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theology, Erasmus Mantenfle, who was newly raised to the see of Cammin, opened a fierce persecution against the clergy, citizens, and students, who favoured the reformed system, alleging that images had been removed in the night from the church of the Holy Spirit, and that the priests had been interrupted in the performance of the mass. Some he cast into prison, others he forced to fly the country. The Abbot of Bulbech retreated to Saxony, and became pastor of a church at Belzig, near Wittenberg, whither Bugenhagen himself thought it prudent to retire, finding the mind of the prince in danger of being alienated from him, from the misrepresentations of certain plausible Romanists. He had so ardent a desire to become personally acquainted with Luther, that he readily yielded to the invitation contained in a letter from Peter Suaven, an erudite man and common friend of the parties, who was persuaded of the great benefit which would accrue to Bugenhagen from an intimacy with the Professor.
About the same time, Duke Bogislaus and Bishop Erasmus, staying at Wittenberg, went to hear Luther preach. The Prince was amused with the honesty and plainness of the preacher when he attacked the luxury and idleness of the prelates, and was observed to smile, and look at the Bishop, to see how he relished the address. Bogislaus desired that Luther might be introduced to him. He received him very graciously, and observed, that "he should like his confession to be drawn up by him ;" on which the Professor replied, that "he feared the Duke of Pomerania, who had been a great Prince, had been also a great sinner." This freedom the Prince excused, observing with some asseveration, that "it was very true." The citizens of Stettin, during the absence of the Duke and the Bishop, request ed Luther to send them a preacher,
and accepted Paul Rhodes, a native of Quedlinburgh, who had been exercising his ministry at Jutterbock. The Senate presented him to the lectureship of the church of St. James, which led to a quarrel with the monastery of Bamberg as the ancient nominator. Rhodes, however, persisted to preach at certain hours, and administer the Sacrament in both kinds. The Duke on his return beginning to show some displeasure, was persuaded by Prince Barnim to hear Rhodes himself, and declared that he could perceive nothing heretical in his discourse. By the connivance of the Sovereign, therefore, the reformed doctrine continued to be preached in the capital, and in other parts of Pomerania, till the death of Bogislaus, who was succeeded by his eldest son George, a prince of less liberal sentiments, when the persecution was revived by the diocesan of Cammin and his bigoted coadjutors.
When Luther was called to attend the Diet at Worms, the services of Bugenhagen were very acceptable at Wittenberg, where he expounded the Psalms to the great edification of a numerous auditory. He was much esteemed by Melancthon for his prudence and learning, and his counsel was taken by most of the reforming divines on questions of criticism or casuistry. In the absence of the Professor, Feldkirch, pastor of Kemberg, thought proper to marry; which measure led to much controversy among the Reformers, whether the marriage of ministers was forbidden by the Pope alone, and how far monks should consider themselves bound by the vow of celibacy. They sent to Luther, who promptly drew up his opinion, and transmitted it to Wittenberg; where it arrived as Suaven and Bugenhagen were supping with Melancthon. Bugenhagen read attentively the sentiments of his friend against monastic obligation, and sat some time paus
ing on the greatness of the question. He was persuaded, that as soon as this opinion was published many would act upon it. "This affair," said he to his friends, "will lead to most important changes in the public state of things." In fact, a number of marriages soon followed, and among others that of the Pomeranian himself.
Carlostadt maintaining, in the height of his zeal, that the Mosaic code should be introduced into courts of judicature, and statues removed from the churches, Bugenhagen was one of those who steadily opposed the design, alleging that the removal of the statues would lead to sedition, and that Hebrew institutions were not applicable to Christian commonwealths. The steadiness and gravity which he displayed in this dispute, at the risque of incurring censure from a party more fervid than prudent, for idolatrous and unscriptural feeling, contribute to elevate his character in the esteem of all lovers of good order; and on the return of Luther from his confinement at the tower of Wartenberg, Bugenhagen was chosen pastor of Wittenberg by the united suffrages of the academy and the senate, in the room of Heinsius, who was taken from this important charge in 1522, by the stroke of death. From this station he determined never to remove, and here he laboured in the word and doctrine for thirty-six years, in many political changes, refusing to quit his flock for reasons of war, pestilence, or any other public calamity, though he was offered wealth and preferment both by the King of Denmark and in his own country, when in the course of events, Philip, the son of George, succeeded to the government. But though he considered Wittenberg as the fixed scene of his labours, few men of his day were more actively engaged in settling the ecclesiastical concerns of different principalities and commonwealths.
The first invitation which he received of this kind, was from the city of Hamburg. Having repaired thither, he prescribed for the burghers a form of doctrine, discipline, and ordination. He afterwards performed the same service for Lubeck, and Brunswick, and Pomerania; in all which states he was a principal instrument of establishing schools in the suppressed monasteries.
He rendered Luther the most valuable assistance in the translation of the Bible. This was a task in which he took the greatest delight, though the difficulties he had to encounter in some parts of his undertaking were such as translators of the present day, with their many helps, can but feebly imagine. When this amiable scholar, and his pious colleagues, had arrived at the termination of their labours, they felt that delightful sensation which is reserved for those who experience the sweets of repose, accompanied with a consciousness of useful and hallowed industry. In the fulness of his heart he established an annual feast in honour of the translation; and when such men as composed that literary commission met together, with the Saxon Professor at their head, in the very spot where the work was achieved, and each succeeding anniversary, for a length of time, brought fresh accounts of new versions from their translation, they surely experienced far greater delight than any worldly enjoyments could afford.
In a com
Luther had a pleasing opportunity of evincing his gratitude to his friend in 1524, when Bugenhagen published his admirable Čommentary on the Psalms. mendatory preface, he observed: "I venture to affirm, that the Psalter of David has been explained by no one, whose writings are extant, and that this Pomeranian clergyman is the first in the world who deserves to be called an interpreter
of the Psalms. Almost every other man has brought his own opinion, and that perhaps uncertain, into the explication of this most beautiful book; but here the sure judgment of the Spirit will teach thee, gentle reader, wonderful things." He shows his estimation of him again, in a letter to Spalatinus, in 1525. A Dantzic divine came to Wittenberg to request that Bugenhagen would consent to take on himself the charge of their church, on which Luther wrote thus to his friend, the electoral Secretary "There is one John, a pastor of the Dantzickers, come to the Prince to solicit his permission to call our Pomeranian to his city; I should be glad, therefore, if you could assist him as far as in your power: for though I should like such a man to stay here, yet in so important a matter, I think one ought to give him up. Who knows what work God hath for him to do? We must be careful not to hinder, through our mistakes, so excellent a vocation of the Lord. You will hear from this ecclesiastic, the wonders that Christ is doing in that city. I confess, for myself, if I had such a call, I dared not refuse." Bugenhagen, however, remained firm to his resolution of continuing at his post. Luther also prefixed an epistle to a Collection of the minor Writings of Athanasius, particularly those on the Trinity; published by Bugenhagen in 1532, as an antidote to Arian sentiments.
In 1533, when Jasper Cruciger and John Epine were about to perform their exercises for the doctorate at the university of Wittenberg, the Elector signified his wish that our Reformer should be associated with them in the disputations to be held on the occasion; adding, that he would attend with the Electress, and defray the whole of the expense. The subjects discussed were justifying righteousness, the nature of the church, and the dif
ference between ecclesiastical authority and civil power. Bugenhagen made an oration on the last, for which he was eminently quali fied, giving great satisfaction to the whole court.
The twelfth of August, in the year 1537, was a splendid æra in the life of Bugenhagen. It was the birth-day of Christian III. King of Denmark, who was attached to the cause of the Reformation, and had been injuriously treated by the seven Bishops of the kingdom, who would have set up his infant brother John, educated in the old persuasion; but that Prince, after much civil disturbance, had succeeded in quashing the rebellion, and had cast the Prelates into prison. In an assembly of the states the Monarch, ascending a temporary throne, addressed the people for three hours, detailing the intrigues of the Papists, who would have prevented his accession, and murdered all who were in favour of Lutheranism. The people demanded the abolition of prelacy at the close of the oration, which was decreed by the states, and Dr. Bugenhagen, who had been sent for from Wittenberg for that purpose, solemnly placed the crown on the King's head. On the twentieth of the same month, the whole court and council being assembled in the cathedral of Copenhagen, he consecrated seven superintendants, to preside over the Danish church in the room of the ancient Bishops. He appointed lectures to be read in the academy, and gave regulations for the establishment of twenty-four thousand clergy in the joint realms of Denmark and Norway.
In 1542 he went to Hildesheim, at the instance of the senate, to arrange an ecclesiastical constitution; where, assisted by Martin Winkel and Anthony Corvin, he ordained six pastors over as many congrega tions, and shut up the church of the canons. In an epistle written to his friend Pontanus, he mentions
his agreeable surprise at the progress made among the commonalty by the reformed doctrine, notwithstanding the opposition of the monks. He preached his first sermon there on the 1st of September, and after the custom of the Reformers, began a German hymn, fearing he should have to sing a solo, as it was so different from the Latin chaunting which the congregation had been accustomed to hear, when he found himself accompanied by the voices of nearly the whole multitude.
The Bishop of Cammin departing on the 20th of June 1544, the cause of the Reformation in Pomerania was delivered from a bitter and persevering adversary. This dignity was conferred from ancient time by the Dukes of the country, and was of peculiar character in the Roman hierarchy. By the patent of creation, the Bishop was the first subject in the duchy, and supreme counsellor, and was bound to be faithful to the Dukes on pain of excommunication. The vacancy in this office was required to be filled up within three months. Barnim and Philip could not agree in the nomination; the former inclining to young Lewis, son of the Count of Eberstein, recommended by his brother-in-law, Ernest of Lunenberg; the latter insisting on the elevation of James Ciceritz, a Pomeranian nobleman. This dispute being reported to the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave at Spires, they exhorted Barnim to desist from the nomination of a mere youth, and, in conjunction with Philip, elect some grave and apostolic character, who would be superior to the antiquated corruptions and superstitions. In consequence of this advice, the Princes agreed with the States to appoint henceforth, a Bishop who would support the confession of Augsburg; and both parties naturally turned their eyes to their distinguished countryman, the pastor of Wittenberg. A
splendid embassy waited on him, in the name of the two Dukes and of the whole Chapter of the province, but he repeatedly refused the offer. Meanwhile, the Elector arrived, and urged on him the acceptance of the dignity; and the ambassadors declared, that unless he consented, there would be a civil war between their Princes, who could agree on no other person. He was moved by their representations, and said he would accept it on certain conditions; but the embassy had no sooner left him, than he was greatly troubled, and prayed: “O God, how foolishly have I consented! Deliver me from this bond for thy name sake, and for thy Son Jesus Christ! I have fallen into this error, on account of my sins, through ignorance and precipitation; help me in thy mercy, as thou hast said, O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help: even so, cast me not away from thy presence!" Then, taking courage, he wrote, that in the first place he had considered the matter, and he did not think that the threat of civil war ought to operate on him so far as to induce him to undertake a charge for which he felt himself unequal, especially as many eligible persons might be found; and secondly, that as the Princes refused to sanction the conditions under which he had stipulated his acceptance, he regarded himself as free from obligation. He was now in his sixtieth year, and infirm. and infirm. The bishopric had been conducted for sixteen years in such hospitable style, that he thought it would take him a whole year to be initiated in its culinary mysteries, and "it was not just, to leave the word of God and serve tables." The dignity, too, would engage him in so many state affairs, that he should be drawn from study and preaching, which would be death to him. Christ also had said, "The kings of the earth exercise lordship, but it shall not be so with
you." He had not property sufficient to maintain the usual appearance of such dignities, and of late, bishoprics had been much impoverished, not merely through the spread of Lutheranism, but from a deficiency of supply from the great. Lastly, the enemies of the Gospel might take occasion to say, that the new doctors had deposed the Papal prelates in order to occupy their seats themselves. He would, therefore, refuse the Pomeranian primacy, as he had already refused two dioceses elsewhere. They then asked him to hold it conditionally for one year; but he replied, "that the same contest between the Princes might be renewed, while he might occasion more scandal by a resignation: that he had some before laboured to effect more years reformation in the prelacy of his country, and it was not his fault that he had not succeeded. He would now, however, go once more thither, if practicable, to make an alteration in church matters, before the election of another Bishop. Let them choose some good man who would preach as well as preside. The chief Shepherd used to preach, and the disciple is not above his master. If the two Dukes cannot agree, let each nominate his own friend, and cast lots as in the case of Matthias." The difficulty terminated by the election of Bartholomew Suaven, the ducal chancellor.
The last public act in which this excellent pastor was engaged, was the funeral sermon for his revered Luther, on the 22d of Feb. 1546, before a crowded auditory, in the great church of Wittenberg. His text was 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14. He drew a fine comparison between the deceased and the angel in the Apocalypse, who said, "Fear the Lord, and give honour to him," as the Professor had taught his fear by the Law, and his honour by the Gospel. He then spoke of his character, and desire of happy departure, and concluded by exhorting them to fulfil the wishes of the
great Reformer by their personal repentance and faith. The venerable preacher was so often interrupted by his own tears, and those of the congregation, that he shortened his discourse as much as possible.
Soon after the discharge of this affecting office he became so much debilitated both in mind and body, that Melancthon used to look on him with much compassion, secretly beseeching God to spare him the trial of similar decrepitude. When not able to preach any longer, he went daily to the church, where he spent much time in prayer, for himself and the church of Christ. In his last sickness, his devotional spirit and conversation were very edifying; and he found much comfort in repeating that passage of John, "This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." He calmly expired on the 20th of April 1558, wanting two months of the completion of his seventy-third year.
He used to illustrate justification by this beautiful comparison: "As a ring, set with a precious stone, is valued, not for the quantity of gold which encloses the jewel, but for the jewel itself; so sinners are justified by faith in and through the Son of God, whom faith receives and apprehends, as the ring doth the stone."
We cannot conclude his memorial better, than by quoting the motto which he adopted, and wrote under his own portrait, when shown it by that Christian artist, Luke Cranach, so well known in the history of the Reformation: "Now thanks be to God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life: and, who is sufficient for these things?"