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Katholizismus u. Reformation (giving an account of recent Catholic work
on the history of the Reformation), 1905.

* LoscHER, Vollst. Reformationsakta der Jahre 1517-19, 3 vol. 1720-23 ;
H. Grisar, Ein Grundproblem aus Luthers Seelenleben, J ahresbericht der
Gorres-Gesellschaft, 1905, pp. 30-45 ; K. Benrath, Luther im Kloster (1505-25),
1905; THECKHOFF, Der Ablassstreit, 1886.

82 A Manual of Church History

the Augustinians whilst yet a student at Erfurt (1505), and
after he had finished his studies was appointed professor at
the newly- founded University of Wittenberg (1508). As
he himself confesses (after 1530), finding that the penances
which he was wont to practise in the cloister brought no
peace to his soul, he gradually came to believe that good works
are of no avail for salvation, that they are to be performed
only because enjoined by God, but that man is justified by
Faith alone by which Christ's merits are applied to sinners.
Whether this was really the path he had followed in coming
to his conclusion must remain a matter of doubt, seeing that
elsewhere his explanation is different. However the conclusion
was reached, this doctrine of his, which he himself modestly
styled his Evangel and which afterwards was seen to be really
the essential principle of Protestantism, had certainly been
present in his mind since 1515. It was soon to be completed
by a denial of human freedom. Man, as he stated in a thesis
in August, 1517, having become an evil tree, could will nothing
save evil. A few months after this he took the step which
brought him into open conflict with the Church.

To obtain funds for the rebuilding of St. Peter's at Rome,
an indulgence had, according to the custom of the time, been
offered to all Christians in return for their gifts. Such a
proceeding, accompanied as it often was by abuse, aroused the
wrath of the pious Augustinian, and, on the arrival of the
Dominican John Tetzel 1 to preach the indulgence, Luther
nailed to the gate of the castle church a manifesto consisting
of ninety-five Theses. This happened on All-Hallows Eve, 15 17.
Among other things it is there stated that the Pope can only
remit such penalties as he has imposed, or as are prescribed by
Canon Law (Thesis 5) ; that his forgiveness is merely a notifica-
tion of the forgiveness bestowed by God (6) ; that indulgences
are of no avail to the souls in purgatory (8-29) ; that any
Christian who is truly sorry for his sins, even though he has
no indulgence brief, receives full forgiveness of the sins and
their penalties (36) ; that every true Christian, living or dead,
has a part in Christ's and the Church's treasure, quite

• Mg. by Grone, 1853 ; N. Paulus, 1899 ', J. May, Der Kur/iirsi, Kardinal
EB. Albrecht II v. Mainz u. Magdeburg, 2 vol. 1865-75; -A-. Schulte, Die
Fugger in Rom, 1495-1523, 2 vol. 1904.

Luther 83

independently of any indulgence (37) ; that the Church's
treasure, from which indulgences derive their worth, does not
consist of the merits of Christ and the saints, seeing that their
grace has no connection with the Pope (58). On the other hand,
it is admitted that the Pope's forgiveness, being a sign of that
of God, is not to be made light of (38). Though it was not
Luther's intention to do away altogether with indulgences,
his Theses practically assailed them at their foundation.

The Theses attracted widespread attention, and were soon
made the object of a host of confutations. At Frankfort
on the Oder, Wimpina issued his Antitheses, and Tetzel, who
published and defended them, also added fifty Theses of his
own dealing with the power of the Pope and with heresy, and
asserting the Pope's right to decide infallibly in matters of
faith. The Roman Dominican, Silvester Prierias, composed
his Dialogus in praesumptuosas Martini Lidheri conclusiones
de potestate papae. Eck, a professor at Ingoldstadt, animad-
verted on the Theses in his Obelisci. Lastly, at Cologne
they were attacked by the Dominican Hoogstraaten. Luther
did not allow these contradictions to pass unanswered. His
work against Eck is entitled Asterisci. He also wrote, in ex-
planation and defence of his Theses, a work called Resolutiones}
A copy of this work he sent to the Pope.

That the Protestant reformation was truly a religious revolution
scarcely admits of a doubt, and even the Protestants themselves
are beginning to see it in this light. The only question is, where
reform ends and revolution begins.


Rome's Intervention and the Leipzig Disputation — Luther's

Works 2

I. In the meantime the Pope had interested himself in the
movement. A summons was issued to Luther to present

' W. KoHLER, Luthers 95 Thesen samt s. Resoluiionen und den Gegen-
schriften von Wimpina-Tetzel, Eck und Prierias und den Antworien Luthers,
1903. Cp. Lammer, Die vortrid. kath. Theologie, 1858, pp. 3-17.

^ Seidemann, Die Leipziger Disputation im J. 1519, 1843 ; O. Seitz, Dev
authentische Text der Leipz. Disp. 1903; H. Barge, Andreas Bodenstein von
Karlstadt, 2 vol. 1905 ; Th. Wiedemann, Joh. Eck, 1865 ; D. F. Strauss,
Ulrich V. Hutten, 2nd ed. 1871 ; Kawerau, H. Emser, 1898 ; P. Kalkhoff,
Forschungen zu Luthers rom. Prozess, 1905.

G 2

84 A Manual of Church History

himself at Rome, but at the desire of his sovereign Frederick the
Wise, prince-elector of Saxony, it was arranged that, instead of
this, he should be examined before cardinal Cajetan (Thomas
de Vio) at the Diet to be held at Augsburg in the autumn, 1518.
He was then to be called upon to withdraw his Thesis fifty-
eight and the opinion expressed in Resolution 7 : non sacra-
mentum, sed fides sacramenti iustificat. Luther, however, refused
to recant, urging that the Thesis was not even in contradiction
with the papal decretals, and that the sacraments, seeing that
Faith is the only condition of salvation, owe all their efficiency
to Faith, All that he would consent to do was to keep silence
so long as his opponents refrained from attacking him. At
his departure, hearing that Rome had appointed his enemy
Prierias to be his judge, he left behind him an appeal to the
Pope, a Leone male informato ad Leonem melius informandum.
Foreseeing, however, that he would soon be excommunicated,
a week later he appealed to a General Council.

His fear was as yet without foundation. As Luther had
justified his conduct by asserting that the Church had never
yet authoritatively spoken her mind on the matter, the Pope
decided to issue a special Bull on indulgences. This being done,
Leo X sent into Saxony a papal dignitary, Carl von Miltitz,
with the Golden Rose and an offer of indulgences, to soHcit the
elector's intervention. Again Luther promised to hold his
peace on condition that others did Hkewise. He also vowed, in
a public proclamation, to express regret for his actions and to
urge the people to treat the Holy See with respect.

n. The excitement was, however, too great to admit of
silence. Previous to the dissolution of the Augsburg Diet,
a disputation had been arranged between Eck and Carlstadt of
Wittenberg. This took place at Leipzig in the summer, 15 19,
and the Theses then advanced by Eck provoked Luther himself
to enter into the controversy. The main point at issue con-
cerned the primacy (Thesis 13), Luther denying that it was
of Divine institution. He also rejected the infallibility of
General Councils, alleging what had happened at Constance.
By this time he had clearly become a convert to another great
Protestant principle, viz. that that only which can be estabUshed
by Holy Scripture is to be admitted as true in religion.

As the parties were too much opposed for a compromise

Luther 85

to be thought of, the controversy was allowed to continue by
means of the press. A few new disputants were drawn into it,
for instance, Jerome Emser of Ulm, secretary to duke George
of Saxony, who took up the cudgels against Luther; his
connection with the quarrel dated from the time of the Leipzig
disputation. At Cologne and Louvain the theological faculties
passed solemn censure on the reformer's works. In the
spring, 1520, Rome, too, entered the hsts with the Bull Exsurge
Domine, in which forty-one of Luther's propositions were
anathematised, he himself being threatened with excom-
munication should he not recant within sixty days. On the
other hand, the number of his friends was also steadily growing.
Many hoped that his action would really lead to a removal of
the evils which oppressed the Church. Others, especially the
humanists, joined him, because of their common detestation
for the teaching of the schoolmen. Others again supported
his cause out of hatred for Rome, among them Ulrich von
Hutten, who, about this time, sent broadcast into the world
his ' Vadiscus, or the Triunity of the Roman Church,' and
other similar seditious works.

IIL Luther himself was busily engaged in writing.
Probably at the request of his friends among the nobility,
he composed, in the summer, 1520, his work addressed ' To
the Christian nobles of the German Nation, on improving
the condition of Christianity,' its title indicating sufficiently
a manifesto against the crimes of Church and State, with
proposals for their removal. Here we find for the first
time the idea of a priesthood common to all the faithful, a
denial of transubstantiation, and a demand for the abrogation
of the law regarding celibacy. In the work De captivitate
hahylonica, published shortly after, he threw overboard the
sacrificial character of the Mass, and all the sacraments save
Baptism and the Last Supper, retaining, however, a portion of
that of Penance, and requiring that Communion should be
administered under both species. Now that the Holy See had
pronounced judgment on him he had no reason to hesitate
any longer, and his further mental evolution was rapid and
constant. At the request of Miltitz he indeed consented to
send another epistle to Leo X, but, though he therein affirmed
that he had never attacked the Pope personally, he also made

86 A Manual of Church History

it known that he would never retract. The treatise De lihertate
Christiana, the reformer's third great work, contains the sum
of his doctrine exposed for Leo's benefit. Events now followed
each other rapidly. On the publication in Germany of the
Pope's decision, he sent forth his ' Against the Bull of Anti-
christ,' and as the sentence had resulted in his books being
burnt in many localities, he himself publicly committed to the
flames the Bull together with the works on Canon law.


The Diets of Worms, 1521, and Nuremberg, 1522-24—
Melanchthon and the Anabaptists i

According to the directions of the papal Bull, proceedings
were to be taken not only against the writings, but also against
the person of Luther. The question was debated at the Diet
held at Worms in 1521. The decision was, however, not arrived
at soon enough to please Aleander, the papal legate present.
The assembled princes submitted their own strictures on the
Church, and prevailed on the young emperor Charles V (1519-56)
to allow the condemned man a hearing. Their intention was
doubtless to give him an opportunity to recant, or to seek some
honourable compromise, but any such hope was not to be
fulfilled, for Luther remained obstinately true to his teaching.
Even when the ban had been formally laid on him, the aim
of his enemies was not gained, as his disciple the elector of
Saxony hastened to bring him, disguised as the knight George,
into safety at the Wartburg near Eisenach. All the same he
now lost the sympathy of a number of men who thus far had
supported him, but who now began to see clearly that his object
was to subvert, rather than reform, the Church. Among
these was Erasmus of Rotterdam. Three years later the
famous humanist was to oppose Luther with a work, De libera
arbitrio (1524) ; on receiving Luther's answer, De servo arbitrio
(1525), he retorted with the Hyferaspistes diatribae adv.
Servtim arbitrium M. Lutheri (1525-26).

' Brieger, Aleander u. Luther, 1521 {Quellen u. Forschungen zur Gesch.
der Ref. I), 1884 ; Hausrath, Aleander u. Luther auf d. Reichst. zu Worms,
1897; ^achr. Gottingen, 1899, pp. 165-81; L. Ruffet, Luther et la diite de
Worms, 1903.

Luther S7

In the solitude of his Patmos, as he called his new abode,
Luther was assailed by doubts as to the righteousness of his
cause. Convinced, however, that he had been raised up by
God to be a religious reformer, he put away such doubts and
qualms of conscience as mere temptations of Satan, and,
full of confidence in himself, and of hatred for the papacy and
the Catholic Church, he never deviated for a moment from the
path he had selected. In the tract on the Abuse of Masses
he describes the Mass as a creation of hell, and a scandalous
piece of idolatry, whilst the clergy he terms priests of the
devil. In the translation of the Bible which he then began
(the New Testament appeared in 1522, the Old in 1523-32),
he also showed that even Holy Scripture, on which so far he
had based all his attacks, was not above criticism when it
did not agree with his preconceived opinions. The epistle
of St. James, for instance, because it so clearly teaches the
necessity of good works for salvation, was denounced in the
preface to the New Testament as an ' epistle of straw.'

At about this same time Philip Melanchthon,^ bom at
Bretten in the Rhenish Palatinate (1497), and since the begin-
ning of the Reformation (1518) professor at Wittenberg,
produced his Loci communes seu hypotyposes iheologicae (1521),
the first text-book of dogmatic theology to embody the new
doctrines. He was the second greatest of the German Re-
formers, and to some extent succeeded in infusing into Luther
a little of his own peaceableness of disposition.

Melanchthon was, however, powerless to control the dis-
turbances which broke out at Wittenberg during Luther's
absence, and in which Carlstadt was the moving spirit. The
new movement threatened to submerge everything in universal
anarchy. The clergy began to marry, the monks, beginning
with the Augustinians, quitted the cloister, Masses were
abolished, Communion was administered under both species,
and even without any preliminary confession. Even against
study a war was declared. Artisans were to preach the Gospel
and the students were to be set to learn trades. Matters became
still worse when the Anabaptists, after an abortive attempt

* Melanchth. opp. ed. Bretschneider et Bindseil, 28 vol. 1834-60 :
Loci comm. ed. Plitt, 1864, 3rd ed., ed. Kolde, 1900. Mg. by C. Schmidt,
1861 ; R. Schafer, 1897 ; G. Ellinger, 1902.

88 A Manual of Chu-/ch History

to found a new kingdom at Zwickau, migrated in a body
to Wittenberg, At the beginning of 1522 image-breaking
became a regular frenzy. It was then that Luther made his
appearance in the town and soon re-estabhshed order ; it was
then, too, that he first began to carry out his doctrines in
external worship. Private Masses were abolished, a sermon
and prayers taking their place every week-day. Communion
was distributed under both kinds, and certain alterations were
made in the Mass, such words, for instance, as spoke of it as
a sacrifice being omitted.

Adrian VI, who ascended the pontifical throne that same
year, had some hope of putting a stop to the movement by
reforming the Church and, above all, the Roman Curia, of which
the conduct had of late been more than usually disgraceful.
He accordingly proposed to the Diet of Nuremberg (1522-23)
that a General Council should be held in Germany.! i^ his
opinion the abuses in the Church were the source of all the
trouble, but so suspicious were the assembled princes of the
sincerity of the Pope's advances, that they received them with
great coldness. When summoned to carry out the edict of
Worms and take up arms against the Reformers, the Diet
retorted by re-issuing the Gravamina nationis Gennanicae ;
ultimately it was settled that, until the Council, which was
to meet within a year, the rulers should prevent Luther from
taking any action, and see that the Gospel was preached
according to the interpretation of the Church. These promises
were, however, idle ones. Luther calmly continued his warfare
against the Church, nor did the Council ever meet. Adrian
died soon after, and his successor Clement VII allowed
the matter to drop ; indeed, the plan had been rendered almost
impracticable by the outbreak of a war between France and
the emperor. The Reformation was, therefore, free to continue
its progress. Only in southern Germany were any energetic,
steps taken against it. Although the Diet which met at.
Nuremberg in 1524 refused to sanction the rigorous applicatiom
of the edict of Worms, the papal legate Campegio, in that
same year, was successful in inducing the south German princes;
to declare themselves at Ratisbon in favour of the edict. All!

1 Redlich, Der Reichstag zu Niirnherg 1522-23, 1887 ; Hist. J. iSg%,
pp. 70-91.

The Peasant War 89

this hesitation enabled Luther to take, in 1525, the step by
which he finally consummated the breach with Rome, marrying
Catherine of Bora, a Cistercian nun, and thus setting the seal
on his opposition to clerical celibacy and religious vows.^

The Peasant War ^

In the course of the last decades several revolts of the
peasantry had occurred in south-west Germany. Being
merely local they were put down before any great harm was
done. A much more serious rising was now in preparation.
The religious upheaval gave the peasants new cause for discon-
tent and enabled the revolt to spread. Luther's declamations
against the parish clergy and the monasteries, objects on which
spite could so easily be vented, were not without their results.
Some of his followers even preached open rebellion.

The demands of the rebels were not the same everywhere.
In the Twelve Articles of the peasants of the Swabian highlands
the right of the parish was asserted to elect and depose its own
parson. The pure Gospel was to be preached without any
human additions, tithes on cattle were to be abolished, an end
was to be made of serfdom, the forests and the waters were to
be common property which all should be free to use, taxes were
to be diminished, &c. In other places these demands were
greatly exceeded, and nearly everywhere the rebels went far
beyond their original programme. The rebellion began in
Hegau in the summer, 1524, and soon a large portion of
Germany was involved in the movement (Swabia, Alsace, the
Palatinate, the Rhenish province, Franconia, Thuringia, Hesse,
Saxony, Brunswick, the Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia,
and Carniolia). In the south the Bavarians only, owing to the
strong action of the government, remained aloof from the
coalition. In the spring, 1525, Luther, after giving his attention

• Kath. 1900, 1 (Melanchthon's epistle to Camerarius on Luther's marriage) ;
Z.f. KG. 1900, IV.

2 Janssen, Hist, of the German People, vol. iv. (Engl. Tran?.) ; Hartfelder,
Zur Gesch. d. Bauernk. in Siidtvestdeutschl. 1884 ; F. L. Baumanx, Oiiellen
zur Gesch des Bauernk. 1S76 ; Die zwolf Artikel der oberschit'dhischcn Banern,
1896; N. Jahrb. f. d. klass. Altert. I (1904), 213-30 (on the origin of the-
Twelve Articles) ; Hist. Vierieljahrsschri/t, 1904, pp. 53-5S.

go A Manual of Church History

to the Twelve Articles, counselled peace. His warning was,
however, not obeyed, which is no wonder, seeing that he
himself had dwelt on the intolerable burdens laid on the
peasants, and the oppression practised by the nobles. The
rebellion only gained in strength, more than a thousand castles
and cloisters perishing in the flames. Only violence could
now suffice to keep the peasantry within bounds, and in his
work ' Against the murderous and thieving mob of peasants,'
the Reformer himself urged the princes to action and bade them
cut down the peasants without mercy. His advice was
followed, and the revolt was nearly everywhere crushed before
the end of the year. The movement, which was in progress in
Thuringia, and was led by the Anabaptist Thomas Miinzer,
came to an inglorious end with the battle near Frankenhausen
(1525). Only in the district around Salzburg did the disturb-
ances persist until the summer, 1526.


The Diets of Spires, 1526-29 — Progress of the Reformation
and Beginning of the Lutheran Church 1

After the death of Frederick, prince-elector of Saxony
(1525), Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, was to be the mainstay
of the Reformation among the German princes. One of his
first public acts was a measure in favour of the Reformers. In
the summer, 1525, several princes of North and Central
Germany (the prince-elector Joachim of Brandenburg, duke
George of Saxony, dukes Eric and Henry of Brunswick-
Wolfenbiittel, and archbishop Albert of Mainz) had made
an alliance at Dessau to guard against any attack from the
Reformers. Following their example, Philip, in the subsequent
spring, allied himself with Frederick's brother and successor,
John the Constant, to uphold the Reformation, and they were
joined a few weeks later by six other princes and by the city
of Magdeburg. The results of this were felt even at the Diet of
Spires in 1526. Though it was decreed that, according to the
imperial message, no change was to be made in the Faith, the

* Mg. on the Diet of Spires, 1526, by Friedensburg, 1887; Ney, 1889;
Z.f. KG, XII, 334-60 ; on that of 1529, Ney, 1880.

Diets of Spires gi

Estates of the Realm were informed that, with regard to the
edict of Worms, and until a General Council should meet, they
were at liberty to take what action they deemed most conform-
able with the interests of God and the emperor.

This concession was soon to be enlarged. At the Council
of Romberg, summoned by the landgrave of Hesse that same
autumn, the confiscation of all foundations and monasteries
was decreed, and the old form of worship was abolished. In
that portion of Saxony controlled by John, a special visitation
was ordered, and everywhere the old worship was replaced
by a new one (1527). The Mass was retained, though without
the Canon. Much the same took place in the duchies of
Brunswick-Liineburg, Mecklenburg, Liegnitz, and Brieg in
Silesia, in Brandenburg-Kulmbach (Ansbach-Bayreuth), in
East-Friesland, and in a number of imperial cities.

An attempt was made at the Diet of Spires in 1529 to
prevent the further progress of the Reformation, by enacting
that it should be no longer pushed, and that, wherever it had
already been introduced, nobody should be hindered from
saying or hearing Mass. It thereby claimed not the extermina-
tion of the new Faith, but merely toleration for the old. Even
so, the Reformers protested against the decree, and to this
protest they owed their name of Protestants. To lend
additional weight to their protest the princes of Saxony and
Hesse, together with several imperial cities (Nuremberg, Ulm,
Strasburg), entered into a defensive alliance. Philip was even
anxious to secure the co-operation of that portion of Switzerland
which had accepted the Reformation, and to bring about a
compromise between the doctrines of Luther and of Zwingli,
a conference was, at his instigation, arranged to take place
at Marburg in the autumn, 1529. The attempt was, however,
a failure, owing to the difference of opinion regarding the nature
of the Last Supper (cp. § 191). All the while Philip was
longing for a pretext to commence hostilities. Alleging that
he had received from O. von Pack, one of the ducal councillors,
a report that the Catholic princes had formed an alliance for
the annihilation of the 'Evangel,' he banded himself with other
adventurous spirits, and, though the report turned out to be
a hoax, carried fire and sword into the possessions of the
prince-bishops of Wiirzburg and Bamberg.

92 A Manual of Church History

§ 164

The Diet of Augsburg, 1530, and the Religious Truce
of Nuremberg, 1532 i

The protest of the Reformers at the last Diet had given open
expression to the religious division existing in Germany At
the Diet of Augsburg (1530) the two parties were to be again
both present, though from the beginning of the meeting it was
perfectly clear that there was little hope of an understanding
being reached. The emperor's invitation to attend the Corpus
Christi procession was emphatically decUned by the Protestant
princes. It is true that in the Confessio Augustana, a tract
submitted by these same princes in justification of their religious
attitude, an attempt is made to describe the new doctrine as
in accordance with the old, whilst allusion is made only to the

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