Luther, Martin, the hero of the Reformation, was born in the village of Eisleben November 10, 1483; entered the University at Erfurt in 1501, and was graduated with honor, receiving the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. In 1505 he entered an Augustinian monastery at Erfurt, was consecrated to the priesthood in 1507, and was very faithful to all the regulations of the order. He afterwards said: |If ever a monk got to heaven by monkery, I was determined to get there.| He was a diligent scholar, and in 1508 was called to the chair of Philosophy in the University of Wittenberg. In 1512 he received the degree of Doctor of Theology. In the meantime he made a pilgrimage to Rome, where he saw much corruption among the clergy; but still his faith was strong in the Roman Church. It was the shameless sale of indulgences by Tetzel, authorized by Leo X., that first opened his eyes and determined him to make public opposition. On October 31, 1517, at midday, Luther posted his ninety-five Theses against the Merits of Indulgences on the church door at Wittenberg. That day was the birthday of the Reformation. The burning of the pope's bull of excommunication in 1520, the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther's concealment in the castle at Wartburg, and his marriage in 1525 are matters of interest upon which we cannot dwell. It was during his Wartburg captivity that he translated the New Testament, published in 1522, into the mother tongue of the German people. After giving them the Scriptures he felt the need of psalms and hymns in the German language, and employed others to supply them. He himself translated psalms and wrote hymns, to some of which he adapted tunes. Luther wove the gospel into these hymns. They were gladly received and widely circulated. A Romanist of the time wrote: |The whole people is singing itself into this Lutheran doctrine.| The first collection of Luther's hymns was published in 1524. He died February 18, 1546. Few things can stir Protestants like the singing of |Luther's hymn| (No.101).
A mighty fortress is our God 101
Flung to the heedless winds 641