History brief – M. F. Cusack on Martin Luther



Matthew 18

NKJV

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”


Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach, via Wikimedia Commons

Martin has remained a controversial man, loved and forgiven, hated and reviled. His book, The Bondage of the Will, has been very helpful to me as a former Roman Catholic. My prayer is that we all come down on the side of love and forgiveness, remembering our own failures and sins.


 

From: The Black Pope, A History of the Jesuits, Chapter II – Martin Luther and Some of the Causes of the German Reformation, by M. F. Cusack (Formerly the Nun of Kenmare)

There is no doubt that Luther felt very keenly the false accusations which were brought against him, not only by his enemies, but even by those who ought to have been his warmest supporters. The unity of Rome has always been its strength. The disunion of Christians has been the greatest hindrance to the spread of the Gospel. As the end of time draws nearer may we not hope that Christians will draw nearer to each other, and to their coming Lord.

There are few things more touching than the appeal which Luther makes to posterity for the justice which was denied to him even by some of his Christian contemporaries. He says: “I am yet alive, and I write books, and I preach sermons, and read public lectures every day, and yet virulent minded men, adversaries and false brethren, allege my own doctrines against me, and represent me as saying what I do not say, and as believing what I do not believe. If they do this while I am alive, and while I look on and hear it, what will they do when I am dead. But how is it possible for me to stop all the mouths of the evil speakers, especially of those who set themselves to pervert my words.” No doubt Luther must have often felt that it was indeed hard for him to suffer from both sides: from the Roman Catholics against whose errors he was fighting so earnestly, and from those professing Christians, who, through jealousy or ignorance, were ever ready to attack him. Surely the path of an earnest reformer is ever one of pain. It should be said, however, that the best and noblest men of his day were his defenders, but this did not lessen the guilt of those who added to his already heavy burdens. Erasmus has left it on record that the better any man was the more he appreciated the writings of Luther. In the same letter, which is addressed to archbishop Albert, he says: “that he (Luther) was accounted a good man even by his enemies, and that the best men were least offended by his writings.” Even the Roman Catholic historian Lingard admits that Luther’s morals were unexceptional. He says: “he (Staupitz) selected a young friar of his own order, Martin Luther, a man of an ardent mind, and unimpeached morals, and of strong prejudices against the Church of Rome.” Luther’s last words have been placed on record, and with these words we shall conclude this part of our subject. “O my Father, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all consolation, I thank Thee for having revealed to me Thy well beloved Son, in whom I believe, whom I have preached and acknowledged, loved and celebrated, and whom the Pope and the impious persecute. I commend to Thee my soul. O Jesus Christ my Lord, I am quitting this earthly body. I am leaving this life, but I know that I shall abide eternally with Thee.” And so Luther was gathered to his fathers, and rests in the unchanging peace of God. Rome could no more threaten him with its thunders, nor could the mistrust and unkindness of false friends vex his tender heart. And his work follows him. It is still the same because it is Divine. And those who worked with him and those who worked against him know now that his teaching was the teaching of the Spirit, and that with him was the grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy ghost.


 

4 thoughts on “History brief – M. F. Cusack on Martin Luther

  1. Thank you for posting this, Maria.

    May the truth of God’s Word burn in our hearts and the defense of the faith once for all delivered to the saints churn within us as these dark days grow ever darker. Christ was hated for speaking the truth, can we expect to skate by untouched? May it never be.

    Darrel

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Maria. And I’m sure Luther assumed for quite some time that he was going to be put to death as a heretic. As critical as I am of the alliance between church and state from our modern vantage point, the Lord used the civil authorities in Germany and Switzerland to keep Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin alive and preaching and writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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