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The Two Republics, or Rome and the United States of America

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    CHAPTER XXIII. PROTESTANTISM—TRUE AND FALSE

    The papal power and Luther’s protection—The principles of Protestantism—Protestantism is Christianity—Zwingle as a Reformer—Henry VIII against Luther—Luther against the papacy—Henry divorces the pope—Religious rights in England—The Calvinistic theocracy—Calvin’s Despotism—Religious despotism in Scotland—The rise of the Puritans—Puritan designs upon England—Elizabeth persecutes the Puritans—Origin of the Congregationalists—Puritan government of New England—New England Puritan principles—roger Williams against Puritanism—Banishment of Roger Williams—John Wheelright and his preaching—Wheelright is banished—The Puritan inquisition—Puritan covenant of grace—Mrs. Hutchinson is condemned—the inquisition continues—Planting of Connecticut and New Haven—The theocracy is completed—Laws against the Baptists—The Baptist principles—The whipping of Elder Holmes—The persecutors justify themselves—Thomas Gould and his brethren—Another remonstrance from England—First treatment of Quakers—First law against Quakers—Rhode Island’s glorious appeal—Horrible laws against the Quakers—Horrible tortures of Quakers—The people effect a rescue—Children sold as slaves—The death penalty is defeated—“A humaner policy”—The people rescue the sufferers—Laws of New Haven and Connecticut—John Wesley prosecuted—Martin Luther and Roger Williams

    THEN came the Reformation, protesting against the papal system, and asserting again the rights of the individual conscience, declaring for a separation between Church and State, and that to Caesar is to be rendered only that which is Caesar’s, while men are left free to render to God, according to the dictates of their own conscience, that which is God’s.TTR 569.1

    To Luther more than to any other one, there fell the blessed task of opening up the contest with the papacy, and of announcing the principles of Protestantism. It is not without cause that Luther stands at the head of all men in the great Reformation and in the history of Protestantism: for he alone of all the leaders in the Reformation times held himself and his cause aloof from the powers of this world, and declined all connection of the State with the work of the gospel, even to support it. After he had burnt the pope’s bull, Aleander, the pope’s nuncio, at the coronation of Charles V at Cologne, addressed the elector, Frederick of Saxony, whose subject Luther was, in these words:—TTR 569.2

    “See the immense perils to which this man exposes the Christian commonwealth. If a remedy is not speedily applied, the empire is destroyed. What ruined the Greeks, if it was not their abandonment of the pope? You cannot remain united to Luther without separating from Jesus Christ. In the name of his Holiness, I ask of you two things: first, to burn the writings of Luther; secondly, to punish him according to his demerits, or at least to give him up a prisoner to the pope. The emperor, and all the princes of the empire, have declared their readiness to accede to our demands; you alone still hesitate.” 1[Page 570] D’Aublgne’s “History of the Reformation,” book vi, chap. xi, par. 9.TTR 569.3

    The elector answered just then, that this was a matter of too much importance to be decided upon the spur of the moment, and at a later time he would give a definite answer. At this time Luther wrote to Spalatin, the elector’s chaplain, these words:—TTR 570.1

    “If the gospel was of a nature to be propagated or maintained by the power of the world, God would not have intrusted it to fishermen. To defend the gospel appertains not to the princes and pontiffs of this world. They have enough to do to shelter themselves from the judgments of the Lord and his Anointed. If I speak, I do it in order that they may obtain the knowledge of the divine word, and be saved by it.” 2[Page 570] Id., par. 13.TTR 570.2

    As Luther was on his way home from the Diet of Worms, where he made his memorable defense, Frederick had him captured and carried away to the Wartburg, where he was kept in confinement to protect him from the wrath of the papacy, which, through the imperial power, was expressed in the following words:—TTR 570.3

    “We, Charles the Fifth, to all the electors, princes, prelates, and others, whom it may concern:—TTR 570.4

    “The Almighty having intrusted to us, for the defense of his holy faith, more kingdoms and power than he gave to any of our predecessors, we mean to exert ourselves to the utmost to prevent any heresy from arising to pollute our holy empire.TTR 570.5

    “The Augustine monk, Martin Luther, though exhorted by us, has rushed, like a madman, against the holy church, and sought to destroy it by means of books filled with blasphemy. He has, in a shameful manner, insulted the imperishable law of holy wedlock. He has striven to excite the laity to wash their hands in the blood of priests; and, overturning all obedience, has never ceased to stir up revolt, division, war, murder, theft, and fire, and to labor completely to ruin the faith of Christians... In a word, to pass over all his other iniquities in silence, this creature, who is not a man, but Satan himself under the form of a man, covered with the cowl of a monk, has collected into one stinking pool all the worst heresies of past times, and has added several new ones of his own....TTR 570.6

    “We have therefore sent this Luther from before our face, that all pious and sensible men may regard him as a fool, or a man possessed of the devil; and we expect that, after the expiry of his safe-conduct, effectual means will be taken to arrest his furious rage.TTR 571.1

    “Wherefore, under pain of incurring the punishment due to the crime of treason, we forbid you to lodge the said Luther so soon as the fatal term shall be expired, to conceal him, give him meat or drink, and lend him by word or deed, publicly or secretly, any kind of assistance. We enjoin you, moreover, to seize him, or cause him to be seized, wherever you find him, and bring him to us without any delay, or to keep him in all safety until you hear from us how you are to act with regard to him, and till you receive the recompense due to your exertions in so holy a work.TTR 571.2

    “As to his adherents, you will seize them, suppress them, and confiscate their goods.TTR 571.3

    “As to his writings, if the best food becomes the terror of all mankind as soon as a drop of poison is mixed with it, how much more ought these books, which contain a deadly poison to the soul, to be not only rejected, but also annihilated! You will therefore burn them, or in some other way destroy them entirely.TTR 571.4

    “As to authors, poets, printers, painters, sellers or buyers of placards, writings, or paintings against the pope or the church, you will lay hold of their persons and their goods, and treat them according to your good pleasure.TTR 571.5

    “And if any one, whatever be his dignity, shall dare to act in contradiction to the decree of our imperial majesty, we ordain that he shall be placed under the ban of the empire.TTR 571.6

    “Let every one conform hereto.” 3[Page 571] Id., book vii, chap. xi, par. 13.TTR 571.7

    Luther remained in the Wartburg until March 3, 1522, when without permission from anybody, he left and returned to Wittemberg. Knowing that his leaving the Wartburg without saying anything to the elector, would be ungrateful, and knowing also that his returning at all was virtually disclaiming the elector’s protection, he addressed to him, the third day of his journey, the following letter:—TTR 571.8

    “Grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.TTR 571.9

    “Most serene elector, gracious lord: What has happened at Wittemberg, to the great shame of the gospel, has filled me with such grief, that if I were not certain of the truth of our cause, I would have despaired of it.TTR 572.1

    “Your Highness knows—or if not, please to be informed—I received the gospel not from men, but from heaven, by our Lord Jesus Christ. If I have asked for conferences, it was not because I had doubts of the truth, but from humility, and for the purpose of winning others. But since my humility is turned against the gospel, my conscience now impels me to act in a different manner. I have yielded enough to your Highness in exiling myself during this year. The devil knows it was not from fear I did it. I would have entered Worms, though there had been as many devils in the town as there were tiles on the roofs. Now Duke George, with whom your Highness tries so much to frighten me, is far less to be feared than a single devil. Had that which has taken place at Wittemberg taken place at Leipsic (the duke’s residence), I would instantly have mounted my horse and gone thither, even though (let your Highness pardon the expression) for nine days it should have done nothing but rain Duke Georges, and every one of them been nine times more furious than he is. What is he thinking of in attacking me? Does he take Christ, my Lord, for a man of straw? The Lord be pleased to avert the dreadful judgment which is impending over him.TTR 572.2

    “It is necessary for your Highness to know that I am on my way to Wittemberg, under a more powerful protection than that of an elector. I have no thought of soliciting the assistance of your Highness; so far from desiring your protection, I would rather give you mine. If I knew that your Highness could or would protect me, I would not come to Wittemberg. No sword can give any aid to this cause. God alone must do all without human aid or co-operation. He who has most faith is the best protector. Now, I observe that your Highness is still very weak in the faith.TTR 572.3

    “But since your Highness desires to know what to do, I will answer with all humility. Your electoral Highness has already done too much, and ought to do nothing at all. God does not wish, and cannot tolerate, either your cares and labors, or mine. Let your Highness, therefore, act accordingly.TTR 572.4

    “In regard to what concerns myself, your Highness must act as elector. You must allow the orders of his Imperial Majesty to be executed in your towns and rural districts. You must not throw any difficulty in the way, should it be wished to apprehend or slay me; for none must oppose the powers that be, save He who established them. “Let your Highness, then, leave the gates open, and respect safe-conducts, should my enemies themselves, or their envoys, enter the States of your Highness in search of me. In this way you will avoid all embarrassment and danger.TTR 572.5

    “I have written this letter in haste, that you may not be disconcerted on learning my arrival. He with whom I have to deal is a different person from Duke George. He knows me well, and I know something of Him.TTR 573.1

    “Your electoral Highness’s most humble servant,TTR 573.2

    “MARTIN LUTHER. 4[Page 573] Id., book ix, chap. viii, par. 14.TTR 573.3

    Borna, the Conductor Hotel, Ash-Wednesday, 1552.”TTR 573.4

    During his absence, fanatical spirits had arisen, and extreme and somewhat violent steps had been taken, and amongst the first words which he spoke upon his arrival in Wittemberg were these:—TTR 573.5

    “It is by the word that we must fight; by the word overturn and destroy what has been established by violence. I am unwilling to employ force against the superstitious or the unbelieving. Let him who believes approach; let him who believes not stand aloof. None ought to be constrained. Liberty is of the essence of faith.” 5[Page 573] Id., par. par. 22.TTR 573.6

    In 1524 the Swabian peasants revolted, and in January, 1525, Luther addressed to them the following words:—TTR 573.7

    “The pope and the emperor have united against me; but the more the pope and the emperor have stormed, the greater the progress which the gospel has made... Why so? Because I have never drawn the sword, nor called for vengeance; because I have not had recourse either to tumult or revolt. I have committed all to God, and awaited his strong hand. It is neither with the sword nor the musket that Christians fight, but with suffering and the cross. Christ, their captain, did not handle the sword; he hung upon the tree.” 6[Page 573] Id., book x, chap. par. 19.TTR 573.8

    And when, June 25, A. D. 1530, the memorable confession of Protestantism was made at Augsburg, that confession, framed under the direction of Luther, though absent, accordingly announced for all future time the principles of Protestantism upon the subject of Church and State. Upon this question that document declared as follows:—TTR 573.9

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