Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

CHRISTIAN GUARDIAN,

AND

Church of England Magazine.

MAY 1, 1823.

MEMOIRS OF THE REFORMERS.

66

LUTHER.

seventy briefs against him, which

only awaited leave from the Prince (Continued from Page 127.]

to be affixed to as many churches, Though the subtilty of Miltitz, argues a desire of ecclesiastical during his continuance in Germa- peace, and a suppression of vinny, failed in its design on the cau- dictive feeling, very honourable to tious Elector, the fair and gentle one who could play the warm dismeans to which he resorted in his putant under protection of high auinterviews with the honest Profes- thority. sor, were not altogether without “ Martin," said the Knight when effect on a mind disposed to peace he met him at Altenburg, “I and conciliation. Luther was aware thought you were some old dotard, of his Italian artifice, and the plau- who sat disputing with himself in a sibility of his profession; yet the chimney-corner; but I see you are emissary of Leo was one who knew sound and bearty, and attracting

by good words and fair speeches universal attention. If I had an to deceive the hearts of the simple.” army at my command, I could not The courteousness of his manner, force you to Rome. I sifted the the testimony he bore to the learn- people," added he, smiling, “as ing and zeal of the Augustinian, I came along, to find out what they his condemnation of the practices thought

of you ; and where one was of Tetzel, his affected disposition for the Pope there were three for to make concessions, and his re- you!” He insisted on Luther's presentations of the benefit of con- supping with him, and spent the cord among Christians, so

far

pre- evening in entreating him to cultivailed on Luther, that he wrote a vate pacific measures, engaging to submissive letter to the Pope, of- persuade Leo to meet him half way. fering to abstain from further men- The Reformer assured him, that tion of the odiousness of indul- he would take every step to progences, provided his adversaries mote tranquillity, that was not inwere enjoined to cease from their consistent with the sacredness of recommendation, and to distribute truth. a circular among his friends ex- Miltitz was so mortified at the horting them to reverence the holy handle which had been afforded Roman church. Such conduct for censure by the imprudences from a theologian who had already and harangues of the low and vulappealed to a general council, and gar Dominican, that he summoned who knew that the Papal advocate, him into his presence, and threatat the Very

time he used such sooth- ened him so roughly, that the ing speeches, had in his possession wretched man, who had conceived MAY 1823.

Y

[ocr errors]

himself entitled to praise for his in- led by such representations; and dustry, went home, sickened, and the student in church matters will died:

: a remarkable end of one of look to other sources for informathe most awful characters on re- tion on the character of the Record! It ought to be mentioned formers, than the philosophic histoto the credit of Luther, that as rians of Liverpool and of Ferney soon as he heard of his illness, he The hour in which the Professor wrote him a kind letter, and re- was induced to write his submisquested him not to fear that he sive letter to the Pope has been would show any resentment against regarded by reformed writers as a him. It is, however, to be re- perilous one for the cause of Progretted, that this generous conduct testantism. His feelings had cerin the Reformer should be so little tainly been so far wrought on, that appreciated by the elegant bio- though he would not compromise grapher of Leo X. that, on a no- any essential principle, he endeatice of the letter, he observes, voured to preserve unity by con* Whether this was really intended cessions which he could scarcely as a consolation, the reader will approve in their full extent. Gerjudge.” Was it, then, intended desius, whose research, talent, and as an insult over a fallen enemy? impartiality as an ecclesiastical auSurely, nothing but a study of Lu- thority is equalled by few and surther's character through such jaun- passed by none, considers him as diced media as a Maimbourg or a having allowed himself in too great Varillas, could have drawn this in-. latitude of expression, in speaking sinuation from so respectable a of the power of the Roman see. writer. It is an act of common He

says,

the epistle was not revojustice, to stop the thread of the catory but deprecatory, yet thinks narration for a moment, to vindi- it must have gone against his concate the memory of a great man science, because a few months befrom such an aspersion; and to re- fore he had written to a friend, “ I mark, that it is too much in unison send you some of my trifles, that with the tone of feeling and expres- you may see whether I have rightsion in a work of considerable in- ly guessed, that the true Antichrist, terest, but in which the author is of whom Paul speaks, is now so jealous for the dignity of his reigning at Rome, and whom I hero, as to consider that it would think I could show to be worse have been a degradation in the than the Mahometan power.” But Pope to have submitted his quarrel with deference to the Groningen with Luther to the test of reason Professor, it may be pleaded, that and Scripture; and who intimates, the mind of Luther was yet in such that if Luther “ had been Pope in- a twilight state on some material stead of Leo X. he would have de- points, as to which he was afterfended the church against a much wards at issue with so large a pormore formidable adversary than the tion of Christendom, that his lanmonk of Wittemberg." Voltaire

guage must not be subjected to too had observed before, in a similar severe a scrutiny. Doubting, as spirit, that the Pope “ should, as he did, the pretensions set up by he was advised, have given him a the Italian Pontiff, he yet would cardinals hat to make him alter his naturally want confirmation from opinion." Those who know any the judgment of others. He was thing of the sensibility, conscien- subsequently convinced of their tiousness, self-devotion, and superiority to secular motives, which

* Roscoe's Life of Leo X. vol. iv. p. 7; marked the proceedings of the il- et vol. iii. p. 179. Voltaire, Hist. Gen, de lustrious Saxon, will not be mis- l'Europe, p. 4. c. 8.

some

anti-scriptural nature, and it would Pomerania, honorary Rector of have been criminal to have uttered the academy of Wittenberg * The in 1522 what it was venial to speak contest commenced on the 27th of in 1519. At this period he was June, before a numerous and splenholding on his course; a majestic did auditory, and continued till the orb, exciting admiration from its 4th of July, with great skill and attendant rings of genius, learning, dexterity on both sides; Eccius and piety, but failing, from partial maintaining the Semipelagian and obscuration, to present so steady Papistical notions concerning the and certain an appearance as its freedom of the will, and the grace disk afterwards assumed in a of congruity; and endeavouring. clearer atmosphere.

with much plausibility to combat Miltitz might boast that Luther the tenet of the Augustinians, that was in his power; and the latter in whatever man does by preventmight hint, that if all the Papal ad- ing and helping grace, he must be vocates had conducted themselves considered as a passive and undelike the former, his dispute with serving agent, and that the consent Rome might never have risen to so

of his will or his co-operation is great a height; but the time was

not to be reckoned among the arrived, fixed by divine ordina- causes of goodness, God working tion, announced by divine prophe- in him both to will and to do from cy, and signalized by divine fa- first to last. The dispute was convour, when the sword of the Spirit ducted with much clamour; and should wound the apocalyptic because Carlostadt made beast. It is miserable criticism, happy appeals to books and writand worse theology, to argue (as ten documents, it was settled, that some writers have), that because all authorities should be laid aside; Miltitz was artful, and Luther sub- when Eccius, possessing the better missive, the cause of Reformation memory and a greater flow of was in danger of extinction. No; words, seemed to have the advanit was of celestial implantation, and tage of bis opponent. As he could could not be nipt in the bud! not, however, entirely disprove his “ Jam nova progenies cælo demittitur is not in man a natural ability to do

assertions, he granted, that there Occidet et serpens.”

a good work, but an acquired

power. The zeal of certain bigots in be

us,

A spectator informs half of the reigning superstitions,

* Early in the morning a grand mass and their confidence in their rea

was celebrated, at which were present sonings on the side of error, would many abbots, counts, knights, and bur

gesses, the Duke engaging a choice musical not suffer the Professor to sleep at band for the occasion. The visiting dochis post. Eccius challenged Car- tors were then brought with great pomp to lostadt, a known defender of Lu

the citadel, where a space had been prether, to a public disputation, to be pared for the disputation, and fitted up with held at Leipsic, which city Duke guard of armed citizens appointed to keep

tapestry, pulpits, and benches, and a George had readily granted for the order. Mosellan, Greek Professor of Leippurpose, in hope that the Papal sic, a friend to the Reformation, but painterest would be well supported by tronized by the Duke, welcomed the asthe practised dialectic of the In- sembly in the name of his sorereign, and

discoursed on the mode of conducting theogolstadt divine, but contrary to the logical controversy. At the conclusion of wishes of the Academy and the this harangue, the pipes and clarionets diocesan. Eccius appeared on the sounded, and the choir sung thrice the appointed day with a train of fol- bymn to the Holy Ghost

. After which the lowers, and was met by his anta

company adjourned to dinner, and the disgonist, attended by Luther, Me- Epist

. ad Pirckheym. Scult. Ann. Dec. 1.

pute began in the afternoon.-Mosellani lancthon, and Barnim, Duke of

alto"

p. 37.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

with respect to the disputants, that of all. Eccius then wished to press the appearance, tone, and manner the debąte on the point of the of Carlostadt, were those of a man authority of the Pope; but Luther who argued, not for the display of gave him to understand, that it was ability, but the investigation of invidious in him, under all circumtruth; whereas Eccius used every stances, to give such prominency aid that could be borrowed from to this particular; and that there impetuosity in argument or grimace were many adversaries, who had in action.

denied his positions, who ought to At the termination of the dispute, have met him at this time, and Eccius, affecting the air of a con- given him an opportunity of defendqueror, and wishing to distinguishing himself, but that he believed himself still further as a champion they shunned the light. Eccius for the Holy See, signified his rea- protested that he had not raised diness to break a lance with Lu- this stir, but Luther himself, who ther, as a more noble adversary, in the explication of his theses had who accepted the challenge, on denied, that before the age of Sylcondition that the public faith was vester the Roman Pontiff had any engaged for his safety. At the in- precedence, and had averred bestance of Barnim, he was permit- fore Cajetan, that Pope Pelagius ted to preach on St. Peter's day had wrested many passages of the in the chapel of the citadel, the word of God, and originated the privilege of performing this minis- mischievous doctrine. terial office in the principal church “ When in the course of their being reserved for Eccius; but argument,” says Mosellanus,“ they though his space was more circum- came to that maxim, • Thou art scribed, he had a crowded congre- Peter, and upon this rock I will gation, whom he addressed on build my church, &c.' Martin insome of the principal points on terpreted the rock to mean a sound which the Reformers and Papists confession of faith; or the whole were at issue.

body of the church with Origen, or The questions discussed were, Christ himself with Augustine. the doctrines of purgatory, indul- Eccius, with the more recent fagences, penances, pardons, and thers, explained it of Peter and the

supremacy of the Roman Pon- his successors, and confirmed his tiff. The main controversy was exposition by quotations from Beron the latter. Eccius declared, nard and Jerome. All which Marthat they who affirmed that the tin admirably parried, observing, Roman church was not chief of all that the church on this supposition other, before Pope Sylvester, were was without a head, as often as a in error; for he who obtained the Roman bishop died. For as to the seat and trust of Peter, the prince College of Cardinals, who admiof the Apostles, had always been nistered till a successor was electacknowledged as his successor, ed, it was idle to consider it in the and Christ's vicar upon earth. Lu- light of a substitute; both bether answered, that they who at- cause cardinals themselves were tributed primacy to the church of the product of a later age in the Rome, had no other foundation church, and in any case were to than the bare and insipid decretals be regarded rather as many heads of Popes made four hundred years than one; and also because a dibefore; and that these decretals vine institution, as such, could not were opposed, not only to all his- be hindered by the death of man, tory of a thousand years' standing, or even by the passing away of but also to Scripture, and the heaven itself." Council of Nice, the most esteemed This second dispute lasted for

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ten days; and when the assembly which were circulated against him broke up, Hoffman, Rector of the in every direction; and while he University, refused to declare to despatched epistles to the same efwhich side the victory belonged; fect to the Archbishop of Mentz, so that the decision was left to the and the diocesan of Mersburg; doctors of Paris and Erfurt *. Lu- Eccius repairing to Italy, concerted ther, however, was anxious that plans

for his overthrow with Cajethe public mind should not be mis- tan, Prierias, and the leading Doled by the representations of the minicans. Papists, and published a tract, The Professor was not ignorant entitled, “ Resolutions of the Pro- of their machinations, which were positions disputed at Leipsic," and aided by addresses against him addressed to Spalatinus, in which from the German bishops. He he said, that Eccius had no cause was enabled, however, to possess to boast of the contest, as he had his soul in peace, and to rely with been brought to acknowledge that full confidence upon his God. He no trust ought to be put in indul- spent much of his time in prayer, gences. In truth, the Ingoldstadt meditation, and the study of Professor had been driven to many Scripture; and, from suspecting evasions in the course of the dis- the Pope to be Antichrist, was pute, not only on the subject of in- confirmed from day to day in those dulgences, but

on every

other sentiments which were soon to asquestion which came before them; sume the more decided form of and though he was constrained, Protestantism. Among other parwith a show of candour, to bear ticulars, he held, that the comtestimony to the abilities and at-' munion ought to be received in both tainments of his opponent, yet ma- kinds; and, early in the year 1520, lice rankled in his heart, and he re- published a Sermon on the Nature solved to leave no means untried to of the Sacrament, in the German stir up the Pontiff, who, being dis- language, containing explicit views tant from the scene of action, and of his canvictions on this subject. engrossed by other occupations, On the doctrine of justification by was less alarmed at the progress of faith likewise, he spoke decidedly the new opinions, to take active in some of his positions. measures against the Reformer. fallen man,” he observed,

“ there While, therefore, some censures remains an inward principle of evil, issued by the Academies of Co- even after he is renewed by the logne and Louvain only served to grace of God. Every Christian call forth an animated reply in de- needs daily repentance, because he fence of his sentiments and conduct sins daily; not, indeed, by daily from Luther; while he was engaged committing scandalous offences, in addressing a letter to the new but by falling short of perfect obeEmperor Charles V. imploring his dience. Hence there is not a just assistance and protection, and de- man upon earth ; because, even in claring that his sole object was the actions that are good in themselves propagation of evangelical truth, in there is precisely so much sin as opposition to human inventions there is repugnance, or difficulty, or and traditions ; while, moreover, he disinclination.” This was the condeemed it necessary to represent to flict of which he understood St. the states of the Empire his pacific Paul to speak in the seventh chapdesires, the provocations which he ter to the Romans. He asked, had received, and the calumnies moreover, If the evil principle,

called the flesh, prevented the ope* The former declined judgment; the ration of the good principle, called latter sent out a censure of Luther in 1521. the spirit, in a man so holy and

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »