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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.
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 and , at Leipzig, and began his career as a preacher of indulgences in 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 he acquired in the University of Frankfurt-on-the-Oder the degree of Licentiate of Theology, and in January, , the degree of Doctor of Theology, by defending, in two disputations, the doctrine of indulgences against Luther. 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. 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. 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. 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 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.
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.
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 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.
The Ninety-five Theses. 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. 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. 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 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 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. They imply belief in purgatory. They nowhere mention Tetzel. 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 , 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.
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. Luther distinguishes, in the second Thesis, true repentance from the sacramental penance i. 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. 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. 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. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This word poenitentia cannot be understood of sacramental penance, that is, of the confession and satisfaction which are performed under the ministry of priests.
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 ]. 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. 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.
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. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and no burden ought to be imposed on the dying, according to them. 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. Those priests act unlearnedly and wrongly, who, in the case of the dying, reserve the canonical penances for purgatory.
Those tares about changing of the canonical penalty into the penalty of purgatory seem surely to have been sown while the bishops were asleep. Formerly the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition. The dying pay all penalties by death, and are already dead to the Canon laws, and are by right relieved from them. 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.
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. Hell, purgatory, and heaven appear to differ as despair, almost despair, and peace of mind [ securitas ] differ. With souls in purgatory it seems that it must needs be that, as horror diminishes, so charity increases. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. Hence the greater part of the people must needs be deceived by this indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalties. 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.
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 ]. 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.
Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory desire to be redeemed from it, according to the story told of Saints Severinus and Paschal? No man is sure of the reality of his own contrition, much less of the attainment of plenary remission. Rare as is a true penitent, so rare is one who truly buys indulgences—that is to say, most rare. Those who believe that, through letters of pardon, they are made sure of their own salvation, will be eternally damned along with their teachers. 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.
For the grace conveyed by these pardons has respect only to the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, which are of human appointment. They preach no Christian doctrine, who teach that contrition is not necessary for those who buy souls out of purgatory, or buy confessional licenses. Every Christian who feels true compunction has of right plenary remission of pain and guilt, even without letters of pardon.
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. 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. 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.
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. Apostolical pardons ought to be proclaimed with caution, lest the people should falsely suppose that they are placed before other good works of charity.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. Christians should be taught, that, while they are free to buy pardons, they are not commanded to do so. 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.
Peter should be burnt to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.
Peter, and to give of his own to very many of those from whom the preachers of pardons extract money. 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. 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.
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 ]. 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. The treasures of the Church, whence the Pope grants indulgences, are neither sufficiently named nor known among the people of Christ. 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.
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. 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. We are not speaking rashly when we say that the keys of the Church, bestowed through the merits of Christ, are that treasure. For it is clear that the power of the Pope is alone sufficient for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases.
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 ]. This treasure, however, is deservedly most hateful [ merito odiosissimus; der allerfeindseligste und verhassteste ], because it makes the first to be last. While the treasure of indulgences is deservedly most acceptable, because it makes the last to be first. Hence the treasures of the gospel are nets, wherewith of old they fished for the men of riches.
The treasures of indulgences are nets, wherewith they now fish for the riches of men. Yet they are in reality the smallest graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross. Bishops and curates are bound to receive the commissaries of apostolical pardons with all reverence.
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 ]. 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.
As the Pope justly thunders [Lat. 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. The saying that, even if St. Peter were now Pope, he could grant no greater graces, is blasphemy against St. Peter and the Pope. 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. 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.
Those bishops, curates, and theologians who allow such discourses to have currency among the people, will have to render an account. 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;. 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?
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? 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?
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? Again: Why does the Pope remit or impart to those who, through perfect contrition, have a right to plenary remission and participation?
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? 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? 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.
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. Away then with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace. Blessed be all those prophets, who say to the people of Christ, "The cross, the cross," and there is no cross. Christians should be exhorted to strive to follow Christ their head through pains, deaths, and hells;.
Text, XX. 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. The Theses-Controversy. Acta , I. 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.
Fleck, "the man has come who will do the thing. 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. 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 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 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.
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. He even ventured to dedicate to him his Resolutiones , a defence of the Theses May 30, , with a letter of abject humility, promising to obey his voice as the very voice of Christ. Such an anomalous and contradictory position could not last long.
As Seen in the Seven Churches of Asia - Revelation 2 and 3
In the midst of this controversy, in April, , 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. He found considerable response, and sowed the seed of the Reformation in the Palatinate. Luther and Prierias. Silvestri Prieratis ordinis praedicatorum et s. Knaake Werke, I.
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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. Pope Leo X. 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, , 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, 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.
Luther republished the Dialogue with a reply, in which he called it "sufficiently supercilious, and thoroughly Italian and Thomistic " August, Prierias answered with a Replica November, 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. 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, , 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. Luther and Cajetan. October, Kahnis , I. 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. 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. 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 ,—perhaps in consequence of his interview with Luther,—he devoted himself chiefly to the study of the Scriptures, and urged it upon his friends. 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.
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They had three interviews Oct. Cajetan treated Luther with condescending courtesy, and assured him of his friendship. 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. Still be asked the cardinal to intercede with Leo X. 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.
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 Monheim 20 3 without stopping, and fell utterly exhausted upon the straw in a stable. 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. 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. He expected every day maledictions from Rome, and was prepared for exile or any other fate. 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. Luther and Miltitz. January, Letters in De Wette : I. Seidemann : Karl Von Miltitz Eine chronol. Dresden, pp. The respective sections in Marheineke , Kahnis I. 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. 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.
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. Miltitz held a conference with Luther in the house of Spalatin at Altenburg, Jan. 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, , 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, , "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.
The Leipzig Disputation. June July 15, Seidemann : Die Leipziger Disputation im Jahre Dresden and Leipzig, pp. With important documents pp. The best book on the subject. The account by Ranke I. On the Roman side, see Janssen , II. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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: 21 3 —. His voice is clear and melodious. 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. 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! 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. 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.
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, 21 8 and hereafter stood by him as his faithful colleague and friend.
Philip Melanchthon. Literature Portrait. The third centenary of Mel. Works of Melanchthon. The first ed. Leipzig, —30, 6 vols. Halle, —60, 28 vols. The most important vols. The last vol. Add to these: Epistolae, Judicia, Consilia, Testimonia , etc. Halle, A supplement to the "Corpus Reform.
Halis pp. Zerbst, Biographies of Mel. An account of his last days by the Wittenberg professors: Brevis narratio exponens quo fine vitam in terris suam clauserit D. The same in German. A funeral oration by Heerbrand : Oratio in obitum Mel. Vitebergae, Halle, ; one with preface by Neander in the Vitae quatuor Reformatorum. Berlin, Strobel : Melanchthoniana. Altdorf, Die Ehre Mel. Niemeyer : Phil. Cox : Life of Mel. Bonn, Heyd : Mel. Galle : Characteristik Melanchth. Matthes : Ph. Sein Leben u. Wirken aus den Quellen.
Ledderhose : Phil. Heidelberg, English translation by Dr. By the same: Das Leben des Phil. Barmen, Meurer : Phil. Leipzig u. Dresden, Heppe : Phil. Marburg, Elberfeld, in the "Reformatoren der Luth. Gotha, Volbeding : Mel. Wohlfahrt : Phil. Thilo : Mel. Schrift Berlin, Paul Pressel : Phil. Ein evang. Lebensbild Stuttg. Planck : Mel. Praeceptor Germ. Tollin : Ph. Eine Quellenstudie Berlin, Landerer : Mel. Thiersch : Mel. Augsburg, , and New York, Am. Tract Soc. Wagenmann : Ph. Deutsche Biographie". Paulsen in "Gesch.
Schaff in St. On Mel. Plitt : Melanchthons Loci in ihrer Urgestalt. Erlangen, 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. 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.
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 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. 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, , 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 esteemed his wife higher than himself. She died in 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.
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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. 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: —. Philipp Melanchthon. Luther and Melanchthon. In the vision, Jesus gave John messages for seven local churches.
Jesus told John to write these messages on a scroll and send them to the churches. In most cases, Jesus commended the church for their good work, warned them about the areas in which they needed correction, and urged them to return to Him. Among other things, He warned the churches not to forget their love of the Lord. He encouraged them not to be afraid of being tested. He urged those who were surrounded by evil to not deny their faith. Each time, Jesus promised to reward those who remain faithful to Him.
Jesus loves the church. His message to seven local churches called them to turn away from their sin and remain faithful to Him. Believers—then and now—must pursue loving God above all else, with heart, soul, mind, and strength Mark , and must be ready to share the gospel with those around them.