Luther did not come forth as a theologian fully furnished with a scheme of doctrines, or as a warrior armed at all points--but advanced slowly, as himself a learner, from one position to another, gradually feeling his way onward; taking up no ground on which he had not been clearly set down, and which he could not firmly maintain from the express testimony of God. It is true that this gradual progress of his mind involved him at times in contradictions and inconsistencies, not to say mistakes and errors--which his enemies have availed themselves of, to sully and tarnish one of the noblest characters, both naturally and spiritually, that the world has ever seen.
Admiration, or what a popular writer of the present day calls "hero-worship," should not indeed blind us to the faults of great men. But a discerning eye, while it admits Luther's inconsistencies, sees displayed more manifestly thereby, the mercy and wisdom of God. The Lord, indeed, was no more the author of Luther's errors than He was of Luther's sins! But as He mercifully pardoned the one, so He graciously passed by the other, and over-ruled both to His own glory! By J.C. Philpot