Agricola, Georgius, De re metallica, 1912/1950

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As a young man, Agricola seems to have had some tendencies toward
liberalism in religious matters, for while at Zwickau he composed some anti-
Popish Epigrams; but after his return to Leipsic he apparently never wavered,
and steadily refused to accept the Lutheran Reformation.
To many even
liberal scholars of the day, Luther's doctrines appeared wild and demagogic.
Luther was not a scholarly man; his addresses were to the masses; his Latin
was execrable.
Nor did the bitter dissensions over hair-splitting theology in
the Lutheran Church after Luther's death tend to increase respect for the
movement among the learned.
Agricola was a scholar of wide attainments,
a deep-thinking, religious man, and he remained to the end a staunch Catholic,
despite the general change of sentiment among his countrymen.
His leanings
were toward such men as his friend the humanist, Erasmus.
That he had
the courage of his convictions is shown in the dedication of De Natura Eorum,
where he addresses to his friend, Duke Maurice, the pious advice that the
dissensions of the Germans should be composed, and that the Duke should return
to the bosom of the Church those who had been torn from her, and adds: “Yet
I do not wish to become confused by these turbulent waters, and be led to
offend anyone.
It is more advisable to check my utterances.” As he
became older he may have become less tolerant in religious matters, for he
did not seem to show as much patience in the discussion of ecclesiastical topics
as he must have possessed earlier, yet he maintained to the end the respect
and friendship of such great Protestants as Melanchthon, Camerarius, Fabricius,
and many others.

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