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filles coupablcs, desireuses avant tout de supprimer les temoins do Icurs
faiblesses.' At that time, ' le nombro des enfants illegilimcs mis a mort
immediatcment aprcs lour naissancc, y etait proportionnellement bicn plus
considerable qu'il ne Test de nos jours.' Whether according to this the
' statistiques officiclles ' are a ' prcuvc manifesto ' of the moral purity of
that period of the ' golden age,' the reader must decide for himself.
' Bollinger, ii. 655-656. - Ibid. 653.


lii«,'lior and liighor ami " dolugiiig the land like a sin-
tlood." ' 1

In the Bayreuth district, in 1564, the pastors com-
plained not only of scanty incomes and tumbledown
dwellings, but especially of the savageness and dare-
devilry of their parishioners. The pastor at Aichig
complained that he had been attacked and wounded in
the open street, and in addition had been put into gaol
and kept there three weeks. The pastor of Zobern
complained that he had been laid in wait for on the
road and an attempt had been made to murder him.
Another pastor reported that twice he had nearly been
beaten to death, and had had to sleep with his wife
and child in a cattle shed because his house was quite
destroyed. The pastor of Hirschberg describes his
abode as follows : ' In the sitting-room there is no oven,
no bench, no window, no shutter ; in the kitchen no
hearth, and no door ; the walls of the house have
fallen in, the doors of the cellar and bedroom have no

An edict of the Margrave George Frederick of
Ansbach-Bayreuth, dated April 4, 1565, says : ' All
former mandates have been useless ; blasphemy, cursing
and swearing have increased more and more, and even
Httle children commit these sins openly and unpunished.
In all districts and parishes drunkenness and other
riotous hving prevail.^ A fresh mandate of September
22, 1572, says : ' No amount of warning and admonition
is of any use ; blasphemy, whoredom, and adultery are
in full swing and practised shamelessly ; sorcerers and
soothsayers are also multiplying greatly.' The evidence
from an inspection held in the same year shows that :

' Tholuck, Das kirddiche Leben, 224-225.


' Tlie subjects are leading more godless lives than have
ever been heard of before/ In 1576, wrote the pastor
of Adelhofen, his life had not been safe on account of
thieves and wicked scoundrels ; six times his shutters
and windows had been torn down. * I am not the only
victim of such treatment, for recently many people have
been attacked in the same way, the church houses have
been broken into and much serious damage done.' The
same conditions prevailed almost everywhere in the
land. For decades long, gangs of robbers went about
with their wives and children, acting as pedlars during
the day and at night breaking into houses and carrying
off their booty, i The state of things became such that
in 1582 the Consistory at Bayreuth declared itself against
the Gregorian Calendar, because the Day of Judgment
was at hand, and therefore a new calendar was no longer
wanted ; a town ordinance of 1594 begins with the
words : ' Now that the world is growing infirm and
decrepit it is highly necessary to protect it by a con-
sistorial ordinance.' ^

A church inspection begun in 1560 in the Nuremberg
district disclosed conditions similar to those in other
Protestant districts. For instance in Hersbruck : The
warden Gabriel Tetzel had seldom, even in Nuremberg,
been to the Lord's Supper. Neglect of the Lord's Supper
and soothsaying were in great vogue, also predictions of
weather, and the wife of the warden at Reicheneck had
a great deal to do with soothsayers and gipsies. For
ten years no account of almsgiving had been called for.
The christening of children was so expensive that

' Muck, i. 537, 53G-540, 541 ; ii. 27, 72, 238 ; iii. 3-4. Concerning
the increase of vice, see also ii. 103-105.

- Dollinger, ii. 648. Cf. 649 and 651 for the demoralisation of the
Protestants in Austria.


nobody woukl any longer stand sponsor. The pastor
Andrew llegenauer had an excellent character every-
where and was very learned. The Alfelders had a foul
character ; a miller had actually struck the pastor. The
beneficiary of Forrenbach, George Kraus, was also
called up ; he was an old, contemptible man. The
pastor at Happurg, Peter Taig, said that he was so
frightened he could not answer a word. He had for-
gotten himself with his cook. The school there was
examined and a great deal of traffic in sorcery was
discovered. In Reichenschwand there was a bad pastor,
George Lichtenthaler. One man here said : ' When a
fellow swears lustily he becomes hght-hearted. In the
chm'ch at Henfenfeld a disgusting picture of a drinking
scene was found. In Velden the town clerk was also
the sacristan. The pastor Leonard Widmann was
thought to be a secret Calvinist because he left out the sign
of the cross. It was complained that he never preached
about the Catechism twice ahke. The place was a regular
den of iniquity, especially as regards blasphemy. All,
high and low, with the exception of the warden, Caspar
Paumgartner, knew nothing at all. In Lauf the rustics
were more industrious and pious than the burghers. The
warden, Paulus Lotscher, a good honest man, said he
had never seen such an immoral place as Lauf. The cost
of christenings was excessive, as the women did not leave
off drinking till they no longer knew each other or could
address each other by name.'^

' Siebcnkees, Maierialien zur niirnhergischen Gesch. Bd. I, Stiick iv.
235-240. In 1613 the Protestant pastor and professor, Spremberger, in
Altdorf, was deposed from his office on account of adultery, ' declared to
have forfeited all honour and reputation, imprisoned for foiu* weeks, and
then banished to a distance of ten miles.' Knapp, Das alte Niirnberger
Kriminalrecht, pp. 135, 227,


A frightful picture of the conditions in Augsburg is
given in the sermons preached there by M. Volcius and
printed in 1615. ' Wliat shall I say/ asks the preacher,
' of all our overweening pride and abominable vanity,
by which we have given God cause to send us this
punishment of scarcity ? So great is our sinning in this
respect that we have become a byword, and everywhere
people talk about " Augsburg pomp." '

' Great are the world's pride and ostentation, even
as great as its want of truth, its greed, its selfishness, its
usury and financing, its lying and cheating in every kind
and description of human industry ; to such a height
have these vices risen that they cannot well rise higher,'
&c., &c.

' If anyone has only the value of a Icreuzer to sell, if
possible he makes it up to a batzen, and does not stojD to
think whether the buyer gets his money's worth or not.
Everything must be minutely reckoned up down to the
uttermost farthing, and a fellow must have eyes as sharp
as a lynx and be always on the watch if he doesn't want
to be cheated, and even though they swear by the hving
God, they will swear falsely about a paltry piece of
money,' &c. (the preacher further dilates on the iniquities
practised by usurers, forestallers, and so forth). i

* Are not all the inns and alehouses,' says the same
Augsburg preacher, ' from the first thing in the morning
till the last at night, and all night through, full of people
who do nothing but gorge and drink and swill, with such
screaming and riotous behaviour that respectable people
passing along in the streets have enough of it and to
spare, and God will surely not put up with it all much
longer,' &c.

- • ' Volcius, pp. 69, 73, 91, 117-118.



Poor |)(Mi])l(> wlio liavo nothing behind or })efore
tluMu spend tlieir days in drinking. Before the kreuzer
lias luM'H fully earned, it has already been drunk away
in the alehouse." '

Vok'ius does not ignore the small amount of good
still left in Augsburg, but he finds the evil greatly pre-
ponderant, especially as regards the moral condition of
the town. ' There are still found here, God be praised,
some pious, godly, zealous souls who are enemies to all
sin and wickedness. But what else can they do than
weep, sigh, and complain of all the sin and wickedness
that go on in this town ? ' &c., &c.^

Immorahty, drunkenness, cursing and swearing are
the vices far excellence concerning which complaints
were loud after the victory of the pohtico-religious

Not a few Protestant preachers said out plainly that
' cursing and swearing and blasphemy were far worse
among the evangehcals than among the papists/ and
had become more common than had ever been heard of
before. ' The preacher Charles Seibold in 1578 connected
this fact with the plunder of church goods, the confisca-
tion of church revenues and alms, the consequent inevit-
able dejection and indignation among the poor helpless
people. ' But whereas, he said, this sin of blasphemy ' was
not only common and growing worse and worse among
the poor people, but was also in frightful vogue among
all classes of evangelicals, it was a sure and certain sign
that all real faith in God and Christ, the Lord and
Saviour, however much they might talk of it with their
hps, was completely rooted out of their hearts,' &c., &c.^

' Volcius, pp. 66-67. - Ibid. p. 59.

'■'■ K. Seibold, Von Gottesldstern und Fluchen, jeizund in alter Welt gemein.


Sebastian Franck had already spoken in the same strain.
' There is no longer any conscience as regards sin/ he said,
* because they have persuaded themselves that works
profit nothing, and that faith alone saves/ i

James Andreae adds his voice to the chorus of com-
plaint. ' A great and terrible sin/ he writes, ' of hither-
to unheard-of description and magnitude, has come into
vogue, namely blasphemy of God, whereby the name
of the Lord is reviled and desecrated in the most scanda-
lous manner. Nothing in the divine being and nature
has been left untouched by the most abominable cursing
and denunciation from sheer wantonness. The power
of God, the healing wounds, the cross, the passion and
sufferings of Christ, His holy body. Baptism and Sacra-
ments — all in turn are vilified and abused. . . . This
frightful vice is common alike with people of high and
low degree, with men and women, young and old, and
even with Httle children, who can scarcely talk : such
a state of things was never known in the days of our
forefathers.' '^

The Tiibingen professor John George Sigwart said
in 1599 : ' In former years it was only soldier folk who
were ever charged with blaspheming. From these the
habit was gradually caught by ship's people and ferry-
men, butchers and hunters, hussars and pot-boys,
bargees and so forth. Nowadays, however, it has
become so common that it is no longer confined to a
house, a village, a town, or a county here and there, but
has spread over the whole world. Not men only but
women also curse and swear ; not only the old, but also
the young, master and servant, mistress and maid, and
even young children, who do not yet know how to pray,'

' Oeschichtsbihel, 250'', 25P. " In Der fiinfte Planeienpredigt, Bl. 18L


»S:c'., cSic. ' W'lion anyoiio does not get exactly what he
wants, he it the merest trifle, he utters the most fearful
oaths. Many oven have become so accustomed to this
accursed swearing that even in pleasant conversation
with their friends at every three words or so they must
needs put in a word of blasphemy/ ^

* Without any reason/ preached Erasmus Winter
at the same date in the Altenburg district, ' from sheer
wantonness or temper, often indeed merely from wicked,
devihsh habit, people curse God in heaven, scold, abuse,
revile and calumniate, and by the all-holiest name of
God, by the agony, wounds and death of Clirist, by the
Holy Sacrament, wish their neighbours all that is
wicked and bad : this is a common habit among all
people, young and old, male and female, high and low,
as everybody knows too well,' &c., &c.^

Andrew Musculus, also, the General Superintendent
of the Mark, pronounced cursing and blasphemy to be
special sins of the evangehcals. ' The heathen,' he writes,
' had also their particular forms of swearing and abuse,
so too had our forefathers ; but to the awful kind of
blasphemy that goes on now among all classes, young
and old, God has not till these times let the door be
opened,' &c., &c.^

What Andrew Musculus said was well founded ;
but the results of the Church revolution spread also into
Cathohc lands ; there too blasphemy of God gained

' Sigwart, 124-125. - Winter, Encaenia, 177, 178h-179.

•' Fluchteufel, Bl. B^-D\ In the Theatrum Diabolorum, 207, 213.
Concerning the increase of blasphemy, especially among the young, see
Lohneiss, 264. See also Joh. Kauffung, Oration von clem erschreck-
lichen, verfluchten, und teuffelischen Laster der Gottesldsterung, Marburg,
1593 ; Regner (Eustachius), Predigt von der greuliche Siinde der Gotten-
Idsterung, Tiibingen, 1581.


more and more ground.^ Why, however, the evil was
greater among the Protestants is not difficult to
miderstand. Preaching formed the central point of the
new worship, and this preaching consisted chiefly in
cursing and denouncing as a network of devilish abom-
ination all that the people had hitherto held sacred.
If Luther had given the lead in this respect his successors
all tried to outdo him. In this way the people were
* religiously stupefied ' and actually taught to curse.^
' What good could be done when a preacher hke Andrew
Schoppius complained of and condemned " the devihsh
cursing that has become so common, that one's hair
stands up hke a mountain,'' while at the same time from
his pulpit he inveighed with strong oaths and impre-
cations against the Catholics who from a pope idol and a
bishop's larva adopt the character, sign and emblem of the
accursed Antichrist (such as prima tonsura and clericatus),
that is to say, allow themselves in the name of God to
have their beards and hair shaved off by foul consecrators
and their servants, also to have their heads and fingers
smeared and anointed, to be hallowed and dressed up
in the habit of the scarlet Babylonish whore : they put
on red and brown birettas and let themselves be lifted up
on a mass altar as on the devil's bridal bed, and go
through such hke monkey and priest tricks and antics
with the devil's crew.' ' Out of pagan unbehef making
themselves into mass priests, idiotic gentry, devil's vicars
and statholders, accursed monks, nuns, and so forth.' ^
Added to this were the constant bickerings between
the new-rehgionist theologians and the importation of

' See above.

- Bollinger speaks voiy well on this point, ii. 99G flf.

■* Triumphus muliebris, ix, 133.

K 2


religious dissensions into daily lile. The poor forgot
their Catechism and quarrelled and disputed in pubhc-
houses as to whether the Musculites or the Praetorians
had the true faith, whether one ought to be an accident-
alist, whether it could be said * the devil is the maker of
men, pregnant women carry the devil incarnate in their
bodies, the putrefying corpse in the grave goes on being
actual original sin.' Such discussions not seldom led to
blows and bloody heads. Like the waves on a storm-
tossed sea one new theological opinion chased another.
The people at last did not know what to beheve ;
numbers untold lapsed into mere superstition, others
into naked mibehef.^

Infidehty and distaste for all positive Church doctrine
were more common in the period of the Church split
than is generally thought. Luther and Melanchthon's
complaints of the contempt in which the Evangel stood
point no less to this fact than do the utterances of other
contemporaries. As early as 1542, John Brismann said
in his ' Trostbrief wider allerlei Aergernis und Triibsal
der Christenheit," printed at Konigsberg : ' The Epicure-
ans let their godless, abominable chatter be heard openly,
and shamelessly parade their jests and mocking talk
about the resurrection of the dead and the future hfe ;
they despise the whole of the Scriptures, the Old and
the New Testament, and talk quite blasphemously about
all the articles of the holy Christian faith/ ^ From
Strasburg since 1550 we have to hand a whole series of
ordinances, not only against blasphemy, but also against

* If we threaten the Epicureans with the Day of

' See present work, vol. viii. 146 ff., 178, 385-387 ; vol. xiii. 9 ff., 85 f,

2 Erldutertes Preussen, iii. 216-217.

3 Reuss, 243, 253, 256, 257-258, 259-260.


Judgment/ says the Tiibingen professor John George
Sigwart, ' they answer : They have been preaching
about it for a long time, whenever is it coming ? We
are beginning to think there is nothing in it ; mean-
while, we have plenty to do with eating and drinking
and getting enough money ! ' 'If they are threatened
with the devil or hell, they say : The devil is not so
black and hateful as he is painted ; hell is not so hot
as the priests pretend. It can't be too bad to be borne,
and we shall meet many a good comrade there/ ^

The pastor James Koler in 1587 pubhshed at Witten-
berg a treatise to prove the immortahty of the soul,
because some of his congregation at Berlin declared
that the human soul perished with the body. ' It 's an
artifice of the devil,' Koler said, ' who now in the old age
of the world is doing all he can to put people's con-
sciences to sleep amid all their sin and blasphemy.' '^

Caspar Hofmann, Professor of Philosophy and
Medicine at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, uttered himself as
follows in an address, printed in 1578, on the effects
on the people of the divisions among the preachers :
' What are the fruits which result from these dissensions
and fightings ? Those who would command the highest
veneration, if they were what their name represents,
bring themselves into the deepest contempt : their
dignity disappears, their teaching is judged by their
conduct, their contentiousness turns the people away
from piety and plunges them into strife and dissension.
Their minds become perplexed with all sorts of doubts
about truths which formerly seemed quite certain to
them, and so there is gradually engendered not merely
neglect but hatred of rehgion. Among the populace

' Sigwart, 123. - DolUnger, ii. 54 L


tlioio arises boundless arrogance; gocllessness and
({()(!- forgetting epiciirennisiu possess their souls, and
atheism stands ready at the door, so that we have in
reality before our very eyes all that was predicted by the
words of our Lord Jesus Christ and of St. Paul/ ^

' That there exist numbers of Epicureans and
uoniiual Cluistians,' wrote Ringwalt in 1588, * who
believe little or not at all in heaven or hell, is shown
in the first place by the tipphng brothers who daily,
or whenever they meet, do honour to each other by
copious drinking accompanied with such coarse joking
and wanton blasphemy that it is appalhng to see and
hear.' ' Secondly, it is seen in the great land robbers
who in such merciless and shameless wise finance,
practise usury, fleece and flay, as though there were
no God.' ' Thirdly, it is seen and heard in many
other sycophants and wanton fellows who, when
threatened with eternal damnation, say openly and
shamelessly : " What care I for that, it may be so,
but wherever I may go I shall find company " ; and
so forth. Such mocking talk as this is frequently
heard nowadays among Christians when heaven or
hell is mentioned, as I myself have many a time ex-
perienced,' &c., &C.2

* In order to gain great credit with men,' it is
ironically said in a lampoon of 1594, ' you must not
have any fear of the Last Judgment, of the devil and
hell-fire, but must regard them all as old wives' fables.' ^

Another and a special cause of unbelief, according
to a tract of 1581, was the constant proclamation

' C. Hofmann, De barharie imminente, at Dornarius's, 65-66. See also
Guarinoni, 1033-1034.

- Wackernagel, 672. * Scheible, Schaltjahr, iv. 133.


by the new-religionist preachers of the imminence of
the Last Day. ' Many people,' it says, ' make fun of
the Last Day, and of all those who preach about it
and admonish us to solemn preparation, and say :
They have been talking so long about the Last Day, and
yet nothing has come of it ; what has become of this
Day of the Lord ? ' ^ In order to revive the vanished
behef in the last day, and ' at least to preserve the
common people as much as possible from the godless,
epicurean unbehef that was rampant,' all sorts of
starthng wonders were reported. The new-religionist
preachers regarded the narration of such tales of wonder
as a specially suitable means for inciting the people
to repentance and reform. ^

' Scheible, iv. 646.

^ See present work, vol. xii. 229 f., 26L The latest Protestant historian
of the Church schism, F. v. Bezold, writes {Gesch. der deutsch. Reformation
[BerUn, 1890], p. 872) : ' But the Reformation itself had Uved itself out
with the stormy years of the insurrection of the princes, and for Germany
there began a period of rest, which, however, was more in the nature of
relaxation than of recovered equipoise. For it was an entirely external
pause that the dominant pohtical elements had brought to the violent
struggle ; in the hearts of the masses the passions of the revolution period
were only half tamed, or rather they were debased and diverted into foul
and petty channels. We may well designate the transition from the
eighteenth to the nineteenth century as the period of Germany's deepest
degradation. But while these decades of unforgettable political infamy
were at the same time relieved by an intellectual blossoming of equally
unforgettable splendour, while under the yoke of foreign dominion, an
almost miraculous rebirth of the German nation was going on, the closing
years of the sixteenth century were leading a politically and intellectually
decrepit, morally depraved, dogmatically petrified generation to an
almost unparalleled abyss of ruin.' ' The much abused Janssen,' says a
writer in the Histor.-polit. Bl. (vol. cxiii. p. 137), 'has never judged the
Reformation more severely than Professor v. Bezold, so much eulogised in
Protestant newspapers. Between Janssen and Bezold, however, there
is this difference, that Bezold is inconsistent, and almost in the same
breath exalts up to heaven that which just before he had condemned.'

13G insroKV of thk (iiciiMAN people



A MELANCHOLY pi'oof of liow * savage and bestial *
the life of the nation became after the disturbance
of religious unity is seen in the increase of crime,
especially of moral transgressions.

Already at the close of the Middle Ages fleshly
sins had spread enormously in Germany ; but in the
century of the Church schism things came to such a
pitch that next to drunkenness, immorality was reckoned
' the greatest German vice/ ' Sodom and Gomorrha,
even the Venusberg, are child's play compared to the
immorality of the present day,' wrote the General
Superintendent of the Mark, Andrew Musculus." A
degenerate art, a literature of shame and infamy,-^ are
disseminating vice all over the empire and poisoning all
classes of society. What excellently informed con-
temporaries, as, for instance, Hippolytus Guarinoni,
say in this respect about the Cathohc portion of the
empire is certainly strong, but it is far exceeded by
that which the new religionists themselves tell of the
conditions in their own camp. That corruption here
had reached an altogether unheard-of height was the

' Written by the Editor. - See present work, vol. vii. 298 f.

^ See present work, vol. xi. 207-24L 341-358, 362-391, and vol. xii.
36-54, 110-141, 167-184, 185-227, 228-277, 278-386.


necessary result of the doctrines promulgated by
Lutlier about chastity and marriage.

With all plainness Luther had declared that the
sexual impulse absolutely required satisfaction, there-
fore a man's will was not free ; he had no right to take
vows of chastity, he must have a wife. ' As httle as
it is in my own power, or rests with me to be a man,
so httle does it rest with me to be without a wife, and
vice versa/ Luther not only robbed marriage of its

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