Author Archives: Matthew Phillips

The Spirit of Resistance

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like … Continue reading

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Flattery Gets You Nowhere

“I prefer to be frank and not have anyone misled by flattery. I can testify that although my shell may be hard, still my kernel is soft and sweet.  I wish no one harm, but desire everyone to carefully consider … Continue reading

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Mercy in Moderation

In 1534 Martin Luther published a commentary on Psalm 101.  He used this commentary as an opportunity to write a manual for the Christian prince.  In August 1532, John Frederick the Magnanimous became the Electoral Duke of Saxony with the … Continue reading

Posted in Aristotle, Cicero, Martin Luther, Politics | Leave a comment

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms

On April 14, 1521 Martin Luther wrote the following words in a short letter to Georg Spalatin from Frankfurt-am-Main: I am coming, my Spalatin, although Satan has done everything to hinder me with more than one disease.  All the way … Continue reading

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The Special Function of History

“Now the special function of history, particularly in relation to speeches, is first of all to discover the words actually used, whatever they were, and next to establish the reason why a particular action or argument failed or succeeded.  The … Continue reading

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A Virgin Shall Conceive

“Perhaps at the time the angel came, she was holding [the text of] Isaiah in her hands; perhaps she was then studying the prophecy which declares: Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name will be … Continue reading

Posted in Aelred of Rievaulx, Mary, medieval, theology | Leave a comment

How Students Deceive Themselves

“For the first step in learning is the capacity to doubt, nor is there anything so inimical to learning as the presumption of one’s own erudition or excessive reliance upon one’s own wits: the one takes away our interest in … Continue reading

Posted in Learning, liberal arts, Pietro Paulo Vergerio, Renaissance, teaching | Leave a comment

The Perversity and Ingratitude of the World

“For the perversity and ingratitude of the world is so great that it often repays evil to those who have deserved good from it and sometimes even treats them very rudely; on the other hand, it elevates and honors the … Continue reading

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Delusion Makes You Happy

“If Folly is any judge, that man is the happiest who is most thoroughly deluded.  May he remain in that state which comes from me alone and is so widespread that I doubt whether there can be found one person … Continue reading

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Burning the Bull

“Greetings.  On December 10, 1520, at nine o’clock in the morning, all the following papal books were burned in Wittenberg at the eastern gate near the Church of the Holy Cross: the Decretum, the Decretals, the [Liber] Sextus, the Clementines, … Continue reading

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