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    Chapter 7

    Union necessary to Reform—Luther’s Doctrine on the Lord’s Supper—A Lutheran Warning—Proposed Conference at Marburg—Melancthon and Zwingle—Zwingle leaves Zurich—Rumors in Zurich—The Reformers at Marburg—Carlstadt’s Petition—Preliminary Discussions—Holy Ghost—Original Sin—Baptism—Luther, Melancthon, and Zwingle—Opening of the Conference—The Prayer of the Church—Hoc est Corpus Meum—Syllogism of Oecolampadius—The Flesh profiteth nothing—Lambert convinced—Luther’s Old Song—Agitation in the Conference—Arrival of new Deputies—Christ’s Humanity finite—Mathematics and Popery—Testimony of the Fathers—Testimony of Augustine—Argument of the Velvet Cover—End of the Conference—The Landgrave mediates—Necessity of Union—Luther rejects Zwingle’s Hand—Sectarian Spirit of the Germans—Bucer’s Dilemma—Christian Charity prevails—Luther’s Report—Unity of Doctrine—Unity in Diversity—Signatures—Two Extremes—Three Views—Germ of Popery—Departure—Luther’s Dejection—Turks before Vienna—Luther’s Battle-sermon and Agony—Luther’s Firmness—Victory—Exasperation of the Papists—Threatening Prospects

    The Protest of Spires had still further increased the indignation of the papal adherents; and Charles the Fifth, according to the oath he had made at Barcelona, set about preparing “a suitable antidote for the pestilential disease with which the Germans were attacked, and to avenge in a striking manner the insult offered to Jesus Christ.” The pope, on his part, endeavoured to combine all the other princes of Christendom in this crusade; and the peace of Cambray, concluded on the 5th August, tended to the accomplishment of his cruel designs. It left the emperor’s hands free against the heretics. After having entered their protest at Spires, it was necessary for the evangelicals to think of maintaining it.HRSCV4 524.7

    The protestant states that had already laid the foundations of an evangelical alliance at Spires, had agreed to send deputies to Rothach; but the elector, staggered by the representations of Luther, who was continually repeating to him, “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength,” ordered his deputies to listen to the propositions of his allies, but to decide upon nothing. They adjourned to a new conference, which never took place. Luther triumphed; for human alliances failed. “Christ the Lord will know how to deliver us without the landgrave, and even against the landgrave,” said he to his friends.HRSCV4 524.8

    Philip of Hesse, who was vexed at Luther’s obstinacy, was convinced that it arose from a dispute about words. “They will hear no mention of alliances because of the Zwinglians,” said he; “well then, let us put an end to the contradictions that separate them from Luther.”HRSCV4 525.1

    The union of all the disciples of the Word of God seemed in fact a necessary condition to the success of the Reformation. How could the Protestants resist the power of Rome and of the empire, if they were divided? The landgrave no doubt wished to unite their minds, that he might afterwards be able to unite their arms; but the cause of Christ was not to triumph by the sword. If they should succeed in uniting their hearts and prayers, the Reformation would then find such strength in the faith of its children, that Philip’s spearmen would no longer be necessary.HRSCV4 525.2

    Unfortunately this union of minds, that was now to be sought after above all things, was a very difficult task. Luther in 1519 had at first appeared not only to reform, but entirely renovate the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, as the Swiss did somewhat later. “I go to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,” he had said, “and I there receive a sign from God that Christ’s righteousness and passion justify me: such is the use of the sacrament.” This discourse, which had gone through several impressions in the cities of Upper Germany, had prepared men’s minds for the doctrine of Zwingle. Accordingly Luther, astonished at the reputation he had gained, published this solemn declaration in 1527: “I protest before God and before the whole world that I have never walked with the sacramentarians.”HRSCV4 525.3

    Luther in fact was never Zwinglian as regards the Communion. Far from that, in 1519, he still believed in Transubstantiation. Why then should he speak of a sign? It was for this reason. While, according to Zwingle, the bread and wine are signs of the body and blood of Christ; according to Luther, the very body and blood of Jesus Christ are signs of God’s grace. These opinions are widely different from one another.HRSCV4 525.4

    Erelong this disagreement declared itself. In 1527 Zwingle, in his Friendly Exposition, refuted Luther’s opinion with mildness and respect. Unluckily the pamphlet of the Saxon reformer, “against the enthusiasts,” was then issuing from the press, and in it Luther expressed his indignation that his adversaries should dare to speak of christian unity and peace. “Well!” exclaimed he, “since they thus insult all reason, I will give them a Lutheran warning. Cursed be this concord! cursed be this charity! down, down, with it, to the bottomless pit of hell! If I should murder your father, your mother, your wife, your child, and then, wishing to murder you, I should say to you, `Let us be at peace, my dear friend!’ what answer would you make?—It is thus that the enthusiasts, who murder Jesus Christ my Lord, God the Father, and Christendom my mother, wish to murder me also; and then they say, Let us be friends!”HRSCV4 525.5

    Zwingle wrote two replies “to the excellent Martin Luther,” in a cold tone and with a haughty calmness more difficult to pardon than the invectives of the Saxon doctor. “We ought to esteem you a vessel of honor, and we do so with joy,” said he, “notwithstanding your faults.” Pamphlet followed pamphlet, Luther always writing with the same impetuosity, and Zwingle with unalterable coolness and irony.HRSCV4 525.6

    Such were the doctors whom the landgrave undertook to reconcile. Already, during the sitting of the Diet of Spires, Philip of Hesse, who was afflicted at hearing the papists continually repeating, “You boast of your attachment to the pure Word of God, and yet you are nevertheless disunited, had made overtures to Zwingle in writing. He now went farther, and invited the theologians of the different parties to meet at Marburg. These invitations met with various receptions. Zwingle, whose heart was large and fraternal, answered the landgrave’s call; but it was rejected by Luther, who discovered leagues and battles behind this pretended concord.HRSCV4 525.7

    It seemed, however, that great difficulties would detain Zwingle. The road from Zurich to Marburg lay through the territories of the emperor and of other enemies to the Reformation; the landgrave himself did not conceal the dangers of the journey; but in order to obviate these difficulties, he promised an escort from Strasburg to Hesse, and for the rest “the protection of God.” These precautions were not of a nature to reassure the Zurichers.HRSCV4 525.8

    Reasons of another kind detained Luther and Melancthon. “It is not right,” said they, “that the landgrave has so much to do with the Zwinglians. Their error is of such a nature that people of acute minds are easily tainted by it. Reason loves what it understands, particularly when learned men clothe their ideas in a scriptural dress.”HRSCV4 525.9

    Melancthon did not stop here, but put forth the very extraordinary notion of selecting papists as judges of the discussion. “If there were no impartial judges,” said he, “the Zwinglians would have a good chance of boasting of victory.” Thus, according to Melancthon, papists would be impartial judges when the real presence was the subject of discussion! He went still farther. “Let the elector,” he wrote on the 14th May to the Prince Electoral, “refuse to permit our journey to Marburg, so that we may be able to allege this excuse.” The elector would not lend himself to so disgraceful a proceeding; and the reformers of Wittenberg found themselves compelled to accede to the request of Philip of Hesse. But they did so with these words: “If the Swiss do not yield to us, all your trouble will be lost;” and they wrote to the theologians among their friends who were convoked by the prince: “Stay away if you can; your absence will be very useful to us.”HRSCV4 525.10

    Zwingle, on the contrary, who would have gone to the end of the world, made every exertion to obtain permission from the magistrates of Zurich to visit Marburg. “I am convinced,” said he to the secret council, “that if we doctors meet face to face, the splendor of truth will illuminate our eyes.” But the council, that had only just signed the first religious peace, and who feared to see war burst out afresh positively refused to allow the departure of the reformer.HRSCV4 526.1

    Upon this Zwingle decided for himself. He felt that his presence was necessary for the maintenance of peace in Zurich; but the welfare of all Christendom summoned him to Marburg. Accordingly, raising his eyes towards heaven, he resolved to depart, exclaiming, “O God! Thou hast never abandoned us; Thou wilt perform thy will for thine own glory.” During the night of the 31st August, Zwingle, who was unwilling to wait for the landgrave’s safe-conduct, prepared for his journey. Rodolph Collins, the Greek professor, was alone to accompany him. The reformer wrote to the Smaller and to the Great Council: “If I leave without informing you, it is not, most wise lords, because I despise your authority; but, knowing the love you bear towards me, I foresee that your anxiety will oppose my going.”HRSCV4 526.2

    As he was writing these words, a fourth message arrived from the landgrave, more pressing still than the preceding ones. The reformer sent the prince’s letter to the burgomaster with his own; he then quitted his house privily by night, concealing his departure both from friends, whose importunity he feared, and from enemies, whose snares he had good cause to dread. He did not even tell his wife where he was going, lest it should distress her. He and Collins then mounted two horses that had been hired for the purpose, and rode off rapidly in the direction of Basle.HRSCV4 526.3

    During the day the rumor of Zwingle’s absence spread through Zurich, and his enemies were elated. “He has fled the country,” said they; “he has run away with a pack of scoundrels!” “As he was crossing the river at Bruck,” said others, “the boat upset and he was drowned.” “The devil,” affirmed many with a malicious smile, “appeared to him bodily and carried him off.”—“There was no end to their stories,” says Bullinger. But the council immediately resolved on acceding to the wish of the reformer. On the very day of his departure they appointed one of the councillors, Ulrich Funck, to accompany him to Marburg, who forthwith set out with one domestic and an arquebusier. Strasburg and Basle in like manner sent statesmen in company with their theologians, under the idea that this conference would doubtless have, also, a political object.HRSCV4 526.4

    Zwingle arrived safely at Basle, and embarked on the river on the 6th September with Oecolampadius and several merchants. In thirteen hours they reached Strasburg, where the two reformers lodged in the house of Matthew Zell, the cathedral preacher. Catherine, the pastor’s wife, prepared the dishes in the kitchen, waited at table, according to the ancient German manners, and then sitting down near Zwingle, listened attentively, and spoke with so much piety and knowledge, that the latter soon ranked her above many doctors.HRSCV4 526.5

    After discussing with the magistrates the means of resisting the Romish league, and the organization to be given to the christian confederacy, Zwingle quitted Strasburg; and he and his friends, conducted along by-roads, through forests, over mountains and valleys, by secret but sure paths, at length reached Marburg, escorted by forty Hessian cavaliers.HRSCV4 526.6

    Luther, on his side, accompanied by Melancthon, Cruciger, and Jonas, had stopped on the Hessian frontier, declaring that nothing should induce him to cross it without a safe-conduct from the landgrave. This document being obtained, Luther arrived at Alsfeld, where the scholars, kneeling under the reformer’s windows, chanted their pious hymns. He entered Marburg on the 30th September, a day after the arrival of the Swiss. Both parties went to inns; but they had scarcely alighted, before the landgrave invited them to come and lodge in the castle, thinking by this means to bring the opposing bodies closer together. Philip entertained them in a manner truly royal. “Ah!” said the pious Jonas, as he wandered through the halls of the palace, “it is not in honor of the Muses, but in honor of God and of his Christ, that we are so munificently treated in these forests of Hesse!” After dinner, on the first day, Oecolampadius, Hedio, and Bucer, desirous of entering into the prince’s views, went and saluted Luther. The latter conversed affectionately with Oecolampadius in the castle-court; but Bucer, with whom he had once been very intimate, and who was now on Zwingle’s side, having approached him, Luther said to him, smiling and making a sign with his hand: “As for you, you are a good-for-nothing fellow and a knave!”HRSCV4 526.7

    The unhappy Carlstadt, who had begun this dispute, was at that time in Friesland, preaching the spiritual presence of Christ, and living in such destitution that he had been forced to sell his Hebrew Bible to procure bread. The trial had crushed his pride, and he wrote to the landgrave: “We are but one body, one house, one people, one sacerdotal race; we live and die by one and the same Saviour. For this reason, I, poor and in exile, humbly pray your highness, by the blood of Jesus Christ, to allow me to be present at the disputation.”HRSCV4 527.1

    But how bring Luther and Carlstadt face to face? and yet how repel the unhappy man? The landgrave, to extricate himself from this difficulty, referred him to the Saxon reformer. Carlstadt did not appear.HRSCV4 527.2

    Philip of Hesse desired that, previously to the public conference, the theologians should have a private interview. It was however considered dangerous, says a contemporary, for Zwingle and Luther, who were both naturally violent, to contend with one another at the very beginning; and as Oecolampadius and Melancthon were the mildest, they were apportioned to the roughest champions. On Friday, the 1st October, after divine service, Luther and Oecolampadius were conducted into one chamber, and Zwingle and Melancthon into another. The combatants were then left to struggle two and two.HRSCV4 527.3

    The principal contest took place in the room of Zwingle and Melancthon. “It is affirmed,” said Melancthon to Zwingle, “that some among you speak of God after the manner of the Jews, as if Christ was not essentially God.” “I think on the Holy Trinity,” replied Zwingle, “with the Council of Nice and the Athanasian creed.” “Councils! creeds! What does that mean?” asked Melancthon. “Have you not continually repeated that you recognize no other authority than that of Scripture?” “We have never rejected the councils,” replied the Swiss reformer, “when they are based on the authority of the Word of God. The four first councils are truly sacred as regards doctrine, and none of the faithful have ever rejected them.” This important declaration, handed down to us by Oecolampadius, characterizes the reformed theology.HRSCV4 527.4

    “But you teach,” resumed Melancthon, “like Thomas Munster, that the Holy Ghost acts quite alone, independently of the sacraments and of the Word of God.” “The Holy Ghost,” replied Zwingle, “works in us justification by the Word, but by the Word preached and understood, by the soul and the marrow of the Word, by the mind and will of God clothed in human language.”HRSCV4 527.5

    “At least,” continued Melancthon, “you deny original sin, and make sin consist only in actual and external works, like the Pelagians, the philosophers, and the Papists.”HRSCV4 527.6

    This was the principal difficulty. “Since man naturally loves himself,” replied Zwingle, “instead of loving God; in that there is a crime, a sin that condemns him.” He had more than once before expressed the same opinion; and yet Melancthon exulted on hearing him: “Our adversaries,” said he afterwards, “have given way on all these points!”HRSCV4 527.7

    Luther had pursued the same method with Oecolampadius as Melancthon with Zwingle. The discussion had in particular turned on baptism. Luther complained that the Swiss would not acknowledge that by this simple sacrament a man became a member of the Church. “It is true,” said Oecolampadius, “that we require faith—either an actual or a future faith. Why should we deny it? Who is a Christian, if it be not he who believes in Christ? However, I should be unwilling to deny that the water of baptism is in a certain sense a water of regeneration; for by it he, whom the Church knew not, becomes its child.”HRSCV4 527.8

    These four theologians were in the very heat of their discussions, when domestics came to inform them that the prince’s dinner was on the table. They immediately arose, and Zwingle and Melancthon meeting Luther and Oecolampadius, who were also quitting their chamber, the latter approached Zwingle, and whispered mournfully in his ear: “I have fallen a second time into the hands of Dr. Eck.” In the language of the reformers nothing stronger could be said.HRSCV4 527.9

    It does not appear that the conference between Luther and Oecolampadius was resumed after dinner. Luther’s manner held out very little hope; but Melancthon and Zwingle returned to the discussion, and the Zurich doctor finding the Wittenberg professor escape him like an eel, as he said, and take “like Proteus a thousand different forms,” seized a pen in order to fix his antagonist. Zwingle committed to writing whatever Melancthon dictated, and then wrote his reply, giving it to the other to read. In this manner they spent six hours, three in the morning and three in the afternoon. They prepared for the general conference.HRSCV4 527.10

    Zwingle requested that it should be an open one; this Luther resisted. It was eventually resolved that the princes, nobles, deputies, and theologians, should be admitted; but a great crowd of citizens, and even many scholars and gentlemen, who had come from Frankfort, from the Rhine districts, from Strasburg, from Basle and other Swiss towns, were excluded. Brentz speaks of fifty or sixty hearers; Zwingle of twenty-four only.HRSCV4 528.1

    On a gentle elevation, watered by the Lahn, is situated an old castle, overlooking the city of Marburg; in the distance may be seen the beautiful valley of the Lahn, and beyond, the mountain-tops rising one above another, until they are lost in the horizon. It was beneath the vaults and Gothic arches of an antique chamber in this castle, known as the Knights Hall, that the conference was to take place.HRSCV4 528.2

    On Saturday morning (2nd October) the landgrave took his seat in the hall, surrounded by his court, but in so plain a dress that no one would have taken him for a prince. He wished to avoid all appearance of acting the part of a Constantine in the affairs of the Church. Before him was a table which Luther, Zwingle, Melancthon, and Oecolampadius approached. Luther, taking a piece of chalk, bent over the velvet cloth which covered it, and steadily wrote four words in large characters. All eyes followed the movement of his hand, and soon they read Hoc Est Corpus Meum. Luther wished to have this declaration continually before him, that it might strengthen his own faith, and be a sign to his adversaries.HRSCV4 528.3

    Behind these four theologians were seated their friends,—Hedio, Sturm, Funck, Frey, Eberhard, Thane, Jonas, Cruciger, and others besides. Jonas cast an inquiring glance upon the Swiss: “Zwingle,” said he, “has a certain rusticity and arrogance; if he is well versed in letters, it is in spite of Minerva and of the muses. In Oecolampadius there is a natural goodness and admirable meekness. Hedio seems to have as much liberality as kindness; but Bucer possesses the cunning of a fox, that knows how to give himself an air of sense and prudence.” Men of moderate sentiments often meet with worse treatment than those of the extreme parties.HRSCV4 528.4

    Other feelings animated those who contemplated this assembly from a distance. The great men who had led the people in their footsteps on the plains of Saxony, on the banks of the Rhine, and in the lofty valleys of Switzerland, were there met face to face: the chiefs of Christendom who had separated from Rome, were come together to see if they could remain one. Accordingly, from all parts of Germany, prayers and anxious looks were directed towards Marburg. “Illustrious princes of the Word,” cried the evangelical Church through the mouth of the poet Cordus, “penetrating Luther, mild Oecolampadius, magnanimous Zwingle, pious Snepf, eloquent Melancthon, courageous Bucer, candid Hedio, excellent Osiander, valiant Brentz, amiable Jonas, fiery Craton, Maenus, whose soul is stronger than his body, great Dionysius, and you Myconius—all you whom Prince Philip, that illustrious hero, has summoned, ministers and bishops, whom the christian cities have sent to terminate the schism, and to show us the way of truth; the suppliant Church falls weeping at your feet, and begs you by the bowels of Jesus Christ to bring this matter to a happy issue, that the world may acknowledge in your resolution the work of the Holy Ghost himself.”HRSCV4 528.5

    The landgrave’s chancellor, John Feige, having reminded them in the prince’s name that the object of this colloquy was the re-establishment of union, “I protest,” said Luther, “that I differ from my adversaries with regard to the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, and that I shall always differ from them. Christ has said, This is my body. Let them show me that a body is not a body. I reject reason, common sense, carnal arguments, and mathematical proofs. God is above mathematics. We have the Word of God; we must adore it and perform it!”HRSCV4 528.6

    “It cannot be denied,” said Oecolampadius, “that there are figures of speech in the Word of God; as John is Elias, the rock was Christ, I am the vine. The expression This is my body, is a figure of the same kind.” Luther granted that there were figures in the Bible, but denied that this last expression was figurative.HRSCV4 528.7

    All the various parties, however, of which the Christian Church is composed, see a figure in these words. In fact, the Romanists declare that This is my body signifies not only “my body,” but also “my blood,” “my soul,” and even “my Divinity,” and “Christ wholly.” These words, therefore according to Rome, are a synecdoche, a figure by which a part is taken for the whole. And, as regards the Lutherans, the figure is still more evident. Whether it be synecdoche, metaphor, or metonymy, there is still a figure.HRSCV4 528.8

    In order to prove it, Oecolampadius employed this syllogism:—HRSCV4 529.1

    “What Christ rejected in the sixth chapter of St. John, he could not admit in the words of the Eucharist.HRSCV4 529.2

    “Now Christ, who said to the people of Capernaum, The flesh profiteth nothing, rejected by those very words the oral manducation of his body.HRSCV4 529.3

    “Therefore he did not establish it at the institution of his Supper.”HRSCV4 529.4

    Luther—“I deny the minor (the second of these propositions); Christ has not rejected all oral manducation, but only a material manducation, like that of the flesh of oxen or of swine.”HRSCV4 529.5

    Oecolampadius—“There is danger in attributing too much to mere matter.”HRSCV4 529.6

    Luther—“Everything that God commands becomes spirit and life. If we lift up a straw, by the Lord’s order, in that very action we perform a spiritual work. We must pay attention to him who speaks, and not to what he says. God speaks: Men, worms, listen!—God commands: let the world obey! and let us all together fall down and humbly kiss the Word.”HRSCV4 529.7

    Oecolampadius—“But since we have the spiritual eating, what need of the bodily one?”HRSCV4 529.8

    Luther—“I do not ask what need we have of it; but I see it written, Eat, this is my body. We must therefore believe and do. We must do—we must do!—If God should order me to eat dung, I would do it, with the assurance that it would be salutary.”HRSCV4 529.9

    At this point Zwingle interfered in the discussion.HRSCV4 529.10

    “We must explain Scripture by Scripture,” said he. “We cannot admit two kinds of corporeal manducation, as if Jesus had spoken of eating, and the Capernaites of tearing in pieces, for the same word is employed in both cases. Jesus says that to eat his flesh corporeally profiteth nothing (John 6:63); whence it would result that he had given us in the Supper a thing that would be useless to us.—Besides, there are certain words that seem to me rather childish,—the dung, for instance. The oracles of the demons were obscure, not so are those of Jesus Christ.”HRSCV4 529.11

    Luther—“When Christ says the flesh profiteth nothing, he speaks not of his own flesh, but of ours.”HRSCV4 529.12

    Zwingle—“The soul is fed with the Spirit and not with the Flesh.”HRSCV4 529.13

    Luther—“It is with the mouth that we eat the body; the soul does not eat it.”HRSCV4 529.14

    Zwingle—“Christ’s body is therefore a corporeal nourishment, and not a spiritual.”HRSCV4 529.15

    Luther—“You are captious.”HRSCV4 529.16

    Zwingle—“Not so; but you utter contradictory things.”HRSCV4 529.17

    Luther—“If God should present me wild apples, I should eat them spiritually. In the Eucharist, the mouth receives the body of Christ, and the soul believes in his words.”HRSCV4 529.18

    Zwingle then quoted a great number of passages from the Holy Scriptures, in which the sign is described by the very thing signified; and thence concluded that, considering our Lord’s declaration in St. John, The flesh profiteth nothing, we must explain the words of the Eucharist in a similar manner.HRSCV4 529.19

    Many hearers were struck by these arguments. Among the Marburg professors sat the Frenchman Lambert; his tall and spare frame was violently agitated. He had been at first of Luther’s opinion, and was then hesitating between the two reformers. As he went to the conference, he said: “I desire to be a sheet of blank paper, on which the finger of God may write his truth.” Erelong he exclaimed, after hearing Zwingle and Oecolampadius: “Yes! the Spirit, ‘tis that which vivifies!” When this conversion was known, the Wittenbergers, shrugging their shoulders, called it “Gallic fickleness.” “What!” replied Lambert, “was St. Paul fickle because he was converted from Pharisaism? And have we ourselves been fickle in abandoning the lost sects of popery?”HRSCV4 529.20

    Luther was, however, by no means shaken. “This is my body,” repeated he, pointing with his finger to the words written before him. “This is my body. The devil himself shall not drive me from that. To seek to understand it, is to fall away from the faith.”HRSCV4 529.21

    “But, doctor,” said Zwingle, “St. John explains how Christ’s body is eaten, and you will be obliged at last to leave off singing always the same song.”HRSCV4 529.22

    “You make use of unmannerly expressions,” replied Luther. The Wittenbergers themselves called Zwingle’s argument “his old song.” Zwingle continued without being disconcerted: “I ask you, doctor, whether Christ in the sixth chapter of St. John did not wish to reply to the question that had been put to him?”HRSCV4 529.23

    Luther—“Master Zwingle, you wish to stop my mouth by the arrogancy of your language. That passage has nothing to do here.”HRSCV4 530.1

    Zwingle, hastily—“Pardon me, doctor, that passage breaks your neck.”HRSCV4 530.2

    Luther—“Do not boast so much! You are in Hesse, and not in Switzerland. In this country we do not break people’s necks.”HRSCV4 530.3

    Then turning towards his friends, Luther complained bitterly of Zwingle; as if the latter had really wished to break his neck. “He makes use of camp terms and blood-stained words,” said he. Luther forgot that he had employed a similar expression in speaking of Carlstadt.HRSCV4 530.4

    Zwingle resumed: “In Switzerland also there is strict justice, and we break no man’s neck without trial. That expression signifies merely that your cause is lost and hopeless.”HRSCV4 530.5

    Great agitation prevailed in the Knight’s Hall. The roughness of the Swiss and the obstinacy of the Saxon had come into collision. The landgrave, fearing to behold the failure of his project of conciliation, nodded assent to Zwingle’s explanation. “Doctor,” said he to Luther, “you should not be offended at such common expressions.” It was in vain: the agitated sea could not again be calmed. The prince therefore arose, and they all repaired to the banqueting hall. After dinner they resumed their tasks.HRSCV4 530.6

    “I believe,” said Luther, “that Christ’s body is in heaven, but I also believe that it is in the sacrament. It concerns me little whether it be against nature, provided that it be not against faith. Christ is substantially in the sacrament, such as he was born of the Virgin.”HRSCV4 530.7

    Oecolampadius, quoting a passage from St. Paul: “We know not Jesus Christ after the flesh.”HRSCV4 530.8

    Luther—“After the flesh means, in this passage, after our carnal affections.”HRSCV4 530.9

    Oecolampadius—“You will not allow that there is a metaphor in these words, This is my body, and yet you admit a synecdoche.”HRSCV4 530.10

    Luther—“Metaphor permits the existence of a sign only; but it is not so with synecdoche. If a man says he wishes to drink a bottle, we understand that he means the beer in the bottle. Christ’s body is in the bread, as a sword in the scabbard, or as the Holy Ghost in the dove.”HRSCV4 530.11

    The discussion was proceeding in this manner, when Osiander, pastor of Nuremberg, Stephen Agricola, pastor of Augsburg, and Brentz, pastor of Halle in Swabia, author of the famous Syngramma, entered the hall. These also had been invited by the landgrave. But Brentz, to whom Luther had written that he should take care not to appear had no doubt by his indecision retarded his own departure as well as that of his friends. Places were assigned them near Luther and Melancthon. “Listen, and speak if necessary,” they were told. They took but little advantage of this permission. “All of us, except Luther,” said Melancthon, “were silent personages.”HRSCV4 530.12

    The struggle continued.HRSCV4 530.13

    When Zwingle saw that exegesis was not sufficient for Luther, he added dogmatical theology to it, and, subsidiarily, natural philosophy.HRSCV4 530.14

    “I oppose you,” said he, “with this article of our faith: Ascendit in coelum—he ascended into heaven. If Christ is in heaven as regards his body, how can he be in the bread? The Word of God teaches us that he was like his brethren in all things (Hebrews 2:17). He therefore cannot be in several places at once.”HRSCV4 530.15

    Luther—“Were I desirous of reasoning thus, I would undertake to prove that Jesus Christ had a wife; that he had black eyes, and lived in our good country of Germany. I care little about mathematics.”HRSCV4 530.16

    “There is no question of mathematics here,” said Zwingle, “but of St. Paul, who writes to the Philippians, morphe doulou labon.”HRSCV4 530.17

    Luther, interrupting him—“Read it to us in Latin or in German, not in Greek.”HRSCV4 530.18

    Zwingle (in Latin)—“Pardon me: for twelve years past I have made use of the Greek Testament only.” Then continuing to read the passage, he concluded from it that Christ’s humanity is of a finite nature like our own.HRSCV4 530.19

    Luther, pointing to the words written before him—“Most dear sirs, since my Lord Jesus Christ says, Hoc est corpus meum, I believe that his body is really there.”HRSCV4 530.20

    Here the scene grew animated. Zwingle started from his chair, sprung towards Luther, and said, striking the table before him:HRSCV4 530.21

    “You maintain then, doctor, that Christ’s body is locally in the Eucharist; for you say Christ’s body is really there—there—there,” repeated Zwingle. “There is an adverb of place. Christ’s body is then of such a nature as to exist in a place. If it is in a place, it is in heaven, whence it follows that it is not in the bread.”HRSCV4 530.22

    Luther—“I repeat that I have nothing to do with mathematical proofs. As soon as the words of consecration are pronounced over the bread, the body is there, however wicked be the priest who pronounces them.”HRSCV4 531.1

    Zwingle—“You are thus re-establishing Popery.”HRSCV4 531.2

    Luther—“This is not done through the priest’s merits, but because of Christ’s ordinance. I will not, when Christ’s body is in question, hear speak of a particular place. I absolutely will not.”HRSCV4 531.3

    Zwingle—“Must every thing, then, exist precisely as you will it?”HRSCV4 531.4

    The landgrave perceived that the discussion was growing hot; and as the repast was waiting, he broke off the contest.HRSCV4 531.5

    The conference was continued on the next day Sunday, the 3rd October, perhaps because of an epidemic (the Sweating Sickness) that had just broken out at Marburg, and which did not allow any great prolongation of the colloquy. Luther, returning to the discussion of the previous evening, said:HRSCV4 531.6

    “Christ’s body is in the sacrament, but it is not there as in a place.”HRSCV4 531.7

    Zwingle—“Then it is not there at all.”HRSCV4 531.8

    Luther—“Sophists say, that a body may very well be in several places at once. The universe is a body, and yet we cannot assert that it is in a particular place.”HRSCV4 531.9

    Zwingle—“Ah! you speak of sophists, doctor; are you really after all obliged to return to the onions and fleshpots of Egypt? As for what you say, that the universe is in no particular place, I beg all intelligent men to weigh this proof.” Then Zwingle, who, whatever Luther may have said, had more than one arrow in his quiver, after establishing his proposition by exegesis and philosophy, resolved on confirming it by the testimony of the Fathers of the Church.HRSCV4 531.10

    “Listen,” said he, “to what Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspa in Numidia, said, in the fifth century, to Trasamond, king of the Vandals: “The Son of God took the attributes of true humanity, and did not lose those of true divinity. Born in time, according to his mother, he lives in eternity according to the divinity that he holds from the Father: coming from man, he is man, and consequently in a place; proceeding from the Father, he is God, and consequently present in every place. According to his human nature, he was absent from heaven while he was upon earth, and quitted the earth when he ascended into heaven; but, according to his divine nature, he remained in heaven, when he came down thence, and did not abandon the earth when he returned thither.”HRSCV4 531.11

    But Luther still replied: “It is written, This is my body.”HRSCV4 531.12

    Zwingle, becoming impatient, said, “All that is idle wrangling. An obstinate disputant might also maintain this expression of our Saviour to his mother, Behold thy son, pointing to St. John. Vain would be every explanation, he would continue crying No, no! He said Ecce filius tuus, Behold thy son, behold thy son! Listen to a new testimony; it is from the great Augustine: `Let us not think,’ says he, `that Christ, according to his human form, is present in every place; let us beware, in our endeavour to establish his divinity, of taking away his truth from his body. Christ is now everywhere present, like God; and yet, in consequence of his real body, he is in a definite part of heaven.”HRSCV4 531.13

    “St. Augustine,” replied Luther, “is not here speaking of the Eucharist. Christ’s body is not in the Eucharist, as in a place.”HRSCV4 531.14

    Oecolampadius saw that he might take advantage of this assertion of Luther’s. “The body of Christ,” said he, “is not locally in the Eucharist, therefore no real body is there; for every one knows that the essence of a body is its existence in a place.”HRSCV4 531.15

    Here finished the morning’s discussion.HRSCV4 531.16

    Oecolampadius, upon reflection, felt convinced that Luther’s assertion might be looked upon as an approximation. “I remember,” said he after dinner, “that the doctor conceded this morning that Christ’s body was not in the sacrament as in a place. Let us therefore inquire amicably what is the nature of Christ’s bodily presence.”HRSCV4 531.17

    “You will not make me take a step further,” exclaimed Luther, who saw where they wished to drag him; “you have Fulgentius and Augustine on your side, but all the other Fathers are on ours.”HRSCV4 531.18

    Oecolampadius, who seemed to the Wittenbergers to be vexatiously precise, then said, “Name these doctors. We will take upon ourselves to prove that they are of our opinion.”HRSCV4 531.19

    “We will not name them to you,” said Luther. “It was in his youth,” added he, “that Augustine wrote what you have quoted; and, besides, he is an obscure author.” Then, retreating to the ground which he had resolved never to quit, he was no longer content to point his finger at the inscription, Hoc est corpus meum, but seized the velvet cover on which the words were written, tore it off the table, held it up in front of Zwingle and Oecolampadius, and placing it before their eyes, “See!” said he, “see! This is our text: you have not yet driven us from it, as you had boasted, and we care for no other proofs.”HRSCV4 531.20

    “If this be the case,” said Oecolampadius, “we had better leave off the discussion. But I will first declare, that, if we quote the Fathers, it is only to free our doctrine from the reproach of novelty, and not to support our cause by their authority.” No better definition can be given of the legitimate use of the doctors of the Church.HRSCV4 532.1

    There was no reason, in fact, for prolonging the conference. A breach was inevitable. The Catholics, who were appealed to by Melancthon as judges—though much more inclined to favor Luther than Zwingle, and more impartial in this affair than such Lutherans as Seckendorf—here blame Luther.HRSCV4 532.2

    The chancellor, alarmed at such a termination of the colloquy, exhorted the theologians to come to some understanding. “I know but one means for that,” said Luther; “and this it is: Let our adversaries believe as we do.” “We cannot,” answered the Swiss. “Well then,” rejoined Luther, “I abandon you to God’s judgment, and pray that he will enlighten you.” “We will do the same,” added Oecolampadius.HRSCV4 532.3

    While these words were passing, Zwingle sat silent, motionless, and deeply moved; and the liveliness of his affections, of which he had given more than one proof during the conference, was then manifested in a very different manner. He burst into tears in the presence of all.HRSCV4 532.4

    The conference was ended. It had been in reality more tranquil than the documents seem to show, or perhaps the chroniclers appreciated such matters differently from ourselves. “With the exception of a few sallies, all had passed off quietly, in a courteous manner, and with very great gentleness,” says an eye-witness. “During the colloquy no other words than these were heard: `Sir, and very dear friend, your charity,’ or other similar expressions. Not a word of schism or of heresy. It might have been said that Luther and Zwingle were brothers, and not adversaries.” This is the testimony of Brentz. But these flowers concealed an abyss, and Jonas, also an eye-witness, styles the conference “a very sharp contest.”HRSCV4 532.5

    The contagion that had suddenly broken out in Marburg was creating frightful ravages, and filled everybody with alarm. All were anxious to leave the city. “Sirs,” remarked the landgrave, “you cannot separate thus.” And desirous of giving the doctors an opportunity of meeting one another with minds unoccupied by theological debates, he invited them to his table. This was Sunday night.HRSCV4 532.6

    Philip of Hesse had all along shown the most constant attention, and each one imagined him to be on his side. “I would rather place my trust in the simple words of Christ, than in the subtle thoughts of man,” was a remark he made, according to Jonas; but Zwingle affirmed that this prince entertained the same opinions as himself, although with regard to certain persons he dissembled the change. Luther, sensible of the weakness of his defence as to the declarations of the Fathers, transmitted a note to Philip, in which several passages were pointed out from Hilary, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Irenaeus, and Ambrose, which he thought were in his favor.HRSCV4 532.7

    The time of departure drew near, and nothing had been done. The landgrave toiled earnestly at the union, as Luther wrote to his wife. He invited the theologians one after another into his closet; he pressed, entreated, warned, exhorted, and conjured them. “Think,” said he, “of the salvation of the christian republic, and remove all discord from its bosom.” Never had general at the head of an army taken such pains to win a battle.HRSCV4 532.8

    A final meeting took place, and undoubtedly the Church has seldom witnessed one of greater solemnity. Luther and Zwingle, Saxony and Switzerland, met for the last time. The sweating sickness was carrying off men around them by thousands; Charles the Fifth and the pope were uniting in Italy; Ferdinand and the Roman-catholic princes were preparing to tear in pieces the Protest of Spires; the thunder-cloud became more threatening every day; union alone seemed capable of saving the Protestants, and the hour of departure was about to strike—an hour that would separate them perhaps for ever.HRSCV4 532.9

    “Let us confess our union in all things in which we agree,” said Zwingle; “and as for the rest, let us remember that we are brothers. There will never be peace between the churches if, while we maintain the grand doctrine of salvation by faith, we cannot differ on secondary points.” Such is, in fact, the true principle of christian union. The sixteenth century was still too deeply sunk in scholasticism to understand this: let us hope that the nineteenth century will comprehend it better.HRSCV4 532.10

    “Yes, yes!” exclaimed the landgrave; “you agree! Give then a testimony of your unity, and recognize one another as brothers.”—“There is no one upon earth with whom I more desire to be united, than with you,” said Zwingle, approaching theHRSCV4 532.11

    Wittenberg doctors. Oecolampadius, Bucer, and Hedio said the same.HRSCV4 533.1

    “Acknowledge them! acknowledge them as brothers!” continued the landgrave. Their hearts were moved; they were on the eve of unity: Zwingle, bursting into tears, in the presence of the prince, the courtiers, and divines (it is Luther himself who records this), approached Luther, and held out his hand. The two families of the Reformation were about to be united: long quarrels were about to be stifled in their cradle; but Luther rejected the hand that was offered him: “You have a different spirit from ours,” said he. These words communicated to the Swiss, as it were, an electric shock. Their hearts sunk each time Luther repeated them, and he did so frequently. He himself is our informant.HRSCV4 533.2

    A brief consultation took place among the Wittenberg doctors. Luther, Melancthon, Agricola, Brentz, Jonas, and Osiander, conferred together. Convinced that their peculiar doctrine on the eucharist, was essential to salvation, they considered all those who rejected it as without the pale of the faith. “What folly!” said Melancthon, who afterwards nearly coincided with Zwingle’s sentiments: “they condemn us, and yet they desire we should consider them as our brothers!” “What versatility!” added Brentz: “they accused us but lately of worshipping a bread-god, and they now ask for communion with us!” Then, turning towards Zwingle and his friends, the Wittenbergers said: “You do not belong to the communion of the Christian Church; we cannot acknowledge you as brethren!”HRSCV4 533.3

    The Swiss were far from partaking of this sectarian spirit. “We think,” said Bucer, “that your doctrine strikes at the glory of Jesus Christ, who now reigns at the right hand of the Father. But seeing that in all things you acknowledge your dependence on the Lord, we look at your conscience, which compels you to receive the doctrine you profess, and we do not doubt that you belong to Christ.”HRSCV4 533.4

    “And we,” said Luther—“we declare to you once more that our conscience opposes our receiving you as brethren.”—“If such is the case,” replied Bucer, “it would be folly to ask it.”HRSCV4 533.5

    “I am exceedingly astonished that you wish to consider me as your brother,” pursued Luther. “It shows clearly that you do not attach much importance to your own doctrine.”HRSCV4 533.6

    “Take your choice,” said Bucer, proposing a dilemma to the reformer: “either you should not acknowledge as brethren those who differ from you in any point—and if so, you will not find a single brother in your own ranks—or else you will receive some of those who differ from you, and then you ought to receive us.”HRSCV4 533.7

    The Swiss had exhausted their solicitations. “We are conscious,” said they, “of having acted as if in the presence of God. Posterity will be our witness.” They were on the point of retiring: Luther remained like a rock, to the landgrave’s great indignation. The Hessian divines, Kraft, Lambert, Snepf, Lonicer, and Melander, united their exertions to those of the prince.HRSCV4 533.8

    Luther was staggered, and conferred anew with his colleagues. “Let us beware,” said he to his friends, “of wiping our noses too roughly, lest blood should come.”HRSCV4 533.9

    Then turning to Zwingle and Oecolampadius, they said: “We acknowledge you as friends; we do not consider you as brothers and members of Christ’s Church. But we do not exclude you from that universal charity which we owe even to our enemies.”HRSCV4 533.10

    The hearts of Zwingle, Oecolampadius, and Bucer, were ready to burst, for this concession was almost a new insult. “Let us carefully avoid all harsh and violent words and writings,” said they; “and let each one defend himself without railing.”HRSCV4 533.11

    Luther then advanced towards the Swiss, and said: “We consent, and I offer you the hand of peace and charity.” The Swiss rushed in great emotion towards the Wittenbergers, and all shook hands. Luther himself was softened: christian charity resumed her rights in his heart. “Assuredly,” said he, “a great portion of the scandal is taken away by the suppression of our fierce debates; we could not have hoped for so much. May Christ’s hand remove the last obstacle that separates us. There is now a friendly concord between us, and if we persevere in prayer, brotherhood will come.”HRSCV4 533.12

    It was desirable to confirm this important result by a report. “We must let the christian world know,” said the landgrave, “that, except the manner of the presence of the body and blood in the eucharist, you are agreed in all the articles of faith.” This was resolved on; but who should be charged with drawing up the paper? All eyes were turned upon Luther. The Swiss themselves appealed to his impartiality.HRSCV4 533.13

    Luther retired to his closet, lost in thought, uneasy, and finding the task very difficult. “On the one hand,” said he, “I should like to spare their weakness, but, on the other, I would not in the least degree strike at the holy doctrine of Christ.” He did not know how to set about it, and his anguish increased. He got free at last. “I will draw up the articles,” said he, “in the most accurate manner. Do I not know that whatever I may write, they will never sign them?” Erelong fifteen articles were committed to paper, and Luther, holding them in his hand, repaired to the theologians of the two parties.HRSCV4 534.1

    These articles are of importance. The two doctrines that were evolved in Switzerland and in Saxony, independently of each other, were brought together and compared. If they were of man, there would be found in them a servile uniformity, or a remarkable opposition. This was not the case. A great unity was found between the German and the Swiss Reformations, for they both proceeded from the same Divine teaching; and a diversity on secondary points, for it was by man’s instrumentality that God had effected them.HRSCV4 534.2

    Luther took his paper, and reading the first article, said: “First, we believe that there is one sole, true, and natural God, creator of heaven and earth and of all creatures; and that this same God, one in essence and in nature, is threefold in person, that is to say, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as was declared in the Nicene Council, and as all the Christian Church professes.”HRSCV4 534.3

    To this the Swiss gave their assent.HRSCV4 534.4

    They were agreed also on the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ; on his death and resurrection, on original sin, justification by faith, the operation of the Holy Ghost and of the Word of God, baptism, good works, confession, civil order, and tradition.HRSCV4 534.5

    Thus far all were united. The Wittenbergers could not recover from their astonishment. The two parties had rejected, on the one hand, the errors of the papists, who make religion little more than an outward form; and, on the other, those of the Enthusiasts, who speak exclusively of internal feelings; and they were found drawn up under the same banners between these two camps. But the moment was come that would separate them. Luther had kept till the last the article on the Eucharist.HRSCV4 534.6

    The reformer resumed:HRSCV4 534.7

    “We all believe with regard to the Lord’s Supper, that it ought to be celebrated in both kinds, according to the primitive institution; that the mass is not a work by which a Christian obtains pardon for another man, whether dead or alive; that the sacrament of the altar is the sacrament of the very body and very blood of Jesus Christ; and that the spiritual manducation of this body and blood is specially necessary to every true Christian.”HRSCV4 534.8

    It was now the turn of the Swiss to be astonished. Luther continued:HRSCV4 534.9

    “In like manner, as to the use of the sacrament, we are agreed that, like the Word, it was ordained of Almighty God, in order that weak consciences might be excited by the Holy Ghost to faith and charity.”HRSCV4 534.10

    The joy of the Swiss was redoubled. Luther continued: “And although at present we are not agreed on the question whether the real body and blood of Christ are corporeally present in the bread and wine, yet both the interested parties shall cherish more and more a truly christian charity for one another, so far as conscience permits; and we will all earnestly implore the Lord to condescend by his Spirit to confirm us in the sound doctrine.”HRSCV4 534.11

    The Swiss obtained what they had asked: unity in diversity. It was immediately resolved to hold a solemn meeting for the signature of the articles.HRSCV4 534.12

    They were read over again. Oecolampadius, Zwingle, Bucer, and Hedio, signed them first on one copy; while Luther, Melancthon, Jonas, Osiander, Brentz, and Agricola, wrote their names on the other; both parties then subscribed the copy of their adversaries, and this important document was sent to the press.HRSCV4 534.13

    Thus the Reformation had made a sensible step at Marburg. The opinion of Zwingle on the spiritual presence, and of Luther on the bodily presence, are both found in christian antiquity; but both the extreme doctrines have been always rejected: that of the Rationalists, on the one hand, who behold in the Eucharist nothing but a simple commemoration; and of the Papists, on the other, who adore in it a transubstantiation. These are both errors; while the doctrines of Luther and Zwingle, and the medium taken by Calvin, already maintained by some of the Fathers, were considered in ancient times as different views of the same truth. If Luther had yielded, it might have been feared that the Church would fall into the extreme of rationalism; if Zwingle, that it would rush into the extreme of popery. It is a salutary thing for the Church that these different views should be entertained; but it is a pernicious thing for individuals to attach themselves to one of them in such a manner as to anathematize the other. “There is only this little stumbling-block,” wrote Melancthon, “that embarrasses the Church of our Lord.”HRSCV4 534.14

    All,—Romanists and Evangelicals, Saxons and Swiss,—admitted the presence, and even the real presence of Christ; but here was the essential point of separation: Is this presence effected by the faith of the communicant, or by the opus operatum of the priest? The germs of Popery, Sacerdotalism, Puseyism, are inevitably contained in this latter thesis. If it is maintained that a wicked priest (as has been said) operates this real presence of Christ by three words, we enter the church of the pope. Luther appeared sometimes to admit this doctrine, but he has often spoken in a more spiritual manner; and taking this great man in his best moments, we behold merely an essential unity and a secondary diversity in the two parties of the Reformation. Undoubtedly the Lord has left to his Church outward ordinances; but he has not attached salvation to them. The essential point is the connection of the faithful with the Word, with the Holy Ghost, with the Head of the Church. This is the great truth which the Swiss Reform proclaims, and which Lutheranism itself recognizes. After the Marburg conference, the controversy became more moderate.HRSCV4 535.1

    There was another advantage. The evangelical divines at Marburg marked with one accord their separation from the Papacy. Zwingle was not without fear (unfounded, no doubt) with regard to Luther: these fears were dispersed. “Now that we are agreed,” said he, “the Papists will no longer hope that Luther will ever be one of them.” The Marburg articles were the first bulwark erected in common by the reformers against Rome.HRSCV4 535.2

    It was not, then, in vain that, after the Protest of Spires, Philip of Hesse endeavored, at Marburg, to bring together the friends of the Gospel. But, if the religious object was partially attained, the political object almost entirely failed. They could not arrive at a confederation of Switzerland and Germany. Nevertheless, Philip of Hesse and Zwingle, with a view to this, had numerous secret conversations, which made the Saxons uneasy, as they were not less opposed to Zwingle’s politics than to his theology. “When you have reformed the peasant’s cap,” said Jonas to him, “you will also claim to reform the sable hat of princes.”HRSCV4 535.3

    The landgrave having collected all the doctors at his table on the last day, they shook hands in a friendly manner, and each one thought of leaving the town.HRSCV4 535.4

    On Tuesday the 5th October, Philip of Hesse quitted Marburg early, and in the afternoon of the same day Luther departed, accompanied by his colleagues; but he did not go forth as a conqueror. A spirit of dejection and alarm had taken possession of his mind. He writhed in the dust, like a worm, according to his own expression. He fancied he should never see his wife and children again, and cried out that he, “the consoler of so many tortured souls, was now without any consolations!”HRSCV4 535.5

    This state might partly arise from Luther’s want of brotherly feeling; but it had other causes also. Soliman had come to fulfil a promise made to King Ferdinand. The latter having demanded, in 1528, the surrender of Belgrade, the sultan had haughtily replied, that he would bring the keys himself to Vienna. In fact, the Grand Turk, crossing the frontiers of Germany, had invaded countries “on which the hoofs of the Mussulman war-horses had never trod,” and eight days before the conference at Marburg, he had covered with his innumerable tents the plain and the fertile hills in the midst of which rise the walls of Vienna. The struggle had begun under ground, the two parties having dug deep galleries beneath the ramparts. Three different times the Turkish mines were exploded; the walls were thrown down; “the balls flew through the air like a flight of small birds,” says a Turkish historian; “and there was a horrible banquet, at which the genii of death joyously drained their glasses.”HRSCV4 535.6

    Luther did not keep in the background. He had already written against the Turks, and now he published a Battle-Sermon. “Mahomet,” said he, “exalts Christ as being without sin; but he denies that he was the true God; he is therefore His enemy. Alas! to this hour the world is such that it seems everywhere to rain disciples of Mahomet. Two men ought to oppose the Turks: the first is Christian, that is to say, Prayer; the second is Charles, that is to say, The sword.” And in another place, “I know my dear Germans well, fat and well-fed swine as they are; no sooner is the danger removed, than they think only of eating and sleeping. Wretched man! if thou dost not take up arms, the Turk will come; he will carry thee away into his Turkey; he will there sell thee like a dog; and thou shalt serve him night and day, under the rod and the cudgel, for a glass of water and a morsel of bread. Think on this; be converted, and implore the Lord not to give thee the Turk for thy schoolmaster.”HRSCV4 535.7

    The two arms pointed out by Luther were, in reality, vigorously employed; and Soliman, perceiving at last that he was not the “soul of the universe,” as his poets had styled him, but that there was a strength in the world superior to his own, raised the siege of Vienna on the 16th October; and “the shadow of God over the two worlds,” as he called himself, “disappeared and vanished in the Bosphorus.”HRSCV4 535.8

    But Luther imagined that, when retiring from before the walls of Vienna, “the Turk, or at least his god, who is the devil,” had rushed upon him; and that it was this enemy of Christ and of Christ’s servants that he was destined to combat and vanquish in his frightful agony. There is an immediate reaction of the violated law upon him who violates it. Now Luther had transgressed the royal law, which is charity, and he suffered the penalty. At last he re-entered Wittenberg, and flung himself into the arms of his friends, “tormented by the angel of death.”HRSCV4 536.1

    Let us not, however, overlook the essential qualities of a reformer that Luther manifested at Marburg, there are in God’s work, as in a drama, different parts. What various characters we see among the Apostles and among the Reformers! It has been said that the same characters and the same parts were assigned to St. Peter and to Luther, at the time of the Formation and of the Reformation of the Church. They were both in fact men of the initiative, who start forward quite alone, but around whom an army soon collects at the sight of the standard which they wave. But there was perhaps in the reformer a characteristic not existing to the same degree in the apostle: this was firmness.HRSCV4 536.2

    As for Zwingle, he quitted Marburg in alarm at Luther’s intolerance. “Lutheranism,” wrote he to the landgrave, “will lie as heavy upon us as popery.” He reached Zurich on the 19th October. “The truth,” said he to his friends, “has prevailed so manifestly, that if ever any one has been defeated before all the world, it is Luther, although he constantly exclaimed that he was invincible.” On his side, Luther spoke in a similar strain. “It is through fear of their fellow-citizens,” added he, “that the Swiss, although vanquished, are unwilling to retract.”HRSCV4 536.3

    If it should be asked on which side the victory really was, perhaps we ought to say that Luther assumed the air of a conqueror, but Zwingle was so in reality. The conference propagated through all Germany the doctrine of the Swiss, which had been little known there until then, and it was adopted by an immense number of persons. Among these were Laffards, first rector of St. Martin’s school at Brunswick, Dionysius Melander, Justus Lening, Hartmann, Ibach, and many others. The landgrave himself, a short time before his death, declared that this conference had induced him to renounce the oral manducation of Christ.HRSCV4 536.4

    Still the dominant principle at this celebrated epoch was unity. The adversaries are the best judges. The Roman-catholics were exasperated that the Lutherans and Zwinglians had agreed on all the essential points of faith. “They have a fellow-feeling against the Catholic Church,” said they, “as Herod and Pilate against Jesus Christ.” The enthusiastic sects said the same, and the extreme hierarchical as well as the extreme radical party deprecated alike the unity of Marburg.HRSCV4 536.5

    Erelong a greater agitation eclipsed all these rumors, and events which threatened the whole evangelical body, proclaimed its great and intimate union with new force. The emperor, it was everywhere said, exasperated by the Protest of Spires, had landed at Genoa with the pomp of a conqueror. After having sworn at Barcelona to reduce the heretics under the power of the pope, he was going to visit this pontiff, humbly to bend the knee before him; and he would rise only to cross the Alps and accomplish his terrible designs. “The Emperor Charles,” said Luther, a few days after the landing of this prince, “has determined to show himself more cruel against us than the Turk himself, and he has already uttered the most horrible threats. Behold the hour of Christ’s agony and weakness. Let us pray for all those who will soon have to endure captivity and death.”HRSCV4 536.6

    Such was the news that then agitated all Germany. The grand question was, whether the Protest of Spires could be maintained against the power of the emperor and of the pope. This was seen in the year 1530.HRSCV4 536.7

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