Monday, October 31, 2016


Remember the Vandals

From the February 1810 edition of the Baptist Magazine:

At a meeting held at Wittenburg by the leading parties of the reformation with a view to promote the harmony of the whole; it was agreed that Albert, Bucer and Luther should be the preachers. At the close of the services Luther requested Bucer to be his guest, to which Bucer readily acceded. In the course of the evening Luther found an opportunity to make his remarks on the sermon delivered by his sage friend. He spoke highly in its praise, but added “Bucer, I can preach better than you.” Such an observation sounded oddly to the ears of his friend, who however took it in good part, and readily replied “Every person of course will agree that Luther should bear the palm.” Luther immediately changed the tone of his voice, and with indescribable seriousness addressed his friend to this effect. “Do not mistake me, my brother; as though I spake merely in the praise of myself; I am fully aware of my weakness, and am conscious of my inability to deliver a sermon so learned and judicious, as the one I have heard from your lips this afternoon. But my method is, when I enter the pulpit to look at the people that sit in the aisle; because they are principally Vandals–[By this term he meant the ignorant common people, and alluded to the circumstance of those parts having been formerly overrun by hordes of ignorant Vandals]–I keep my eye, says he, on the Vandals, and endeavour to preach what they can comprehend. But you shot over their heads; your sermon was adapted for learned hearers, but my Vandals could not understand you. I compare them to a crying babe who is sooner satisfied with the breast of its mother, than with the richest confectionaries; so my people are more nourished by the simple word of the Gospel, than by the deepest erudition though accompanied with all the embellishments of Eloquence.”–The contributor of this article wishes that himself and his brethren may always imitate Luther, and remember the Vandals.