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    Chapter 9

    The Refutation—Charles’s Dissatisfaction—Interview with the Princes—The Swiss at Augsburg—Tetrapolitan Confession—Zwingle’s Confession—Afflicting Divisions—The Elector’s Faith—His Peace—The Lion’s Skin—The Refutation—One Concession—Scripture and the Hierarchy—Imperial Commands—Interview between Melancthon and Campeggio—Policy of Charles—Stormy Meeting—Resolutions of the Consistory—The Prayers of the Church—Two Miracles—The Emperor’s Menace—The Princes’ Courage—The Mask—Negotiations—The Specters at Spires—Tumult in Augsburg

    The commission charged to refute the Confession met twice a-day, and each of the theologians who composed it added to it his refutations and his hatred.HRSCV4 574.1

    On the 13th July the work was finished. “Eck with his band, said Melancthon, “transmitted it to the emperor.” Great was the astonishment of this prince and of his ministers at seeing a work of two hundred and eighty pages filled with abuse. “Bad workmen waste much wood,” said Luther, “and impious writers soil much paper.” This was not all; to the Refutation were subjoined eight appendices on the heresies that Melancthon had dissembled (as they said), and wherein they exposed the contradictions and “the horrible sects” to which Lutheranism had given birth. Lastly, not confining themselves to this official answer, the Romish theologians, who saw the sun of power shining upon them, filled Augsburg with insolent and abusive pamphlets.HRSCV4 574.2

    There was but one opinion on the Papist Refutation; it was found confused, violent, thirsting for blood. Charles the Fifth had too much good taste not to perceive the difference that existed between this coarse work and the noble dignity of Melancthon’s Confession. He rolled, handled, crushed, and so damaged the two hundred and eighty pages of his doctors, that when he returned them two days after, says Spalatin, there were not more than twelve entire. Charles would have been ashamed to have such a pamphlet read in the diet, and he required, in consequence, that it should be drawn up anew, shorter and in more moderate language. That was not easy, “for the adversaries, confused and stupefied,” says Brentz, “by the noble simplicity of the evangelical Confession, neither knew where to begin nor where to end; they accordingly took nearly three weeks to do their work over again.”HRSCV4 574.3

    Charles and his ministers had great doubts of its success; leaving, therefore, the theologians for a moment, they imagined another manoeuvre. “Let us take each of the protestant princes separately,” said they: “isolated, they will not resist.” Accordingly, on the 15th July, the Margrave of Brandenburg was visited by his two cousins, the Electors of Mentz and of Brandenburg, and by his two brothers the Margraves Frederick and John Albert. “Abandon this new faith,” said they to him, “and return to that which existed a century ago. If you do so, there are no favors that you may not expect from the emperor; if not, dread his anger.”HRSCV4 574.4

    Shortly after, the Duke Frederick of Bavaria, the Count of Nassau, De Rogendorf, and Truchses were announced to the Elector on the part of Charles. “You have solicited the emperor,” said they, “to confirm the marriage of your son with the Princess of Juliers, and to invest you with the electoral dignity; but his majesty declares, that if you do not renounce the heresy of Luther, of which you are the principal abettor, he cannot accede to your demand.” At the same time the Duke of Bavaria, employing the most urgent solicitations, accompanied with the most animated gestures and the most sinister threats, called upon the elector to abandon his faith. “It is asserted,” added Charles’s envoys, “that you have made an alliance with the Swiss. The emperor cannot believe it; and he orders you to let him know the truth.”HRSCV4 574.5

    The Swiss! it was the same thing as rebellion. This alliance was the phantom incessantly invoked at Augsburg to alarm Charles the Fifth. And in reality deputies or at least friends of the Swiss, had already appeared in that city, and thus rendered the position still more serious.HRSCV4 574.6

    Bucer had arrived two days before the reading of the Confession, and Capito on the day subsequent to it. There was even a report that Zwingle would join them. But for a long time all in Augsburg, except the Strasburg deputation, were ignorant of the presence of these doctors. It was only twenty-one days after their arrival that Melancthon learned it positively, so great was the mystery in which the Zwinglians were forced to enshroud themselves. This was not without reason: a conference with Melancthon having been requested by them: “Let them write,” replied he; “I should compromise our cause by an interview with them.”HRSCV4 574.7

    Bucer and Capito in their retreat, which was like a prison to them, had taken advantage of their leisure to draw up the Tetrapolitan Confession, or the confession of the four cities. The deputies of Strasburg, Constance, Memmingen, and Lindau, presented it to the emperor. These cities purged themselves from the reproach of war and revolt that had been continually objected against them. They declared that their only motive was Christ’s glory, and professed the truth “freely, boldly, but without insolence and without scurrility.”HRSCV4 575.1

    Zwingle about the same time caused a private confession to be communicated to Charles, which excited a general uproar. “Does he not dare to say,” exclaimed the Romanists, “that the mitred and withered race (by which he means the bishops) is in the Church what hump-backs and the scrofula are in the body?”—“Does he not insinuate,” said the Lutherans; “that we are beginning to look back after the onions and garlic of Egypt?”—“One might say with great truth that he had lost his senses,” exclaimed Melancthon. “All ceremonies, according to him, ought to be abolished; all the bishops ought to be suppressed. In a word, all is perfectly Helvetic, that is to say, supremely barbarous.”HRSCV4 575.2

    One man formed an exception to this concert of reproaches, and this was Luther. “Zwingle pleases me tolerably,” wrote he to Jonas, “as well as Bucer.” By Bucer, he meant no doubt the Tetrapolitan Confession: this expression should be noted.HRSCV4 575.3

    Thus three Confessions, laid at the feet of Charles the Fifth, attested the divisions that were rending Protestantism. In vain did Bucer and Capito endeavour to come to an understanding with Melancthon, and write to him: “We will meet where you will, and when you will; we will bring Sturm alone with us, and if you desire it, we will not even bring him.” All was unavailing. It is not enough for a Christian to confess Christ; one disciple should confess another disciple, even if the latter lies under the shame of the world; but they did not then comprehend this duty. “Schism is in the schism,” said the Romanists, and the emperor flattered himself with an easy victory. “Return to the Church,” was the cry from every side, “which means,” interrupted the Strasburgers, “let us put the bit in your mouths, that we may lead you as we please.”HRSCV4 575.4

    All these things deeply afflicted the elector, who was besides still under the burden of Charles’s demands and threats. The emperor had not once spoken to him, and it was everywhere said that his cousin George of Saxony would be proclaimed elector in his stead.HRSCV4 575.5

    On the 28th July, there was a great festival at the court. Charles, robed in his imperial garments, whose value was said to exceed 200,000 gold ducats, and displaying an air of majesty which impressed respect and fear, conferred on many princes the investiture of their dignities; the elector alone was excluded from these favors. Erelong he was made to understand more plainly what was reserved for him, and it was insinuated, that if he did not submit, the emperor would expel him from his states, and inflict upon him the severest punishment.”HRSCV4 575.6

    The elector turned pale, for he doubted not that such would certainly be the termination. How with his small territory could he resist that powerful monarch who had just vanquished France and Italy, and now saw Germany at his feet? And besides, if he could do it, had he the right? Frightful nightmares pursued John in his dreams. He beheld himself stretched beneath an immense mountain under which he lay painfully struggling, while his cousin George of Saxony stood on the summit and seemed to brave him.HRSCV4 575.7

    John at length came forth from this furnace. “I must either renounce God or the world,” said he. “Well! my choice is not doubtful. It is God who made me elector,—me, who was not worthy of it. I fling myself into his arms, and let him do with me what shall seem good to him.” Thus the elector by faith stopped the mouths of lions and subdued kingdoms.HRSCV4 575.8

    All evangelical Christendom had taken part in the struggle of John the Persevering. It was seen that if he should now fall, all would fall with him; and they endeavoured to support him. “Fear not,” cried the Christians of Magdeburg, “for your highness is under Christ’s banner.” “Italy is in expectation,” wrote they from Venice; “if for Christ’s glory you must die, fear nothing.” But it was from a higher source that John’s courage was derived. “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven,” said his Master. The elector, in like manner, beheld in his dreams George fall from the top of the mountain, and lie dashed in pieces at his feet.HRSCV4 575.9

    Once resolved to lose everything, John, free, happy, and tranquil, assembled his theologians. These generous men desired to save their master. “Gracious lord,” said Spalatin, “recollect that the Word of God, being the sword of the Spirit, must be upheld, not by the secular power, but by the hand of the Almighty.”—“Yes!” said all the doctors, “we do not wish that, to save us, you should risk your children, your subjects, your states, your crown We will rather give ourselves into the hands of the enemy, and conjure him to be satisfied with our blood.” John, touched by this language, refused, however, their solicitations, and firmly repeated these words, which had become his device: “I also desire to confess my Saviour.”HRSCV4 576.1

    It was on the 20th July that he replied to the pressing arguments by which Charles had endeavoured to shake him. He proved to the emperor that, being his brother’s legitimate heir, he could not refuse him the investiture, which, besides, the Diet of Worms had secured to him. He added, that he did not blindly believe what his doctors said, but that, having recognized the Word of God to be the foundation of their teaching, he confessed anew, and without any hesitation, all the articles of the Apology. “I therefore entreat your majesty,” continued he, “to permit me and mine to render an account to God alone of what concerns the salvation of our souls.” The Margrave of Brandenburg made the same reply. Thus failed this skilful manoeuvre, by which the Romanists had hoped to break the strength of the Reformation.HRSCV4 576.2

    Six weeks had elapsed since the Confession, and as yet there was no reply. “The Papists, from the moment they heard the Apology,” it was said, “suddenly lost their voice.” At length the Romish theologians handed their revised and corrected performance to the emperor, and persuaded this prince to present it in his own name. The mantle of the state seemed to them admirably adapted to the movements of Rome. “These sycophants,” said Melancthon, “have desired to clothe themselves with the lion’s skin, to appear to us so much the more terrible.” All the states of the empire were convoked for the next day but one.HRSCV4 576.3

    On Wednesday, 3rd August, at two o’clock in the afternoon, the emperor, sitting on his throne in the chapel of the Palatinate Palace, attended by his brother, with the electors, princes, and deputies, the Elector of Saxony and his allies were introduced, and the count-palatine, who was called “Charles’s mouthpiece,” said to them: “His majesty having handed your Confession to several doctors of different nations, illustrious by their knowledge, their morals, and their impartiality, has read their reply with the greatest care, and submits it to you as his own.”HRSCV4 576.4

    Alexander Schweiss then took the papers and read the Refutation. The Roman party approved some articles of the Confession, condemned others, and in certain less salient passages, it distinguished between what must be rejected and what accepted.HRSCV4 576.5

    It gave way on an important point; the opus operatum. The Protestants having said in their 13th Article that faith was necessary in the sacrament, the Romish party assented to it; thus abandoning an error which the papacy had so earnestly defended against Luther in that very city of Augsburg, by the mouth of Cajetan.HRSCV4 576.6

    Moreover, they recognized as truly christian the evangelical doctrine on the Trinity, on Christ, on baptism, on eternal punishment, and on the origin of evil.HRSCV4 576.7

    But on all the other points, Charles, his princes, and his theologians, declared themselves immovable. They maintained that men are born with the fear of God, that good works are meritorious, and that they justify in union with faith. They upheld the seven sacraments, the mass, transubstantiation, the withdrawal of the cup, the celibacy of priests, the invocation of saints, and denied that the Church was an assembly of the saints.HRSCV4 576.8

    This Refutation was skilful in some respects, and, above all, in what concerned the doctrine of works and of faith. But on other points, in particular on the withdrawal of the cup and the celibacy of priests, its arguments were lamentably weak, and contrary to the well known facts of history.HRSCV4 576.9

    While the Protestants had taken their stand on the Scriptures, their adversaries supported the divine origin of the hierarchy, and laid down absolute submission to its laws. Thus, the essential character, which still distinguishes Rome from the Reformation, stood prominently forth in this first combat.HRSCV4 576.10

    Among the auditors who filled the chapel of the Palatinate Palace, concealed in the midst of the deputies of Nuremberg, was Joachim Camerarius, who, while Schweiss was reading, leaned over his tablets and carefully noted down all he could collect. At the same time others of the Protestants, speaking to one another, were indignant, and even laughed, as one of their opponents assures us. “Really,” said they with one consent, “the whole of this Refutation is worthy of Eck, Faber, and Cochloeus!”HRSCV4 576.11

    As for Charles, little pleased with these theological dissertations, he slept during the reading; but he awoke when Schweiss had finished, and his awakening was that of a lion.HRSCV4 577.1

    The count-palatine then declared that his majesty found the articles of this Refutation orthodox, catholic, and conformable to the Gospel; that he therefore required the Protestants to abandon their Confession, now refuted, and to adhere to all the articles which had just been set forth; that, if they refused, the emperor would remember his office, and would know how to show himself the advocate and defender of the Roman Church.HRSCV4 577.2

    This language was clear enough: the adversaries imagined they had refuted the Protestants by commanding the latter to consider themselves beaten. Violence—arms—war—were all contained in these cruel words of Charles’s minister. The princes represented that, as the Refutation adopted some of their articles and rejected others, it required a careful examination, and they consequently begged a copy should be given them.HRSCV4 577.3

    The Romish party had a long conference on this demand: night was at hand; the count-palatine replied that, considering the late hour and the importance of this affair, the emperor would make known his pleasure somewhat later. The diet separated, and Charles the Fifth, exasperated at the audacity of the evangelical princes, says Cochloeus, returned in ill-humor to his apartments.HRSCV4 577.4

    The Protestants, on the contrary, withdrew full of peace; the reading of the Refutation having given them as much confidence as that of the Confession itself. They saw in their adversaries a strong attachment to the hierarchy, but a great ignorance of the Gospel—a characteristic feature of the Romish party; and this thought encouraged them. “Certainly,” said they, “the Church cannot be where there is no knowledge of Christ.”HRSCV4 577.5

    Melancthon alone was still alarmed: he walked by sight and not by faith, and, remembering the legate’s smiles, he had another interview with him, as early as the 4th August, still demanding the cup for the laity, and lawful wives for the priests. “Then,” said he, “our pastors will place themselves again under the government of bishops, and we shall be able to prevent those innumerable sects with which posterity is threatened.” Melancthon’s glance into the future is remarkable: it does not, however, mean that he, like many others, preferred a dead unity to a living diversity.HRSCV4 577.6

    Campeggio, now certain of triumphing by the sword, disdainfully handed this paper to Cochloeus, who hastened to refute it. It is hard to say whether Melancthon or Campeggio was the more infatuated. God did not permit an arrangement that would have enslaved his Church.HRSCV4 577.7

    Charles passed the whole of the 4th and the morning of the 5th August in consultation with the Ultramontane party. “It will never be by discussion that we shall come to an understanding,” said some; “and if the Protestants do not submit voluntarily, it only remains for us to compel them.” They nevertheless decided, on account of the Refutation, to adopt a middle course. During the whole of the diet, Charles pursued a skilful policy. At first he refused everything, hoping to lead away the princes by violence; then he conceded a few unimportant points, under the impression that the Protestants, having lost all hope, would esteem so much the more the little he yielded to them. This was what he did again under the present circumstances. In the afternoon of the 5th, the count-palatine announced that the emperor would give them a copy of the Refutation, but on these conditions; namely, that the Protestants should not reply, that they should speedily agree with the emperor, and that they would not print or communicate to any one the Refutation that should be confided to them.HRSCV4 577.8

    This communication excited murmurs among the Protestants. “These conditions,” said they all, “are inadmissible.”—“The Papists present us with their paper,” added the Chancellor Bruck, “as the fox offered a thin broth to his gossip the stork.”HRSCV4 577.9

    The savoury broth upon a plate by Reynard was served up,HRSCV4 577.10

    But Mistress Stork, with her long beak, she could not get a sup.HRSCV4 577.11

    “If the Refutation,” continued he, “should come to be known without our participation (and how can we prevent it?), we shall be charged with it as a crime. Let us beware of accepting so perfidious an offer. We already possess in the notes of Camerarius several articles of this paper, and if we omit any point, no one will have the right to reproach us with it.”HRSCV4 577.12

    On the next day (6th August), the Protestants declared to the diet that they preferred declining the copy thus offered to them, and appealed to God and to his majesty. They thus rejected all that the emperor proposed to them, even what he considered as a favor.HRSCV4 578.1

    Agitation, anger, and affright were manifested on every bench of that august assembly. This reply of the evangelicals was war—was rebellion. George of Saxony, the Princes of Bavaria, all the violent adherents of Rome, trembled with indignation; there was a sudden, an impetuous movement, an explosion of murmurs and of hatred; and it might have been feared that the two parties would have come to blows in the very presence of the emperor, if Archbishop Albert, the Elector of Brandenburg, and the Dukes of Brunswick, Pomerania, and Mecklenburg, rushing between them, had not conjured the Protestants to put an end to this deplorable combat, and not drive the emperor to extremities. The diet separated, their hearts filled with emotion, apprehension, and trouble.HRSCV4 578.2

    Never had the diet proposed such fatal alternatives. The hopes of agreement, set forth in the edict of convocation, had only been a deceitful lure: now the mask was thrown aside; submission or the sword—such was the dilemma offered to the Reformation. All announced that the day of tentatives was passed, and that they were beginning one of violence.HRSCV4 578.3

    In truth, on the 6th July, the pope had assembled the consistory of cardinals in his palace at Rome, and had made known to them the protestant ultimatum; namely, the cup for the laity, the marriage of priests, the omission of the invocation of saints in the sacrifice of the mass, the use of ecclesiastical property already secularized, and for the rest, the convocation of a council. “These concessions,” said the cardinals, “are opposed to the religion, discipline, and laws of the Church. We reject them, and vote our thanks to the emperor for the zeal which he employs in bringing back the deserters.” The pope having thus decided, every attempt at conciliation became useless.HRSCV4 578.4

    Campeggio, on his side, redoubled in zeal. He spoke as if in his person the pope himself were present at Augsburg. “Let the emperor and the right-thinking princes form a league,” said he to Charles; “and if these rebels, equally insensible to threats and promises, obstinately persist in their diabolical course, then let his majesty seize fire and sword, let him take possession of all the property of the heretics, and utterly eradicate these venomous plants. Then let him appoint holy inquisitors, who shall go on the track of the remnants of Reformation, and proceed against them, as in Spain against the Moors. Let him put the university of Wittenberg under ban, burn the heretical books, and send back the fugitive monks to their convents. But this plan must be executed with courage.”HRSCV4 578.5

    Thus the jurisprudence of Rome consisted, according to a prophecy uttered against the city which is seated on seven hills, in adorning itself with pearls that it had stolen, and in becoming drunk with the blood of the saints.HRSCV4 578.6

    While Charles was thus urged on with blind fury by the diet and the pope, the protestant princes, restrained by a mute indignation, did not open their mouths, and hence they seemed to betray a weakness of which the emperor was eager to profit. But there was also strength concealed under this weakness. “We have nothing left,” exclaimed Melancthon, “but to embrace our Saviour’s knees.” In this they labored earnestly. Melancthon begged for Luther’s prayers; Brentz for those of his own church: a general cry of distress and of faith ran through evangelical Germany. “You shall have sheep,” said Brentz, “if you will send us sheep: you know what I mean.” The sheep that were to be offered in sacrifice were the prayers of the saints.HRSCV4 578.7

    The Church was not wanting to itself. “Assembled every day,” wrote certain cities to the electors,” we beg for you strength, grace, and victory,—victory full of joy.” But the man of prayer and faith was especially Luther. A calm and sublime courage, in which firmness shines at the side of joy—a courage that rises and exults in proportion as the danger increases—is what Luther’s letters at this time present in every line. The most poetical images are pale beside those energetic expressions which issue in a boiling torrent from the reformer’s soul. “I have recently witnessed two miracles,” wrote he on the 5th August to Chancellor Bruck; “this is the first. As I was at my window, I saw the stars, and the sky, and that vast and magnificent firmament in which the Lord has placed them. I could nowhere discover the columns on which the Master has supported this immense vault, and yet the heavens did not fallHRSCV4 578.8

    “And here is the second. I beheld thick clouds hanging above us like a vast sea. I could neither perceive ground on which they reposed, nor cords by which they were suspended; and yet they did not fall upon us, but saluted us rapidly and fled away.HRSCV4 578.9

    “God,” continued he, “will choose the manner, the time, and the place suitable for deliverance, and he will not linger. What the men of blood have begun, they have not yet finished Our rainbow is faint their clouds are threatening the enemy comes against us with frightful machines But at last it will be seen to whom belong the ballistae, and from what hands the javelins are launched. It is no matter if Luther perishes: if Christ is conqueror, Luther is conqueror also.”HRSCV4 579.1

    The Roman party, who did not know what was the victory of faith, imagined themselves certain of success.HRSCV4 579.2

    The doctors having refuted the Confession, the Protestants ought, they imagined, to declare themselves convinced, and all would then be restored to its ancient footing: such was the plan to the emperor’s campaign. He therefore urged and called upon the Protestants; but instead of submitting, they announced a refutation of the Refutation. Upon this Charles looked at his sword, and all the princes who surrounded him did the same.HRSCV4 579.3

    John of Saxony understood what that meant, but he remained firm. “The straight line,” said he (the axiom was familiar to him), “is the shortest road.” It is this indomitable firmness that has secured for him in history the name of John the Persevering. He was not alone: all those protestant princes who had grown up in the midst of courts, and who were habituated to pay an humble obedience to the emperor, at that time found in their faith a noble independence that confounded Charles the Fifth.HRSCV4 579.4

    With the design of gaining the Marquis of Brandenburg, they opened to him the possibility of according him some possessions in Silesia on which he had claims. “If Christ is Christ,” replied he, “the doctrine that I have confessed is truth.”—“But do you know,” quickly replied his cousin the Elector Joachim, “what is your stake?”—“Certainly,” replied the margrave, “it is said I shall be expelled from this country. Well! may God protect me!” One day Prince Wolfgang of Anhalt met Doctor Eck. “Doctor,” said he, “you are exciting to war, but you will find those who will not be behindhand with you. I have broken many a lance for my friends in my time. My Lord Jesus Christ is assuredly worthy that I should do as much for him.”HRSCV4 579.5

    At the sight of this resolution, each one asked himself whether Charles, instead of curing the disease, was not augmenting it. Reflections, criticisms, jests, passed between the citizens; and the good sense of the people manifested in its own fashion what they thought of the folly of their chief. We will adduce one instance.HRSCV4 579.6

    It is said that one day, as the emperor was at table with several Roman-catholic princes, he was informed that some comedians begged permission (according to custom) to amuse their lordships. First appeared an old man wearing a mask, and dressed in a doctor’s robe, who advanced with difficulty carrying a bundle of sticks in his arms, some straight and some crooked. He approached the wide fireplace of the Gothic hall, threw down his load in disorder, and immediately withdrew. Charles and the courtiers read on his back the inscription—John Reuchlin. Then appeared another mask with an intelligent look, who made every exertion to pair the straight and the crooked pieces; but finding his labor useless, he shook his head, turned to the door, and disappeared. They read—Erasmus of Rotterdam. Almost immediately after advanced a monk with bright eye and decided gait, carrying a brasier of lighted coals. He put the wood in order, set fire to it, blew and stirred it up, so that the flame rose bright and sparkling into the air. He then retired, and on his back were the words—Martin Luther.HRSCV4 579.7

    Next approached a magnificent personage, covered with all the imperial insignia, who, seeing the fire so bright, drew his sword, and endeavoured by violent thrusts to extinguish it; but the more he struck, the fiercer burnt the flames, and at last he quitted the hall in indignation. His name, as it would seem, was not made known to the spectators, but all divined it. The general attention was soon attracted by a new character. A man, wearing a surplice and a mantle of red velvet, with an alb of white wool that reached to his heels, and having a stole around his neck, the ends ornamented with pearls, advanced majestically. Beholding the flames that already filled the hearth, he wrung his hands in terror, and looked around for something to extinguish them. He saw two vessels at the very extremity of the hall, one filled with water, and the other with oil. He rushed towards them, seized unwittingly on that containing the oil, and threw it on the fire. The flame then spread with such violence that the mask fled in alarm, raising his hands to heaven; on his back was read the name of Leo X.HRSCV4 579.8

    The mystery was finished; but instead of claiming their remuneration, the pretended actors had disappeared. No one asked the moral of this drama.HRSCV4 579.9

    The lesson, however, proved useless; and the majority of the diet, assuming at the same time the part assigned to the emperor and the pope, began to prepare the means necessary for extinguishing the fire kindled by Luther. They negotiated in Italy with the Duke of Mantua, who engaged to send a few regiments of light cavalry across the Alps; and in England with Henry VIII, who had not forgotten Luther’s reply, and who promised Charles, through his ambassador, an immense subsidy to destroy the heretics.HRSCV4 579.10

    At the same time frightful prodigies announced the gloomy future which threatened the Reform. At Spires fearful spectres, in the shape of monks with angry eyes and hasty steps, had appeared during the night. “What do you want?” they had been asked.—“We are going,” they replied, “to the Diet of Augsburg!” The circumstance had been carefully investigated, and was found perfectly trustworthy. “The interpretation is not difficult,” exclaimed Melancthon: “Evil spirits are coming to Augsburg to counteract our exertions, and to destroy peace. They forebode horrible troubles to us.” No one doubted this. “Everything is advancing towards war,” said Erasmus. “The diet will not terminate,” wrote Brentz, “except by the destruction of all Germany.” “There will be a slaughter of the saints,” exclaimed Bucer, “which will be such that the massacres of Diocletian will scarcely come up to it.” War and blood!—this was the general cry.HRSCV4 580.1

    Suddenly, on the night of Saturday, 6th August, a great disturbance broke out in the city of Augsburg. There was running to and fro in the streets; messengers from the emperor were galloping in every direction; the senate was called together and received an order to allow no one to pass the gates of the city. All were afoot in the imperial barracks; the soldiers got ready their arms; the regiments were drawn up, and at daybreak (about three o’clock on Sunday morning) the emperor’s troops, in opposition to the custom always observed in the diet, relieved the soldiers of the city and took possession of the gates. At the same time it was reported that these gates would not be opened, and that Charles had given orders to keep a strict watch upon the elector and his allies. A terrible awakening for those who still flattered themselves with seeing the religious debates conclude peacefully! Might not these unheard-of measures be the commencement of wars and the signal of a frightful massacre?HRSCV4 580.2

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