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    THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION, A. D. 1530

    Therefore, when the reformers appeared at Augsburg, before the emperor Charles 5., the princes of the empire, the pope’s legates, the nobles and prelates of the Latin kingdom; and, after five months’ trial, from June to November, 1530, amidst the din of controversy and the terrors of the empire, and of the papacy, and from the travail of their soul gave birth, by the hand of Philip Melancthon, to the confession of that faith, in which they united stood against the thunders of the Vatican, and the horrors of persecution, and of civil commotion, they introduced in the seventeenth article the following sentiment:HDM 26.3

    “In like manner they (our churches) condemn those who circulate the judaizing notion, that, prior to the resurrection of the dead, the pious will engross the government of the world, and the wicked be everywhere oppressed.” 2See Schmucker’s Popular Theology. The confession was presented both in Latin and in German. The form of expression in this seventeenth article varies in the two languages. The above is from the Latin; the following is from the German; both translated by Professor Schmucker: “In like manner they condemn those who circulate the judaizing notion, that, prior to the resurrection of the dead, the pious will establish a separate temporal government, and all the wicked be exterminated.”—Pop. Theol., Aug. Con., Art. 17.HDM 26.4

    This is a miniature portrait of the doctrine now current in the church, worthy of the master hand of Melancthon; and if it should make some ears tingle, to hear their loved doctrine of the millennium, “prior to the resurrection,” publicly stigmatized “a judaizing notion,” they may know with whom, in this world, they must reckon for it, and count the cost before they begin the war with the bold Martin Luther, the gentle Melancthon, and their brave coadjutors; who not only brand this child of modern adoption “a judaizing notion,” but they solemnly “condemn all those who circulate” the carnal doctrine.HDM 26.5

    Vain men, who coolly pronounce upon the hallucination of the christian fathers, Clement, Justin, Cyprian, and others, and who count the fathers of the Reformation of less scripture knowledge and biblical learning than our doctors and theological professors; vain men, whose learned acumen discerns, and whose eloquence sometimes illustrates, what they call mistakes of the holy apostles, in matters of highest import, recorded plainly in the Book of books; such men may be allowed to regard the ancient fathers and the great reformers in a land of darkness, and themselves in a land of light, as living dogs know more than dead lions: but the discreet well know, and will readily admit, that any church opinion wholly unknown to the ancient fathers, and publicly reprobated by the reformers, ought not to be hastily adopted without examination at this day.HDM 27.1

    This doctrine of the fifth monarchy, “prior to the resurrection,” was a tumor of the Reformation, first lanced by Count Mansfield, and laid open by the Augsburg confession. Again it formed under John of Leyden, otherwise King John of Munster. This man quit his thimble, and set up a throne, in defence of the right of the saints to reign over this world, independent of the sinners; and for above twelvemonth, he possessed the city Munster, disturbing all Germany with his potent sway of the scepter of perfect liberty and fiend-like impiety. The city was starved by a long siege, and at length betrayed, surprised, and captured; and King John was given alive to the tormentors, whose business it was to tear him in pieces with hot pincers. During his reign, a book of doctrine was published called the “Restitution;” in which it is urged “that the kingdom of Christ shall be such here on earth, before the final day of judgment; that the godly and elect shall reign, the wicked everywhere being quite destroyed;” and that ministers ought to assume to themselves the power of the sword, and by force to constitute a new form of commonwealth. 1Harlcian Mis., vol. viii. 257.HDM 27.2

    The difference is not in the doctrine of the moderns; but solely in the mode of inculcating it. The force of truth is substituted for “the power of the sword;” but the end to be attained is the same either way, to wit, the government of the world.HDM 27.3

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