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OF UNIVERSITIES, ARTS, ETC.
A lawyer is wise according to human wisdom, a divine according to God’s wisdom.
Ah! how bitter an enemy is the devil to our church and school here at Wittenberg, which in particular he opposes more than the rest, so that tyranny and heresy increase and get the upper hand by force, in that all the members of the church are against one another; yea, also we, which are a piece of the heart, vex and plague one another among ourselves. I am verily persuaded that many wicked wretches and spies are here, who watch over us with an evil eye, and are glad when discord and offences arise among us; therefore we ought diligently to watch and pray; it is high time—pray, pray. This school is a foundation and ground of pure religion, therefore she ought justly to be preserved and maintained with lectures and with stipends gainst the raging and swelling of Satan.
Whoso after my death shall condemn the authority of this school here at Wittenberg, if it remain as it is now, church and school, is a heretic and a perverted creature; for in this school God first revealed and purified his Word. This school and city, both in doctrine and manner of life, may justly be compared with all others; yet we are not altogether complete, but still faulty in our kind of living. The highest and chiefest divines in the whole empire hold and join with us—as Amsdorf, Brentius, and Rhegius—all desiring our friendship, and saluting us with loving and learned letters. A few years past, nothing was of any value but the pope, till the church mourned, cried, and sighed, and awakened our Lord God in heaven; as in the Psalm he says: “For the trouble of the needy and the groans of the poor, I will now arise.”
Our nobility exhaust people with usury, insomuch that many poor people starve for want of food; the cry goes, I would willingly take a wife, if I knew how to maintain her, so that a forced celibacy will hence ensue. This is not good; such wicked courses will cause the poor to cry and sigh, will rouse up God and the heavenly host. Wherefore i say: Germany take heed. I often make an account, and as I come nearer and nearer to forty years, I think with myself: now comes an alteration, for St Paul preached not above forty years, nor St Augustine; always, after forty years pure preaching of God’s Word, it has ceased, and great calamities have ensued thereupon.
Dialectica speaks simply, straightforward, and plainly, as when I say: Give me something to drink. But Rhetorica adorns the matter, saying: Give me of the acceptable juice of the cellar, which finely froths and makes people merry. Dialecta declares a thing distinctly and significantly, in brief words. Rhetorica counsels and advises, persuades and dissuades; she has her place and fountain head, whence a thing is taken; as, this is good, honest, profitable, easy, necessary, etc. These two arts St Paul briefly taught, where he says: “That he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convince the gainsayers.” (Tit. 1.). Therefore, when I would teach a farmer concerning the tilling of his land, I define briefly and plainly, his kind of life; his housekeeping, fruits, profits, and all that belongs to the being of his life, Dialectice; but, if I would admonish him according to Rhetorica, then I counsel and advise him, and praise his kind of life, in this manner, as: that it is the most quiet, the richest, securest, and most delightful kind of life, etc. Again, if I intend to chide or find fault, then I must point out and blame his misconduct, evil impediments, failings, gross ignorance, and such like defects which are in the state of farmers. Philip Melancthon has illustrated and declared good arts; he teaches them in such sort, that the arts teach not him, but he the arts; I bring my arts into books, I take them not out of books. Dialectica is a profitable and necessary art, which justly ought to be studied and learned; it shows how we ought to speak orderly and uprightly, what we should acknowledge and judge to be right or wrong; `tis not only necessary in schools, but also in consistories, in courts of justice, and in churches; in churches most especially.
I always loved music; whoso has skill in this art, is of a good temperament, fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools; a schoolmaster ought to have skill in music, or I would not regard him; neither should we ordain young men as preachers, unless they have been well exercised in music.
Singing has nothing to do with the affairs of this world, it is not for the law; singers are merry and free from sorrows and cares.
Music is one of the best arts; the notes give life to the text; it expels melancholy, as we see in king Saul. Kings and princes ought to maintain music, for great potentates and rulers should protect good and liberal arts and laws; though private people have desire thereunto and love it, yet their ability is not adequate. We read in the Bible, that the good and godly kings maintained and paid singers. Music is the best solace for a sad and sorrowful mind; by it the heart is refreshed and settled again in peace.
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