Raphael and Luther: A Contrast

The Churchman

It is curious to contrast the lives of great men whom the same enviornment has moulded or the same year ushered into the world. One thinks, for instance, of Fra Angelico and Savonarola, both citizens of Florence, both monks of San Marco, both confessing the same faith, but separated as the poles in its expression. These men, however, lived nearly a century apart. Stranger still is the contrast between Raphael and Luther, whom the same year (1483) ushered into the world, and who were destined to accomplish greater results in art and religion than Fra Angelico could have imaged or Savonarola could have prophesied. But here the environments were as contrasted as the missions. Warm, sunny Urbino nestled the baby Raphael; a Saxon mining town, Eisleben, gave birth to Luther.

Raphael, under his first teacher, Perugino, learned all that was sweet and poetic in art, and, in his Apennine home, shut off from worldly excitement and near to the town hallowed by memories of the holy St. Francis, he seemed at once to irribibe the spirit of fine religious feeling, so characteristic of the Umbrian School.

At the same time Luther, in his peasant home in the little German mining town, by a struggle with poverty, and strict religious training, was equally preparing himself for his Christian warfare. His father's circumstances improved, however so that later he was enabled to take a degree at Erfurt. Then followed terrible religious conflict, the momentous decision to become an Augustinian monk, and the austere discipline which it involved. But already he was preaching so forcibly that one of his hearers exclaimed: "This monk is leading all the doctors astray."

A Plucky Newsboy
January 25, 1900

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