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straten worthy, that infamous inquisitor general at Lyons, who had shown himself so stout in the controversies with Reuchlin, and
tion. What much
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that the sixth conclusion I did not lay down of my own belief, but as I heard of others. Now this is most admirable, because Scotistical though not scholastical, that souls will pay their punishment in purgatory, not by doing enough, but by suffering enough. Thanks to Scotus, who, although he is most scholastical, yet, wonderful to tell! has made Eckius an ecclesiastic. Just as though there could be no rustic so rude as not to know, that punishinent is not to be suffered, except voluntarily, (only it is not infernal and that of the wicked), as if they could be said to pay their punishment, not merely by suffering enough, but by being willing enough."
Luther's celebrated twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth conclusions, they preach a human invention, who pretend that the soul escapes from purgatory away towards heaven, as soon as the money chinks in the chest, Eckius, without further proof, pronounces “impudent, and capable only of producing tumult, sedition and schisms in the church, and not of increasing charity.” Obl. 13. — Luther's answer. “Pray see the theologian, how he pants for my destruction !” (Quoted by Luther), “ Eckius seems to me to be one of those who are unwilling that their own vices should be even mentioned. - I am astonished, however, when not only Eckius, but all the scholastics, in their books, assail, not only avarice, but even simony. Then all the decrees and books are full on the vices of the pontiffs. And yet so many books, assailing so many vices, have not yet produced seditions and schisms. Shall my single little notice of a single vice mingle all these tragedies ? Either Eckius is mercenary and is the suborned agent of certain black characters, as we reinernber once against John Reuchlin, or he is totally gone in the transmigration of Pythagoras." -- Luther's thirty-seventh thesis. “Every true Christian is a partaker of all the benefits of Christ and the church, granted to him by God, without letters of pardon." – Eckius's Obl. 18. “ A true proposition. But since the communion of the saints is various, the participation of blessings and merits, Luther marvellously confounds these every where. But if the participation of those in charity was similar avd merely general, in vain would be all fraternities and congregations, which is nothing else but to pour forth the Bohemian poison.” – Luther's Asterisk. “ These two marked reproaches, calling me heretical and venomous, so far as I am concerned, I suppose I ought to bear for the sake of the gospel. But as I belong to a distinguished university, to an approved religious order, to the illustrious dukedom of Saxony, and to a distinguished diocese, and all these are catholic, and then as I have asserted nothing, but only discussed points and that not respecting the faith but only scholastic opinions, it is incumbent on me to meet Eckius on this matter of injuries, and bring his mouth, so full of
bad now raised his voice, not to refute Luther, but, — what
Eck. Obl. 22. “It is a most impudent error, that Christ's merits are not an infinite treasure, and now committed to the regular dispensation of the pope.”
Luther's Asterisk. “ Most impudent rashness of all is it, to affirm any thing in the church which Cbrist has not taught. But such is that which our Eckius prates, that the treasure of Christ's merits is in the hand of the pope. Where is the Bible for this ? the fathers ? where the canons ? (except our masters); where, in all the world ? And, as I may indulge my passion a moment, it is the fury and indignation of God, and nothing but to throw open the gate to all heresies, errors, and to all Tartarus, so freely to assert every thing at pleasure. For if the scholastic doctors, your uphappy masters, had refrained from this license of asserting, distin. guishing, conjecturing, with a pious intention, as they say, the church would not now have swarmed with so many extravagances, nor would you have invented so many black and living obelisks. I acknowledge, indeed, that in the Extravagant of Clement V. a story is told of a treasure of Christ's merits to be distributed by way of indulgences ; but I believe this was never approved. It is one thing for the pope to narrate, and another to decree ; nay, a far different thing, for the pope to decree, and a council to approve."
• Hochstraten probably published no particular work against Luther, but only expressed incidentally the opinion quoted respecting
From all these antagonists who first came upon the battle ground against Luther, even Eckius not excepted, he would still have had little to fear, if merely the talents of the combatants had been left to decide the contest. He was manifestly the strongest party. But this only increased the general attention, which his opponents had known how to excite, and changed the regard of such spectators as would otherwise probably have remained indifferent, (although their own interests were involved in the contest), to a rather anxious participation, which could not long remain inactive. The heads of the clergy must have seen, that Luther was not the man to carry on a merely monkish war, or to fight out a literary quarrel. His enemies had already taken care to render it impossible for the contest to remain within these limits; and even his adherents who, in some places, particularly in Wittenberg, had embraced his opinions, by some imprudent conduct gave occasion enough to themselves for looking about, with self-interested care, for means more effectual than refutations for warding off the danger that threatened them. The students at Wittenberg, who were almost all extremely prepossessed in favor of Luther, in a sally of youthful precipitancy, had publicly burnt Tetzel's contradictions, and with the most provoking comic solemnities.* This daring conduct had occasioned an astonishment which, with all his assurances that he had no part in it, nay with even the most earnest manifestations of his displeasure, did more injury to Luther's cause than the bitterest calumnies of his worthless opposers.t The neighboring bishopsf began to put themselves in motion against him, and what was still more serious, the elector of Saxony himself, after such scenes, seemed unable any longer to remain an idle spectator. Luther and his works, in the apology against Reuchlin. See Lösch. Dok. II. 321. Luther's extremely severe piece against him.
See T. I. Jen. Lat. 116-Germ. Jen. I. 61.
See Lösch. l. c. II. 9. + Luth. Epp. T. I. ep. 43. “ This severe injury, inflicted by our friends, is certainly displeasing to me and to all. I am faultless ; yet I fear the whole will be imputed to me. There is a vast deal of talk about this thing every where; but their greater indignation is indeed not unjust. What will come, I know not, except that my peril becomes the more perilous by this means."
The bishops of Brandenburg and Meissen. See Epp. L. I. ep.
Frederic had received from his contemporaries, the sirname of
precepts of honor, of magnanimity, of religion even, for the sake of its own advantage. It was at that time the ambition of the German princes, to be known, not only as brave, but also as upright, faithful men ; and in respect to the last, no one dared to contend with Frederic for the preference. But as the ambition of being regarded a brave prince, did not so often mislead him as them into odious projects; as his temperament and his education fitted him rather for patient deliberation; as he always considered it more safe, in accomplishing his projects, to wait for propitious moments, than to prosecute them by force amid unfavorable circumstances; and as the result generally confirmed the judiciousness of his conduct, he acquired the reputation of that wisdom which his contemporaries the more willingly accorded to him, since most of his plans which he executed were, not indeed ostentatiously disinterested, but just; many of them were designed merely for sustaining the freedom of the empire, the privilege of his contemporaries, or the dignity of the nation; and all of them evinced no less of steadfast courage and dauntless resolution, than of deliberative wisdom. Hence Maximilian himself deemed him worthy of his entire confidence, * notwithstanding he foresaw, and had indeed already learnt from experience, that no one of the German princes would oppose himself more vigorously and firmly, in any scheme prejudicial to the liberties or the honor of the empire ; and by this personal esteem in which he stood with the emperor and with the States, he attained a degree of respect which was as advantageous to him, in whatever he undertook, as his actual power, which he had considerably increased in the course of a twenty-years' reign that was but little troubled and still less prodigal. In respect to religion,
darios his as
Spalatin, in the life of Frederic by Seckendorf, I. c. p. 42, relates the greatest proof of this, immediately after a case in which the elector, with full success, had set hiinself in opposition to one of the darling projects of the emperor.
Frederic was a zealous adherent to the then reigning system; but his knowledge of that system extended no further than the knowledge of the other contemporary German princes. In the education of the great, at this period, nothing was so much neglected as instruction in religion — perhaps not so much designedly, as because it was still the prejudice of the nation, that knowledge of the internals of religion belongs exclusively to the priesthood. Hence they were merely taught, in matters of faith, to resign themselves, with docile subjection, to their guidance ; and, in most cases, the whole instruction was confined to some formularies on the doctrine of the authority of the church and of the power of the pope, which were the more deeply impressed on their souls by every means best adapted to their character. Besides this, it was a part of the ambition of the German princes, to be regarded as christian princes, by which nothing more was understood than a remove from the slightest suspicion of any heresy, which was then always affronting.* And the Romish court had found it not very difficult to keep up this ambition, so advantageous to itself, and, as soon as it was necessary, to turn it to its own purposes, until by too severe and too frequently repeated experiments, it had filled most of them with suspicious distrust towards itself, and had compelled a jealous watchfulness upon its designs. On the other hand, there appeared in Frederic's soul, together with this ambition which he had in common with others, to be still a far more active zeal for religion itself, which manifested itself not only by external respect, but by conscientious fidelity towards his erroneous conviction in many transactions of his life. Luther himself, little as he esteemed his knowledge of religious things, gave him, as did all his age, the testimony of a truly pious prince. And the rigid exactness with which he practised all the external usages of a religion which seemed even to require almost nothing further—the attachment which he showed to some of its then contested principles, to the necessity of certain ceremonies, the worship of the saints, and the veneration of their relicsnay, merely the extreme and devout assiduity with which he
In the strange controversial papers which duke Henry the young. er of Brunswick exchanged with the elector of Saxony and the landgrave of Hesse, in 1539 and 1540, there are indications enough, how highly the princes of that day resented it, if their princely orthodoxy was called in question even in the most distant manner. See Hortleder von den Ursachen D. K. T. II. B. IV.