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c A friend as far as conscience allows/—French Prov . * Who turns up his nose is unfit for friendship . '—Lavater . * Roughness in friendship is at least as disgusting- as an offensive breath from a beautiful mouth/—Lavater . * Trust him with little , who , without proofs , trusts you with everything' ; or , when he has proved you , trusts you with nothing */—Lavater ,
Luther s Table Talk * or some Choice Fragments from the Familiar Discourse of that Godly , Learned Man , and Famous Champion of God ^ s Truth , Doctor Martin Luther . Longman , 183 : 2 . A book which ought to be upon the tables of all who can relish the extempore effusions , sometimes stern , sometimes playful , sometimes odd , but generally characteristic and striking , of one of the most vigorous of human intellects . The original collection was published ,
in 1571 , by Henry Peter Rebenstock , minister of Eischenheim , and translated into English by Captain Bell , who had served in Germany . More doubt is thrown upon the authority of the work in the preface , than we think can be justified . In the selection , at least , of which this volume consists , almost every article bears internal evidence of genuineness . The passages by which an owlish gravity may be annoyed are
not likely to have been inventions either of the admirers or the foes of Luther . The committee of the Long * Parliament , in authorizing the printing of the translation , add to their commendation , that ' we find withal many impertinent things ; some things which will require a grain or two of salt ; and some things which will require a marginal note or preface . ' Yet even these may serve , to borrow Captain Bell ' s phrase , * to recreate and refresh the company . '
Luther ' s Talk , as here chronicled , thanks to the Boswell , whoever he was—he had a nobler subject than the Scotchman—is full of character . Its most remarkable feature is a jovial energy , like that of Shakspeare ' s Richard , only directed to the purest and highest objects of thought , and showing the devotion with which heart , soul , and life were consecrated to the cause in which he had embarked . It is table talk ; but the table talk of the mighty reformer . We shall quote as long as the space we can spare will hold out . 4
• The second Psalm , said Luther , is one of the best Psalms . I love that Psalm with all my heart . It strikes and slashes valiantly among the kings , princes , and high counsellors . If it be true , which this Psalm says , then are the purposes of the Papists stark follies . If I were as our Lord God , and had committed the government to my son , as He has to his son , and these angry gentlemen were as disobedient
as they are now , I , ' said Luther , * should be throwing the world into a lump . ' * Mary , the poor maiden of Nazareth , also scuffleth and ruffleth with these great kings , princes , &c , as she sings •* He hath put down the
mighty from their seat , * No doubt , ' said Luther , * she had an excellent undaunted voice . I , for my part , dare not sing so . The tyrants say , " Let us break their bonds asunder" What that is , * said he , * present experience teaches us ; for we see how they drown , how they hang , burn , behead , strangle , banish , and torture . And all this they do in
Critical Notices .- *~ Misc ellarieou $ . 6 \
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1832, page 61, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1804/page/61/