Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents

Ecclesiastical Empire

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "undefined".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    CHAPTER XXIV - THE REFORMATION—GERMANY

    GOD would have healed even Babylon. But she would not be healed. And, now there must be sounded to the world the word from heaven: “Forsake her!” From Wicklif the good seed of the Word of God had been sown throughout Europe. In Bohemia and at Constance it had been watered with the blood of the saints, and had been proved by fire. Time was given it to take firm root, when again God would visit his vineyard, that it might spring forth and bear abundant fruit.ECE 708.1

    2. Wicklif had declared that from that taproot of the papacy, from monkery, “some brothers whom God may vouchsafe to teach, will be devoutly converted to the primitive religion of Christ, and, abandoning their false interpretations of genuine Christianity, after having demanded or acquired of themselves permission from antichrist, will freely return to the original religion of Christ; and they will build up the Church like Paul.”—Neander. 1[Page 708] “History of the Christian Religion and Church,” Vol v, under wickliff, last paragraph but one. Matthias of Janow had said: “There shall arise one from among the common people, without sword or authority, and against him they shall not be able to prevail.” 2[Page 708] Chap xxiii, par. 30, this book. And now the time, and the man from among the common people, the one from among the monks, had come. Martin Luther lives, and the Reformation triumphs.ECE 708.2

    3. A hundred years had passed since the martyrdom of Huss and Jerome. God had given to “that woman Jezebel...space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” 3[Page 708] Revelation 2:20, 21. Instead of repenting she still ran into the depths of even papal wickedness. “During the generation which preceded the Reformation, that court [of Rome] had been a scandal to the Christian name. Its annals are black with treason, murder, and incest. Even its more respectable members were utterly unfit to be ministers of religion. They were men like Leo the Tenth; men who, with the Latinity of the Augustan age, had acquired its atheistical and scoffing spirit. They regarded those Christian mysteries, of which they were stewards, just as the augur, Cicero, and the high pontiff, Caesar, regarded the Sibylline books and the pecking of the sacred chickens. Among themselves, they spoke of the incarnation, the eucharist, and the Trinity, in the same tone in which Cotta and Velleius talked of the oracle of Delphi or the voice of Faunus in the mountains. Their years glided by in a soft dream of sensual and intellectual voluptuousness. Choice cookery, delicious wines, lovely women, hounds, falcons, sonnets, and burlesque romances, in the sweet Tuscan, just as licentious as a fine sense of the graceful would permit; plate from the hand of Benvenuto, designs for palaces by Michael Angelo, frescoes by Raphael, busts, mosaics, and gems just dug up from among the ruins of ancient temples and villas—these things were the delight and even the serious business of their lives.”—Macaulay. 4[Page 709] Essay, Von Ranke, par. 25.ECE 708.3

    4. In the testimonies of Wicklif, Militz, Matthias of Janow, Huss, and Jerome, God had made plain by His word and the light of His salvation, the essential iniquity of the Catholic Church. He had made plain her complete antagonism to the Word of God, and to the way of salvation which she professed not only to know, but exclusively to be. He had called her to repentance and conversion. He then gave her even a hundred years of “space to repent;” but she would not repent. She despised all His counsel, and would none of His reproof. By His faithful witnesses God had called for a reformation of the Church, that by her He might do His great work in the reformation of man. But the Church would not be reformed; she persisted in her self-chosen way. And when this had been demonstrated even to infinite fullness, then God began—He must begin—anew and upon the original foundations, His work of the reformation of man. This is why it is that the one grand feature of the Reformation in Germany, for the world and for all time, is the fundamental and all-embracing truth, JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.ECE 709.1

    5. About 1511 Luther visited Rome, and was compelled to exclaim: “It is almost incredible what sins and infamous actions are committed at Rome. One would require to see it and hear it in order to believe it. Hence, it is an ordinary saying, that if there is a hell, Rome is built upon it. It is an abyss whence all sins proceed.” 5[Page 710] D’Aubigne’s “History of the Reformation,” book ii, chap 6. par. 15. All quotations in the following portion of this chapter are form D’Aubigne. But at that time Luther was a devout monk of the Augustine Order; and, though shocked at the iniquities which he found, he still thought that Rome was the way of salvation. He “entered devoutly into all the vain observances, to which, as a price, the Church has annexed the expiation of sins. One day, among others, wishing to gain an indulgence which the pope had promised to every one who should on his knees climb up what is called Pilate’s Stair, the Saxon monk was humbly crawling up the steps, which, he was told, had been miraculously transported to Rome from Jerusalem. But, while he was engaged in this meritorious act, he thought he heard a voice of thunder, which cried at the bottom of his heart as at Wittemberg and Bologna, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ECE 709.2

    6. These words, which had already, on two different occasions, struck him like the voice of an angel of God, resounded loudly and incessantly within him. He rises up in amazement from the steps, along which he was dragging his body. Horrified at himself, and ashamed to see how far superstition had abased him, he flies far from the scene of his folly.... Luther had carefully studied the Epistle to the Romans, and yet, though justification by faith is there taught, he had never seen it so clearly. Now he comprehends the righteousness which alone can stand in the presence of God; now he receives from God himself, by the hand of Christ, that obedience which he freely imputes to the sinner as soon as he humbly turns his eye to the God-man who was crucified.ECE 710.1

    7. “This is the decisive period in the internal life of Luther. The faith which has saved him from the terrors of death, becomes the soul of his theology, his fortress in all dangers, the stamina of his discourse, the stimulant of his love, the foundation of his peace, the spur of his labors, his consolation in life and in death. But this great doctrine of a salvation which emanates from God, and not from man, was not only the power of God to save the soul of Luther, it also became the power of God to reform the Church;—a powerful weapon which the apostles wielded, a weapon too long neglected, but at length brought forth, in its primitive luster, from the arsenal of the mighty God. At the moment when Luther stood up in Rome, all moved and thrilling with the words which Paul had addressed, fifteen centuries before, to the inhabitants of this metropolis, truth, till then a fettered captive within the Church, rose up also, never again to fall.”ECE 710.2

    8. Of this change in his life, Luther himself says: “Although I was a holy and irreproachable monk, my conscience was full of trouble and anguish. I could not bear the words, ‘Justice of God.’ I loved not the just and holy God who punishes sinners. I was filled with secret rage against Him and hated Him, because, not satisfied with terrifying us, His miserable creatures, already lost by original sin, with His law and the miseries of life, He still further increased our torment by the gospel.... But when, by the Spirit of God, I comprehended these words; when I learned how the sinner’s justification proceeds from the pure mercy of the Lord by means of faith, then I felt myself revive like a new man, and entered at open doors into the very paradise of God. From that time, also, I beheld the precious sacred volume with new eyes. I went over all the Bible, and collected a great number of passages, which taught me what the work of God is. And as I had previously, with all my heart, hated the words, ‘Justice of God,’ so from that time I began to esteem and love them, as words most sweet and most consoling. In truth, these words were to me the true gate of paradise.”ECE 711.1

    9. In 1502 the Elector Frederick had founded the University of Wittemberg; and in 1508 called Luther to the professorship there. Soon after Luther’s return from Rome he was promoted to the doctorate of divinity in the University of Wittemberg, Oct. 18, 1512. Like Wicklif at Oxford, he was made doctor of theology, or “Biblical doctor, not doctor of sentences: and in this way was called to devote himself to the study of the Bible, and not to that of human tradition.” The oath which he took at his installation, contained the words: “I swear to defend evangelical truth by every means in my power.” He was required also to promise to preach the Holy Scripture “faithfully, to teach it purely, to study it during his whole life, and to defend it by discussion and by writing, as far as God should enable him to do so.” This solemn oath was Luther’s call to be the Reformer. In laying it upon his conscience freely to seek, and boldly to announce Christian truth, this oath raised the new doctor above the narrow limits to which his monastic vow might perhaps have confined him. Called by the university and by his sovereign, in the name of the emperor and of the see of Rome itself, and bound before God, by the most solemn oath, he was thenceforth the intrepid herald of the word of life. On this memorable day Luther was dubbed “Knight of the Bible.”ECE 711.2

    10. “Accordingly, this oath taken to the Holy Scriptures may be regarded as one of the causes of the renovation of the Church. The infallible authority of the Word of God alone was the first and fundamental principle of the Reformation. All the reformations in detail which took place at a later period—as reformations in doctrine, in manners, in the government of the Church, and in worship—were only consequences of this primary principle. One is scarcely able at the present time to form an idea of the sensation produced by this elementary principle, which is so simple in itself, but which had been lost sight of for so many ages. Some individuals of more extensive views than the generality, alone foresaw its immense results. The bold voice of all the Reformers soon proclaimed this powerful principle, at the sound of which Rome is destined to crumble away: ‘Christians, receive no other doctrines than those which are founded on the express words of Jesus Christ, His apostles, and prophets. No man, no assembly of doctors, are entitled to prescribe new doctrines.’”ECE 712.1

    11. Luther began his Biblical lectures. The new life which he had found in Christ vivified and brightened all that he said. He himself said, and truly: “In my heart, faith in my Lord Jesus Christ reigns sole, and sole ought to reign. He alone is the beginning, the middle, and the end, of all the thoughts which occupy my mind night and day.” This caused that whether in lectures to his classes or in sermons to a congregation, he was heard gladly. Justification by Faith, on the basis of the Ten commandments and the keeping of the Ten Commandments on the basis of Justification by Faith—this was his message to the world; and this was the inspiration of every subject that he might be called upon to consider. Of justification he said: “The desire of justifying ourselves is the source of all anguish of heart: whereas he who receives Jesus Christ as a Saviour, has peace, and not only peace, but purity of heart. Sanctification of the heart is entirely a fruit of faith; for faith is in us a divine work, which changes us, and gives us a new birth, emanating from God himself. It kills Adam in us by the Holy Spirit, which it communicates to us, giving us a new heart, and making us new men. It is not by hollow speculation, but by this practical method, that we obtain a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”ECE 712.2

    12. Shortly after his promotion to the doctorate, he delivered a series of discourses on the Ten Commandments. An extract on the First Commandment will illustrate his teaching:—ECE 713.1

    “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”ECE 713.2

    “All the sons of Adam are idolaters; and guilty of violating this First Commandment.ECE 713.3

    “There are two kinds of idolatry—the one without, the other within.ECE 713.4

    “The one without is when man worships wood and stone, beasts and stars.ECE 713.5

    “The one within is when man, fearing punishment or seeking his ease, does not give worship to the creature, but loves it internally, and confides in it.ECE 713.6

    “What religion is this? You do not bend the knee before riches and honors, but you offer them your heart, the noblest part of you. Ah! You worship God with the body, and with the spirit you worship the creature.ECE 713.7

    “This idolatry reigns in every man until he is cured of it freely, by the faith which is in Jesus Christ.ECE 713.8

    “And how is this cure performed?ECE 713.9

    “In this way: Faith in Christ strips you of all confidence in your own wisdom, your own righteousness, your own strength.ECE 713.10

    “It tells you, that if Christ had not died for you, and so saved you, neither yourself nor any creature could have done it. Then you learn to despise all those things which remained useless to you.ECE 713.11

    “There now remains to you only Jesus—Jesus alone—Jesus fully sufficient for your soul. No longer having any hopes in the creatures, you have now Christ only, in whom you hope all, and whom you love above all. Now Jesus is the sole, the only, the true God. When you have Him for God you have no longer other gods.”ECE 713.12

    13. “His mode of explaining the Scriptures was such that in the judgment of all pious and enlightened men, it was as if a new light had risen upon doctrine after a long night. He pointed out the differences between the law and the Gospel. He refuted the error then prevalent in churches and schools, that men merit the forgiveness of sins by their own works, and are rendered righteous before God by means of external discipline. He thus brought back the hearts of men to the Son of God. Like John the Baptist, he pointed to the Lamb of God, which had taken away the sins of the world. He explained how sins are pardoned freely for the sake of the Son of God, and how man receives the blessing through faith.... He labored more and more to make all comprehend the great and essential doctrines of conversion, of the forgiveness of sins, of faith, and the true consolation which is to be found in the cross. The pious were charmed and penetrated with the sweetness of this doctrine, while the learned received it gladly. One would have said that Christ, the apostles, and prophets, were coming forth from darkness and a loathsome dungeon.”—Melancthon.ECE 714.1

    14. To a friend, a monk in the convent of Erfurt, Luther wrote: “O, my dear brother, learn to know Christ, and Christ crucified. Learn to sing unto Him a new song; to despair of thyself, and say, ‘Thou, O Lord Jesus! Thou art my righteousness, and I am thy sin! Thou hast taken what is mine, and given me what is thine. What thou wert not Thou hast become, in order that what I was not I might become.’ Take care, O, my dear George, not to pretend to such a purity as will make you unwilling to acknowledge yourself a sinner; for Christ dwells in sinners only. He came down from heaven, where He dwelt among the righteous, that He might dwell also among sinners. Meditate carefully on this love of Christ, and thou wilt derive ineffable blessing from it. If our labors and our afflictions could give us peace of conscience, why should Christ have died? Thou wilt find peace only in Him, by despairing of thyself and of thy works, and learning with what love He opens His arms to thee, takes upon Him all thy sins, and gives thee all His righteousness.”ECE 714.2

    15. To Spalatin, chaplain to the elector Frederick, who was also his friend, Luther wrote: “My Dear Spalatin, the thing which displeases me in Erasmus, that man of vast erudition, is, that by the righteousness of works or of the law, of which the apostle speaks, he understands the fulfillment of the ceremonial law. The justification of the law consists not in ceremonies only, but in all the works of the decalogue. When these works are performed without faith in Christ, they may, it is true, make Fabriciuses, Reguluses, the other men of strict integrity in the eyes of the world; but then they as little deserve to be called righteousness, as the fruit of a medlar to be called a fig. For we do not become righteous, as Aristotle pretends, by doing works of righteousness; but when we have become righteous we do such works. Abel was first pleasing to God, and then his sacrifice.”ECE 714.3

    16. Luther made a clear distinction between Christianity and the philosophy of the schools. In an official visit to a number of monasteries he instructed the monks: “Do not attach yourself to Aristotle, or to other teachers of a deceitful philosophy; but diligently read the Word of God. Seek not your salvation in your own strength, and your own good works, but in the merits of Christ and divine grace.” And, amongst others, in a series of ninety-nine propositions in opposition to rationalism and scholastic theology, he said:—ECE 715.1

    “On the part of man there is nothing which precedes grace, unless it be impotence and even rebellion.ECE 715.2

    “We do not become righteous by doing what is righteous; but having become righteous, we do what is righteous.ECE 715.3

    “He who says that a theologian who is not a logician, is an heretic and an adventurer, maintains an adventurous and heretical proposition.ECE 715.4

    “There is no form of syllogism which accords with the things of God.ECE 715.5

    “If the form of the syllogism could be applied to divine things, we should know the article of the Holy Trinity, and should not believe it.ECE 715.6

    “In one word, Aristotle is to theology as darkness to light.ECE 715.7

    “He who is without the grace of God, sins incessantly, even though he neither kills, nor steals, nor commits adultery.ECE 715.8

    “He sins, for he does not fulfill the law spiritually.ECE 715.9

    “Not to kill, and not to commit adultery, externally, and in regard to action merely, is righteousness of hypocrites.ECE 715.10

    “The law of God and the will of man are two adversaries, who, without the grace of God, can never agree.ECE 715.11

    “Every work of the law appears good externally, but internally is sin.ECE 715.12

    “Cursed are those who do the works of the law.ECE 715.13

    “Blessed are all those who do the works of the grace of God.ECE 716.1

    “The law, which is good, and in which we have life, is the law of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).ECE 716.2

    “Grace is not given in order that works may be done more frequently and more easily, but because without grace there can not be any work of love.ECE 716.3

    “To love God is to hate one’s self, and know nothing out of God.”ECE 716.4

    17. Leo X, like many of the popes before him, considered himself in need of more money than the enormous revenues of the papacy were already bringing him. The jubilee scheme had been exhausted by its successive reduction from a hundred years to fifty, to thirty-three, and to twenty-five. The crusading scheme had also been worn out. Leo X, therefore, was compelled to send throughout Christendom hawkers of indulgences. And the bait was that the money received was to be employed in the erection of the Church of St. Peter. Accordingly, John Tetzel, one of these hawkers of indulgences, came into Germany, in 1516. When Luther heard of it, he remarked: “Please God, I’ll make a hole in his drum.” Tetzel had reached Juterboch, about four miles from Wittemberg; and there, says Luther, “this great thrasher of purses set about thrashing the country in grand style; so that the money began to leap, tumble, and tinkle in his chest.”ECE 716.5

    18. The manner of vending these indulgences was that Tetzel, after loud announcements by forerunners, had come to the place appointed, would set up first a cross painted red, with the coat-of-arms of the pope above it. Then Tetzel would mount a pulpit erected for the purpose, and harangue the crowd in his own gross style, of which the following is a sample:—ECE 716.6

    “Indulgences are the most precious and most sublime gift of God.ECE 716.7

    “The cross (pointing to the red cross) has the very same efficacy as the actual cross of Jesus Christ.ECE 716.8

    “Come, and I will give you letters under seal, by which even the sins which you may have a desire to commit in future will all be forgiven.ECE 716.9

    “I would not exchange my privileges for that of St. Peter in heaven; for I have saved more souls by my indulgences than the apostle by his sermons.ECE 716.10

    “There is no sin too great for an indulgence to remit; ...let him only pay well,—and it shall be forgiven him.ECE 716.11

    “Think, then, that for each mortal sin you must, after confession and contrition, do penance for seven years, either in this life or purgatory. Now, how many mortal sins are committed in one day—in one week? How many in a month—a year—a whole life? Ah! these sins are almost innumerable, and innumerable sufferings must be endured for them in purgatory. And now, by means of these letters of indulgence, you can at once for life,—in all cases except four, which are reserved to the apostolic see,—and afterwards at the hour of death, obtain a full remission of all your pains and all your sins.”ECE 716.12

    “But more than this, indulgences not only save the living; they also save the dead.ECE 717.1

    “For this repentance is not even necessary.ECE 717.2

    “Priest!—noble!—merchant!—young girls!—young men!—hear your departed parents and your other friends, crying to you from the bottom of the abyss, ‘We are enduring horrible torments! A little alms would deliver us; you can give it, and yet will not!’ECE 717.3

    “At the very instant when the piece of money chinks on the bottom of the strong box, the soul comes out of purgatory, and, set free, flies upward into heaven.”ECE 717.4

    19. Many of the people of Wittemberg went to this indulgence market at Juterboch. Luther occupied the confessional, and these people came to him one after another, confessing “the grossest immoralities. Adultery, libertinism, usury, ill-gotten wealth, were the crimes with which the minister of the word was entertained by persons of whose souls he was one day to give account. He rebukes, corrects, and instructs them: but what is his astonishment when these people tell him that they do not choose to abandon their sins! Quite amazed, the pious monk declares that since they refuse to promise amendment, he can not give them absolution. The wretched creatures then appealed to their letters of indulgence, exhibiting them, and extolling their virtues. But Luther replies, that he cared little for the paper which they had shown him, and added: ‘Unless you repent, you will all perish.’ They made an outcry, and expostulated; but the doctor was immovable: ‘they must cease to do evil, and learn to do well—otherwise no absolution.’ ‘Beware,’ added he, ‘of lending an ear to the harangues of the vendors of indulgences; you might be better employed than in buying those licenses which are sold you for the most paltry sum.’”ECE 717.5

    20. By these things Luther was so stirred, that he ascended the pulpit and preached:—ECE 717.6

    “No man can prove by Scripture that the justice of God exacts a penalty or satisfaction from the sinner; the only duty which it imposes upon him is true repentance, sincere conversion, a resolution to bear the cross of Jesus Christ, and to be diligent in good works. It is a great error to think we can ourselves satisfy the justice of God for our sins. He always pardons them gratuitously by His inestimable grace.ECE 717.7

    “The Christian Church, it is true, requires something from the sinner, and consequently has the power of remitting what she so requires; but that is all. Even these indulgences of the Church are tolerated, only on account of indolent and imperfect Christians, who will not zealously exercise themselves in good works. For they stimulate none to satisfaction, but leave all in imperfection.ECE 718.1

    “It would be much better to contribute to the erection of St. Peter’s church from love of God, than to purchase indulgences in this view.... But you ask, Are we then never to purchase them? I have already said, and I repeat it; my advice is, Don’t purchase. Leave them to sleepy Christians; but do you walk apart in your own path. The faithful must be diverted from indulgences, and urged to do the works which they neglect.ECE 718.2

    “If some cry out that I am a heretic (for the truth which I preach is very hurtful to their strong box), their clamor gives me little concern. They are dull and sickly brains; men who never felt the Bible, never read Christian doctrine, never comprehended their own teachers, and who turn to rottenness, wrapped up in the tatters of their vain opinions .... God grant them and us a sound mind. Amen.”ECE 718.3

    21. This sermon was printed, and widely distributed; and, of course, awakened much interest. And now the feast of All Saints drew nigh (Oct. 31, 1517). The night before—the night of October 30—the elector Frederick of Saxony was dwelling at his castle of Schweinitz, about six leagues from Wittemberg. On the morning of October 31, “being in company with his brother, Duke John, who was then coregent, and became sole elector after his death, and with his chancellor, the elector, said to the duke:—ECE 718.4

    “Brother, I must tell you a dream which I had last night, and the meaning of which I should like much to know. It is so deeply impressed, on my mind, that I will never forget it, were I to live a thousand years. For I dreamed it thrice, and each time with new circumstances.ECE 718.5

    Duke John.—“Is it a good or a bad dream?”ECE 719.1

    The Elector.—“I know not: God knows.”ECE 719.2

    Duke John.—“Don’t be uneasy at it; but be so good as to tell it to me.”ECE 719.3

    The Elector.—“Having gone to bed last night, fatigued and out of spirits, I fell asleep shortly after my prayer, and slept quietly for about two hours and a half; I then awoke, and continued awake till midnight—all sorts of thoughts passing through my mind. Among other things, I thought how I was to observe the feast of All Saints. I prayed for the poor souls in purgatory; and supplicated God to guide me, my counsels, and my people, according to truth. I again fell asleep, and then dreamed that Almighty God sent me a monk, who was a true son of the Apostle Paul. All the saints accompanied him by order of God, in order to bear testimony before me, and to declare that he did not come to contrive any plot; but that all that he did was according to the will of God. They asked me to have the goodness graciously to permit him to write something on the door of the Church of the castle of Wittemberg. This I granted through my chancellor. Thereupon the monk went to the Church, and began to write in such large characters that I could read the writing at Schweinitz. The pen which he used was so large, that its end reached as far as Rome, where it pierced the ears of a lion that was couching there, and caused the triple crown upon the head of the pope to shake. All the cardinals and princes, running hastily up, tried to prevent it from falling. You and I, brother, wished also to assist, and I stretched out my arm—but at this moment I awoke, with my arm in the air, quite amazed, and very much enraged at the monk for not managing his pen better. I recollected myself a little: it was only a dream.ECE 719.4

    “I was still half asleep, and once more closed my eyes. The dream returned. The lion, still annoyed by the pen, began to roar with all his might, so much so that the whole city of Rome, and all the States of the holy empire, ran to see what the matter was. The pope requested them to oppose this monk, and applied particularly to me, on account of his being in my country. I again awoke, repeated the Lord’s Prayer, entreated God to preserve his holiness, and once more fell asleep.ECE 719.5

    “Then I dreamed that all the princes of the empire, and we among them, hastened to Rome, and strove, one after another, to break the pen; but the more we tried the stiffer it became—sounding as if it had been made of iron. We at length desisted. I then asked the monk (for I was sometimes at Rome, and sometimes at Wittemberg) where he got his pen, and why it was so strong. ‘The pen,’ replied he, ‘belonged to an old goose of Bohemia—a hundred years old. I got it from one of my old schoolmasters. As to its strength, it is owing to the impossibility of depriving it of its pith or marrow; and I am quite astonished at it myself.’ Suddenly I heard a loud noise,—a large number of other pens had sprung out of the long pen of the monk,—I awoke a third time: it was daylight.”ECE 719.6

    Duke John.—“Chancellor, what is your opinion? Would we had a Joseph or a Daniel enlightened by God!”ECE 720.1

    Chancellor.—“Your highnesses know the common proverb, that the dreams of young girls, learned men, and great lords, have usually some hidden meaning. The meaning of this dream, however, we will not be able to know for some time,—not till the things to which it relates have taken place. Wherefore, leave the accomplishment to God, and place it wholly in his hand.”ECE 720.2

    Duke John.—“I am of your opinion, Chancellor; ‘tis not fit for us to annoy ourselves in attempting to discover the meaning; the God will overrule all for His glory.”ECE 720.3

    Elector.—“May our faithful God do so; yet I will never forget this dream. I have indeed thought of an interpretation, but I keep it to myself. Time, perhaps, will shew if I have been a good diviner.”ECE 720.4

    22. This dream occurred the night of October 30, and was related the morning of October 31. That day, October 31, was All-Saints’ Day. That day especially the relics of the saints, which the elector Frederick had deposited in Wittemberg church, “adorned with silver and gold and precious stones, were brought out and exhibited to the eyes of the people, who were astonished and dazzled by their magnificence. Whoever on that day visited the church, and confessed in it, obtained a valuable indulgence. Accordingly, on this great occasion, pilgrims came in crowds to Wittemberg.”ECE 720.5

    23. And there on that “31st of October, 1517, Luther, who had already taken his resolution, walks boldly toward the church to which the superstitious crowds of pilgrims were repairing, and puts up on the door of this church ninety-five theses or propositions against the doctrine of indulgences. Neither the elector, nor Staupitz, nor Spalatin, nor any, even the most intimate of his friends, had been previously informed of this step. In these theses, Luther declares, in a kind of preamble, that he had written them with the express desire of setting the truth in the full light of day. He declares himself ready to defend them on the morrow at the university, against all and sundry. The attention which they excite is great; they are read and repeated. In a short time the pilgrims, the university, the whole town is ringing with them.”ECE 720.6

    24. In the principle of this rejection of indulgences by Luther, there is nothing new beyond that which was done by Huss on the same subject, in opposition to the bull of John XXIII. The same principle, however, was now newly, and very forcibly stated, and in a variety of forms. This same truth which Huss had preached a hundred years before, had never lost its influence in Europe. As a consequence, this new and forcible statement of the principle falling upon ground already prepared, rapidly spread and rapidly grew. The vital ones of these theses were:—ECE 720.7

    “1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ says ‘repent,’ He means that the whole life of His followers on the earth is a constant and continual repentance.ECE 721.1

    “2. This expression can not be understood of the sacrament of penitence,—that is to say, of confession and satisfaction,—as administered by the priest.ECE 721.2

    “3. Still the Lord intends not to speak merely of internal repentance. Internal repentance is null, if it does not manifest itself externally by the mortification of the flesh.ECE 721.3

    “4. Repentance and sorrow—that is to say, true penitence—continue so long as a man is displeased with himself; that is, until he passes from this life into life eternal.”ECE 721.4

    “27. It is the preaching of human folly to pretend that at the very moment when the money tinkles in the strong box, the soul flies off from purgatory.ECE 721.5

    “28. This much is certain, as soon as the money tinkles, avarice and the love of gain arrive, increase, and multiply. But the aids and prayers of the Church depend only on the will and good pleasure of God.”ECE 721.6

    “32. Those who imagine they are sure of salvation by means of indulgences, will go to the devil, with those who teach them so.”ECE 721.7

    “35. It is an antichristian doctrine to pretend that, in order to deliver a soul from purgatory, or to purchase an indulgence, there is no need of either sorrow or repentance.ECE 721.8

    “36. Every Christian who truly repents of his sins has entire forgiveness of the penalty and the fault; and, so far, has no need of indulgence.ECE 721.9

    “37. Every true Christian, dead or alive, participates in all the blessings of Christ and of the Church by the gift of God, and without a letter of indulgence.”ECE 721.10

    “43. Christians must be told that he who gives to the poor, or lends to the needy, does better than he who buys an indulgence.ECE 721.11

    “44. For the work of charity makes charity increase, and renders a man more pious; whereas, the indulgence does not make him better, but only gives him more self-confidence, and makes him more secure against punishment.ECE 721.12

    “45. Christians must be told that he who sees his neighbor want, and, instead of helping him, purchases an indulgence, purchases not the indulgence of the pope; but incurs the divine displeasure.”ECE 721.13

    “52. To hope to be saved by indulgences is an empty and lying hope, even should the commissary of indulgences—nay, the pope himself—be pleased to pledge his own soul in security for it.”ECE 722.1

    25. “These theses spread with the rapidity of lightning. A month had not elapsed before they were at Rome. ‘In a fortnight,’ says a contemporary historian, ‘they were in every part of Germany, and in four weeks had traversed almost the whole of Christendom; as if the angels themselves had been the messengers, and carried them before the eyes of all men. Nobody can believe what a noise they made.’ They were afterward translated into Dutch and Spanish, and a traveler even sold them at Jerusalem. ‘Every one,’ says Luther, ‘was complaining of the indulgences; and as all the bishops and doctors had kept silence, and nobody had ventured to bell the cat, poor Luther became a famous doctor, because, as they expressed it, one had at length come who dared to do it. But I liked not this glory; the music seemed to me too lofty for the words.’”ECE 722.2

    26. All this time Luther had still great respect for the office and the person of the pope. Indeed, no small portion of his ninety-five theses was occupied with a defense of the pope, against what he held to be the abuses of the indulgences, practiced by the vendors of them. He sent a copy of his theses to the archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, with a letter in which he asked the archbishop to read the theses. The archbishop’s assistant replied to Luther that “he was attacking the power of the Church; that he would involve himself in great trouble and vexation; that the thing was beyond his strength; and that his earnest advice to him was to keep quiet.” Zealous papists vigorously denounced him. Many of Luther’s friends were frightened, and advised him to keep quiet. And the monks of his Order in Wittemberg pleaded with him not so to bring shame on their Order.ECE 722.3

    27. To all of this Luther replied: “They call upon me for moderation, and they themselves, in the judgment which they pass upon me, trample it underfoot! Truth will no more gain by my moderation than it will lose by my presumption. I desire to know what errors have been found in my theses. Who knows not that a new idea is seldom advanced without an appearance of arrogance, and an accusation of disputatiousness. Were humility herself to undertake something new, those of an opinion would charge her with pride. Why were Christ and all the martyrs put to death?—Because they were deemed proud despisers of the wisdom of the time, and advanced new truths without previously taking counsel of the organs of ancient opinion. Let not the wise of the present day, then, expect of me humility, or rather hypocrisy, enough to ask their opinion before publishing what duty calls me to say. What I do will be done, not by the prudence of men, but by the counsel of God. If the work is of God, who can arrest it? If it is not of God, who can advance it? Not my will, nor theirs, nor ours, but thy will be done, O holy Father, who art in heaven!”ECE 722.4

    28. Tetzel came out with an attack on Luther’s theses, in which he was very abusive and insulting. To this Luther replied, defending his theses, and enlarging upon them; and closed with these words: “For the rest, although it is not usual to burn heretics for such points, here, at Wittemberg, am I Doctor Martin Luther! Is there any inquisitor who pretends to chew fire, and makes rocks leap into the air? I give him to know that he has a safe-conduct to come here, an open door, and bed and board certain, all by the gracious care of our admirable Duke Frederick, who will never protect heresy.”ECE 723.1

    29. Spalatin, the elector’s chaplain, in writing to Luther to express his friendship for him in the contest, asked him: “What is the best method in studying the Holy Scripture?” Luther’s answer is valid instruction for all time: “Till now, my dear Spalatin, you have asked questions which I could not answer. But to direct you in the study of the Scriptures, is more than I am able to do. However, if you would absolutely know my method, I will not hide it from you: It is most certain that we can not succeed in comprehending the Scripture either by study or mere intellect. Your first duty, then, is to begin with prayer. Entreat the Lord that He will, in His great mercy, deign to grant you the true knowledge of His Word. There is no other interpreter of the Word of God than the Author of that Word, according as it is said, ‘They will all be taught of God.’ Hope nothing from your works, nothing from your intellect. Trust only in God, and in the influence of His Spirit. Believe one who is speaking from experience.”ECE 723.2

    30. Next Tetzel proceeded to present a series of counter-theses, amongst which were:—ECE 724.1

    “Christians must be taught that whosoever says that the soul does not fly away from purgatory as soon as the money tinkles on the bottom of the strong box, is in error.ECE 724.2

    “Christians must be taught that the pope, by the greatness of his power, is above the whole universal Church and all councils. His orders ought to be implicitly obeyed.ECE 724.3

    “Christians must be taught that the pope alone is entitled to decide in matters of Christian faith; that he and none but he has the power to explain the meaning of Scripture in his own sense, and to approve or condemn all words or works of others.ECE 724.4

    “Christians must be taught that the judgment of the pope in things that concern the Christian faith, and which are necessary to the salvation of the human race, can not possibly err.ECE 724.5

    “Christians must be taught that in matters of faith, they ought to lean and rest more upon the opinion of the pope, as manifested by his decisions, than on the opinion of all wise men, as drawn by them out of Scripture.ECE 724.6

    “Christians must be taught that those who attack the honor and dignity of the pope are guilty of the crime of lese majeste, and deserve malediction.ECE 724.7

    “Christians must be taught that there are many things which the Church regards as authentic articles of universal truth, although they are not found either in the canon of Scripture or in ancient doctors.”ECE 724.8

    31. The others were to the effect that Christians must be taught to regard as heretics under excommunication, all who wrote or taught, against indulgences; and all who protected such, were obstinate heretics, infamous, and should be severely punished with various punishments, in terms of law, and to the terror of all men. He next proceeded to burn the theses which Luther had put forth. In return, the students of Wittemberg University burned Tetzel’s theses. This act of the students was, of course, laid to the charge of Luther. But, to a friend who had inquired about it, Luther wrote: “I am astonished how you could think that it was I that burned Tetzel’s theses. Do you think that I am so devoid of sense? But what can I do? When I am the subject of remark, everything seems to be believed. Can I tie up the tongues of the whole world? Very well! Let them say, let them hear, let them see, let them pretend, whatever they please. I will act as long as the Lord gives me strength, and with His help will fear nothing.”ECE 724.9

    32. The opposition of the papists to Luther’s theses not only caused the general interest in them to increase, but drew Luther farther and farther forward in the essential logic of the principles thus announced. The attention of Rome, and the pope himself, were soon attracted. May 30, 1518, Luther wrote a friendly letter to the pope, Leo X; because, as yet, Luther still believed that the pope could not indorse the indulgences that were being vended throughout Germany.ECE 725.1

    33. In the same year a diet was held at Augsburg, and the emperor, Maximilian, desiring to gain special favor with the pope, wrote to him, August 5, the following letter:—ECE 725.2

    “Most holy Father, we learned, some days ago, that a friar of the Augustine Order, named Martin Luther, had begun to maintain divers propositions as to the commerce in indulgences. Our displeasure is the greater because the said friar finds many protectors, among whom are powerful personages. If your holiness and the very reverend fathers of the Church (the cardinals) do not forthwith employ their authority to put an end to these scandals, not only will these pernicious doctors seduce the simple, but they will involve great princes in their ruin. We will take care that whatever your holiness may decide on this matter, for the glory of Almighty God, shall be observed by all in our empire.”ECE 725.3

    34. Instead of the pope accepting in a friendly way Luther’s friendly letter, Luther was thunderstruck when, August 7, he received from the pope a summons to appear personally in Rome within sixty days. And the emperor and the German princes were being diligently stirred up by the pope’s legate, against Luther. On the other hand, Luther’s friends were everywhere aroused by this citation to Rome, and earnestly prayed the elector to have the case examined in Germany. Also, the pope’s legate himself, in carrying out some political scheme, had asked the pope that the case might be examined in Germany. Accordingly, Leo issued a brief empowering the legate so to do. In this brief Leo wrote:—ECE 725.4

    “We charge you to bring personally before you, to pursue and constrain without delay, and as soon as you receive this our letter, the said Luther, who has already been declared heretic by our dear brother, Jerome, bishop of Asculum. For this purpose invoke the arm and assistance of our very dear son in Christ, Maximilian, the other princes of Germany, and all its commonalties, universities, and powers, ecclesiastical or secular; and if you apprehend him, keep him in safe custody, in order that he may be brought before us. If he returns to himself, and asks pardon for his great crime, asks it of himself, and without being urged to do it, we give you power to receive him into the unity of holy mother Church. If he persists in his obstinacy and you can not make yourself master of his person, we give you power to proscribe him in all parts of Germany; to banish, curse, and excommunicate all who are attached to him, and to order all Christians to shun their presence.ECE 725.5

    “And, in order that this contagion may be the more easily extirpated, you will excommunicate all prelates, religious orders, communities, counts, dukes, and grandees, except the emperor Maximilian, who shall refuse to seize the said Martin Luther and his adherents, and send them to you, under due and sufficient guard. And if (which God forbid) the said princes, communities, universities, grandees, or any one belonging to them, offer an asylum to the said Martin and his adherents, in any way, and give him, publicly or in secret, by themselves or others, aid and council, we lay under interdict these princes, communities, and grandees, with their towns, burghs, fields, and villages, whither said Martin may flee, as long as he shall remain there, and for three days after he shall have left.ECE 726.1

    “In regard to the laity, if they do not obey your orders instantly, and without any opposition, we declare them infamous (with the exception of the most worthy emperor), incapable of performing any lawful act, deprived of Christian burial, and stripped of all fiefs which they may hold, whether of the apostolic see, or of any other superior whatsoever.”ECE 726.2

    35. At the same time Leo sent a most flattering letter to the elector Frederick, calling him “the ornament, the glory, and sweet savor of your noble race,” and urged him to deliver Luther to the legate “lest the pious people of our time and of future times, may one day lament and say, The most pernicious heresy with which the Church of God has been afflicted, was excited by the favor and support of this high and honorable house.”ECE 726.3

    36. A hearing was finally arranged for Luther to be held at Augsburg, before the legate. Three times Luther appeared there. But as the legate insisted that Luther should retract, and would accept nothing else, nor even listen to anything else, this attempt only further widened the breach. When the hearings were over, Luther, not willing to trust Rome, escaped from Augsburg, and returned safely to Wittemberg; and the action of the legate immediately following this, proved that Luther was wise in making his escape just when he did. For the legate wrote a letter to the elector, breathing vengeance and demanding that “since friar Martin can not be brought by paternal methods to acknowledge his error, and remain faithful to the Catholic Church, I pray your highness to send him to Rome, or banish him from your States. Be assured that this difficult, naughty, and venemous affair can not last longer; for when I shall have acquainted our most holy lord with all the craft and malice, there will soon be an end of it.”ECE 726.4

    37. Luther wrote to the elector, suggesting the injustice of requiring of him all this, when no attempt had been made to show wherein he was in error; but for the peace of the elector and his dominions, Luther informed him that he willingly submitted to leave Wittemberg and to go into exile, wherever the Lord might lead him. But this was not called for; for the elector wrote to the legate: “Since Doctor Martin appeared before you at Augsburg, you ought to be satisfied. We did not expect that, without having convicted him, you would have thought of constraining him to retract. None of the learned in our dominions have told us that the doctrine of Martin was impious, antichristian, and heretical.”ECE 727.1

    38. Luther wrote an account of the proceedings in his affair at Augsburg, and published it under the title of “Acts of the Conference at Augsburg,” in which he said: “Great God! What new, what astonishing crime, to seek light and truth! And more especially to seek them in the Church; in other words, in the kingdom of truth.” And, in a letter to a friend he said of this production: “I send you my acts. They are more cutting, doubtless, than the legate expected; but my pen is ready to give birth to far greater things. I know not myself whence those thoughts come. In my opinion, the affair is not even commenced: so far are the grandees of Rome from being entitled to hope it is ended. I will send you what I have written, in order that you may see whether I have divined well in thinking that the antichrist of whom the apostle Paul speaks, is now reigning in the court of Rome. I believe I am able to demonstrate that it is at this day worse than the very Turks.” And, to another he wrote: “But the more their fury and violence increase, the less I tremble.”ECE 727.2

    39. Nov. 28, 1518, Luther, at Wittemberg, publicly “appealed from the pope to a general council of the Church.” And, expecting that this further step would certainly, for the elector’s sake, require that he should leave Wittemberg, he wrote a protest against the methods of procedure of the pope which had forced him to make this appeal from the pope to a general council. In that document he said: “Considering that the pope, who is the vicar of God upon earth, may, like any other vicar, err, sin, or lie, and that the appeal to a general council is the only safeguard against unjust proceedings which it is impossible to resist, I feel myself obliged to have recourse to it.” On December 13, the pope, by his legate in Germany, issued a bull, “confirming the doctrine of indulgences on the very points in which they were attacked, but without mentioning either the elector or Luther.”ECE 727.3

    40. In 1519, a debate was held at Leipsic between Doctor Eck, the papist, and Carlstadt first, and afterward, Luther; because Doctor Eck had said even to Luther that it was really for Luther that he had come to Leipsic, and “if I can not debate with you, I am not anxious to have anything to do with Carlstadt.” Duke George had forbidden Luther to enter a debate; and the duke’s objections had to be overcome. But Doctor Eck accomplished it. In persuading the duke, he said: “We must strike at the head. If Luther stands erect, so do all his adherents—if he falls, they all fall.”ECE 728.1

    41. July 4, at seven in the morning, was begun the debate between Eck and Luther. The debate was opened by Eck asserting the primacy of the papacy, in the words:—ECE 728.2

    “There is in the Church of God a primacy derived from Jesus Christ himself. The Church militant is an image of the Church triumphant. But the latter is a monarchical hierarchy, rising step by step up to the sole Head who is God; and, accordingly, Christ has established the same graduation upon earth. What kind of monster should the Church be if she were without a head!”ECE 728.3

    Luther—(Turning toward the audience)—“The doctor is correct in saying that the universal Church must have a head. If there is any one here who maintains the contrary let him stand up! The remark does not at all apply to me.”ECE 728.4

    Eck.—“If the Church militant has never been without a monarch, I should like to know who that monarch is if he is not the pontiff of Rome.”ECE 728.5

    Luther.—“The Head of the Church militant is not a man, but Jesus Christ himself. This I believe on the testimony of God. Christ (says the Scripture) must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. We can not, therefore, listen to those who would confine Christ to the Church triumphant in heaven. His reign is a reign of faith. We can not see our Head, and yet we have him.”ECE 728.6

    Eck.—“Very well, I come to the essential point. The venerable doctor calls upon me to prove that the primacy of the Church of Rome is of divine institution. I prove it by these words of Christ: Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. St. Augustine, in one of his epistles, has thus expounded the passage: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock—that is to say, on this Peter—I will build my Church.’ It is true Augustine has elsewhere said that by this rock must be understood Christ himself; but he never retracted his former exposition.”ECE 728.7

    Luther.—“If the reverend doctor would attack me, he should first reconcile these contrary statements of Augustine. It is undeniable that St. Augustine has, again and again, said that the rock was Christ; and he may, perhaps, have once said that it was Peter himself. But even should St. Augustine and all the Fathers say that the apostle is the rock of which Christ speaks, I would combat their view on the authority of an apostle—in other words, divine authority; for it is written: No other foundation can any man lay than that is laid, namely, Jesus Christ. Peter himself calls Christ the chief and cornerstone, on which we are built up a spiritual house.”ECE 729.1

    42. This lead was followed farther, and with other subjects, with Eck in the presence of all, and for himself, constantly and consciously losing ground. Finally, on the second day of the debate, he took a turn by which he sought so to prejudice the audience against Luther, as to destroy the effect of his words. Thus he said: “From primitive times downward it was acknowledged by all good Christians that the Church of Rome holds its primacy of Jesus Christ himself, and not of man. I must confess, however, that the Bohemians, while obstinately defending their errors, attacked this doctrine. The venerable father must pardon me if I am an enemy of the Bohemians, because they are the enemies of the Church, and if the present discussion has reminded me of these heretics; for ...according to my weak judgment, ...the conclusions to which the doctor has come, are all in favor of their errors. It is even affirmed that the Hussites loudly boast of this.”ECE 729.2

    43. Eck knew his ground, and “had calculated well. All his partisans received the insinuation with acclamation, and an expression of applause was general throughout the audience.” Luther answered: “I love not a schism, and I never shall. Since the Bohemians, of their own authority, separate from our unity, they do wrong, even were divine authority decisive in favor of their doctrines; for at the head of all divine authority is charity and the union of the Spirit.” At the close of this speech of Luther’s, the meeting was adjourned for dinner. And in this interval Luther was obliged to question himself as to whether he had done right in speaking thus of the Christians of Bohemia. His conscience was touched; and he decided that he would correct the doubtful impression which he had left upon the minds of the people.ECE 729.3

    44. This decision involved the rejection of the Council of Constance, one of the greatest councils of the Church. And he himself was now standing on an appeal to a general council! And now for him to indorse the attitude of the Christian Bohemians was to strike from under himself his sole remaining standing ground with the papacy; and, so, to open all the floodgates of papal opposition. Yet he decided that he would do it. He said to himself: “I must do my duty, come what may.” Accordingly, as soon as the meeting had assembled in the afternoon session, Luther seized the first moment. He arose, and, with the decision of conviction in his voice said: “Certain of the tenets of John Huss and the Bohemians are perfectly orthodox. This much is certain. For instance, ‘That there is only one universal Church;’ and again, ‘That it is not necessary to salvation to believe the Roman Church superior to others.’ Whether Wicklif or Huss has said so, I care not. It is the truth.”ECE 730.1

    45. “This declaration of Luther produced an immense sensation in the audience. The abhorred names of Huss and Wicklif, pronounced with eulogium by a monk in the heart of a Catholic assembly! A general murmur was heard. Duke George himself felt as much alarmed as if he had actually seen the standard of civil war, which had so long desolated the States of his maternal ancestors, unfurled in Saxony. Unable to conceal his emotion, he struck his thigh, shook his head, and exclaimed, loud enough to be heard by the whole assembly, ‘The man is mad!’ The whole audience was extremely excited. They rose to their feet, and every one kept talking to his neighbor. Those who had fallen asleep awoke. Luther’s opponents expressed their exultation, while his friends were greatly embarrassed. Several persons, who till then had listened to him with pleasure, began to doubt his orthodoxy. The impression produced upon the mind of the duke by this declaration was never effaced; from this moment he looked upon the Reformer with an unfavorable eye, and became his enemy.”ECE 730.2

    46. Dr. Eck had said: “I am astonished at the humility and modesty with which the reverend doctor undertakes single-handed to combat so many distinguished Fathers and to know better than sovereign pontiffs, councils, doctors, and universities. It would certainly be astonishing that God should have concealed the truth from so many saints and martyrs ...and not revealed it until the advent of the reverend father!” Luther replied: “The reverend doctor flees before the Holy Scriptures as the devil does before the cross. For my part, with all due deference to the Fathers, I prefer the authority of Scripture, and recommend it to our judges.”ECE 730.3

    47. Even Duke George showed that he was conscious that Luther’s arguments shook the papacy, by remarking: “Let the pope be pope, whether by divine or human law; at all events he is pope.” When news of the discussion reached Bohemia, the Christians there wrote to Luther: “What Huss was formerly in Bohemia, you, O Martin, are now in Saxony. Wherefore pray, and be strong in the Lord.” June 15, 1520, the pope issued a bull against Luther as follows:—ECE 731.1

    “Arise, O Lord!—Arise and be judge in thy own cause. Remember the insults daily offered to Thee by infatuated men. Arise, O Peter! remember thy holy Roman Church, the mother of all Churches, and mistress of the faith! Arise, O Paul! for here is a new Porphyry, who is attacking thy doctrines, and the holy popes, our predecessors! Arise, in fine, assembly of all the saints, holy Church of God, and intercede with the Almighty!ECE 731.2

    “The moment this bull is published, it will be the duty of bishops to make careful search for the writings of Martin Luther, which contain these errors [that is, forty-one propositions from Luther’s writings, which Leo denounced as “pernicious, scandalous, and poisonous”], and to burn them publicly and solemnly in presence of the clergy and laity. In regard to Martin himself, good God! what have we not done! Imitating the goodness of the Almighty, we are ready, even yet, to receive him into the bosom of the Church; and we give him sixty days to transmit his retraction to us in a writing sealed by two prelates; or, what will be more agreeable to us, to come to Rome in person, that no doubt may be entertained as to his submission. Meanwhile, and from this moment, he must cease to preach, teach, or write, and must deliver his works to the flames. If, in the space of sixty days he do not retract, we, by these presents, condemn him and his adherents as public and absolute heretics.”ECE 731.3

    48. All this time Luther was industriously following up his teaching, his preaching, and his writing, on his two great subjects, Justification by Faith, and The Iniquity of Rome: which, indeed was but the one great subject of Justification by Faith. Of Justification by Faith he had already written: “I see that the devil is incessantly attacking this fundamental article, by the instrumentality of his doctors, and that, in this respect, we can not rest or take any repose. Very well, I, Doctor Martin Luther, unworthy evangelist of our Lord Jesus Christ, hold this article—that faith alone, without works, justifies in the sight of God; and I declare that the emperor of the Romans, the emperor of the Turks, the emperor of the Tartars, the emperor of the Persians, the pope, all the cardinals, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, princes, and nobles, all men, and all devils, must let it stand, and allow it to remain forever. If they will undertake to combat this truth, they will bring down the flames of hell upon their heads. This is the true and holy gospel, and the declaration of me, Doctor Luther, according to the light of the Holy Spirit...Nobody has died for our sins but Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I repeat it once more; should the world and all the devils tear each other, and burst with fury, this is, nevertheless, true. And if it be He alone who takes away sin, it can not be ourselves with our works; but good works follow redemption, as the fruit appears on the tree. This is our doctrine; and it is the doctrine which the Holy Spirit teaches with all true Christians. We maintain it in the name of God. Amen.”ECE 731.4

    49. And now, although Luther had not yet heard of the pope’s bull, he declared, “The time of silence is past: the time for speaking has arrived. The mysteries of antichrist must at length be unveiled.” Accordingly, June 20, 1520, he published an “appeal to his Imperial Majesty and the Christian nobility of Germany, on the Reformation of Christianity,” in which on this mighty subject, he sounded the trumpet to all Germany, and to all the world for all time. He wrote: “It is not from presumption that I, who am only one of the people, undertake to address your lordships. The misery and oppression endured at this moment by all the States of Christendom, and more especially by Germany, wring from me a cry of distress. I must call for aid; I must see whether God will not give His Spirit to some one of our countrymen, and stretch out a hand to our unhappy nation. God has given us a young and generous prince (the emperor Charles V), and thus filled our hearts with high hopes. But we too, must, on our own part, do all we can.ECE 732.1

    50. “Now the first thing necessary, is, not to confide in our own great strength, or our own high wisdom. When any work otherwise good is begun in self-confidence, God casts it down, and destroys it. Frederick I, Frederick II, and many other emperors besides, before whom the world trembled, have been trampled upon by the popes, because they trusted more to their own strength than to God. They could not but fall. In this war we have to combat the powers of hell; and our mode of conducting it must be to expect nothing from the strength of human weapons—to trust humbly in the Lord, and look still more to the distress of Christendom than to the crimes of the wicked. It may be that, by a different procedure, the work would begin under more favorable appearances; but suddenly, in the heat of the contest, confusion would arise, bad men would cause fearful disaster, and the world would be deluged with blood. The greater the power, the greater the danger, when things are not done in the fear of the Lord.ECE 733.1

    51. “The Romans, to guard against every species of reformation, have surrounded themselves with three walls. When attacked by the temporal power, they denied its jurisdiction over them, and maintained the superiority of the spiritual power. When tested by Scripture, they replied, that none could interpret it but the pope. When threatened with a council, they again replied that none but the pope should convene it. They have thus carried off from us the three rods destined to chastise them, and abandoned themselves to all sorts of wickedness. But now may God be our help, and give us one of the trumpets which threw down the wall of Jericho. Let us blow down the walls of paper and straw which the Romans have built around them; and lift up the rods which punished the wicked, by bringing the wiles of the devil to the light of day.ECE 733.2

    52. “It has been said that the pope, the bishops, the priests, and all those who people convents, form the spiritual or ecclesiastical estate; and that princes, nobles, citizens, and peasants, form the secular or lay estate. This is a specious tale. But let no man be alarmed. All Christians belong to the spiritual estate; and the only difference between them is in the functions which they fulfill. We have all but one baptism, but one faith; and these constitute the spiritual man. Unction, tonsure, ordination, consecration, given by the pope, or by a bishop, may make a hypocrite, but can never make a spiritual man. We are all consecrated priests by baptism, as St. Peter says: ‘You are a royal priesthood;’ although all do not actually perform the offices of kings and priests, because no one can assume what is common to all without the common consent. But if this consecration of God did not belong to us, the unction of the pope could not make a single priest.ECE 733.3

    53. “If ten brothers, the sons of one king, and possessing equal claims to his inheritance should choose one of their number to administer for them, they would all be kings, and yet only one of them would be the administrator of their common power. So it is in the Church. Were several pious laymen banished to a desert, and were they, from not having among them a priest consecrated by a bishop, to agree in selecting one of their number, whether married or not, he would be as truly a priest, as if all the bishops of the world had consecrated him. In this way were Augustine, Ambrose, and Cyprian elected. Hence it follows, that laymen and priests, princes and bishops or, as we have said, ecclesiastics and laics, have nothing to distinguish them but their functions. They have all the same condition, but they have not all the same work to perform.ECE 734.1

    54. “This being so, why should not the magistrate correct the clergy? The secular power was appointed by God for the punishment of the wicked and the protection of the good, and must be left free to act throughout Christendom, without respect of persons, be they pope, bishops, priests, monks, or nuns. St. Paul says to all Christians, Let every soul (and, consequently, the pope also) be subject to the higher powers; for they bear not the sword in vain (Romans 13:1, 4).ECE 734.2

    55. “It is monstrous to see him who calls himself the vicar of Jesus Christ displaying a magnificence unequaled by that of any emperor. Is this the way in which he proves his resemblance to lowly Jesus, or humble Peter? He is, it is said, the lord of the world. But Christ, whose vicar he boasts to be, has said: My kingdom is not of this world. Can the power of a vicegerent exceed that of his prince?ECE 734.3

    56. “Do you know of what use the cardinals are? I will tell you, Italy and Germany have many convents, foundations, and benefices, richly endowed. How could their revenues be brought to Rome? ...Cardinals were created; then on them cloisters and prelacies were bestowed; and at this hour ...Italy is almost a desert—the convents are destroyed—the bishoprics devoured—the towns in decay—the inhabitants corrupted—worship dying out, and preaching abolished.... Why?—Because all the revenue of the churches go to Rome. Never would the Turk himself have so ruined Italy.ECE 734.4

    57. “And now that they have thus sucked the blood of their won country they come into Germany. They being gently; but let us be on our guard. Germany will soon become like Italy. We have already some cardinals. Their thought is—before the rustic Germans comprehend our design, they will have neither bishopric, nor convent, nor benefice, nor penny, nor farthing. Antichrist must possess the treasures of the earth. Thirty or forty cardinals will be elected in a single day; to one will be given Bamberg, to another the duchy of Wurzburg, and rich benefices will be annexed, until the churches and cities are laid desolate. And then the pope will say: ‘I am the vicar of Christ, and the pastor of His flocks. Let the Germans be resigned.’ How do we Germans submit to such robbery and concussion on the part of the pope? If France has successfully resisted, why do we allow ourselves to be thus sported with and insulted? Ah! if they deprived us of nothing but our goods! But they ravage churches, plunder the sheep of Christ, abolish the worship, and suppress the Word of God.ECE 735.1

    58. “Let us endeavor to put a stop to this desolation and misery. If we would march against the Turks, let us begin with the worst species of them. If we hang pickpockets, and behead robbers, let us not allow Roman avarice to escape—avarice, which is the greatest of all thieves and robbers; and that, too, in the name of St. Peter and Jesus Christ. Who can endure it? Who can be silent? Is not all that the pope possesses stolen? He neither purchased it nor inherited it from St. Peter, nor acquired it by the sweat of his own brow. Where, then, did he get it?ECE 735.2

    59. “Is it not ridiculous, that the pope should pretend to be the lawful heir of the empire? Who gave it to him? Was it Jesus Christ, when He said: The kings of the earth exercise lordship over them; but it shall not be so with you? (Luke 22:25, 26.) How can he govern an empire and at the same time preach, pray, study, and take care of the poor? Jesus Christ forbade His disciples to carry with them gold or clothes, because the office of the ministry can not be performed without freedom from every other care; yet the pope would govern the empire, and at the same time remain pope.ECE 735.3

    60. “Let the pope renounce every species of title to the kingdom of Naples and Sicily. He has no more right to it than I have. His possession of Bologna, Imola, Ravenna, Romagna, Marche d’Ancona, etc., is unjust, and contrary to the commands of Jesus Christ. No man, says, St. Paul, who goeth a warfare entangleth himself with the affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:2). And the pope, who pretends to take the lead in the war of the gospel, entangles himself more with the affairs of this life than any emperor or king. He must be disencumbered of all this toil. The emperor should put a Bible and a prayer book into the hands of the pope, that the pope may leave kings to govern, and devote himself to preaching and prayer.ECE 736.1

    61. “The first thing necessary is to banish from all the countries of Germany the legates of the pope and the pretended blessings which they sell us at the weight of gold, and which are sheer imposture. They take our money; and why?—For legalizing ill-gotten gain, for loosing oaths, and teaching us to break faith, to sin, and go direct to hell...Hearest thou, O pope!—not pope most holy, but pope most sinful...May God, from His place in heaven, cast down thy throne into the infernal abyss!ECE 736.2

    62. “And now I come to a lazy band, which promises much, but performs little. Be not angry, dear sirs, my intention is good; what I have to say is a truth at once sweet and bitter,—viz., that it is no longer necessary to build cloisters for mendicant monks. Good God! we have only too many of them; and would they were all suppressed...To wander vagabond over the country, never has done, and never will do good.ECE 736.3

    63. “Into what a state have the clergy fallen, and how many priests are burdened with women, and children, and remorse, while no one comes to their assistance! Let the pope and the bishops run their course, and let those who will, go to perdition; all very well! but I am resolved to unburden my conscience, and open my mouth freely, however pope, bishops, and others, may be offended! ...I say, then, that according to the institution of Jesus Christ and the apostles, every town ought to have a pastor or bishop, and that this pastor may have a wife, as St. Paul writes to Timothy: Let the bishop be the husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2), and as is still practiced in the Greek Church. But the devil has persuaded the pope, as St. Paul tell Timothy (1 Timothy 4:3), to forbid the clergy to marry. And hence evils so numerous that it is impossible to give them in detail. What is to be done? How are we to save the many pastors who are blameworthy only in this, that they live with a female, to whom they wish with all their heart to be lawfully united? Ah! let them save their conscience!—let them take this woman in lawful wedlock, and live decently with her, not troubling themselves whether it pleases or displeases the pope. The salvation of your soul is of greater moment than arbitrary and tyrannical laws—laws not imposed by the Lord.”ECE 736.4

    64. “It is time to take the case of the Bohemians into serious consideration, that hatred and envy may cease and union be again established...In this way must heretics be refuted by Scripture, as the ancient Fathers did, and not subdued by fire. On a contrary system, executioners would be the most learned of doctors. Oh! would to God that each party among us would shake hands with each other in fraternal humility, rather than harden ourselves in the idea of our power and right! Charity is more necessary than the Roman papacy. I have now done what was in my power. If the pope or his people oppose it, they will have to give an account. The pope should be ready to renounce the popedom, and all his wealth, and all his honors, if he could thereby save a single soul. But he would see the universe go to destruction sooner than yield a hairbreadth of his usurped power. I am clear of these things.ECE 737.1

    65. “I much fear the universities will become wide gates to hell, if due care is not taken to explain the Holy Scriptures, and engrave it on the hearts of the students. My advices to every person is, not to place his child where the Scripture does not reign paramount. Every institution in which the studies carried on, lead to a relaxed consideration of the Word of God, must prove corrupting.”ECE 737.2

    66. “I presume, however, that I have struck too high a note, proposed many things that will appear impossible, and been somewhat too severe on the many errors which I have attacked. But what can I do? Better that the world be offended with me than God! ...The utmost which it can take from me is life. I have often offered to make peace with my opponents, but through their instrumentality, God has always obliged me to speak out against them. I have still a chant upon Rome in reserve; and if they have an itching ear, I will sing it to them at full pitch. Rome! do ye understand me?”ECE 737.3

    67. “If my cause is just, it must be condemned on the earth, and justified only by Christ in heaven. Therefore let pope, bishops, priests, monks, doctors, come forward, display all their zeal, and give full vent to their fury. Assuredly they are just the people who ought to persecute the truth, as in all ages they have persecuted it.”ECE 738.1

    68. This address was put forth from the press, June 26, 1520; and in only a little while 4,000 copies had been sold—“a number, at that period, unprecedented. The astonishment was universal, and the whole people were in commotion. The vigor, spirit, perspicuity, and noble boldness by which it was pervaded, made it truly a work for the people, who felt that one who spoke in such terms, truly loved them. The confused views which many wise men entertained, were enlightened. All became aware of the usurpations of Rome. At Wittemberg no man had any doubt whatever that the pope was antichrist. Even the elector’s court, with all its timidity and circumspection, did not disapprove of the Reformer, but only awaited the issue. The nobility and the people did not even wait. The nation was awakened, and, at the voice of Luther, adopted his cause, and rallied around his standard. Nothing could have been more advantageous to the Reformer than this publication. In palaces, in castles, in the dwellings of the citizens, and even in cottages, all are now prepared and made proof, as it were, against the sentence of condemnation which is about to fall upon the prophet of the people. All Germany is on fire; and the bull, come when it may, never will extinguish the conflagration.”ECE 738.2

    69. The address to the German nation was followed Oct. 6, 1520, by the publication of a treatise entitled “Babylonish Captivity of the Church,” in which Luther said: “Whether I will or not, I daily become more learned, spurred on as I am by so many celebrated masters. Two years ago I attacked indulgences; not with so much ear and indecision, that I am now ashamed of it. But, after all, the mode of attack is not to be wondered at for I had nobody who would help me to roll the stone...I denied that the papacy was of God; but I granted that it had the authority of man. Now, after reading all the subtleties by which these sparks prop up their idol, I know that the papacy is only the kingdom of Babylon, and the tyranny of the great hunter, Nimrod. I therefore beg all my friends, and all booksellers, to burn the books which I wrote on this subject, and to substitute for them the single proposition: ’The papacy is a general chase, by command of the Roman pontiff, for the purpose of running down and destroying souls.’”ECE 738.3

    70. On baptism, in the same book, he said: “God has preserved this single sacrament to us clear of human traditions. God has said, Whoso believeth and is baptized, shall be saved. This divine promise must take precedence of all works, however splendid, of all vows, all satisfactions, all indulgences, all that man has devised. On this promise, if we receive it in faith, all our salvation depends. If we believe, our heart is strengthened by the divine promise; and though all else should abandon the believer, this promise will not abandon him. With it he will resist the adversary who assaults his soul, and will meet death though pitiless, and even the judgment of God himself. In all trials his comfort will be to say, ‘God is faithful to His promises, and these were pledged to me in baptism; if God be for me, who can be against me?’ Oh, how rich the Christian, the baptized! Nothing can destroy him but his own refusal to believe.”ECE 739.1

    71. “Wherefore, I declare that neither the pope, nor the bishop, nor any man whatever, is entitled to impose the smallest burden on a Christian—at least without his consent. Whatsoever is done otherwise is done tyrannically. We are free of all men. The vow which we made in baptism is sufficient by itself alone, and is more than all we could ever accomplish. Therefore all other vows may be abolished. Let every one who enters the priesthood, or a religious order, consider well that the works of a monk or a priest, how difficult soever they may be, are, in the view of God, in no respect superior to those of a peasant laboring in the field, or a woman attending to the duties of her house. God estimates all these things by the rule of faith. And it often happens that the simple labor of a manservant, or maidservant, is more agreeable to God than the fastings and works of a monk, these being deficient in faith ...The Christian people are the people of God led away into captivity, to Babylon, and there robbed of their baptism.ECE 739.2

    72. “I learn that a new papal excommunication has been prepared against me. If so, the present book may be regarded as part of my future recantation. In proof of my obedience, the rest will soon follow; and the whole will, with the help of Christ, form a collection, the like to which Rome never saw or heard before.”ECE 740.1

    73. What Luther had thus far said upon the pope, was not spoken with reference to the person of Leo X, but of the pope as the center of papacy. For Leo X personally, Luther had great respect. And now, he sends a personal letter to Leo, appealing to him, against the papacy as a system; and pleading with him to accept the gospel and separate from Rome. It was a Christian letter, presenting to the pope the truth. It was God’s call even to the pope, to forsake Babylon. In this letter, Luther wrote: “To the most holy father in God, Leo X, pope at Rome, salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.ECE 740.2

    74. “From amid the fearful war which I have been waging for three years with disorderly men, I can not help looking to you, O Leo, most holy father in God. And although the folly of your impious flatterers has compelled me to appeal from your judgment to a future council, my heart is not turned away from your holiness; and I have not ceased to pray God earnestly and with profound sighs, to grant prosperity to yourself and your pontificate.ECE 740.3

    75. “It is true I have attacked some antichristian doctrines, and have inflicted a deep wound on my adversaries because of their impiety. Of this I repent not, as I have here Christ for an example. Of what use is salt if it have lost its savor, or the edge of a sword if it will not cut? Cursed be he who does the work of the Lord negligently. Most excellent Leo, far from having conceived any bad thoughts with regard to you, my wish is that you may enjoy the most precious blessings throughout eternity. One thing only I have done: I have maintained the Word of truth. I am ready to yield to all in everything; but as to this Word, I will not, I can not abandon it. He who thinks differently on this subject is in error.ECE 740.4

    76. “It is true that I have attacked the court of Rome; but neither yourself nor any man living can deny that there is greater corruption in it than was in Sodom and Gomorrah, and that the impiety which prevails makes cure hopeless. Yes; I have been horrified on seeing how, under your name, the poor followers of Christ were deceived. I have opposed this, and will oppose it still,—not that I imagine it possible, in spite of the opposition of flatterers, to accomplish anything in this Babylon, which is confusion itself; but I owe it to my brethren to endeavor, if possible, to remove some of them from these dreadful evils.ECE 740.5

    77. “You know it; Rome has for many years been inundating the world with whatever could destroy both soul and body. The Church of Rome, formerly the first in holiness, has become a den of robbers, a place of prostitution, a kingdom of death and hell; so that antichrist himself, were he to appear, would be unable to increase the amount of wickedness. All this is as clear as day.ECE 741.1

    78. “And yet, O Leo, you yourself are like a lamb in the midst of wolves—a Daniel in the lion’s den. But, single-handed, what can you oppose to these monsters? There may be three or four cardinals who to knowledge add virtue. But what are these against so many? You should perish by poison even before you could try any remedy. It is all over with the court at Rome—the wrath of God has overtaken and will consume it. It hates counsel—it fears reform—it will not moderate the fury of its ungodliness; and hence it may be justly said of it as of its mother, We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; forsake her. It belonged to you and your cardinals to apply the remedy; but the patient laughs at the doctor, and the horse refuses to feel the bit....ECE 741.2

    79. “Cherishing the deepest affection for you, most excellent Leo, I have always regretted that, formed as you are for a better age, you were raised to the pontificate in these times. Rome is not worthy of you, and those who resemble you; the only chief whom she deserves to have is Satan himself; and hence the truth is, that in this Babylon he is more king than you are. Would to God that, laying aside this glory which your enemies so much extol, you would exchange it for a modest pastoral office, or live on your paternal inheritance. Rome’s glory is of a kind fit only for Iscariots...O my dear Leo, of what use are you in this Roman court, unless it be to allow the most execrable men to use your name and your authority in ruining fortunes, destroying souls, multiplying crimes, oppressing faith, truth, and the whole Church of God? O Leo, Leo! you are the most unfortunate of men, and you sit upon the most dangerous of thrones. I tell you the truth because I wish you good.ECE 741.3

    80. “Is it not true that, under the vast expanse of heaven there is nothing more corrupt, more hateful, than the Roman Court? In vice and corruption it infinitely exceeds the Turks. Once the gate of heaven, it has become the mouth of hell—a wide mouth which the wrath of God keeps open, so that, on seeing so many unhappy beings thrown headlong into it, I was obliged to lift my voice, as in a tempest, in order that, at least, some might be saved from the fearful abyss. Such, O Leo, my Father, was the reason why I inveighed against this death-giving see. Far from attacking your person, I thought I was laboring for your safety, when I valiantly assaulted this prison, or rather, this hell in which you are confined. To do all sorts of evil to the Court of Rome, were to discharge your own duty; to cover it with shame is to honor Christ; in one word, to be a Christian is to be anything but a Roman.ECE 742.1

    81. “Meanwhile, seeing that in succoring the see of Rome I was losing my labor and my pains, I sent her a letter of divorce. I said to her, ‘Adieu, Rome!’ He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still (Revelation 22:11), and devoted myself to the tranquil and solitary study of the sacred volume. Then Satan opened his eyes and awoke his servant, John Eck, a great enemy of Jesus Christ, in order that he might oblige me again to descend into the arena. Eck’s wish was to establish the primacy, not of Peter, but of himself, and for that purpose, to lead vanquished Luther in triumph. The blame of all the obloquy which has been cast on the see of Rome rests with him.ECE 742.2

    82. “Now, then, I come to you, O most holy Father, and prostrated at your feet, pray you, if possible, to put a curb on the enemies of the truth. But I can not retract my doctrine. I can not permit rules of interpretation to be imposed on the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God, the source whence all freedom springs, must be left free.” “O Leo, my father! listen not to those flattering sirens who tell you that you are not a mere man, but a demigod, and can ordain what you please. You are the servant of servants; and the seat which you occupy is of all others the most dangerous, and the most unhappy. Give credit not to those who exalt, but to those who humble you. Perhaps I am too bold in giving advice to so high a majesty, whose duty it is to instruct all men. But I see the dangers which surround you at Rome; I see you driven hither and thither, tossed, as it were, upon the billows of a raging sea. Charity urges me; and I can not resist sending forth a warning cry.ECE 742.3

    83. “Not to appear empty-handed before your holiness I present you with a little book, which has appeared under your name; and which will make you aware of the subjects to which I will be able to devote myself, if your flatterers permit me. It is a small matter as regards the size of the volume; but a great one in regard to its contents; for it comprehends a summary of the Christian life. I am poor and have nothing else to offer; besides, you have no want of anything but spiritual gifts. I commend myself to your holiness. May the Lord keep you for ever and ever! Amen.”ECE 743.1

    84. This little book which Luther sent to the pope was entitled “Treatise on the Liberty of the Christian;” in which most precious Christian truth was brought to the attention of the pope, in the following gracious words: “The Christian is free—all things are his. The Christian is a servant, subject to all in everything. By faith he is free; by love he is subject. Faith unites the soul with Christ, as a bride with the bridegroom. Everything that Christ has, becomes the property of the believer; everything that the believer has, becomes the property of Christ. Christ possesses all blessings, even eternal salvation; and these are thenceforth the property of the believer. The believer possesses all vices and all sins; and these become thenceforth the property of Christ. A happy exchange now takes place. Christ, who is God and man, Christ, who has never sinned, and whose holiness is invincible, Christ, the Omnipotent and eternal, appropriating to himself by His wedding ring—that is to say, by faith—all the sins of the believer; these sins are swallowed up in Him and annihilated, for no sin can exist in the presence of His infinite righteousness.ECE 743.2

    85. “Thus, by means of faith, the soul is delivered from all sins, and invested with the eternal righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom. O happy union! Jesus Christ the rich, the noble, the holy Bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, guilty, contemned bride, deliveres her from all evil, and decks her in the richest robes...Christ, a king and priest, shares this honor and glory with all Christians. The Christian is a king, and consequently possesses all things. He is a priest, and consequently possesses God. And it is faith, not works, which procures him this honor. The Christian is free from all things, and above all things—faith giving him everything in abundance.”ECE 743.3

    86. “Although the Christian has thus been made free, he voluntarily becomes a servant, that he may act towards his brethren as God acted towards him through Jesus Christ. I desire freely, joyfully, and gratuitously, to serve a Father who hath thus shed upon me all the riches of His goodness. I wish to become everything to my neighbor, as Christ has become everything to me...From faith flows love to God, and from love a life full of liberty, charity, and joy. Oh, how noble and elevated a life the life of the Christian is! But alas! none know it, and none preach it. By faith the Christian rises even to God,—by love he descends to man, still, however, remaining always in God. This is true liberty,—a liberty as far above every other species of liberty as the heavens are above the earth.”ECE 744.1

    87. Oct. 3, 1520, the pope’s bull was published in Germany, upon which Luther said: “At length this Roman bull has arrived. I despise it, and defy it as impious, false, and in all respects worthy of Eck. It is Christ himself who is condemned. It gives no reasons; it merely cites me, not to be heard, but simply to sing a palinode. I will treat it as spurious, though I have no doubt it is genuine. Oh, if Charles V were a man, and would, for the love of Christ, attack these demons! I rejoice in having to endure some hardships for the best of causes. I already feel more liberty in my heart; for, at length, I know that the pope is antichrist, and that his see is that of Satan himself.”ECE 744.2

    88. In accordance with the decree of the bull, Luther’s books were being gathered together by the agents of Rome, and burnt. At Louvain in the Netherlands, when the decree was published that all his books should be gathered together, and on a certain day, burnt at a certain spot, when the time came, there was a great crowd present and “students and burghers were seen hastening through the crowd, their arms filled with large volumes, which they threw into the flames. Their zeal edified the monks and doctors;” but it was afterwards discovered that “instead of the writings of Luther, they had thrown into the fire the ‘Sermones Discipuli Tartaret,’ and other scolastic and popish books!” The doctors of Louvain told Margaret, regent of the Netherlands: “Luther is subverting the Christian faith.” She asked: “Who is this Luther?” They said: “An ignorant monk.” The princess replied: “Well, then, do you who are learned, in such numbers, write against him. The world will credit a multitude of learned men sooner than an isolated monk.”ECE 744.3

    89. November 4, following, Luther published a treatise entitled, “Against the Bull of Antichrist,” in which he said: “What errors, what impostures, have crept in among the poor people under the cloak of the Church and the pretended infallibility of the pope! How many souls have thus been lost! How much blood shed! what murders committed! what kingdoms ruined! I know very well how to distinguish between art and malice; and set very little value on a malice which has no art. To burn books is so easy a matter, that even children can do it; how much more the holy father and his doctors. It would become them to show greater ability than is requisite merely to burn books.... Besides, let them destroy my works! I desire nothing more; for all I wished was to guide men to the Bible, that they might, thereafter, lay aside all my writings. Good God; if we had the knowledge of Scripture, what need would there be for my writings? ...I am free, by the grace of God; and bulls neither solace nor frighten me. My strength and consolation are where neither men nor devils can assail them.”ECE 745.1

    90. It was a crime for any person to appeal from the pope to a general council. But, November 17, Luther committed this crime. A notary and five witnesses were called by Luther to the convent where he resided; and there Luther had the notary draw up in legal form his appeal, in the following words:—ECE 745.2

    “Considering that a general council of the Christian Church is above the pope, especially in all that concerns the faith:ECE 745.3

    “Considering that the power of the pope is not above, but beneath the Scripture, and that he has no right to worry the sheep of Christ, and throw them into the wolf’s mouth:ECE 745.4

    “I, Martin Luther, Augustine, doctor of the Holy Scriptures at Wittemberg, do, by this writing, appeal for myself, and for all who shall adhere to me, from the most holy Pope Leo, to a future universal Christian council.ECE 746.1

    “I appeal from the said Pope Leo, first, as an unjust, rash, tyrannical judge, who condemns me without hearing me; and without explaining the grounds of his judgment; secondly, as a heretic, a strayed, obdurate apostate, condemned by the Holy Scriptures, inasmuch as he ordains me to deny that Christian faith is necessary in the use of the sacraments; thirdly as an enemy an antichrist, an adversary, a tyrant of the Holy Scripture, who dares to oppose his own words to all the words of God; fourthly, as a despiser, a calumniator, a blasphemer of the holy Christian Church and a free council, inasmuch as he pretends that a council is nothing in itself.ECE 746.2

    “Wherefore, I most humbly supplicate the most serene, most illustrious, excellent, generous, noble, brave, sage, and prudent lords, Charles, the Roman emperor, the electors, princes, counts, barons, knights, gentlemen, councilors, towns, and commonalties, throughout Germany, to adhere to my protestation, and join me in resisting the antichristian conduct of the pope, for the glory of God, the defense of the Church, and of Christian doctrine, and the maintenance of free councils in Christendom. Let them do so, and Christ our Lord will richly recompense them by His eternal grace. But if there are any who despise my prayer, and continue to obey that impious man, the pope, rather than God, I, by these presents, shake myself free of the responsibility. Having faithfully warned their consciences, I leave them, as well as the pope, and all his adherents, to the sovereign judgment of God.”ECE 746.3

    91. December 10, notices were posted on the walls in public places of Wittemberg, “inviting professors and students to meet at nine o’clock in the morning, at the east gate, near the holy cross. A great number of teachers and pupils assembled; and Luther, walking at their head, led the procession to the appointed spot.... A scaffold had been prepared. One of the oldest masters of arts applied the torch. At the moment when the flames arose, the redoubted Augustine, dressed in his frock, was seen to approach the pile, holding in his hands the Canon Law, the Decretals, the Clementines, the Extravagants of the popes, some writings of Eck and Emser, and the papal bull. The Decretals having first been consumed, Luther held up the bull, and saying, ‘Since thou hast grieved the Lord’s Anointed, let the eternal fire grieve and consume thee,’ threw it into the flames.”ECE 746.4

    92. Luther and the crowd all quietly returned to the town, Luther further remarking: “In all the papal laws there is not one word to teach us who Jesus Christ is. My enemies have been able, by burning my books, to injure the truth in the minds of the common people, and therefore I burnt their books in my turn. A serious struggle has now commenced. Hitherto I have only had child’s play with the pope. I began the work in the name of God; it will be terminated without me, and by His power. If they burn my books, in which, to speak without vain glory, there is more of the gospel than in all the books of the pope, I am entitled, a fortiori, to burn theirs, in which there is nothing good.”ECE 747.1

    93. The next day, at the close of his regular lecture, he said: “If you do not with all your heart combat the impious government of the pope, you can not be saved. Whoever takes pleasure in the religion and worship of the papacy, will be eternally lost in the life to come. If we reject it, we may expect all kinds of dangers, and even the loss of life. But it is far better to run such risks in the world than to be silent! As long as I live I will warn my brethren of the sore and plague of Babylon, lest several who are with us fall back with the others into the abyss of hell. The pope has three crowns, and they are these: the first is against God, for he condemns religion; the second, against the emperor, for he condemns the secular power; and the third, against society, for he condemns marriage.”ECE 747.2

    94. All these things, of course, created greater and greater commotions throughout Germany, and even beyond. His enemies were attacking him from all sides: the hesitating ones were frightened: even his friends feared that he was going too fast and too far. Aleander, the pope’s nuncio at the coronation of Charles V at Cologne, addressed the elector, Frederick of Saxony, whose subject Luther was:—ECE 747.3

    “See the immense perils to which this man exposes the Christian commonwealth. If a remedy is not speedily applied, the empire is destroyed. What ruined the Greeks, if it was not their abandonment of the pope? You can not remain united to Luther without separating from Jesus Christ. In the name of his holiness, I ask of you two things: first, to burn the writings of Luther; secondly, to punish him according to his demerits, or at least to give him up a prisoner to the pope. The emperor, and all the princes of the empire, have declared their readiness to accede to our demands; you alone still hesitate.”ECE 747.4

    95. The elector answered that this was a matter of too much importance to be decided upon the spur of the moment, and at a later time he would give a definite answer. On his own part Luther wrote to Spalatin, the elector’s chaplain: “If the gospel was of a nature to be propagated or maintained by the power of the world, God would not have intrusted it to fishermen. To defend the gospel appertains not to the princes and pontiffs of this world. They have enough to do to shelter themselves from the judgments of the Lord and His Anointed. If I speak, I do it in order that they may obtain the knowledge of the divine word, and be saved by it.”ECE 748.1

    96. Luther was, practically, alone; and even this began to be used as a charge against him. But, to all he said: “Who knows if God has not chosen me, and called me; and if they ought not to fear that, in despising me, they may be despising God himself?...Moses was alone on coming out of Egypt, Elijah alone in the time of King Ahab, Isaiah alone in Jerusalem, Ezekiel alone at Babylon.... God never chose for a prophet either the high priest or any other great personage. He usually chose persons who were low and despised. On one occasion he even chose a shepherd (Amos). At all times the saints have had to rebuke the great—kings, princes, priests, the learned—at the risk of their lives. And under the new dispensation has it not been the same? Ambrose in his day was alone; after him Jerome was alone; later still Augustine was alone.... I do not say that I am a prophet; but I say they ought to fear just because I am alone, and they are many. One thing I am sure of, the Word of God is with me, and is not with them.ECE 748.2

    97. “It is said also that I advance novelties, and that it is impossible to believe that all other doctors have for so long a period been mistaken. No, I do not preach novelties. But I say that all Christian doctrines have disappeared, even among those who ought to have preserved them,—I mean bishops and the learned. I doubt not, however, that the truth has remained in some hearts, should it even have been in infants in the cradle. Poor peasants, mere babes, now understand Jesus Christ better than the pope, the bishops, and the doctors.ECE 748.3

    98. “I am accused of rejecting the holy doctors of the Church. I reject them not; but since all those doctors try to prove their writings by Holy Scripture, it must be clearer and more certain than they are. Who thinks of proving an obscure discourse by one still more obscure? Thus, then, necessity constrains us to recur to the Bible, as all the doctors do, and to ask it to decide upon their writings; for the Bible is lord and master.”ECE 749.1

    99. Jan. 28, 1521, the Diet of Worms was opened by Charles V in person, the first imperial assembly since his accession. Never had a diet been attended by so many princes.” And, among the subjects to be considered there, the emperor had named, in his letter convening the diet, “The Reformation.” He had written to the elector Frederick to “bring Luther to the diet, assuring him that no injustice would be done him, that he would meet with no violence, that learned men would confer with him.” Information of this was conveyed by the elector, through his chaplain, to Luther. Luther’s health was just then quite poor; and his friends were afraid.ECE 749.2

    100. But Luther, never fearing, only said: “If I can not go to Worms in health, I will make myself to be carried; since the emperor calls me, I can not doubt but it is a call from God himself. If they mean to employ violence against me, as is probable (for assuredly it is not with a view to their own instruction that they make me appear), I leave the matter in the hands of the Lord. He who preserved the three young men in the furnace, still lives and reigns. If He is not pleased to save me, my life is but a small matter; only let us not allow the gospel to be exposed to the derision of the wicked, and let us shed our blood for it sooner than permit them to triumph. Whether would my life or my death contribute most to the general safety? It is not for us to decide. Let us only pray to God that our young emperor may not commence his reign with dipping his hands in my blood; I would far rather perish by the sword of the Romans. You know what judgments befel the emperor Sigismund after the murder of John Huss. Expect everything of me save flight and recantation; I can not fly, still less can I recant.”ECE 749.3

    101. But the elector would rather trust Luther to the care of God; and without waiting for a reply from Luther, he wrote to the emperor: “It seems to me difficult to bring Luther with me to Worms; relieve me from the task. Besides, I have never wished to take his doctrine under my protection; but only to prevent him from being condemned without a hearing. The legates, without waiting for your orders, have proceeded to take a step, insulting both to Luther and to me; and I much fear that in this way they have hurried him on to an imprudent act [the burning of the pope’s bull], which might expose him to great danger, were he to appear at the diet.”ECE 749.4

    102. In the diet the pope’s nuncio made a great speech, three hours in length, against Luther. The papacy did not want Luther to go to the diet: she did not want him to be heard. Aleander’s speech was designed especially to persuade the emperor not to summon him. He closed with the following words:—ECE 750.1

    “Luther will not allow any one to instruct him. The pope summoned him to Rome; but he did not obey. The pope summoned him to Augsburg before his legate; and he would not appear without a safe-conduct from the emperor,—i. e., until the hands of the legate were tied, and nothing left free to him but his tongue. Ah! I supplicate your imperial majesty not to do what would issue in disgrace. Interfere not with a matter of which laics have no right to take cognizance. Do your own work. Let Luther’s doctrines be interdicted throughout the empire; let his writings be everywhere burnt. Fear not; there is enough in the writings of Luther to burn a hundred thousand heretics...And what have we to fear?...The populace? Before the battle they seem terrible from their insolence; in the battle they are contemptible from their cowardice. Foreign princes? The king of France has prohibited Luther’s doctrine from entering his kingdom; while the king of Great Britain is preparing a blow for it with his royal hand. You know what the feelings of Hungary, Italy, and Spain are, and none of your neighbors, how great soever the enmity he may bear to yourself, wishes you anything so bad as this heresy. If the house of our enemy is adjacent to our own, we may wish him fever, but not pestilence...Who are all these Lutherans? A huddle of insolent grammarians, corrupt priests, disorderly monks, ignorant advocates, degraded nobles, common people, misled and perverted. Is not the Catholic party far more numerous, able, and powerful? A unanimous decree of this assembly will enlighten the simple, give warning to the imprudent, determine those who are hesitating, and confirm the feeble.... But if the axe is not laid to the root of this poisonous shrub, if the fatal stroke is not given to it then ...I see it covering the heritage of Jesus Christ with its branches, changing the vineyard of the Lord into a howling forest, transforming the kingdom of God into a den of wild beasts, and throwing Germany into the frightful state of barbarism and desolation to which Asia has been reduced by the superstition of Mohammed.”ECE 750.2

    103. But, a few days afterward, Aleander’s effort was completely nullified by a speech of Duke George, Luther’s greatest enemy amongst the nobles. And, from his widely known enmity to Luther, his speech had so much the more effect. “Seeing the nuncio sought to confound Luther and reform in one common condemnation, George suddenly stood up amongst the assembled princes, and, to the great astonishment of those who knew his hatred to the Reformer, said:—ECE 751.1

    “The diet must not forget the grievances of which it complains against the court of Rome. What abuses have crept into our States! The annats which the emperor granted freely for the good of Christendom now demanded as a debt,—the Roman courtiers every day inventing new ordinances, in order to absorb, sell, and farm out ecclesiastical benefices,—a multitude of transgressions winked at,—rich offenders unworthily tolerated, while those who have no means of ransom are punished without pity,—the popes incessantly bestowing expectancies and reversions on the inmates of their palace, to the detriment of those to whom the benefices belong,—the commendams of abbeys and convents of Rome conferred on cardinals, bishops, and prelates, who appropriate their revenues, so that there is not one monk in convents which ought to have twenty or thirty,—stations multiplied without end, and indulgence shops established in all the streets and squares of our cities, shops of St. Anthony, shops of the Holy Spirit, of St. Hubert, of St. Cornelius, of St. Vincent, and many others besides,—societies purchasing from Rome the right of holding such markets, then purchasing from their bishop the right of exhibiting their wares, and, in order to procure all this money, draining and emptying the pockets of the poor,—the indulgence, which ought to be granted solely for the salvation of souls, and which ought to be merited only by prayers, fastings, and the salvation of souls, sold at a regular price,—the officials of the bishops oppressing those in humble life with penances for blasphemy, adultery, debauchery, the violation of this or that feast day, while, at the same time, not even censuring ecclesiastics who are guilty of the same crimes,—penances imposed on the penitent, and artfully arranged, so that he soon falls anew into the same fault, and pays so much the more money.ECE 751.2

    “Such are some of the crying abuses of Rome; all sense of shame has been cast off, and one thing only is pursued—money! money! Hence, preachers who ought to teach the truth, now do nothing more than retail lies—lies, which are not only tolerated, but recompensed, because the more they lie, the more they gain. From this polluted well comes forth all this polluted water. Debauchery goes hand in hand with avarice. The officials cause women to come to their houses under divers pretexts, and strive to seduce them, sometimes by menaces, sometimes by presents; or, if they can not succeed, injure them in their reputation. Ah! the scandals caused by the clergy precipitate multitudes of poor souls into eternal condemnation! There must be a universal reform, and this reform must be accomplished by summoning a general council. Wherefore, most excellent princes and lords, with submission I implore you to lose no time in the consideration of this matter.”ECE 751.3

    104. Other members of the diet followed Duke George in a similar strain. They said: “We have a pontiff who spends his life in hunting and pleasure. Benefices of Germany are given at Rome to huntsmen, domestics, grooms, stable boys, body servants, and other people of that class: ignorant, unpolished people, without capacity, and entire strangers to Germany.” Duke George put his speech and grievances in writing. A committee was appointed to collect the grievances. And, when they had rendered their report, the list of grievances against Rome numbered one hundred and one. “A deputation, consisting of secular and ecclesiastical princes, presented the list to the emperor, imploring him to give redress, as he had engaged to do at his election. ‘How many Christian souls are lost,’ said they to Charles V. ‘How many depredations, how much extortion, are caused by the scandals with which the spiritual chief of Christendom is environed! The ruin and dishonor of our people must be prevented. Therefore, we all, in a body, supplicate you most humbly, but also must urgently, to ordain a general reformation, to undertake it, and to accomplish it.” Even the emperor’s confessor had “denounced the vengeance of heaven against him if he did not reform the Church.” One effect of all this was that “the emperor immediately withdrew the edict which ordered Luther’s writings to be committed to the flames in every part of the empire; and in its place substituted a provisional order remitting these books to the magistrates.”ECE 752.1

    105. These occurrences had awakened in the diet a real desire that Luther should appear there. His friends were always insisting that it was unjust to condemn him without a hearing; and now some of his enemies said: “His doctrine has so taken possession of men’s hearts that it is impossible to arrest their progress without hearing him.” But the pope’s nuncio, really afraid that Luther might be brought, exerted himself more diligently than ever to prevent it. He went even to the emperor himself, and said:—ECE 752.2

    “It is unlawful to bring into question what the sovereign pontiff has decided. There will be no discussion with Luther, you say; but will not the power of this audacious man—will not the fire of his eye, and the eloquence of his tongue, and the mysterious spirit which animates him, be sufficient to excite some sedition? Several already venerate him as a saint; and you, everywhere, meet with his portrait surrounded with a halo of glory, as round the head of the Blessed. If it is determined to cite him, at least let it be without giving him the protection of public faith.”ECE 753.1

    106. But all opposition was in vain. The emperor decided that Luther should come. And the emperor gave him not only the imperial safe-conduct, but had each of the princes through whose States he should pass, also give him a safe-conduct. March 6, 1521, the emperor sent to him the following summons:—ECE 753.2

    “Charles, by the grace of God, elected Roman emperor, always Augustus, etc., etc.ECE 753.3

    “Honorable, dear, and pious! We, and the States of the holy empire, having resolved to make an inquest touching the doctrine and the books which you have published for some time past, have given you, to come here and return to a place of safety, our safe-conduct, and that of the empire, here subjoined. Our sincere desire is, that you immediately prepare for this journey, in order that, in the space of twenty-one days, mentioned in our safe-conduct, you may be here certainly, and without fail. Have no apprehension of either injustice or violence. We will firmly enforce our safe-conduct underwritten; and we expect that you will answer to our call. In so doing, you will follow our serious advice.ECE 753.4

    “Given at our imperial city of Worms, the sixth day of March, in the year of our Lord, 1521, and in the second year of our reign. CHARLES.ECE 753.5

    “By order of my lord the emperor, with his own hand, Albert, cardinal of Mentz, archchancellor. NICHOLAS ZWILL.ECE 753.6

    107. April 2 Luther started to Worms. “Wherever he passed, the people flocked to see him. His journey was a kind of triumphal procession. Deep interest was felt in beholding the intrepid man who was on the way to offer his head to the emperor and the empire. An immense concourse surrounded him. ‘Ah!’ said some of them to him, ‘there are so many cardinals and so many bishops at Worms, they will burn you; they will reduce your body to ashes, as was done with that of John Huss.’ But nothing terrified the monk. ‘Were they to make a fire,’ said he, ‘that would extend from Worms to Wittemberg, and reach even to the sky, I would walk across it in the name of the Lord; I would appear before them; I would walk into the jaws of this behemoth, and break his teeth, and confess the Lord Jesus Christ.”ECE 753.7

    108. At another place an officer said to him: “Are you the man who undertakes to reform the papacy? How will you succeed?” Luther replied: “Yes, I am the man. I confide in Almighty God, whose Word and command I have before me.” The officer looked earnestly into his face, and said: “Dear friend, there is something in what you say. I am the servant of Charles; but your Master is greater than mine. He will aid you and guard you.” At yet another place an aged widow said to him: “My father and mother told me that God would raise up a man who should oppose the papal vanities, and save the Word of God. I hope you are that man. And I wish you, for your work, the grace and the Holy Spirit of God.”ECE 754.1

    109. As he drew to Worms, Aleander and the other chief papists were more than ever concerned. They set a trap, to have him turn aside at the invitation of some friends, where they would meet him for a conference, and detain him till the safe-conduct was expired. But Luther would accept no invitation. He said: “I continue my journey; and if the emperor’s confessor has anything to say to me, he will find me at Worms. I go where I am called.” Even Spalatin, a true friend, so far weakened as to send a messenger to meet Luther, with the message: “Don’t enter Worms!” Luther looked straight at the messenger, and replied: “Go, and tell your master that were there as many devils in Worms as there are tiles upon the roofs, I would enter.”ECE 754.2

    110. And he did enter. A hundred mounted gentlemen met him outside the gates, to escort him into the city. A crowd awaited him at the gates. Two thousand people accompanied him through the streets. As he passed along, “suddenly a man clad in singular dress, and carrying a large cross before him, as is usual at funerals, breaks off from the crowd, advances toward Luther, and then in a loud voice, and with the plaintive cadence which is used in saying mass for the repose of the souls of the dead, chants the following stanzas, as if he had been determined that the very dead should hear them:—ECE 754.3

    “Advenisti, O desiderabilis!ECE 754.4

    “Quem expectabamus in tenebris!ECE 754.5

    “Thou hast arrived, O desired one! thou whom we longed and waited for in darkness.”ECE 755.1

    111. The emperor immediately assembled his council of State, and said: “Luther is arrived! What must be done?” The bishop of Palermo said: “We have long consulted on this subject. Let your imperial majesty speedily get rid of this man. Did not Sigismund cause John Huss to be burned? There is no obligation either to give or observe a safe-conduct to a heretic.” But Charles answered: “No! What has been promised must be performed!” The next morning, Friday, April 17, the marshal of the empire came to Luther, and summoned him to “appear at four o’clock P. M. in the presence of his imperial majesty and the States of the empire.”ECE 755.2

    112. As four o’clock struck, the marshal again appeared, and escorted Luther to the hall of the diet. “The herald walked first; after him the marshal; and last the Reformer. The multitude thronging the streets was still more numerous than on the previous evening. It was impossible to get on; it was vain to cry, Give place!—the crowd increased. At length, the herald, seeing the impossibility of reaching the town hall, caused some private houses to be opened, and conducted Luther through gardens and secret passages to the place of meeting. The people, perceiving this, rushed into the houses on the steps of the monk of Wittemberg, or placed themselves at the windows which looked into the gardens, while great numbers of persons got up on the roofs. The tops of the houses, the pavement, every place above and below, was covered with spectators.”ECE 755.3

    113. They finally reached the hall. But here the crowd was greater than anywhere else. The soldiers had to make a way for them. As he was entering the hall, an old general, “seeing Luther pass, clapped him on the shoulder, and shaking his head, whitened in battle, kindly said to him: ‘Poor monk! Poor monk! You have before you a march, and an affair, the like to which neither I nor a great many captains have ever seen in the bloodiest of our battles. But if your cause is just, and you have full confidence in it, advance in the name of God, and fear nothing. God will not forsake you.”ECE 755.4

    114. Luther stood before the diet. “Never had man appeared before an assembly so august. The emperor Charles V, whose dominions embraced the old and the new world; his brother, the archduke Ferdinand; six electors of the empire, whose descendants are now almost all wearing the crown of kings; twenty-four dukes, the greater part of them reigning over territories of greater or less extent, and among whom are some bearing a name which will afterward become formidable to the Reformation (the duke of Alva, and his two sons); eight margraves; thirty archbishops, bishops, or prelates; seven ambassadors, among them those of the kings of France and England; the deputies of ten free towns; a great number of princes, counts, and sovereign barons the nuncios of the pope;—in all, two hundred and four personages.ECE 755.5

    115. “This appearance was in itself a signal victory gained over the papacy. The pope had condemned the man; yet here he stood before a tribunal which thus far placed itself above the pope. The pope had put him under his ban, debarring him from all human society; and yet here he was convened in honorable terms, and admitted before the most august assembly in the world. The pope had ordered that his mouth should be forever mute; and he was going to open it before an audience of thousands, assembled from the remotest quarters of Christendom. An immense revolution had thus been accomplished by the instrumentality of Luther. Rome was descending from her throne—descending at the bidding of a monk.ECE 756.1

    116. “Some of the princes, seeing the humble son of the miner of Mansfeld disconcerted in presence of the assembly of kings, kindly approached him, and one of them said: ’Fear not them who can kill the body, but can not kill the soul.’ Another added: ‘When you will be brought before kings, it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.’ Thus the Reformer was consoled, in the very words of his Master, by the instrumentality of the rulers of the world.”ECE 756.2

    117. Finally they had made their way to the presence of the emperor, and stood in front of his throne. Then the marshal, instructing him not to speak till he was asked, withdrew. In a moment an official addressed him, first in Latin, and then in German: “Martin Luther, his sacred and invincible imperial majesty has cited you before his throne, by the advice and counsel of the States of the holy Roman Empire, in order to call upon you to answer these two questions: First, Do you admit that these books were composed by you [pointing to a collection of about twenty books lying on a table]? Secondly, Do you mean to retract these books and their contents, or do you persist in the things which you have advanced in them?”ECE 756.3

    118. Luther was about to reply, but his counsel interrupted, saying: “Read the titles of the books.” The titles were read. Then, first in Latin, next in German, Luther said: “Most gracious emperor! gracious princes and lords! His imperial majesty asks me two questions. As to the first, I acknowledge that the books which have been named are mine: I can not deny them. As to the second, considering that it is a question which concerns faith and the salvation of souls,—a question in which the Word of God is interested; in other words, the greatest and most precious treasure either in heaven or on the earth,—I should act imprudently were I to answer without reflection. I might say less than the occasion requires, or more than the truth demands, and thus incur the guilt which our Saviour denounced when He said: Whoso shall deny me before men, him will I deny before My Father who is in heaven. Wherefore, I pray your imperial majesty, with all submission, to give me time, that I may answer without offense to the Word of God.”ECE 757.1

    119. The emperor, who had narrowly watched Luther all this time, turned to one of his courtiers, and said: “Assuredly that is not the man who would ever make me turn heretic!” After a consultation of the emperor and his lords, proclamation was made: “Martin Luther, his imperial majesty, in accordance with the goodness which is natural to him, is pleased to grant you another day; but on condition that you give your reply verbally and not in writing.” Luther returned to his rooms, and wrote to a friend: “I write you from the midst of tumult. I have within this hour, appeared before the emperor and his brother. I have acknowledged the authorship, and declared that to-morrow I will give my answer concerning retractation. By the help of Jesus Christ, not one iota of all my works will I retract.”ECE 757.2

    120. The next day, as the hour drew near, Luther felt the solemnity of the occasion. He was to speak to the whole world, for God and His truth. He therefore engaged earnestly in prayer, some sentences of which were overheard by his friends and were preserved: “God Almighty! God Eternal! how terrible is the world! how it opens its mouth to swallow me up! and how defective my confidence in thee! How weak the flesh! how powerful Satan! If I must put my hope in that which the world calls powerful, I am undone!...The knell is struck, and judgment is pronounced! ...O God! O God! O thou, my God! assist me against all the wisdom of the world! Do it: thou must do it.... Thou alone; ...for it is not my work, but thine. I have nothing to do here,—I have nothing to do contending thus with the mighty of the world. I, too, would like to spend tranquil and happy days. But the cause is thine; and it is just and everlasting! O Lord! be my help. Faithful God! immutable God! I trust not in any man. That were vain. All that is of man vacillates! All that comes of man gives way! O God! O God! dost thou not hear? ...My God! art thou dead? ...No; thou canst not die! Thou only hidest thyself! Thou hast chosen me for this work! I know it. Act, then, O God! ...Stand by my side, for the sake of thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who is my defense, my buckler, and my fortress! ...ECE 757.3

    121. “Come! Come! I am ready! ...I am ready to give up my life for thy truth, ...patient as a lamb. For the cause is just, and it is thine! ...I will not break off from thee, either now or through eternity! ...And though the world should be filled with devils, though my body,—which, however, is the work of thy hands—should bite the dust, be racked on the wheel, cut in pieces ...ground to powder, ...my soul is thine. Yes, thy Word is my pledge. My soul belongs to thee, and will be eternally near thee ...Amen...O God, help me! ...Amen.”ECE 758.1

    122. At four o’clock the imperial herald came, to conduct him to the diet. When they arrived at the hall, “many persons entered with him; for there was an eager desire to hear his answer. All minds were on the stretch, waiting impatiently for the decisive moment which now approached. This time Luther was free, calm, self-possessed, and showed not the least appearance of being under constraint. Prayer had produced its fruits. The princes having taken their seats,—not without out difficulty, for their places were almost invaded,—and the monk of Wittemberg again standing in front of Charles V, the chancellor of the elector of Treves rose up and said: ‘Martin Luther! you yesterday asked a delay, which is now expired. Assuredly it might have been denied you, since every one ought to be sufficiently instructed in matters of faith, to be able always to render an account of it to whosoever asks,—you above all, so great and able a doctor of Holy Scripture...Now, then, reply to the question of his majesty, who has treated you with so much mildness: Do you mean to defend your books out and out, or do you mean to retract some part of them?’”ECE 758.2

    123. Then, says the Acts of Worms: “Then Doctor Martin Luther replied in the most humble and submissive manner. He did not raise his voice; he spoke not with violence, but with candor, meekness, suitableness, and modesty, and yet with great joy and Christian firmness.”ECE 759.1

    124. “Most serene emperor! illustrious princes! gracious lords! I this day appear humbly before you, according to the order which was given me yesterday; and by the mercies of God, I implore your majesty and august highnesses, to listen kindly to the defense of a cause which I am assured is righteous and true. If, from ignorance, I am wanting in the usages and forms of courts, pardon me; for I was not brought up in the palaces of kings, but in the obscurity of a cloister.ECE 759.2

    125. “Yesterday, two questions were asked me on the part of his imperial majesty: the first, if I was the author of the books whose titles were read; the second, if I was willing to recall or to defend the doctrine which I have taught in them. I answered the first question, and I adhere to my answer.ECE 759.3

    126. “As to the second, I have composed books on very different subjects. In some, I treat of faith and good works in a manner so pure, simple, and Christian, that my enemies even, far from finding anything to censure, confess that these writings are useful, and worthy of being read by the godly. The papal bull, how severe soever it may be, acknowledges this. Were I then to retract these, what should I do? ...Wretch! I should be alone among men, abandoning truths which the unanimous voice of my friends and enemies approves, and opposing what the whole world glories in confessing.ECE 759.4

    127. “In the second place, I have composed books against the papacy—books in which I have attacked those who, by their false doctrine, their bad life, and scandalous example, desolate the Christian world, and destroy both body and soul. It not the fact proved by the complaints of all who fear God? Is it not evident that the human laws and doctrines of the popes entangle, torture, martyr the consciences of the faithful; while the clamant and never-ending extortions of Rome engulf the wealth and riches of Christendom, and particularly of this illustrious kingdom?ECE 759.5

    128. “Were I to retract what I have written on this subject, what should I do? ...What but fortify that tyranny, and open a still wider door for these many and great iniquities? Then, breaking forth with more fury than ever, these arrogant men would be seen increasing, usurping, raging more and more. And the yoke which weighs upon the Christian people would, by my retractation, not only be rendered more severe, but would become, so to speak, more legitimate; for by this very retractation, it would have received the confirmation of your most serene majesty, and of all the States of the holy empire. Good God! I should thus be, as it were, an infamous cloak, destined to hide and cover all sorts of malice and tyranny.ECE 760.1

    129. “Thirdly, and lastly, I have written books against private individuals who wished to defend Roman tyranny and to destroy the faith. I confess frankly that I have perhaps attacked them with more violence than became my ecclesiastical profession. I do not regard myself as a saint; but no more can I retract these books: because, by so doing, I should sanction the impiety of my opponents, and give them occasion to oppress the people of God with still greater cruelty.ECE 760.2

    130. “Still, I am a mere man, and not God; and I will defend myself as Jesus Christ did. He said: “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil (John 18:23). How much more should I, who am but dust and ashes, and so apt to err, desire every one to state what he can against my doctrine!ECE 760.3

    131. “Wherefore, I implore you, by the mercies of God, you, most serene emperor, and you, most illustrious princes, and all others of high or low degree, to prove to me by the writings of the prophets and the apostles that I am mistaken. As soon as this shall have been proved, I will forthwith retract all my errors, and be the first to seize my writings and cast them into the flames.ECE 760.4

    132. “What I have just said shows clearly, I think, that I have well considered and weighed the dangers to which I expose myself; but, far from being alarmed, it gives me great joy to see that the gospel is now, as in former times, a cause of trouble and discord. This is the characteristic and the destiny of the Word of God. I came not to send peace, but a sword, said Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:34). God is wonderful and terrible in working: let us beware, while pretending to put a stop to discord, that we do not persecute the holy Word of God, and bring in upon ourselves a frightful deluge of insurmountable dangers, present disasters, and eternal destruction...Let us beware that the reign of this young and noble prince, the emperor Charles, on whom, under God, we build such high hopes, do not only begin, but also continue and end under the most fatal auspices. I might cite examples taken from the oracles of God. I might remind you of the Pharaohs, the kings of Babylon and of Israel, who never labored more effectually for their ruin than when by counsels, apparently very wise, they thought they were establishing their empire. God removeth the mountains, and they know not (Job 9:5).ECE 760.5

    133. “If I speak thus, it is not because I think such great princes have need of my counsels, but because I wish to restore to Germany what she has a right to expect from her children. Thus, commending myself to your august majesty, and your serene highnesses, I humbly supplicate you not to allow the hatred of my enemies to bring down upon me an indignation which I have not deserved.”ECE 761.1

    134. Luther had spoken in German. After resting a moment, he repeated his address in Latin, “with the same vigor as at first.” “As soon as he had ceased, the chancellor of Treves, the orator of the diet, said to him, indignantly: ‘You have not answered the question which was put to you. You are not here to throw doubt on what has been decided by councils. You are asked to give a clear and definite reply. Will you, or will you not, retract?’”ECE 761.2

    135. Without hesitation Luther gave the answer that was called for: “Since your most serene majesty, and your high mightinesses, call upon me for a simple, clear, and definite answer, I will give it; and it is this: I can not subject my faith either to the pope or to councils, because it is as clear as day, that they have often fallen into error, and even into great self-contradiction. If, then, I am not disproved by passages of Scripture, or by clear arguments,—if I am not convinced by the very passages which I have quoted, and so bound in conscience to submit to the Word of God—I neither can nor will retract anything, for it is not safe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. [Looking around upon the assembly] I CAN NOT OTHERWISE: GOD HELP ME! AMEN.”ECE 761.3

    136. The emperor remarked: “The monk speaks with an intrepid heart and immovable courage.” Then the chancellor said to Luther: “If you do not retract, the emperor and the States of the empire will consider what course they must adopt toward an obstinate heretic.” But again Luther answered only: “God help me; for I can retract nothing.”ECE 762.1

    137. The emperor withdrew; the diet adjourned; Luther returned to his lodgings. The next day the emperor presented to the diet, and caused to be read, the following message, which he had written with his own hand:—ECE 762.2

    “Sprung from the Christian emperors of Germany, from the Catholic kings of Spain, the archdukes of Austria, and the dukes of Burgundy, who are all illustrious as defenders of the Roman faith, it is my firm purpose to follow the example of my ancestors. A single monk, led astray by his own folly, sets himself up in opposition to the faith of Christendom. I will sacrifice my dominions, my power, my friends, my treasure, my body, my blood, my mind, and my life, to stay this impiety. I mean to send back the Augustine Luther, forbidding him to cause the least tumult among the people; thereafter, I will proceed against him and his adherents as against declared heretics, by excommunication and interdict, and all means proper for their destruction. I call upon the members of the States to conduct themselves like faithful Christians.”ECE 762.3

    138. The representatives of the pope and several of the princes, demanded that the safe-conduct be violated. They said: “The Rhine must receive his ashes, as a century ago it received the ashes of John Huss.” The elector Palatine said: “The execution of John Huss brought too many calamities on Germany, to allow such a scaffold to be erected a second time.” And Duke George vigorously declared: “The princes of Germany will not allow a safe-conduct to be violated. This first diet, held by our new emperor, will not incur the guilt of an act so disgraceful. Such perfidy accords not with old German integrity.”ECE 762.4

    139. Luther was allowed to return. As he was on his way home, the elector Frederick had him captured and carried away to the Wartburg, where he was kept in confinement to protect him from the wrath of the papacy, which, through the imperial power, was expressed as follows:—ECE 762.5

    “We, Charles the Fifth, to all the electors, princes, prelates, and others, whom it may concern:—ECE 763.1

    “The Almighty having intrusted to us, for the defense of his holy faith, more kingdoms and power than he gave to any of our predecessors, we mean to exert ourselves to the utmost to prevent any heresy from arising to pollute our holy empire.ECE 763.2

    “The Augustine monk, Martin Luther, though exhorted by us, has rushed, like a madman, against the holy Church, and sought to destroy it by means of books filled with blasphemy. He has, in a shameful manner, insulted the imperishable law of holy wedlock. He has striven to excite the laity to wash their hands in the blood of priests; and, overturning all obedience, has never ceased to stir up revolt, division, war, murder, theft, and fire, and to labor completely to ruin the faith of Christians...In a word, to pass over all his other iniquities in silence this creature, who is not a man, but Satan himself under the form of a man, covered with the cowl of a monk, has collected into one stinking pool all the worst heresies of past times, and has added several new ones of his own...ECE 763.3

    “We have therefore sent this Luther from before our face, that all pious and sensible men may regard him as a fool, or a man possessed of the devil; and we expect that, after the expiry of his safe-conduct, effectual means will be taken to arrest his furious rage.ECE 763.4

    “Wherefore, under pain of incurring the punishment due to the crime of treason, we forbid you to lodge the said Luther so soon as the fatal term shall be expired, to conceal him, give him meat or drink, and lend him by word or deed, publicly or secretly, any kind of assistance. We enjoin you, moreover, to seize him, or cause him to be seized, wherever you find him, and bring him to us without any delay, or to keep him in all safety until you hear from us how you are to act with regard to him, and till you receive the recompense due to your exertions in so holy a work.ECE 763.5

    “As to his adherents, you will seize them, suppress them, and confiscate their goods.ECE 763.6

    “As to his writings, if the best food becomes the terror of all mankind as soon as a drop of poison is mixed with it, how much more ought these books, which contain a deadly poison to the soul, to be not only rejected, but also annihilated! You will therefore burn them, or in some other way destroy them entirely.ECE 763.7

    “As to authors, poets, printers, painters, sellers or buyers of placards, writings, or paintings against the pope of the Church, you will lay hold of their persons and their goods, and treat them according to your good pleasure.ECE 763.8

    “And if any one, whatever be his dignity, shall dare to act in contradiction to the decree of our imperial majesty, we ordain that he shall be placed under the ban of the empire.ECE 763.9

    “Let every one conform hereto.”ECE 763.10

    140. Luther remained in the Wartburg until March 3, 1522, when, without permission from anybody, he left and returned to Wittemberg. Knowing that his leaving the Wartburg without saying anything to the elector, would be ungrateful, and knowing also that his returning at all was virtually disclaiming the elector’s protection, he addressed to him, the third day of his journey, the following letter:—ECE 764.1

    “Grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.ECE 764.2

    “Most serene elector, gracious lord: What has happened at Wittemberg, to the great shame of the gospel, has filled me with such grief, that if I were not certain of the truth of our cause, I would have despaired of it. “Your Highness knows—or if not, please to be informed—I received the gospel not from men, but from heaven, by our Lord Jesus Christ. If I have asked for conferences, it was not because I had doubts of the truth, but from humility, and for the purpose of winning others. But since my humility is turned against the gospel, my conscience now impels me to act in a different manner. I have yielded enough to your Highness in exiling myself during this year. The devil knows it was not from fear I did it. I would have entered Worms, though there had been as many devils in the town as there were tiles on the roofs. Now, Duke George, with whom your Highness tries so much to frighten me, is far less to be feared than a single devil. Had that which has taken place at Wittemberg taken place at Leipsic (the duke’s residence), I would instantly have mounted my horse and gone thither, even though (let your Highness pardon the expression) for nine days it should have done nothing but rain Duke Georges, and every one of them been nine times more furious than he is. What is he thinking of in attacking me? Does he take Christ, my Lord, for a man of straw? The Lord be pleased to avert the dreadful judgment which is impending over him.ECE 764.3

    “It is necessary for your Highness to know that I am on my way to Wittemberg, under a more powerful protection than that of an elector. I have no thought of soliciting the assistance of your Highness; so far from desiring your protection, I would rather give you mine. If I knew that your Highness could or would protect me, I would not come to Wittemberg. No sword can give any aid to this cause. God alone must do all without human aid or co-operation. He who had most faith is the best protector. Now, I observe that your highness is still very weak in the faith.ECE 764.4

    “But since your Highness desires to know what to do, I will answer with all humility. Your electoral Highness has already done too much, and ought to do nothing at all. God does not wish, and can not tolerate, either your cares and labors, or mine. Let your Highness, therefore, act accordingly.ECE 764.5

    “In regard to what concerns myself, your Highness must act as elector. You must allow the orders of his imperial majesty to be executed in your towns and rural districts. You must not throw any difficulty in the way, should it be wished to apprehend or slay me; for none must oppose the powers that be, save He who established them.ECE 765.1

    “Let your Highness, then, leave the gates open, and respect safe-conducts, should my enemies themselves, or their envoys, enter the States of your Highness in search of me. In this way you will avoid all embarrassment and danger.ECE 765.2

    “I have written this letter in haste, that you may not be disconcerted on learning my arrival. He with whom I have to deal is a different person from Duke George. He knows me well, and I know something of Him. “Your electoral Highness’s most humble servant, “MARTIN LUTHER. “Borna, the Conductor Hotel, Ash-Wednesday, 1522”.ECE 765.3

    141. During his absence, fanatical spirits had arisen, and extreme and somewhat violent steps had been taken, and amongst the first words which he spoke upon his arrival in Wittemberg were these: “It is by the word that we must fight; by the word overturn and destroy what has been established by violence. I am unwilling to employ force against the superstitious or the unbelieving. Let him who believes approach; let him who believes not stand aloof. None ought to be constrained. Liberty is of the essence of faith.”ECE 765.4

    142. In 1524 the Swabian peasants revolted, and in January, 1525, Luther addressed to them the following words: “The pope and the emperor have united against me; but the more the pope and the emperor have stormed, the greater the progress which the gospel has made...Why so?—Because I have never drawn the sword, nor called for vengeance; because I have not had recourse either to tumult or revolt. I have committed all to God, and awaited His strong hand. It is neither with the sword nor the musket that Christians fight, but with suffering and the cross. Christ, their captain, did not handle the sword; He hung upon the tree.”ECE 765.5

    143. In 1526 the Diet of Spires had decreed that the princes and people of Germany should not be interfered with in their worship after the Protestant order in the freedom of their own consciences, until a general council should meet to consider the whole question. But, in 1529, at the second Diet of Spires, an attempt was made to reverse this decision. But the princes who favored the Reformation, said: “Let us reject this decree. In matters of conscience the majority has no power. It is to the decree of 1526 that we are indebted for the peace that the empire enjoys: its abolition would fill Germany with troubles and divisions. The diet is incompetent to do more than to preserve religious liberty until the council meets.”ECE 765.6

    144. But a majority was in favor of the papacy, and was determined to carry through its will. The princes said: “We will obey the emperor in everything that will contribute to maintain peace and the honour of God.” But “it was declared that the evangelical States should not be heard again.” They were informed that their only remaining course was to submit to the majority. Then the evangelical princes determined “to appeal from the report of the diet to the Word of God, and from the emperor Charles to Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” They drew up a protest, the substantial part of which is as follows:—ECE 766.1

    “Dear Lords, Cousins, Uncles, and Friends:—Having repaired to this diet at the summons of his majesty, and for the common good of the empire and of Christendom, we have heard and learned that the decisions of the last diet concerning our holy Christian faith are to be repealed, and that it is proposed to substitute for them certain restrictive and onerous resolutions...ECE 766.2

    “We can not, therefore, consent to its repeal:—ECE 766.3

    “Secondly, because it concerns the glory of God and the salvation of our souls, and that in such matters we ought to have regard, above all, to the commandment of God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords; each of us rendering Him account for himself, without caring the least in the world about majority or minority.ECE 766.4

    “We form no judgment on that which concerns you, most dear lords; and we are content to pray God daily that He will bring us all to unity of faith, in truth, charity, and holiness, through Jesus Christ, our throne of grace, and our only Mediator.ECE 766.5

    “But, in what concerns ourselves, adhesion to your resolution (and let every honest man be judge!) would be acting against our conscience, condemning a doctrine that we maintain to be Christian, and pronouncing that it ought to be abolished in our States, if we could do so without trouble.ECE 766.6

    “This would be to deny our Lord Jesus Christ, to reject His holy Word, and thus give Him just reason to deny us in turn before His Father, as He has threatened...ECE 766.7

    “Moreover, the new edict declaring the ministers shall preach the gospel, explaining it according to the writings accepted by the holy Christian Church; we think that, for this regulation to have any value, we should first agree on what is meant by the true and holy Church. Now, seeing that there is great diversity of opinion in this respect; that there is no sure doctrine but such as is conformable to the Word of God; that the Lord forbids the teaching of any other doctrine; that each text of the Holy Scriptures ought to be explained by other and clearer texts; that this holy book is in all things necessary for the Christian, easy of understanding, and calculated to scatter the darkness: we are resolved, with the grace of God, to maintain the pure and exclusive preaching of His holy Word, such as it is contained in the biblical books of the Old and the New Testament, without adding anything thereto that may be contrary to it. This Word is the only truth; it is the sure rule of all doctrine, and of all life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the powers of hell, whilst all the human vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God.ECE 767.1

    “For these reasons, most dear lords, uncles, cousins, and friends, we earnestly entreat you to weigh carefully our grievances and our motives. If you do not yield to our request, we PROTEST by these presents, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Saviuors, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and for our people, neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to His holy Word, to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls, and to the last decree of Spires.”ECE 767.2

    145. “The principles contained in this celebrated protest of the 19th of April, 1529, constitute the very essence of Protestantism. Now this protest opposes two abuses of man in matters of faith: the first is the intrusion of the civil magistrate, and the second the arbitrary authority of the Church. Instead of these abuses, Protestantism sets the power of conscience above the magistrate; and the authority of the Word of God above the visible Church. In the first place, it rejects the civil power in divine things, and says with the prophets and apostles, We must obey God rather than man. In presence of the crown of Charles the Fifth, it uplifts the crown of Jesus Christ. But it goes farther: it lays down the principle, that all human teaching should be subordinate to the oracles of God. Even the primitive Church, by recognizing the writings of the apostles, had performed an act of submission to this supreme authority, and not an act of authority, as Rome maintains; and the establishment of a tribunal charged with the interpretation of the Bible, had terminated only in slavishly subjecting man to man in what should be the most unfettered—conscience and faith. In this celebrated act of Spires no doctor appears, and the Word of God reigns alone. Never has man exalted himself like the pope; never have men kept in the background like the Reformers.”ECE 767.3

    146. And when, June 25, A. D. 1530, the memorable confession of Protestantism was made at Augsburg, that confession, framed under the direction of Luther, though absent, accordingly announced for all future time the principles of Protestantism upon the subject of Church and State. Upon this question that document declared as follows:— “ARTICLE XXVIII. “OF ECCLESIASTICAL POWER.ECE 768.1

    “There have been great controversies touching the power of the bishops, in which some have in an unseemly manner mingled together the ecclesiastical power, and the power of the sword. And out of this confusion there have sprung very great wars and tumults, while the pontiffs, trusting in the power of the keys, have not only instituted new kinds of service, and burdened men’s consciences by reserving of cases, and by violent excommunications but have also endeavored to transfer worldly kingdoms from one to another, and to despoil emperors of their power and authority. These faults godly and learned men in the Church have long since reprehended; and for that cause ours were compelled, for the comforting of men’s consciences, to show the difference between the ecclesiastical power and the power of the sword. And they have taught that both of them, because of God’s command, are dutifully to be reverenced and honored, as the chief blessings of God upon earth.ECE 768.2

    “Now, their judgment is this: that the power of the keys, or the power of the bishops, according to the gospel, is a power or command from God, of preaching the gospel, of remitting or retaining sins, and of administering the sacraments. For Christ sends His apostles forth with this charge: ‘As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you...Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.’ John 20:21-23. ‘Go, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ etc. Mark 16:15.ECE 768.3

    “This power is exercised only by teaching or preaching the gospel, and administering the sacraments, either to many, or to single individuals, in accordance with their call. For thereby not corporeal, but eternal things are granted; as, an eternal righteousness, the Holy Ghost, life everlasting. These things can not be obtained but by the ministry of the word and of the sacraments; as Paul says. ‘The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.’ Romans 1:16. Seeing, then, that the ecclesiastical power bestows things eternal, and is exercised only by the ministry of the word, it does not hinder the civil government any more than the art of singing hinders civil government. For the civil administration is occupied about other matters, than is the gospel. The magistracy does not defend the souls, but the bodies and bodily things, against manifest injuries; and coerces men by the sword and corporal punishments, that it may uphold civil justice and peace.ECE 768.4

    “Wherefore the ecclesiastical and the civil power are not to be confounded. The ecclesiastical power has its own command, to preach the gospel and to administer the sacraments. Let it not by force enter into the office of another; let it not transfer worldly kingdoms; let it not abrogate the magistrates’ laws; let it not withdraw from them lawful obedience; let it not hinder judgments touching any civil ordinances or contracts; let it not prescribe laws to the magistrate touching the form of the State; as Christ says, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ John 18:36. Again: ‘Who made me a judge or a divider over you?’ Luke 12:14. And Paul says, ‘Our conversation is in heaven.’ Philippians 3:20. ‘The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations,’ etc. 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5.ECE 769.1

    “In this way ours distinguish between the duties of each power, one from the other, and admonish all men to honor both powers, and to acknowledge both to be the gifts and blessings of God.ECE 769.2

    “If the bishops have any power of the sword, they have it not as bishops by the command of the gospel, but by human law given unto them by kings and emperors, for the civil government of their goods. This, however, is another function than the ministry of the gospel.ECE 769.3

    “When, therefore, the question is concerning the jurisdiction of bishops, civil government must be distinguished from ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Again, according to the gospel, or, as they term it, by divine right, bishops, as bishops, that is, those who have the administration of the Word and sacraments committed to them, have no other jurisdiction at all, but only to remit sin, also to inquire into doctrine, and to reject doctrine inconsistent with the gospel, and to exclude from the communion of the Church wicked men, whose wickedness is manifest, without human force, but by the Word. And herein of necessity the churches ought by divine right to render obedience unto them; according to the saying of Christ, ‘He that heareth you, heareth me.’ Luke 10:16. But when they teach or determine anything contrary to the gospel, then the churches have a command of God which forbids obedience to them: ‘Beware of false prophets.’ Matthew 7:15. ‘Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel, let him be accursed.’ Galatians 1:8. ‘We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.’ 2 Corinthians 12:8. Also, ‘This power the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.’ 2 Corinthians 13:10.”ECE 769.4

    147. This confession is a sound exposition of the doctrine of Christ concerning the temporal and the spiritual powers. It clearly and correctly defines the jurisdiction of the State to be only in things civil; that the sword which is wielded by the powers that be, is to preserve civil justice and peace; and that the authority of the State is to be exercised only over the bodies of men and the temporal concerns of life, that is, of the affairs of this world. This shuts away the State from all connection or interference with things spiritual or religious. It separates entirely religion and the State.ECE 770.1

    148. While doing this for the State, it also clearly defines the place of the Church. While the State is to stand entirely aloof from spiritual and religious things and concern itself only with the civil and temporal affairs of men, the Church on its part is to stand aloof from the affairs of the State, and is not to interfere in the civil and temporal concerns of men. The power of the Church is not to be mingled with the power of the State. The power of the Church is never to invade the realm, or seek to guide the jurisdiction, of the State. The duty of the clergy is to minister the gospel of Christ, and not the laws of men. In dealing with its membership in the exercise of discipline, the Church authorities are to act without human power, and solely by the Word of God. The ministry of the gospel is with reference only to eternal things, and is not to trouble itself with political administration.ECE 770.2

    149. This is Protestantism. This is Christianity. Wherever these principles have been followed, there is Protestantism exemplified in the Church and the State. Wherever these principles have not been followed, there is the principle of the papacy, it matters not what the profession may have been.ECE 770.3

    150. “Thus the diet of Augsburg, destined to crush the Reformation, was what strengthened it forever. It has been usual to consider the Peace of Augsburg (1555) as the period when the Reformation was definitely established. That is the date of legal Protestantism; evangelical Christianity has another—the autumn of 1530. In 1555 was the victory of the sword and of diplomacy; in 1530 was that of the Word of God and of faith; and this latter victory is, in our eyes, the truest and the surest. The evangelical history of the Reformation in Germany is nearly finished at the epoch we have reached, and the diplomatic history of legal Protestantism begins. Whatever may now be done, whatever may be said, the Church of the first ages has reappeared; and it has reappeared strong enough to show that it will live. There will still be conferences and discussions; there will still be leagues and combats; there will even be deplorable defeats; but all these are a secondary movement. The great movement is accomplished; the cause of faith is won by faith. The effort has been made; the evangelical doctrine has taken root in the world, and neither the storms of men nor the powers of hell will ever be able to tear it up.”ECE 770.4

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents