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MAETIN LUTHEE



REFORMATION IN GERMANY



MAETIN LUTHEE



AND THE



REFORMATION IN GERMANY



UNTIL THE CLOSE OF THE DIET OF WORMS



"S^ttC- BY THE LATE

CHARLES BEARD, B.A., LL.D.



EDITED BY J. FREDERICK SMITH




LOXDOX
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH & CO., 1 PATERNOSTER SQUARE

1889






Ma



•,„wb. HISTORM



TO
THOMAS AND ELIZABETH ASHTON

IN MEMORY OF

A LONG AND UNBROKEN FRIENDSHIP

AND OF

THE HAPPY YEARS OF WORK DURING WHICH

THIS BOOK WAS PLANNED



238847



PREFACE



Feom the author's Introduction, in which he describes the
scope of his projected History of the Reformation in Ger-
many, it will be seen that this volume is but a first instal-
ment of a larger work. Happily the volume is, however,
anything but an unfinished fragment. It was not only left
by the writer ready for the press, but it brings its story down
to the close of the first great period of the German Eeforma-
tion. When the Diet of Worms broke up, German Pro-
testantism had been finally and fully inaugurated, and its
central figure, Martin Luther, had reached the summit of his
heroism and his revolt.

My editorial duties have been hardly more than to see
through the press a singularly and characteristically perfect
manuscript ; and they have been lightened by the faithful care
with which Mrs. Beard and her son, Mr. Lewis Beard, B.A.,
have compared manuscript and proof. I have considered it
needful, in order to guard against accidental error, to exercise
a general supervision of the narrative, to compare quotations
with the original passages, and to verify references. No
alterations have been introduced into the text or the notes,
except where an obvious lapsus calami had crept in, which,
however, thanks to the author's extreme accuracy, has happened
but very occasionally. Here and there in the notes a reference
to books or articles published since the manuscript was finished
has been added. For the title of the volume, the headings of
the chapters and the pages, and the list of tlie ])rinci]ial
authorities and editions used by the autlior, I am responsilile ;
and for the Index, Mr. Lewis Beard.



PREFACE



From the list of authorities and from the notes it will be
seen that Dr. Charles Beard kept pace to the very last with
the latest research in a field which has been thoroughly
upturned by the critical industry of such specialists as Seide-
mann, Kostlin, Kolde, Knaake, Kawerau, and their fellow-
labourers. And it may not be out of place to remark that
Dr. Julius Kostlin's Life of Luther, with others that have
followed it, placed all preceding lives of the Eeformer in the
class of antiquated literature, in point of historical accuracy
and thoroughness.

Of the mingled feelings with which I have worked, all
readers of the book will, I believe, share those of thank-
fulness for what is here finished, and of regret for what has
been lost in the volumes which remain unwritten. It is much
to have the great story of the successful launching of the
German Eeformation told by one who was so singularly quali-
fied to tell it well. Would that his pen had been permitted
to trace the further development of the movement, and to
follow the lives of its prominent representatives until their
work was done !

To his Hibbert Lectures the author prefixed a motto, taken
from Lessing, and I cannot resist the temptation to append
here a passage from Goethe, which, like that from Lessing,
seems to me to breathe the spirit that inspired all Dr. Charles
Beard's studies in this great period of history : —

" Wir wissen gar nicht was wir Luthern und der Eeforma-
tion im allgemeinen alles zu danken haben. Wir sind frei
geworden voii den Fesseln geistiger Borniertheit, wir sind
mfolge unserer fortwachsenden Kultur fiihig geworden, zur
Quelle zuriickzukehren und das Christenthum in seiner Eein-
heit zu fassen. Wir haben wieder den Mut, mit festen
riissen auf Gottes Erde zu stehen und uns in unserer gottbe-
gabten Menschennatur zu fiihlen . . . Wir werden alle nach
und nach aus einem Christenthum des Wortes und Glaubens
immer mehr zu einem Christenthum der Gesinnung und That
kommen." — Gcsprdche mit Echcrmann.

J. FEEDEEICK SMITH.

Clifton, Bristol, July 1889.



CONTENTS



PAGE

Introduction . . . . . . . 1



CHAPTER I

Political Condition of the Empire .... 5

CHAPTEE II

The Religious Life of Germany . . . ' . 24 *

CHAPTEE HI
The Renaissance in Germany . . . .62

CHAPTEE IV

Luther's Life prior to his Revolt . . . .116

CHAPTEE V
Luther's Ninety-five Theses ..... 200 ^

CHAPTEE VI
The Year 1519 : Friends and Foes .... 259



CONTENTS



CHAPTER VII



PAGE



The Year 1520 : Luther's Appeal to the Nation . . 319



CHAPTER VIH



i/0



i1

Luther and the Theology of Rome. . . . 379 'P^



CHAPTER IX

The Diet op Worms ...... 406

INDEX ....... 459



PRIXCIPAL AUTHORITIES WITH THE ABBREVIATIONS
USED IN THIS YOLUiAIE



Luther's Collected "Works —

1. The Frankfurt and Erlangen edition.
Erl. D. S. (a) German: vols. i.-xxvi, 2d ed. 1862-1885.

vols, xxvii.-lxvii. 1st ed. 1853-1857.
Erl. 0pp. (IS) Latin: a. Exegetica, vols, i.-xxviii. 1829-1886.

Erl. Ep. Gal. (3. In Epist. Gal. vols, i.-iii. 1843-1844.

Erl. 0pp. V. a. y. 0pp. Varii Argument i, vols, i.-vii. 1865-

1873.
JVeimar ed. 2. The Weimar Critical Edition, in chronological order,
now in course of publication, vols, i.-iv. vi. 1883-
1888.
TValch. 3. The edition of J. G. Walch in 24 vols. 4to, Ilalk-,

1737-1753.

Luther's Letters —

De TFette. 1. Dr. Martin Luther's Briefe gesammelt von "W. i\I. L. De

Wette, vols. i.-v. 1825-1828.

vol. vi. edited by Seidemann, 185G.

Seidemann. 2. Seidemann, Lutherbriefe, 1859.

Burkhardt. 3. Dr. M. Luther's Briefwechsel, von C. A. H. Burk-
hardt, 1866.

Enders. 4. Dr.' Martin Luther's Briefwechsel, von E. L. Enders,

vols, i.-ii. 1884-1887 (containing letters from and to
Luther, with some others, of the years 1507-1520).

Luther's Table Talk —

T. T. 1. German: edited by Furstemann and Bindseil, vols, i.-iv.

1844-1848.
Coll 2. Latin: D. Marthii Lutheri Colloquia edita al) II. E.

Bindseil, vols, i.-iii. 1863-1866.



xii PRINCIPAL AUTHORITIES USED IN THIS VOLUME

Album Academiae Vitebergensis, 1502-1540, ed. Forsteniann, 1841.
Historia Joannis Cochlaei de Actis et Scriptis, M. Lutheri, etc., Coloniae,

1568.
Corpus Eeformatorum, torn, i.-xxviii., sive Melanthonis Pli. Opera quae

supersunt omnia, ed. Bretschneider et Bindseil (Historia de vita

et actis D. Martini Lutlieri conscripta a Pliilippo Melantlione

being in torn. vi.).
Erasmi Roterodami Opera Omnia, Lugd. Bat. 1703-1706, vols, i.-xi.
Forsteniann — Neues Urkundenbuch zur Geschiclite der Evangelischen

Kirchen-Reformation, vol. i. 1842.

Neue Mittheilungen aus dem Gebiet liistoriscli-antiquariscben
Forscbungen, des Thuringisch-Sacliiscben Vereins, etc., vols,
i.-viii. 1834-1850.
Herzog — Real-Encyklopaedie fiir protestantische Theologie und Kircbe,

Isted. 1854-1868, 2d ed. 1877-1888.
Ulrichi Hutteni equitis German! Opera Omnia, edidit Eduardus Bcicking,

vols. i.-v. 1859-1861 ; U. H. Operum Supplementum, vols. i. ii.

1864-1870.
Jlirgens — Lutber's Leben, von seiner Geburt bis zum Ablassstreite,

1483-1517, 3 vols. 1846-1847, von Karl Jlirgens.
Kampschulte — Die Universitat Erfurt in ibrem Verbaltnisse zu dem

Humanismus und der Reformation, vol. i. 1858, voL ii. 1860.
Kolde — Martin Lutber, Eine Biograpbie, von Tbeodor Kolde, Liefe-

rungen, 1-3, 1884 (brings tlie life down to end of Diet of

Worms).

Die deutscbe Augustiner-Congregation und Jobann von Stau-

pitz, von T. Kolde, 1879.
Lutber's Stellung zu Concil u. Kircbe bis zum 1521, von T.
Kolde, 1876.
Kostlin — Martin Lutber, sein Leben und seine Schriften, 2 vols. 1875;

2d and 3d ed. 1883.
Lauterbacb's Tagebucb auf das Jabr 1538, ed. Seidemann, 1872.
Liber Decanorum Facultatis Tbeologicae Academiae Vitebergensis, ed.

by Forsteniann, 1838.
Lingke— Dr. M. Lutber's merkwiirdige Reisegescbicbte, etc., von J.

T. Lingke, 1769.
Loscber — Vollstiindige Reformations -acta und Documenta ausgefertigt

von V. E. Loscbern, vol. i. (tbe year 1517), vol. ii. (tbe year

1518), vol. iii. (tbe year 1519).
Matbesius — Historien von D. M. Lutber's Anfang, etc., Niirnberg, 1567.
Myconius — Frid. Myconii Hist. Reformationis, 1518-1542, ed. by

Cyprian, 1715.



PRLXCIPAL AUTHORITIES USED IX THIS VOLUME xiii

Ratzeberger — Die liandscluiftliclie Gescliichte Ratzeberger's iiber Luther

u. seine Zeit, berausgegeben von Xeiulecker, 1850.
Riederer — (1) Beitrag zu den Reformationsnikunden, etc., 1762.

(2) Nacbrichten zur Kircbengescbielitt- und Biicliergescbicbte,
8 vols, in 4, 1764-1767.
Scbeurl — Christopb Scbeurl's Briefbuch, berausgegeben von F. v. So(K-n

und J. K. F. Knaake, 2 vols. 1867-1872.
Seckendorf — Commentarius bistoricus et apologeticus de Lutberanisniu,

ed. 2da, Lips. 1694, folio.
Seidemann, J. R. — Die Leipziger Disputation, 1843.
Spalatin — G. Spalatini Annales Reformationis, apud Menckenii Scrip-
tores rerum German. 1728-1729, vol. ii.
Strobel — Beitrjige zur Literatur besonders des xvi. Jabrb. 4 pis. in 2 vols.
1784-1787.

Neue Beitrage, etc., 5 vols. 1790-1794.
Tentzel — Historiscbe Bericbt von Anfang, etc. der Reformation Lutberi,
2 vols. 1718.

Tentzelii Supplementum Hist. Gotbanae, primum C. Mutiani
Rufi Epistolas complectens, Jenae, 1701.
UUmann — Reformatoren vor der Reformation, von Dr. Carl Ullmann,

2d ed. 2 vols. 1866.
Weissenborn, J, C. H. — Acten der Erfurter Universitiit, pts. i. and ii.
1881-1884.



N



INTRODUCTION

There are two points of view from which the Eeformation of
the sixteenth century may be regarded. Looked at from the
first, it appears to be what its name imports — an effort to
reclaim the Christian Church from inveterate doctrinal and
practical corruption to a more primitive conception of truth
and a higher standard of purity. In the practical or disciplin-
ary sense the Latin Church had made repeated efforts to reform
itself Monasticism, both in its original foundation and in its
repeated revivals, was such an effort. An organised and gene-
ral attempt at reformation was the object of the Councils of
Pisa, Constanz, and Basel at the beginning of the fifteenth
century. The corruption of Christianity, in the forms in wliich
it was commonly presented to the people, threw mystics back
upon the ideas which lie at the basis of all religion, and gave
rise to sects, which lived a hidden life, beneath the surface of
mediaeval society. A disciplinary reformation was carried into
effect by Ferdinand and Isabella, in Castile and Arragon, at
the end of the fifteenth century, and was the object of the Fifth
Lateran Council, held at Eome in 1512-1517. In Spain, in
France, in Germany, in England the weaknesses of the existing
system were strongly felt, and demands were made for reform,
which Eome, then under the rule of profligate Popes, resisted
or evaded. But this movement was taken out of the hands of
the Church by Luther. Having fought his own way to what
would now be called a Protestant conception of spiritual reli-
gion, though without becoming conscious of his divergence from
Catholic standards, he first attacked the abuses connected witli
the sale of indulgences, and then was led on, step by step, to
r.



INTRODUCTION



an assault upon the whole position of the Church. His doctrine
of the jauthority of Scripture undermined that of the authority
of the Church ; his theory of the priesthood of the believer, the
whole sacerdotal and sacramental system. The result was, within
certain territorial limits, the foundation of Churches which not
only separated themselves from allegiance to the Pope, but
established an administration of Christianity based upon ideas
of religion other than those which obtained within the Catholic
pale. The Protestant Eeformation was thus, in its essence,
doctrinal ; it was the substitution of one series of conceptions
of Christianity for another : and it reformed the practical
abuses peculiar to Catholicism by destroying the system upon
which they were an excrescence. But while, at the Diet of
Augsburg, and on every similar occasion, the Catholic Church
refused to make the sHghtest doctrinal concession to the dissi-
dents, the demand for disciphnary reform was never silent
within her borders : and the Council of Trent, which settled
the Creed of the Church upon the old lines, in matters of
administration, opened a new era. The necessity of recovering
lost ground from a victorious Protestantism, the election to the
Papal Chair of a series of austere Pontiffs, the foundation of
the Society of Jesus and other orders animated by a spirit of
stern and enthusiastic piety, produced the Counter-Eeformation.
The doctrinal position of the Latin Church remained unchanged,
but it was purged of its worst practical scandals.

But this summary does not cover all the facts of the case,
or indicate their wider relations. Wliy were the efforts of
the Church to reform itself ineffectual ? It may be said that
monasticism, in its attempt to lift humanity to an unreal and.
impossible height of perfectness, always carries within itself the
seeds of failure ; that reformation by General Councils broke
down, because the moral energy of the few could not contend
successfully against the selfishness and the worldliness of the
many ; that mystic religion, almost always pure and good, can-
not spread itself beyond the few souls which have a natural
affinity for it. But the characteristic ideas of the Eeformation
were older than Luther ; Wiclif had preached them in England,
Hus in Bohemia : a series of Catholic theologians in Germany
had attacked indulgences, and expounded justification by faith



INTRODUCTION



ill terms almost identical with those afterwards employed by
the Saxon reformer. Why was no general effect produced ?
The answer is, that the Eeforniation in^jts wider aspects is
part of that^ greater moyemeiit o^the human mind, Jciio^n_as~
tiie Eenaissancfi ; a rebirth, due to the revived study of classi-
cal literature and philosophy ; a rebellion against mediaeval
systems of thought, which has issued in modern science and
speculation. Without the fresh intellectual activity produced
by this movement, and augmented in the fifteenth century b\'
the invention of the art of printing. Luthej. miglitTiave_beei^_j^
ineffectual ^s Wiclif was. B^it Jjie time was ripe for c hange ;
the seed was'^cas^ into the ground at the right inoinent.'"'~lNever-
theless, the Lutheran soon separated itself from the purely
Humanist movement, and has never since been fully reconciled
with it: Lutheranism first, and Calvinism afterwards developed
into a Protestant scholasticism, only less fatal to the unrestrictetl
movement of the human mind than that of the Middle Ages.
At^the same time, on other than Church ground, the tide of
free speculation has steadily risen, nor, for the last hundred
years, have the gradually decaying bulwarks of dogma been
able to oppose any effectual resistance to it. From this point
of view,[the Reformation was the manifestation of the spirit of
the Eenaissance in the realm of religion ; and Kant, Niebuhr,
Ewald, Darwin, are, each on his own line of affiliation, heirs
of Luther.

In the following pages I propose to tell the story of the
German Reformation from the publication of the Ninety-five
Theses in 1517 to the death of Melanchthon in 15G0. Even
this, however, is a wider subject than I can pretend to treat
with equal minuteness in all its parts ; the centre point of my
narrative will be Saxony, and its principal personages, the
Reformers of Wittenberg, with those whom an irresistil)le
attraction drew within their orbit. I shall thus gTasp the
advantage of a story alive with a single interest, and confined
within manageable limits ; while at the same time opportu-
nity will be given of illustrating the principles wliich animated
the general movement of reform in Europe. But before I can
begin this task, a large preparation must be made. I must
attempt to describe the political condition of the Empire at tlie



INTRODUCTION



beginning of the sixteenth century ; to combine into a single
picture the various elements of the religious life of Germany
about the same period ; to follow the story of the revival of
classical literature in Germany, and then to analyse the intel-
lectual soil into which the germinal ideas of the Eeformation
were cast ; and in the last place, to tell the story of Luther's
life up to the moment of his rebellion against the Church, and
to trace his characteristic ideas to their origin in his own
inward pains and conflicts. These, then, will be the subjects
of four introductory chapters. Should any reader complain
that he is long held back from the main interest of the book,
let him remember that^jio great and general movement of the
human mind can be understood without careful analysis of the
forces wliich have combined to produce it, and that every stage
of intellectual progress presupposes another out of which it has
been evolved. The development of human affairs is one con-
tinuous web, in which no real breaks answer to the artificial
periods into which we divide history. |



CHAPTEE I

POLITICAL CONDITION OF THE EMPIEE

The political condition of Germany at the beginning of the
sixteenth century was due to forces which, although they had
been long in operation, had not yet wholly spent themselves.
The Carolingian kingdom of the Franks, which had lieen
invested with the succession to the Eoman Empire, and had
renewed its Imperial character under Otho the Great, was
slowly dissolving into a confederacy of States, spiritual and
civil, of which the nominal head, in dignity the chief of earthly
monarchs, had little power except such as his own hereditary
possessions conferred upon him. We find ourselves at a point
midway between the comparatively homogeneous kingdom of
Charlemagne and the phantom Empire which in 1815 still
gave a title to the royal house of Austria. And the disintegra-
tion of Germany, at the moment wliicli we are considering,
stood in strong contrast to processes of national consolidation
which were going on over the rest of Europe. The task of
uniting Italy was indeed left for the nineteenth century to
accomplish ; but Spain had just been constituted by the union
of Arragon and Castile under Ferdinand and Isabella : England,
gathering strength after the exhaustion caused by the Wars of
the Eoses, was fast recovering a national consciousness : the
breaking up of the Burgundian kingdom, and the absorption of
Brittany in the dominions of the House of Valois, gave France
a more solid power than it had ever before possessed. Ger-
many alone showed an irresistible tendency to separate into
fragments. Every year the centrifugal force grew stronger,



6 POLITICAL CONDITION OF THE EMPIRE chap.

the common bond of union weaker, Nothing ever occurred
which arrested for more than a moment the fading of Imperial
rights into imposing unreality : everything helped the Elector-
ates, the Principalities, the Dukedoms, on their way to political
independence.

/ I JThe theory of the Empire had, at no moment of medieval
Hiistory, been fully carried into practice. According to it the
Emperor was the head of the civil as the Pope of the spiritual
order. They held the two swords which divided all the
power of the world between them : another common metaphor
described them as the sun and moon of the intellectual sky.
The Emperor claimed more than a titular supremacy over other
monarchs : he had inherited the privileges and pretensions of
the successors of Augustus. But England and the kingdoms
of the Spanish peninsula went on their way in practical inde-
pendence of him, while he was brought into contact with the
growing French kingdom which had its capital at Paris, chiefly
on the frontier of Burgundy and Flanders. In Italy, on the
contrary, he was always busy. There he was a living force.
He went to Kome to be crowned. He was the titular king of
the Romans, a monarch often distant and disregarded, but still
the symbol of the power which had once made Pome the
capital of the civilised earth. In all the throes of the Italian
Pepublics he stood for the general as contrasted with the local
order of things, for the State in opposition to the Church.
Every now and then an Emperor made the attempt to convert
his theoretical into a real supremacy over Italy, but could never
long hold his. ground : and the chief result was to keep old
claims alive in men's minds, and to prepare the way for a
fresh assertion of them. But Guelph and Ghibelline were
words that represented a very real opposition of political feel-
ing ; and the dream that Dante dreamed of an Imperial mon-
archy, which, in the exercise of its just rights, should heal the
woes of Italy by giving it a well-ordered government, shows
how strong a hold the idea of the Empire had upon men's
minds. But before the beginning of the sixteenth century all
this had faded away, and Italy had become only the battle-
ground on which the rival ambitions of France and Germany
contended for the mastery.



THE EMPIRE AND THE PAPACY



The struggle of the Empire for a territorial hold on Italy
was, however, complicated with another, wider in extent and
of deeper significance. The relations of the Empire with the
Papacy were always peculiarly close. Pipin twice delivered
Eome from the Lombards, and was rewarded with the title of
Patrician. The coronation of Charles by Leo III (a.d. 800)
is " the central event of the Middle Ages." -^ Charles's con-
quests in Northern and North -Eastern Germany had been
made in the name of Christianity : conversion or slaughter
was the alternative practically offered to the Saxons. Almost
for the first time in the history of Christianity, the civil and
the spiritual power are manifestly and happily in accord : the
Church is secure under the protection of the Prankish swords,
the State borrows the authority, and uses the instruments of
the Church. But the relation was changed when, in 962,
Otho came down from the Alps with a victorious army, and
was crowned Emperor at Ptome by John XII. This time it
was the State imposing itself upon the Church. " The Pope
owned himself a subject ; and the citizens swore for the future
to elect no Pope without Otho's consent." ^ It was one of the
moments at wliich the Papacy, both politically and morally,
was at the lowest ebb ; and Popes, set up and deposed by rival
factions, and each equally unworthy of rule, obeyed the
Emperor's nod.

A little more than a hundred years brings us from John
XII to Gregory VII, and the same interval from Otho the
Great to Henry IV. We pass from the Emperor receiving an
oath of allegiance from the Pope, to the Emperor waiting in the
snow, in the castle-yard of Canossa, till the Pope should be
willing to see and to absolve a penitent. Even this, however,
is hardly the lowest point of submission to which the spiritual
reduced the temporal power ; that was reached when, before
the porch of St. Mark's at Venice, Frederic Barbarossa humbly
bowed before Alexander III. The first thing that Henry
needed to help him in his contests with his rebellious subjects
was the removal of the ban of excommunication, and that once
extorted by submission, he flew back to Germany to continue
the struggle with vassals and Pope alike. But in the person

^ Bryce, Holy Rovuin Empire, 3d ed. p. 50. - Ibid. p. 88.



8 POLITICAL CONDITION OF THE EMPIRE chap.

of Frederic the Empire, almost at its strongest, came into
conflict with the Papacy, and deliberately confessed itself
vanquished. It is not necessary in this connection to tell the
story, how the edifice of Papal pretensions was gradually built
up on the foundation of the pseudo-Isidorian decretals, by
astute and resolute Popes ; how it was strengthened by the
enforcement of clerical celibacy and the influence of the mon-
astic orders ; how fortified by men's belief in the unity of the
Church and the need of a supreme court of appeal in rnatters
political as well as spiritual ; and how it finally crumbled to
pieces in the degradation of the captivity of Avignon, and the
scandal of the Schism. To do so, would be to undertake the
task of epitomising the history of mediaeval Europe. The main
point we have at present to notice is that in the enforcement
of Imperial claims, made real by able and powerful monarchs,
reduced to a vanishing point under weak and irresolute ones,
the opportunity was missed of consohdating Germany into a



Online LibraryCharles BeardMartin Luther and the reformation in Germany until the close of the Diet of Worms → online text (page 1 of 48)