§ 30. The Sale of Indulgences.


St. Peter’s Dome is at once the glory and the shame of papal Rome. It was built over the bones of the Galilaean fisherman, with the proceeds from the sale of indulgences which broke up the unity of Western Christendom. The magnificent structure was begun in 1506 under Pope Julius II., and completed in 1626 at a cost of forty-six millions scudi, and is kept up at an annual expense of thirty thousand scudi (dollars).174

Jesus began his public ministry with the expulsion of the profane traffickers from the court of the temple. The Reformation began with a protest against the traffic in indulgences which profaned and degraded the Christian religion.

The difficult and complicated doctrine of indulgences is peculiar to the Roman Church. It was unknown to the Greek and Latin fathers. It was developed by the mediaeval schoolmen, and sanctioned by the Council of Trent (Dec. 4, 1563), yet without a definition and with an express warning against abuses and evil gains.175

In the legal language of Rome, indulgentia is a term for amnesty or remission of punishment. In ecclesiastical Latin, an indulgence means the remission of the temporal (not the eternal) punishment of sin (not of sin itself), on condition of penitence and the payment of money to the church or to some charitable object. It maybe granted by a bishop or archbishop within his diocese, while the Pope has the power to grant it to all Catholics. The practice of indulgences grew out of a custom of the Northern and Western barbarians to substitute pecuniary compensation for punishment of an offense. The church favored this custom in order to avoid bloodshed, but did wrong in applying it to religious offenses. Who touches money touches dirt; and the less religion has to do with it, the better. The first instances of such pecuniary compensations occurred in England under Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury (d. 690). The practice rapidly spread on the Continent, and was used by the Popes during and after the crusades as a means of increasing their power. It was justified and reduced to a theory by the schoolmen, especially by Thomas Aquinas, in close connection with the doctrine of the sacrament of penance and priestly absolution.176

The sacrament of penance includes three elements,—contrition of the heart, confession by the mouth (to the priest), and satisfaction by good works, such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimages, all of which are supposed to have an atoning efficacy. God forgives only the eternal punishment of sin, and he alone can do that; but the sinner has to bear the temporal punishments, either in this life or in purgatory; and these punishments are under the control of the church or the priesthood, especially the Pope as its legitimate head. There are also works of supererogation, performed by Christ and by the saints, with corresponding extra-merits and extra-rewards; and these constitute a rich treasury from which the Pope, as the treasurer, can dispense indulgences for money. This papal power of dispensation extends even to the departed souls in purgatory, whose sufferings may thereby be abridged. This is the scholastic doctrine.

The granting of indulgences degenerated, after the time of the crusades, into a regular traffic, and became a source of ecclesiastical and monastic wealth. A good portion of the profits went into the papal treasury. Boniface VIII. issued the first Bull of the jubilee indulgence to all visitors of St. Peter’s in Rome (1300). It was to be confined to Rome, and to be repeated only once in a hundred years, but it was afterwards extended and multiplied as to place and time.

The idea of selling and buying by money the remission of punishment and release from purgatory was acceptable to ignorant and superstitious people, but revolting to sound moral feeling. It roused, long before Luther, the indignant protest of earnest minds, such as Wiclif in England, Hus in Bohemia, John von Wesel in Germany, John Wessel in Holland, Thomas Wyttenbach in Switzerland, but without much effect.

The Lateran Council of 1517 allowed the Pope to collect one-tenth of all the ecclesiastical property of Christendom, ostensibly for a war against the Turks; but the measure was carried only by a small majority of two or three votes, and the minority objected that there was no immediate prospect of such a war. The extortions of the Roman curia became an intolerable burden to Christendom, and produced at last a successful protest which cost the papacy the loss of its fairest possessions.


 § 31. Luther and Tetzel.


I. On the Indulgence controversy: Luther’s Works, Walch’s ed., XV. 3–462; Weim. ed. I. 229–324. Löscher: Reformations-Acta. Leipzig, 1720. Vol. I. 355–539. J. Kapp: Schauplatz des Tetzelschen Ablass-krams. Leipzig, 1720. Jürgens: Luther, Bd. III. Kahnis: Die d. Ref., I. 18 1 sqq. Köstlin I. 153 sqq. Kolde, I. 126 sqq. On the Roman-Catholic side, Janssen: Geschichte, etc., II. 64 sqq.; 77 sqq.; and An meine Kritiker, Freiburg-i.-B., 1883, pp. 66–81.—On the editions of the Theses, compare Knaake, in the Weimar ed. I. 229 sqq.

Edw. Bratke: Luther’s 95 Thesen und ihre dogmengesch. Voraussetzungen. Göttingen, 1884 (pp. 333). Gives an account of the scholastic doctrine of indulgences from Bonaventura and Thomas Aquinas down to Prierias and Cajetan, an exposition of Luther’s Theses, and a list of books on the subject. A. W. Dieckhoff (of Rostock): Der Ablassstreit. Dogmengeschichtlich dargestellt. Gotha, 1886 (pp. 260).

II. On Tetzel in particular: (1) Protestant biographies and tracts, all very unfavorable. (a) Older works by G. Hecht: Vita Joh. Tetzeli. Wittenberg, 1717. Jac. Vogel: Leben des päpstlichen Gnadenpredigers und Ablasskrämers Tetzel. Leipzig, 1717, 2d ed., 1727. (b) Modern works: F. G. Hofmann: Lebensbeschreibung des Ablasspredigers Tetzel. Leipzig, 1844. Dr. Kayser: Geschichtsquellen über Den Ablasspred. Tetzel Kritisch Beleuchtet. Annaberg, 1877 (pp. 20). Dr. Ferd. Körner: Tetzel, der Ablassprediger, etc. Frankenberg-i.-S. 1880 (pp. 153; chiefly against Gröne). Compare also Bratke and Dieckhoff, quoted above.

(2) Roman-Catholic vindications of Tetzel by Val. Gröne (Dr. Th.): Tetzel und Luther, oder Lebensgesch. und Rechtfertigung des Ablasspredigers und Inquisitors Dr. Joh. Tetzel aus dem Predigerorden. Soest und Olpe, 1853, 2d ed. 1860 (pp. 237). E. Kolbe: P. Joh. Tetzel. Ein Lebensbild dem kathol. Volke gewidmet. Steyl, 1882 (pp. 98, based on Gröne). K. W. Hermann: Joh. Tetzel, der päpstl. Ablassprediger. Frankf. -a.-M., 2te Aufl. 1883 (pp. 152). Janssen: An meine Kritiker, p. 73 sq. G. A. Meijer, Ord. Praed. (Dominican): Johann Tetzel, Aflaatprediker en inquisiteur.  Eene geschiedkundige studie. Utrecht, 1885 (pp. 150). A calm and moderate vindication of Tetzel, with the admission (p. 137) that the last word on the question has not yet been spoken, and that we must wait for the completion of the Regesta of Leo X. and other authentic publications now issuing from the Vatican archives by direction of Leo XIII. But the main facts are well established.


The rebuilding of St. Peter’s Church in Rome furnished an occasion for the periodical exercise of the papal power of granting indulgences. Julius II. and Leo X., two of the most worldly, avaricious, and extravagant Popes, had no scruple to raise funds for that object, and incidentally for their own aggrandizement, from the traffic in indulgences. Both issued several bulls to that effect.177

Spain, England, and France ignored or resisted these bulls for financial reasons, refusing to be taxed for the benefit of Rome. But Germany, under the weak rule of Maximilian, yielded to the papal domination.

Leo divided Germany into three districts, and committed in 1515 the sale for one district to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, and brother of the Elector of Brandenburg.178

This prelate (born June 28, 1490, died Sept. 24, 1545), though at that time only twenty-five years of age, stood at the head of the German clergy, and was chancellor of the German Empire. He received also the cardinal’s hat in 1518. He was, like his Roman master, a friend of liberal learning and courtly splendor, worldly-minded, and ill fitted for the care of souls. He had the ambition to be the Maecenas of Germany. He was himself destitute of theological education, but called scholars, artists, poets, free-thinkers, to his court, and honored Erasmus and Ulrich von Hutten with presents and pensions. "He had a passionate love for music," says an Ultramontane historian, "and imported musicians from Italy to give luster to his feasts, in which ladies often participated. Finely wrought carpets, splendid mirrors adorned his halls and chambers; costly dishes and wines covered his table. He appeared in public with great pomp; he kept a body-guard of one hundred and fifty armed knights; numerous courtiers in splendid attire followed him when he rode out; he was surrounded by pages who were to learn in his presence the refinement of cavaliers." The same Roman-Catholic historian censures the extravagant court of Pope Leo X., which set the example for the secularization and luxury of the prelates in Germany.179

Albrecht was largely indebted to the rich banking-house of Fugger in Augsburg, from whom he had borrowed thirty thousand florins in gold to pay for the papal pallium. By an agreement with the Pope, he had permission to keep half of the proceeds arising from the sale of indulgences. The agents of that commercial house stood behind the preachers of indulgence, and collected their share for the repayment of the loan.

The Archbishop appointed Johann Tetzel (Diez) of the Dominican order, his commissioner, who again employed his sub-agents.

Tetzel was born between 1450 and 1460, at Leipzig, and began his career as a preacher of indulgences in 1501. He became famous as a popular orator and successful hawker of indulgences. He was prior of a Dominican convent, doctor of philosophy, and papal inquisitor (haereticae pravitatis inquisitor). At the end of 1517 he acquired in the University of Frankfurt-on-the-Oder the degree of Licentiate of Theology, and in January, 1518, the degree of Doctor of Theology, by defending, in two disputations, the doctrine of indulgences against Luther.180  He died at Leipzig during the public debate between Eck and Luther, July, 1519. He is represented by Protestant writers as an ignorant, noisy, impudent, and immoral charlatan, who was not ashamed to boast that he saved more souls from purgatory by his letters of indulgence than St. Peter by his preaching.181  On the other hand, Roman Catholic historians defend him as a learned and zealous servant of the church. He has only an incidental notoriety, and our estimate of his character need not affect our views on the merits of the Reformation. We must judge him from his published sermons and anti-theses against Luther. They teach neither more nor less than the usual scholastic doctrine of indulgences based on an extravagant theory of papal authority. He does not ignore, as is often asserted, the necessity of repentance as a condition of absolution.182  But he probably did not emphasize it in practice, and gave rise by unguarded expressions to damaging stories. His private character was certainly tainted, if we are to credit such a witness as the papal nuncio, Carl von Miltitz, who had the best means of information, and charged him with avarice, dishonesty, and sexual immorality.183

Tetzel traveled with great pomp and circumstance through Germany, and recommended with unscrupulous effrontery and declamatory eloquence the indulgences of the Pope to the large crowds who gathered from every quarter around him. He was received like a messenger from heaven. Priests, monks, and magistrates, men and women, old and young, marched in solemn procession with songs, flags, and candles, under the ringing of bells, to meet him and his fellow-monks, and followed them to the church; the papal Bull on a velvet cushion was placed on the high altar, a red cross with a silken banner bearing the papal arms was erected before it, and a large iron chest was put beneath the cross for the indulgence money. Such chests are still preserved in many places. The preachers, by daily sermons, hymns, and processions, urged the people, with extravagant laudations of the Pope’s Bull, to purchase letters of indulgence for their own benefit, and at the same time played upon their sympathies for departed relatives and friends whom they might release from their sufferings in purgatory "as soon as the penny tinkles in the box."184

The common people eagerly embraced this rare offer of salvation from punishment, and made no clear distinction between the guilt and punishment of sin; after the sermon they approached with burning candles the chest, confessed their sins, paid the money, and received the letter of indulgence which they cherished as a passport to heaven. But intelligent and pious men were shocked at such scandal. The question was asked, whether God loved money more than justice, and why the Pope, with his command over the boundless treasury of extra-merits, did not at once empty the whole purgatory for the rebuilding of St. Peter’s, or build it with his own money.

Tetzel approached the dominions of the Elector of Saxony, who was himself a devout worshiper of relics, and had great confidence in indulgences, but would not let him enter his territory from fear that he might take too much money from his subjects. So Tetzel set up his trade on the border of Saxony, at Jüterbog, a few hours from Wittenberg.185

There he provoked the protest of the Reformer, who had already in the summer of 1516 preached a sermon of warning against trust in indulgences, and had incurred the Elector’s displeasure by his aversion to the whole system, although he himself had doubts about some important questions connected with it.

Luther had experienced the remission of sin as a free gift of grace to be apprehended by a living faith. This experience was diametrically opposed to a system of relief by means of payments in money. It was an irrepressible conflict of principle. He could not be silent when that barter was carried to the very threshold of his sphere of labor. As a preacher, a pastor, and a professor, he felt it to be his duty to protest against such measures: to be silent was to betray his theology and his conscience.

The jealousy between the Augustinian order to which he belonged, and the Dominican order to which Tetzel belonged, may have exerted some influence, but it was certainly very subordinate. A laboring mountain may produce a ridiculous mouse, but no mouse can give birth to a mountain. The controversy with Tetzel (who is not even mentioned in Luther’s Theses) was merely the occasion, but not the cause, of the Reformation: it was the spark which exploded the mine. The Reformation would have come to pass sooner or later, if no Tetzel had ever lived; and it actually did break out in different countries without any connection with the trade in indulgences, except in German Switzerland, where Bernhardin Samson acted the part of Tetzel, but after Zwingli had already begun his reforms.


 § 32. The Ninety-five Theses. Oct. 31, 1517.


Lit. in § 31.


After serious deliberation, without consulting any of his colleagues or friends, but following an irresistible impulse, Luther resolved upon a public act of unforeseen consequences. It may be compared to the stroke of the axe with which St. Boniface, seven hundred years before, had cut down the sacred oak, and decided the downfall of German heathenism. He wished to elicit the truth about the burning question of indulgences, which he himself professed not fully to understand at the time, and which yet was closely connected with the peace of conscience and eternal salvation. He chose the orderly and usual way of a learned academic disputation.

 Accordingly, on the memorable thirty-first day of October, 1517, which has ever since been celebrated in Protestant Germany as the birthday of the Reformation, at twelve o’clock he affixed (either himself or through another) to the doors of the castle-church at Wittenberg, ninety-five Latin Theses on the subject of indulgences, and invited a public discussion. At the same time he sent notice of the fact to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, and to Bishop Hieronymus Scultetus, to whose diocese Wittenberg belonged. He chose the eve of All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1), because this was one of the most frequented feasts, and attracted professors, students, and people from all directions to the church, which was filled with precious relics.186

No one accepted the challenge, and no discussion took place. The professors and students of Wittenberg were of one mind on the subject. But history itself undertook the disputation and defence. The Theses were copied, translated, printed, and spread as on angels’ wings throughout Germany and Europe in a few weeks.187

 The rapid circulation of the Reformation literature was promoted by the perfect freedom of the press. There was, as yet, no censorship, no copyright, no ordinary book-trade in the modern sense, and no newspapers; but colportors, students, and friends carried the books and tracts from house to house. The mass of the people could not read, but they listened attentively to readers. The questions of the Reformation were eminently practical, and interested all classes; and Luther handled the highest themes in the most popular style.

 The Theses bear the title, "Disputation to explain the Virtue of Indulgences." They sound very strange to a modern ear, and are more Catholic than Protestant. They are no protest against the Pope and the Roman Church, or any of her doctrines, not even against indulgences, but only against their abuse. They expressly condemn those who speak against indulgences (Th. 71), and assume that the Pope himself would rather see St. Peter’s Church in ashes than have it built with the flesh and blood of his sheep (Th. 50). They imply belief in purgatory. They nowhere mention Tetzel. They are silent about faith and justification, which already formed the marrow of Luther’s theology and piety. He wished to be moderate, and had not the most distant idea of a separation from the mother church. When the Theses were republished in his collected works (1545), he wrote in the preface: "I allow them to stand, that by them it may appear how weak I was, and in what a fluctuating state of mind, when I began this business. I was then a monk and a mad papist (papista insanissimus), and so submersed in the dogmas of the Pope that I would have readily murdered any person who denied obedience to the Pope."

 But after all, they contain the living germs of a new theology. The form only is Romish, the spirit and aim are Protestant. We must read between the lines, and supply the negations of the Theses by the affirmations from his preceding and succeeding books, especially his Resolutiones, in which he answers objections, and has much to say about faith and justification. The Theses represent a state of transition from twilight to daylight. They reveal the mighty working of an earnest mind and conscience intensely occupied with the problem of sin, repentance, and forgiveness, and struggling for emancipation from the fetters of tradition. They might more properly be called "a disputation to diminish the virtue of papal indulgences, and to magnify the full and free grace of the gospel of Christ." They bring the personal experience of justification by faith, and direct intercourse with Christ and the gospel, in opposition to an external system of churchly and priestly mediation and human merit. The papal opponents felt the logical drift of the Theses much better than Luther, and saw in them an attempt to undermine the whole fabric of popery. . The irresistible progress of the Reformation soon swept the indulgences away as an unscriptural, mediaeval tradition of men.188

The first Thesis strikes the keynote: "Our Lord and Master when he says, ’Repent,’189  desires that the whole life of believers should be a repentance."190  The corresponding Greek noun means change of mind (metavnoia), and implies both a turning away from sin in sincere sorrow and grief, and a turning to God in hearty faith. Luther distinguishes, in the second Thesis, true repentance from the sacramental penance (i.e., the confession and satisfaction required by the priest), and understands it to be an internal state and exercise of the mind rather than isolated external acts; although he expressly affirms, in the third Thesis, that it must manifest itself in various mortifications of the flesh. Repentance is a continual conflict of the believing spirit with the sinful flesh, a daily renewal of the heart. As long as sin lasts, there is need of repentance. The Pope can not remit any sin except by declaring the remission of God; and he can not remit punishments except those which he or the canons impose (Thes.5 and 6). Forgiveness presupposes true repentance, and can only be found in the merits of Christ. Here comes in the other fundamental Thesis (62): The true treasury of the church is the holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God." This sets aside the mediaeval notion about the overflowing treasury of extra-merits and rewards at the disposal of the Pope for the benefit of the living and the dead.

We have thus set before us in this manifesto, on the one hand, human depravity which requires lifelong repentance, and on the other the full and free grace of God in Christ, which can only be appropriated by a living faith. This is, in substance, the evangelical doctrine of justification by faith (although not expressed in terms), and virtually destroys the whole scholastic theory and practice of indulgences. By attacking the abuses of indulgences, Luther unwittingly cut a vein of mediaeval Catholicism; and by a deeper conception of repentance which implies faith, and by referring the sinner to the grace of Christ as the true and only source of remission, he proclaimed the undeveloped principles of evangelical Protestantism, and kindled a flame which soon extended far beyond his original intentions.








In the desire and with the purpose of elucidating the truth, a disputation will be held on the underwritten propositions at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Monk of the Order of St. Augustin, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and ordinary Reader of the same in that place.191  He therefore asks those who cannot be present, and discuss the subject with us orally, to do so by letter in their absence. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ in saying: "Repent ye" [lit.: Do penance, poenitentiam agite], etc., intended that the whole life of believers should be penitence [poenitentiam].192

2. This word poenitentia cannot be understood of sacramental penance, that is, of the confession and satisfaction which are performed under the ministry of priests.

3. It does not, however, refer solely to inward penitence; nay, such inward penitence is naught, unless it outwardly produces various mortifications of the flesh [varias carnis mortificationes].

4. The penalty [poena] thus continues as long as the hatred of self—that is, true inward penitence [poenitentia vera intus]—continues; namely, till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The Pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties, except those which he has imposed by his own authority, or by that of the canons.193

6. The Pope has no power to remit any guilt, except by declaring and warranting it to have been remitted by God; or at most by remitting cases reserved for himself: in which cases, if his power were despised, guilt would certainly remain.

7. God never remits any man’s guilt, without at the same time subjecting him, humbled in all things, to the authority of his representative the priest [sacernoti suo vicario].

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and no burden ought to be imposed on the dying, according to them.

9. Hence the Holy Spirit acting in the Pope does well for us in that, in his decrees, he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Those priests act unlearnedly and wrongly, who, in the case of the dying, reserve the canonical penances for purgatory.

11. Those tares about changing of the canonical penalty into the penalty of purgatory seem surely to have been sown while the bishops were asleep.

12. Formerly the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying pay all penalties by death, and are already dead to the Canon laws, and are by right relieved from them.

14. The imperfect soundness or charity of a dying person necessarily brings with it great fear, and the less it is, the greater the fear it brings.

15. This fear and horror is sufficient by itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the pains of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven appear to differ as despair, almost despair, and peace of mind [securitas] differ.

17. With souls in purgatory it seems that it must needs be that, as horror diminishes, so charity increases.

18. Nor does it seem to be proved by any reasoning or any scriptures, that they are outside of the state of merit or the increase of charity.

19. Nor does this appear to be proved, that they are sure and confident of their own blessedness, at least all of them, though we may be very sure of it.

20. Therefore the Pope, when he speaks of the plenary remission of all penalties, does not mean simply of all, but only of those imposed by himself.

21. Thus those preachers of indulgences are in error who say that, by the indulgences of the Pope, a man is loosed and saved from all punishment.

22. For, in fact, he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which they would have had to pay in this life according to the canons.

23. If any entire remission of all the penalties can be granted to any one, it is certain that it is granted to none but the most perfect, that is, to very few.

24. Hence the greater part of the people must needs be deceived by this indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalties.

25. Such power as the Pope has over purgatory in general, such has every bishop in his own diocese, and every curate in his own parish, in particular.

26. [In the Latin text, I.] The Pope acts most rightly in granting remission to souls, not by the power of the keys (which is of no avail in this case), but by the way of suffrage [per modum suffragii].

27. They preach man, who say that the soul flies out of purgatory as soon as the money thrown into the chest rattles [ut jactus nummus in cistam tinnierit].

28. It is certain, that, when the money rattles in the chest, avarice and gain may be increased, but the suffrage of the Church depends on the will of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory desire to be redeemed from it, according to the story told of Saints Severinus and Paschal?194

30. No man is sure of the reality of his own contrition, much less of the attainment of plenary remission.

31. Rare as is a true penitent, so rare is one who truly buys indulgences—that is to say, most rare.

32. Those who believe that, through letters of pardon, they are made sure of their own salvation, will be eternally damned along with their teachers.

33. We must especially beware of those who say that these pardons from the Pope are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to God.

34. For the grace conveyed by these pardons has respect only to the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, which are of human appointment.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine, who teach that contrition is not necessary for those who buy souls out of purgatory, or buy confessional licenses.

36. Every Christian who feels true compunction has of right plenary remission of pain and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has a share in all the benefits of Christ and of the Church, given him by God, even without letters of pardon.

38. The remission, however, imparted by the Pope, is by no means to be despised, since it is, as I have said, a declaration of the Divine remission.

39. It is a most difficult thing, even for the most learned theologians, to exalt at the same time in the eyes of the people the ample effect of pardons, and the necessity of true contrition.

40. True contrition seeks and loves punishment; while the ampleness of pardons relaxes it, and causes men to hate it, or at least gives occasion for them to do so.

41. Apostolical pardons ought to be proclaimed with caution, lest the people should falsely suppose that they are placed before other good works of charity.

42. Christians should be taught that it is not the mind of the Pope, that the buying of pardons is to be in any way compared to works of mercy.

43. Christians should be taught, that he who gives to a poor man, or lends to a needy man, does better than if he bought pardons.

44. Because, by a work of charity, charity increases, and the man becomes better; while, by means of pardons, he does not become better, but only freer from punishment.

45. Christians should be taught that he who sees any one in need, and, passing him by, gives money for pardons, is not purchasing for himself the indulgence of the Pope, but the anger of God.

46. Christians should be taught, that, unless they have superfluous wealth, they are bound to keep what is necessary for the use of their own households, and by no means to lavish it on pardons.

47. Christians should be taught, that, while they are free to buy pardons, they are not commanded to do so.

48. Christians should be taught that the Pope, in granting pardons, has both more need and more desire that devout prayer should be made for him, than that money should be readily paid.

49. Christians should be taught that the Pope’s pardons are useful if they do not put their trust in them, but most hurtful if through them they lose the fear of God.

50. [Lat. text XXV.] Christians should be taught, that, if the Pope were acquainted with the exactions of the preachers of pardons, he would prefer that the Basilica of St. Peter should be burnt to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.

51. [I.] Christians should be taught, that as it would be the wish of the Pope, even to sell, if necessary, the Basilica of St. Peter, and to give of his own to very many of those from whom the preachers of pardons extract money.

52. Vain is the hope of salvation through letters of pardon, even if a commissary—nay, the Pope himself—were to pledge his own soul for them.

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the Pope, who, in order that pardons may be preached, condemn the word of God to utter silence in other churches.

54. Wrong is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or longer time is spent on pardons than on the words of the gospel [verbis evangelicis].

55. The mind of the Pope necessarily is that if pardons, which are a very small matter [quod minimum est], are celebrated with single bells, single processions, and single ceremonies, the gospel, which is a very great matter [quod maximum est], should be preached with a hundred ceremonies.

56. The treasures of the Church, whence the Pope grants indulgences, are neither sufficiently named nor known among the people of Christ.195

57. It is clear that they are at least not temporal treasures; for these are not so readily lavished, but only accumulated, by many of the preachers.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and of the saints; for these, independently of the Pope, are always working grace to the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell to the outer man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church are the poor of the Church, but he spoke according to the use of the word in his time.

60. We are not speaking rashly when we say that the keys of the Church, bestowed through the merits of Christ, are that treasure.

61. For it is clear that the power of the Pope is alone sufficient for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God [Verus thesaurus ecclesiae est sacrosanctum Evangelium gloriae et gratiae Dei].

63. This treasure, however, is deservedly most hateful [merito odiosissimus; der allerfeindseligste und verhassteste], because it makes the first to be last.

64. While the treasure of indulgences is deservedly most acceptable, because it makes the last to be first.

65. Hence the treasures of the gospel are nets, wherewith of old they fished for the men of riches.

66. The treasures of indulgences are nets, wherewith they now fish for the riches of men.

67. Those indulgences, which the preachers loudly proclaim to be the greatest graces, are seen to be truly such as regards the promotion of gain [denn es grossen Gewinnst und Geniess trägt].

68. Yet they are in reality the smallest graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to receive the commissaries of apostolical pardons with all reverence.

70. But they are still more bound to see to it with all their eyes, and take heed with all their ears, that these men do not preach their own dreams in place of the Pope’s commission.

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolical pardons, let him be the anathema and accursed (sit anathema et maledictus; der sei ein Fluch und vermaladeiet].

72. But he, on the other hand, who exerts himself against the wantonness and license of speech of the preachers of pardons, let him be blessed.

73. As the Pope justly thunders [Lat., fulminat; G. trs., mit Ungnade und dem Bann schlägt] against those who use any kind of contrivance to the injury of the traffic in pardons;

74. Much more is it his intention to thunder against those who, under the pretext of pardons, use contrivances to the injury of holy charity and of truth.

75. [XXV.] To think that papal pardons have such power that they could absolve a man even if—by an impossibility—he had violated the Mother of God, is madness.

76. [I.] We affirm, on the contrary, that papal pardons [veniae papales] can not take away even the least venial sins, as regards the guilt [quoad culpam].

77. The saying that, even if St. Peter were now Pope, he could grant no greater graces, is blasphemy against St. Peter and the Pope.

78. We affirm, on the contrary, that both he and any other Pope has greater graces to grant; namely, the gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc. (1 Cor. xii. 9).

69. To say that the cross set up among the insignia of the papal arms is of equal power with the cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

80. Those bishops, curates, and theologians who allow such discourses to have currency among the people, will have to render an account.

81. This license in the preaching of pardons makes it no easy thing, even for learned men, to protect the reverence due to the Pope against the calumnies, or, at all events, the keen questionings, of the laity;

82. As, for instance: Why does not the Pope empty purgatory for the sake of most holy charity and of the supreme necessity of souls,—this being the most just of all reasons,—if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of that most fatal thing, money, to be spent on building a basilica—this being a slight reason?

83. Again: Why do funeral masses and anniversary masses for deceased continue, and why does not the Pope return, or permit the withdrawal of, the funds bequeathed for this purpose, since it is a wrong to pray for those who are already redeemed?

84. Again: What is this new kindness of God and the Pope, in that, for money’s sake, they permit an impious man and an enemy of God to redeem a pious soul which loves God, and yet do not redeem that same pious and beloved soul, out of free charity, on account of its own need?

85. Again: Why is it that the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in themselves in very fact, and not only by usage, are yet still redeemed with money, through the granting of indulgences, as if they were full of life?

86. Again: Why does not the Pope, whose riches are at this day more ample than those of the wealthiest of the wealthy, build the one Basilica of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with that of poor believers?

87. Again: Why does the Pope remit or impart to those who, through perfect contrition, have a right to plenary remission and participation?

88. Again: What greater good would the Church receive if the Pope, instead of once as he does now, were to bestow these remissions and participations a hundred times a day on any one of the faithful?

89. Since it is the salvation of souls, rather than money, that the Pope seeks by his pardons, why does he annul the letters and pardons granted long ago, since they are equally efficacious?

90. To repress these scruples and arguments of the laity by force alone, and not to solve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the Pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christian men unhappy.

91. If, then, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the Pope, all these questions would be resolved with ease; nay, would not exist.

92. Away then with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace.

93. Blessed be all those prophets, who say to the people of Christ, "The cross, the cross," and there is no cross.

94. Christians should be exhorted to strive to follow Christ their head through pains, deaths, and hells;

95. [Lat. Text, XX.] And thus trust to enter heaven through many tribulations, rather than in the security of peace [per securitatem pacis].




I, Martin Luther, Doctor, of the Order of Monks at Wittenberg, desire to testify publicly that certain propositions against pontifical indulgences, as they call them, have been put forth by me. Now although, up to the present time, neither this most celebrated and renowned school of ours nor any civil or ecclesiastical power has condemned me, yet there are, as I hear, some men of headlong and audacious spirit, who dare to pronounce me a heretic, as though the matter had been thoroughly looked into and studied. But on my part, as I have often done before, so now too I implore all men, by the faith of Christ, either to point out to me a better way, if such a way has been divinely revealed to any, or at least to submit their opinion to the judgment of God and of the Church. For I am neither so rash as to wish that my sole opinion should be preferred to that of all other men, nor so senseless as to be willing that the word of God should be made to give place to fables devised by human reason.


 § 33. The Theses-Controversy. 1518.


Luther’s Sermon vom Ablass und Gnade, printed in February, 1518 (Weimar ed. I. 239–246; and in Latin, 317–324); Kurze Erklärung der Zehn Gebote, 1518 (I. 248–256, in Latin under the title Instructio pro Confessione peccatorum, p. 257–265); Asterisci adversus Obeliscos Eckii, March, 1518 (I. 278–316); Freiheit des Sermons päpstlichen Ablass und Gnade belangend, June, 1518, against Tetzel (I. 380–393); Resolutiones disputationum de indulgentiarum virtute, August, 1518, dedicated to the Pope (I. 522–628). Letters of Luther to Archbishop Albrecht, Spalatin, and others, in De Wette, I. 67 sqq.

Tetzel’s Anti-Theses, 2 series, one of 106, the other of 50 sentences, are printed in Löschers Ref. Acta, I. 505–514, and 518–523. Ecks Obelisci, ibid. III. 333.

On the details of the controversy, see Jürgens (III. 479 sqq.), Köstlin (I. 175 sqq.), Kolde (I. 126 sqq.), Bratke, and Dieckhoff, as quoted in § 31.


The Theses of Luther were a tract for the times. They sounded the trumpet of the Reformation. They found a hearty response with liberal scholars and enemies of monastic obscurantism, with German patriots longing for emancipation from Italian control, and with thousands of plain Christians waiting for the man of Providence who should give utterance to their feelings of indignation against existing abuses, and to their desire for a pure, scriptural, and spiritual religion. "Ho, ho! "exclaimed Dr. Fleck, "the man has come who will do the thing." Reuchlin thanked God that "the monks have now found a man who will give them such full employment that they will be glad to let me spend my old age in peace."196

But, on the other hand, the Theses were strongly assailed and condemned by the episcopal and clerical hierarchy, the monastic orders, especially the Dominicans, and the universities, in fact, by all the champions of scholastic theology and traditional orthodoxy. Luther himself, then a poor, emaciated monk, was at first frightened by the unexpected effect, and many of his friends trembled. One of them told him, "You tell the truth, good brother, but you will accomplish nothing; go to your cell, and say, God have mercy upon me."197

The chief writers against Luther were Tetzel of Leipzig, Conrad Wimpina of Frankfurt-on-the-Oder, and the more learned and formidable John Eck of Ingolstadt, who was at first a friend of Luther, but now became his irreconcilable enemy. These opponents represented three universities and the ruling scholastic theology of the Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas. But they injured their cause in public estimation by the weakness of their defence. They could produce no arguments for the doctrine and practice of indulgences from the Word of God, or even from the Greek and Latin fathers, and had to resort to extravagant views on the authority of the Pope. They even advocated papal infallibility, although this was as yet an open question in the Roman Church, and remained so till the Vatican decree of 1870.

Luther mustered courage. In all his weakness he was strong. He felt that he had begun this business in the name and for the glory of God, and was ready to sacrifice life itself for his honest conviction. He took comfort from the counsel of Gamaliel. In several letters of this period he subscribed himself Martinus Eleutherios (Freeman), but added, vielmehr Knecht (rather, Servant): he felt free of men, but bound in Christ. When his friend Schurf told him, "They will not bear it;" he replied, "But what, if they have to bear it?"  He answered all his opponents, directly and indirectly, in Latin and German, from the pulpit and the chair, and through the press. He began now to develop his formidable polemical power, especially in his German writings. He had full command over the vocabulary of common sense, wit, irony, vituperation, and abuse. Unfortunately, he often resorted to coarse and vulgar expressions which, even in that semi-barbarous age, offended men of culture and taste, and which set a bad example for his admirers in the fierce theological wars within the Lutheran Church.198

The discussion forced him into a conflict with the papal authority, on which the theory and traffic of indulgences were ultimately made to rest. The controversy resolved itself into the question whether that authority was infallible and final, or subject to correction by the Scriptures and a general Council. Luther defended the latter view; yet he protested that he was no heretic, and that he taught nothing contrary to the Scriptures, the ancient fathers, the oecumenical Councils, and the decrees of the Popes. He still hoped for a favorable hearing from Leo X., whom he personally respected. He even ventured to dedicate to him his Resolutiones, a defence of the Theses (May 30, 1518), with a letter of abject humility, promising to obey his voice as the very voice of Christ.199

Such an anomalous and contradictory position could not last long.

In the midst of this controversy, in April, 1518, Luther was sent as a delegate to a meeting of the Augustinian monks at Heidelberg, and had an opportunity to defend, in public debate, forty conclusions, or, "theological paradoxes," drawn from St. Paul and St. Augustin, concerning natural depravity, the slavery of the will, regenerating grace, faith, and good works. He advocates the theologia crucis against the theologia gloriae, and contrasts the law and the gospel. "The law says, ’Do this,’   and never does it: the gospel says, ’Believe in Christ,’ and all is done." The last twelve theses are directed against the Aristotelian philosophy.200

He found considerable response, and sowed the seed of the Reformation in the Palatinate. Among his youthful hearers were Bucer (Butzer) and Brentz, who afterwards became distinguished reformers, the one in Strassburg and England, the other in the duchy (now kingdom) of Würtemberg.


 § 34. Rome’s Interposition. Luther and Prierias. 1518.


R. P. Silvestri Prieratis ordinis praedicatorum et s. theol. professoris celeberrimi, s. palatii apostolici magistri, in praesumptuosas Martini Lutheri conclusiones de potestate papae dialogus. In Löscher, II. 13–39. Knaake (Werke, I. 644) assigns the first edition to the second half of June, 1518, which is more likely than the earlier date of December, 1517, given by Löscher (II. 12) and the Erlangen ed. He mentions five separate editions, two of which were published by Luther without notes; afterwards he published an edition with his refutation.

Ad Dialogum Silvestri Prierati de potestate papae responsio. In Löscher, II. 3; Weim. ed. I., 647–686, II. 48–56. German translation in Walch, XVIII. l20–200.


Pope Leo X. was disposed to ignore the Wittenberg movement as a contemptible monkish quarrel; but when it threatened to become dangerous, he tried to make the German monk harmless by the exercise of his power. He is reported to have said first, "Brother Martin is a man of fine genius, and this outbreak is a mere squabble of envious monks;" but afterwards, "It is a drunken German who wrote the Theses; when sober he will change his mind."

Three months after the appearance of the Theses, he directed the vicar-general of the Augustinian Order to quiet down the restless monk. In March, 1518, he found it necessary to appoint a commission of inquiry under the direction of the learned Dominican Silvester Mazzolini, called from his birthplace Prierio or Prierias (also Prieras), who was master of the sacred palace and professor of theology.

Prierias came to the conclusion that Luther was an ignorant and blasphemous arch-heretic, and hastily wrote a Latin dialogue against his Theses, hoping to crush him by subtile scholastic distinctions, and the weight of papal authority (June, 1518). He identified the Pope with the Church of Rome, and the Church of Rome with the Church universal, and denounced every departure from it as a heresy. He said of Luther’s Theses, that they bite like a cur.

Luther republished the Dialogue with a reply, in which he called it "sufficiently supercilious, and thoroughly Italian and Thomistic "(August, 1518).

Prierias answered with a Replica (November, 1518). Luther republished it likewise, with a brief preface, and sent it to Prierias with the advice not to make himself any more ridiculous by writing books.

The effect of this controversy was to widen the breach.

In the mean time Luther’s fate had already been decided. The Roman hierarchy could no more tolerate such a dangerous man than the Jewish hierarchy could tolerate Christ and the apostles. On the 7th of August, 1518, he was cited to appear in Rome within sixty days to recant his heresies. On the 23d of the same month, the Pope demanded of the Elector Frederick the Wise, that he should deliver up this "child of the Devil" to the papal legate.

But the Elector, who was one of the most powerful and esteemed princes of Germany, felt unwilling to sacrifice the shining light of his beloved university, and arranged a peaceful interview with the papal legate at the Diet of Augsburg on promise of kind treatment and safe return.


 § 35. Luther and Cajetan. October, 1518.


The transactions at Augsburg were published by Luther in December, 1518, and are printed in Löscher, II. 435–492; 527–551; in Walch, XV. 636 sqq.; in the Weim. ed., II. 1–40. Luther’s Letters in De Wette, I. 147–167. Comp. Kahnis, I. 215–235; Köstlin, I. 204–238 (and his shorter biogr., Eng. trans., p. 108).


Luther accordingly proceeded to Augsburg in humble garb, and on foot, till illness forced him within a short distance from the city to take a carriage. He was accompanied by a young monk and pupil, Leonard Baier, and his friend Link. He arrived Oct. 7, 1518, and was kindly received by Dr. Conrad Peutinger and two counselors of the Elector, who advised him to behave with prudence, and to observe the customary rules of etiquette. Everybody was anxious to see the man who, like a second Herostratus, had kindled such a flame.

On Oct. 11, he received the letter of safe-conduct; and on the next day he appeared before the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan (Thomas de Vio of Gaëta), who represented the Pope at the German Diet, and was to obtain its consent to the imposition of a heavy tax for the war against the Turks.

Cajetan was, like Prierias, a Dominican and zealous Thomist, a man of great learning and moral integrity, but fond of pomp and ostentation. He wrote a standard commentary on the Summa of Thomas Aquinas (which is frequently appended to the Summa); but in his later years, till his death (1534),—perhaps in consequence of his interview with Luther,—he devoted himself chiefly to the study of the Scriptures, and urged it upon his friends. He labored with the aid of Hebrew and Greek scholars to correct the Vulgate by a more faithful version, and advocated Jerome’s liberal views on questions of criticism and the Canon, and a sober grammatical exegesis against allegorical fancies, without, however, surrendering the Catholic principle of tradition.

There was a great contrast between the Italian cardinal and the German monk, the shrewd diplomat and the frank scholar; the expounder and defender of mediaeval scholasticism, and the champion of modern biblical theology; the man of church authority, and the advocate of personal freedom.

They had three interviews (Oct. 12, 13, 14). Cajetan treated Luther with condescending courtesy, and assured him of his friendship.201  But he demanded retraction of his errors, and absolute submission to the Pope. Luther resolutely refused, and declared that he could do nothing against his conscience ; that one must obey God rather than man ; that he had the Scripture on his side; that even Peter was once reproved by Paul for misconduct (Gal. 2:11), and that surely his successor was not infallible. Still be asked the cardinal to intercede with Leo X., that he might not harshly condemn him. Cajetan threatened him with excommunication, having already the papal mandate in his hand, and dismissed him with the words: "Revoke, or do not come again into my presence."  He urged Staupitz to do his best to convert Luther, and said he was unwilling to dispute any further with that deep-eyed German beast filled with strange speculations."202

Under these circumstances, Luther, with the aid of friends who provided him with an escort, made his escape from Augsburg, through a small gate in the city-Wall, in the night of the 20th of October, on a hard-trotting hack, without pantaloons, boots, or spurs. He rode on the first day as far as the town of Monheim203 without stopping, and fell utterly exhausted upon the straw in a stable.204

He reached Wittenberg, in good spirits, on the first anniversary of his Ninety-five Theses. He forthwith published a report of his conference with a justification of his conduct. He also wrote (Nov. 19) a long and very eloquent letter to the Elector, exposing the unfairness of Cajetan, who had misrepresented the proceedings, and demanded from the Elector the delivery of Luther to Rome or his expulsion from Saxony.

Before leaving Augsburg, be left an appeal from Cajetan to the Pope, and "from the Pope ill informed to the Pope to be better informed "(a papa male informato ad papam melius informandum). Soon afterwards, Nov. 28, he formally and solemnly appealed from the Pope to a general council, and thus anticipated the papal sentence of excommunication. He expected every day maledictions from Rome, and was prepared for exile or any other fate.205  He was already tormented with the thought that the Pope might be the Anti-Christ spoken of by St. Paul in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, and asked his friend Link (Dec. 11) to give him his opinion on the subject.206  Ultimately he lost faith also in a general council, and appealed solely to the Scriptures and his conscience. The Elector urged him to moderation through Spalatin, but Luther declared: "The more those Romish grandees rage, and meditate the use of force, the less do I fear them, and shall feel all the more free to fight against the serpents of Rome. I am prepared for all, and await the judgment of God."


 § 36. Luther and Miltitz. January, 1519.


Löscher, II. 552–569; III. 6–21, 820–847. Luther’s Werke, Walch, XV. 308 sqq.; Weimar ed., II. 66 sqq. Letters in De Wette: I. 207 sqq., 233 sqq.

Joh. K. Seidemann: Karl Von Miltitz .... Eine chronol. Untersuchung. Dresden, 1844 (pp. 37). The respective sections in Marheineke, Kahnis (I. 235 sqq.), and Köstlin (I. 238 sqq. and 281 sqq.).


Before the final decision, another attempt was made to silence Luther by inducing him to revoke his heresies. Diplomacy sometimes interrupts the natural development of principles and the irresistible logic of events, but only for a short season. It usually resorts to compromises which satisfy neither party, and are cast aside. Principles must work themselves out.

Pope Leo sent his nuncio and chamberlain, Karl von Miltitz, a noble Saxon by birth, and a plausible, convivial gentleman,207  to the Elector Frederick with the rare present of a golden rose, and authorized him to negotiate with Luther. He provided him with a number of the highest recommendations to civil and ecclesiastical dignitaries.

Miltitz discovered on his journey a wide-spread and growing sympathy with Luther. He found three Germans on his side, especially in the North, to one against him. He heard bad reports about Tetzel, and summoned him; but Tetzel was afraid to travel, and died a few months afterwards (Aug. 7, 1519), partly, perhaps, in consequence of the severe censure from the papal delegate. Luther wrote to his opponent a letter of comfort, which is no more extant. Unmeasured as he could be in personal abuse, he harbored no malice or revenge in his heart.208

Miltitz held a conference with Luther in the house of Spalatin at Altenburg, Jan. 6, 1519. He was exceedingly polite and friendly; he deplored the offence and scandal of the Theses-controversy, and threw a great part of the blame on poor Tetzel; he used all his powers of persuasion, and entreated him with tears not to divide the unity of the holy Catholic Church.

They agreed that the matter should be settled by a German bishop instead of going to Rome, and that in the mean time both parties were to keep silence. Luther promised to ask the pardon of the Pope, and to warn the people against the sin of separating from the holy mother-church. After this agreement they partook of a social supper, and parted with a kiss. Miltitz must have felt very proud of his masterpiece of ecclesiastical diplomacy.

Luther complied with his promises in a way which seems irreconcilable with his honest convictions and subse-quent conduct. But we must remember the deep conflicts of his mind, the awful responsibility of his undertaking, the critical character of the situation. Well might he pause for a while, and shrink back from the idea of a separation from the church of his fathers, so intimately connected with his religious life as well as with the whole history of Christianity for fifteen hundred years. He had to break a new path which became so easy for others. We must all the more admire his conscientiousness.

In his letter to the Pope, dated March 3, 1519, he expressed the deepest personal humility, and denied that he ever intended to injure the Roman Church, which was over every other power in heaven and on earth, save only Jesus Christ the Lord over all. Yet he repudiated the idea of retracting his conscientious convictions.

In his address to the people, he allowed the value of indulgences, but only as a recompense for the "satisfaction" given by, the sinner, and urged the duty of adhering, notwithstanding her faults and sins, to the holy Roman Church, where St. Peter and St. Paul, and many Popes and thousands of martyrs, had shed their blood.

At the same time, Luther continued the careful study of history, and could find no trace of popery and its extraordinary claims in the first centuries before the Council of Nicaea. He discovered that the Papal Decretals, and the Donation of Constantine, were a forgery. He wrote to Spalatin, March 13, 1519, "I know not whether tho Pope is anti-christ himself, or his apostle; so wretchedly is Christ, that is the truth, corrupted and crucified by him in the Decretals."209


 § 37. The Leipzig Disputation. June 27-July 15, 1519.


I. Löscher, III. 203–819. Luther’s Works, Walch, XV. 954 sqq.; Weim. ed. II. 153–435 (see the literary notices of Knaake, p. 156). Luther’s letters to Spalatin and the Elector, in De Wette:, I. 284–324.

II. Joh. K. Seidemann: Die Leipziger Disputation im Jahre 1519. Dresden and Leipzig, 1843 (pp. 161). With important documents (pp. 93 sqq.)  The best book on the subject. Monographs on Carlstadt by Jäger (Stuttgart, 1856), on Eck by Wiedemann (Regensburg, 1865), and the relevant sections in Marheineke, Kahnis (I. 251–285), Köstlin, Kolde, and the general histories of the Reformation. The account by Ranke (I. 277–285) is very good. On the Roman side, see Janssen, II. 83–88 (incomplete).


The agreement between Miltitz and Luther was only a short truce. The Reformation was too deeply rooted in the wants of the age to be suppressed by the diplomacy of ecclesiastical politicians. Even if the movement had been arrested in one place, it would have broken out in another; indeed, it had already begun independently in Switzerland. Luther was no more his own master, but the organ of a higher power. "Man proposes, God disposes."

Before the controversy could be settled by a German bishop, it was revived, not without a violation of promise on both sides,210  in the disputation held in the large hall of the Castle of Pleissenburg at Leipzig, under the sanction of Duke George of Saxony, between Eck, Carlstadt, and Luther, on the doctrines of the papal primacy, free-will, good works, purgatory, and indulgences. It was one of the great intellectual battles; it lasted nearly three weeks, and excited universal attention in that deeply religious and theological age. The vital doctrines of salvation were at stake. The debate was in Latin, but Luther broke out occasionally in his more vigorous German.

The disputation began with the solemnities of a mass, a procession, an oration of Peter Mosellanus, De ratione disputandi, and the singing of Veni, Creator Spiritus. It ended with a eulogistic oration by the Leipzig professor John Lange, and the Te Deum.

The first act was the disputation between Eck and Carlstadt, on the freedom of the human will, which the former maintained, and the latter denied. The second and more important act began July 4, between Eck and Luther, chiefly on the subject of the papacy.

Dr. Eck (Johann Mair), professor of theology at Ingolstadt in Bavaria, was the champion of Romanism, a man of great learning, well-stored memory, dialectical skill, ready speech, and stentorian voice, but overconfident, conceited, and boisterous. He looked more like a butcher or soldier than a theologian. Many regarded him as a mere charlatan, and expressed their contempt for his audacity and vanity by the nicknames Keck (pert) and Geck (fop), which date from this dispute.211

Carlstadt (Andreas von Bodenstein), Luther’s impetuous and ill-balanced friend and colleague, was an unfortunate debater.212  He had a poor memory, depended on his notes, got embarrassed and confused, and furnished an easy victory to Eck. It was ominous, that, on entering Leipzig, his wagon broke down, and he fell into the mud.

Luther was inferior to Eck in historical learning and flowing Latinity, but surpassed him in knowledge of the Bible, independent judgment, originality, and depth of thought, and had the law of progress on his side. While Eck looked to the fathers, Luther went back to the grandfathers; he ascended from the stream of church history to the fountain of God’s Word; yet from the normative beginning of the apostolic age he looked hopefully into the future. Though pale and emaciated, he was cheerful, wore a little silver ring, and carried a bunch of flowers in his hand. Peter Mosellanus, a famous Latinist, who presided over the disputation, thus describes his personal appearance at that time:213

"Luther is of middle stature; his body thin, and so wasted by care and study that nearly all his bones may be counted.214  He is in the prime of life. His voice is clear and melodious. His learning, and his knowledge of Scripture are so extraordinary that he has nearly every thing at his fingers’ ends. Greek and Hebrew he understands sufficiently well to give his judgment on interpretations. For conversation, he has a rich store of subjects at his command; a vast forest (silva ingens) of thoughts and words is at his disposal. He is polite and clever. There is nothing stoical, nothing supercilious, about him; and he understands how to adapt himself to different persons and times. In society he is lively and agreeable. He is always fresh, cheerful, and at his ease, and has a pleasant countenance, however hard his enemies may threaten him, so that one cannot but believe that Heaven is with him in his great undertaking.215  Most people, however, reproach him with want of moderation in polemics, and with being rather imprudent and more cutting than befits a theologian and a reformer."

The chief interest in the disputation turned on the subject of the authority of the Pope and the infallibility of the Church. Eck maintained that the Pope is the successor of Peter, and the vicar of Christ by divine right; Luther, that this claim is contrary to the Scriptures, to the ancient church, to the Council of Nicaea,—the most sacred of all Councils,—and rests only on the frigid decrees of the Roman pontiffs.

But during the debate he changed his opinion on the authority of Councils, and thereby injured his cause in the estimation of the audience. Being charged by Eck with holding the heresy of Hus, he at first repudiated him and all schismatic tendencies; but on mature reflection he declared that Hus held some scriptural truths, and was unjustly condemned and burnt by the Council of Constance; that a general council as well as a Pope may err, and had no right to impose any article of faith not founded in the Scriptures. When Duke George, a sturdy upholder of the Catholic creed, heard Luther express sympathy with the Bohemian heresy, he shook his head, and, putting both arms in his sides, exclaimed, so that it could be heard throughout the hall, "A plague upon it!"216

From this time dates Luther’s connection with the Bohemian Brethren.

Luther concluded his argument with these words: "I am sorry that the learned doctor only dips into the Scripture as the water-spider into the water-nay, that he seems to flee from it as the Devil from the Cross. I prefer, with all deference to the Fathers, the authority of the Scripture, which I herewith recommend to the arbiters of our cause."

Both parties, as usual, claimed the victory. Eck was rewarded with honors and favors by Duke George, and followed up his fancied triumph by efforts to ruin Luther, and to gain a cardinal’s hat; but he was also severely attacked and ridiculed, especially by Willibald Pirkheimer, the famous humanist and patrician of Nürnberg, in his stinging satire, "The Polished Corner."217  The theological faculties of Cologne, Louvain, and afterwards (1521) also that of Paris, condemned the Reformer.

Luther himself was greatly dissatisfied, and regarded the disputation as a mere waste of time. He made, however, a deep impression upon younger men, and many students left Leipzig for Wittenberg. After all, he was more benefited by the disputation and the controversies growing out of it, than his opponents.

The importance of this theological tournament lies in this: that it marks a progress in Luther’s emancipation from the papal system. Here for the first time he denied the divine right and origin of the papacy, and the infallibility of a general council. Henceforward he had nothing left but the divine Scriptures, his private judgment, and his faith in God who guides the course of history by his own Spirit, through all obstructions by human errors, to a glorious end. The ship of the Reformation was cut from its moorings, and had to fight with the winds and waves of the open sea.

From this time Luther entered upon a revolutionary crusade against the Roman Church until the anarchical dissensions in his own party drove him back into a conservative and even reactionary position.

Before we proceed with the development of the Reformation, we must make the acquaintance of Melanchthon, who had accompanied Luther to the Leipzig disputation as a spectator, suggesting to him and Carlstadt occasional arguments,218 and hereafter stood by him as his faithful colleague and friend.


 § 38. Philip Melanchthon. Literature (Portrait).


The best Melanchthon collection is in the Royal Library of Berlin, which I have consulted for this list (July, 1886). The third centenary of Mel.’s death in 1860, and the erection of his monument in Wittenberg, called forth a large number of pamphlets and articles in periodicals.

I. Works of Melanchthon. The first ed. appeared at Basel, 1541, 5 vols. fol.; another by Peucer (his son-in-law), Wittenberg, 1562–64, 4 vols. fol.; again 1601. Selection of his German works by Köthe. Leipzig, 1829–30, 6 vols. *Best ed. of Opera omnia (in the "Corpus Reformatorum") by Bretschneider and Bindseil. Halle, 1834–60, 28 vols. 4°. The most important vols. for church history are vols. i.-xi. and xxi.-xxviii. The last vol. (second part) contains Annates Vitae (pp. 1–143), and very ample Indices (145–378).

Add to these: Epistolae, Judicia, Consilia, Testimonia, etc., ed. H. E. Bindseil. Halle, 1874. 8°. A supplement to the "Corpus Reform." Compare also Bindseil’s Bibliotheca Melanthoniana. Halis 1868 pp. 28). Carl Krause: Melanthoniana, Regesten und Briefe über die Beziehungen Philipp Mel. zu Anhalt und dessen Fürsten. Zerbst, 1885. pp. 185.

II. Biographies of Mel. An account of his last days by the Wittenberg professors: Brevis narratio exponens quo fine vitam in terris suam clauserit D. Phil. Mel. conscripta a professoribus academiae Vitebergensis, qui omnibus quae exponuntur interfuerunt. Viteb. 1560. 4°. The same in German. A funeral oration by Heerbrand: Oratio in obitum Mel. habita in Academia Tubingensi die decima quinta Maji. Vitebergae, 1560. *Joachim Camerarius: Vita Mel. Lips. 1566; and other edd., one with notes by Strobel. Halle, 1777; one with preface by Neander in the Vitae quatuor Reformatorum. Berlin, 1841.

Strobel: Melanchthoniana. Altdorf, 1771: Die Ehre Mel. gerettet, 1773; and other works. A. H. Niemeyer: Phil. Mel. als Praeceptor Germaniae. Halle, 1817. Fr. Aug. Cox: Life of Mel., comprising an account of the Reform. Lond. 1815, 2d ed. 1817. G. L. Fr. Delbrück: Ph. Mel. der Glaubenslehrer. Bonn, 1826. Heyd: Mel. und Tübingen, 1512–18. Tüb. 1839. *Fr. Galle: Characteristik Melanchth. als Theol. und Entw. seines Lehrbegr. Halle, 1840. *Fr. Matthes: Ph. Mel. Sein Leben u. Wirken aus den Quellen. Altenb. 1841. 2d ed. 1846. Ledderhose: Phil. Mel. nach seinem aüsseren u. inneren Leben dargestellt. Heidelberg, 1847 (English translation by Dr. Krotel. Phila. 1855). By the same: Das Leben des Phil. Mel. für das Volk. Barmen, 1858. *Mor. Meurer: Phil. Mel.’s Leben. Leipzig u. Dresden, 1860. 2d ed. 1869. Heppe: Phil. Mel. der Lehrer Deutschlands. Marburg, 1860. *Carl Schmidt: Philipp Melanchthons Leben und ausgewählte Schriften. Elberfeld, 1861 (in the "Reformatoren der Luth. Kirche"). * Herrlinger: Die Theologie Mel.’s in ihrer geschichtl. Entwicklung. Gotha, 1879.

III. Brief sketches, by Neander, in Piper’s "Evang.-Kalender" for 1851. By Nitzsch, in the "Deutsche Zeitschrift für christl. Wissenschaft,"  1855. Is. Aug. Dorner: Zum dreihundertjährigen Gedächtniss des Todes Melanchthons, 1860. Volbeding: Mel. wie er liebte und lebte (Leipz. 1860.). Kahnis: Rede zum Gedächtniss Mel.’s (Leipz. 1860). Wohlfahrt: Phil. Mel. (Leipzig, 1860). W. Thilo: Mel. im Dienste der heil. Schrift (Berlin, 1860). Paul Pressel: Phil. Mel. Ein evang. Lebensbild (Stuttg. 1860). Festreden zur Erinnerung an den 300 jährigen Todestag Phil. Mel.’s und bei der Grundsteinlegung zu dessen Denkmal zu Wittenberg, herausgeg. von Lommatzch (Wittenb. 1860). Henke: Das Verhältniss Luthers und Mel. zu einander (Marburg, 1860), and Memoria B. Phil. Mel. (Marburg, 1860). Ad. Planck: Mel. Praeceptor Germ. (Nördlingen, 1860). Tollin: Ph. Mel. und Mich. Servet. Eine Quellenstudie (Berlin, 1876). Landerer: Mel., in Herzog1 and Herzog2 ix. 471–525, revised by Herrlinger. Thiersch: Mel. (Augsburg, 1877, and New York, Am. Tract Soc. 1880). Luthardt: Melanchthon’s Arbeiten im Gebiete der Moral (Leipz. 1884). Wagenmann: Ph. Mel. (in the "Allgem. Deutsche Biographie"). Paulsen in "Gesch. des gelehrten Unterrichts "(Leipz. 1885. pp. 34 sqq.). Schaff in St. Augustin, Melanchthon, Neander (New York and London, 1886. pp. 107–127).

IV. On Mel.’s Loci, see Strobel: Literärgesch. von Ph. Mel.’s locis theologicis. Altdorf and Nürnberg, 1776. Plitt: Melanchthons Loci in ihrer Urgestalt. Erlangen, 1864.


 § 40. Melanchthon’s Early Labors.


Although yet a youth of twenty-one years of age, Melanchthon at once gained the esteem and admiration of his colleagues and hearers in Wittenberg. He was small of stature, unprepossessing in his outward appearance, diffident and timid. But his high and noble forehead, his fine blue eyes, full of fire, the intellectual expression of his countenance, the courtesy and modesty of his behavior, revealed the beauty and strength of his inner man. His learning was undoubted, his moral and religious character above suspicion. His introductory address, which he delivered four days after his arrival (Aug. 29), on "The Improvement of the Studies of Youth,"227 dispelled all fears: it contained the programme of his academic teaching, and marks an epoch in the history of liberal education in Germany. He desired to lead the youth to the sources of knowledge, and by a careful study of the languages to furnish the key for the proper understanding of the Scriptures, that they might become living members of Christ, and enjoy the fruits of His heavenly wisdom. He studied and taught theology, not merely for the enrichment of the mind, but also and chiefly for the promotion of virtue and piety.228

He at first devoted himself to philological pursuits, and did more than any of his contemporaries to revive the study of Greek for the promotion of biblical learning and the cause of the Reformation. He called the ancient languages the swaddling-clothes of the Christ-child: Luther compared them to the sheath of the sword of the Spirit. Melanchthon was master of the ancient languages; Luther, master of the German. The former, by his co-operation, secured accuracy to the German Bible; the latter, idiomatic force and poetic beauty.

In the year 1519 Melanchthon graduated as Bachelor of Divinity; the degree of Doctor he modestly declined. From that time on, he was a member of the theological faculty, and delivered also theological lectures, especially on exegesis. He taught two or three hours every day a variety of topics, including ethics, logic, Greek and Hebrew grammar; he explained Homer, Plato, Plutarch, Titus, Matthew, Romans, the Psalms. In the latter period of his life he devoted himself exclusively to sacred learning. He was never ordained, and never ascended the pulpit; but for the benefit of foreign students who were ignorant of German, he delivered every Sunday in his lecture-room a Latin sermon on the Gospels. He became at once, and continued to be, the most popular teacher at Wittenberg. He drew up the statutes of the University, which are regarded as a model. By his advice and example the higher education in Germany was regulated.

His fame attracted students from all parts of Christendom, including princes, counts, and barons. His lecture-room was crowded to overflowing, and he heard occasionally as many as eleven languages at his frugal but hospitable table. He received calls to Tübingen, Nürnberg, and Heidelberg, and was also invited to Denmark, France, and England; but he preferred remaining in Wittenberg till his death.

At the urgent request of Luther, who wished to hold him fast, and to promote his health and comfort, he married (having no vow of celibacy to prevent him) as early as August, 1520, Catharina Krapp, the worthy daughter of the burgomaster of Wittenberg, who faithfully shared with him the joys and trials of domestic life. He had from her four children, and was often seen rocking the cradle with one hand, while holding a book in the other. He used to repeat the Apostles’ Creed in his family three times a day. He esteemed his wife higher than himself. She died in 1557 while he was on a journey to the colloquy at Worms: when he heard the sad news at Heidelberg, he looked up to heaven, and exclaimed, "Farewell! I shall soon follow thee."

Next to the "Lutherhaus" with the "Luthermuseum," the most interesting dwelling in the quaint old town of Wittenberg on the banks of the Elbe is the house of Melanchthon in the Collegienstrasse. It is a three-story building, and belongs to the Prussian government, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. having bought it from its former owner. Melanchthon’s study is on the first story; there he died. Behind the house is a little garden which was connected with Luther’s garden. Here, under the shade of the tree, the two Reformers may often have exchanged views on the stirring events of the times, and encouraged each other in the great conflict. The house bears in German the inscription on the outer wall: —


"Here lived, taught, and died

Philipp Melanchthon."


 § 41. Luther and Melanchthon.


P. Schaff: Luther und Melanchthon, In his "Der Deutsche Kirchenfreund," Mercersburg, Pa., vol. III. (1850), pp. 58–64. E. L. Henke: Das Verhältniss Luthers und Melanchthons zu einander. Festrede am 19 April, 1860. Marburg (28 pages). Compare also Döllinger: Die Reformation, vol. i. 349 sqq.


"Wo sich das strenge mit dem Zarten,

Wo Starkes sich und Mildes paarten,
Da giebt es einen guten Klang." (


In great creative epochs of the Church, God associates congenial leaders for mutual help and comfort. In the Reformation of the sixteenth century, we find Luther and Melanchthon in Germany, Zwingli and Oecolampadius, Farel and Viret, Calvin and Beza in Switzerland, Craniner, Latimer, and Ridley in England, Knox and Melville in Scotland, working together with different gifts, but in the same spirit and for the same end. The Methodist revival of the eighteenth century was carried on by the co-operation of the two Wesleys and Whitefield; and the Anglo-Catholic movement of the nineteenth, by the association of Pusey, Newman, and Keble.

Immediately after his arrival at the Saxon University, on the Elbe, Melanchthon entered into an intimate relation with Luther, and became his most useful and influential co-laborer. He looked up to his elder colleague with the veneration of a son, and was carried away and controlled (sometimes against his better judgment) by the fiery genius of the Protestant Elijah; while Luther regarded him as his superior in learning, and was not ashamed to sit humbly at his feet. He attended his exegetical lectures, and published them, without the author’s wish and knowledge, for the benefit of the Church. Melanchthon declared in April, 1520, that "he would rather die than be separated from Luther;" and in November of the same year, "Martin’s welfare is dearer to me than my own life." Luther was captivated by Melanchthon’s first lecture; he admired his scholarship, loved his character, and wrote most enthusiastically about him in confidential letters to Spalatin, Reuchlin, Lange, Scheurl, and others, lauding him as a prodigy of learning and piety.229

The friendship of these two great and good men is one of the most delightful chapters in the religious drama of the sixteenth century. It rested on mutual personal esteem and hearty German affection, but especially on the consciousness of a providential mission intrusted to their united labors. Although somewhat disturbed, at a later period, by slight doctrinal differences and occasional ill-humor,230 it lasted to the end; and as they worked together for the same cause, so they now rest under the same roof in the castle church at Wittenberg, at whose doors Luther had nailed the war-cry of the Reformation.

Melanchthon descended from South Germany, Luther from North Germany; the one from the well-to-do middle classes of citizens and artisans, the other from the rough but sturdy peasantry. Melanchthon had a quiet, literary preparation for his work: Luther experienced much hardship and severe moral conflicts. The former passed to his Protestant conviction through the door of classical studies, the latter through the door of monastic asceticism; the one was fore-ordained to a professor’s chair, the other to the leadership of an army of conquest.

Luther best understood and expressed the difference of temper and character; and it is one of his noble traits, that he did not allow it to interfere with the esteem and admiration for his younger friend and colleague. "I prefer the books of Master Philippus to my own," he wrote in 1529.231  "I am rough, boisterous, stormy, and altogether warlike. I am born to fight against innumerable monsters and devils. I must remove stumps and stones, cut away thistles and thorns, and clear the wild forests; but Master Philippus comes along softly and gently, sowing and watering with joy, according to the gifts which God has abundantly bestowed upon him."

Luther was incomparably the stronger man of the two, and differed from Melanchthon as the wild mountain torrent differs from the quiet stream of the meadow, or as the rushing tempest from the gentle breeze, or, to use a scriptural illustration, as the fiery Paul from the contemplative John. Luther was a man of war, Melanchthon a man of peace. Luther’s writings smell of powder; his words are battles; he overwhelms his opponents with a roaring cannonade of argument, eloquence, passion, and abuse. Melanchthon excels in moderation and amiability, and often exercised a happy restraint upon the unmeasured violence of his colleague. Once when Luther in his wrath burst out like a thunderstorm, Melanchthon quieted him by the line, —


"Vince animos iramque tuam qui caetera vincis."


Luther was a creative genius, and pioneer of new paths; Melanchthon, a profound scholar of untiring industry. The one was emphatically the man for the people, abounding in strong and clear sense, popular eloquence, natural wit, genial humor, intrepid courage, and straightforward honesty. The other was a quiet, considerate, systematic thinker; a man of order, method, and taste, and gained the literary circles for the cause of the Reformation. He is the principal founder of a Protestant theology, and the author of the Augsburg Confession, the chief symbol of the Lutheran Church. He very properly represented the evangelical cause in all the theological conferences with the Roman-Catholic party at Augsburg, Speier, Worms, Frankfort, Ratisbon, where Luther’s presence would only have increased the heat of controversy, and widened the breach. Luther was unyielding and uncompromising against Romanism and Zwinglianism: Melanchthon was always ready for compromise and peace, as far as his honest convictions would allow, and sincerely labored to restore the broken unity of the Church. He was even willing, as his qualified subscription to the Articles of Smalcald shows, to admit a certain supremacy of the Pope (jure humano), provided he would tolerate the free preaching of the gospel. But Popery and evangelical freedom will never agree.

Luther was the boldest, the most heroic and commanding; Melanchthon, the most gentle, pious, and conscientious, of the Reformers. Melanchthon had a sensitive and irritable temperament, though under good control, and lacked courage; he felt, more keenly and painfully than any other, the tremendous responsibility of the great religious movement in which he was engaged. He would have made any personal sacrifice if he could have removed the confusion and divisions attendant upon it.232  On several occasions he showed, no doubt, too much timidity and weakness; but his concessions to the enemy, and his disposition to compromise for the sake of peace and unity, proceeded always from pure and conscientious motives.

The two Wittenberg Reformers were brought together by the hand of Providence, to supply and complete each other, and by their united talents and energies to carry forward the German Reformation, which would have assumed a very different character if it had been exclusively left in the hands of either of them.

Without Luther the Reformation would never have taken hold of the common people: without Melanchthon it would never have succeeded among the scholars of Germany. Without Luther, Melanchthon would have become a second Erasmus, though with a profounder interest in religion; and the Reformation would have resulted in a liberal theological school, instead of giving birth to a Church. However much the humble and unostentatious labors and merits of Melanchthon are overshadowed by the more striking and brilliant deeds of the heroic Luther, they were, in their own way, quite as useful and indispensable. The "still small voice" often made friends to Protestantism where the earthquake and thunder-storm produced only terror and convulsion.

Luther is greatest as a Reformer, Melanchthon as a Christian scholar. He represents in a rare degree the harmony of humanistic culture with biblical theology and piety. In this respect he surpassed all his contemporaries, even Erasmus and Reuchlin. He is, moreover, the connecting link between contending churches, and a forerunner of Christian union and catholicity which will ultimately heal the divisions and strifes of Christendom. To him applies the beatitude: "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."

The friendship of Luther and Melanchthon drew into its charming circle also some other worthy and remarkable residents of Wittenberg,—Lucas Cranach the painter, who lent his art to the service of the Reformation; Justus Jonas, who came to Wittenberg in 1521 as professor and provost of the castle church, translated several writings of Luther and Melanchthon into German, and accompanied the former to Worms (1521), and on his last journey to Eisleben (1546); and Johann Bugenhagen, called Doctor Pomeranus, who moved from Pomerania to Wittenberg in 1521 as professor and preacher, and lent the Reformers most effective aid in translating the Bible, and organized the Reformation in several cities of North Germany and in Denmark.


 § 42. Ulrich von Hutten and Luther.


Böcking’s edition of Ulrichi Hutteni equitis Germani Opera. Lips, 185–1861. 5 vols. with three supplements, 1864–1870. Davie, Friedrich Strauss (the author of the Leben Jesu): Gespräche von Ulrich von Hutten, übersetzt und erläutert, Leipz. 1860, and his biography of Ulrich von Hutten, 4th ed., Bonn, 1878 (pp. 567). A masterly work by a congenial spirit. Compare K. Hagen, Deutschlands liter. und Rel. Verh. in Reformationszeitalter, II. 47–60; Ranke, D. Gesch. I. 289–294; Janssen, II. 53 sqq. Werckshagen: Luther u. Hutten, 1888.


While Luther acquired in Melanchthon, the head of the Christian and theological wing of the humanists, a permanent and invaluable ally, he received also temporary aid and comfort from the pagan and political wing of the humanists, and its ablest leader, Ulrich von Hutten.

This literary Knight and German patriot was descended from an ancient but impoverished noble family of Franconia. He was born April 21, 1488, and began life, like Erasmus, as an involuntary monk; but he escaped from Fulda in his sixteenth year, studied humanities in the universities of Erfurt, Cologne, and Frankfurt-on-the-Oder, law at Pavia and Bologna, traveled extensively, corresponded with the most prominent men of letters, was crowned as poet by the Emperor Maximilian at Augsburg (1517), and occupied an influential position at the court of Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz (1517–1520), who had charge of the sale of indulgences in Germany.

He took a lively part in Reuchlin’s conflict with the obscurantism of the Dominicans of Cologne.233  He is, next to his friend Crotus of Erfurt, the chief author of the Epistolae obscurorum Virorum, that barbarous ridicule of barbarism, in which the ignorance, stupidity, bigotry, and vulgarity of the monks are exposed by factitious letters in their own wretched Latin with such success that they accepted them at first as genuine, and bought a number of copies for distribution.234  He vigorously attacked the abuses and corruptions of the Church, in Latin and German pamphlets, in poetry and prose, with all the weapons of learning, common-sense, wit, and satire. He was, next to Luther, the boldest and most effective polemical writer of that period, and was called the German Demosthenes on account of his philippics against Rome. His Latin is better than Luther’s, but his German far inferior. In wit and power of ridicule he resembles Lucian; at times he reminds one of Voltaire and Heine. He had a burning love of German liberty and independence. This was his chief motive for attacking Rome. He laid the axe at the root of the tree of tyranny. His motto was, "Iacta est alea. Ich hab’s gewagt."235

He republished in 1518 the tract of Laurentius Valla on the Donation of Constantine, with an embarrassing dedication to Pope Leo X., and exposed on German soil that gigantic fraud on which the temporal power of the papacy over all Christian Europe was made to rest. But his chief and most violent manifesto against Rome is a dialogue which he published under the name "Vadiscus, or the Roman Trinity," in April, 1520, a few months before Luther’s "Address to the German Nobility" (July) and his "Babylonian Captivity" (October). He here groups his experiences in Rome under several triads of what abounds in Rome, of what is lacking in Rome, of what is forbidden in Rome, of what one brings home from Rome, etc. He puts them into the mouth of a Roman consul, Vadiscus, and makes variations on them. Here are some specimens:236


"Three things keep Rome in power: the authority of the Pope, the bones of the saints, and the traffic in indulgences.

"Three things are in Rome without number:  strumpets, priests, and scribes.

"Three things abound in Rome: antiquities, poison, and ruins.

"Three things are banished from Rome: simplicity, temperance, and piety (or, in another place: poverty, the ancient discipline, and the preaching of the truth).

"Three things the Romans trade in: Christ, ecclesiastical benefices, and women.

"Three things everybody desires in Rome: short masses, good gold, and a luxurious life.

"Three things are disliked in Rome: a general council, a reformation of the clergy, and the fact that the Germans begin to open their eyes.

"Three things displease the Romans most: the unity of the Christian princes, the education of the people, and the discovery of their frauds.

"Three things are most valued in Rome: handsome women, fine horses, and papal bulls.

"Three things are in general use in Rome: luxury of the flesh, splendor in dress, and pride of the heart.

"Three things Rome can never get enough of: money for the episcopal pallium, monthly, and annual incomes from vacant benefices.237

"Three things are most praised and yet most rare in Rome. devotion, faith and innocence.

"Three things Rome brings to naught: a good conscience, devotion, and the oath.

"Three things are necessary in Rome to gain a lawsuit: money, letters of recommendation, and lies.

"Three things pilgrims usually bring back from Rome: a soiled conscience, a sick stomach, and an empty purse.

"Three things have kept Germany from getting wisdom: the stupidity of the princes, the decay of learning, and the superstition of the people.

"Three things are feared most in Rome: that the princes get united, that the people begin to open their eyes, and that Rome’s frauds are coming to light.

"Three things only could set Rome right: the determination of the princes, the impatience of the people, and an army of Turks at her doors."


This epigrammatic and pithy form made the dialogue popular and effective. Even Luther imitated it when, in his "Babylonian Captivity," he speaks of three walls, and three rods of the Papists. Hutten calls the Roman court a sink of iniquity, and says that for centuries no genuine successor of Peter had sat on his chair in Rome, but successors and imitators of Simon Magus, Nero, Domitian, and Heliogabalus.

As a remedy for these evils, he advises, not indeed the abolition of the papacy, but the withdrawal of all financial support from Germany, a reduction of the clerical force, and the permission of clerical marriage; by these means, luxury and immorality would at least be checked.

It is characteristic of the church of that age, that Hutten was on terms of intimacy with the first prelate of Germany, even while he wrote his violent attacks on Rome, and received a salary, and afterwards a pension, from him. But he lauded Albrecht to the skies for his support of liberal learning. He knew little of, and cared less for, doctrinal differences. His policy was to fight the big Pope of Rome with the little Pope of Germany, and to make the German emperor, princes, and nobles, his allies in shaking off the degrading yoke of foreign tyranny. Possibly Albrecht may have indulged in the dream of becoming the primate of an independent Catholic Church of Germany.

Unfortunately, Hutten lacked moral purity, depth, and weight. He was Frank, brave, and bold, but full of conceit, a restless adventurer, and wild stormer; able to destroy, but unable to build up. In his twentieth year he had contracted a disgusting disease which ruined him physically, and was used by his Roman opponents to ruin him morally. He suffered incredibly from it and from all sorts of quack remedies, for ten years, was attacked by it again after his cure, and yet maintained the vigor and freshness of his spirit.238

Hutten hailed the Wittenberg movement, though at first only as "a quarrel between two hot-headed monks who are shouting and screaming against each other" and hoped "that they would eat each other up." After the Leipzig disputation, he offered to Luther (first through Melanchthon) the aid of his pen and sword, and, in the name of his noble friend the Knight Franz von Sickingen, a safe retreat at Ebernburg near Kreuznach, where Martin Bucer, Johann Oecolampadius, and other fugitives from convents, and sympathizers with reform, found a hospitable home. He sent him his books with notes, that he might republish them.

But Luther was cautious. He availed himself of the literary and political sympathy, but only as far as his theological and religious position allowed. He respected Reuchlin, Erasmus, Crotus, Mutian, Pirkheimer, Hutten, and the other humanists, for their learning and opposition to monkery and priestcraft; be fully shared the patriotic indignation against Romish tyranny: but he missed in them moral earnestness, religious depth, and that enthusiasm for the pure gospel which was his controlling passion. He aimed at reformation, they at illumination. He did not relish the frivolous satire of the Epistolae obscurorum virorum; he called them silly, and the author a Hans Wurst (Jack Sausage); he would grow indignant, and weep rather than laugh, over the obscurantism and secret vices of the monks, though he had as keen a sense of the ridiculous as Crotus and Hutten. He deprecated, moreover, the resort to physical force in a spiritual warfare, and relied on the power of the Word of God, which had founded the Church, and which must reform the Church. His letters to Hutten are lost, but he wrote to Spalatin (Jan. 16, 1521): "You see what Hutten wants. I would not have the gospel defended by violence and murder. In this sense I wrote to him. By the Word the world was conquered; by the Word the Church was preserved; by the Word she will be restored. Antichrist, as he began without violence, will be crushed without violence, by the Word."

Hutten was impatient. He urged matters to a crisis. Sickingen attacked the Archbishop and Elector of Trier (Treves) to force the Reformation into his territory; but he was defeated, and died of his wounds in the hands of his enemies, May 7, 1522. Within one month all his castles were captured and mostly burnt by the allied princes; two of his sons were banished, a third was made prisoner. Luther saw in this disaster a judgment of God, and was confirmed in his aversion to the use of force.239

Hutten fled, a poor and sick exile, from Germany to Basel, and hoped to find a hospitable reception by Erasmus, his former friend and admirer; but he was coldly refused by the cautious scholar, and took bitter revenge in an unsparing attack on his character. He then went to Zürich, and was kindly and generously treated by Zwingli, who provided him with books and money, and sent him first to the hot bath of Pfeffers, and then to a quiet retreat on the island of Ufnau in the Lake of Zürich, under medical care. But he soon died there, of the incurable disease of his youth, in August, 1523, in the Prime of life (thirty-five years and four months of age), leaving nothing but his pen and sword, and the lesson: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6).

With Hutten and Sickingen the hope of a political reconstruction of Germany through means of the Reformation and physical force was destroyed. What the knights failed to accomplish, the peasants could still less secure by the general revolt two years later. But notwithstanding these checks, the Reformation was bound to succeed with spiritual weapons.


 § 43. Luther’s Crusade against Popery. 1520.


After the disputation at Leipzig, Luther lost all hope of a reformation from Rome, which was preparing a bull of excommunication.

Here begins his storm and pressure period,240  which culminated in the burning of the Pope’s bull, and the protest at the Diet of Worms.

Under severe mental anguish he was driven to the conviction that the papacy, as it existed in his day, was an anti-christian power, and the chief source and support of abuses in the Church. Prierias, Eck, Emser, and Alveld defended the most extravagant claims of the papacy with much learning, but without any discrimination between fact and fiction. Luther learned from the book of Laurentius Valla, as republished by Ulrich von Hutten, that the Donation of Constantine, by which this emperor conferred on Pope Sylvester and his successors the temporal sovereignty not only over the Lateran Palace, but also over Rome, Italy, and all the West, was a baseless forgery of the dark ages. He saw through the "devilish lies," as he called them, of the Canon law and the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals. "It must have been a plague sent by God," he says (in his "Address to the German Nobility"), "that induced so many people to accept such lies, though they are so gross and clumsy that one would think a drunken boor could lie more skillfully." Genuine Catholic scholars of a later period have exposed with irrefragable arguments this falsification of history. His view of the Church expanded beyond the limits of the papacy, and took in the Oriental Christians, and even such men as Hus, who was burned by an oecumenical council for doctrines derived from St. Paul and St. Augustin. Instead of confining the Church, like the Romanists, to an external visible communion under the Pope, he regarded it now as a spiritual communion of all believers under Christ the only Head. All the powers of indignation and hatred of Roman oppression and corruption gathered in his breast. "I can hardly doubt," he wrote to Spalatin, Feb. 23, 1520, "that the Pope is the Antichrist." In the same year, Oct. 11, he went so far as to write to Leo X. that the papal dignity was fit only for traitors like Judas Iscariot whom God had cast out.241

Luther was much confirmed in his new convictions by Melanchthon, who had independently by calm study arrived at the same conclusion. In the controversy with Eck, August, 1519, Melanchthon laid down the far-reaching principle that the Scriptures are the supreme rule of faith, and that we must not explain the Scriptures by the Fathers, but explain and judge the Fathers by the Scriptures. He discovered that even Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustin had often erred in their exegesis. A little later (September, 1519), he raised the same charge against the Councils, and maintained that a Catholic Christian could not be required to believe any thing that was not warranted by the Scriptures. He expressed doubts about transubstantiation and the whole fabric of the mass. His estimate of the supreme value of the Scriptures, especially of Paul, rose higher and higher, and made him stronger and bolder in the conflict with mediaeval tradition.

Thus fortified by the learning of Melanchthon, encouraged by the patriotic zeal of Hutten and Sickingen, goaded by the fury of his enemies, and impelled, as it were, by a preternatural impulse, Luther attacked the papal power as the very stronghold of Satan. Without personal ill-will against anybody, he had a burning indignation against the system, and transcended all bounds of moderation.242  He felt the inspiration of a prophet, and had the courage of a martyr ready to die at any moment for his conviction.

He issued in rapid succession from July till October, 1520, his three most effective reformatory works: the, "Address to the German Nobility," the "Babylonian Captivity of the Church," and the, "Freedom of a Christian Man."243  The first two are trumpets of war, and the hardest blows ever dealt by human pen to the system of popery; while the third is peaceful, and shines like a rainbow above the thunderclouds. A strange contrast!  Luther was the most conservative of radicals, and the most radical of conservatives. He had all the violence of a revolutionary orator, and at the same time the pious spirit of a contemplative mystic.

The sixteenth century was the age of practical soteriology. It had to settle the relation of man to God, to bring the believer into direct communion with Christ, and to secure to him the personal benefits of the gospel salvation. What was heretofore regarded as the exclusive privilege of the priest was to become the common privilege of every Christian. To this end, it was necessary to break down the walls which separated the clergy from the laity, and obstructed the approach to God. This was most effectually done by Luther’s anti-papal writings. On the relation of man to God rests the relation of man to his fellow-men; this is the sociological problem which forms one of the great tasks of the nineteenth century.


 § 44. Address to the German Nobility.


An den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation: von des christlichen Standes Besserung. In Walch’s ed., X. 296 sqq.; Erl. ed., XXI. 274–360; Weimar ed., VI. 404. Köstlin (in his shorter biography of Luther, p. 197 New York ed.) gives a facsimile of the title-page of the second edition. Dr. Karl Benrath of Bonn published a separate ed., with introduction and notes, as No. 4 of the "Schriften des Vereins für Reformationsgeschichte." Halle, 1886 (114 pages).


"The time for silence is gone, and the time for speaking has come." With these words (based on Eccles. 3:7) of the dedicatory preface to Amsdorf, Luther introduces his address, to his most Serene and Mighty Imperial Majesty, and to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, respecting a Reformation of the Christian Estate." The preface is dated on the Eve of St. John the Baptist (June 23), 1520; the book was hastily completed July 20,244 and before Aug. 18 no less than four thousand copies—an enormous number for those days—were published, and a new edition called for, besides reprints which soon appeared in Leipzig and Strassburg.

The book is a most stirring appeal to the German nobles, who, through Hutten and Sickingen, had recently offered their armed assistance to Luther. He calls upon them to take the much-needed Reformation of the Church into their own hands; not, indeed, by force of arms, but by legal means, in the fear of God, and in reliance upon his strength. The bishops and clergy refused to do their duty; hence the laity must come to the front of the battle for the purity and liberty of the Church.

Luther exposes without mercy the tyranny of the Pope, whose government, he says, "agrees with the government of the apostles as well as Lucifer with Christ, hell with heaven, night with day; and yet he calls himself Christ’s Vicar, and the Successor of Peter."

The book is divided into three parts: —


1. In the first part, Luther pulls down what he calls the three walls of Jericho, which the papacy had erected in self-defense against any reformation; namely, the exclusion of the laity from all control, the exclusive claim to interpret the Scriptures, and the exclusive claim to call a Council.

Under the first head, he brings out clearly and strongly, in opposition to priestcraft, the fundamental Protestant principle of the general priesthood of all baptized Christians. He attacks the distinction of two estates, one spiritual, consisting of Pope, bishops, priests, and monks; and one temporal, consisting of princes, lords, artificers, and peasants. There is only one body, under Christ the Head. All Christians belong to the spiritual estate. Baptism, gospel and faith,—these alone make spiritual and Christian people.245  We are consecrated priests by baptism; we are a royal priesthood, kings and priests before God (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 5:10). The only difference, then, between clergy and laity, is one of office and function, not of estate.

Luther represents here the ministerial office as the creature of the congregation; while at a later period, warned by democratic excesses, and the unfitness of most of the congregations of that age for a popular form of government, he laid greater stress upon the importance of the ministry as an institution of Christ. This idea of the general priesthood necessarily led to the emancipation of the laity from priestly control, and their participation in the affairs of the Church, although this has been but very imperfectly carried out in Protestant state churches. It destroyed the distinction between higher (clerical and monastic), and lower morality; it gave sanctity to the natural relations, duties, and virtues; it elevated the family as equal in dignity to virginity; it promoted general intelligence, and sharpened the sense of individual responsibility to the Church. But to the same source may be traced also the undue interference of kings, princes, and magistrates in ecclesiastical matters, and that degrading dependence of many Protestant establishments upon the secular power. Kingcraft and priestcraft are two opposite extremes, equally opposed to the spirit of Christianity. Luther, and especially Melanchthon, bitterly complained, in their later years, of the abuse of the episcopal power assumed by the magistrate, and the avarice of princes in the misappropriation of ecclesiastical property.

The principle of the general priesthood of the laity found its political and civil counterpart in the American principle of the general kingship of men, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men are born free and equal."

2. In the second part, Luther chastises the worldly pomp of the Pope and the cardinals, their insatiable greed, and exactions under false pretenses.

3. In the third part, he deals with practical suggestions. He urges sweeping reforms in twenty-seven articles, to be effected either by the civil magistrate, or by a general council of ministers and laymen.

He recommends the abolition of the annates, of the worldly pomp and idolatrous homage paid to the Pope (as kissing his feet), and of his whole temporal power, so that he should be hereafter merely a spiritual ruler, with no power over the emperor except to anoint and crown him, as a bishop crowns a king, as Samuel crowned Saul and David.

He strongly demands the abrogation of enforced clerical celibacy, which destroys instead of promoting chastity, and is the cause of untold misery. Clergymen should be allowed to marry, or not to marry, according to their gift and sense of duty.

Masses for the dead should be abolished, since they have become a solemn mockery, and devices for getting money, thus exciting the anger of God.

Processions, saints’ days, and most of the public festivals, except Sunday, should be abrogated, since holy days have become most unholy by drinking, gambling, and idling.

Monasteries should be reduced in number, and converted into schools, with freedom to enter and to leave without binding vows.

Certain punishments of the Canon law should cease, especially the interdict which silences God’s word and service,—a greater sin than to kill twenty Popes at once.

Fasts should be voluntary and optional; for whilst at Rome they laugh at fasts, they let us abroad eat oil which they would not think fit for greasing their boots, and then sell us the liberty of eating butter and other things; whereas the apostle says that the gospel has given us liberty in all such matters (1 Cor. 10:25 sq.).

He also would forbid all begging in Christendom; each town should support its own poor, and not allow strange beggars to come in, whether pilgrims or mendicant monks; it is not right that one should work that another may be idle, and live ill that another may live well, but "if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thess. 3:10).

He counsels a reduction of the clerical force, and the prohibition of pluralities. "As for the fraternities, together with indulgences, letters of indulgence, dispensations, masses, and all such things, let them all be drowned and abolished."

He recommends (Art. 24) to do justice to, and make peace with, the Bohemians; for Hus and Jerome of Prague were unjustly burnt, in violation of the safe-conduct promised by the Pope and the Emperor. Heretics should be overcome with books, not with fire; else, the hangmen would be the most learned doctors in the world, and there would be no need of study."

In Art. 25, Luther urges a sound reformation of the universities, which had become "schools of Greek fashion" and "heathenish manners" (2 Macc. 4:12, 13), and are, full of dissolute living." He is unjustly severe upon Aristotle, whom he calls a "dead, blind, accursed, proud, knavish heathen teacher." His logic, rhetoric, and poetic might be, retained; but his physics, metaphysics, ethics, and the book "Of the Soul" (which teaches that the soul dies with the body) ought to be banished, and the study of the languages, mathematics, history, and especially of the Holy Scriptures, cultivated instead. "Nothing is more devilishly mischievous," he says, "than an unreformed university." He would also have the Canon law banished, of which there is "nothing good but the name," and which is no better than "waste paper."

He does not spare national vices. He justly rebukes the extravagance in dress, the usury, and especially the intemperance in eating and drinking, for which, he says, "we Germans have an ill reputation in foreign countries, as our special vice, and which has become so common, and gained so much the upper hand, that sermons avail nothing." (His frequent protest against the "Saufteufel" of the Germans, as he calls their love of drink, is still unheeded. In temperance the Southern nations of Europe are far ahead of those of the North.)

In conclusion, he expresses the expectation that he will be condemned upon earth. "My greatest care and fear is, lest my cause be not condemned by men; by which I should know for certain that it does not please God. Therefore let them freely go to work, Pope, bishop, priest, monk, or doctor: they are the true people to persecute the truth, as they have always done. May God grant us all a Christian understanding, and especially to the Christian nobility of the German nation true spiritual courage, to do what is best for our unhappy Church. Amen."


The book was a firebrand thrown into the headquarters of the papal church. It anticipated a reply to the papal bull, and prepared the public mind for it. It went right to the heart of the Germans, in their own language wielded with a force as never before, and gave increased weight to the hundred grievances of long standing against Rome. But it alarmed some of his best friends. They condemned or regretted his biting severity.246  Staupitz tried at the eleventh hour to prevent the publication, and soon afterwards (Aug. 23, 1520) resigned his position as general vicar of the Angustinians, and retired to Salzburg, feeling himself unequal to the conflict. John Lange called the book a "blast for assault, atrocious and ferocious." Some feared that it might lead to a religious war. Melanchthon could not approve the violence, but dared not to check the spirit of the new Elijah. Luther defended himself by referring to the example of Paul and the prophets: it was necessary to be severe in order to get a hearing; he felt sure that he was not moved by desire for glory or money or pleasure, and disclaimed the intention of stirring up sedition and war; he only wished to clear the way for a free general council; he was perhaps the forerunner of Master Philippus in fighting Ahab and the prophets of Baal after the example of Elijah (1 Kings 18).247




The following extracts give a fair idea of Luther’s polemic against the Pope in this remarkable book: —


"The custom of kissing the Pope’s feet must cease. It is an un-Christian, or rather an anti-Christian example, that a poor sinful man should suffer his feet to be kissed by one who is a hundred times better than he. If it is done in honor of his power, why does he not do it to others in honor of their holiness?  Compare them together: Christ and the Pope. Christ washed his disciples’ feet, and dried them, and the disciples never washed his. The Pope, pretending to be higher than Christ, inverts this, and considers it a great favor to let us kiss his feet: whereas if any one wished to do so, he ought to do his utmost to prevent them, as St. Paul and Barnabas would not suffer themselves to be worshiped as gods by the men at Lystra, saying, ’We also are men of like passions with you’ (Acts 14:14 seq.). But our flatterers have brought things to such a pitch, that they have set up an idol for us, until no one regards God with such fear, or honors him with such reverence, as they do the Pope. This they can suffer, but not that the Pope’s glory should be diminished a single hairsbreadth. Now, if they were Christians, and preferred God’s honor to their own, the Pope would never be willing to have God’s honor despised, and his own exalted; nor would he allow any to honor him, until he found that God’s honor was again exalted above his own.

"It is of a piece with this revolting pride, that the Pope is not satisfied with riding on horseback or in a carriage, but, though he be hale and strong, is carried by men like an idol in unheard-of pomp. I ask you, how does this Lucifer-like pride agree with the example of Christ, who went on foot, as did also all his apostles?  Where has there been a king who lived in such worldly pomp as he does, who professes to be the head of all whose duty it is to despise and flee from all worldly pomp—I mean, of all Christians?  Not that this need concern us for his own sake, but that we have good reason to fear God’s wrath, if we flatter such pride, and do not show our discontent. It is enough that the Pope should be so mad and foolish, but it is too much that we should sanction and approve it."

After enumerating all the abuses to which the Pope and his Canon law give sanction, and which he upholds with his usurped authority, Luther addresses him in this impassioned style: —

"Dost thou hear this, O Pope! not the most holy, but the most sinful?  Would that God would hurl thy chair headlong from heaven, and cast it down into the abyss of hell!  Who gave you the power to exalt yourself above God? to break and to loose what he has commanded? to teach Christians, more especially Germans, who are of noble nature, and are famed in all histories for uprightness and truth, to be false, unfaithful, perjured, treacherous, and wicked?  God has commanded to keep faith and observe oaths even with enemies: you dare to cancel his command, laying it down in your heretical, antichristian decretals, that you have power to do so; and through your mouth and your pen Satan lies as he never lied before, teaching you to twist and pervert the Scriptures according to your own arbitrary will. O Lord Christ! look down upon this, let thy day of judgment come and destroy the Devil’s lair at Rome. Behold him of whom St. Paul spoke (2 Thess. 2:3, 4), that he should exalt himself above thee, and sit in thy Church, showing himself as God—the man of sin and the child of damnation .... The Pope treads God’s commandments under foot, and exalts his own: if this is not Antichrist, I do not know what it is."

Janssen (II. 100) calls Luther’s "Address to the German Nobility" "das eigentliche Kriegsmanifest der Lutherisch-Huttenschen Revolutionspartei," and "ein Signal zum gewaltsamen Angriff." But the book nowhere counsels war; and in the letter to Link he says expressly: "nec hoc a me agitur, ut seditionem moveam, sed ut concilio generali libertatem asseram"(De Wette, I. 479). Janssen quotes (p. 103) a very vehement passage from Luther’s contemporaneous postscript to a book of Prierias which he republished (De juridica et irrefragabili veritate Romanae Ecclesiae Romanique Pontificis), expressing a wish that the Emperor, kings, and princes would make a bloody end to Pope and cardinals and the whole rabble of the Romish Sodom. But this extreme and isolated passage is set aside by his repeated declarations against carnal warfare, and was provoked by the astounding assertions of Prierias, the master of the papal palace, that the Pope was the infallible judge of all controversies, the head of all spiritual, the father of all secular princes, the head of the Church and of the whole universe (caput totius orbis universi). Against such blasphemy Luther breaks out in these words: "Mihi vero videtur, si sic pergat furor Romanistarum, nullum reliquum esse remedium, quam ut imperator, reges et principes vi et armis accincti aggrediantur has pestes orbis terrarum, remque non jam verbis, sed ferro decernant .... Si fures furca, si latrones gladio, si haereticos igne plectimus, cur non magis hos magistros perditionis, hos cardinales, hos papas et totam istam romanae Sodomae colluviem, quae ecclesiam Dei sine fine corrumpit, omnibus armis impetimus, et manus nostras in sanguine eorum lavamus? tanquam a communi et omnium periculosissimo incendio nos nostrosque liberaturi." Erl. ed., Opera Latina, II. 107. He means a national resistance under the guidance of the Emperor and rightful rulers.


 § 45. The Babylonian Captivity of the Church. October, 1520.


De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae Praeludium D. Martini Lutheri. Wittenb. 1520. Erl. ed. Opera Lat., vol. V. 13–118; German translation (Von der Babylonischen Gefängniss, etc.) by an unknown author, 1520, reprinted in Walch, XIX. 5–153, and in 0. v. Gerlach, IV. 65–199; the Lat. original again in the Weimar ed., vol. V. An English translation by Buchheim in First Principles of the Reformation (London, 1883), pp. 141–245.


In closing the "Address to the Nobility," Luther announces: "I have another song still to sing concerning Rome. If they wish to hear it, I will sing it to them, and sing with all my might. Do you understand, my friend Rome, what I mean?"

This new song, or second war-trumpet, was the book on the, "Babylonian Captivity of the Church," published in the beginning of October, 1520.248  He calls it a "prelude," as if the real battle were yet to come. He intended it for scholars and the clergy, and therefore wrote in Latin. It is a polemical, theological work of far-reaching consequences, cutting one of the roots of Romanism, and looking towards a new type of Christian life and worship. He attacks the sacramental system of the Roman Church, by which she accompanies and controls the life of the Christian from the cradle to the grave, and brings every important act and event under the power of the priest. This system he represents as a captivity, and Rome as the modern Babylon. Yet he was very far from undervaluing the importance and benefit of the sacrament; and as far as the doctrine of baptism and the eucharist is concerned, he agreed better with the Catholic than with the Zwinglian view.

Luther begins by thanking his Romish opponents for promoting his theological education. "Two years ago," he says, "I wrote about indulgences when I was still involved in superstitious respect for the tyranny of Rome; but now I have learned, by the kind aid of Prierias and the friars, that indulgences are nothing but wicked devices of the flatterers of Rome. Afterwards Eck and Emser instructed me concerning the primacy of the Pope. While I denied the divine right, I still admitted the human right; but after reading the super-subtle subtilties of those coxcombs in defense of their idol, I became convinced that the papacy is the kingdom of Babylon and the power of Nimrod the mighty hunter. Now a learned professor of Leipzig writes against me on the sacrament in both kinds, and is about to do still greater wonders.249  He says that it was neither commanded nor decreed, whether by Christ or the apostles, that both kinds should be administered to the laity."


1. Luther first discusses the sacrament of the Holy Communion, and opposes three errors as a threefold bondage; namely, the withdrawal of the cup from the laity, the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the sacrifice of the mass.

(a) As regards the withdrawal of the cup, he refutes the flimsy arguments of Alveld, and proves from the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul, that the whole sacrament was intended for the laity as well as the clergy, according to the command, "Drink ye all of this." Each writer attaches the mark of universality to the cup, not to the bread, as if the Spirit foresaw the (Bohemian) schism. The blood of Christ was shed for all for the remission of sins. If the laymen have the thing, why should they be refused the sign which is much less than the thing itself?  The Church has no more right to take away the cup from the laity than the bread. The Romanists are the heretics and schismatics in this case, and not the Bohemians and the Greeks who take their stand on the manifest teaching of the Word of God. "I conclude, then, that to deny reception in both kinds to the laity is an act of impiety and tyranny, and one not in the power of any angel, much less of any Pope or council whatsoever." ... "The sacrament does not belong to the priests, but to all; nor are the priests lords, but servants, whose duty it is to give both kinds to those who seek them, as often as they seek them." ... "Since the Bishop of Rome has ceased to be a bishop, and has become a tyrant, I fear absolutely none of his decrees; for I know that neither he, nor even a general council, has authority to establish new articles of faith."

(b) The doctrine of transubstantiation is a milder bondage, and might be held alongside with the other and more natural view of the real presence, which leaves the elements unchanged. It is well known that Luther was to the end of life a firm believer in the real presence, and oral manducation of the very body and blood of Christ by unworthy as well as worthy communicants (of course, with opposite effects). He denied a miraculous change of the substance of the elements, but maintained the co-existence of the body and blood in, with, and under bread and wine, both being real, the one invisible and the other visible.250  In this book he claims toleration for both theories, with a personal preference for the latter. "Christians are at liberty, without peril to their salvation, to imagine, think, or believe in either of the two ways, since here there is no necessity of faith." ... "I will not listen to those, or make the slightest account of them, who will cry out that this doctrine is Wiclifite, Hussite, heretical, and opposed to the decisions of the Church." The Scripture does not say that the elements are transubstantiated: Paul calls them real bread and real wine, just as the cup was real. Moreover, Christ speaks (figuratively), "This cup is the new covenant in my blood," meaning his blood contained in the cup. Transubstantiation is a scholastic or Aristotelian figment of the twelfth century.251  "Why should Christ not be able to include his body within the substance of bread, as well as within the accidents?  Fire and iron, two different substances, are so mingled in red-hot iron, that in every part of it are both fire and iron. Why may not the glorious body of Christ much more be in every part of the substance of the bread?"  Common people do not understand the difference between substance and accidents, nor argue about it, but "believe with simple faith that the body and blood of Christ are truly contained in the elements." So also the incarnation does not require a transubstantiation of the human nature, that so the Godhead may be contained beneath the accidents of the human nature; "but each nature is entire, and we can say with truth, This man is God; this God is man."

(c) The sacrifice of the mass: that is, the offering to God of the very body and blood of Christ by the hands of the priest when he pronounces the words of institution; in other words, an actual repetition of the atoning sacrifice of the cross, only in an unbloody manner. This institution is the very heart of Roman-Catholic (and Greek-Catholic) worship. Luther attacks it as the third bondage, and the most impious of all. He feels the difficulty, and perhaps impossibility, of a task which involves an entire revolution of public worship. "At this day," he says, "there is no belief in the Church more generally received, or more firmly held, than that the mass is a good work and a sacrifice. This abuse has brought in an infinite flood of other abuses, until faith in the sacrament has been utterly lost, and they have made this divine sacrament a mere subject of traffic, huckstering, and money-getting contracts; and the entire maintenance of priests and monks depends upon these things." He goes back to the simplicity of the primitive institution of the Lord’s Supper, which is a thankful commemoration of the atoning death of Christ, with a blessing attached to it, namely, the forgiveness of sins, to be appropriated by faith. The substance of this sacrament is promise and faith. It is a gift of God to man, not a gift of man to God. It is, like baptism, to be received, and not to be given. The Romanists have changed it into a good work of man and an opus operatum, by which they imagine to please God; and have surrounded it with so many prayers, signs, vestments, gestures, and ceremonies, that the original meaning is obscured. "They make God no longer the bestower of good gifts on us, but the receiver of ours. Alas for such impiety!"  He proves from the ancient Church that the offering of the eucharist, as the name indicates, was originally a thank-offering of the gifts of the communicants for the benefit of the poor. The true sacrifice which we are to offer to God is our thanks, our possessions, and our whole person. He also objects to the use of the Latin language in the mass, and demands the vernacular.

2. The sacrament of Baptism. Luther thanks God that this sacrament has been preserved uninjured, and kept from "the foul and impious monstrosities of avarice and superstition." He agrees essentially with the Roman doctrine, and considers baptism as a means of regeneration; while Zwingli and Calvin regarded it merely as a sign and seal of preceding regeneration and church-membership. He even makes more of it than the Romanists, and opposes the prevailing view of St. Jerome, that penitence is a second plank of refuge after shipwreck. Instead of relying on priestly absolution, it is better to go back to the remission of sins secured in baptism. "When we rise out of our sins, and exercise penitence, we are simply reverting to the efficacy of baptism and to faith in it, whence we had fallen; and we return to the promise then made to us, but which we had abandoned through our sin. For the truth of the promise once made always abides, and is ready to stretch out the hand and receive us when we return."

As to the mode of baptism, he gives here, as elsewhere, his preference to immersion, which then still prevailed in England and in some parts of the Continent, and which was not a point of dispute either between Romanists and Protestants, or between Protestants and Anabaptists; while on the question of infant-baptism the Anabaptists differed from both. "Baptism," he says, "is that dipping into water whence it takes its name. For, in Greek to baptize signifies to dip, and baptism is a dipping." "Baptism signifies two things,—death and resurrection; that is, full and complete justification. When the minister dips the child into the water, this signifies death; when he draws him out again, this signifies life. Thus Paul explains the matter (Rom. 6:4) .... I could wish that the baptized should be totally immersed, according to the meaning of the word and the signification of the mystery; not that I think it necessary to do so, but that it would be well that so complete and perfect a thing as baptism should also be completely and perfectly expressed in the sign."

Luther’s view of baptismal regeneration seems to be inconsistent with his chief doctrine of justification by faith alone. He says, "It is not baptism which justifies any man, or is of any advantage; but faith in that word of promise to which baptism is added: for this justifies and fulfills the meaning of baptism. For faith is the submerging of the old man, and the emerging of the new man." But how does this apply to baptized infants, who can not be said to have faith in any proper sense of the term, though they have undoubtedly the capacity of faith?  Luther here brings in the vicarious faith of the parents or the Church. But he suggests also the idea that faith is produced in the children, through baptism, on the ground of their religious receptivity.

3. Lastly, Luther attacks the traditional number of the sacraments. He allows "only two sacraments in the Church of God, Baptism and Bread; since it is in these alone that we see both a sign divinely instituted, and a promise of remission of sins." In some sense he retains also the sacrament of Penance, as a way and means of return to baptism.

The rest of the seven Roman sacraments—confirmation, marriage, ordination, and extreme unction—he rejects because they can not be proved from Scripture, and are not commanded by Christ.

Matrimony has existed from the beginning of the world, and belongs to all mankind. Why, then, should it be called a sacrament?  Paul calls it a "mystery," but not a sacrament, as translated in the Vulgate (Ep. 5:32); or rather he speaks there of the union of Christ and the Church, which is reflected in matrimony as in a sort of allegory. But the Pope has restricted this universal human institution by rigorous impediments derived from spiritual affinity and legal relationship. He forbids it to the clergy, and claims the power to annull rightful marriages, even against the will of one of the parties. "Learn, then, in this one matter of matrimony, into what an unhappy and hopeless state of confusion, hindrance, entanglement, and peril all things that are done in the Church have been brought by the pestilent and impious traditions of men!  There is no hope of a remedy, unless we do away with all the laws of men, call back the gospel of liberty, and judge and rule all things according to it alone."

Luther closes with these words: "I hear a report that fresh bulls and papal curses are being, prepared against me, by which I am urged to recant, or else to be declared a heretic. If this is true, I wish this little book to be a part of my future recantation, that they may not complain that their tyranny has puffed itself up in vain. I shall also shortly publish, Christ being my helper, such a recantation as the See of Rome has never yet seen or heard, thus abundantly testifying my obedience in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.252  Amen.


" ’Hostis Herodes impie,

Christum venire quid times?

Non arripit mortalia

Qui regna dat coelestia.’ "


 § 46. Christian Freedom.—Luther’s  Last Letter to the Pope. October, 1520.


Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen, Wittenberg, 1520; often reprinted separately, and in the collected works of Luther. See Walch, XIX. 1206 sqq.; Erl. ed., XXVII. 173–200 (from the first ed.); Gerlach’s ed. V. 5–46. The Latin edition, De Libertate Christiana, was finished a little later, and has some additions; see Erl. ed. Opera Lat., IV. 206–255. Luther’s letter to the Pope in Latin and German is printed also in De Wette, I. 497–515. English version of the tract and the letter by Buchheim, l.c. 95–137.


Although Rome had already condemned Luther, the papal delegate Miltitz still entertained the hope of a peaceful settlement. He had extracted from Luther the promise to write to the Pope. He had a final interview with him and Melanchthon at Lichtenberg (now Lichtenburg, in the district of Torgau), in the convent of St. Antony, Oct. 11, 1520, a few days after Luther had seen the bull of excommunication. It was agreed that Luther should write a book, and a letter in Latin and German to Leo X., and assure him that he had never attacked his person, and that Dr. Eck was responsible for the whole trouble. The book was to be finished in twelve days, but. dated back to Sept. 6 in order to avoid the appearance of being occasioned by the Pope’s bull.

This is the origin of two of the most remarkable productions of Luther,—his little book on "Christian Freedom," and a dedicatory letter to Leo X.

The beautiful tract on "Christian Freedom" is a pearl among Luther’s writings. It presents a striking contrast to his polemic treatises against Rome, which were intended to break down the tyranny of popery. And yet it is a positive complement to them, and quite as necessary for a full understanding of his position. While opposing the Pope’s tyranny, Luther was far from advocating the opposite extreme of license. He was thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the Epistle to the Galatians, which protests against both extremes, and inspired the keynote to Luther’s Tract. He shows wherein true liberty consists. He means liberty according to the gospel; liberty in Christ, not from Christ; and offers this as a basis for reconciliation. He presents here a popular summary of Christian life. He keeps free from all polemics, and writes in the best spirit of that practical mysticism which connected him with Staupitz and Tauler.

The leading idea is: The Christian is the lord of all, and subject to none, by virtue of faith; he is the servant of all, and subject to every one, by virtue of love. Faith and love constitute the Christian: the one binds him to God, the other to his fellow-man. The idea is derived from St. Paul, who says, "Though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more" (1 Cor. 9:19); and "Owe no man any thing, save to love one another" (Rom. 13:8). It was carried out by Christ, who was Lord of all things, yet born of a woman, born under the law that he might redeem them who were under the law (Gal. 4:4); who was at once in the form of God, and in the form of a servant (Phil. 2:6, 7). The Christian life is an imitation of the’ life of Christ,—a favorite idea of the mediaeval mystics.

Man is made free by faith, which alone justifies; but it manifests itself in love, and all good works. The person must first be good before good works can be done, and good works proceed from a good person; as Christ says, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matt. 7:18). The fruit does not bear the tree, nor does the tree grow on the fruit; but the tree bears the fruit, and the fruit grows on the tree. So it is in all handicrafts. A good or bad house does not make a good or bad builder, but the good or bad builder makes a good or bad house. Such is the case with the works of men. Such as the man himself is, whether in faith or in unbelief, such is his work; good if it is done in faith, bad if in unbelief. Faith, as it makes man a believer, so also it makes his works good; but works do not make a believing man, nor a justified man. We do not reject works; nay, we commend them, and teach them in the highest degree. It is not on their own account that we condemn them, but on account of the perverse notion of seeking justification by them. "From faith flow forth love and joy in the Lord; and from love, a cheerful, willing, free spirit, disposed to serve our neighbor voluntarily, without taking any account of gratitude or ingratitude, praise or blame, gain or loss. Its object is not to lay men under obligations; nor does it distinguish between friends and enemies, or look to gratitude or ingratitude; but most freely and willingly it spends itself and its goods, whether it loses them through ingratitude, or gains good-will. For thus did its Father, distributing all things to all men abundantly and freely, making his sun to rise upon the just and the unjust. Thus, too, the child does and endures nothing except from the free joy with which it delights through Christ in God, the giver of such great gifts." ...

"Who, then, can comprehend the riches and glory of the Christian life?  It can do all things, has all things, and is in want of nothing; is lord over sin, death, and hell, and, at the same time, is the obedient and useful servant of all. But alas! it is at this day unknown throughout the world; it is neither preached nor sought after, so that we are quite ignorant about our own name, why we are and are called Christians. We are certainly called so from Christ, who is not absent, but dwells among us, provided we believe in him; and are reciprocally and mutually one the Christ of the other, doing to our neighbor as Christ does to us. But now, in the doctrine of men, we are taught only to seek after merits, rewards, and things which are already ours; and we have made of Christ a task-master far more severe than Moses." ...

"We conclude, then, that a Christian man does not live in and for himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor, or else is no Christian; in Christ by faith, in his neighbor by love. By faith he is carried upwards above himself to God, and by love he descends below himself to his neighbor, still always abiding in God and his love; as Christ says, ’Verily I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man’ " (John 1:51

In the Latin text Luther adds some excellent remarks against those who misunderstand and distort spiritual liberty, turn it into an occasion of carnal license, and show their freedom by their contempt of ceremonies, traditions, and human laws. St. Paul teaches us to walk in the middle path, condemning either extreme, and saying, "Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth" (Rom. 14:3). We must resist the hardened and obstinate ceremonialists, as Paul resisted the Judaizers who would compel Titus to be circumcised; and we must spare the weak who are not yet able to apprehend the liberty of faith. We must fight against the wolves, but on behalf of the sheep, not against the sheep.

This Irenicon must meet with the approval of every true Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant. It breathes the spirit of a genuine disciple of St. Paul. It is full of heroic faith and childlike simplicity. It takes rank with the best books of Luther, and rises far above the angry controversies of his age, during which he composed it, in the full possession of the positive truth and peace of the religion of Christ.253

Luther sent the book to Pope Leo X., who was too worldly-minded a man to appreciate it; and accompanied the same with a most singular and undiplomatic, yet powerful polemic letter, which, if the Pope ever read it, must have filled him with mingled feelings of indignation and disgust. In his first letter to the Pope (1518), Luther had thrown himself at his feet as an obedient son of the vicar of Christ; in his second letter (1519), he still had addressed him as a humble subject, yet refusing to recant his conscientious convictions: in his third and last letter he addressed him as an equal, speaking to him with great respect for his personal character (even beyond his deserts), but denouncing in the severest terms the Roman See, and comparing him to a lamb among wolves, and to Daniel in the den of lions. The Popes, he says, are vicars of Christ because Christ is absent from Rome.254  Miltitz and the Augustinian brethren, who urged him to write an apologetic letter to Leo, must have been sorely disappointed; for it destroyed all prospects of reconciliation, if they had not been destroyed already.

After some complimentary words about Leo, and protesting that he had never spoken disrespectfully of his person, Luther goes on to say, —


"The Church of Rome, formerly the most holy of all churches, has become the most lawless den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the very kingdom of sin, death, and hell; so that not even Antichrist, if he were to come, could devise any addition to its wickedness.

"Meanwhile you, Leo, are sitting like a lamb in the midst of wolves, like Daniel in the midst of lions, and, with Ezekiel, you dwell among scorpions. What opposition can you alone make to these monstrous evils?  Take to yourself three or four of the most learned and best of the cardinals. What are these among so many?  You would all perish by poison, before you could undertake to decide on a remedy. It is all over with the court of Rome: the wrath of God has come upon her to the uttermost. She hates Councils, she dreads to be reformed, she cannot restrain the madness of her impiety; she fills up the sentence passed on her mother, of whom it is said, ’We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; let us forsake her.’  It had been your duty, and that of your cardinals, to apply a remedy to these evils; but this gout laughs at the physician’s hand, and the chariot does not obey the reins. Under the influence of these feelings I have always grieved that you, most excellent Leo, who were worthy of a better age, have been made pontiff in this. For the Roman court is not worthy of you and those like you, but of Satan himself, who in truth is more the ruler in that Babylon than you are.

"Oh, would that, having laid aside that glory which your most abandoned enemies declare to be yours, you were living rather in the office of a private priest, or on your paternal inheritance!  In that glory none are worthy to glory, except the race of Iscariot, the children of perdition. For what happens in your court, Leo, except that, the more wicked and execrable any man is, the more prosperously he can use your name and authority for the ruin of the property and souls of men, for the multiplication of crimes, for the oppression of faith and truth, and of the whole Church of God?  O Leo! in reality most unfortunate, and sitting on a most perilous throne: verily I tell you the truth, because I wish you well; for if Bernard felt compassion for his Anastasius at a time when the Roman See, though even then most corrupt, was as yet ruling with better hope than now, why should not we lament, to whom so much additional corruption and ruin has happened in three hundred years?

Is it not true that there is nothing under the vast heavens more corrupt, more pestilential, more hateful, than the court of Rome?  She incomparably surpasses the impiety of the Turks, so that in very truth she, who was formerly the gate of heaven, is now a sort of open mouth of hell, and such a mouth as, under the urgent wrath of God, can not be blocked up; one course alone being left to us wretched men,—to call back and save some few, if we can, from that Roman gulf.

"Behold, Leo my father, with what purpose and on what principle it is that I have stormed against that seat of pestilence. I am so far from having felt any rage against your person, that I even hoped to gain favor with you and to aid in your welfare, by striking actively and vigorously at that your prison, nay, your hell. For, whatever the efforts of all intellects can contrive against the confusion of that impious court will be advantageous to you and to your welfare, and to many others with you. Those who do harm to her are doing your work; those who in every way abhor her are glorifying Christ; in short, those are Christians who are not Romans ....

"In fine, that I may not approach your Holiness empty-handed, I bring with me this little book,255  published under your name, as a good omen of the establishment of peace and of good hope. By this you may perceive in what pursuits I should prefer and be able to occupy myself to more profit, if I were allowed, or had been hitherto allowed, by your impious flatterers. It is a small book, if you look to the paper; but, unless I mistake, it is a summary of the Christian life put together in small compass, if you apprehend its meaning. I, in my poverty, have no other present to make you; nor do you need any thing else than to be enriched by a spiritual gift. I commend myself to your Holiness, whom may the Lord Jesus preserve for ever. Amen.

"Wittenberg, 6th September, 1520."


 § 47. The bull of Excommunication. June 15, 1520.


The bull "Exurge, Domine," in the Bullarium Romanum, ed. CAR. Cocquelines, Tom. III., Pars III. (ab anno 1431 ad 1521), pp. 487–493, and in Raynaldus (continuator of Baronius): Annal. Eccl., ad ann. 1520, no. 51 (Tom. XX. fol. 303–306). Raynaldus calls Luther "apostatam nefandissimum," and takes the bull from Cochlaeus, who, besides Eck and Ulemberg (a Protestant apostate), is the chief authority for his meager and distorted account of the German Reformation. A copy of the original edition of the bull is in the Astor Library, New York. See Notes.

U. v. Hutten published the bull with biting glosses: Bulla Decimi Leonis contra errores Lutheri et sequacium, or Die glossirte Bulle (in Hutten’s Opera, ed. Böcking, V. 301–333; in the Erl. ed. of Luther’s Op. Lat., IV. 261–304; also in German in Walch, XV. 1691 sqq.; comp. Strauss: U. v. Hutten, p. 338 sqq.). The glosses in smaller type interrupt the text, or are put on the margin. Luther: Von den neuen Eckischen Bullen und Lügen (Sept. 1520); Adv. execrabilem Antichristi bullam (Nov. 1520); Wider die Bullen des Endchrists (Nov. 1520; the same book as the preceding Latin work, but sharper and stronger); Warum des Papsts und seiner Jünger Bücher verbrannt sind (Lat. and Germ., Dec. 1520); all in Walch, XV. fol. 1674–1917; Erl. ed., XXIV. 14–164, and Op. Lat. V. 132–238; 251–271. Luther’s letters to Spalatin and others on the bull of excommunication, in De Wette, I. 518–532.

Ranke: I. 294–301. Merle D’Aubigné, bk. VI. ch. III. sqq. Hagenbach, III. 100–102. Kahnis: I. 306–341. Köstlin: I. 379–382. Kolde: I. 280 sqq. Janssen: II. 108 sqq.


After the Leipzig disputation, Dr. Eck went to Rome, and strained every nerve to secure the condemnation of Luther and his followers.256  Cardinals Campeggi and Cajetan, Prierias and Aleander, aided him. Cajetan was sick, but had himself carried on his couch into the sessions of the consistory. With considerable difficulty the bull of excommunication was drawn up in May, and after several amendments completed June 15, 1520.257

Nearly three years had elapsed since the publication of Luther’s Ninety-five Theses. In the mean time he had attacked with increasing violence the very foundations of the Roman Church, had denounced popery as an antichristian tyranny, and had dared to appeal from the Pope to a general council, contrary to the decisions of Pius II. and Julius II., who declared such an appeal to be heresy. Between the completion and the promulgation of the bull, he went still further in his, "Address to the German Nobility," and the book on the "Babylonian Captivity," and made a reconciliation impossible except by an absolute surrender, which was a moral impossibility for him. Rome could not tolerate Lutheranism any longer without ceasing to be Rome. She delayed final action only for political and prudential considerations, especially in view of the election of a new German Emperor, and the influential voice of the Elector Frederick, who was offered, but declined, the imperial crown.

The bull of excommunication is the papal counter-manifesto to Luther’s Theses, and condemns in him the whole cause of the Protestant Reformation. Therein lies its historical significance. It was the last bull addressed to Latin Christendom as an undivided whole, and the first which was disobeyed by a large part of it. Instead of causing Luther and his friends to be burnt, it was burnt by Luther. It is an elaborate document, prepared with great care in the usual heavy, turgid, and tedious style of the curia. It breathes the genuine spirit of the papal hierarchy, and mingles the tones of priestly arrogance, concern for truth, abomination of heresy and schism, fatherly sorrow, and penal severity. The Pope speaks as if he were the personal embodiment of the truth, the infallible judge of all matters of faith, and the dispenser of eternal rewards and punishments.

He begins with the words of Ps. 74:22: "Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily. Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually." He calls St. Peter, St. Paul, and the whole body of the saints, to aid against "the boar out of the wood" and "the wild beast of the field" that had broken into the vineyard of the Lord, to waste and destroy it (Ps. 80:13). He expresses deep sorrow at the revival of the Bohemian and other heresies in the noble German nation which had received the empire from the Pope, and shed so much precious blood against heresy. Then he condemns forty-one propositions selected from Luther’s books, as heretical, or at least scandalous and offensive to pious ears, and sentences all his books to the flames. Among the errors named are those relating to the sacramental and hierarchical system, especially the authority of the Pope and the (Roman) Church. The denial of free will (liberum arbitrium) after the fall is also condemned, though clearly taught by St. Augustin. But Luther’s fundamental doctrine of justification by faith is not expressly mentioned. The sentences are torn from the connection, and presented in the most objectionable form as mere negations of Catholic doctrines. The positive views of the Reformer are not stated, or distorted.

For the person of Luther, the Pope professes fatherly love and forbearance, and entreats him once more, by the mercies of God and the blood of Christ, to repent and recant within sixty days after the publication of the bull in the Brandenburg, Meissen, and Merseburg dioceses, and promises to receive him graciously like the prodigal son. But failing to repent, he and his adherents will be cut off, as withered branches, from the vine of Christ, and be punished as obstinate heretics. This means that they shall be burned; for the bull expressly condemns the proposition of Luther which denounces the burning of heretics as "contrary to the will of the Holy Spirit." All princes, magistrates, and citizens are exhorted, on threat of excommunication and promise of reward, to seize Luther and his followers, and to hand him over to the apostolic chair. Places which harbor him or his followers are threatened with the interdict. Christians are forbidden to read, print, or publish any of his books, and are commanded to burn them.

We may infer from this document in what a state of intellectual slavery Christendom would be at the present time if the papal power had succeeded in crushing the Reformation. It is difficult to estimate the debt we owe to Martin Luther for freedom and progress.

The promulgation and execution of the bull were intrusted to two Italian prelates, Aleander and Caraccioli, and to Dr. Eck. The personal enemy of Luther, who had been especially active in procuring the bull, was now sent back in triumph with the dignity of a papal nuncio, and even with the extraordinary power of including by name several followers of Luther, among whom he singled out Carlstadt and Dolzig of Wittenberg, Adelmann of Augsburg, Egranus of Zwickau, and the humanists Pirkheimer and Spengler of Nürnberg. The selection of Eck, the most unpopular man in Germany, was a great mistake of the Pope, as Roman historians admit, and it helped the cause of the Reformation.258

The bull was published and carried out without much difficulty in Mayence, Cologne, and Louvain; and Luther’s books were committed to the flames, with the sanction of the new Emperor. But in Northern Germany, which was the proper seat of the conflict, it met with determined resistance, and was defeated. Eck printed and placarded the bull at Ingolstadt, at Meissen (Sept. 21), at Merseburg (Sept. 25), and at Brandenburg (Sept. 29). But in Leipzig where a year before he had achieved his boasted victory over Luther in public debate, he was insulted by the students (one hundred and fifty had come over from Wittenberg), and took flight in a convent; the bull was bespattered, and torn to pieces.259  He fared still worse in Erfurt, where he had been ridiculed and held up to scorn as a second Hochstraten in the satire Eccius dedolatus (printed at Erfurt in March, 1520): the theological faculty refused to publish the bull; and the students threw the printed copies into the water, saying, "It is only a water-bubble (bulla), let it float on the water."260

Eck sent the bull to the rector of the University of Wittenberg, Oct. 3, 1520, with the request to prohibit the teaching of any of the condemned propositions of Luther, and threatening that, in case of disobedience, the Pope would recall all the liberties and privileges of the university. The professors and counselors of the Elector declined the promulgation for various reasons.

The Elector Frederick was on the way to Aachen to assist at the coronation of Charles V., but was detained at Cologne by the gout. There he received the bull from Aleander after the mass, Nov. 4, and was urged with eloquent words to execute it, and to punish Luther or to send him to Rome; but he cautiously deferred an answer, and sought the advice of Erasmus in the presence of Spalatin. The famous scholar gave it as his judgment, that Luther’s crime consisted in having touched the triple crown of the Pope and the stomachs of the monks;261 he also wrote to Spalatin, after the interview, that the Pope’s bull offended all upright men by its ferocity and was unworthy of a meek vicar of Christ.262  The Elector was thus confirmed in his favorable view of Luther. He sent Spalatin to Wittenberg, where some students had left in consequence of the bull; but Spalatin was encouraged, and found that Melanchthon had about six hundred, Luther four hundred hearers, and that the church was crowded whenever Luther preached. A few weeks afterward the Pope’s bull was burnt.




As I do not find the bull in any of the Protestant or Roman-Catholic church histories which I have consulted (except the Annals of Raynaldus), I give it here in full as transcribed from an original copy in possession of the Astor Library, New York (probably the only one on the American Continent), together with facsimiles of titlepage and first page (see preceeding pages in text). The pamphlet contains twenty pages, small quarto, and is printed continuously, like ancient MSS. I have divided it into sections, with headings, and noted the departures of Cocquelines and Raynaldus from the original.




Leo Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei.263

Ad perpetuam rel memoriam.


[Proömium. The Pope invokes God, St. Peter and St. Paul, and all the saints, against the new enemies of the Church.]


Exurge, Domine, et judica causam tuam, memor esto improperiorum tuorum, eorum, quae ab insipientibus fiunt totâ die; inclina aurem tuam ad preces nostras, quoniam surrexerunt vulpes quaerentes demoliri vineam, cujus tu torcular calcasti solus, et ascensurus ad Patrem ejus curam, regimen et administrationem Petro tanquam capiti et tuo vicario, ejusque successoribus instar triumphantis Ecclesiae commisisti: exterminate nititur eam aper de silva, et singularis ferus depasci [tur] eam. Exurge, Petre, et pro pastorali cura praefata tibi (ut praefertur) divinitus demandata, intende in causam sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, Matris omnium ecclesiarum, se fidei magistrae, quam tu, jubente Deo, tuo sanguine consecrasti, contra quam, sicut tu praemonere dignatus es, insurgunt magistri mendaces introducentes sectas perditionis, sibi celerem interitum superducentes,264 quorum lingua ignis est, inquietum malum, plena veneno mortifero, qui zelum amarum habentes et contentiones in cordibus suis, gloriantur, et mendaces sunt adversus veritatem. Exurge tu quoque, quaesumus, Paule, qui eam tuâ doctrinâ et pari martyrio illuminasti atque illustrasti. Jam enim surgit novus Porphyrius; quia sicut ille olim sanctos Apostolos injuste momordit, ita hic sanctos Pontifices praedecessores nostros contra tuam doctrinam eos non obsecrando, sed increpando, mordere, lacerare, ac ubi causae suae265 diffidit, ad convicia accedere non veretur, more haereticorum, quorum (ut inquit Hieronymus) ultimum presidium est, ut cum conspiciant causas suas damnatum iri, incipiant virus serpentis linguâ diffundere; et cum se victos conspiciant, ad contuinelias prosilire. Nam licet haereses esse ad exercitationem fidelium in dixeris oportere, eas tamen, ne incrementum accipiant, neve vulpeculae coalescant, in ipso ortu, te intercedente et adjuvante, extingui necesse est.

Exurgat denique,266 omnis Sanctorum, ac reliqua universalis Ecclesia, cujus vera sacrarum literarum interpretatione posthabitâ, quidam, quorum mentem pater mendacii excaecavit, ex veteri haereticorum instituto, apud semetipsos sapientes, scripturas easdem aliter quam Spiritus sanctus flagitet, proprio dumtaxat sensu ambitionis, auraeque popularis causâ, teste Apostolo, interpretantur, immo vero torquent et adulterant, ita ut juxta Hieronymum jam non sit evangelium Christi, sed hominis, aut quod pejus est, diaboli. Exurgat, inquam, praefata Ecclesia sancta Dei, et una cum beatissimis Apostolis praefatis267 apud Deum omnipotentem intercedat, ut purgatis ovium suarum erroribus, eliminatisque a fidelium finibus haeresibus universis Ecclesiae suae sanctae pacem et unitatem conservare dignetur.


[The errors of the Greeks and Bohemians revived by Luther and his followers.]


Dudum siquidem268 quod prae animi angustia et moerore exprimere vix possumus, fide dignorum relatu ac famâ publicâ referente ad nostrum pervenit auditum, immo vero, proh dolor! oculis nostris vidimus ac legimus, multos et varios errores quosdam videlicet jam per Concilia ac Praedec-essorum nostrorum constitutiones damnatos, haeresim etiam Graecorum et Bohemicam expresse continentes: alios vero respective, vel haereticos, vel falsos, vel scandalosos, vel piarum aurium offensivos, vel simplicium mentium seductivos, a falsis fidei cultoribus, qui per superbam curiositatem mundi gloriam cupientes, contra Apostoli doctrinam plus sapere volunt, quam oporteat; quorum garrulitas (ut inquit Hieronymus) sine scripturarum auctoritate non haberet fidem, nisi viderentur perversam doctrinam etiam divinis testimoniis, male tamen interpretatis, roborare: a quorum oculis Dei timor recessit, humani generis hoste suggerente, noviter suscitatos, et nuper apud quosdam leviores in inclyta natione Germanica seminatos.


[The Germans, who received the empire from the Pope, were formerly most zealous against heresy, but now give birth to the most dangerous errors.]


Quod eo magis dolemus ibi269 evenisse, quod eandem nationem et nos et Praedecessores nostri in visceribus semper gesserimus caritatis. Nam post translatum ex Grecis a Romana Ecclesia in eosdem Germanos imperium, iidem Praedecessores nostri et nos ejusdem Ecclesiae advocates defensoresque ex eis semper accepimus; quos quidem Germanos, Catholicae veritatis vere germanos, constat haeresum [haeresium] acerrimos oppugnatores270 semper fuisse: cujus rei testes sunt laudabiles illae constitutiones Germanorum Imperatorum pro libertate Ecclesiae, proque expellendis exterminandisque ex omni Germania haereticis, sub gravissimis poenis, etiam amissionis terrarum et dominiorum, contra receptatores vel non expellentes olim editae, et à nostris Praedecessoribus confirmatae, quae si hodie servarentur, et nos et ipsi utique hae molestiâ careremus. Testis est in Concilio Constantiensi Hussitarum ac Wiccleffistarum, necnon Hieronymi Pragensis damnata ac punita perfidia. Testis est totiens contra Bohemos Germanorum sanguis effusus. Testis denique est praedictorum errorum, seu multorum ex eis per Coloniensem et Lovaniensem Universitates, utpote agri dominici piissimas religiosissimasque cultrices, non minus docta quam vera ac sancta confutatio, reprobatio, et damnatio. Multa quoque alia allegare possemus, quae, ne historiam texere videamur, praetermittenda censuimus.

Pro pastorals igitur officii, divinâ gratiâ, nobis injuncti cura, quam gerimus, praedictorum errorum virus pestiferum ulterius tolerare seu dissimulare sine Christianae, religionis nota, atque orthodoxae fidei injuria nullo modo possumus. Eorum autem errorum aliquos praesentibus duximus inferendos, quorum tenor sequitur, et est talis: —


[Forty-one heretical sentences selected from Luther’s writings.]


I. Haeretica sententia est, sed usitata, Sacramenta novae legis justificantem gratiam illis dare, qui non ponunt obicem.

II. In puero post baptismum negare remanens peccatum, est Paulum et Christum simul conculcare.

III. Fomes peccati, etiam si nullum adsit actuale peccatum, moratur exeuntem a corpore animam ab ingressu coeli.

IV. Imperfecta caritas morituri fert secum necessario magnum timorem, qui se solo satis est facere poenam purgatorii, et impedit introitum regni.

V. Tres esse partes poenitentiae, contritionem, confessionem, et satisfactionem, non est fundatum in sacra scriptura, nec in antiquis sanctis Christianis doctoribus.

VI. Contritio, quae paratus per discussionem, collectionem,271 et deteststionem peccatorum, qua quis recogitat annos suos in amaritudine animae suae, ponderando peccatorum gravitatem, multitudinem, foeditatem, amissionem aeternae beatitudinis, ac aeternae damnationis acquisitionem, haec contritio facit hypocritam, immo magis peccatorem.

VII. Verissimum est proverbium, et omnium doctrina de contritionibus hucusque data praestantius, de cetero non facere, summa poenitentia, optima poenitentia, nova vita.

VIII. Nullo modo praesumas confiteri peccata venialia, sed nec omnia mortalia, quia impossibile est, ut omnia mortalia cognoscas: unde in primitiva Ecclesia solum manifesta mortalia confitebantur.

IX. Dum volumus omnia pure confiteri, nihil aliud facimus, quam quod misericordiae Dei nihil volumus relinquere ignoscendum.

X. Peccata non sunt illi remissa, nisi remittente sacerdote credat sibi remitti; immo peccatum maneret nisi remissum crederet; non enim sufficit remissio peccati et gratiae donatio, sed oportet etiam credere esse remissum.

XI. Nullo modo confidas absolvi propter tuam contritionem, sed propter verbum Christi: "Quodcumque solveris." etc. Sic, inquam, confide, si sacerdotis obtinueris absolutionem, et crede fortiter te absolutum; et absolutus vere eris,272  quidquid sit de contritione.

XII. Si per impossibile confessus non esset contritus, aut sacerdos non serio, sed joco absolveret, si tamen credat se absolutum, verissime est absolutus.

XIII. In sacramento poenitentiae se remissione culpae non plus facit Papa aut episcopus, quam infimus sacerdos; immo ubi non est sacerdos, aeque tantum quilibet Christianus, etiam si mulier, aut puer esset.

XIV. Nullus debet sacerdote respondere, se esse contritum, nec273 sacerdos requirere.

XV. Magnus est error eorum, qui ad sacramenta Eucharistiae accedunt huic innixi, quod sint confessi, quod non sint sibi conscii alicujus peccati mortalis; quod praemiserint orationes suas et praeparatoria; omnes illi ad274 judicium sibi manducant et bibunt; sed si credant et confidant se gratiam ibi consecuturos, haec sola fides facit eos puros et dignos.

XVI. Consultum videtur, quod Ecclesia in communi concilio275 statueret, laicos sub utraque specie communicandos; nec Bohemi communicantes sub utraque specie276 sunt haeretici, sed schismatici.

XVII. Thesauri Ecclesiae, unde Papa dat indulgentias, non sunt merita Christi et sanctorum.

XVIII. Indulgentiae sunt piae fraudes fidelium, et remissiones bonorum onerum, et sunt de numero eorum, quae licent, et non de numero eorum, quae expediunt.

XIX. Indulgentiae his, qui veraciter eas consequuntur, non valent ad remissionem poenae pro peccatis actualibus debitae ad divinam justitiam.

XX. Seducuntur credentes indulgentias esse salutares, et ad fructum spiritûs utiles.

XXI. Indulgentiae necessariae sunt solum publicis criminibus, et proprie conceduntur duris solummodo et impatientibus.

XXII. Sex generibus hominum indulgentiae nec sunt necessariae, nec utiles; videlicet mortuis seu morituris, infirmis, legitime impeditis, his qui non commiserunt crimina, his qui crimina commiserunt, sed non publica, his qui meliora operantur.

XXIII. Excommunicationes sunt tantum externae poenae, nec privant hominem communibus spiritualibus Ecclesiae orationibus.

XXIV. Docendi sunt Christiani plus diligere excommunicationem quam timere.

XXV. Romanus Pontifex, Petri successor, non est Christi vicarius super omnes mundi ecclesias ab ipso Christo in beato Petro institutus.

XXVI. Verbum Christi ad Petrum: "Quodcumque solveris super terram," etc., extenditur duntaxat ad ligata ab ipso Petro.

XXVII. Certum est in manu Ecclesiae aut Papae prorsus non esse statuere articulos fidei, immo nec leges morum, seu bonorum operum.

XXVIII. Si Papa cum magna parte Ecclesiae sic vel sic sentiret, nec etiam erraret, adhuc non est peccatum aut haeresis contrarium sentire, praesertim in re non necessaria ad salutem, donec fuerit per Concilium universale alterum reprobatum, alterum approbatum.

XXIX. Via nobis facta est enarrandi auctoritatem Conciliorum, et libere contradicendi eorum gestis, et judicandi eorum decreta, et confidenter confitendi quidquid verum videtur, sive probatum fuerit, sive reprobatum a quocunque concilio.

XXX. Aliqui articuli Joannis Husz condemnati in concilio Constantiensi sunt Christianissimi, verissimi et evangelici, quos non universalis Ecclesia posset damnare.

XXXI. In omni opere bono Justus peccat.

XXXII. Opus bonum optime factum veniale est peccatum.

XXXIII. Haereticos comburi est contra voluntatem Spiritûs.277

XXXIV. Praeliari adversus Turcas est repugnare Deo visitanti iniquitates nostras per illos.

XXXV. Nemo est certus se non semper peccare mortaliter propter occultissimum superbaa vitium.

XXXVI. Liberum arbitrium post peccatum est res de solo titulo, et dum facit quod in se est, peccat mortaliter.

XXXVII. Purgatorium non potest probari ex sacra scriptura, quae sit in canone.

XXXVIII. Animae in purgatorio non sunt securae de earum salute, saltem omnes; nec probatum est ullis aut rationibus aut scripturis, ipsas esse extra statum merendi, aut278 agendae caritatis.

XXXIX. Animae in purgatorio peccant sine intermissione, quamdiu quaerunt requiem, et horrent poenas.

XL. Animae ex purgatorio liberatae suffragiis viventium minus beantur, quam si per se satisfecissent.

XLI. Praelati ecclesiastica et principes seculares non malefacerent si omnes saccos mendicitatis279 delerent.


[These propositions are condemned as heretical, scandalous, offensive, and contrary to Catholic truth.]


Qui quidem errores respective quam sint pestiferi, quam perniciosi, quam scandalosi, quam piarum et simplicium mentium seductivi, quam denique sint contra omnem charitatem, ac sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae matris omnium fidelium et magistrae fidei reverentiam atque nervum ecclesiasticae disciplines, obedientiam scilicet, quae fons est et origo omnium virtutum, sine qua facile unusquisque infidelis esse convincitur, nemo sanae mentis ignorat. Nos Igitur in praemissis, utpote gravissimis, propensius (ut decet) procedere, necnon hujusmodi pesti morboque canceroso, ne in agro Dominico tanquam vepris nociva ulterius serpat, viam praecludere cupientes, habita super praedictis erroribus, et eorum singulis diligenti trutinatione, discussione, ac districto examine, maturaque deliberatione, omnibusque rite pensatis ac saeepius ventilatis cum venerabilibus fratribus nostris sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalibus, ac regularium ordinum Prioribus, seu ministris generalibus, plurisbusque aliis sacrae theologiae, necnon utriusque juris professoribus sive magistris, et quidem peritissimis, reperimus eosdem errores respective (ut praefertur) aut articulos non esse catholicos, nec tanquam tales esse dogmatizandos, sed contra Ecclesivae Catholicae doctrinam sive traditionem, atque ab ea veram divinarum scripturarum receptam interpretationem, cujus auctoritati ita acquiescendum censuit Augustinus, ut dixerit, se Evangelio non fuisse crediturum, nisi Ecclesiae Catholicae intervenisset auctoritas. Nam ex eisdem erroribus, vel eorum aliquo, vel aliquibus, palam sequitur, eandem Ecclesiam, quae Spiritu sancto regitur, errare, et semper errasse. Quod est utique contra illud, quod Christus discipulis suis in ascensione sua (ut in sancto Evangelio Matthaei legitur) promisit dicens: "Ego vobiscum sum usque ad consummationem seculi;" necnon contra Sanctorum Patrum determinationes, Conciliorum quoque et summorum Pontificum expressas ordinationes seu canones, quibus non obtemperasse omnium haeresum et schismatum, teste Cypriano, fomes et causa semper fuit.

De eorundem itaque venerabilium fratrum nostrorum consilio et assensu, se omnium et singulorum praedictorum maturâ deliberatione praedicta, auctoritate omnipotentis Dei, et beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et nostra, praefatos omnes et singulos articulos seu errores, tanquam (ut praemittitur) respective haereticos, aut scandalosos, aut falsos, aut piarum aurium offensivos, vel simplicium mentium seductivos, et veritate Catholicae obviantes, damnamus, reprobamus, ac omnino rejicimus, ac pro damnatis, reprobatis, et rejectis ab omnibus utriusque sexûs Christi fidelibus haberi debere, harum serie decernimus et declaramus.280


[Prohibition of the defence and publication of these errors.]


Inhibentes in virtute sanctae obedientiae ac sub majoris excommunicationis latae sententiae, necnon quoad Ecclesiasticas et Regulares personas, Episcopalium omnium, etiam Patriarchalium, Metropolitanarum et aliarum Cathedralium Ecclesiarum, Monasteriorum quoque et Prioratuum etiam Conventualium et quarumcunque281 dignitatum aut Beneficiorum Ecclesiasticorum, Saecularium aut quorum vis Ordinum Regularium, privationis et inhabilitatis ad illa, et alia in posterum obtinenda. Quo vero ad Conventus, Capitula seu domos, aut pia loca saecularium, vel regularium, etiam Mendicantium, necnon Universitatis etiam studiorum generalium quorumcunque privilegiorum indultorum a Sede Apostolica, vel ejus Legatis, aut alias quomodolibet habitorum, vel obtentorum, cujuscumque tenoris existant: necnon nominis et potestatis studium generale tenendi, legendi, ac interpretandi quasvis scientias et facultates et inhabilitatis ad illa et alia in posterum obtinenda: Praedicationis quoque officii ac amissionis studii generalis et omnium privilegiorum ejusdem. Quo vero ad saeculares ejusdem excommunicationis, necnon amissionis cujuscumque emphyteosis, seu quorumcunque feudorum, tam a Romana Ecclesia, quam alias quomodolibet obtentorum, ac etiam inhabilitatis ad illa et alia in posterum obtinenda. Necnon quo ad omnes et singulos superius nominatos, inhibitionis Ecclesiasticae sepulturae inhabilitatisque ad omnes et singulos actus legitimos, infamiae ac diffidationis et criminis laesae majestatis, et haereticorum et fautorum eorundem in jure expressis poenis, eo ipso et absque ulteriori declaratione per omnes et singulos supradictos, si (quod absit) contrafecerint, incurrendis. A quibus vigore cujuscumque facultatis et clausularum etiam in confessionalibus quibusvis personis, sub quibusvis verborum formis contentarum, nisi a Romano Pontifice vel alio ab eo ad id in specie facultatem habente, praeterquam in mortis artlculo constitute, absolvi nequeant. Omnibus et singulis utriusque sexus Christifidelibus, tam Laicis quam Clericis, Saecularibus et quorumvis Ordinum Regularibus, et aliis quibuscumque personis cujuscumque status, gradus, vel conditionis existant, et quarumque ecclesiastica vel mundana praefulgeant dignitate, etiam S. R. E. Cardinalibas, Patriarchis, Primatibus, Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Patriarchalium, Metropolitanarum et aliaram Cathedralium, Collegiatarum ac inferiorum ecclesiarum Praelatis, Clericis aliisque personis Eccleslasticis, Saecularibus et quorumvis Ordinum etiam Mendicantium regularibus, Abbatibus, Prioribus vel Ministris generalibus vel particularibus, Fratribus, seu Religiosis, exemptis et non exemptis: Studiorum quoque Universitatibus Saecularibus et quorumvis Ordinum etiam Mendicantium regularibus, necnon Regibus, Imperatori, Electoribus, Principibus, Ducibus, Marchionibus, Comitibus, Baronibus, Capitaneis, Conductoribus, Domicellis, omnibusque Officialibus, Judicibus, Notariis Ecelesiasticis et Saecularibus, Communitatibus, Universitatibus, Potentatibus, Civitatibus, Castris, Terris et locis, seu eorum vel earum civibus, habitatoribus et incolis, ac quibusvis aliis personis Ecclesiasticis, vel Regularibus (ut praefertur) per universum orbem, ubicumque, praesertim in Alemania existentibus, vel pro tempore futures, ne praefatos errores, aut eorum aliquos, perversamque doctrinam hujusmodi asserere, affirmare, defendere, praedicare, aut illi quomodolibet, publice vel occulte, quovis quaesito ingenio vel colore, tacite vel expresse favere praesumant.


[The writings of Luther are forbidden, and ordered to be burnt.]


Insuper quia errores praefati, et plures alii continentur in libellis seu scriptis Martini Luther, dictos libellos, et omnia dicti Martini scripta, seu praedicationes in Latino, vel quocumque alio idiomate reperiantur, in quibus dicti errores, seu eorum aliquis continentur, similiter damnamus, reprobamus, atque omnino rejicimus, et pro damnatis, reprobatis, ac rejectis (ut praefertur) haberi volumus, mandantes in virtute sanctae obedientiae et sub poenis praedictis eo ipso incurrendis, omnibus et singulis utriusque sexûs Christifidelibus superius nominatis, ne hujusmodi scripta, libellos, praedicationes, seu schedulas, vel in eis contenta capitula, errores, aut articulos supradictos continentia legere, asserere, praedicare, laudare, imprimere, publicare, sive defendere per se vel alium, seu alios directe vel indirecte, tacite vel expresse, publice vel occulte, aut in domibus suis sive aliis publicis vel privatis locis tenere quoquo modo praesumant; quinimmo illa statim post harum publicationem ubicumque fuerint, per ordinaries et alios supradictos diligenter quaesita, publice et solemniter in praesentia cleri et populi sub omnibus et singulis supradictis poenis comburant.


[Martin Luther was often warned with paternal charity to desist from these errors, and cited to Rome with the promise of safe-conduct.]


Quod vero ad ipsum Martinum attinet, (bone Deus) quid praetermisimus, quid non fecimus, quid paternae charitatis omisimus, ut eum ab hujusmodi erroribus revocaremus?  Postquam enim ipsum citavimus, mitius cum eo procedere volentes, illum invitavimus, atque tam per diversos tractatus cum legato nostro habitos, quam per literas nostras hortati fuimus, ut a paedictis erroribus discederet, aut oblato etiam salvo conductu et pecuniâ ad iter necessariâ, sine metu seu timore aliquo quem perfecta charitas foras mittere debuit, veniret, ac Salvatoris nostri Apostolique Pauli exemplo, non occulto, sed palam et in facie loqueretur. Quod si fecisset, pro certe (ut arbitramur) ad cor reversus errores suos cognovisset, nec in Romana curia, quam tantopere vanis malevolorum rumoribus plusquam oportuit tribuendo vituperat, tot reperisset errata; docuissemusque cum luce clarius, sanctos Romanos Pontifices, quos praeter omnem modestiam injuriose lacerat, in suis canonibus, seu constitutionibus, quas mordere nititur, nunquam errasse; quia juxta prophetam, nec in Galahad resina, nec medicus deest. Sed obaudivit semper, et praedicta citatione omnibus et singulis supradictis spretis venire contempsit, ac usque in praesentem diem contumax, atque animo indurate censuras ultra annum sustinuit: et quod deterius est, addens mala malis, de citatione hujusmodi notitiam habens, in vocem temerariae appellationis prorupit ad futurum concilium contra constitutionem Pii Secundi ac Julii Secundi, praedecessorum nostrorum, qua cavetur, taliter appellantes haereticorum poenâ plectendos (frustra etiam Consilii auxilium imploravit, qui illi se non credere palam profitetur); ita ut contra ipsum tanquam de fide notorie suspectum, immo vere haereticum absque ulterori citatione vel mora ad condemnationem et damnationem ejus tanquam haeretici, ac ad omnium et singularum suprascriptarum poenarum et censurarum severitatem procedere possemus.


[Luther is again exhorted to repent, and promised the reception of the prodigal son.]


Nihilominus de eorundem fratrum nostroruin consilio, omnipotentis Dei imitantes clementiam, qui non vult mortem peccatoris, sed magis ut convertatur et vivat, omnium injuriarum hactenus nobis et Apostolicqae sedi illatarum obliti, omni qua possumus pietate uti decrevimus, et quantum in nobis est, agere, ut propositâ mansuetudinis viâ ad cor revertatur, et a praedictis recedat erroribus, ut ipsum tanquam filium illum prodigum ad gremium Ecclesiae revertentem benigne recipiamus. Ipsum igitur Martinum et quoscumque ei adhaerentes, ejusque receptatores et fautores per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri, et per aspersionem sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, quo et per quem humani generis redemptio, et sanctae matris Ecclesiae aedificatio facta est, ex tote corde hortamur et obsecramus, ut ipsius Ecclesiae pacem, unitatem et veritatem, pro qua ipse Salvator tam instanter oravit ad Patrem, turbare desistant, et a praedictis, tam perniciosis erroribus prorsus abstineant, inventuri apud nos si effectualiter paruerint, et paruisse per legitima documenta nos certificaverint, paternae charitatis affectum, et apertum mansuetudinis et clementiae fontem.


[Luther is suspended from the functions of the ministry, and given sixty days, after the publication of the bull, to recant.]


Inhibentes nihilominus eidem Martino ex nunc, ut interim ab omni praedicatione seu praedicationis officio omnino desistat. Alioquin in ipsum Martinum si forte justitiae et virtutis amor a peccato non retrahat, indulgentiaeque spes ad poenitentiam non reducat, poenarum terror coërceat disciplinae: eundem Martinum ejusque adhaerentes complices, fautores, et receptatores tenore praesentium requirimus, et monemus in virtute sanctae obedientiae, sub praedictis omnibus et singulis poenis eo ipso incurrendis districte praecipiendo mandamus, quatenus infra sexaginta dies, quorum viginti pro primo, viginti pro secundo, et reliquos viginti dies pro tertio et peremptorio termino assignamus ab affixione praesentium in locis infrascriptis immediate sequentes numerandos, ipse Martinus, complices, fautores, adhaerentes, et receptatores praedicti a praefatis erroribus, eorumque praedicatione, ac publications, et assertione, defensione quoque et librorum seu scripturarum editione super eisdem, sive eorum aliquo omnino desistant, librosque ac scripturas omnes et singulas praefatos errores seu eorum aliquos quomodolibet continentes comburant, vel comburi faciant. Ipse etiam Martinus errores et assertiones hujusmodi omnino revocet, ac de revocatione hujusmodi per publica documenta in forma juris valida in manibus duorum Praelatorum consignata ad nos infra alios similes sexaginta dies transmittenda, vel per ipsummet (si ad nos venire voluerit, quod magis placeret) cum praefato plenissimo salvo conductu, quem ex nunc concedimus deferenda, nos certiores efficiat, ut de ejus vera obedientia nullus dubitationis scrupulus valeat remanere.


[In case Luther and his followers refuse to recant within sixty days, they will be excommunicated, and dealt with according to law.]


Alias si (quod absit) Martinus praefatus, complices, fautores, adhaerentes et receptatores praedicti secus egerint, seu proemissa omnia et singula infra terminum praedictum cum effectu non adimpleverint, Apostoli imitantes doctrinam, qui haereticum hominem post primam et secundam correctionem vitandum docuit, ex nunc prout ex tunc, et e converso eundem Martinum, complices, adhaerentes, fautores et receptatores praefatos et eorum quemlibet tanquam aridos palmites in Christo non manentes, sed doctrinam contrariam, Catholicae fidei inimicam, sive scandalosam seu damnatam, in non modicam offensam divinae majestatis, ac universalis Ecclesiae, et fidei Catholicae detrimentum et scandalum dogmatizantes, claves quoque Ecclesiae vilipendentes, notorios et pertinaces haereticos eâdem auctoritate fuisse et esse declarantes, eosdem ut tales harum serie condemnamus, et eos pro talibus haberi ab omnibus utriusque sexus Christi fidelibus supradictis volumus et mandamus. Eosque omnes et singulos omnibus supradictis et aliis contra tales a jure inflictis poenis praesentium tenore subjicimus, et eisdem irretitos fuisse et esse decernimus et declaramus.


[All Catholics are admonished not to read, print, or publish any book of Luther and his followers, but to burn them.]


Inhibemus praeterea sub omnibus et singulis praemissis poenis eo ipso incurrendis, omnibus et singulis Christi fidelibus superius nominatis, ne scripta, etiam praefatos errores non continentia, ab eodem Martino quomodolibet condita vel edita, aut condenda vel edenda, seu eorum aliqua tanquam ab homine orthodoxae fidei inimico, atque ideo vehementer suspecta, et ut ejus memoria omnino deleatur de Christifidelium consortio, legere, asserere, praedicare, laudare, imprimere, publicare, sive defendere, per se vel alium seu alios, directe vel indirecte, tacite vel expresse, publice vel occulte, seu in domibus suis, sive aliis locis publicis vel privatis tenere quoquomodo praesumant, quinimmo illa comburant, ut praefertur.282


[Christians are forbidden, after the excommunication, to hold any intercourse with Luther and his followers, or to give them shelter, on pain of the interdict; and magistrates are commanded to arrest and send them to Rome.]


Monemus insuper omnes et singulos Christifideles supradictos, sub eadem excommunicationis latae sententiae poena, ut haereticos praedictos declaratos et condemnatos, mandatis nostris non obtemperantes, post lapsum termini supradicti evitent et quantum in eis est, evitari faciant, nec cum eisdem, vel eorum aliquo commercium aut aliquam conversationem seu communionem habeant, nec eis necessaria ministrent.

Ad majorem praeterea dicti Martini suorumque complicum, fautorum et adhaerentium ac receptatorum praedictorum, sic post lapsum termini praedicti declaratorum haereticorum et condemnatorum confusionem universis et singulis utriusque sexus Christifidelibus Patriarchis, Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Patriarchalium, Metropolitanarum, et aliarum cathedralium, collegiatarum ac inferiorum ecclesiarum Praelatis, Capitulis, aliisque personis ecclesiastica, saecularibus et quoramvis Ordinum etiam Mendicantium (praesertim ejus congregationis cujus dictus Martinus est professus, et in qua degere vel morari dicitur) regularibus exemptis et non exemptis, necnon universis et singulis principibus, quacumque ecclesiastica vel mundana fulgentibus dignitate Regibus, Imperatoris283 Electoribus, Ducibus, Marchionibus, Comitibus, Baronibus, Capitaneis, Conductoribus, Domicellis, Communitatibus, Universitatibus, Potentatibus, Civitatibus, Terris, Castris et locis, seu eorum habitatoribus, civibus et incolis omnibusque aliis et singulis supradictis per universum Orbem, praesertim in eadem Alemania constitutis mandamus, quatenus sub praedictis omnibus et singulis poenis, ipsi vel eorum quilibet, praefatum Martinum, complices, adhaerentes, receptantes et fautores personaliter capiant et captos ad nostram instantiam retineant et ad nos mittant: reportaturi pro tam bono opere a nobis et Sede Apostolica remunerationem, praemiumque condignum vel saltem eos et eorum quemlibet, de Metropolitanis, Cathedralibus, Collegiatis, et aliis ecclesiis, domibus, Monasteriis, Conventibus, Civitatibus, Dominiis, Universitatibus, Communitatibus, Castris, Terris, ac locis respective, tam clerici et regulares quam laici omnes et singuli supradicti omnino expellant.


[The places which harbor Luther and his followers are threatened with the Interdict.]


Civitates vero, Dominia, Terras, Castra, Villas, comitatus, fortilicia, Oppida et loca quaecumque ubilibet consistentia earum et eorum respective Metropolitanas, Cathedrales, Collegiatas et alias ecclesias, Monasteria, Prioratus, Domus, Conventus et loca religiosa vel pia cujuscunque ordinis (tit praefertur) ad quae praefatum Martinum vel aliquem ex praedictis declinare contigerit, quamdiu ibi permanserint et triduo post recessum, ecclesiastico subjicimus interdicto.


[Provision for the promulgation and execution of the bull.]


Et ut praemissa omnibus innotescant, mandamus insuper universis Patriarchis, Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Patriarchalium, Metropolitanarum et aliarum cathedralium ac collegiatarum ecclesiarum Praelatis, Capitulis aliisque personis ecclesiasticis, saecularibus et quorumvis Ordinum supradictorum regularibus, fratribus religiosis, monachis exemptis et non exemptis supradictis, ubilibet, praesertim in Alemania constitutis quatenus ipsi vel eorum quilibet sub similibus censuris et poenis co ipso incurrendis, Martinum omnesque et singulos supradictos qui elapso teremo hujusmodi mandatis seu monitis nostris non paruerint, in eorum ecclesiis, dominicis et aliis festivis diebus, dum inibi major populi multitudo ad divina convenerit, declaratos haereticos et condemnatos publice nuncient faciantque et mandent ab aliis nunciari et ab omnibus evitari. Necnon omnibus Christifidelibus ut eos evitent, pari modo sub praedictis censuris et poenis. Et praesentes literas vel earum transumptum sub forma infrascripta factum in eorum ecclesiis, monasteriis, domibus, conventibus et aliis locis legi, publicare atque affigi faciant. Excommunicamus quoque et anathematizamus omnes et singulos cujuscumque status, gradiis, conditionis, prae-eminentiae, dignitatis aut excellentiae fuerint qui quo minus praesentes literae vel earum transumpta, copiae seu exemplaria in suis terris et dominiis legi, affigi et publicare possint, fecerint vel quoquomodo procuraverint per se vel alium seu alios, publice vel occulte, directe vel indirecte, tacite vel expresse.

Postremo quia difficile foret praesentes literas ad singula quaeque loca deferri in quibus necessarium foret, volumus et apostolica authoritate decernimus, quod earum transumptis manu publici notarii confectis et subscriptis, vel in alma Urbe impressis et sigillo alicujus ecclesiastici Praelati munitis ubique stetur et plena fides adhibeatur, prout originalibus literis staretur, si forent exhibitae vel ostensae.

Et ne praefatus Martinus omnesque alii supradicti, quos praesentes literae quomodolibet concernunt, ignorantiam earundem literarum et in eis contentorum omnium et singulorum praetendere valeant, literas ipsas in Basilicas Principis Apostolorum et Cancellariae Apostolicae, necnon Cathedralium ecclesiarum Brandeburgen., Misnen. et Morspergen. [Merseburg] valvis affigi et publicari debere284 volumus, decernentes, quod earundem literarum publicatio sic facta, supradictum Martinum omnesque alios et singulos praenominatos, quos literae hujusmodi quomodolibet concernunt, perinde arctent, ac si literae ipsae die affixionis et publicationis hujusmodi eis personaliter lectae et intimatae forent, cum non sit verisimile, quod ea quae tam patenter fiunt debeant apud eos incognita remanere.

Non obstantibus constitutionibus et ordinationibus apostolicis, seu si supradictis omnibus et singulis vel eorum alicui aut quibusvis aliis a Sede Apostolica praedicta, vel ab ea potestatem habentibus sub quavis forma, etiam confessionali et cum quibusvis etiam fortissimis clausulis, aut ex quavis causa, seu grandi consideratione, indultum vel concessum existat, quod interdici, suspendi, vel excommunicari non possint per literas Apostolicas, non facientes plenam et expressam ac de verbo ad verbum, non autem per clausulas generates id importantes, de indulto hujusmodi mentionem, ejusdem indulti tenores, causas285 et formas perinde ac si de verbo ad verbum insererentur, ita ut omnino tollatur, praesentibus pro expressis habentes.

Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae damnationis, reprobationis, rejectionis, decreti, declarationis, inhibitionis, voluntatis, mandati, hortationis, obsecrationis, requisitionis, monitionis, assignationis, concessionis, condemnationis, subjectionis, excommunicationis, et anathematizationis infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare praesumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei ac Beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum ejus se noverit incursurum.

Dat. Romae apud S. Petrum anno incarnationis Dominicae Milesimo Quingentesimo Vigesimo. XVII. Kls. Julii. Pontificatus Nostri Anno Octavo.

Visa. R. Milanesius.


Impressum Romae per Iacobum Mazochium

De Mandato S. D. N. Papae.286


 § 48. Luther burns the Pope’s bull, and forever breaks with Rome. Dec. 10, 1520.


Literature in § 47.


Luther was prepared for the bull of excommunication. He could see in it nothing but blasphemous presumption and pious hypocrisy. At first he pretended to treat it as a forgery of Eck.287  Then he wrote a Latin and German tract, "Against the bull of Antichrist,"288 called it a "cursed, impudent, devilish bull," took up the several charges of heresy, and turned the tables against the Pope, who was the heretic according to the standard of the sacred Scriptures. Hutten ridiculed the bull from the literary and patriotic standpoint with sarcastic notes and queries. Luther attacked its contents with red-hot anger and indignation bordering on frenzy. He thought the last day, the day of Antichrist, had come. He went so far as to say that nobody could be saved who adhered to the bull.289

In deference to his friends, he renewed the useless appeal from the Pope to a free general council (Nov. 17, 1520), which he had made two years before (Nov. 28, 1518); and in his appeal he denounced the Pope as a hardened heretic, an antichristian suppresser of the Scriptures, a blasphemer and despiser of the holy Church and of a rightful council.290

At the same time he resolved upon a symbolic act which cut off the possibility of a retreat. The Pope had ordered his books, good and bad, without any distinction, to be burned; and they were actually burned in several places, at Cologne even in the presence of the Emperor. They were to be burned also at Leipzig. Luther wanted to show that he too could burn books, which was an old custom (Acts 19:19) and easy business. He returned fire for fire, curse for curse. He made no distinction between truth and error in the papal books, since the Pope had ordered his innocent books to be destroyed as well. He gave public notice of his intention.

On the tenth day of December, 1520, at nine o’clock in the morning, in the presence of a large number of professors and students, he solemnly committed the bull of excommunication, together with the papal decretals, the Canon law, and several writings of Eck and Emser, to the flames, with these words (borrowed from Joshua’s judgment of Achan the thief, Josh. 7:25): "As thou [the Pope] hast vexed the Holy One of the Lord, may the eternal fire vex thee!"291

The spot where this happened is still shown outside the Elster Gate at Wittenberg, under a sturdy oak surrounded by an iron railing.292

Several hundred students tarried at the fire, which had been kindled by a master of the university, some chanting the Te Deum, others singing funeral dirges on the papal laws; then they made a mock procession through the town, collected piles of scholastic and Romish books, and returning to the place of execution, threw them into the flames.

Luther, with Melanchthon, Carlstadt, and the other doctors and masters, returned home immediately after the act. He at first had trembled at the step, and prayed for light; but after the deed was done, he felt more cheerful than ever. He regarded his excommunication as an emancipation from all restraints of popery and monasticism. On the same day he calmly informed Spalatin of the event as a piece of news.293  On the next day he warned the students in the lecture-room against the Romish Antichrist, and told them that it was high time to burn the papal chair with all its teachers and abominations.294  He publicly announced his act in a Latin and German treatise, "Why the Books of the Pope and his Disciples were burned by Dr. Martin Luther." He justified it by his duties as a baptized Christian, as a sworn doctor of divinity, as a daily preacher, to root out all unchristian doctrines. He cites from the papal law-books thirty articles and errors in glorification of the papacy, which deserve to be burned; and calls the whole Canon-law "the abomination of desolation" (Matt. 24:15) and antichristian (2 Thess. 2:4), since the sum of its teaching was, that "the Pope is God on earth, above all things, heavenly and earthly, spiritual and temporal; all things belong to the Pope, and no one dare ask, What doest thou?"  Simultaneously with this tract, he published an exhaustive defense of all his own articles which had been condemned by the Pope, and planted himself upon the rock of God’s revelation in the Scriptures.

Leo X., after the expiration of the one hundred and twenty days of grace allowed to Luther by the terms of the bull, proceeded to the last step, and on the third day of January, 1521, pronounced the ban against the Reformer, and his followers, and an interdict on the places where they should be harbored. But Luther had deprived the new bull of its effect.

The burning of the Pope’s bull was the boldest and most eventful act of Luther. Viewed in itself, it might indeed have been only an act of fanaticism and folly, and proved a brutum fulmen. But it was preceded and followed by heroic acts of faith in pulling down an old church, and building up a new one. It defied the greatest power on earth, before which emperors, kings, and princes, and all the nations of Europe bowed in reverence and awe. It was the fiery signal of absolute and final separation from Rome, and destroyed the effect of future papal bulls upon one-half of Western Christendom. It emancipated Luther and the entire Protestant world from that authority, which, from a wholesome school of discipline for young nations, had become a fearful and intolerable tyranny over the intellect and conscience of men.

Luther developed his theology before the eyes of the public; while Calvin, at a later period, appeared fully matured, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter. "I am one of those," he says, "among whom St. Augustin classed himself, who have gradually advanced by writing and teaching; not of those who at a single bound spring to perfection out of nothing.

He called the Pope the most holy and the most hellish father of Christendom. He began in 1517 as a devout papist and monk, with full faith in the Roman Church and its divinely appointed head, protesting merely against certain abuses; in 1519, at the Leipzig disputation, he denied the divine right, and shortly afterwards also the human right, of the papacy; a year later he became fully convinced that the papacy was that antichristian power predicted in the Scriptures, and must be renounced at the risk of a man’s salvation.

There is no doubt that in all these stages he was equally sincere, earnest, and conscientious.

Luther adhered to the position taken in the act of Dec. 10, 1520, with unchanging firmness. He never regretted it for a moment. He had burned the ship behind him; he could not, and he would not, return. To the end of his life he regarded and treated the Pope of Rome in his official capacity as the very Antichrist, and expected that he soon would be destroyed by spiritual force at the second coming of Christ. At Schmalkalden in 1537 he prayed that God might fill all Protestants with hatred of the Pope. One of his last and most violent books is directed "Against the Papacy at Rome, founded by the Devil." Wittenberg, 1545.295  He calls Paul III. the "Most hellish Father," and addresses him as "Your Hellishness." instead of "Your Holiness." He promises at the close to do still better in another book, and prays that in case of his death, God may raise another one "a thousandfold more severe; for the devilish papacy is the last evil on earth, and the worst which all the devils with all their power could contrive. God help us. Amen." Thus he wrote, not under the inspiration of liquor or madness, as Roman historians have suggested, but in sober earnest. His dying words, as reported by Ratzeburger, his physician, were a prediction of the approaching death of the papacy: —


"Pestis eram vivus, moriens tua mors ero Papa."


From the standpoint of his age, Luther regarded the Pope and the Turk as "the two arch-enemies of Christ and his Church," and embodied this view in a hymn which begins, —

"Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort

Und steur’ des Papst’s und Türken Mord."296


This line, like the famous eightieth question of the Heidelberg Catechism which denounces the popish mass as an "accursed idolatry," gave much trouble in mixed communities, and in some it was forbidden by Roman-Catholic magistrates. Modern German hymn-books wisely substitute "all enemies," or "enemies of Christ," for the Pope and the Turk.

In order to form a just estimate of Luther’s views on the papacy, it must not be forgotten that they were uttered in the furnace-heat of controversy, and with all the violence of his violent temper. They have no more weight than his equally sweeping condemnation of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.


 § 49. The Reformation and the Papacy.


Here is the place to interrupt the progress of events, and to reflect on the right or wrong of the attitude of Luther and the Reformation to the papacy.

The Reformers held the opinion that the papacy was an antichristian institution, and some of the Protestant confessions of faith have given symbolical sanction to this theory. They did not mean, of course, that every individual Pope was an Antichrist (Luther spoke respectfully of Leo X.), nor that the papacy as such was antichristian: Melanchthon, at least, conceived of the possibility of a Christian papacy, or a general superintendence of the Church for the preservation of order and unity.297

They had in view simply the institution as it was at their time, when it stood in open and deadly opposition to what they regarded as the truth of the gospel of Christ, and the free preaching of the same. Their theory does not necessarily exclude a liberal and just appreciation of the papacy before and after the Reformation.

And in this respect a great change has taken place among Protestant scholars, with the progress of exegesis and the knowledge of church history.

1. The prophetic Scripture texts to which the Reformers and early Protestant divines used to appeal for their theory of the papacy, must be understood in accordance with the surroundings and conditions of the writers and their readers who were to be benefited. This does not exclude, of course, an application to events and tendencies of the distant future, since history is a growing and expanding fulfillment of prophecy; but the application must be germane to the original design and natural meaning of the text. Few commentators would now find the Pope of Rome in "the little horn" of Daniel (7:8, 20, 21), who had in view rather Antiochus Epiphanes; or in the Apocalyptic beast from the abyss (Rev. 13:1), and "the mother of harlots" (17:5), which evidently apply to the persecuting heathen Rome of Nero and his successors.

St. John is the only biblical writer who uses the term Antichrist;"298 but he means by it, in the first instance, the Gnostic heresy of his own day, which denied the incarnation; for he represents this denial as the characteristic sign of Antichrist, and represents him as being already in the world; yea, he speaks of "many" antichrists who had gone out of the Christian churches in Asia Minor. The Pope has never denied the incarnation, and can never do it without ceasing to be Pope.

It is quite legitimate to use the terms "antichrist" and antichristian" in a wider sense, of all such men and tendencies as are opposed to Christ and his teaching; but we have no right to confine them to the Pope and the Roman Church., , Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4, 11, 23, 24).

St. Paul’s prediction of the great apostasy, and the "man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God."299 sounds much more than any other passage like a description of the papacy with its amazing claim to universal and infallible authority over the Church of God. But the application becomes more than doubtful when we remember that the apostle characterizes this antichristian apostasy as "the mystery of lawlessness," already at work in his day, though restrained from open manifestation by some conservative power.300  The papacy did not yet exist at the time; and its besetting sin is not lawless freedom, but the very opposite.

If we would seek for Scripture authority against the sins and errors of popery, we must take our stand on our Lord’s opposition to the traditions of the elders, which virtually set aside the word of God; on Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians and Romans, where he defends Christian freedom against legalistic bondage, and teaches the great doctrines of sin and grace, forgotten by Rome, and revived by the Reformation; and on St. Peter’s protest against hierarchical presumption and pride.

There was in the early Church a general expectation that an Antichrist in the emphatic sense, an incarnation of the antichristian principle, a pseudo-Christ of hell, a "world-deceiver" (as he is called in the newly discovered "Teaching of the Apostles"301), should appear, and lead astray many Christians immediately before the second coming of Christ. The Reformers saw this Antichrist in the Pope, and looked for his speedy destruction; but an experience of more than three hundred and fifty years proves that in this expectation they were mistaken, and that the final Antichrist is still in the future.

2. As regards church history, it was as yet an unexplored field at the time of the Reformation; but the Reformation itself roused the spirit of inquiry and independent, impartial research. The documentary sources of the middle ages have only recently been made accessible on a large scale by such collections as the Monumenta Germania. "The keys of Peter," says Dr. Pertz, the Protestant editor of the Monumenta, "are still the keys of the middle ages." The greatest Protestant historians, ecclesiastical and secular,—I need only mention Neander and Ranke,—agree in a more liberal view of the papacy.302

After the downfall of the old Roman Empire, the papacy was, with all its abuses and vices, a necessary and wholesome training-school of the barbarian nations of Western and Northern Europe, and educated them from a state of savage heathenism to that degree of Christian civilization which they reached at the time of the Reformation. It was a check upon the despotism of rude force; it maintained the outward unity of the Church; it brought the nations into communication; it protected the sanctity of marriage against the lust of princes; it moderated slavery; it softened the manners; it inspired great enterprises; it promoted the extension of Christianity; it encouraged the cause of learning and the cultivation of the arts of peace.

And even now the mission of the papacy is not yet finished. It seems to be as needful for certain nations, and a lower stage of civilization, as ever. It still stands, not a forsaken ruin, but an imposing pyramid completed to the very top. The Roman Church rose like a wounded giant from the struggle with the Reformation, abolished in the Council of Trent some of the worst abuses, reconquered a considerable portion of her lost territory in Europe, added to her dominion one-half of the American Continent, and completed her doctrinal and governmental system in the decrees of the Vatican Council. The Pope has lost his temporal power by the momentous events of 1870; but he seems to be all the stronger in spiritual influence since 1878, when Leo XIII. was called to occupy the chair of Leo X. An aged Italian priest shut up in the Vatican controls the consciences of two hundred millions of human beings,—that is, nearly one-half of nominal Christendom,—and rules them with the claim of infallibility in all matters of faith and duty. It is a significant fact, that the greatest statesman of the nineteenth century, and founder of a Protestant empire, who at the beginning of the Kulturkampf declared that he would never go to Canossa (1872), found it expedient, after a conflict of ten years, to yield to an essential modification of the anti-papal May-laws of 1873, without, however, changing his religious conviction, or sacrificing the sovereignty of the State; he even conferred an extraordinary distinction upon the Pope by selecting him as arbiter in an international dispute between Germany and Spain (1885).303  But it is perhaps still more remarkable, that Leo XIII. in return sent to Prince Bismarck, the political Luther of Germany, the Christ Order, which was never given to a Protestant before, and that he supported him in the political campaign of 1887.

3. How can we justify the Reformation, in view of the past history and present vitality of the Papacy?

Here the history of the Jewish Church, which is a type of the Christian, furnishes us with a most instructive illustration and conclusive answer. The Levitical hierarchy, which culminated in the high priest, was of divine appointment, and a necessary institution for the preservation of the theocracy. And yet what God intended to be a blessing became a curse by the guilt of man: Caiaphas, the lineal descendant of Aaron, condemned the Messiah as a false prophet and blasphemer, and the synagogue cast out His apostles with curses.

What happened in the old dispensation was repeated on a larger scale in the history of Christianity. An antichristian element accompanied the papacy from the very beginning, and culminated in the corruptions at the time of the Reformation. The greater its assumed and conceded power, the greater were the danger and temptation of abuse. One of the best of Popes, Gregory the Great, protested against the title of, "universal bishop," as an antichristian presumption. The Greek Church, long before the Reformation, charged the Bishop of Rome with antichristian usurpation; and she adheres to her protest to this day. Not a few Popes, such as Sergius III., John XII., Benedict IX., John XXIII., and Alexander VI., were guilty of the darkest crimes of depraved human nature; and yet they called themselves successors of Peter, and vicars of Christ. Who will defend the papal crusades against the Albigenses and Waldenses, the horrors of the Inquisition, the papal jubilee over the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and all those bloody persecutions of innocent people for no other crime but that of opposing the tyranny of Rome, and dissenting from her traditions?  Liberal and humane Catholics would revolt at an attempt to revive the dungeon and the fagot against heresy and schism; but the Church of Rome in her official capacity has never repudiated the principle of persecution by which its practice was justified: on the contrary, Pope Gregory XVI. declared liberty of conscience and worship an insanity (deliramentum), and Pius IX. in his "Syllabus" of 1864 denounced it among the pernicious and pestilential errors of modern times. And what shall we say of the papal schism in the fifteenth century, when two or three rival Popes laid all Christendom under the curse of excommunication?  What of the utter secularization of the papacy just before the Reformation, its absorption in political intrigues and wars and schemes of aggrandizement, its avarice, its shameless traffic in indulgences, and all those abuses of power which called forth the one hundred and one gravamina of the German -nation?  Who will stand up for the bull of excommunication against Luther, with its threats of burning him and his books, and refusing the consolations of religion to every house or community which should dare to harbor him or any of his followers?  If that bull be Christian, then we must close our eyes against the plain teaching of Christ in the Gospels.

Even if the Bishop of Rome should be the legitimate successor of Peter, as he claims, it would not shield him against the verdict of history. For the carnal Simon revived and reasserted himself from time to time in the spiritual Peter. The same disciple whom Christ honored as the "Rock," on whose confession he promised to build his Church, was soon afterwards called "Satan" when he presumed to divert his Master from the path of suffering; the same Peter was rebuked when he drew the sword against Malchus; the same Peter, notwithstanding his boast of fidelity, denied his Lord and Saviour; and the same Peter incurred the severe remonstrance of Paul at Antioch when he practically denied the rights of the Gentile converts, and virtually excluded them from the Church. According to the Roman legend, the prince of the apostles relapsed into his consistent inconsistency, even a day before his martyrdom, by bribing the jailer, and fleeing for his life till the Lord appeared to him with the cross at the spot of the memorial chapel Domine quo vadis. Will the Pope ever imitate Peter in his bitter repentance for denying Christ?

If the Apostolic Church typically foreshadows the whole history of Christianity, we may well see in the temporary collision between Peter and Paul the type of the antagonism between Romanism and Protestantism. The Reformation was a revolt against legal bondage, and an assertion of evangelical freedom. It renewed the protest of Paul against Peter, and it succeeded. It secured freedom in religion, and as a legitimate consequence, also intellectual, political, and civil freedom. It made the Word of God with its instruction and comfort accessible to all. This is its triumphant vindication. Compare for proof Protestant Germany under William I., with Roman-Catholic Germany under Maximilian I.; England under Queen Victoria, with England under Henry VII.; Calvinistic Scotland and Lutheran Scandinavia in the nineteenth century, with Roman Scotland and Scandinavia in the fifteenth. Look at the origin and growth of free Holland and free North America. Contrast England with Spain of the present day; Prussia with Austria; Holland with Portugal; the United States and Canada with the older Mexico and Peru or Brazil. Consider the teeming Protestant literature in every department of learning, science and art; and the countless Protestant churches, schools, colleges, universities, charitable institutions and missionary stations scattered all over the globe. Surely, the Reformation can stand the test: "By their fruits ye shall know them."




Opinions of representative Protestant historians who cannot be charged with partisan bias or Romanizing tendency: —

"Whatever judgment," says Leopold von Ranke, who was a good Lutheran (Die römischen Päpste, I. 29), "we may form of the Popes of former times, they had always great interests in view: the care of an oppressed religion, the conflict with heathenism, the propagation of Christianity among the Northern nations, the founding of an independent hierarchical power. It belongs to the dignity of human existence to will and to execute something great. These tendencies the Popes kept in higher motion."

In the last volume of his great work, published after his death (Weltgeschichte, Siebenter Theil, Leipzig, 1886, pp. 311–313), Ranke gives his estimate of the typical Pope Gregory VII., of which this is a condensed translation: —

"The hierarchical system of Gregory rests on the attempt to make the clerical power the basis of the entire human existence. This explains the two principles which characterize the system,—the command of (clerical] celibacy, and the prohibition of investiture by the hands of a layman. By the first, the lower clergy were to be made a corporation free from all personal relations to human society; by the second, the higher clergy were to be secured against all influence of the secular power. The great hierarch had well considered his standpoint: he thereby met a want of the times, which regarded the clergy, so to say, as higher beings. All his words had dignity, consistency and power. He had a native talent for worldly affairs. Peter Damiani probably had this in view when he called him, once, the holy Satan .... Gregory’s deliverances contain no profound doctrines; nearly all were known before. But they are summed up by him in a system, the sincerity of which no one could call in question. His dying words: ’I die in exile, because I loved justice,’ express his inmost conviction. But we must not forget that it was only the hierarchical justice which he defended to his last breath."—In the thirteenth chapter, entitled "Canossa," Ranke presents his views on the conflict between Gregory VII. and Henry IV., or between the hierarchical and the secular power.

Adolf Harnack, a prominent historian of the present generation, in his commemorative address on Martin Luther (Giessen, 1883, p. 7), calls "the idea of the papacy the greatest and most humane idea (die grösste und humanste Idee) which the middle age produced."

It was In a review of Ranke’s History of the Popes, that Lord Macaulay, a Protestant of Scotch ancestry, penned his brilliant eulogy on the Roman Church as the oldest and most venerable power in Christendom, which is likely to outlast all other governments and churches. "She was great and respected," he concludes, "before the Saxon set his foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshiped in the Temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigor, when some traveler from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s."304

But we must not overlook a later testimony, in which the eloquent historian supplemented and qualified this eulogy: —


"From the time," says Macaulay in the first chapter of his History of England, "when the barbarians overran the Western Empire, to the time of the revival of letters, the influence of the Church of Rome had been generally favorable to science, to civilization, and to good government. But, during the last three centuries, to stunt the growth of the human mind has been her chief object. Throughout Christendom, whatever advance has been made in knowledge, in freedom, in wealth, and in the arts of life, has been made in spite of her, and has everywhere been in inverse proportion to her power. The loveliest and most fertile provinces of Europe have, under her rule, been sunk in poverty, in political servitude, and in intellectual torpor; while Protestant countries once proverbial for sterility and barbarism, have been turned, by skill and industry, into gardens, and can boast of a long list of heroes and statesmen, philosophers and poets. Whoever, knowing what Italy and Scotland naturally are, and what, four hundred years ago, they actually were, shall now compare the country round Rome with the country round Edinburgh, will be able to form some judgment as to the tendency of papal domination. The descent of Spain, once the first among monarchies, to the lowest depths of degradation; the elevation of Holland, in spite of many natural disadvantages, to a position such as no commonwealth so small has ever reached,—teach the same lesson. Whoever passes, in Germany, from a Roman-Catholic to a Protestant principality, in Switzerland from a Roman-Catholic to a Protestant canton, in Ireland from a Roman-Catholic to a Protestant county, finds that he has passed from a lower to a higher grade of civilization. On the other side of the Atlantic, the same law prevails. The Protestants of the United States have left far behind them the Roman Catholics of Mexico, Peru, and Brazil. The Roman Catholics of Lower Canada remain inert, while the whole continent round them is in a ferment with Protestant activity and enterprise. The French have doubtless shown an energy and an intelligence which, even when misdirected, have justly entitled them to be called a great people. But this apparent exception, when examined, will be found to confirm the rule; for in no country that is called Roman-Catholic has the Roman-Catholic Church, during several generations, possessed so little authority as in France.

"It is difficult to say whether England owes more to the Roman-Catholic religion or to the Reformation. For the amalgamation of races and for the abolition of villenage, she is chiefly indebted to the influence which the priesthood in the middle ages exercised over the laity. For political and intellectual freedom, and for all the blessings which political and intellectual freedom have brought in their train, she is chiefly indebted to the great rebellion of the laity against the priesthood."


 § 50. Charles V.




Most of the works on Charles V. are histories of his times, in which he forms the central figure. Much new material has been brought to light from the archives of Brussels and Simancas. He is extravagantly lauded by Spanish, and indiscriminately censured by French historians. The Scotch Robertson, the American Prescott, and the German Ranke are impartial.


I. Joh. Sleidan (d. 1556): De Statu Religionis et Reipublicae Carlo V. Caesare Commentarii, Argentor. 1555 fol. (best ed. by Am Ende, Frf.-a.-M., 1785). Ludw. v. Seckendorf: Com. Hist. et Apol. de Lutheranism sive de Reformatione Religionis, Leipzig, 1694.  Goes to the year 1546.—The English Calendars of State-Papers,—Spanish, published by the Master of the Rolls.—De Thou: Historia sui Temporis (from the death of Francis I.).—The Histories of Spain by Mariana (Madrid, 1817–22, 20 vols. 8vo); Zurita (Çaragoça, 1669–1710, 6 vols. fol.); Ferreras (French trans., Amsterdam, 1751, 10 vols. 4to); Salazar de Mendoza (Madrid, 1770–71, 3 vols. fol.); Modesto Lafuente (Vols. XI. and XII., 1853), etc.

II. Biographies. Charles dictated to his secretary, William Van Male, while leisurely sailing on the Rhine, from Cologne to Mayence, in June, 1550, and afterwards at Augsburg, under the refreshing shade of the Fugger gardens, a fragmentary autobiography, in Spanish or French, which was known to exist, but disappeared, until Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove, member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, discovered in the National Library at Paris, in 1861, a Portuguese translation of it, and published a French translation from the same, with an introduction, under the title: Commentaires de Charles-Quint, Brussels, 1862. An English translation by Leonard Francis Simpson: The Autobiography of the Emperor Charles V., London, 1862 (161 and xlviii. pp.]. It is a summary of the Emperor’s journeys and expeditions ("Summario das Viages e Jornadas"), from 1516 to 1548. It dwells upon the secular events; but incidentally reveals, also, his feelings against the Protestants, whom he charges with heresy, obstinacy, and insolence, and against Pope Paul III., whom he hated for his arrogance, dissimulation, and breach of promise. Comp. on this work, the introduction of Lettenhove (translated by Simpson), and the acute criticism of Ranke, vol. vi. 75 sqq.

Alfonso Ulloa: Vita di Carlo V., Venet., 1560. Sandoval: Histoiria de la Vida y Hechos del Emperadòr Carlos Quinto, Valladolid, 1606 (Pampelona, 1618; Antwerp, 1681, 2 vols.). Sepulveda (Whom the Emperor selected as his biographer): De Rebus Gestis Caroli V. lmperatoris, Madrid, 1780 (and older editions). G. Leti: Vita del Imperatore Carlo V., 1700, 4vols. A. de Musica (in Menckenius, Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum, vol. I., Leipzig, 1728). William Robertson (d. 1793): The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V., London, 1769, 3 vols.; 6th ed., 1787, 4 vols.; new ed. of his Works, London, 1840, 8 vols. (vols. III., IV., V.); best ed., Phila. (Lippincott) 1857, 3 vols., with a valuable supplement by W. H. Prescott on the Emperor’s life after his abdication, from the archives of Simancas (III., 327–510). Hermann Baumgarten: Geschichte Karls V., Stuttgart, 1885 sqq. (to embrace 4 vols.; chiefly based on the English Calendars and the manuscript diaries of the Venetian historian Marino Sanuto).

III. Documents and Treatises on special parts of his history. G. Camposi: Carlo V. in Modena (in Archivio Storico Italiano, Florence, 1842–53, 25 vols., App.). D. G. van Male: Lettres sur la vie intérieure de l’Empéreur Charles-Quint, Brussels, 1843. K. Lanz: Correspondenz des Kaisers Karl V. aus dem kaiserlichen Archiv und der Bibliothèque de Burgogne in Brussel, Leipzig, 1844–46, 3 vols.; Staatspapiere zur Geschichte des Kaisers Karl V., Stuttgart, 1845; and Actenstücke und Briefe zur Geschichte Karls V., Wien, 1853–57. G. Heine: Briefe an Kaiser Karl V., geschrieben von seinem Beichtvater (Garcia de Loaysa) in den Jahren 1530–32, Berlin, 1848 (from the Simancas archives). Sir W. Maxwell Stirling: The Cloister-Life of Charles V., London, 1852. F. A. A. Mignet: Charles-Quint; son abdication, son séjour et sa mort au monastère de Yuste, Paris, 1854; and Rivalité de François I. et de Charles-Quint, 1875, 2 vols. Amédée Pichot: Charles-Quint, Chronique de sa vie intérieure et de sa vie politique, de son abdication et de sa retraite dans le cloître de Yuste, Paris, 1854. Gachart (keeper of the Belgic archives): Retraite et mort de Charles-Quint au monastère de Yuste (the original documents of Simancas), Brussels. 1854–55, 2 vols.; Correspondance de Charles-Quint et de Adrien VI., Brussels, 1859. Henne: Histoire du règne de Charles V. en Belgique, Brussels, 1858 sqq., 10 vols. Th. Juste: Les Pays-bas sous Charles V., 1861. Giuseppe de Leva: Storia documentata di Carlo V. in correlazione all’ Italia, Venice, 1863. Rösler: Die Kaiserwahl Karls V., Wien, 1868. W. Maurenbrecher: Karl V. und die deutschen Protestanten, 1545–1555, Düsseldorf, 1865; Studien und Skizzen zur Geschichte der Reformationszeit, Leipzig, 1874, pp. 99–133. A. v. Druffel: Kaiser Karl V. und die röm. Curie 1544–1546. 3 Abth. München, 1877 sqq.

IV. Comp. also Ranke: Deutsche Geschichte, I. 240 sqq., 311 sqq.; and on Charles’s later history in vols. II., III., IV., V., VI. Janssen: Geschichte des deutschen Volkes, II. 131 sqq., and vol. III. Weber: Allgemeine Weltgeschichte, vol. X. (1880), 1 sqq. Prescott’s Philip II., bk. I, chaps. 1 and 9 (vol. I. 1–26; 296–359). Motley’s Rise of the Dutch Republic, vol. I., Introduction.


Before passing to the Diet of Worms, we must make the acquaintance of Charles V. He is, next to Martin Luther, the most conspicuous and powerful personality of his age. The history of his reign is the history of Europe for more than a third of a century (from 1520–1556).

In the midst of the early conflicts of the Reformation, the Emperor Maximilian I. died at Wels, Jan. 12, 1519. He had worn the German crown twenty-six years, and is called "the last Knight." With him the middle ages were buried, and the modern era dawned on Europe.

It was a critical period for the Empire: the religion of Mohammed threatened Christianity, Protestantism endangered Catholicism. From the East the Turks pushed their conquests to the walls of Vienna, as seven hundred years before, the Arabs, crossing the Pyrenees, had assailed Christian Europe from the West; in the interior the Reformation spread with irresistible force, and shook the foundations of the Roman Church. Where was the genius who could save both Christianity and the Reformation, the unity of the Empire and the unity of the Church?  A most difficult, yea, an impossible task.

The imperial crown descended naturally on Maximilian’s grandson, the young king of Spain, who became the most powerful monarch since the days of Charles the Great. He was the heir of four royal lines which had become united by a series of matrimonial alliances.

Never was a prince born to a richer inheritance, or entered upon public life with graver responsibilities, than Charles V. Spanish, Burgundian, and German blood mingled in his veins, and the good and bad qualities of his ramified ancestry entered into his constitution. He was born with his eventful century (Feb. 24, 1500), at Ghent in Flanders, and educated under the tuition of the Lord of Chièvres, and Hadrian of Utrecht, a theological professor of strict Dominican orthodoxy and severe piety, who by his influence became the successor of Leo X. in the papal chair. His father, Philip I., was the only son of Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy (daughter of Charles the Bold), and cuts a small figure among the sovereigns of Spain as "Philip the Handsome" (Filipe el Hermoso),—a frivolous, indolent, and useless prince. His mother was Joanna, called, "Crazy Jane" (Juana la Loca), second daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and famous for her tragic fate, her insanity, long imprisonment, and morbid devotion to the corpse of her faithless husband, for whom, during his life, she had alternately shown passionate love and furious jealousy. She became, after the death of her mother (Nov. 26, 1504), the nominal queen of Spain, and dragged out a dreary existence of seventy-six years (she died April 11, 1555).305

Charles inherited the shrewdness of Ferdinand, the piety of Isabella, and the melancholy temper of his mother which plunged her into insanity, and induced him to exchange the imperial throne for a monastic cell. The same temper reappeared in the gloomy bigotry of his son Philip II., who lived the life of a despot and a monk in his cloister-palace of the Escorial. The persecuting Queen Mary of England, a granddaughter of Isabella, and wife of Philip of Spain, had likewise a melancholy and desponding disposition.

From his ancestry Charles fell heir to an empire within whose boundaries the sun never set. At the death of his father (Sept. 25, 1506), he became, by right of succession, the sovereign of Burgundy and the Netherlands; at the death of Ferdinand (Jan. 23, 1516), he inherited the crown of Spain with her Italian dependencies (Naples, Sicily, Sardinia), and her newly acquired American possessions (to which were afterwards added the conquests of Mexico and Peru); at the death of Maximilian, he succeeded to the hereditary provinces of the house of Habsburg, and soon afterwards to the empire of Germany. In 1530 he was also crowned king of Lombardy, and emperor of the Romans, by the Pope.

The imperial crown of Germany was hotly contested between him and Francis I. All the arts of diplomacy and enormous sums of money were spent on electioneering by both parties. The details reveal a rotten state of the political morals of the times. Pope Leo at first favored the claims of King Francis, who was the natural rival of the Austrian and Burgundian power, but a stranger to the language and manners of Germany. The seven electors assembled at Frankfurt offered the dignity to the wisest of their number, Frederick of Saxony; but he modestly and wisely declined the golden burden lined with thorns. He would have protected the cause of the Reformation, but was too weak and too old for the government of an empire threatened by danger from without and within.306  He nominated Charles; and this self-denying act of a Protestant prince decided the election, June 28, 1520. When the ambassadors of Spain offered him a large reward for his generosity, he promptly refused for himself, and declared that he would dismiss any of his servants for taking a bribe.

Charles was crowned with unusual splendor, Oct. 23, at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), where the founder of the German Empire lies buried. In his oath he pledged himself to protect the Catholic faith, the Roman Church, and its head the Pope.

The new emperor was then only twenty years of age, and showed no signs of greatness.  "Nondum" ("Not yet") was the motto which he had adopted for his maiden shield in a tournament at Valladolid two years before. He afterwards exchanged it for "Plus Ultra." He was a good rider, and skilled in military exercises; he could break a lance with any Knight, and vanquish a bull in the ring, like an expert espada; but he was in feeble health, with a pale, beardless, and melancholy face, and without interest in public affairs. He had no sympathy with the German nation, and was ignorant of their language. But as soon as he took the reins of power into his own hands, he began to develop a rare genius for political and military government. His beard grew, and he acquired some knowledge of most of the dialects of his subjects. He usually spoke and wrote French and Spanish.


Charles V. as Emperor.


Without being truly great, he was an extraordinary man, and ranks, perhaps, next to Charlemagne and Otho I. among the German emperors.

He combined the selfish conservatism of the house of Habsburg, the religious ardor of the Spaniard, and the warlike spirit of the Dukes of Burgundy. He was the shrewdest prince in Europe, and an indefatigable worker. He usually slept only four hours a day. He was slow in forming his resolutions, but inflexible in carrying them into practice, and unscrupulous in choosing the means. He thought much, and spoke little; he listened to advice, and followed his own judgment. He had the sagacity to select and to keep the ablest men for his cabinet, the army and navy, and the diplomatic service. He was a good soldier, and could endure every hardship and privation except fasting. He was the first of the three great captains of his age, the Duke of Alva being the second, and Constable Montmorency the third.

His insatiable ambition involved him in several wars with France, in which he was generally successful against his bold but less prudent rival, Francis I. It was a struggle for supremacy in Italy, and in the Councils of Europe. He twice marched upon Paris.307

He engaged in about forty expeditions, by land and sea, in times when there were neither railroads nor steamboats. He seemed to be ubiquitous in his vast dominions. His greatest service to Christendom was his defeat of the army of Solyman the Magnificent, whom he forced to retreat to Constantinople (1532), and his rescue of twenty thousand Christian slaves and prisoners from the grasp of the African corsairs (1535), who, under the lead of the renowned Barbarossa, spread terror on the shores of the Mediterranean. These deeds raised him to the height of power in Europe.

But he neglected the internal affairs of Germany, and left them mostly to his brother Ferdinand. He characterized the Germans as "dreamy, drunken, and incapable of intrigue." He felt more at home in the rich Netherlands, which furnished him the greatest part of his revenues. But Spain was the base of his monarchy, and the chief object of his care. Under his reign, America began to play a part in the history of Europe as a mine of gold and silver.

He aimed at an absolute monarchy, with a uniformity in religion, but that was an impossibility; France checked his political, Germany his ecclesiastical ambition.


His Personal Character.


In his private character he was superior to Francis I., Henry VIII., and most contemporary princes, but by no means free from vice. He was lacking in those personal attractions which endear a sovereign to his subjects.308  Under a cold and phlegmatic exterior he harbored fiery passions. He was calculating, revengeful, implacable, and never forgave an injury. He treated Francis I., and the German Protestant princes in the Schmalkaldian war, with heartless severity. He was avaricious, parsimonious, and gluttonous. He indulged in all sorts of indigestible delicacies,—anchovies, frogs’ legs, eel-pasties,—and drank large quantities of iced beer and Rhine wine; he would not listen to the frequent remonstrances of his physicians and confessors, and would rather endure the discomforts of dyspepsia and gout than restrain his appetite, which feasted on twenty dishes at a single meal. In his autobiography he speaks of a fourteenth attack of gout, which "lasted till the spring of 1548."309

He had taste for music and painting. He had also some literary talent, and wrote or dictated an autobiography in the simple, objective style of Caesar, ending with the defeat of the Protestant league (1548); but it is dry and cold, destitute of great ideas and noble sentiments.

He married his cousin, Donna Isabella of Portugal, at Seville, 1526, and lived in happy union with her till her sudden death in 1539; but during his frequent absences from Spain, where she always remained, as well as before his marriage, and after her death, he indulged in ephemeral unlawful attachments.310  He had at least two illegitimate children, the famous Margaret, Duchess of Parma, and Don Juan of Austria, the hero of Lepanto (1547–1578), who lies buried by his side in the Escorial.

Charles has often been painted by the master hand of Titian, whom he greatly admired. He was of middle size, broad-shouldered, deep-chested, with a commanding forehead, an aquiline nose, a pale, grave, and melancholy countenance. His blue and piercing eye, his blonde, almost reddish hair, and fair skin, betokened his German origin, and his projecting lower jaw, with its thick, heavy lip, was characteristic of the princes of Habsburg; but otherwise he looked like a Spaniard, as he was at heart.

Incessant labors and cares, gluttony, and consequent gout, undermined his constitution, and at the age of fifty he was prematurely old, and had to be carried on a litter like a helpless cripple. Notwithstanding his many victories and successes, he was in his later years an unhappy and disappointed man, but sought and found his last comfort in the religion of his fathers.


 § 51. The Ecclesiastical Policy of Charles V.


The ecclesiastical policy of Charles was Roman Catholic without being ultramontane. He kept his coronation oath. All his antecedents were in favor of the traditional faith. He was surrounded by ecclesiastics and monks. He was thoroughly imbued with the Spanish type of piety, of which his grandmother is the noblest and purest representative. Isabella the Catholic, the greatest of Spanish sovereigns, "the queen of earthly queens."311  conquered the Moors, patronized the discoverer of America, expelled the Jews, and established the Inquisition,—all for the glory of the Virgin Mary and the Catholic religion.312  A genuine Spaniard believes, with Gonzalo of Oviedo, that "powder against the infidels is incense to the Lord." With him, as with his Moorish antipode, the measure of conviction is the measure of intolerance, and persecution the evidence of zeal. The burning of heretics became in the land of the Inquisition a sacred festival, an "act of faith;"313 and such horrid spectacles were in the reign of Philip II. as popular as the bull-fights which still flourish in Spain, and administer to the savage taste for blood.

Charles heard the mass daily, listened to a sermon on Sunday and holy days, confessed and communed four times a year, and was sometimes seen in his tent at midnight on his knees before the crucifix. He never had any other conception of Christianity than the Roman-Catholic, and took no time to investigate theological questions.

He fully approved of the Pope’s bull against Luther, and ordered it to be executed in the Netherlands. In his retreat at Yuste, he expressed regret that he had kept his promise of safe-conduct; in other words, that he had not burned the heretic at Worms, as Sigismund had burned Hus at Constance. He never showed the least sympathy with the liberal tendencies of the age, and regarded Protestantism as a rebellion against Church and State. He would have crushed it out if he had had the power; but it was too strong for him, and he needed the Protestant support for his wars against France, and against the Turks. He began in the Netherlands that fearful persecution which was carried on by his more bigoted son, Philip II., but it provoked the uprising of the people, and ended in the establishment of the Dutch Republic.314  He subdued the Lutheran league in the Schmalkaldian war; pale as death, but trusting in God, he rushed into the hottest of the fight at Mühlberg, and greeted the decisive victory of 1547 with the words: "I came, I saw, and God conquered."315  But the height of his power was the beginning of his decline. The same Saxon Elector, Moritz, who had aided him against the Protestant princes, turned against him in 1552, and secured in the treaty of Passau, for the first time, some degree of legal toleration to the Lutherans in Germany.

But while Charles was a strict Roman Catholic from the beginning to the end of his life, he was, nevertheless, by no means a blind and slavish papist. Like his predecessors on the German throne, be maintained the dignity and the sovereignty of the state against the claims of hierarchical supremacy. He hated the French, or neutral, politics of the papal court. His troops even captured Rome, and imprisoned Clement VII., who had formed a league with Francis I. against him (1527). He quarreled with Pope Paul III., who in turn severely protested against his tolerant or hesitating policy towards the Protestants in Germany. He says, in his Autobiography,316 that "the Pope’s emissaries, and some ecclesiastics, were incessantly endeavoring to induce him to take up arms against the Protestants (tomar as armas contra os protestantes)," but that he "hesitated on account of the greatness and difficulty of such an enterprise."

Moreover, Charles had a certain zeal for a limited reformation of church discipline on the basis of the Catholic doctrine and the papal hierarchy. He repeatedly urged a general council, against the dilatory policy of the Popes, and exhorted Protestants and Catholics alike to submit to its decisions as final. Speaking of the Diet of Augsburg, held in 1530, he says that he, asked his Holiness to convoke and assemble a general council, as most important and necessary to remedy what was taking place in Germany, and the errors which were being propagated throughout Christendom."317  This was likewise consistent with Spanish tradition. Isabella the Catholic, and Cardinal Ximenes, had endeavored to reform the clergy and monks in Spain.318

This Roman-Catholic reformation was effected by the Council of Trent, but turned out to be a papal counter-reformation, and a weapon against Protestantism in the hands of the Spanish order of the Jesuits.


The Emperor and the Reformer.


Charles and Luther saw each other once, and only once, at the Diet of Worms. The Emperor was disgusted with the monk who dared to set his private judgment and conscience against the time-honored creed of Christendom, and declared that he would never make him a heretic. But Luther wrote him a respectful letter of thanks for his safe-conduct.319

Twenty years later, after his victory over John Frederick of Saxony at Mühlberg on the Elbe (April 24, 1547), Charles stood on the grave of Luther in the castle church of Wittenberg, and was advised by the bloodthirsty Duke of Alva to dig up and burn the bones of the arch-heretic, and to scatter the ashes to the winds of heaven; but he declined with the noble words:, I make war on the living, not on the dead." This was his nearest approach to religious toleration. But the interesting incident is not sufficiently authenticated.320

For twenty-six years the Emperor and the Reformer stood at the head of Germany, the one as a political, the other as a religious, leader; working in opposite directions,—the one for the preservation of the old, the other for the creation of the new, order of things. The one had the army and treasure of a vast empire at his command; the other had nothing but his faith and pen, and yet made a far deeper and more lasting impression on his and on future ages. Luther died peacefully in his birthplace, trusting in the merits of Christ, and commending his soul to the God who redeemed him. Ten years later Charles ended his life as a monk in Spain, holding a burning candle in the right hand, and pressing with the left the crucifix to his lips, while the Archbishop of Toledo intoned the Psalm De Profundis. The last word of the dying Emperor was "Jesus."


 § 52. The Abdication of Charles, and his Cloister Life.


The abdication of Charles, and his subsequent cloister life, have a considerable interest for ecclesiastical as well as general history, and may by anticipation be briefly noted in this place.

In the year 305, the last of the imperial persecutors of Christianity, who was born a slave and reached his power by military achievements, voluntarily resigned the throne of the Caesars, and retired for the remaining eight years of his life to his native Salona in Dalmatia to raise cabbages. In the year 1555 (Oct. 25), Charles V., who was born an heir of three kingdoms, wearied of the race of politics, diplomacy, and war, defeated by the treason of Moritz, and tormented by gout, abdicated his crown to live and die like an humble monk.

The abdication of Charles took place in the royal palace at Brussels, in the same hall in which, forty years before, he had been declared of age, and had assumed the reign of Brabant. He was dressed in mourning for his unfortunate mother, and wore only one ornament,—the superb collar of the Golden Fleece. He looked grave, solemn, pale, broken: he entered leaning on a staff with one hand, and on the arm of William of Orange with the other; behind him came Philip II., his son and heir, small, meager, timid, but magnificently dressed,—a momentous association with the two youthful princes who were to be afterwards arrayed in deadly conflict for the emancipation of the Netherlands from the yoke of Spanish tyranny and bigotry.321

The Emperor rose from the throne, and with his right hand resting on the shoulder of the Prince of Orange,—who was one day to become the most formidable enemy of his house,—and holding a paper in the other hand, he addressed his farewell in French before the members of the royal family, the nobility of the Netherlands, the Knights of the Golden Fleece, the royal counselors, and the great officers of the household. He assured them that he had done his duty to the best of his ability, mindful of his dear native land, and especially of the interests of Christianity against infidels and heretics. He had shrunk from no toil; but a cruel malady now deprived him of strength to endure the cares of government, and this was his only motive for carrying out a long-cherished wish of resigning the scepter. He exhorted them above all things to maintain the purity of the faith. He had committed many errors, but only from ignorance, and begged pardon if he had wronged any one.

He then resigned the crown of the Netherlands to his son Philip with the exhortation, "Fear God: live justly; respect the laws; above all, cherish the interests of religion."

Exhausted, and pale as a corpse, he fell back upon his seat amid the tears and sobs of the assembly.322

On the 16th of January, 1556, he executed the deeds by which he ceded the sovereignty of Castile and Aragon, with their dependencies, to Philip. His last act was to resign the crown of Germany into the hands of his brother Ferdinand; but, as affairs move slowly in that country, the resignation was not finally acted on till Feb. 28, 1558, at the Diet at Frankfurt.323


His Retirement to Yuste.


On the 17th of September Charles sailed from the harbor of Flushing for Spain with a fleet of fifty-six sails, his two sisters (Mary, formerly queen of Hungary, and regent of the Low Countries, and Eleanor, the widow of King Francis of France), and a hundred and fifty select persons of the imperial household.

After a boisterous voyage, and a tedious land-journey, he arrived, Feb. 3, 1557, at the Convent of St. Gerome in Yuste, which he had previously selected for his retreat.

The resolution to exchange the splendors of the world for monastic seclusion was not uncommon among the rulers and nobles of Spain; and the rich convents of Montserrat and Poblet (now in ruins) had special accommodations for royal and princely guests. Charles had formed it during the lifetime of the Empress Isabella, and agreed with her that they would spend the rest of their days in neighboring convents, and be buried under the same altar. In 1542 he announced his intention to Francisco de Borgia; but the current of events involved him in a new and vain attempt to restore once more the Holy Roman Empire in the fullness of its power. Now his work was done, and he longed for rest. His resolution was strengthened by the desire to atone for sins of unchastity committed after the death of his wife.324

Yuste is situated in the mountainous province of Estremadura, about eight leagues from Plasencia and fifty leagues from Valladolid (then the capital of Spain), in a well-watered valley and a salubrious climate, and was in every way well fitted for the wishes of the Emperor.325

Here he spent about eighteen months till his death,—a remarkable instance of the old adage, Sie transit gloria mundi.


His Cloister Life.


There is something grand and romantic, as well as sad and solemn, in the voluntary retirement of a monarch who had swayed a scepter of unlimited power over two hemispheres, and taken a leading part in the greatest events of an eventful century. There is also an idyllic charm in the combination of the innocent amusements of country life with the exercises of piety.

The cloister life of Charles even more than his public life reveals his personal and religious character. It was represented by former historians as the life of a devout and philosophic recluse, dead to the world and absorbed in preparation for the awful day of judgment;326 but the authentic documents of Simancas, made known since 1844, correct and supplement this view.

He lived not in the convent with the monks, but in a special house with eight rooms built for him three years before. It opened into gardens alive with aromatic plants, flowers, orange, citron, and fig trees, and protected by high walls against intruders. From the window of his bedroom he could look into the chapel, and listen to the music and prayers of the friars, when unable to attend. He retained over fifty servants, mostly Flemings, including a major-domo (who was a Spaniard), an almoner, a keeper of the wardrobe, a keeper of the jewels, chamberlains, secretaries, physician, confessor, two watchmakers, besides cooks, confectioners, bakers, brewers, game-keepers, and numerous valets.327  Some of them lived in a neighboring village, and would have preferred the gay society of Brussels to the dull monotony of solitude. He was provided with canopies, Turkish carpets, velvet-lined arm-chairs, six cushions and a footstool for his gouty limbs, twenty-five suits of tapestry, sixteen robes of silk and velvet lined with ermine or eider-down, twelve hangings of the finest black cloth, four large clocks of elaborate workmanship, and a number of pocket-watches. The silver furniture for his table and kitchen amounted to fourteen thousand ounces in weight. The walls of his room were adorned with choice pictures, nine from the pencil of Titian (including four portraits of himself and one of the Empress). He had also a small library, mostly of devotional books.328

He took exercise in his gardens, carried on a litter. He constructed, with the aid of a skilled artisan, a little handmill for grinding wheat, puppet soldiers, clocks and watches, and endeavored in vain to make an two of them run exactly alike. The fresh mountain air and exercise invigorated his health, and he never felt better than in 1557.

He continued to take a lively interest in public affairs, and the events of the times. He greeted with joy the victory of St. Quentin; with partial dissatisfaction, the conclusion of peace with the Pope (whom he would have treated more severely); with regret, the loss of Calais; with alarm, the advance of the Turkish fleet to Spain, and the progress of the Lutheran heresy. He received regular dispatches and messengers, was constantly consulted by his son, and freely gave advice in the new complications with France, and especially also in financial matters. He received visits from his two sisters,—the dowager queens of Hungary and France, who had accompanied him to Spain,—and from the nobles of the surrounding country; he kept up a constant correspondence with his daughter Joanna, regent of Castile, and with his sister, the regent of Portugal.

He maintained the stately Castilian etiquette of dining alone, though usually in the presence of his physician, secretary, and confessor, who entertained him on natural history or other topics of interest. Only once he condescended to partake of a scanty meal with the friars. He could not control, even in these last years, his appetite for spiced capons, pickled sausages, and eel-pies, although his stomach refused to do duty, and caused him much suffering.

But he tried to atone for this besetting sin by self-flagellation, which he applied to his body so severely during Lent that the scourge was found stained with his blood. Philip cherished this precious memorial of his father’s piety, and bequeathed it as an heirloom to his son.329

From the beginning of his retreat, and especially in the second year, Charles fulfilled his religious duties with scrupulous conscientiousness, as far as his health would permit. He attended mass in the chapel, said his prayers, and listened to sermons and the reading of selections from the Fathers (Jerome, Augustin, Bernard), the Psalms, and the Epistles of Paul. He favored strict discipline among the friars, and gave orders that any woman who dared to approach within two bow-shots of the gate should receive a hundred stripes. He enjoyed the visits of Francisco Borgia, Duke of Gandia, who had exchanged a brilliant position for membership in the Society of the Jesuits, and confirmed him in his conviction that he had acted wisely in relinquishing the world. He wished to be prayed for only by his baptismal name, being no longer emperor or king. Every Thursday was for him a feast of Corpus Christi.

He repeatedly celebrated the exequies of his parents, his wife, and a departed sister.

Yea, according to credible contemporary testimony, he celebrated, in the presentiment of approaching death, his own funeral, around a huge catafalque erected in the dark chapel. Bearing a lighted taper, he mingled with his household and the monks in chanting the prayers for the departed, on the lonely passage to the invisible world, and concluded the doleful ceremony by handing the taper to the priest, in token of surrendering his spirit to Him who gave it. According to later accounts, the Emperor was laid alive in his coffin, and carried in solemn procession to the altar.330

This relish for funeral celebrations reveals a morbid trait in his piety. It reminds one of the insane devotion of his mother to the dead body of her husband, which she carried with her wherever she went.


His Intolerance.


We need not wonder that his bigotry increased toward the end of life. He was not philosopher enough to learn a lesson of toleration (as Dr. Robertson imagines) from his inability to harmonize two timepieces. On the contrary, he regretted his limited forbearance towards Luther and the German Protestants, who had defeated his plans five years before. They were now more hateful to him than ever.

To his amazement, the same heretical opinions broke out in Valladolid and Sevilla, at the very court and around the throne of Spain. Augustin Cazalla,331 who had accompanied him as chaplain in the Smalkaldian war, and had preached before him at Yuste, professed Lutheran sentiments. Charles felt that Spain was in danger, and repeatedly urged the most vigorous measures for the extermination of heresy with fire and sword. "Tell the Grand Inquisitor, from me," he wrote to his daughter Joanna, the regent, on the 3d of May, 1558, "to be at his post, and to lay the ax at the root of the evil before it spreads farther. I rely on your zeal for bringing the guilty to punishment with all the severity which their crimes demand." In the last codicil to his will, he conjures his son Philip to cherish the Holy Inquisition as the best instrument for the suppression of heresy in his dominions. "So," he concludes, "shall you have my blessing, and the Lord shall prosper all your undertakings."332

Philip II., who inherited the vices but none of the virtues of his father, faithfully carried out this dying request, and by a terrible system of persecution crushed out every trace of evangelical Protestantism in Spain, and turned that beautiful country into a graveyard adorned by somber cathedrals, and disfigured by bull-rings.


His Death.


The Emperor’s health failed rapidly in consequence of a new attack of gout, and the excessive heat of the summer, which cost the life of several of his Flemish companions. He died Sept. 21, 1558, a consistent Catholic as be had lived. A few of his spiritual and secular friends surrounded his death-bed. He confessed with deep contrition his sins; prayed repeatedly for the unity of the Church; received, kneeling in his bed, the holy communion and the extreme unction; and placed his hope on the crucified Redeemer. The Archbishop of Toledo, Bartolomé de Carranza, read the one hundred and thirtieth Psalm, and, holding up a crucifix, said: "Behold Him who answers for all. There is no more sin; all is forgiven;" while another of his preachers commended him to the intercession of saints, namely, St. Matthew, on whose day he was born, and St. Matthias, on whose day he was in a few moments to leave this world.

"Thus," says Mignet, "the two doctrines which divided the world in the age of Charles V. were once more brought before him on the bed of death."

It is an interesting fact, that the same archbishop who had taken a prominent part in the persecution of English Protestants under Queen Mary, and who administered the last and truly evangelical comfort to the dying Emperor, became a victim of persecution, and that those very words of comfort were used by the Emperor’s confessor as one of the grounds of the charge of heresy before the tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition. Bartolomé de Carranza was seven years imprisoned in Spain, then sent to Rome, lodged in the Castle of St. Angelo, after long delay found guilty of sixteen Lutheranizing propositions in his writings, suspended from the exercise of his episcopal functions, and sentenced to be shut up for five years in a convent of his order. He died sixteen days after the judgment, in the Convent Sopra Minerva, May 2, 1576, "declaring his innocence with tears in his eyes, and yet with strange inconsistency admitting the justice of his sentence."333

In less than two months after the decease of the Emperor, Queen Mary, his cousin, and wife of his son, died, Nov. 17, 1558, and was borne to her rest in Westminster Abbey. With her the Roman hierarchy collapsed, and the reformed religion, after five years of bloody persecution, was permanently restored on the throne and in the Church of England. In view of this coincidence, we may well exclaim with Ranke, "How far do the thoughts of Divine Providence exceed the thoughts and purposes of men!"334


His Tomb.


From Yuste the remains of the once mighty Emperor were removed in 1574 to their last resting-place under the altar of the cathedral of the Escorial. That gloomy structure, in a dreary mountain region some thirty miles north of Madrid, was built by his order as a royal burial-place (between 1563 and 1584), and combines a palace, a monastery, a cathedral, and a tomb (called Pantheon). Philip II., "el Escorialense," spent there fourteen years, half king, half monk, boasting that he ruled the Old and New World from the foot of a mountain with two inches of paper. He died, after long and intense suffering, Sept. 13, 1598, in a dark little room facing the altar of the church.

Father and son are represented in gilt-bronze statues, opposite each other, in kneeling posture, looking to the high altar; Charles V., with his wife Isabella, his daughter Maria, and his sisters Eleonora and Maria; Philip II., with three of his wives, and his weak-minded and unfortunate son, Don Carlos.

The Escorial, like Spain itself, is only a shadow of the past, inhabited by the ghost of its founder, who entombed in it his own gloomy character.335


 § 53. The Diet of Worms. 1521.


I. Sources. Acta et res gestae D. M. Luth. in Comitiis Principum Wormatiae. Anno 1521. 4°. Acta Lutheri in Comitiis Wormatiae ed. Pollicarius, Vitb. 1546. These and other contemporary documents are reprinted in the Jena ed. of Luther’s Opera (1557), vol. II.; in Walch’s German ed., vols. XV., 2018–2325, and XXII., 2026 sqq.; and the Erlangen-Frankf. ed. of the Opera Lat., vol. VI. (1872); Vermischte deutsche Schriften, vol. XII. (or Sämmtl. Werke, vol. LXIV., pub. 1855), pp. 366–383. Förstemann: Neues Urkundenbuch, 1842, vol. I. Luther’s Letters to Spalatin, Cuspinianus, Lucas Cranach, Charles V., etc., see in De Wette, I. 586 sqq. Spalatin: Ann. Spalatin is also, according to Köstlin, the author of the contemporary pamphlet: Etliche wunderliche fleissige Handlung in D. M. Luther’s Sachen durch geistliche und weltliche Fürsten des Reich’s; but Brieger (in his "Zeitschrift für Kirchengesch.,"  Gotha, 1886, p. 482 sqq.) ascribes it to Rudolph von Watzdorf.

On the Roman-Cath. side, Cochläus (who was present at Worms): Pallavicini (who used the letters of Aleander); and especially the letters and dispatches of Aleander, now published as follows: Johann Friedrich: Der Reichstag zu Worms im Jahr 1521. Nach den Briefen des päpstlichen Nuntius Hieronymus Aleander. In the "Abhandlungen der Bayer. Akad.," vol. XI. München, 1870. Pietro Balan (R. Cath.): Monumenta Reform. Lutheranae ex tabulariis S. Sedis secretis. 1521–1525. Ratisb. Fasc. I., 1883. Contains Aleander’s reports from the papal archives, and is one of the first fruits of the liberal policy of Leo XIII. in opening the literary treasures of the Vatican. Theod. Brieger (Prof. of Ch. Hist. in Leipzig): Aleander und Luther, 1521. Die vervollständigten Aleander-Depeschen nebst Untersuchungen über den Wormser Reichstag. 1 Abth. Gotha, 1884 (315 pages). Gives the Aleander dispatches in Italian and Latin from a MS. in the library of Trent, and supplements and partly corrects, in the chronology, the edition of Balan.


II. Special Treatises. Boye: Luther zu Worms. Halle, 1817, 1824. Zimmer: Luther zu Worms. Heidelb. 1521. Tuzschmann: Luther in Worms. Darmstadt, 1860. Soldan: Der Reichstag zu Worms. Worms, 1863. Steitz: Die Melanchthon- und Luther-Herbergen zu Frankfurt-a.-M. Frankf., 1861. Contains the reports of the Frankfurt delegate Fürstenberg, and other documents. Hennes (R. Cath.): M. Luther’s Aufenthalt in Worms. Mainz, 1868. Waltz: Der Wormser Reichstag und seine Beziehungen zur reformator. Bewegung, in the "Forschungen zur deutschen Gesch."  Göttingen, 1868, VIII. pp. 21–44. Dan. Schenkel: Luther in Worms. Elberfeld, 1870. Jul. Köstlin: Luther’s Rede in Worms am 18. April, 1521. Halle, 1874 (the best on Luther’s famous declaration). Maurenbrecher: Der Wormser Reichstag von 1521, in his "Studien und Skizzen zur Gesch. der Reform. Zeit,"  Leipzig, 1874 (pp. 241–275); also in his Gesch. der kathol. Reformation, Nördlingen, 1880, vol. I., pp. 181–201. Karl Jansen (not to be confounded with the Rom.-Cath. Janssen): Aleander am Reichstage zu Worms, 1521. Kiel, 1883 (72 pages). Corrects Friedrich’s text of Aleander’s letters. Th. Kolde: Luther und der Reichstag zu Worms. 2d ed. Halle, 1883. Brieger: Neue Mittheilungen über L. in Worms. Program to the Luther jubilee, Marburg, 1883 (a critique of Balan’s Monumenta). Kalkoff: Germ. transl. of the Aleander Dispatches, Halle, 1886. Elter: Luther u. der Wormser Reichstag. Bonn, 1886.

III. Ranke, I. 311–343. Gieseler, IV. 56–58 (Am. ed.). Merle D’aub., bk. VII. chs. I. -XI. Hagenbach, III. 103–109. G. P. Fisher, pp. 108–111. Köstlin, chs. XVII. and XVIII. (I. 411–466). Kolde, I. 325 sqq. Janssen (R. Cath.), II. 131–166. G. Weber: Das Zeitalter der Reformation (vol. X. of his Weltgeschichte), Leipzig, 1886, pp. 162–178. Baumgarten: Gesch. Karls V. Leipzig, l885, vol. I. 379–460.


On the 28th of January, 1521, Charles V. opened his first Diet at Worms. This was a free imperial city on the left bank of the Rhine, in the present grand-duchy of Hesse.336  It is famous in German song as the scene of the Niebelungenlied, which opens with King Günther of Worms and his sister Chriemhild, the world’s wonder for grace and beauty. It is equally famous in ecclesiastical history for "the Concordat of Worms," which brought to an end the long contest between the Emperor and the Pope about investiture (Sept. 23, 1122). But its greatest fame the city acquired by Luther’s heroic stand on the word of God and the rights of conscience, which made the Diet of 1521 one of the most important in the history of German Diets. After that event two conferences of Protestant and Roman-Catholic leaders were held in Worms, to heal the breach of the Reformation,—one in 1541, and one in 1557; but both failed of their object. In 1868 (June 25) a splendid monument to Luther and his fellow-laborers by Rietschel was erected at Worms, and dedicated with great national enthusiasm.337

The religious question threw all the political and financial questions into the background, and absorbed the attention of the public mind.

At the very beginning of the Diet a new papal brief called upon the Emperor to give, by an imperial edict, legal force to the bull of January 3, by which Luther was finally excommunicated, and his books condemned to the flames. The Pope urged him to prove his zeal for the unity of the Church. God had girded him with supreme earthly power, that he might use it against heretics who were much worse than infidels.338  On Maundy Thursday, March 28, the Pope, in proclaiming the terrible bull In Coena Domini, which is annually read at Rome, expressly condemned, among other heretics, Martin Luther by name with all his adherents. This was the third or fourth excommunication, but produced little effect.339

The Pope was ably represented by two Italian legates, who were afterwards created cardinals, -Marino Caracciolo (1459–1538) for the political affairs, and Jerome Aleander (1480–1542) for the ecclesiastical interests. Aleander was at that time librarian of the Vatican, and enjoyed great reputation as a Greek scholar. He had lectured at Paris before two thousand bearers of all classes. He stood in friendly relations to Erasmus; but when the latter showed sympathy with the Reformation, be denounced him as the chief founder of the Lutheran heresy. He was an intense papist, and skilled in all the arts of diplomacy. His religious wants were not very pressing. During the Diet of Worms he scarcely found time, in the holy week, "to occupy himself a little with Christ and his conscience." His sole object was to maintain the power of the Pope, and to annihilate the new heresy. In his letters he calls Luther a fool, a dog, a basilisk, a ribald. He urged everywhere the wholesale burning of his books.340  He employed argument, persuasion, promises, threats, spies, and bribes. He complained that he could not get money enough from Rome for greedy officials. He labored day and night with the Emperor, his confessor, and the members of the privy council. He played on their fears of a popular revolution, and reminded them of the example of the Bohemians, the worst and most troublesome of heretics. He did not shrink from the terrible threat, "If ye Germans who pay least into the Pope’s treasury shake off his yoke, we shall take care that ye mutually kill yourselves, and wade in your own blood." He addressed the Diet, Feb. 13, in a speech of three hours, and contended that Luther’s final condemnation left no room for a further hearing of the heretic, but imposed upon the Emperor and the Estates the simple duty to execute the requirements of the papal bull.

The Emperor hesitated between his religious impulses—which were decidedly Roman Catholic, though with a leaning towards disciplinary reform through a council—and political considerations which demanded caution and forbearance. He had already taken lessons in the art of dissimulation, which was deemed essential to a ruler in those days. He had to respect the wishes of the Estates, and could not act without their consent. Public sentiment was divided, and there was a possibility of utilizing the dissatisfaction with Rome for his interest. He was displeased with Leo for favoring the election of Francis, and trying to abridge the powers of the Spanish Inquisition; and yet he felt anxious to secure his support in the impending struggle with France, and the Pope met him half-way by recalling his steps against the Inquisition. He owed a debt of gratitude to the Elector Frederick, and had written to him, Nov. 28, 1520, to bring Luther to Worms, that he might have a hearing before learned men; but the Elector declined the offer, fearing the result. On the 17th of December, the Emperor advised him to keep Luther at Wittenberg, as he had been condemned at Rome.

At first be inclined to severe measures, and laid the draft of an edict before the Diet whereby the bull of excommunication should be legally enforced throughout all Germany. But this was resisted by the Estates, and other influences were brought to bear upon him. Then he tried indirectly, and in a private way, a compromise through his confessor, John Glapio, a Franciscan friar, who professed some sympathy with reform, and respect for Luther’s talent and zeal. He held several interviews with Dr. Brück (Pontanus), the Chancellor of the Elector Frederick. He assured him of great friendship, and proposed that he should induce Luther to disown or to retract the book on the "Babylonian Captivity," which was detestable; in this case, his other writings, which contained so much that is good, would bear fruit to the Church, and Luther might co-operate with the Emperor in the work of a true (that is, Spanish) reformation of ecclesiastical abuses. We have no right to doubt his sincerity any more than that of the like-minded Hadrian VI., the teacher of Charles. But the Elector would not listen to such a proposal, and refused a private audience to Glapio. His conference with Hutten and Sickingen on the Ebernburg was equally unsuccessful.341

The Estates were in partial sympathy with the Reformation, not from doctrinal and religious, but from political and patriotic motives; they repeated the old one hundred and one gravamina against the tyranny and extortions of the Roman See342 (similar to the charges in Luther’s Address to the German Nobility), and resisted a condemnation of Luther without giving him a hearing. Even his greatest enemy, Duke George of Saxony, declared that the Church suffered most from the immorality of the clergy, and that a general reformation was most necessary, which could be best secured by a general council.

During the Diet, Ulrich von Hutten exerted all his power of invective against the Pope and for Luther. He was harbored at Ebernburg, a few leagues from Worms, with his friend, the valorous Francis of Sickingen. He poured contempt and ridicule on the speech of Aleander, and even attempted to catch him and Caracciolo by force.343  But he and Sickingen favored, at the same time, the cause of the young Emperor, from whom they expected great things, and wished to bring about an anti-papal revolution with his aid. Hutten called upon him to dismiss his clerical counsellors, to stand on his own dignity, to give Luther a hearing, and to build up a free Germany. Freedom was now in the air, and all men of intelligence longed for a new and better order of things.344

Aleander was scarcely safe on the street after his speech of February 13. He reported to his master, that for nine-tenths of the Germans the name of Luther was a war-cry, and that the last tenth screamed "Death to the court of Rome!" Cochlaeus, who was in Worms as the theological adviser of the Archbishop of Treves, feared a popular uprising against the clergy.

Luther was the hero of the day, and called a new Moses, a second Paul. His tracts and picture, surrounded by a halo of glory, were freely circulated in Worms.345

At last Charles thought it most prudent to disregard the demand of the Pope. In an official letter of March 6, he cited Luther to appear before the Diet within twenty-one days under the sure protection of the Empire. The Elector Frederick, Duke George of Saxony, and the Landgrave of Hesse, added letters of safe-conduct through their respective territories.346

Aleander now endeavored to make the appearance of Luther as harmless as possible, and succeeded in preventing any discussion with him. The heretic was simply to recant, or, in case of refusal, to suffer the penalties of excommunication.


 § 54. Luther’s Journey to Worms.


"Mönchlein, Mönchlein, Du gehest einen schweren Gang."


Luther, from the first intimation of a summons by the Emperor, regarded it as a call from God, and declared his determination to go to Worms, though he should be carried there sick, and at the risk of his life. His motive was not to gratify an unholy ambition, but to bear witness to the truth. He well knew the tragic fate which overtook Hus at Constance notwithstanding the safe-conduct, but his faith inspired him with fearless courage. "You may expect every thing from me," he wrote to Spalatin, "except fear or recantation. I shall not flee, still less recant. May the Lord Jesus strengthen me."347

He shared for a while the hope of Hutten and Sickingen, that the young Emperor would give him at least fair play, and renew the old conflict of Germany with Rome; but he was doomed to disappointment.

While the negotiations in Worms were going on, he used incessantly his voice and his pen, and alternated between devotional and controversial exercises. He often preached twice a day, wrote commentaries on Genesis, the Psalms, and the Magnificat (the last he finished in March), and published the first part of his Postil (Sermons on the Gospels and Epistles), a defense of his propositions condemned by Rome, and fierce polemical books against Hieronymus Emser, Ambrose Catharinus, and other papal opponents.

Emser, a learned Romanist, and secretary of Duke George of Saxony, had first attacked Luther after the Leipzig disputation, at which he was present. A bitter controversy followed, in which both forgot dignity and charity. Luther called Emser "the Goat of Leipzig" (in reference to the escutcheon of his family), and Emser called Luther in turn, the Capricorn of Wittenberg." Luther’s Antwort auf das überchristliche, übergeistliche, und überkünstliche Buch Bock Emser’s, appeared in March, 1521, and defends his doctrine of the general priesthood of believers.348  Emser afterwards severely criticised Luther’s translation of the Bible, and published his own version of the New Testament shortly before his death (1527).

Catharinus,349 an eminent Dominican at Rome, had attacked Luther toward the end of December, 1520. Luther in his Latin reply tried to prove from Dan. 8:25 sqq.; 2 Thess. 2:3 sqq.; 2 Tim. 4:3 sqq.; 2 Pet. 2:1 sqq.; and the Epistle of Jude, that popery was the Antichrist predicted in the Scriptures, and would soon be annihilated by the Lord himself at his second coming, which he thought to be near at hand.

It is astonishing that in the midst of the war of theological passions, he could prepare such devotional books as his commentaries and sermons, which are full of faith and practical comfort. He lived and moved in the heart of the Scriptures; and this was the secret of his strength and success.

On the second of April, Luther left Wittenberg, accompanied by Amsdorf, his friend and colleague, Peter Swaven, a Danish student, and Johann Pezensteiner, an Augustinian brother. Thus the faculty, the students, and his monastic order were represented. They rode in an open farmer’s wagon, provided by the magistrate of the city. The imperial herald in his coat-of-arms preceded on horseback. Melanchthon wished to accompany his friend, but he was needed at home. "If I do not return," said Luther in taking leave of him, "and my enemies murder me, I conjure thee, dear brother, to persevere in teaching the truth. Do my work during my absence: you can do it better than I. If you remain, I can well be spared. In thee the Lord has a more learned champion."

At Weimar, Justus Jonas joined the company. He was at that time professor and Canon at Erfurt. In June of the same year he moved to Wittenberg as professor of church law and provost, and became one of the most intimate friends and co-workers of Luther. He accompanied him on his last journey to Eisleben, and left us a description of his closing days. He translated several of his and Melanchthon’s works.

The journey to Worms resembled a March of triumph, but clouded with warnings of friends and threats of foes. In Leipzig, Luther was honorably received by the magistrate, notwithstanding his enemies in the University. In Thuringia, the people rushed to see the man who had dared to defy the Pope and all the world.

At Erfurt, where he had studied law and passed three years in a monastic cell, he was enthusiastically saluted, and treated as "the hero of the gospel." Before he reached the city, a large procession of professors and students of his alma mater, headed by his friends Crotus the rector, and Eoban the Latin poet, met him. Everybody rushed to see the procession. The streets, the walls, and roofs were covered with people, who almost worshiped Luther as a wonder-working saint. The magistrate gave him a banquet, and overwhelmed him with demonstrations of honor. He lodged in the Augustinian convent with his friend Lange. On Sunday, April 7, he preached on his favorite doctrine, salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, and against the intolerable yoke of popery. Eoban, who heard him, reports that he melted the hearts as the vernal sun melts the snow, and that neither Demosthenes nor Cicero nor Paul so stirred their audiences as Luther’s sermon stirred the people on the shores of the Gera.350

During the sermon a crash in the balconies of the crowded church seared the hearers, who rushed to the door; but Luther allayed the panic by raising his hand, and assuring them that it was only a wicked sport of the Devil.351

In Gotha and Eisenach he preached likewise to crowded houses. At Eisenach he fell sick, and was bled; but a cordial and good sleep restored him sufficiently to proceed on the next day. He ascribed the sickness to the Devil, the recovery to God. In the inns, he used to take up his lute, and to refresh himself with music.

He arrived at Frankfurt, completely exhausted, on Sunday, April 14. On Monday he visited the high school of William Nesse, blessed the children and exhorted them "to be diligent in reading the Scriptures and investigating the truth." He also became acquainted with a noble patrician family, von Holzhausen, who took an active part in the subsequent introduction of the Reformation in that city.352

As he proceeded, the danger increased, and with it his courage. Before be left Wittenberg, the Emperor had issued an edict ordering all his books to be seized, and forbidding their sale.353  The herald informed him of it already at Weimar, and asked him, "Herr Doctor, will ye proceed?"  He replied, "Yes." The edict was placarded in all the cities. Spalatin, who knew the critical situation, warned him by special messenger, in the name of the Elector his patron, not to come to Worms, lest he might suffer the fate of Hus.354

Luther comforted his timid friends with the words: Though Hus was burned, the truth was not burned, and Christ still lives. He wrote to Spalatin from Frankfurt, that he had been unwell ever since he left Eisenach, and had heard of the Emperor’s edict, but that he would go to Worms in spite of all the gates of hell and the evil spirits in the air.355  The day after, he sent him from Oppenheim (between Mainz and Worms) the famous words: -


"I shall go to Worms, though there were as many devils there as tiles on the roofs."356


A few days before his death at Eisleben, he thus described his feelings at that critical period: "I was fearless, I was afraid of nothing; God can make one so desperately bold. I know not whether I could be so cheerful now."357 Mathesius says, with reference to this courage: "If the cause is good, the heart expands, giving courage and energy to evangelists and soldiers."

Sickingen invited Luther, through Martin Bucer, in person, to his castle Ebernburg, where he would be perfectly safe under the protection of friends. Glapio favored the plan, and wished to have a personal conference with Luther about a possible compromise and co-operation in a moderate scheme of reform. But Luther would not be diverted from his aim, and sent word, that, if the Emperor’s confessor wished, he could see him in Worms.

 Luther arrived in Worms on Tuesday morning, April 16, 1521, at ten o’clock, shortly before early dinner, in an open carriage with his Wittenberg companions, preceded by the imperial herald, and followed by a number of gentlemen on horseback. He was dressed in his monastic gown.358  The watchman on the tower of the cathedral announced the arrival of the procession by blowing the horn, and thousands of people gathered to see the heretic.359

As he stepped from the carriage, he said, "God will be with me."

The papal legate reports this fact to Rome, and adds that Luther looked around with the eyes of a demon.360  Cardinal Cajetan was similarly struck at Augsburg with the mysterious fire of the "profound eyes," and the "wonderful speculations," of the German monk.

Luther was lodged in the house of the Knights of St. John with two counselors of the Elector. He received visitors till late at night.361

The city was in a fever-heat of excitement and expectation.


 § 55. Luther’s Testimony before the Diet.

April 17 and 18, 1521.


See Lit. in § 53.

On the day after his arrival, in the afternoon at four o’clock, Luther was led by the imperial marshal, Ulrich von Pappenheim, and the herald, Caspar Sturm, through circuitous side-streets, avoiding the impassable crowds, to the hall of the Diet in the bishop’s palace where the Emperor and his brother Ferdinand resided. He was admitted at about six o’clock. There he stood, a poor monk of rustic manners, yet a genuine hero and confessor, with the fire of genius and enthusiasm flashing from his eyes and the expression of intense earnestness and thoughtfulness on his face, before a brilliant assembly such as he had never seen: the young Emperor, six Electors (including his own sovereign), the Pope’s legates, archbishops, bishops, dukes, margraves, princes, counts, deputies of the imperial cities, ambassadors of foreign courts, and a numerous array of dignitaries of every rank; in one word, a fair representation of the highest powers in Church and State.362  Several thousand spectators were collected in and around the building and in the streets, anxiously waiting for the issue.

Dr. Johann von Eck,363  as the official of the Archbishop of Treves, put to him, in the name of the Emperor, simply two questions in Latin and German,—first, whether he acknowledged the books laid before him on a bench (about twenty-five in number) to be his own; and, next, whether he would retract them. Dr. Schurf, Luther’s colleague and advocate, who stood beside him, demanded that the titles of those books be read.364  This was done. Among them were some such inoffensive and purely devotional books as an exposition of the Lord’s Prayer and of the Psalms.

Luther was apparently overawed by the August assembly, nervously excited, unprepared for a summary condemnation without an examination, and spoke in a low, almost inaudible tone. Many thought that he was about to collapse. He acknowledged in both languages the authorship of the books; but as to the more momentous question of recantation he humbly requested further time for consideration, since it involved the salvation of the soul, and the truth of the word of God, which was higher than any thing else in heaven or on earth.

We must respect him all the more for this reasonable request, which proceeded not from want of courage, but from a profound sense of responsibility.

The Emperor, after a brief consultation, granted him "out of his clemency" a respite of one day.

Aleander reported on the same day to Rome, that the heretical "fool" entered laughing, and left despondent; that even among his sympathizers some regarded him now as a fool, others as one possessed by the Devil; while many looked upon him as a saint full of the Holy Spirit; but in any case, he had lost much of his reputation.365

The shrewd Italian judged too hastily. On the same evening Luther recollected himself, and wrote to a friend: I shall not retract one iota, so Christ help me."366

On Thursday, the 18th of April, Luther appeared a second and last time before the Diet.

It was the greatest day in his life. He never appeared more heroic and sublime. He never represented a principle of more vital and general importance to Christendom.

On his way to the Diet, an old warrior, Georg von Frundsberg, is reported to have clapped him on the shoulder, with these words of cheer: "My poor monk, my poor monk, thou art going to make such a stand as neither I nor any of my companions in arms have ever done in our hottest battles. If thou art sure of the justice of thy cause, then forward in God’s name, and be of good courage: God will not forsake thee."367

He was again kept waiting two hours outside the hall, among a dense crowd, but appeared more cheerful and confident than the day before. He had fortified himself by prayer and meditation, and was ready to risk life itself to his honest conviction of divine truth. The torches were lighted when he was admitted.

Dr. Eck, speaking again in Latin and German, reproached him for asking delay, and put the second question in this modified form:, Wilt thou defend all the books which thou dost acknowledge to be thine, or recant some part?"

Luther answered in a well-considered, premeditated speech, with modesty and firmness, and a voice that could be heard all over the hall.368

After apologizing for his ignorance of courtly manners, having been brought up in monastic simplicity, he divided his books into three classes:369 (1) Books which simply set forth evangelical truths, professed-alike by friend and foe: these he could not retract. (2) Books against the corruptions and abuses of the papacy which vexed and martyred the conscience, and devoured the property of the German nation: these he could not retract without cloaking wickedness and tyranny. (3) Books against his popish opponents: in these he confessed to have been more violent than was proper, but even these he could not retract without giving aid and comfort to his enemies, who would triumph and make things worse. In defense of his books he could only say in the words of Christ:, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?"  If his opponents could convict him of error by prophetic and evangelical Scriptures, he would revoke his books, and be the first to commit them to the flames. He concluded with a warning to the young Emperor not to begin his reign by condemning the word of God, and pointed to the judgments over Pharaoh, the king of Babylon, and the ungodly kings of Israel.

He was requested to repeat his speech in Latin.370  This he did with equal firmness and with eyes upraised to heaven.

The princes held a short consultation. Eck, in the name of the Emperor, sharply reproved him for evading the question; it was useless, he said, to dispute with him about views which were not new, but had been already taught by Hus, Wiclif, and other heretics, and had been condemned for sufficient reasons by the Council of Constance before the Pope, the Emperor, and the assembled fathers. He demanded a round and direct answer, without horns."

This brought on the crisis.

Luther replied, he would give an answer "with neither horns nor teeth."371  From the inmost depths of his conscience educated by the study of the word of God, he made in both languages that memorable declaration which marks an epoch in the history of religious liberty: —

"Unless I am refuted and convicted by testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear arguments (since I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils alone; it being evident that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the word of God: I can not and will not recant any thing, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do any thing against the conscience."372

So far the reports are clear and harmonious. What followed immediately after this testimony is somewhat uncertain and of less importance.

Dr. Eck exchanged a few more words with Luther, protesting against his assertion that Councils may err and have erred. "You can not prove it," he said. Luther repeated his assertion, and pledged himself to prove it. Thus pressed and threatened, amidst the excitement and confusion of the audience, he uttered in German, at least in substance, that concluding sentence which has impressed itself most on the memory of men: —

"Here I stand. [I can not do otherwise.]  God help me!  Amen."373

The sentence, if not strictly historical, is true to the situation, and expresses Luther’s mental condition at the time,—the strength of his conviction, and prayer for God’s help, which was abundantly answered. It furnishes a parallel to Galileo’s equally famous, but less authenticated, "It does move, for all that" (E pur si muove).

The Emperor would hear no more, and abruptly broke up the session of the Diet at eight o’clock, amid general commotion.

On reaching his lodgings, Luther threw up his arms, and joyfully exclaimed, "I am through, I am through?  "To Spalatin, in the presence of others, he said, "If I had a thousand beads, I would rather have them all cut off one by one than make one recantation."

The impression he made on the audience was different according to conviction and nationality. What some admired as the enthusiasm of faith and the strength of conviction, appeared to others as fanaticism and heretical obstinacy.

The Emperor, a stranger to German thought and speech,374  declared after the first hearing: "This man will never make a heretic of me." He doubted the authorship of the famous books ascribed to him.375  At the second hearing he was horrified at the disparagement of general Councils, as if a German monk could be wiser than the whole Catholic Church. The Spaniards and Italians were no doubt of the same opinion; they may have been repelled also by his lowly appearance and want of refined manners. Some of the Spaniards pursued him with hisses as he left the room. The papal legates reported that he raised his hands after the manner of the German soldiers rejoicing over a clever stroke, and represented him as a vulgar fellow fond of good wine.376  They praised the Emperor as a truly Christian and Catholic prince who assured them the next day of his determination to treat Luther as a heretic. The Venetian ambassador, otherwise impartial, judged that Luther disappointed expectations, and showed neither much learning, nor much prudence, nor was he blameless in life.377

But the German delegates received a different impression. When Luther left the Bishop’s palace greatly exhausted, the old Duke Erik of Brunswick sent him a silver tankard of Eimbeck beer, after having first drunk of it himself to remove suspicion. Luther said, "As Duke Erik has remembered me to-day, may the Lord Jesus remember him in his last agony." The Duke thought of it on his deathbed, and found comfort in the words of the gospel: "Whosoever shall give unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, he shall in no wise lose his reward." The Elector Frederick expressed to Spalatin the same evening his delight with Luther’s conduct: "How excellently did Father Martin speak both in Latin and German before the Emperor and the Estates!  He was bold enough, if not too much so."378  The cautious Elector would have been still better pleased if Luther had been more moderate, and not attacked the Councils. Persons of distinction called on him in his lodgings till late at night, and cheered him. Among these was the young Landgrave Philip of Hesse, who afterwards embraced the cause of the Reformation with zeal and energy, but did it much harm by his bigamy. After a frivolous jest, which Luther smilingly rebuked, he wished him God’s blessing.379

The strongest sympathizers with Luther were outside of the Diet, among the common people, the patriotic nobles, the scholars of the school of Erasmus, and the rising generation of liberal men. As he returned from the Diet to his lodgings, a voice in the crowd was heard to exclaim: "Blessed be the womb that bare this son." Tonstal, the English ambassador, wrote from Worms, that "the Germans everywhere are so addicted to Luther, that, rather than he should be oppressed by the Pope’s authority, a hundred thousand of the people will sacrifice their lives."380  In the imperial chambers a paper was found with the words: "Woe to the nation whose king is a child" (Eccl. x. 16).381  An uprising of four hundred German knights with eight thousand soldiers was threatened in a placard on the city hall; but the storm passed away. Hutten and Sickingen were in the Emperor’s service. "Hutten only barks, but does not bite," was a saying in Worms.

The papal party triumphed in the Diet. Nothing else could be expected if the historic continuity of the Latin Church and of the Holy German Roman Empire was to be preserved. Had Luther submitted his case to a general council, to which in the earlier stages of the conflict he had himself repeatedly appealed, the result might have been different, and a moderate reform of the mediaeval Church under the headship of the Pope of Rome might have been accomplished; but no more. By denying the infallibility of a council, he openly declared himself a heretic, and placed himself in opposition to the universal opinion, which regarded oecumenical Councils, beginning with the first of Nicaea in 325, as the ultimate tribunal for the decision of theological controversies. The infallibility of the Pope was as yet an open question, and remained so till 1870, but the infallibility of a general council was at that time regarded as settled. A protest against it could only be justified by a providential mission and actual success.

It was the will of Providence to prepare the way, through the instrumentality of Luther, for independent church-organizations, and the development of new types of Christianity on the basis of the word of God and the freedom of thought.




These words of Luther have been reported again and again, not only in popular books, but in learned histories, without a doubt of their genuineness. They are engraven on his monument at Worms.

But this very fact called forth a critical investigation of the Saxon Archivarius, Dr. C. A. H. Burkhardt (author of the learned work: Luther’s Briefwechsel), Ueber die Glaubwürdigkeit der Antwort Luthers: "Hie steh’ ich, ich kann nicht anders, Gott helff mir. Amen," in the "Theol. Studien und Kritiken" for 1869, III. pp. 517–531. He rejects all but the last three words (not the whole, as Janssen incorrectly reports, in his History, II. 165, note). His view was accepted by Daniel Schenkel (1870), and W. Maurenbrecher (Gesch. d. kath. Reform., 1880, I. 398). The latter calls the words even "Improper and unworthy," because theatrical, which we cannot admit.

On the other hand, Professor Köstlin, the biographer of Luther, has come to the rescue of the whole sentence in his Easter-program: Luther’s Rede in Worms, Halle, 1874; comp. his notes in the "Studien und Kritiken" for 1882, p. 551 sq., and his Martin Luther, I. 453, and the note, p. 800 sq. (second Ed. 1883). His conclusion was accepted by Ranke in the sixth Ed. of his Hist. of Germany (I. 336), and by Mönckeberg (pastor of St. Nicolai in Hamburg), who supports it by new proofs, in an essay, Die Glaubwürdigkeit des Lutherwortes in Worms, in the "Studien und Kritiken" for 1876, No. II. pp. 295–306.

The facts are these. In Luther’s own Latin notes which he prepared, probably at Worms, for Spalatin, there is no such sentence except the words, "God help me." The prayer which he offered loudly in his chamber on the evening before his second appearance before the Diet, and which some one has reported, concludes with the words, "Gott helfe mir, Amen!" (Walch, X. 1721; Erl. -Frkf. Ed., LXIV. 289 sq.). Spalatin in his (defective) notes on the acts of the Diet, preserved at Weimar (Gesammtarchiv, Reichtagsacten, 1521), and in his Annals (Ed. by Cyprian, p. 41), vouches likewise only for the words, "Gott helfe mir, Amen!"  With this agrees the original edition of the Acta Lutheri Wormatiae habita which were published immediately after the Diet (reprinted in the Frankf. ed. of the Opera Lat., vol. VI. p. 14, see second foot-note).

But other contemporary reports give the whole sentence, though in different order of the words. See the comparative table of Burkhardt, I.c. pp. 525–529. A German report (reprinted in the Erl. -Frkf. ed., vol. LXIV. p. 383) gives as the last words of Luther (in reply to Eck): "Gott kumm mir zu Hilf!  Amen. Da bin ich." The words "Da bin ich" (Here I am) are found also in another source. Mathesius reports the full sentence as coming from the lips of Luther in 1540. In a German contemporary print and on a fly-leaf in the University library of Heidelberg (according to Köstlin), the sentence appears in this order: "Ich kann nicht anders; hier steh’ ich; Gott helfe mir." In the first edition of Luther’s Latin works, published 1546, the words appear in the present order: "Hier steh’ ich," etc. In this form they have passed into general currency.

Köstlin concludes that the only question is about the order of words, and whether they were spoken at the close of his main declaration, or a little afterwards at the close of the Diet. I have adopted the latter view, which agrees with the contemporary German report above quoted. Kolde, in his monograph on Luther at Worms (p. 60), agrees substantially with Köstlin, and says: "Wir wissen nicht mehr, in welchem Zusammenhang diese Worte gesprochen worden sind, auch können sie vielleicht etwas anders gelautet haben; bei der herrschenden Unruhe hat der eine Berichterstatter den Ausspruch so, der andere ihn so verstanden; sicherlich drückten sie zu gleicher Zeit seine felsenfeste Überzeugung von der Wahrheit seines in sich gewissen Glaubens aus, wie das Bewusstsein, dass hier nur Gott helfen könne."


 § 56. Reflections on Luther’s Testimony at Worms.


Luther’s testimony before the Diet is an event of world-historical importance and far-reaching effect. It opened an intellectual conflict which is still going on in the civilized world. He stood there as the fearless champion of the supremacy of the word of God over the traditions of men, and of the liberty of conscience over the tyranny of authority.

For this liberty, all Protestant Christians, who enjoy the fruit of his courage, owe him a debt of gratitude. His recantation could not, any more than his martyrdom, have stopped the Reformation; but it would have retarded its progress, and indefinitely prolonged the oppressive rule of popery.

When tradition becomes a wall against freedom, when authority degenerates into tyranny, the very blessing is turned into a curse, and history is threatened with stagnation and death.382  At such rare junctures, Providence raises those pioneers of progress, who have the intellectual and moral courage to break through the restraints at the risk of their lives, and to open new paths for the onward march of history. This consideration furnishes the key for the proper appreciation of Luther’s determined stand at this historical crisis.

Conscience is the voice of God in man. It is his most sacred possession. No power can be allowed to stand between the gift and the giver. Even an erring conscience must be respected, and cannot be forced. The liberty of conscience was theoretically and practically asserted by the Christians of the ante-Nicene age, against Jewish and heathen persecution; but it was suppressed by the union of Church and State after Constantine the Great, and severe laws were enacted under his successors against every departure from the established creed of the orthodox imperial Church. These laws passed from the Roman to the German Empire, and were in full force all over Europe at the time when Luther raised his protest. Dissenters had no rights which Catholics were bound to respect; even a sacred promise given to a heretic might be broken without sin, and was broken by the Emperor Sigismund in the case of Hus.383

This tyranny was brought to an end by the indomitable courage of Luther.

Liberty of conscience may, of course, be abused, like any other liberty, and may degenerate into heresy and licentiousness. The individual conscience and private judgment often do err, and they are more likely to err than a synod or council, which represents the combined wisdom of many. Luther himself was far from denying this fact, and stood open to correction and conviction by testimonies of Scripture and clear arguments. He heartily accepted all the doctrinal decisions of the first four oecumenical Councils, and had the deepest respect for the Apostles’ Creed on which his own Catechism is based. But he protested against the Council of Constance for condemning the opinions of Hus, which he thought were in accordance with the Scriptures. The Roman Church itself must admit the fallibility of Councils if the Vatican decree of papal infallibility is to stand; for more than one oecumenical council has denounced Pope Honorius as a heretic, and even Popes have confirmed the condemnation of their predecessor. Two conflicting infallibilities neutralize each other.384

Luther did not appeal to his conscience alone, but first and last to the Scripture as he understood it after the most earnest study. His conscience, as he said, was bound in the word of God, who cannot err. There, and there alone, he recognized infallibility. By recanting, he would have committed a grievous sin.

One man with the truth on his side is stronger than a majority in error, and will conquer in the end. Christ was right against the whole Jewish hierarchy, against Herod and Pilate, who conspired in condemning him to the cross. St. Paul was right against Judaism and heathenism combined, "unus versus mundum;" St. Athanasius, "the father of orthodoxy,"  was right against dominant Arianism; Galileo Galilei was right against the Inquisition and the common opinion of his age on the motion of the earth; Döllinger was right against the Vatican Council when, "as a Christian, as a theologian, as an historian, and as a citizen," he protested against the new dogma of the infallibility of the Pope.385

That Luther was right in refusing to recant, and that he uttered the will of Providence in hearing testimony to the supremacy of the word of God and the freedom of conscience, has been made manifest by the verdict of history.


 § 57. Private Conferences with Luther. The Emperors Conduct.


On the morning after Luther’s testimony, the Emperor sent a message—a sort of personal confession of faith—written by his own hand in French, to the Estates, informing them, that in consistency with his duty as the successor of the most Christian emperors of Germany and the Catholic kings of Spain, who had always been true to the Roman Church, he would now treat Luther, after sending him home with his safe-conduct, as an obstinate and convicted heretic, and defend with all his might the faith of his forefathers and of the Councils, especially that of Constance.386

Some of the deputies grew pale at this decision; the Romanists rejoiced. But in view of the state of public sentiment the Diet deemed it expedient to attempt private negotiations for a peaceful settlement, in the hope that Luther might be induced to withdraw or at least to moderate his dissent from the general Councils. The Emperor yielded in spite of Aleander’s protest.

The negotiations were conducted chiefly by Richard von Greiffenklau, Elector and Archbishop of Treves, and at his residence. He was a benevolent and moderate churchman, to whom the Elector Frederick and Baron Miltitz had once desired to submit the controversy. The Elector of Brandenburg, Duke George of Saxony, Dr. Vehus (chancellor of the Margrave of Baden), Dr. Eck of Treves, Dean Cochlaeus of Frankfort,387  and the deputies of Strasburg and Augsburg, likewise took part in the conferences.

These men were just as honest as Luther, but they occupied the standpoint of the mediaeval Church, and could not appreciate his departure from the beaten track. The archbishop was very kind and gracious to Luther, as the latter himself admitted. He simply required that in Christian humility he should withdraw his objections to the Council of Constance, leave the matter for the present with the Emperor and the Diet, and promise to accept the final verdict of a future council unfettered by a previous decision of the Pope. Such a council might re-assert its superiority over the Pope, as the reformatory Councils of the fifteenth century had done.

But Luther had reason to fear the result of such submission, and remained as hard as a rock. He insisted on the supremacy of the word of God over all Councils, and the right of judging for himself according to his conscience.388  He declared at last, that unless convinced by the Scriptures or "clear and evident reasons," he could not yield, no matter what might happen to him; and that he was willing to abide by the test of Gamaliel, "If this work be of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it" (Acts 5:38, 39).389

He asked the Archbishop, on April 25, to obtain for him the Emperor’s permission to go home. In returning to his lodgings, he made a pastoral visit to a German Knight, and told him in leaving: "To-morrow I go away."

Three hours after the last conference, the Emperor sent him a safe-conduct for twenty-one days, but prohibited him from writing or preaching on the way. Luther returned thanks, and declared that his only aim was to bring about a reformation of the Church through the Scriptures, and that he was ready to suffer all for the Emperor and the empire, provided only he was permitted to confess and teach the word of God. This was his last word to the imperial commissioners. With a shake of hands they took leave of each other, never to meet again in this world.

It is to the credit of Charles, that in spite of contrary counsel, even that of his former teacher and confessor, Cardinal Hadrian, who wished him to deliver Luther to the Pope for just punishment, he respected the eternal principle of truth and honor more than the infamous maxim that no faith should be kept with heretics. He refused to follow the example of his predecessor, Sigismund, who violated the promise of safe-conduct given to Hus, and ordered his execution at the stake after his condemnation by the Council of Constance.390  The protection of Luther is the only service which Charles rendered to the Reformation, and the best thing, in a moral point of view, he ever did.391  Unfortunately, he diminished his merit by his subsequent regret at Yuste.392  He had no other chance to crush the heretic. When he came to Wittenberg in 1547, Luther was in his grave, and the Reformation too deeply rooted to be overthrown by a short-lived victory over a few Protestant princes.

It is interesting to learn Aleander’s speculations about Luther’s intentions immediately after his departure. He reported to Rome, April 29, 1521, that the heretic would seek refuge with the Hussites in Bohemia, and do four "beastly things" (cose bestiali): 1, write lying Acta Wormaciensia, to incite the people to insurrection; 2, abolish the confessional; 3, deny the real presence in the sacrament; 4, deny the divinity of Christ.393

Luther did none of these things except the second, and this only in part. To prevent his entering Bohemia, Rome made provision to have him seized on the way.


 § 58. The Ban of the Empire. May 8 (26), 1521.


After Luther’s departure (April 26), his enemies had full possession of the ground. Frederick of Saxony wrote, May 4: "Martin’s cause is in a bad state: he will be persecuted; not only Annas and Caiaphas, but also Pilate and Herod, are against him." Aleander reported to Rome, May 5, that Luther had by his bad habits, his obstinacy, and his "beastly" speeches against Councils, alienated the people, but that still many adhered to him from love of disobedience to the Pope, and desire to seize the church property.

The Emperor commissioned Aleander to draw up a Latin edict against Luther.394  It was completed and dated May 8 (but not signed till May 26). On the same day the Emperor concluded an alliance with the Pope against France. They pledged themselves "to have the same friends and the same enemies," and to aid each other in attack and defense.

The edict was kept back till the Elector Frederick and the Elector of the Palatinate with a large number of other members of the Diet had gone home. It was not regularly submitted to, nor discussed and voted on, by the Diet, nor signed by the Chancellor, but secured by a sort of surprise.395  On Trinity Sunday, May 26, Aleander went with the Latin and German copy to church, and induced the Emperor to sign both after high mass, "with his pious hand." The Emperor said in French, "Now you will be satisfied."—"Yes," replied the legate in the same language, "but much more satisfied will be the Holy See and all Christendom, and will thank God for such a good, holy, and religious Emperor."396

The edict is not so long, but as turgid, bombastic, intolerant, fierce, and Cruel, as the Pope’s bull of excommunication.397  It gave legal force to the bull within the German Empire. It denounces Luther as a devil in the dress of a monk, who had gathered a mass of old and new heresies into one pool, and pronounces upon him the ban and re-ban.398 It commands the burning, and forbids the printing, publication, and sale, of his books, the sheltering and feeding of his person, and that of his followers, and directs the magistrates to seize him wherever he may be found, and to hand him over to the Emperor, to be dealt with according to the penal laws against heretics. At the same time the whole press of the empire was put under strict surveillance.399

This was the last occasion on which the mediaeval union of the secular empire with the papacy was expressed in official form so as to make the German emperor the executor of the decrees of the bishop of Rome. The gravamina of the nation were unheeded. Hutten wrote: "I am ashamed of my fatherland."400

Thus Luther was outlawed by Church and State, condemned by the Pope, the Emperor, the universities, cast out of human society, and left exposed to a violent death.

But he had Providence and the future on his side. The verdict of the Diet was not the verdict of the nation.

The departure of the Emperor through the Netherlands to Spain, where he subdued a dangerous insurrection, his subsequent wars with Francis in Italy, the victorious advance of the Turks in Hungary, the protection of Luther by the Elector Frederick, and the rapid spread of Protestant doctrines, these circumstances, combined to reduce the imperial edict, as well as the papal bull, to a dead letter in the greater part of Germany. The empire was not a centralized monarchy, but a loose confederation of seven great electorates, a larger number of smaller principalities, and free cities, each with an ecclesiastical establishment of its own. The love of individual independence among the rival states and cities was stronger than the love of national union; and hence it was difficult to enforce the decisions of the Diet against a dissenting minority or even a single recalcitrant member. An attempt to execute the edict in electoral Saxony or the free cities by military force would have kindled the flame of civil war which no wise and moderate ruler would be willing to risk without imperative necessity. Charles was an earnest Roman Catholic, but also a shrewd statesman who had to consult political interests. Even the Elector Albrecht of Mainz prevented, as far as he could, the execution of the bull and ban in the dioceses of Mainz, Magdeburg, and Halberstadt. He did not sign the edict as chancellor of the empire.401  Capito, his chaplain and private counselor, described him in a letter to Zwingli, Aug. 4, 1521, as a promoter of "the gospel," who would not permit that Luther be attacked on the pulpit. And this was the prelate who had been intrusted by the Pope with the sale of indulgences. Such a change had been wrought in public sentiment in the short course of four years.

The settlement of the religious question was ultimately left to the several states, and depended very much upon the religious preferences and personal character of the civil magistrate. Saxony, Hesse, Brandenburg, the greater part of Northern Germany, also the Palatinate, Würtemberg, Nürnberg, Frankfurt, Strassburg, and Ulm, embraced Protestantism in whole or in part; while Southern and Western Germany, especially Bavaria and Austria, remained predominantly Roman Catholic. But it required a long and bloody struggle before Protestantism acquired equal legal rights with Romanism, and the Pope protests to this day against the Treaty of Westphalia which finally secured those rights.


 § 59. State of Public Opinion. Popular Literature.


K. Hagen: Der Geist der Reformation und seine Gegensätze. Erlangen, 1843. Bd. I. 158 sqq. Janssen, II. 181–197, gives extracts from revolutionary pamphlets to disparage the cause of the Reformation.


Among the most potent causes which defeated the ban of the empire, and helped the triumph of Protestantism, was the teeming ephemeral literature which appeared between 1521 and 1524, and did the work of the periodical newspaper press of our days, in seasons of public excitement. In spite of the prohibition of unauthorized printing by the edict of Worms, Germany was inundated by a flood of books, pamphlets, and leaflets in favor of true and false freedom. They created a public opinion which prevented the execution of the law.

Luther had started this popular literary warfare by his ninety-five Theses. He was by far the most original, fertile, and effective controversialist and pamphleteer of his age. He commanded the resources of genius, learning, courage, eloquence, wit, humor, irony, and ridicule, and had, notwithstanding his many physical infirmities, an astounding power of work. He could express the deepest thought in the clearest and strongest language, and had an abundant supply of juicy and forcible epithets.402  His very opponents had to imitate his German speech if they wished to reach the masses, and to hit the nail on the head. He had a genial heart, but also a most violent temper, and used it as a weapon for popular effect. He felt himself called to the rough work of "removing stumps and stones, cutting away thistles and thorns, and clearing the wild forests." He found aid and comfort in the severe language of the prophets. He had, as he says, the threefold spirit of Elijah,—the storm, the earthquake, and the fire, which subverts mountains and tears the rocks in pieces. He thoroughly understood the wants and tastes of his countrymen who preferred force to elegance, and the club to the dagger. Foreigners, who knew him only from his Latin writings, could not account for his influence.

Roman historians, in denouncing his polemics, are apt to forget the fearful severity of the papal bull, the edict of Worms, and the condemnatory decisions of the universities.403

His pen was powerfully aided by the pencil of his friend Lucas Cranach, the court-painter of Frederick the Wise.

Melanchthon had no popular talent, but he employed his scholarly pen in a Latin apology for Luther, against the furious decree of the Parisian theologasters."404  The Sorbonne, hitherto the most famous theological faculty, which in the days of the reformatory Councils had stood up for the cause of reform, followed the example of the universities of Louvain and Cologne, and denounced Luther during the sessions of the Diet of Worms, April 15, 1521, as an arch-heretic who had renewed and intensified the blasphemous errors of the Manichaeans, Hussites, Beghards, Cathari, Waldenses, Ebionites, Arians, etc., and who should be destroyed by fire rather than refuted by arguments.405  Eck translated the decision at once into German. Melanchthon dared to charge the faculty of Paris with apostasy from Christ to Aristotle, and from biblical theology to scholastic sophistry. Luther translated the Apology into German at the Wartburg, and, finding it too mild, he added to it some strokes of his "peasant’s axe."406

Ulrich von Hutten was almost equal to Luther in literary power, eloquence, wit, and sarcasm, as well as in courage, and aided him with all his might from the Ebernburg during his trial at Worms; but he weakened his cause by want of principle. He had previously republished and ridiculed the Pope’s bull of excommunication. He now attacked the edict of Worms, and wrote invectives against its authors, the papal legates, and its supporters, the bishops.407  He told the former how foolish it was to proceed with such impudence and violence against Luther, in opposition to the spirit of the age, that the time of revenge would soon come; that the Germans were by no means so blind and indifferent as they imagined; that the young Emperor would soon come to a better knowledge. He indignantly reminded Aleander of his shameful private utterance (which was also reported to Luther by Spalatin), that, if the Germans should shake off the papal yoke, Rome would take care to sow so much seed of discord among them that they would eat each other up. He reproached the archbishops and higher clergy for using force instead of persuasion, the secular magistrate instead of the word of Christ against Luther. He told them that they were no real priests; that they had bought their dignities; that they violated common morality; that they were carnal, worldly, avaricious; that they were unable or ashamed to preach the gospel which condemned their conduct, and that if God raised a preacher like Luther, they sought to oppress him. But the measure is full. "Away with you," he exclaims, "ye unclean hogs, away from the pure fountains!  Away with you, wicked traffickers, from the sanctuary!  Touch no longer the altars with your profane hands!  What right have ye to waste the pious benefactions of our fathers in luxury, fornication, and vain pomp, while many honest and pious people are starving?  The measure is full. See ye not that the air of freedom is stirring, that men, disgusted with the present state of things, demand improvement?  Luther and I may perish at your hands, but what of that?  There are many more Luthers and Huttens who will take revenge, and raise a new and more violent reformation."

He added, however, to the second edition, a sort of apologetic letter to Albrecht, the head of the German archbishops, his former friend and patron, assuring him of his continued friendship, and expressing regret that he should have been alienated from the protection of the cause of progress and liberty.

In a different spirit Hans Sachs, the pious poet-shoemaker of Nürnberg,408 wrote many ephemeral compositions in prose and poetry for the cause of Luther and the gospel. He met Luther at Augsburg in 1518, collected till 1522 forty books in his favor, and published in 1523 a poem of seven hundred verses under the title: "Die Wittenbergisch Nachtigall, Die man jetzt hört überall," and with the concluding words: "Christus amator, Papa peccator." It was soon followed by four polemical dialogues in prose.

Among the most popular pamphleteers on the Protestant side were a farmer named "Karsthans," who labored in the Rhine country between Strassburg and Basel, and his imitator, "Neukarsthans." Many pamphlets were anonymous or pseudonymous.

It is a significant fact, that the Reformation was defended by so many laymen. All the great German classics who arose in more recent times (Klopstock, Lessing, Herder, Goethe, Schiller, Uhland, Rückert), as well as philosophers (Leibnitz, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Herbart, Lotze), are Protestants, at least nominally, and could not have grown on papal soil.

The newness and freshness of this fugitive popular literature called out by the Reformation, and especially by the edict of Worms, made it all the more effective. The people were hungry for intellectual and spiritual food, and the appetite grew with the supply.

The polemical productions of that period are usually brief, pointed, and aimed at the common-sense of the masses. They abound in strong arguments, rude wit, and coarse abuse. They plead the cause of freedom against oppression, of the laity against priestcraft and monkery. A favorite form of composition was the dialogue in which a peasant or a laboring-man defeats an ecclesiastic.

The Devil figures prominently in league with the Pope, sometimes as his servant, sometimes as his master. Very often the Pope is contrasted with Christ as his antipode. The Pope, says one of the controversialists, proclaimed the terrible bull of condemnation of Luther and all heretics on the day commemorative of the institution of the holy communion; and turned the divine mercy into human wrath, brotherly love into persecuting hatred, the very blessing into a curse.

St. Peter also appears often in these productions: he stands at the gate of heaven, examining priests, monks, and popes, whether they are fit to enter, and decides in most cases against them. Here is a specimen: A fat and drunken monk knocks at the gate, and is angry that he is not at once admitted; Peter tells him first to get sober, and laughs at his foolish dress. Then he catechises him; the monk enumerates all his fasts, self-mortifications, and pious exercises; Peter orders that his belly be cut open, and, behold! chickens, wild game, fish, omelets, wine, and other contents come forth and bear witness against the hypocrite, who is forthwith sent to the place of punishment.

The writer of a pamphlet entitled "Doctor Martin Luther’s Passion," draws an irreverent parallel between Luther’s treatment by the Diet, with Christ’s crucifixion: Luther’s entry into Worms is compared to Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, the Diet to the Sanhedrin, Archbishop Albrecht to Caiaphas, the papal legates to the Pharisees, the Elector of Saxony to Peter, Eck and Cochlaeus to the false witnesses, the Archbishop of Treves to Pilate, the German nation to Pilate’s wife; at last Luther’s books and likeness are thrown into the fire, but his likeness will not burn, and the spectators exclaim, "Verily, he is a Christian."

The same warfare was going on in German Switzerland. Nicolas Manuel, a poet and painter (died 1530), in a carnival play which was enacted at Berne, 1522, introduces first the whole hierarchy, confessing one after another their sins, and expressing regret that they now are to be stopped by the rising opposition of the people; then the various classes of laymen attack the priests, expose their vices, and refute their sophistries; and at last Peter and Paul decide in favor of the laity, and charge the clergy with flatly contradicting the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.409

These pamphlets and fugitive papers were illustrated by rude woodcuts and caricatures of obnoxious persons, which added much to their popular effect. Popes, cardinals, and bishops are represented in their clerical costume, but with faces of wolves or foxes, and surrounded by geese praying a Paternoster or Ave Maria. The "Passion of Christ and Antichrist" has twenty-six woodcuts, from the elder Lucas Cranach or his school, which exhibit the contrast between Christ and his pretended vicar in parallel pictures: in one Christ declines the crown of this world, in the other the Pope refuses to open the gate to the Emperor (at Canossa); in one Christ wears the crown of thorns, in the other the Pope the triple crown of gold and jewels; in one Christ washes the feet of his disciples, in the other the Pope suffers emperors and kings to kiss his toe; in one Christ preaches the glad tidings to the poor, in the other the Pope feasts with his cardinals at a rich banquet; in one Christ expels the profane traffickers, in the other the Pope sits in the temple of God; in one Christ rides meekly on an ass into Jerusalem, in the other the Pope and his cardinals ride on fiery steeds into hell.410

The controversial literature of the Roman-Catholic Church was far behind the Protestant in ability and fertility. The most popular and effective writer on the Roman side was the Franciscan monk and crowned poet, Thomas Murner. He was an Alsatian, and lived in Strassburg, afterwards at Luzern, and died at Heidelberg (1537). He had formerly, in his Narrenbeschwörung (1512) and other writings, unmercifully chastised the vices of all classes, including clergy and monks, and had sided with Reuchlin in his controversy with the Dominicans, but in 1520 he turned against Luther, and assailed his cause in a poetical satire: "Vom grossen lutherischen Narren wie ihn Doctor Murner beschworen hat, 1522."411



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

174  On St. Peter’s church, see the archaeological and historical works on Rome, and especially Heinr. von Geymüller, Die Entwürfe für Sanct Peterin Rom, Wien (German and French); and Charles de Lorbac, Saint-Pierre de Rome, illustré de plus de 130 gravures sur bois, Rome, 1879 (pp. 310).

175  The Council incidentally admits that these evil gains have been the most prolific source of abuses,—"unde plurima in Christiano populo abusuum causa fluxit,"—and hence it ordained that they are to be wholly abolished: "omnino abolendos esse."(Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, II. 205 sq.) A strong proof of the effect of the Reformation upon the Church of Rome.

176  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Pars III. Quaest. LXXXIV., De Sacramento Poenitentiae; and in the supplement to the Third Part, Quaest. XXV.-XXVIL, De Indulgentia. Comp. literature in vol. IV. 381.

177  See the papal documents in Pallavicini, in Löscher (I. 369-383), and Walch, L.’s Werke, XV. 313 sqq. Compare Gieseler, IV. 21 sq. (New York ed.); Hergenröther’s Regesta Leonis X. (1884 sqq.).

178  J. May: Der Kurfürst Albrecht. II. von Mainz, München, 1875, 2 vols.

179  Janssen, II. 60, 64: "Das Hofwesen so mancher geistlichen Fürsten Deutschlands, insbesondere das des Erzbischofs Albrecht von Mainz, stand in schreiendem Widerspruch mit dem eines kirchlichen Würdeträgers, aber der Hof Leo’s X., mit seinem Aufwand für Spiel und Theater und allerlei weltliche Feste entsprach noch weniger der Bestimmung eines Oberhauptes der Kirche. Der Verweltlichung und Ueppigkeit geistlicher Fürstenhöfe in Deutschland ging die des römischen Hofes voraus, und erstere wäre ohne diese kaum möglich gewesen." He quotes (II. 76) Emser and Cardinal Sadolet against the abuses of indulgences in the reign of Leo X. Cardinal Hergenröther, in the dedicatory preface to the Regesta Leonis X. (Fasc. I. p. ix), while defending this Pope against the charge of religious indifference, censures the accumulation of ecclesiastical benefices by the same persons, as Albrecht, and the many abuses resulting therefrom.

180  Löscher (I. 505-523) gives both dissertations, the first consisting of 106, the second of 50 theses, and calls them "Proben von den stinkenden Schäden des Papstthutms." He ascribes, however, the authorship to Conrad Wimpina, professor of theology at Frankfurt-on-the-Oder, who afterwards published them as his own, without mentioning Tetzel, in his Anacephalaiosis Sectarum errorum, etc., 1528 (Löscher, I. 506, II. 7). Gieseler, Köstlin, and Knaake are of the same opinion. Gröne and Hergenröther assign them to Tetzel.

181  Mathesius, Myconius, and Luther (Wider Hans Wurst, 1541, in the Erl. ed. XXVI. 51) ascribe to him also the blasphemous boast that he had the power by letters of indulgence to forgive even a carnal sin against the Mother of God ("wenn einer gleich die heil. Jungfrau Maria, Gottes Mutter, hätte geschächt und geschwängert"). Luther alludes to such a monstrous saying in Thes. 75, and calls it insane. But Tetzel denied, and disproved the charge as a slander, in his Disp. I. 99-101 ("Subcommissariis ac praedicatoribus veniarum Imponere, ut si quis per impossibile Dei genetricem semper virginein violasset ... Odio Agitari Ac Fratrum Suorum Sanguinem Sitire"), and in his letter to Miltitz, Jan. 31, 1518. See Köstlin, I. 160 and 785, versus Körner and Kahnis. Kayser also (l.c. p. 15) gives it up, although he comes to the conclusion that Tetzel was "ein unverschämter und sittenloser Ablassprediger" (p. 20).

182  In Theses 55 and 56 of his first Disputation (1517), he says that the soul, after it is purified (anima purgata, ist eine Seele gereinigt), flies from purgatory to the vision of God without hinderance, and that it is an error to suppose that this cannot be done before the payment of money into the indulgence box. See the Latin text in Löscher, I. 509.

183  "Auch hatte er zwei Kinder." The letter of Miltitz is printed in Löscher, III. 20; in Walch, XV. 862; and in Kayser, l.c. 4 and 5. Tetzel’s champions try to invalidate the testimony of the papal delegate by charging him with intemperance. But drunkards, like children and fools, usually tell the truth; and when he wrote that letter, he was sober. Besides, we have the independent testimony of Luther, who says in his book against Duke Henry of Brunswick (Wider Hans Wurst, p. 50), that in 1517 Tetzel was condemned by the Emperor Maximilian to be drowned in the Inn at Innsbruck ("for his great virtue’s sake, you may well believe"), but saved by the Duke Frederick, and reminded of it afterwards in the Theses-controversy, and that he confessed the fact.

184            Sobald der Pfennig im Kasten klingt,

 Die Seel’ aus dem Fegfeuer springt."

                Mathesius and Johann Hess, two contemporary witnesses, ascribe this sentence (with slight verbal modifications) to Tetzel himself. Luther mentions it in Theses 27 and 28, and in his book Wider Hans Wurst (Erl. ed. xxvi. 51).

185  Jüterbog is now a Prussian town of about seven thousand inhabitants, on the railroad between Berlin and Wittenberg. In the Nicolai church, Tetzel’s chest of indulgences is preserved.

186  The wooden doors of the Schlosskirche were burnt in 1760, and replaced in 1858 by metal doors, bearing, the original Latin text of the Theses. The new doors are the gift of King Frederick William IV., who fully sympathized with the evangelical Reformation. Above the doors, on a golden ground, is the Crucified, with Luther and Melanchthon at his feet, the work of Professor von Klöber. In the interior of the church are the graves of Luther and Melanchthon, and of the Electors Frederick the Wise and John the Constant. The Schlosskirche was in a very dilapidated condition, and undergoing thorough repair, when I last visited it in July, 1886. It must not be confounded with the Stadtkirche of Wittenberg, where Luther preached so often, and where, in 1522, the communion was, for the first time, administered in both kinds.

187  Knaake (Weim. ed. I. 230) conjectures that the Theses, as affixed, were written either by Luther himself or some other hand, and that he had soon afterwards a few copies printed for his own use (for Agricola, who was in Wittenberg at that time, speaks of a copy printed on a half-sheet of paper): but that irresponsible publishers soon seized and multiplied them against his will. Jürgens says (III. 480) that two editions were printed in Wittenberg in 1517, on four quarto leaves, and that the Berlin Library possesses two copies of the second edition. The Theses were written on two columns, in four divisions; the first three divisions consisted of twenty-five theses each, the fourth of twenty. The German translation is from Justus Jonas. The Latin text is printed in all the editions of Luther’s works, in Löscher’s Acts, and in Ranke’s Deutsche Geschichte (6th ed., vol. VI. 83-89, literally copied from an original preserved in the Royal Library in Berlin). The semi-authoritative German translation by Justus Jonas is given in Löscher, Walch (vol. XVIII.), and O. v. Gerlach (vol. I.), and with a commentary by Jürgens (Luther, III. 484 sqq.). An English translation in Wace and Buchheim, Principles of the Reformation, London, 1883, p. 6 sqq. I have compared this translation with the Latin original as given by Ranke, and in the Weimar edition, and added it at the end of this section with some alterations, insertions, and notes.

188  Jürgens (III. 481) compares the Theses to flashes of lightning, which suddenly issued from the thunder-clouds. Hundeshagen (in Piper’s "Evangel. Kalender" for 1859, p. 157), says: "Notwithstanding the limits within which Luther kept himself at that time, the Theses express in many respects the whole Luther of later times: the frankness and honesty of his soul, his earnest zeal for practical Christianity, the sincere devotion to the truths of the Scriptures, the open sense for the religious wants of the people, the sound insight into the abuses and corruptions of the church, the profound yet liberal piety." Ranke’s judgment of the Theses is brief, but pointed and weighty: "Wenn man diese Sätze liest, sieht man, welch ein kühner, grossartiger und fester Geist in Luther arbeitet. Die Gedanken sprühen ihm hervor, wie unter dem Hammerschlag die Funken."—Deutsche Gesch., vol. I. p. 210.

189  Luther gives the Vulgate rendering of metanoei'te, poenitentiam agite, do penance, which favors the Roman Catholic conception that repentance consists in certain outward acts. He first learned the true meaning of the Greek metavnoia a year later from Melanchthon, and it was to him like a revelation.

190  "Dominus et magister noster Jesus Christus dicendo ’Poenitentiam agite,’ etc. [Matt. 4:17), omnem vitam fidelium poenitentiam esse voluit." In characteristic contrast, Tetzel begins his fifty counter Theses with a glorification of the Pope as the supreme power in the church: "Docendi sunt Christiani, ex quo in Ecclesia potestas Papae est suprema et a solo Deo instituta, quod a nullo puro homine, nec a toto simul mundo potest restringi aut ampliari, sed a solo Deo."

191  The German translation inserts here the name of Tetzel (wider Bruder Johann Tetzel, Prediger Ordens), which does not occur in the Latin text.

192  The first four theses are directed against the scholastic view of sacramental penitence, which emphasized isolated, outward acts; while Luther put the stress on the inward change which should extend through life. As long as there is sin, so long is there need of repentance. St. Augustin and St. Bernard spent their last days in deep repentance and meditatation over the penitential Psalms. Luther retained the Vulgate rendering, and did not know yet the true meaning of the Greek original (matavnoia, change of mind, conversion). The Theses vacillate between the Romish and the Evangelical view of repentance.

193  This thesis reduces the indulgence to a mere remission of the ecclesiastical punishments which refer only to this life. It destroys the effect on purgatory. Compare Thesis 8.

194  These saints were reported to have preferred to suffer longer in purgatory than was necessary for their salvation, in order that they might attain to the highest glory of the vision of God.

195  This and the following theses destroy the theoretical foundation of indulgences, namely, the scholastic fiction of a treasury of supererogatory merits of saints at the disposal of the Pope.

196  The prophetic dream of the Elector, so often told, is a poetic fiction. Köstlin discredits it, I. 786 sq. The Elector Frederick dreamed, in the night before Luther affixed the Theses, that God sent him a monk, a true son of the Apostle Paul, and that this monk wrote something on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg with a pen which reached even to Rome, pierced the head and ears of a lion (Leo), and shook the triple crown of the Pope. Merle d’Aubigné relates the dream at great length as being, "beyond reasonable doubt, true in the essential parts." He appeals to an original MS., written from the dictation of Spalatin, in the archives of Weimar, which was published in 1817. But that MS., according to the testimony of Dr. Burkhardt, the librarian, is only a copy of the eighteenth century. No trace of such a dream can be found before 1591. Spalatin, in his own writings and his letters to Luther and Melanchthon, nowhere refers to it.

197  Albert Krantz of Hamburg, who died Dec. 7, 1517. Köstlin, I. 177.

198  He said of Tetzel, that he dealt with the Bible "wie die Sau mit dem Habersack" (as the hog with the meal-bag); of the learned Cardinal Cajetan, that he knew as little of spiritual theology as "the donkey of the harp;" he called Alveld, professor of theology at Leipzig, "a most asinine ass," and Dr. Eck "Dreck:" for which he was in turn styled luteus, lutra, etc. Such vulgarities were common in that age, but Luther was the roughest of the rough, as he was the strongest of the strong. His bark, however, was much worse than his bite, and beneath his abusive tongue and temper dwelt a kind and generous heart. His most violent writings are those against Emser (An den Emserschen Steinbock), King Henry VIII., Duke Henry of Brunswick (Wider Hans Wurst), and his last attack upon popery as "instituted by the Devil" (1545), of which Döllinger says (Luther, p. 48), that it must have been written "im Zustande der Erhitzung durch berauschende Getränke."

199  "Beatissime Pater," he says in the dedication, "prostratum me pedibus tuae Beatitudinis offero cum omnibus, quae sum et habeo. Vivifica, occide, roca, revoca, approba, reproba, ut placuerit: vocem tuam vocem Christi in te praesidentis et loquentis agnoscam. Si mortem merui, mori non recusabo. Dominienim est terra et plenitudo ejus, qui est benedictus in saecula, Amen, qui et te servet in aceternum, Amen. Anno MDXVIII."Works (Weimar ed.), I. 529; also in De Wette, Briefe, I. 119-122.

200  Weim. ed., I. 350-376. Comp. Köstlin, I. 185 sqq.

201  Luther received at first a favorable impression, and wrote in a letter to Carlstadt, Oct. 14 (De Wette, I. 161): "The cardinal calls me constantly his dear son, and assures Staupitz that I had no better friend than himself. … I would be the most welcome person here if I but spoke this one word, revoco. But I will not turn a heretic by revoking the opinion which made me a Christian: I will rather die, be burnt, be exiled, be cursed." Afterwards he wrote in a different tone about Cajetan, e.g., in the letter to the Elector Frederick, Nov. 19 (I. 175 sqq.), and to Staupitz, Dec. 13 (De Wette, I. 194).

202  "Ego nolo amplius cum hac bestia loqui. Habet enim profundos oculos et mirabiles speculationes in capite suo." This characteristic dictum is not reported by Luther, but by Myconius, Hist. Ref. p. 73. Comp. Löscher, II. 477. The national antipathy between the Germans and the Italians often appears in the transactions with Rome, and continues to this day. Monsignor Eugenio Cecconi, Archbishop of Florence, in his tract Martino Lutero, Firenze, 1883, says: "Lutero non amava gi’ italiani, e gl’ italiani non hanno mai avuto ne stima ne amore per quest’ uomo. Il nostro popolo, col suo naturale criterio, lo ha giudicato da un pezzo." He declared the proposal to celebrate Luther’s fourth centennial at Florence to be an act of insanity.

203  In Bavaria; not Mannheim, as Kahnis (I. 228) has it.

204  "Dr. Staupitz" (says Luther, In his Table-Talk) "hatte mir ein Pferd verschafft und gab mir den Rath, einen alten Ausreuter zu nehmen, der die Wege wüsste, und half mir Langemantel (Rathsherr) des Nachts durch ein klein Pförtlein der Stadt. Da eilte ich ohne Hosen, Stiefel, Sporn, und Schwert, und kam his gen Wittenberg. Den ersten Tag ritt ich acht (German) Meilen und wie ich des Abends in die Herberge kam, war ich so müde, stieg, im Stalle ab, konnte nicht stehen, fiel stracks in die Streu."

205  Letter to Spalatin, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2. De Wette, 1. 188 sqq.

206  "Mittam ad te nugas meas, ut videas, an recte divinem Antichristum illum verum juxta Paulum in Romana curia regnare: pejorem Turcis esse hodie, puto me demonstrare posse." DeWette, I. 193.

207  He was charged with intemperance, and is reported to have fallen from the boat in crossing the Rhine or the Main near Mainz in a state of intoxication, a. 1529. See the reports in Seidemann, l.c. p. 33 sqq.

208  He speaks generously of Tetzel in a letter to Spalatin, Feb. 12, 1519 (De Wette, I. 223): "Doleo Tetzelium et salutem suam in eam necessitatem venisse ... multo mallem, si posset, servari cum honore," etc.

209  De Wette, I. 239.

210  Eck was the chief originator of the disputation, and not Luther (as Janssen endeavors to show). Seidemann, who gives a full and authentic account of the preliminary correspondence, says (p. 21): "Es ist entschieden, dass Eck die Disputation antrug, und zwar zunächst nur mit Karlstadt. Aber auch Luther’s Absehen war auf eine Disputation gerichtet."

211  As he complained twenty years later: see Seidemann, p. 80.

212  Luther calls him an infelicissimus disputator.

213  In a letter to Julius Pflug, a young Saxon nobleman. Mosellanus describes also Carlstadt and Eck, and the whole disputation. See Löscher, III. 242-251 (especially p. 247); Walch, XV. 1422; Seidemann, 51 and 56. I find the description also in an appendix to Melanchthon’s Vita Lutheri, Göttingen, 1741, pp. 32-44.

214  "Ut omnia pene ossa liceat dinumerare." But in later years Luther grew stout and fleshy.

215  "Ut haud facile credas, hominem tam ardua sine numine Divûm moliri."

216  "Das walt’ die Sucht!"

217  "Der algehobelte Eck." The book appeared first anonymously in Latin, Eccius dedolatus, at Erfurt, March, 1520. Hagen, in his Der Geist der Reformation (Erlangen, 1843), I. p. 60 sqq., gives a good summary of this witty book. Luther sent it to Spalatin, March 2, 1520 (De Wette, I. 426), but expressed his dissatisfaction with this "mode of raging against Eck," and preferred an open attack to a "bite from behind the fence."

218  This excited the anger of Eck, who broke out, "Tace tu, Philippe, ac tua studia cura, ne me perturba."

227  De Corrigendis Adolescentium Studiis, in the "Corpus Reformatorum," XI. 15 sqq. See Schmidt, l.c. 29 sq.

228  He wrote to his friend Camerarius, Jan. 22, 1525 (" Corp. Ref." I. 722): "Ego mihi ita conscius sum, non aliam ob causam unquam teqeologhkevnai, nisi ut vitam emendarem."

229  Lutherus ad Reuchlinum, Dec. 14, 1518: "Philippus noster Melanchthon, homo admirabilis, imo pene nihil habens, quod non supra hominem sit, familiarissimus tamen et amicissimus mihi." To Billikan he wrote in 1523 (De Wette, II. 407): "Den Philippus achte ich nicht anders als mich selbst, ausgenomnen in Hinsicht auf seine Gelehrsamkeit und die Unbescholtenheit seines Lebens, wodurch er mich, dass ich nicht blos sage, übertrifft." In his humorous way he once invited him (Oct. 18, 1518) to supper under the address: "Philippo Melanchthoni, Schwarzerd, Graeco, Latino, Hebraeo, Germano, nunquam Barbaro." The testimonies of Luther on Mel. are collected in the first and last vols. of the "Corp. Reform." (especially XXViiib. 9 and 10).

230  Melanchthon hints also, in one of his confidential letters, at female influence, the gunaikoturavnni", as an incidental element in the disturbance. Corp. Ref.," III. 398.

231  In his preface to Melanchthon’s Commentary on Colossians.

232  Der Schmerz der Kirchenspaltung ist tief durch seine schuldlose Seele gegangen."Hase, Kirchengesch., 11th ed. (1886), p. 372.

233  Triumphus Capnionis (kavpnio" = Reuchlin), a poem written in 1514, but not published till 1518 under the pseudo-name of Eleutherius Byzenus. Works, III. 413-447; Strauss, U. v. H., 155 sq.

234  First published 1515 [at Hagenau], and 1517 at Basel; best ed. by Böcking, in Hutten’s Opera, Suppl. i. Lips. (1864), and commentary in Suppl. ii. (1869); an excellent critical analysis by Strauss, l.c. 165 sqq. He compares them with Don Quixote. The first book of the Epist. is chiefly from Crotus, the second chiefly from Hutten. The comic impression arises in great part from the barbarous Latinity, and is lost in a translation. There is, however, a good German translation by Dr. Wilhelm Binder: Briefe von Dunkelmännern. Stuttgart, 1876. The translator says he knew twenty-seven Latin editions, but no translation.

235  "The die is cast. I have ventured it." An allusion to the exclamation of Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon, and marched to Rome.

236  Strauss, U. v. H., p. 285 sqq., 289; and his translation, in Hutten’s Gespr. p. 94 sqq., 114 sqq. I have omitted the interlocutories in the dialogue. Vadiscus is Hutten’s friend Crotus of Erfurt (also Luther’s friend); and Ernhold is his friend Arnold Glauberger, with whom he had been in Rome.

237  Allusion to the papal claims to fill the ecclesiastical vacancies which occurred during the long months (January, March, etc.), and to receive the annates,i.e, the first year’s income from every spiritual living worth more than twenty-four ducats per annum. Luther, in his Address to the German Nobility, characterizes this papal avarice as downright robbery.

238  He himself speaks very frankly of his Morbus Gallicus, or Malum Franciaeand its horrible effects, without asserting his innocence. Strauss discusses it fully with a belief in his guilt, yet pity for his sufferings and admiration for his endurance. "Er hatte," he says(U. v. H., p. 241),"den Jugendfehler, dessen wir ihn schuldig achten, in einem Grade zu büssen, welcher selbst des unerbittlichsten Sittenrichters Strenge in Mitleid verwandeln muss .... Man weiss nicht was schrecklicher ist, die Beschreibung die uns Hutten von seinem Zustande, oder die er uns von den Quälereien macht, welche von unverständigen Aerzten als Curen über ihn verhängt wurden."

239  E. Münch, Fr. v. Sickingen. Stuttgart, 1827 sqq. 3 vols. Strauss, l.c. p. 488. Ullmann, Franz v. Sickingen, Leipzig, 1872.

240  Sturm- und Drangperiode is an expressive German phrase.

241  In the midst of a Latin letter to Spalatin, from the beginning of June, 1520 (De Wette, I. 453), he gives vent to his wrath against popery in these German words:"Ich meine, sie sind zu Rom alle toll, thöricht, wüthend, unsinnig, Narren, Stock, Stein, Hölle, und Teufel geworden." In the same letter he mentions his intention to publish a book"ad Carolum et totius Germaniae nobilitatem adversus Romanae curiaetyrannidem et nequitiam."

242  See the remarkable passage in his letter to Conrad Pellicanus, January or February, 1521 (De Wette, I. 555): "Recte mones modestiae me: sentio et ipse, sed compos mei non sum; rapior nescio quo spiritu, cum nemini me male velle conscius sim: verum urgent etiam illi furiosissime, ut Satanam non satis observem."

243  L. Lemme: Die drei grossen Reformationsschriften Luthers vom Jahre 1520. Gotha, 1875, 2d ed., 1884. Wace and Bucheim: First Principles of the Reformation, London, 1883.

244  On that date he informed Wencislaus Link: "Editur noster libellus in Papam de reformanda ecclesia vernaculus, ad universam nobilitatem Germaniae, qui summe offensurus est Romam .... Vale, et ora pro me." De Wette, I. 470.

245  "Was aus der Taufe gekrochen ist, das mag sich rühmen, dass es schon Priester, Bischof, und Papst geweihet sei."

246  "Omnes ferme [fere] in me damnant mordacitatem," he says in letter to Link, Aug. 19, 1520.

247  See his letters to John Lange (Aug. 18, 1520) and to Wenceslaus Link (Aug. 19) in De Wette, I. 477-479.

248  On Oct. 3, 1520, Luther wrote to Spalatin: "Liber de captivitate Ecclesiae sabbato exibit, et ad te mittetur." (De Wette, I 491.)

249  He means Alveld’s Tractatus de communione sub utraque specie quantum ad laicos, 1520. He contemptuously omits his name.

250  This view is usually called consubstantiation; but Lutherans object to the term in the sense ofimpanation, or local inclusion, mixture, and circumscription. They mean an illocal presence of a ubiquitous body.

251  This is not strictly historical. Transubstantiation was clearly taught by Paschasius Radbertus in the ninth century, though not without contradiction from Ratramnus. See Schaff,Ch. Hist., vol. IV. 544 sqq.

252  Perhaps he means the burning of the Pope’s bull, rather than, as O. v. Gerlach conjectures, the appendix to his later book against Ambrosius Catharinus, in which he tries to prove that the Pope is the Antichrist predicted by Dan. viii. 23-25.

253  Köstlin(Mart. Luth., vol. I. 395 sq.):"Die Schrift von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen ist ein tief-religiöser Traktat .... Sie ist ein ruhiges, positives Zeugnis der Wahrheit, vor welcher die Waffen und Bande der Finsternis von selbst zu nichte werden müssen. Sie zeigt uns den tiefsten Grund des christlichen Bewusstseins und Lebens in einer edlen, seligen Ruhe und Sicherheit, welche die über ihm hingehenden Wogen und Stürme des Kampfes nicht zu erschüttern vermögen. Sie zeigt zugleich, wie fest Luther selbst auf diesem Grunde stand, indem er eben im Höhepunkt des Kampfgedränges sie zu verfassen fähig war." It is perhaps characteristic that Janssen, who gives one-sided extracts from the two other reformatory works of Luther, passes the tract on "Christian Liberty" in complete silence. Cardinal Hergenröther likewise ignores it.

254  "Ein Statthalter ist in Abwesenheit seines Herrn ein Statthalter."

255  De Libertate Christiana.

256  As Luther said, to rouse "the abyss of hell" (Abgrund der Hölle) against him. Eck seems to have been acting also in the interest of the banking firm of Fugger in Augsburg, which carried on the financial transactions between Germany and Italy, including the transmission of indulgence money. See Ranke, I. 297.

257  Ranke (I. 298) dates the bull from June 16; Walch (XV. 1691) from June 24; but most historians (Gieseler, Kahnis, Köstlin, Lenz, Janssen, Hergenröther, etc.) from June 15. The last is correct, for the bull is dated "MDXX. xvii. Kal. Julii." According to the Roman mode of reckoning backwards, counting the day of departure, and adding two to the number of days of the preceding month, the Kalendae Julii fall on June 15. Ranke probably overlooked the fact that June had only twenty-nine days in the Julian Calendar. Janssen refers to an essay of Druffel on the date of the bull in the "Sitzungsberichte der Bayer Academie." 1880, p. 572; but he does not give the result.

258  Pallavicini and Muratori censure Leo for commissioning Eck. Janssen says (II. 109):"Es war ein trauriger Missgriff, dass mit der Verkündigung und Vollstreckung der Bulle in mehreren deutschen Dioecesen Luther’s Gegner Johann Eck beauftragt wurde." The same view was previously expressed by Kampschulte (Die Universität Erfurt in ihrem Verh. zu dem Humanismus und der Reformation, Trier, 1858-60, Th. II., p. 36), although he fully justified the papal bull as a necessity for the Roman Church, and characterized its tone as comparatively mild in view of Luther’s radicale Umsturzgedanken and his violence of language. Audin and Archbishop Spalding defend the Pope.

259  Letter of Miltitz to Fabian von Feilitzsch, Oct. 2, 1520. In Walch, XV. 1872. Luther wrote to Spalatin, Oct. 3, 1520 (De Wette, I. 492), that he had just heard of the bad reception and danger of Eck at Leipzig, and hoped that he might escape with his life, but that his devices might come to naught.

260  "Bulla est, in aqua natet." So Luther reports in a letter to Greffendorf, Oct. 20 (De Wette, I. 520), and in a letter to Spalatin, Nov. 4 (I. 522 sq.). Kampschulte (l.c. II. 37 sqq.) gives a full account of Eck’s troubles at Erfurt, from a rare printed placard,Intimatio Erphurdiana pro Martino Luthero (preserved by Riederer, and quoted also by Gieseler, III. I. 81, Germ. ed., or IV. 53, Anglo-Am. ed.), to the effect that the whole theological faculty stirred up all the students, calling upon them to resist "with hand and foot" the furious Pharisees and slanderers of Luther, who wished to cast him out of the Church and into hell. Luther makes no mention of such a strange action of the faculty, which is scarcely credible as it included strict Catholics.

261  "Lutherus peccavit in duobus, nempe quod tetigit coronam Pontificis et ventres monachorum." Spalatin, Annal. 28 sq.

262  "Bullae saevitia probos omnes offendit, ut indigna mitissimo Christi vicario." Erasmus soon afterwards called back his Axiomata pro causa Lutheri, which he had sent to Spalatin. They were, however, published (Erl. ed. of Luther’s Op. Lat., vol. V. 238-242). About the same time he advised the Emperor to submit the case of Luther to impartial judges of different nations, or to a general council. See Gieseler, IV. 53 sq., Am. ed.

263  The heading is omitted by Raynaldus.

264  Raynaldus: superinducentes.

265  Cocquelines omits suae.

266  Raynaldus omits denique

267  Raynaldus omits praefatis.

268  Omitted by Raynaldus.

269  Omitted by Raynaldus.

270  Raynaldus: propugnatores.

271  Coequelines readscollationem, contrary to the original which plainly reads collectionem.

272  Cocquelines: et absolutum vere esse.Raynaldus is right here, according to the original.

273  ·Cocquelines: sed.

274  Raynaldus omits ad.

275  Rayn. omits concilio.

276  · Rayn. omits specie.

277  This is an indirect approval of the burning of heretics. Rome never has disowned this theory.

278  Cocquelines reads nec nec for aut. Raynaldus is right here.

279  Raynaldus: medicitatis (a typographical error).

280  Raynaldus (fol. 305) omits all the specifications of punishments from here down to the next section beginning Insuper.

281  The original reads quorumcnq. (an o for an a).

282  The remainder of the bull is briefly summarized by Raynaldus.

283  Coequelines: Imperatori. Then there should be a comma after Imperatori. The seven Electors of the Emperor are meant.

284  Cocquelines omits debere.

285  Cocquelines: clausulas. A plausible correction.

286  Subscriptions are omitted by Cocquelines and Raynaldus.

287  "Ich höre auch sagen, Dr. Eck habe eine Bulle mit sich von Rom wider mich gebracht, die ihm so ähnlich sei, dass sie wohl möchte auch Dr. Eck heissen, so voll Lügen und Irrthum sie sein soll; und er gebe vor, den Leuten das Maul zu schmieren, sie sollen glauben, es sei des Papsts Werk, so es sein Lügenspiel ist. Ich lasse es geschehen, muss des Spiels in Gottes Namen warten; wer weiss, was göttlicher Rath beschlossen hat." Von den neuen Eckischen Bullen und Lügen.

288  Widder die Bullen des Endchrists, Weimar ed. vol. VI. 613-629.

289  He wrote to Spalatin, Nov. 4 (in De Wette, I. 522): "Impossibile est salvos fieri, qui huic Bullae aut faverunt,aut non repugnaverunt." He told his students, Dec. 11: "Nisi toto corde dissentistis a regno papali, non potestis assequi vestrarum animarum salutem."

290  Walch, XV. 1909 sqq. Erl. ed., XXIV. 28-35; and Op. Lat., V. 119-131. The appeal was published in Latin and German.

291  The "Holy One" refers to Christ, as in Mark 1:24; Acts 2:27; not to Luther, as ignorance and malignity have misinterpreted the word. Luther spoke in Latin: "Quia tu conturbasti Sanctum Domini, ideoque te conturbet ignis aeternus." The Vulgate translates Josh. 7:25: "Quia turbasti nos, exturbet te Dominus in die hac." In the Revised E. V., the whole passage reads: "Why hast thou troubled us? The Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burnt them [in Hebrew !t;a] with fire after they had stoned them with stones."

292  A tablet contains the inscription: "Dr. Martin Luther verbrannte an dieser Stätte am 10 Dec. 1520 the päpstliche Bannbulle."

293  "Anno MDXX, decima Decembris, hora nona, exusti sunt Wittembergae ad orientalem portam, juxta S. Crucem, omnes libri Papae: Decretum, Decretales, Sext. Clement. Extravagant., et Bulla novissima Leonis X.: item summa Angelica [a work on casuistry by Angelus Carletus de Clavasio, or Chiavasso, d. 1495], Chrysoprasus [De praedestinatione centuriae sex, 1514] Eccii, et alia ijusdem autoris, Emseri, et quaedam alia, quo adjecta per alios sunt: ut videant incendiarii Papistae, non esse magnarum virium libros exurere, quos confutare non possunt. Haec erunt nova." De Wette, I. 532. Further details about the burning and the conduct of the students we learn from the report of an unnamed pupil of Luther: Excustionis antichristianarum decretalium Acta, In the Erl. ed. of Op. Lat., V. 250-256.

294  Ranke, i. 307; Köstlin, i. 407; Kolde, i. 290.

295  Wider das Papstthum zu Rom, tom Teufel gestiftet (in the Erl. ed., XXVI. 108-228). A rude wood-cut on the title-page represents the Pope with long donkey-ears going into the jaws of hell, while demons are punching and jeering at him. Luther calls the Pope (p. 228) "Papstesel mit langen Eselsohren und verdammtem Lügenmaul." The book was provoked by two most presumptuous letters of Pope Paul III. to the Emperor Charles V., rebuking him for giving rest to the Protestants at the Diet of Speier, 1544, till the meeting of a general council, and reminding him of the terrible end of those who dare to violate the priestly prerogatives. King Ferdinand, the Emperor’s brother, read the book through, and remarked, "Wenn die bösen Worte heraus wären, so hätte der Luther nicht übel geschrieben." But not a few sincere friends of Luther thought at the time that he did more harm than good to his own cause by this book.

296  It appeared in Klug’s Gesangbuch, Wittenberg, 1543, under the title: "Ein Kinderlied zu singen, wider die zween Ertzfeinde Christi und seiner heiligen Kirchen, den Papst und Türken."

297  See his appendix to the Smalcald Articles, 1537: De autoritate et primatu Papae.

298  1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7.

299  2 Thess. 2:3-7. This is the passage quoted by the Westminster Confession against the Pope, chap. xxv. 6.

300  to; ga;r musthvrion h[dh ejnergei'tai th'" ajnomiva" : movnon oJ katevcwn a[rti e{w" ejk mevsou gevnhtai. The Roman government was at first (before the Neronian persecution of 64) a protector of Christianity, and more particularly of Paul, who could effectually appeal to his Roman citizenship at Philippi, before the centurion at Jerusalem, and before Festus at Caesarea.

301  Ch. 16:4; kosmoplavno", a very significant term, which unites the several marks of the Antichrist of John (2 John 7: oJ plavno" kai; ajntivcristo")of the Apocalypse (12:9: oJ planw'n th;n oijkoumevnhn), and of Paul, since the Didaché connects the appearance of the world-deceiver with the increase of lawlessness (ajnomiva, as in 2 Thess. 2:7). Comp. my monograph on the Didaché, pp. 77 and 214 sq.

302  Comp. especially Ranke’s classical work, Die römischen Päpste in den letzten vier Jahrhunderten, 8th edition, Leipzig, 1885, 3 vols. The first edition appeared 1834-36. Ranke has found a worthy successor in an English scholar, Dr. M. Creighton (professor of Church history in Cambridge), the author of an equally impartial History of the Papacy during the Period of the Reformation, beginning with the Great Schism, 1378. London and Boston, 1882 sqq. (so far 4 vols.). But the same period of the papacy is now being written with ample learning and ability from the modem Roman point of view, by Dr. Ludwig Pastor (professor of Church history at Innsbruck) in his Geschichte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters, of which the first volume appeared at Freiburg-i.-B. 1886, and extends from 1305 to the election of Pius II. The author promises six volumes. He had the advantage of using the papal archives by the effectual favor of Pope Leo XIII.

303  Alexander VI., by a stroke of his pen, divided America between Spain and Portugal: Leo XIII., in 1886, gave the insignificant Caroline Islands in the Pacific to Spain, but the free commerce to Germany.

304  First published In the Edinburgh Review, October, 1840. The passage is often quoted by Roman Catholics, e.g., by Archbishop Spalding, in his History of the Prot. Ref., p. 217 sqq.; but they find it convenient to ignore the other passage from his History of England.

305  Her sad story is told by the contemporary historians Gomez, Peter Martyr, Zurita, and Sandoval (from whom the scattered account of Prescott is derived in his Ferdinand and Isabella, III. 94, 170 sqq., 212 sqq., 260 sqq.), and more fully revealed in the Simancas and Brussels documents. It has been ably discussed by several modem writers with reference to the unproved hypothesis of Bergenroth that she was never insane, but suspected and tortured (?) for heresy, and cruelly treated by Charles. But her troubles began long before the Reformation, and her melancholy disposition was derived from her grandmother. She received the extreme unction from priestly hands, and her last word was: "Jesus, thou Crucified One, deliver me." See Gustav Bergenroth (a German scholar then residing in London), Letters, Despatches, and State Papers relating to the negotiations between England and Spain preserved in the archives of Simancas and elsewhere. Suppl. to vol. I. and II., London, 1868; Gachard, Jeanne la Folle, Bruxelles, 1869; and Jeanne la Folle et Charles V., in the Bulletin of the Brussels Academy, 1870 and 1872; Rösler, Johanna die Wahnsinnige, Königin von Castilien, Wien, 1870, Maurenbrecher, Johanna die Wahnsinnige, in his "Studien und Skizzen zur Gesch. der Reformationszeit." Leipzig, 1874, pp. 75-98.

306  Martin (Histoire de France, VII. 496) says: "L’électeur Frédéric n’a vait ni la hardiesse ni le génie d’un tel rôle."

307  Martin, from his French standpoint, calls the controversy between Francis I. and Charles V. "la lutte de la nationalité française contre la monstrueuse puissance, issue des combinaisons artificielles de l’hérédité féodale, qui tend à l’asservissement des nationalités européennes." (Hist. de France, VIII., 2.)

308  Motley (I. 118) calls him "a man without a sentiment and without a tear." But he did shed tears at the death of his favorite sister Eleanore (Prescott, I. 324).

309  English translation, p. 157.

310  Motley (I. 123) says, on the authority of the Venetian ambassador, Badovaro: "He was addicted to vulgar and miscellaneous incontinence." On the same authority he reports of Philip II.: "He was grossly licentious. It was his chief amusement to issue forth at night, disguised, that he might indulge in vulgar and miscellaneous incontinence in the common haunts of vice." (I. 145.)

311  So Shakespeare calls her, and praises her "sweet gentleness," "saintlike meekness,""wife-like government, obeying in commanding."

312  The inscription on the tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella in the Capilla Real of the cathedral at Granada is characteristic: "Mahometice secte prostratores et heretice pervicacie extinctores Ferdinandus Aragonum et Helisabetha Castelle vir et uxor unanimes Catholici appellati Marmores clauduntur hoc tumulo." The sepulcher is wrought in delicate alabaster; on it are extended the life-size marble figures of the Catholic sovereigns; their faces are portraits; Ferdinand wears the garter, Isabella the cross of Santiago; the four doctors of the Church ornament the corners, the twelve apostles the sides. Under the same monument rest the ashes of their unfortunate daughter Joanna and her worthless husband. I have seen no monument which surpasses this in chaste and noble simplicity (unless it be that of King Frederick William III. and Queen Louisa at Charlottenburg), and none which is more suggestive of historical meditation and reflection.

313  Actus fidei; auto-de-fé in Spanish; auto-da-fé

314  Motley (Dutch Republic, I. 80) says: "Thousands and tens of thousands of virtuous, well-disposed men and women, who had as little sympathy with anabaptistical as with Roman depravity, were butchered in cold blood, under the sanguinary rule of Charles, in the Netherlands. In 1533, Queen Dowager Mary of Hungary, sister of the Emperor, Regent of the provinces, the ’Christian widow’ admired by Erasmus, wrote to her brother, that ’in her opinion, all heretics, whether repentant or not, should be prosecuted with such severity as that error might be at once extinguished, care being only taken that the provinces were not entirely depopulated.’ With this humane limitation, the ’Christian widow’ cheerfully set herself to superintend as foul and wholesale a system of murder as was ever organized. In 1535, an imperial edict was issued at Brussels, condemning all heretics to death; repentant males to be executed with the sword, repentant females to be buried alive, the obstinate, of both sexes, to be burned. This and similar edicts were the law of the land for twenty years, and rigidly enforced."

315  "Vine, y vi, y Dios vencio." But it was hardly a battle. Ranke (vol. IV. 377): "Es war keine Schlacht, sondern ein Ansprengen auf der einen, ein Auseinanderstieben auf der anderen Seite; in einem Augenblicke war alles vollendet." He says of the Emperor (p. 376): "Wie ein einbalsamirter Leichnam, wie ein Gespenst rückte er gegen sie [die Protestanten) an."

316  Ch. VI., in Simpson’s translation, p. 91 sq.

317  Autobiography, p. 19. On p. 73 sqq. he complains of Clement VII. and Paul III., on account of their violation of promise to convoke such a council. He does not conceal his hatred of Paul III.

318  Comp. Maurenbrecher, Die Kirchenreformation in Spanien, in his "Studien und Skizzen." pp. 1-40, and his Geschichte der katholischen Reformation (Nördlingen, 1880), vol. I., pp. 37-55. Maurenbrecher shows that there were two reformation-currents in the sixteenth century, one proceeding from Spain, and led by Charles V., which aimed at a restoration of the mediaeval Church in its purity and glory; the other proceeding from Germany, and embodied in Luther, which aimed at an emancipation of the human mind from the authority of Rome, and at a reconstruction of the Church on the inner religiosity of the individual.

319  April 28, 1521; in De Wette, I. 589-594.

320  In his Autobiography (ch. X., 151 sqq.) Charles speaks of the siege and capitulation of Wittenberg, but says nothing of a visit to Luther’s grave, nor does he even mention his name. I looked in vain for an allusion to the fact in Sleidan, and Lindner (in his extensive Appendix to Seckendorf, from 1546 to 1555). Ranke ignores it, though he is very full on this chapter in Charles’s history (vol. IV. 378 sqq.).

321  "Ein Moment volt Schicksal und Zukunft!" says Ranke (V. 295)."Da war der mächtige Kaiser, der bisher die grossen Angelegenheiten der Welt verwaltet hatte; von denen, die ihm zunächst standen, beinahe der Generation, die ihn umgab, nahm er Abschied. Neben ihm erschienen die Männer, denen die Zukunft gehörte, Philipp II. und der Prinz von Oranien, in denen sich die beiden entgegengesetzten Directionen repräsentirten, die fortan um Weltherrschaft kämpfen sollten."

322  Sandoval, II. 597 sqq.; Gachart, Analectes belgiques, 87; Prescott, Philip the Second, I. 10 sqq.; Ranke, V. 293 sqq. Prescott calls this abdication one of the most remarkable scenes in history.

323  The negotiations with Ferdinand and the German Diet are detailed by Ranke, V. 297 sqq.

324  He regretted that, from regard to his son, he had not married again. Ranke, V. 297.

325  It is often miscalled Saint Yuste, or St. Justus, even by Robertson in Book XII., Eng. ed. III. 294; Amer. ed. III. 226, etc.; and more recently by Dr. Stoughton, Spanish Reformers, Lond., 1883, p. 168. Yuste is not named after a saint, but after a little stream. The convent was founded in 1404, and its proper name is El monasterio de San Geronimo de Yuste. It lies on the route from Madrid to Lisbon, but is somewhat difficult of access. It was sacked and almost destroyed by the French soldiers under Soult, 1809. The bedroom of Charles, and an overgrown walnut-tree under whose shade he used to sit and muse, are still shown. Yuste is now in possession of the Duke of Montpensier. See descriptions in the works of Stirling, Mignet, and Prescott, above quoted, and by Ford in Murray’s Handbook of Spain, I. 294 (sixth edition).

326  By Sandoval, Strada, and by his most elaborate historian, Dr. Robertson, who says: "There he buried, in solitude and silence, his grandeur, his ambition, together with those projects which, during almost half a century, had alarmed and agitated Europe, filling every kingdom in it, by turns, with the terror of his arms, and the dread of being subdued by his power." Sepulveda, who visited Charles in his retreat, seems to be the only early historian who was aware of his deep interest in public affairs, so fully confirmed by the documents.

327  "Aus den Legaten seines Testamentes lernt man die Mitglieder derselben kennen,—eine ganze Anzahl Kammerdiener, besondere Diener für die Fruchtkammer, Obstkammer, Lichtbeschliesserei, Aufbewahrung der Kleider, der Juwelen, meist Niederländer, jedoch unter einem spanischen Haushofmeister, Louis Quixada. Der Leibarzt und eine Apotheke fehlten nicht." Ranke, V. 305. The codicil of Charles, executed a few days before his death, specifies the names and vocations of these servants. Sandoval and Gachart give the list, the latter more correctly, especially in the orthography of Flemish names.

328  These and other articles of furniture and outfit are mentioned in the inventory. See Sterling, Pichot, and Prescott, I. 302 sqq.

329  Prescott, l.c., I. 311.

330  The story is told with its later embellishments by Robertson and many others. The papers of Simancas, and the private letters of the Emperor’s major-domo (Quixada) and physician, are silent on the subject; and hence Tomas Gonzalez, Mignet (1854 and 1857), and Maurenbrecher ("Studien und Skizzen." 1874, p. 132, note) reject the whole as a monkish fiction. But the main fact rests on the testimony of a Hieronymite monk of Yuste, who was present at the ceremony, and recorded the deep impression it made; and it is confirmed by Sandoval, who derived his report directly from Yuste. A fuller account is given by Siguença, prior of the Escorial, in his general history of the Order of St. Jerome (1605); and by Strada, who wrote a generation later, and leaves the Emperor in a swoon upon the floor. Stirling, Pichot, Juste, Gachard (1855), Prescott (Phil. II., Vol. I., 327 sqq.), and Ranke (Vol. V., 309 sq.), accept the fact as told in its more simple form by the oldest witness. It is quite consistent with the character of Charles; for, as Prescott remarks (p. 332), "there was a taint of insanity in the royal blood of Castile."

331  Commonly called Dr. Cazalla. See on him Dr. Stoughton, The Spanish Reformers, p. 204 sq.

332  Gachard, II. 461. Ranke, V. 308. Prescott, I. 325 sq.

333  His long trial is told by Prescott, Philip the Second, I. 337, 437 sqq.; and by Stoughton, The Spanish Reformers, pp. 185 sqq.

334  Deutsche Gesch., vol. V. 311.

335  The convent was robbed of its richest treasures by the French invaders in 1808, and by the Carlists in 1837. Some of the finest pictures were removed to the museum of Madrid. There still remains a considerable library; the books are richly bound, but their gilt backs are turned inside. The Rev. Fritz Fliedner, an active and hopeful Protestant evangelist in Madrid, with whom I visited the Escorial in May, 1886, bought there the ruins of a house and garden, which was built and temporarily occupied by Philip II. (while the palace-monastery was in process of construction), and fitted it up for an orphan-home, in which day by day the Scriptures are read, and evangelical hymns are sung, in the Spanish tongue.

336  Worms is 26 miles S. S. E. of Mainz (Mayence or Mentz, the ancient Moguntiacum, the capital of Rhenish Hesse since 1815), and has now over 20,000 inhabitants, about one-half of them Protestants, but in the beginning of the seventeenth century it had 70,000. It was almost destroyed under Louis XIV. (1683). The favorite German wine, Liebfrauenmilch, is cultivated in its neighborhood. H. Boos, Urkundenbuch der Stadt Worms, Berlin, 1886.

337  See description of the celebration by Dr. Friedrich Eich, Gedenkblätter, Worms, 1868; and his book on the controversy about the locality of the Diet, In welchem Locale stand Luther zu Worms vor Kaiser und Reich? Leipzig, 1863. He decides for the Bishofshof (against the Rathhaus).

338  "Multo deteriores haereticos." The new papal bull of condemnation, together with a brief to the Emperor, arrived in Worms the 10th of February. Aleander addressed the Diet three days after, on Ash Wednesday. Ranke, I. 329. Köstlin, I., 422 sq.

339  Luther published this bull afterwards with biting, abusive, and contemptuous comments, under the title, Die Bulla vom Abendfressen des allerheiligsten, Herrn, des Papsts. In Walch XV. 2127 sqq. Merle d’Aubigné gives characteristic extracts, Bk. VII. ch. 5.

340  Janssen, who praises him very highly, remarks (II. 144): "Um der Häresie Einhalt zu thun, hielt Aleander die Verbrennung der lutherischen Bücher für ein überaus geeignetes Mittel." But I can not see why he says (p. 142) that Aleander prided himself on being "a German." Aleander was born in Italy, hated the Germans, and died in Rome.

341  See Brück’s conversations with Glapio in Förstemann, I., pp. 53, 54. Erasmus and Hutten regarded him as a crafty hypocrite, who wished to ruin Luther. Strauss agrees, Ulrich von Hutten, p. 405. But Maurenbrecher, (Studien, etc., pp. 258 sqq., and Gesch. der kath. Ref., I. 187 sqq.) thinks that Glapio presented the program of the imperial policy of reform. Janssen, II., 153 sq., seems to be of the same opinion.

342  See the list in Walch, XV., 2058 sqq.

343  Luther, in a letter to Spalatin (Nov. 23, 1520, In De Wette I. 523), in a moment of indignation expressed a wish that Hutten might have intercepted (utinam —Intercepisset) the legates, but not murdered, as Romanists (Janssen, twice, II. 104, 143) misinterpret it. See Köstlin, I. 411, and note on p. 797.

344  See Aleander’s dispatches in Brieger, l.c. I. pp. 119 sqq.; Strauss, Ulrich von Hutten, 4th ed., pp. 395 sqq.; and Ullmann, Franz von Sickingen (Leipzig, 1872).

345  Aleander reports (April 13) that Luther was painted with the Holy Spirit over his head (el spirito santo sopra it capo, come to depingono). Brieger, I. 139.

346  The letters of safe-conduct are printed in Walch, XV., 2122-2127, and Förstemann, Neues Urkundenbuch, I., 61 sq. In the imperial letter signed by Albert, Elector and Archbishop of Mayence and Chancellor of the Empire, Luther is addressed as "honorable, well-beloved, pious" (Ehrsamer, Geliebter, Andächtiger; in the Latin copy, Honorabilis, Dilecte, Devote), much to the chagrin of the Romanists.

347  Letter of Dec. 21, 1520 (De Wette, I., 534, 536): "Ego vero, si vocatus fuero, quantum per me stabit, vel aegrotus advehar, si sanus venire non possem. Neque enim dubitari fas est, a Domino me vocari, si Caesar vocat. ... Omnia de me praesumas praeter fugam et palinodiam: fugere ipse nolo, recantare multo minus. Ita me comfortet Dominus Jesus."

348  On the Emser controversy see Erl. Frkf. ed., vol. XXVII.

349  His proper name was Lancelot Politi. See Lämmer, Vortridentinische Theologie, p. 21, and Burkhardt, Luther’s Briefwechsel, p. 38. Luther calls him "insulsus et stolidus Thomista," in a letter to Spalatin, March 7, 1521 (De Wette, I. 570).

350  A full description of the reception at Erfurt, with extracts from the speech of Crotus and the poems of Eoban, is given by Professor Kampschulte (a liberal Catholic historian), in his valuable monograph, Die Universität Erfurt, vol. II. 95-100."It seems," he says, "that the nation at this moment wished to make every effort to assure Luther of his vocation. The glorifications which he received from the 2d to the 16th of April no doubt contributed much to fill him with that self-confidence which he manifested in the decisive hour. Nowhere was he received more splendidly than at Erfurt."

351  "Seid still," he said, "liebes Volk, es ist der Teufel, der richtet so eine Spiegelfechterei an; seid still, es hat keine Noth." Some of his indiscreet admirers called this victory over the imaginary Devil the first miracle of Luther. The second miracle, they thought, he performed at Gotha, where the Devil played a similar trick in the church, and met with the same defeat.

352  His brief sojourn at Frankfurt, and his contact with the Holzhausen family, is made the subject of an interesting historical novel: Haman von Holzhausen. Eine Frankfurter Patriziergeschichte nach Fainilienpapieren erzählt von M. K. [Maria Krummacher]. Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1885. See especially chap. XX., pp. 253, sqq.

353  The edict is dated March 10. See Burkhardt, Luther’s Briefwechsel (1866), p. 38, who refers to Spalatin’s MS. Seidemann dates the letter from March 2. Ranke, in the sixth ed. (1881), I. 333, says that it was published March 27, on the doors of the churches at Worms. Luther speaks of it in his Eisleben report, and says that the edict was a device of the Archbishop of Mainz to keep him away from Worms, and tempt him to despise the order of the Emperor. Works, Erl. Frankf. ed., LXIV. 367.

354  Notwithstanding this danger, Janssen thinks (II. 158) that it required no "special courage" for Luther to go to Worms.

355  April 14 (De Wette, I. 587): "Christus vivit, et intrabimus Wormatiam invitis omnibus portis inferni et potentatibus aeris" (Eph. 2:2).

356  Spalatin reports the saying thus: "Dass er mir Spalatino aus Oppenheim gen Worms schrieb: ’Er wollte gen Worms wenn gleich so viel Teufel darinnen wären als immer Ziegel da wären’ " (Walch, XV. 2174). A year afterwards, in a letter to the Elector Frederick, March 5, 1522 (De Wette, II 139), Luther gives the phrase with this modification: "Er [the Devil] sah mein Herz wohl, da ich zu Worms einkam, dass, wenn ich hätte gewusst, dass so viel Teufel auf mich gehalten hätten, als Ziegel auf den Dächern sind, wäre ich dennoch mitten unter sie gesprungen mit Freuden." In the verbal report he gave to his friends at Eisleben in 1546 (Erl. Frankf. ed., vol. LXIV. p. 368): "Ich entbot ihm [Spalatin]wieder: ’Wenn so viel Teufel zu Worms wären als Ziegel auf den Dächern, noch [doch]wollt ich hinein.’"

357  Ibid: "Denn ich war unerschrocken, fürchtete mich nichts; Gott kann einen wohl so toll machen. Ich weiss nicht, ob ich jetzt auch so freudig wäre."

358  See Luther’s picture of that year, by Cranach, in the small biography of Köstlin, p. 237 (Scribner’s ed.). It is very different from those to which we are accustomed.

359  "Nun fuhr ich," says Luther (LXIV. 368), "auf einem offenen Wäglein in meiner Kappen zu Worms ein. Da kamen alle Leute auf die Gassen und wollten den Mönch D. Martinum sehen."

360  Aleander to Vice-Chancellor Medici, from Worms, April 16: "Esso Luther in descensu currus versis huc et illuc demoniacis oculis disse: ’Deus erit pro me.’ " Brieger, I. 143.

361  "Tutto il mondo," writes Aleander in the same letter, "went to see Luther after dinner."

362  Walch, XV. 2225-2231, gives a list of over two hundred members of the Diet that were present.

363  Not to be confounded with the more famous Dr. Eck of Ingolstadt. Aleander, who lodged with him on the same floor, calls him "homo literatissimo" and "orthodoxo," who had already done good service in the execution of the papal demands at Treves. Brieger, I. 146. In a dispatch of April 29, he solicits a present for him from the Roman See. ("Al official de Treveri un qualche presente sarebbe util," etc., p. 174). Froude, in his Luther (pp. 32, 33, 35), confounds the Eck of Treves with the Eck of Ingolstadt, Aleander with Cajetan, and makes several other blunders, which spoil his lively description of the scene at Worms.

364  "Legantur tituli librorum," he cried aloud.

365  Letter to Vice-Chancellor Medici, Worms, April 17, 1521 (in Brieger, l.c. p. 147): "El pazzo era entrato ridendo et coram Cesare girava il capo continuamente quà et là, alto e basso; poi net partir non parea così allegro. Quì molti di quelli et [=etiam]che lo favoreggiavano, poi che l’hanno visto, l’hanno existimado chi pazzo, chi demoniaco, molti altri santo et pieno di spiritu santo; tutta volta ha perso in ogni modo molta reputatione della opinione prima."

366  April 17, to John Cuspinianus, an imperial counsellor. See De Wette, I. 587 sq.

367  "Mönchlein, Mönchlein, du gehst jetzt einen Gang, dergleichen ich und mancher Oberster auch in unserer allerernstesten Schlachtordnung nicht gethan haben," etc. The saying is reported by Mathesius (who puts it on the second day of trial, not on the first, as Köstlin and others), by Spangenberg and Seckendorf (Leipzig ed. of 1694, vol. I. 156, in Latin and German).

368  "Respondit Doctor Martinus et ipse latine et germanice, quanquam suppliciter, non clamose, ac modeste, non tamen sine Christiana animositate et constantia."Acta, etc. (Op. Lat., VI. 9). He began with the customary titles: "Allerdurchlauchtigster, grossmächtigster Kaiser, Durchlauchtige Churfürsten, gnädigste und gnädige Herren!" These fulsome titles are used to this day in Germany, as if a king or emperor were mightier than the Almighty I

369  In his report at Eisleben, he calls the three classes briefly Lehrbücher, Zankbücher, and Disputationes.

370  So Luther says himself (in his Eisleben report of the Worms events, in the Erl. Frkf. ed., vol. LXIV. 370): "Dieweil ich redete, begehrten sie von mir, ich sollt es noch einmal wiederholen mit lateinischen Worten ... Ich wiederholte alle meine Worte lateinisch. Das gefiel Herzog Friedrich, dem Churfürsten überaus wohl." Spalatin confirms this in Epitome Actorum Lutheri, etc.: "Dixit primo germanice, deinde latine." Other reports put the Latin speech first; so the Acta Luth. (in the Erl. Frkf. ed. of Op. Lat., VI. 9: respondit D. Martinus et ipse latine et germanice). Köstlin follows the latter report (I. 445, 451), and overlooked the testimony of Luther, who must have known best.

371  In the German text, "ein unstüssige und unbeissige Antwort" (vol. LXIV. 382); i.e., an answer neither offensive nor biting—with reference, no doubt, to his concluding warning.

372  We give also the German and Latin texts."Weil denn Eure Kaiserliche Majestät und Eure Gnaden eine schlichte Antwort begehren, so will ich eine Antwort ohne Hörner und Zähne geben diesermassen: ’Es sei denn, dass ich durch Zeugnisse der Schrift oder durch helle Gründe überwunden werde—denn ich glaube weder dem Papst, noch den Konzilien allein, dieweil am Tag liegt, dass sie öfters geirrt und sich selbst widersprochen haben,—so bin ich überwunden durch die von mir angeführten heiligen Schriften, und mein Gewissen ist gefangen in Gottes Wort; widerrufen kann ich nichts und will ich nichts, dieweil wider das Gewissen zu handeln unsicher und gefährlich ist.’ " See Köstlin, I. 452. The oldest reports vary a little in the language. Some have scheinbarliche und merkliche Ursachen for helle Gründe, and at the close:"dieweil wider das Gewissen zu handeln beschwerlich und unheilsam, auch gefährlich ist." Werke (Erl. Frkf. ed.), vol. LXIV. 382.
The Latin text as given in the
Acta Lutheri Wormatiae habita is as follows: "Hic Lutherus: Quando ergo serenissima Majestas vestra Dominationesque vestrae simplex responsum petunt, dabo illud, neque cornutum, neque dentatum, in hunc modum: ’Nisi convictus fuero testimoniis Scripturarum, aut ratione evidente (nam neque Papae, neque Conciliis solis credo, cum constet eos errasse saepius, et sibi ipsis contradixisse), victus sum Scripturis a me adductis captaque est conscientia in verbis Dei; revocare neque possum neque volo quidquam, cum contra conscientiam agere neque tutum sit, neque integrum.’ " Opera Lat. (Frankf. ed.), vol. VI. 13 sq.

373  "Hier steh’ ich. [Ich kann nicht anders.] Gott helfe mir! Amen." The bracketed words cannot be traced to a primitive source. See the critical note at the close of this section.

374  The little German he knew was only the Platt-Deutsch of the Low Countries. He always communicated with his German subjects in Latin or French, or by the mouth of his brother Ferdinand.

375  Aleander (l.c. p. 170): "Cesar palam dixit et sepissime postea repetiit, che mai credera che l’ habbii composto detti libri." The mixing of Latin and Italian is characteristic of the Aleander dispatches. He was inclined to ascribe the authorship of the greater part of Luther’s books to Melanchthon, of whom he says that he has "un belissimo, ma malignissimo ingegno (p. 172).

376  Aleander and Caracciolo to the Vice-Chancellor Medici, April 19, 1521 (Brieger, I. 153): "Martino uscito fuora della sala Cesarea alzò la mano in alto more militum Germanorum, quando exultano di un bel colpo di giostra." In a letter of April 27 (l.c. p. 166), they call Luther "il venerabile ribaldo," who before his departure drank in the presence of many persons "molte tazze di malvasia, della qual ne è forte amoroso." The charge of intemperance is repeated in a dispatch of April 29 (p. 170): "la ebrietà, alla quale detto Luther è deditissimo." That Luther used to drink beer and wine according to the universal custom of his age, is an undoubted fact; but that he was intemperate in eating or drinking, is a slander of his enemies. Melanchthon, who knew him best, bears testimony to his temperance. See below, the section on his private life.

377  Contarenus ad Matthaeum Dandalum, quoted by Ranke, I. 336.

378  Walch, XV. 2246.

379  The interview as related by Luther (Walch, XV. 2247; Erlangen-Frankfurt edition, LXIV. 373) is characteristic of this prince, and foreshadows his future conduct. "Der Landgraf von Hessen kam zu Worms erstlich zu mir. Er war aber noch nicht auf meiner Seiten, und kam in Hof geritten, ging zu mir in mein Gemach, wollte mich sehen. Er war aber noch sehr jung, sprach: Lieber Herr Doctor, wie geht’s? Da antwortete ich: Gnädiger Herr, ich hoff, essoll gut werden. Da sagte er: Ich höre, Herr Doctor, ihr lehret, wenn ein Mann alt wird und seiner Frauen nicht mehr Ehepflicht leisten kann, dass dann die Frau mag einen anderen Mann nehmen, und lachte, denn die Hofräthe hatten’s ihm eingeblasen. Ich aber lachte auch und sagte: Ach nein, gnädiger Herr, Euer Fürstlich Gnad sollt nicht also reden. Aber er ging balde wieder von mir hinweg, gab mir die Hand und sagte: Habt ihr Recht, Herr Doctor, so helfe euch Gott."

380  In Fiddes Life of Wolsey, quoted by Ranke, I. 337, note.

381  Ranke (I. 337) says "in den kaiserlichen Gemächern." Other reports say that these words were placarded in public places at Worms.

382  The Devil sometimes tells the truth. So Mephistopheles, in Goethe’s Faust, when he excuses the aversion of the student to the study of jurisprudence, and says with a wicked purpose:—

"Es erben sich Gesetz’ und Rechte

 Wie eine ew’ge Krankheit fort;

 Sie schleppen von Geschlecht sich zum Geschlechte

 Und schleichen sacht von Ort zu Ort.

 Vernunft wird Unsinn, Wohlthat Plage;

 Weh dir, dass du ein Enkel bist !

 Vom Rechte, das mit uns geboren ist,

 Von dem ist, leider! nie die Frage ."

383  Dr. (Bishop) Hefele discusses this case at length from the Roman Catholic standpoint, in his Conciliengeschichte, vol. VII. (1869), pp. 218 sqq. He defends Sigismund and the Council of Constance on the ground that a salvus conductus protects only against illegal violence, but not against the legal course of justice and deserved punishment, and that its validity for the return of Hus to Bohemia depended on his recantation. But no such condition was expressed in the letter of safe-conduct (as given by Hefele, p. 221), which grants Hus freedom to come, stay, and return (transire, morari et redire libere). Sigismund had expressly promised him "ut salvus ad Bohemiam redirem " (p. 226). Such a promise would have been quite unnecessary in case of his recantation.

384  See my Church Hist., vol. IV. 500 sqq.; and Creeds of Christendom, vol. I. 169 sqq.

385  Döllinger’s declaration of March 28, 1871, for which he was excommunicated, April 17, 1871, notwithstanding his eminent services to the Roman Catholic Church as her most learned historian, bears some resemblance to Luther’s declaration at Worms. See Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, I. 195 sqq.

386  Walch, XV. 2235-2237.

387  John Cochlaeus (his original name was Dobeneck; b. 1479, at Wendelstein in Franconia, d. at Bresau, 1552) was at first as a humanist an admirer of Luther, but turned against him shortly before the Diet of Worms, and became one of his bitterest literary opponents. He went to Worms unasked, and wished to provoke him to a public disputation. He was employed by the Archbishop of Treves as theological counsel, and by Aleander as a spy. Aleander paid him ten guilders "per sue spese" (see his dispatch of April 29 in Brieger, I. 175). Cochlaeus wrote about 190 books, mostly polemical against the Reformers, and mostly forgotten. Luther treated him with great contempt, and usually calls him "Doctor Rotzlöffel," also "Kochlöffel." See Works, Erl. ed., XXXI. 270 sq., 276 sq., 302 sq.; LXII. 74, 78. Otto, Johann Cochlaeus, der Humanist, Breslau, 1874; Felician Gess, Johannes Cochlaeus, der Gegner Luthers, Oppeln, 1886, IV. 62 pages.

388  "Gnädiger Herr," he said to the Archbishop of Trier, "ich kann alles leiden, aber die heilige Schrift kann ich nicht übergeben." And again: "Lieber will ich Kopf und Leben verlieren, als das klare Wort Gottes verlassen."

389  See the reports on these useless conferences, in Walch, XV. 2237-2347, 2292-2319; Cochlaeus, Com. de Actis Lutheri, and his Colloquium cum Luthero Wormatiae habitum; the report of Hieronymus Vehus, published by Seidemann, in the "Zeitschrift für histor. Theol.," 1851, p. 80 sqq.; and the report of Aleander in Brieger, I. 157-160. Ranke says (I. 332), one might almost be tempted to wish that Luther had withdrawn his opposition to the councils, and contented himself for the present with the attack upon the abuses of the papacy, in which he had the nation with him; but he significantly adds, that the power of his spirit would have been broken if it had bound itself to any but purely religious considerations. "Der ewig freie Geist bewegt sich in seinen eigenen Bahnen."

390  It is asserted by Gieseler and Ranke (I. 341) that the Council gave official sanction to this maxim by declaring with regard to Hus: "Nec aliqua sibi [ei] fides aut promissio de jure naturali, divino vel humano fuerit in praejudicium catholicae fidei observanda." Von der Hardt, Conc. Const. IV. 521; Mansi, Concil. XXVII. 791. Hefele (Conciliengeschichte, VII. 227 sq.) charges Gieseler with sinning against the Council and against truth itself, and maintains that this decree, which is only found in the Codex Dorrianus at Vienna, was merely proposed by a member, and not passed by the Council. But the undoubted decree of the 19th Sess., Sept. 23, 1415, declares that a safe-conduct, though it should be observed by him who gave it as far as he was able, affords no protection against the punishment of a heretic if he refuses to recant; and the fact remains that Hus was not permitted to return, and was burned in consequence of his condemnation by the Council and during its session, July 6, 1415. Aeneas Sylvius (afterwards Pope Pius II.) bears to him and Jerome of Prague the testimony: "Nemo philosophorum tam forti animo mortem pertulisse traditur quam isti incendium." The traditional prophecy of Hus: "Now ye burn a goose (anser; Hus in Bohemian means goose); but out of my ashes shall rise a swan (cygnus, Luther), which you shall not be able to burn," is not authentic, and originated in Luther’s time as a vaticinium post eventum.

391  Ranke says (vol. V. 308): "Es ist die universalhistorisch grösste Handlung Karls V., dass er damals das gegebene Wort höher stellte als die kirchliche Satzung."

392  See above, p. 283.

393  Brieger, I. 169 sqq. Aleander says in support of the fourth item, that the Lutheran "wretch," Martin Butzer (he calls him Putzer), had already fallen into the diabolical Arian heresy, as he had been told by the Emperor’s confessor, Glapio, who had a conference with Butzer and Sickingen.

394  Aleander reports, May 5: "Poi me fù commesso per Cesar et el Consilio (the imperial council),che io stesso facesse el decreto, con quelle più justificationi si potesse, acciochè il popolo se contentasse."

395  "Das Edict," says Ranke (i. 342), "ward den Ständen nicht in ihrer Versammlung vorgelegt; keiner neuen Deliberation ward es unterworfen; unerwartet, in der kaiserlichen Behausung bekamen sie Kunde davon, nachdem man nichts versäumt, um sie guenstig zu stimmen; die Billigung desselben, die nicht einmal formell genannt werden kann, ward ihnen durch eine Art von Ueberraschung abgewonnen."

396  Dispatch of May 26. Brieger, I. 224. The edict appeared in print on the following Thursday, May 30, and on Friday the Emperor left Worms.

397  Aleander himself calls it more terrible than any previous edict (cosi horribile quanto mai altro editto), June 27, 1521. Brieger, I. 241. Ranke says (I. 343): "Es war so scharf, so entschieden wie möglich."

398  Die Acht und Aberacht. The Acht is the civil counterpart of the ecclesiastical excommunication and excludes the victim from all protection of the law. The Aberacht or Oberacht follows if the Acht remains without effect. It is in the German definition die völlige Fried- und Rechtslos- oder Vogelfrei-Erklärung. The imperial Acht is called the Reichsacht.

399  See the edict in full in Walch, XV. 2264-2280. It was published officially in Latin and German, and translated into the languages of the Dutch and French dominions of Charles. Aleander himself, as he says, prepared the French translation.

400  Letter to Pirkheimer, May 1, 1521: "Me pudere incipit patriae."Opera II. 59.

401  Janssen, II. 208 sq.: "Albrecht musste sich beugen vor Luther, der Primus vor dem excommunicirten Mönch, welcher ihm mit Enthuellungen drohte."

402  Kraftwörter, as the Germans call them.

403  Janssen says (II. 181 and 193): "Den Ton für die ganze damalige polemische Literatur gabLuther an, wie durch seine früheren Schriften, so auch durch die neuen, welche er von der Wartburg aus in die Welt schickte." Then he quotes a number of the coarsest outbursts of Luther’s wrath, and his disparaging remarks on some books of the New Testament (the Eusebian Antilegomena), all of which, however, are disowned by the Lutheran Church, and more than counterbalanced by his profound reverence for, and submission to, the undoubted writings (the Homologumena). See § 6, pp. 16 sqq.

404  "Adversus furiosum Parisiensium theologastrorum Decretum pro Luthero Apologia," 1521. In the "Corpus Reformat.," vol. I. 398-416. A copy of the original edition is in the Royal Library at Berlin. An extract, in Carl Schmidt’s Philipp Melanchthon, pp. 55 sqq.

405  Determinatio Theologorum Parisiensium super Doctrina Lutheriana. "Corp. Reform." I. 366-388.

406  "Mein lieber Philipp," he says, "hat ihnen [den groben Pariser Eseln] wohl meisterlich geantwortet, hat sie aber doch zu sanft angerührt und mit dem leichten Hobel überlaufen; ich sehe wohl, ich muss mit der Bauernaxt über die groben Blöcke kommen." At the same time there appeared an anonymous satire against the Paris theologians, in the style of the Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum. See Schmidt, l.c. p. 58.

407  In Hieron. Aleandrum, et Marinum Caracciolum Oratores Leonis X. apud Vormaciam Invectivae singulae.—In Cardinales, episcopos et Sacerdotes, Lutherum Vormaciae oppugnantes, Invectiva.—Ad Carolum Imp. pro Luthero exhortatoria. See Strauss, Ulrich v. Hutten, pp. 397 sqq.

408  Characteristic for his poetry is the well-known rhyme (which is, however, not found in his works):—

"Hans Sachs war ein Schuh-

 Macher und Poet dazu."

A new edition of his poems appeared at Stuttgart, 1870 sqq. He figures prominently in Kaulbach’s picture of the Reformation.

409  See Grüneisen’s Nicolaus Manuels Leben und Werke (1837), pp. 339-392.

410  Passional Christi und Antichristi, mit Luther’s Nachrede, 1521, in the Frkf. ed., LXIII., 240-248. Luther accompanied the pictures with texts.

411  Newly edited by H. Kurz, Zürich, 1848. Janssen makes much use of this poem (II. 123-128, 190, 415, 416). Murner thus describes the Protestant attack on the sacraments:—

"Die Mess, die sol nim gelten

 Im Leben noch im Tod.

 Die Sacrament sie schelten,

 Die seien uns nit Not.

 Fünf hont sie gar vernichtet,

 Die andern lon sie ston,

 Dermassen zugerichtet,

 Dass sie auch bald zergon ."

Of Luther’s doctrine of the general priesthood of the laity he says:—

"Wir sein all Pfaffen worden,

 Beid Weiber und die Man,

 Wiewol wir hant kein Orden

 Kein Weihe gnomen an "