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German New Testament, 1522


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One would have said that the very workmen [Luther & Melanchthon] felt the importance of the task in which they were
engaged. Three presses were employed in this labor, and ten thousand sheets, says Luther, were printed
daily.  At length, on the 21st September 1522, appeared the complete edition of three thousand
copies, in two folio volumes, with this simple title: THE NEW TESTAMENT — GERMAN —
Wittenberg. It bore no name of man.

From Scripture and faith, two sources which in reality are but one, the life of the Gospel has flowed,
and is still spreading over the world. These two principles combated two fundamental errors. Faith was
opposed to the Pelagian tendency of Roman-catholicism; Scripture, to the theory of tradition and the
authority of Rome.

The publication of the New Testament in the vulgar tongue is an important epoch in the Reformation. If
Feldkirchen’s marriage was the first step in the progress of the Reformation from doctrine into social
life; if the abolition of monastic vows was the second; if the re-establishment of the Lord’s Supper was
the third, — the publication of the New Testament was perhaps the most important of all. It worked an
entire change in society: not only in the Presbytery of the priest, in the monk’s cell, and in the
sanctuary of our Lord; but also in the mansions of the great, in the houses of the citizens, and cottages
of the peasants. When the Bible began to be read in the families of Christendom, Christendom itself
was changed.

Then arose other habits, other manners, other conversations, and another life. With the publication of
the New Testament, the Reformation left the School and the Church to take possession of the hearts of
the people.

 J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, b. 14, ch. 9.

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