the
1 De Corrigendis Adolescentium Studiis, in the "Corpus Reformatorum," XI. 15 sqq. See Schmidt, I.e. 29 sq.
* He wrote to his friend Camerarius, Jan. 22, 1525 ("Corp. Ref." I. 722): "Ego mihi ita conscius turn, non aliam ob causam unquam TtOtahyyTiKtvai, nisi ut vilam emmdurtiu.''
German. The former, by his co-operation, secured accuracy to the German Bible; the latter, idiomatic force and poetic beauty.
In the year 1519 Melanchthon graduated as Bachelor of Divinity; the degree of Doctor he modestly declined. From that time on, he was a member of the theological faculty, and delivered also theological lectures, especially on exegesis. He taught two or three hours every day a variety of topics, including ethics, logic, Greek and Hebrew grammar; he explained Homer, Plato, Plutarch, Titus, Matthew, Romans, the Psalms. In the latter period of his life he devoted himself exclusively to sacred learning. He was never ordained, and never ascended the pulpit; but for the benefit of foreign students who were ignorant of German, he delivered every Sunday in his lecture-room a Latin sermon on the Gospels. He became at once, and continued to be, the most popular teacher at Wittenberg. He drew up the statutes of the University, which are regarded as a model. By his advice and example the higher education in Germany was regulated.
His fame attracted students from all parts of Christendom, including princes, counts, and barons. His lecture-room was crowded to overflowing, and he heard occasionally as many as eleven languages at his frugal but hospitable table. He received calls to Tubingen, Niirnberg, and Heidelberg, and was also invited to Denmark, France, and England; but he preferred remaining in Wittenberg till his death.
At the urgent request of Luther, who wished to hold him fast, and to promote his health and comfort, he married (having no vow of celibacy to prevent him) as early as August, 1520, Catharina Krapp, the worthy daughter of the burgomaster of Wittenberg, who faithfully shared with him the joys and trials of domestic life. He had from her four children, and was often seen rocking the cradle with one hand, while holding a book in the other. He used to repeat the Apostles' Creed in his family three times a day. He esteemed