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continually perplexed the consciences of men upon that head. He dared to reject the conclusions of the schools in part; but others ascribed too much to them, and yet disagreed with them as well as he, altering them often, and introducing new notions in the place of those they abolished. It was inatter of grief to pious minds, to hear almost nothing faid in the schools of the doctrines of the gospel,_and that, in the fermons, little mention was made of Christ, but much of papal power, and of the opinions of recent writers.-Luther has written a great deal that relishes more of imprudence than irreligion; but the greatest offence he has given, is, his want of respect to Thomas Aquinas; his lefsening of the profits of indulgences; his despising of the Mendicant friars; his preferring of the gospel to the doctrines of the schools; his opposing of the fophiftries of difputants;—all these are intolerable heresies *."
The reader, in this last instance, has had before him a witness, perfectly competent to decide on many of the points, which, usually, afford matter for much controversy between papists and protestants; and, as we trust, the true character of the Saxon reformer, in regard to his motives, abilities, and learning, is now fully ascertained; we recurn to the narrative of the progress of the dispute concerning the sale of indulgences.
• Vid. Erafm. Epis. and Brandts History of the Reformation.
THE PROGRESS OF THE CONTROVERSY CONCERN
ING INDULGENCES, TILL THE CONCLUSION
lication of Luther's theses, opposed to them
Moller. Cron. Fribergen.
as if they were an ordinary commodity*. He had blamed the people for foolishly putting their money into a chest, of which they had not the key; and had declared that, by reading the bible, he had difcovered the Apostolical religion to be very different from that which prevailed at present. This good prelate, a little before his death, happening to hear that Tetzel was again employed in a similar way, prophecied he would be the last of the dealers in indulgences, on account of his shameless audacity of Notwithstanding this, and every other warning or remonftrance, the Dominican commifsioner persevered in the traffic with augmented industry, and so much incensed the minds of Luther's disciples at Wittemberg, that they ventured, by way of retaliation, to burn publicly his propositions, or Theses I, as they were called, with
• Chytr. Lib. II.
+ “A soul,” said Tetzel in his Theses, “ may go to heaven, in the very moments, in which the money is cast into the cheft.-The man, who buys off his own sins by indulgences, merits more than he who gives alms to the poor, unless it be in extreme necessity.” Other extraordinary affertions are likewise contained in his tracts, which demonstrate that Protestant wri. ters have not misrepresented the controversy before us. Suffice it to mention two sentences more. 6. The ministers of the church do not barely declare men's fins forgiven, but do really pardon them by virtue of the facraments, and by the power of the keys. They may impose a punishment to be fuffered APTER DEATH; and it is better to send a penitent with a small penance into purgatory, than by refusing him absolution to send him into Hell.” Da Pin, B. II. Seck. Lib. I.
1 When Tetzel was at Leipfic, and had scraped together a great deal of money from all ranks of people, a nobleman, who suspected the imposture, put this question to him, “ Can you grant abfolution for a fin, which a man thall intend to commit in future?" "c Yes," replied the frontless commissioner, ď but on condition that the proper fum of money be actually paid down.". The nobleman instantly produced the fum demanded; and in return, received a diploma sealed and signed by
every mark of disapprobation and ignominy. Luther was 'inuch grieved at this ralh action; and finding himself to be accused of inftigating his followers to commit it, writes thus to a friend." I wonder, you could believe, that I was the author of the deed. Think you that I am.fo destitute of common sense, as to stigmatize, in such a manner, a person in so high an office? I know better the rules of ecclefiaftical subordination, and have more regard to my own character, both as a monk and as a theologian than to act so.” There were also persons, who, pretending to be in poffeffion of court intrigues, were fond of circulating the report, that Luther had published his theses by the secret instigations of the elector Frederic. Luther, with great concern, takes notice of this false furrnise. In a letter to his friend Spalatinus he thus expresses his feelings. “ I am heartily vexed at the scandalous report, which is diffused with much malignity,- namely,--that in all I do, I am only the ENGINE of our illustrious prince, for the purpose of disgracing the arch-bishop of Mentz. What do you think I ought to do on the occasion? Shall I open the matter to the elector? I am extremely concerned, that the prince should be suspected on my account, and I cannot bear the thought of being the
Tetzel, absolving him from the unexplained crime, which he secretly intended to commit. Not long after, when Tetzel was about to leave Leipfic, the nobleman made inquiry respecting the road he would probably travel, waited for him in ambush at a convenient place, attacked and robbed him; then beat him foundly with a stick, sent him back again to Leipfic with his chest empty, and at parting faid: “ This is the fault I intended to commit, and for which I have
your abfolution.” This humorous story may seem scarcely worthy of the dignity of hiftory; but it is recorded by the cautious Seckendorf, and
serve to sew the almost incredible lengths to which the popish agents proceeded in the detestable traffic so clearly laid open by this anecdote.
origin of contention among persons of so great dignity.”
Luther also published a sermon, preached against indulgences, which Tetzel answered, and this produced a reply from Luther. About the same time, Henry, duke of Brunswic, who was afterwards distinguished among the most active. enemies of Lutheranism, appeared in the contest; and in a public writing accused Frederic of secretly supporting Luther. The well known character of the elector, for caution and prudence, feems however to have prevented the report from gaining much credit. This prince took extraordinary care not to involve himself unneceffarily in the concerns of Luther. Our intrepid reformer, in all his opposition to Tetzel, most certainly had no colleague or affiftant; and he himself declared, that he never had conversed with the elector Frederic in his whole life.
Luther never did things by halves. Accordingly, as the affair of selling indulgences had laid firm hold of his mind, he could neither quiet his uneasiness, nor smother his indignation. He still continued to preach and to write on the same subject, till the end of the year 1517. In the next year he went to Heidelberg, and was courteously received by Wolfgang, the brother of the elector Palatine, who was the scholar of Oecolampadius, a name, afterwards renowned among the reformers. Luther had been advised by his friends not to go to Heidelberg on account of the danger to which he might be exposed. But, as a general afsembly of the Augustinian monks had been called at that place, he thought it right to obey his superiors, whatever might be the event. The official business of the assembly was of no great moment; and therefore we need not be surprised that the zealous and active spirit of Luther was not content with barely