I have a small, blue hardback volume entitled Lecture on Martin Luther (The Deseret News Press, 1926) by Thomas Carlyle. It’s sitting on my desk. I just read it. Let me tease you with some highlights:
Luther too was of our spiritual heroes; a prophet to his country and time (13).
But I find Protestantism, whatever anarchic democracy it have produced, to be the beginning of new genuine sovereignty and order. I find it to be revolt against false sovereigns; the painful but indispensable first preparative for true sovereigns getting place among us (18).
At bottom, as was said above, we are to consider Luther as a prophet idol-breaker; a bringer-back of men to reality (32).
But as to what stood on sound truth and the word of God, he could not recant it. How could he? “Confute me,” he concluded, “by proofs of scripture, or else by plain just arguments; I cannot recant otherwise. For it is neither safe nor prudent to do aught against conscience. Here stand I; I can do no other; God assist me!” It is, as we say, the greatest moment in the modern history of men. English puritanism, England and its parliaments, Americas, and vast work these two centuries; French revolution, Europe and its work everywhere at present; the germ of it all lay there; had Luther in that moment done other, it had all been otherwise! (34).
I will call this Luther a true great man; great in intellect, in courage, affection and integrity; one of our most lovable and precious men. Great, not as a hewn obelisk; but as an Alpine mountain–so simple, honest, spontaneous, not setting up to be great at all; there for quite another purpose than being great! Ah yes, unsubduable granite, piercing far and wide into the heaven; yet in the clefts of it fountains, great beautiful valleys with flowers! A right spiritual hero and prophet; once more, a true son of nature and fact, for whom these centuries and many that are to come yet, will be thankful to heaven (44-45).
This is your recommended holiday reading from the First Presidency – witnessed on the first page.
What do you think?
Do I hear an “Amen”? And again I say, Amen.
Now where can I find the LDS orators praising John Calvin as a mighty hero? This year is the big 500th.