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Title: American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics - Including a Reply to the Plea of Rev. W. J. Mann
Author: Schmucker, S. S. (Samuel Simon), 1799-1873
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics - Including a Reply to the Plea of Rev. W. J. Mann" ***

Library of Pennsylvania

Professor of Christian Theology in the Theological
Seminary of General Synod at Gettysburg, Pa.

Earnestly contend for the faith, once delivered to the saints. JUDE 3.


Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1856,

The design of the following treatise, and the occasion which elicited
it, are indicated both on the title page and in the introduction of the
work itself. Its primary object is not to discuss the obligation of
Synods to adopt the doctrinal basis of the Platform. What we felt it a
duty to the church to publish on that subject, we have presented in the
Lutheran Observer. But the pamphlet of the Rev. Mann, entitled Plea for
the Augsburg Confession, having called in question the accuracy of some
of the interpretations of that Confession contained in the Definite
Synodical Platform, and affirmed the Scriptural truth of some of the
tenets there dissented from; it becomes a question of interest among us
as Lutherans, which representation is correct. For the points disputed
are those, on the ground of which the constitutions of the General
Synod and of her Seminary avow only a qualified assent to the Augsburg
Confession. In hope of contributing to the prevalence of truth, and the
interests of that kingdom of God which is based on it, the writer has
carefully re-examined the original documents, and herewith submits the
results to the friends of the General Synod and her basis. Since these
results as to the question, what do the symbols actually teach? are
deduced impartially, as must be admitted, from the original symbolical
books themselves, as illustrated by the writings of Luther, Melancthon,
and of the other Reformers of the same date; those who approve of those
books should so far sustain our work: and those who reject these tenets,
that is, the New School portion of the church, will not object to seeing
a vindication of the reason why they and the General Synod avow only a
qualified assent even to the Augsburg Confession, namely, because these
errors are there taught.

_The topics here discussed,_ are all such as are left free to individual
judgment, both by the Constitution of the General Synod, and that of her
Theological Seminary. Both explicitly bind to the Augsburg Confession,
only so far as the _fundamental_ doctrines, not of that confession, but
of the _Scriptures_ are concerned. A _fundamental_ doctrine of Scripture
is one that, is regarded by the great body of evangelical Christians as
essential to salvation, or essential to the system of Christianity; so
that he who rejects it cannot be saved, neither be regarded as a
believer in the system of Christian doctrine. The doctrinal
peculiarities of no denomination, though often highly important, can
therefore be regarded as _fundamental,_ without unchurching all other
denominations and consigning them to perdition. The topics here
discussed are, 1. Ceremonies of the Mass. 2. Private Confession and
Absolution. 3. The Divine institution of the Christian Sabbath. 4.
Nature of Sacramental Influence. 5. Baptismal Regeneration. 6. The
nature of the Saviour's presence in the Lord's Supper; and, 7. Exorcism.
Now, not one of these is found in the list of fundamentals published by
the Synod of Maryland, and by the great Evangelical Alliance of all the
prominent Christian denominations assembled in London in 1846,
consisting of more than a thousand ministers of Christ, delegated from
nearly all parts of Europe and America. That list is found in the
Lutheran Manual, and is the following:--

"1. The Divine inspiration, authority and sufficiency of the Holy
Scriptures. 2. The right and duty of private judgment in the
interpretation of the Scriptures. 3. The unity of the Godhead, and the
Trinity of persons therein. 4. The utter depravity of human nature in
consequence of the fall. 5. The incarnation of the Son of God, his work
of atonement for sinners of mankind, and his mediatorial intercession
and reign. 6. The justification of the sinner by faith alone. 7. The
work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and sanctification of the
sinner. 8. The Divine institution of Christian ministry, and the
obligation and perpetuity of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; and 9. The
immortality of the soul and the judgment of the world by our Lord Jesus
Christ, with the eternal blessedness of the righteous and the eternal
punishment of the wicked." Not one of these are here discussed.

As to the _doctrines taught_ in this little volume, they are the same
inculcated in our Popular Theology twenty-one years ago, and in our
different works published since that time. And here it seems proper to
avail ourselves of this public opportunity to correct an error
committed by our esteemed friend, Dr. Schaff, of Mercersburg, in his
recent work on the American churches, in which he represents us as
denying the _reality,_ as well as the guilt of natural depravity. This
is entirely a mistake. The reality of Natural Depravity is a doctrine
so clearly taught in God's word, as well as by the history of the human
race, that we have never even been tempted to doubt it. In the eighth
edition of the Popular Theology, (p. 144,) which has recently left the
press, our views on this subject are thus summed up:-- "The Augsburg
Confession seems to combine, both these views, (_i.e._ both absence of
holiness and predisposition to sin,) and the great body of Lutheran
divines has regarded natural, or original, or innate depravity, as that
disorder in the mental and bodily constitution of man, which was
introduced by the fall of Adam, is transmitted by natural generation
from parent to child, and the result of which is, that all men who are
naturally engendered, evince in their action want of holiness and a
predisposition to sin. Without the admission of such a disorder in the
human system, _no satisfactory reason can be assigned for the
universality of actual transgression_ amongst men." "Our own views on
this disputed subject, maybe summed up in the following features: 1.
All mankind, in consequence of their descent from fallen Adam, _are born
with a depraved nature,_ that is, their bodily and mental system is _so
disordered, as_ in result of its operation _to evince a predisposition
to sin._ 2. This natural depravity _disqualifies its subjects for
heaven_. Because the action of depraved (disordered) faculties and
powers, would not, even in heaven itself, be conformed to the divine
law, and _could not be acceptable to God_ In our natural state,
moreover, we have not the _qualifications requisite for the enjoyment
of heaven_, having no spiritual appetites. But we cannot suppose that
God would condemn us to positive and eternal misery merely on account of
this depraved (disordered) nature; for we are in no sense the authors or
causes of it; and a just God will not punish his creatures for acts
which they did not perform;" (p. 147.) It is evident, therefore, that we
do maintain _the reality_ of natural depravity inherited from our first
parents, but _deny the imputation of it to us as personal guilt_. This
correction, we doubt not, Dr. Schaff will make in the future editions of
his work. Nor are we more chargeable with even the remotest tendency to
rationalism, than the great mass of American and English theologians,
including such men as Drs. Dwight, Mason, Woods and Alexander, who all
distinguish things _above_ reason from those _contrary_ to it, and
whilst they deny that revelation teaches any doctrine of the latter
class, admit and believe a number of its doctrines, such as the Trinity,
Incarnation, &c., to be _above_ the comprehension of human reason. With
them, moreover, we maintain, that in doctrines which lie within the
grasp of human reason, it is proper and a duty to expect and to
inculcate a harmony between the teachings of revelation and the dictates
of reason, thus to exhibit and confirm the _intrinsic moral fitness and
glory of those truths of revelation_. And it is these and similar things
which a certain class of German theologians of late are wont to style
rationalizing tendencies.

As to the _necessity of this work;_ two little volumes have appeared,
assailing some of the positions of the Definite Platform, and none in
vindication of them. The New School must therefore receive credit for
moderation. Those volumes were hailed with exultation by the four or
five Old-School papers of our church, and all of them, even the
Missionary, invite the continuance of the discussion in pamphlet form.
Those publications did not agitate the church, neither will this. That
man must be ignorant of human nature, who does not perceive a vast
difference between a controversy conducted in the newspapers of the
church, and one confined to independent pamphlets or volumes. In the
former case, the dispute is forced upon all who see the paper, and
reaches fifty times as many persons, amongst whom may be many who, from
prejudice, or want of sufficient intelligence, do not appreciate the
importance of the discussion; in the latter, it reaches only those who
desire to see it, and feel sufficient interest to purchase the volume.
Yet the Definite Platform, be it remembered, was not the cause but the
result of Symbolic agitation, continual, progressive, and aggressive, in
the several Old-School papers and periodicals, for eight or ten years
past. As it evinced a spirit of resistance, they of course pounced down
upon it, and labored hard for its destruction. But their continued
discussion has brought to light such high-toned and intolerant grounds
of opposition, that the church generally, we doubt not, will settle
down, in a just appreciation of the case.

The course pursued by the ministers of the General Synod, has always
been a liberal one. They have freely expressed their sentiments on these
disputed topics, and cheerfully conceded to others the same liberty.
This principle pervades the Constitution of the General Synod and of
her Seminary. Even within the last few weeks, the Directors of the
Seminary have listened to a vindication of the entire symbolic system,
in the Inaugural of their German Theological Professor, and resolved
to publish it, although it advocates some views rejected by the
majority of the Board, and by the other members of the Faculty. After
such a specimen of liberality, we may well hope that the propriety of
any of the other Professors advocating the doctrines, which have from
the beginning been taught in the institution, will be conceded by all.

For the information of those foreign brethren who have recently taken
part in our ministry, we deem it just to remark, that the term
_American_ was employed in reference to our church, many years before
the existence of the political party now designated by this name, and
is used by us, not in distinction from those born in foreign lands, but
to designate those peculiarities of doctrine, discipline, and worship,
which characterize the great mass of the churches of the General Synod,
as the terms _Danish_ Lutheran, or _Swedish_ Lutheran, and _German_
Lutheran, indicate the peculiarities of our church in those countries.
Some of our best _American_ Lutherans are natives of foreign lands.

In conclusion, we repeat the assurance, that it has been with deep
regret that we have felt compelled, in defence of American, that is,
New School Lutheranism, to exhibit what we regard the errors of the
former symbols. But as the existence of these errors has of late years
been perseveringly denied, and New School Lutherans have been
incessantly reproached for not yielding an unqualified assent, to these
books, necessity was laid on us; and the evil of the controversy, if
any, lies at the door of the aggressors.

Praying that our Divine Master may bless this little volume to the
advancement of his glory and the welfare of his church, we submit it
to the friends of truth.

Gettysburg, April 23d, 1856.


Religious Controversy. Plea of Rev. Mann. Apostolic Church. Authority
of Creeds. Apostles' Creed. Augsburg Confession-altered by Melancthon.

Augsburg Confession the only universal symbol of the Lutheran Church.
Definite Platform liberal. The Episcopalians, Presbyterians and
Methodists, altered their European Creeds in this country. Creeds
subordinate, to Scripture. Progressive light of Scripture. Human
creeds fallible. Drs. Lochman, Endress, F. C. Schaeffer, Hazelius,
Bachman, &c. Origin of the Definite Synodical Platform. Dr. Kocher on

Diet of Augsburg. Alarm of Melancthon-his complaints to Luther-his
letters to Camerarius, remarkable letter to Campegius. Luther checks
Melancthon's Concessions.

The Reformers progressive. Rigid Symbolic System rejected in Germany.
Reinhard, Knapp, Storr, Olshausen, Tholuk, Hengstenberg, &c. Analysis
of the American Recension of the Augsburg Confession, it is almost the
entire Augsburg Confession.

Luther on the Elevation of the Host. Ceremonies of the Mass. Drs.
Murdock, Fuhrman. Import of the term Mass among Romanists, and amongst
the Reformers whilst in the Romish Church. Testimony of Luther in his
Treatise on the Mass, in his letters to Spangler, to Duke George, in
the Short Confession, letter to Justus Jonas, &c. Testimony of
Melancthon, in his letter to Luther during the Diet. Testimony of other
Reformers, Aurifaber, Spalatin. Testimony of the Romish Refutation of
the Augsburg Confession. Internal evidence from the Augsburg Confession
itself. Separate captions and articles for Mass and the Lord's Supper.
The two kept distinct in Melancthon's translation; if you exchange the
words the articles make nonsense. The Romanists understood the
Confession to mean mass proper. Melancthon in the Apology to the
Confession so understands it. Refutation of the proofs. Reference to
the author's former works, the Popular Theology, the History of the
American Lutheran Church.

Import of the phrase. Dr. Funck's early Lutheran Directories for
Worship. Formularies for private Confession and Absolution, Luther's,
that of Wolfgang, &c., in 1557. Proof that this rite is inculcated in
the Augsburg Confession. Siegel, Prof. Jacobsen. Augsburg Confession
admits the want of Scripture authority for it. God alone can forgive

Proofs of the Charge, Drs. Rucker, Hengstenberg, Walter, Murdock.
Ground taken by the Plea. The same opinion taught by Luther in his
Commentary, Larger Catechism, &c., and by Melancthon, in Loci
Communes, or system of Divinity, &c., in Augsburg Confession, and in
his Apology to it.

Doctrine of the Plea-not fully developed. Scriptural view of
Sacramental Influence. Man a sinner by nature and practice, Divine
truth the grand instrumentality of the Spirit in our spiritual
renovation. The stage of progress in this renovation, morally requisite
for pardon, is that of living faith, or entire surrender to God.
Evidence of this pardon or justification, is internal; peace, love, joy,
testimony of the Spirit, fruits of the Spirit, and not any outward
rite-Sacraments therefore only mediate and not immediate conditions of
pardon-proofs, Mosheim, Reinhard, Knapp.

Is taught in Symbolical books and by the Reformers and early
Theologians, Hunnius, Gerhard, Buddeus. Influence of this doctrine on
the pulpit-proofs against it.

Extracts from the Symbols. Arguments. Supposed Sin-forgiving Power of
the Eucharist.

CHAPTER XI.....155
Altered interpretation of this rite. Proofs that it was regarded as
symbolic and was practised in different parts of the Lutheran Church.
Testimony of Drs. Guericke, Koellner, Baumgarten-Crusius, Augusti,
Siegel, Sigismund, Baumgarten. At some periods regarded as a test of

What is our duty under these circumstances? Erroneous reasonings of
the rigid Lutherans. Four different remedies considered--the true one.



Religious controversy, though it often degenerates from that calm and
dignified character, which it should ever sustain as a mutual search
after truth, seems sometimes to be necessary and proper. It springs out
of the nature of that moral evidence, never amounting to demonstration,
by which religious doctrines are sustained, and from the fact, that
whilst the word of God reveals what is necessary to salvation with
entire distinctness, it leaves undecided, or to be deduced from clearer
passages of Scripture, many points which are both interesting and
important, as well as naturally sought for by the constitutional,
systematizing tendencies of the human mind. Discussions on such topics
of practical utility, are alike pleasing to God and beneficial to the
church, if conducted in a Christian spirit, and if the parties have
truth and not victory for their aim. Truth is the will of God,
exhibited in the diversified creations of his hand, either physical,
intellectual, or moral, and the revelations of his word, correctly
apprehended by the human mind. Since truth, therefore, is of God, it
need fear no investigation. The divinity that is in it, will secure its
ultimate triumph. Though it may for a season be obscured, or crushed to
earth by passion, prejudice, or irresponsible authority, it will sooner
or later assert its rights, and secure the homage of all upright minds.
No friend of truth should dread impartial investigation. If he has
unconsciously imbibed erroneous opinions, he will thus be conducted to
the truth; and if his views are correct, they will be confirmed by
investigation. "Eternal vigilance has been styled the price of civil
'liberty;'" and to "search the Scriptures daily,"  to "prove all things
and hold fast that which is good," is the grand safeguard of religious
truth and ecclesiastical purity. No new enterprise of Christian
benevolence has ever been achieved, no reformation of established
institutions or doctrines ever been accomplished in the church of
Christ, without discussion and controversy either oral or written;
because error when assailed by the truth, will always make more or less
resistance. The life of the greatest moral hero of the sixteenth
century, to whom Christianity is so hugely indebted, was almost
entirely expended in controversial efforts; and even the mild and
peace-loving Melancthon, though he advised his aged mother not to
trouble herself about religious controversies, himself felt it his duty
to devote much of his time, his learning, and his talents to the
vindication of the truth against its enemies. [Note 1] We are commanded
"earnestly to contend for the faith once, delivered to the saints," and
by inference for those regulations, which tend to secure that faith. We
are taught to pray for the unity of the disciples of Christ, "that they
may be one as He and the Father are one," and consequently to oppose
such regulations as tend to sever the bonds of union among God's people,
and cause divisions in the household of Christ. Such means for
defending the faith, are creeds which inculcate only those doctrines
clearly taught in Scripture; such hindrances to union and apples of
discord, are creeds embracing many minor points, not clearly decided in
Scripture, on which true Christians differ, and which are not necessary
for cordial co-operation among the children of God.

Within the last few months, a discussion on creeds has occupied the
religious papers of our church in this country, the specific subjects
of which were the merits of the "_Definite Synodical Platform_"
recently adopted by several of our Western Synods, and the import and
scriptural truth of some portions of that venerable document, the
_Augsburg Confession_. In these discussions we took part, in a series
of articles over the initials of our name, in the Lutheran Observer, in
vindication of the Definite Platform, which we hold to be a faithful
and definite exhibition of the import of the _generic_ doctrinal pledge
of the General Synod. That pledge includes, in connection with absolute
assent to the Word of God, as the only infallible rule of faith and
practice, the belief "that the fundamental doctrines of Scripture are
taught in a manner substantially correct in the doctrinal articles of
the Augsburg Confession:" and the Platform is an unaltered copy of
these articles of that confession, only omitting those parts, which we
know by long acquaintance with American Lutherans, to be generally
regarded by them not only as nonfundamental, but _erroneous_. The
Definite Platform, therefore, retains _even more_ of the Augsburg
Confession than the General Synod's pledge requires; for it contains
some specifications of the Augsburg Confession, which though true, are
not fundamental. The Platform is, therefore, more symbolic than the
General Synod's doctrinal basis, though the contrary opinion has
repeatedly been expressed, by those who have not carefully examined.
Had both parties in this discussion exhibited more christian comity,
and abstained from personalities, levelling their logical artillery
against opinions instead of the persons entertaining them; the effect
upon the church would, we think, have been favorable, and unity of
sentiment might have been promoted. That a different impression has
been made on many minds is, doubtless, owing to the human infirmity
and passion that mingled in the contest. Which party exhibited the
largest amount of this weakness, we will not undertake to decide,
although we doubt not, that here as in most other cases, the judgment
of the Leyden cobbler would be found correct, who was in the habit of
attending the public Latin disputations of the university, and when
asked whether he understood Latin, replied, "No, but I know who is
wrong in the argument, by seeing _who gets angry first_." Nevertheless,
christian truth has often been defended in a very unchristian way, and
doubtless more depends on the natural temper and the manners of the
disputants, as well as the extent to which divine grace enables them to
subdue their passions. The disposition occasionally evinced, to frown
down discussion by invective and denunciation, is not only illogical,
as it proves neither the affirmative nor negative of the disputed
question; but in this free country, where we acknowledge no popes, and
in the judgment of free Americans, who think for themselves, it must
always reflect unfavorably on its authors.

The same topic, so closely connected with the prosperity of our beloved
church, is to engage our attention on the present occasion, in reply to
an interesting, christian, and gentlemanly pamphlet, from the pen of
the _Rev. Mr. Mann_, of Philadelphia, who controverts some of the
positions of the Definite Synodical Platform. It shall be my earnest
effort to write in the same christian manner, and my prayer is that the
Spirit of our Divine Master may direct my pen, that it may record
     "No line, which dying, I could wish to blot."

In order that our readers may follow, with advantage, the reasonings of
this treatise, it is necessary that we should conduct them to the
proper stand-point, from which the interesting and important subject
before us should be examined. The same object, viewed from different
positions, often presents a very different appearance; but contemplated
from the same point of observation, by impartial observers of sound
vision, it will, by the laws of our organization, appear the same to
all. The questions before us relate to the meaning of certain
documents, which were adopted some centuries ago in a foreign land and
foreign tongue, as a creed or test of membership in the church. A very
brief glance at this church, the authority of human creeds, and the
circumstances under which this one was published, will prepare us for
the more satisfactory solution of the points in question.

The most important visible organization of the human family, is
undoubtedly the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The
political institutions of the world, such as republics, kingdoms and
empires, are instituted to administer the temporal affairs of men; but
the church of the divine Redeemer involves the never-dying interest of
immortal souls. The former are established and conducted by the
ordinary powers of men; the latter is heaven descended, and was founded
by the incarnate Son of God, and his inspired Apostles. The former are
sustained, as far as defensible, by the ordinary evidences of human
wisdom, manifest in their adaptation to secure our material interests;
the _divinity_ of the latter is established by the most stupendous
miracles of Jesus and his Apostles, as well as by internal evidence of
superhuman wisdom, goodness and knowledge, seen alike in the
institutions it embraces and the truths it inculcates.

These _inspired_ Apostles left a _written record of this divine
institution_, of the church with its ordinances, as well as of the
doctrines and duties to be inculcated by its teachers. They also
pronounce this record to be _complete_, and threaten to blot out from
the book of life, the names of those who add to or subtract from it.
Hence it is evident, that the church of this record is not as Romanists
and Puseyites imagine, a mere seminal principle or germ, to which
equally binding additions may be made by the church of every generation;
but on the contrary, that the _church of the New Testament_ is the
church in its most perfect and faultless form, _is the model church for
all ages_, which in its development and adaptation to different
countries and generations, must ever remain faithful to its primitive
and inspired lineaments. This church, whilst administered by inspired
men during the first century, must also have been more pure, than in
its subsequent periods, when placed under uninspired and fallible
teachers, and in corrupting contact with Pagan philosophy, as well as
in debasing union with civil governments.

Now, in this apostolic age, this golden era of the church, we hear of
no other creed than the word of God itself, which was regarded as
sufficient. And certainly, if as Romanists, after the report of
_Rufinus_, believed the Apostles had either written or employed this
creed, the piety of that age would have enrolled it in the Scripture
canon, and the early church have guarded it with special care. But
there is not a word in the Old or New Testament authorizing or
commanding the church of any future age to frame a creed in addition to
the Bible, as a rule for admission into the church, or exclusion from
it. The only scriptural ground for such a creed is inferential. We are
instructed "earnestly to contend for the faith (doctrines) once
delivered to the saints," and "not to bid God speed," to him who
preaches another Gospel, or denies that Jesus is the Christ. In order
to obey these injunctions we must demand, of applicants for church
membership or ordination, their views of the prominent doctrines of
the Bible, and judge whether they accord with ours. Or we may state to
them our views of these topics, and require their assent. In either
case, we have a creed, and for obvious reasons it is preferable for us
to prepare a carefully written statement of Bible truth, so that it may
be known, examined and improved by renewed comparison with God's word.
On the other hand, the Apostle commands us to "receive into our
community the brother (him whom we regard as a true disciple of Christ,)
who is weak in the faith, (imperfect in some of his views of the truth)
but not for doubtful disputations;" not for the purpose of disputing
with him on doubtful points. Moreover, the primitive disciples, of
contiguous residence, were all united into one church by the Apostles,
and the Savior enjoins it on _all_ his disciples to love one another,
to "be one, as He and his Father are one." Therefore, it was then
sinful to divide and separate true Christians from one another, and
must be so at present, as a general rule. Now, as human creeds, when
extended so as to embrace minor doctrines, on which good men differ,
necessarily do divide, them, such creeds are inconsistent with the
precepts of Christ. The result of these two principles, the duty to
exclude fundamental errorists on the one hand, and the command not to
separate, but to unite the true disciples of Christ on the other, by
reciprocal limitation, affords us the rule, to employ a human creed
specifying the cardinal truths of the Scriptures, but not to include in
it minor doctrines, which would divide the great mass of true disciples
of Christ; nor to introduce more specifications of government or modes
of worship, than are necessary to enable enlightened Christians to walk
harmoniously together.

Accordingly, we find that such was the character of the earliest
uninspired creed of the church, the only one that was extensively
employed in the admission and exclusion of members during the first
three centuries of her history. We allude, of course to the Apostles'
creed, so called, not because the Apostles were at first supposed to
have written it, but because, it confessedly contained doctrines
promulged by the Apostles. This creed, which was for along time
circulated orally among the churches, embraces only fundamental
doctrines, forms less than half a page in the Definite Synodical
Platform, and is believed by all evangelical denominations at the
present time. Here then we have the christian church in her _golden
age_ of greatest purity, the first three centuries, relying on the
word of God alone, with only this brief human creed.

In the fourth century, (A. D. 325,) the Council of Nice adopted a
creed, which is but a paraphrase of the above, following the order of
its subjects, and adding various specifications to repel heresies which
had arisen. Yet even this does not amount to one page in the Definite
Platform. Near the close of the fifth, or perhaps in the sixth century,
the so-called Athanasian Creed was adopted, which would form less than
three pages of the Platform. During the subsequent, centuries of
Romish corruption, different councils made various enactments for the
church, but they generally related to the multitudinous rites and
ceremonies introduced into the popish worship, or to the functions,
rights and privileges of the pope, the different ranks of priests,
bishops, arch-bishops and the inferior officers; and in the progress
of time, men were allowed to adopt almost any error, provided they
paid their dues to the priests, and performed the superstitious
ceremonies of the church.

In the age of the Reformation, Luther had obligated himself to the
entire Romish system, yea, had at the receipt of his Doctorate, taken
an oath to _obey the Church of Rome, and not to teach any doctrines
condemned by her_ [Note 2] But having been enlightened by the study of
the Bible, which providentially fell into his hands, he saw his errors,
and wisely judging that _an oath to do any criminal deed ceases to be
obligatory after the sinfulness of the contemplated act is seen_, he
renounced those errors one after another, as fast as the light of
truth illumined his mind. This work he commenced in 1517, and continued
from year to year till near the close of his life. In 1530, eleven
years after, he began the work of reform, and sixteen before his death,
he approved the Augsburg confession, as drawn up by Melancthon,
although he told him in a letter during the diet, that he had yielded
too much to the papists, as will be seen in the sequel. But Luther
never signed any confession of faith; nor was a pledge to the Augsburg
confession or to any other symbol required of the ministers of the
church during his lifetime; although the Augsburg confession was
regarded as the exponent of the prevalent views of the Protestant
churches in Germany. It was not until a quarter of a century after
Luther had left the church militant, and not until the Lutheran church
had been established in Germany for full half a century, that the
so-called _symbolic system_ was regularly and generally introduced by
the civil authorities of the major portion  of Protestant Germany. Now
it is in regard to the import of this Confession of Augsburg,
published before the middle of Luther's labors as a reformer, that
some differences of opinion have been entertained. To ascertain the
true sense of such passages according to the most impartial and just
principle of exegesis, is one principal object of our investigations
in the following pages.

It has often been affirmed by some, who have not examined the history
of that eventful diet with particular care, that the Augsburg
Confession was prepared under the most favorable circumstances for an
impartial and full exhibition of all the views of the confessors, both
of positive truth and papal errors. The contrary was, however, the
case, as will be distinctly shown in the sequel. But we will first
reply to the _General Observations_ of the Plea of our esteemed brother,
the _Rev. Mr. Mann_. Let it be remembered, however, that whatever may
be the import of this and other creeds, they have all been formed since
the age of inspiration, they are all uninspired and therefore fallible.
Hence, it is equally the duty of the church, in every generation, to
test her existing creed by the word of God, and to correct and improve
it, if found unscriptural in any of its teachings, or if experience has
taught that it is too brief or too extended, successfully to accomplish
the legitimate purposes of such documents. The idea of the
infallibility of any human creed, or even its semi-inspiration, is
philosophically unreasonable, and either a remnant of Romish
superstition, or an amiable weakness of judgment. Melancthon himself
did not regard his Confession as perfect, for he made sundry
alterations in it in his successive editions. And even at Augsburg,
after the confession had been sent to Luther, at Coburg, and returned
with his approbation on the 16th of May, Melancthon, in a letter to
him, dated six days later, (May 22,) employs the following language:
"In the Apology, (which was the name first intended for the Augsburg
Confession,) I daily make _many changes_. The section concerning
'_Vows_,' which was too meagre, I have stricken out, and have treated
the subject more fully. I am now doing the name with the section
concerning '_The Keys_.' I wish you could have reviewed the doctrinal
articles," (namely, as now amended,) "and then, if you found nothing
defective in them, I would discuss the remaining articles as well as
may be. _For, in Articles of faith, some change must be made, from
time to time, and they must be adapted to the occasions." [Note 3] Here
is anything else than the idea of the immaculate and unalterable nature
of the Augsburg Confession for all after times.

Note 1. In 1529, whilst Melancthon was attending the Conferences at
Spire, this great and good man made a little excursion to Bretton, to
visit his mother. During their interview, she asked him what she should
believe amid so many disputes, and repeated to him her prayers, which
were free from superstition. "Go on, mother," said he, "to believe and
to pray as you have done, and never trouble yourself about religious

Note 2. As this oath is a literary curiosity, we subjoin it, in the
original, for the gratification of our learned readers: Ego juro
Domino Decano et Magistris Facultatis Theologiae obedientiam et
reverentiam debitam, et in quocunque statu utilitatem universitatis,
et maxime Facultatis Theologicae, _pro virili mea_ procurabo, et omnes
actus theologicos exercebo in mitra, (nisi fuerit religiosus) vanas,
peregrinas _doctrinas, ab ecclesia damnatas, et piarum aurium
offensivas non dogmatisabo_, sed dogmatisantem Dn. Decano denunciabo
intra octendium, et manutenebo consuetudines, libertates et privilegia
Theologicae Facultatis _pro virili mea_, ut me Deus adjuvet, et
Sanctorum evangeliorum conditores. _Juro etiam Romanae ecclesiae
obedientiam_, et procurabo pacem inter Magistros et Scholasticos
seculares et religiosos, et _biretum_ in nullo alio gymnasio
recipiam." Lib. Statutorum facultatis theol. Academiae Wittemberg.
Cap. 7.

Note 3. An der Apologie (Confession) aendere ich taeglich Vieles. Den
Abschnitt von den Geluebden, der zu mager war, habe ich gestrichen
und den Gegenstand ausfuehrlicher abgehandelt. Eben so verfahre ich
jetzo mit dem Abschnitt von "den Schluesseln." Ich wuenschte, du
haettest die "Glaubensartikel" ueberblickt, wo ich dann, wenn du nichts
fehlerhaftes darin gefunden, das uebrige, so gut es gehen will,
abhandeln werde. Denn es musz zum oeftern an den Glaubensartikeln
abgeaendert werden, und man musz sie den Gelegenheiten anbequemen. In
the Latin: Vellem percurisses articulos fidei, in quibus si nihil
putaveris esse vitii, reliqua utcunque tractabimus. "_Subinde enim,
mutandi stint atque ad occasiones accommodandi." Christian Niemeyer's
Philip Melancthon_, im Jahre der Augsburgischen Confession, pp. 13, 14.


In replying to the general observations, which constitute the
introduction of the Plea, we shall pursue the order of their occurrence.

"We shall, in this short tract," says the author, "not speak of the
objections, which in the Definite Platform are set forth against some
errors, contained in some other symbolical books of the Lutheran Church,
but we shall confine ourselves exclusively to the errors pointed out in
the Augsburg Confession, the work of Luther and Melancthon themselves,
and _the only one of our Confessions which was universally received as
such, by the whole Lutheran Church in all parts of the world_," p. 4.
This concession is no less honorable to the reverend author, than the
fact itself is important in the discussion of the subject before us. As
the contrary has frequently been asserted in this country, in the face
of history, it seems proper to advert to its details. The facts in the
case are the following:

_The Form of Concord_ was rejected in Denmark, Sweden, Hessia,
Pommerania, Holstein, Anhalt, and the cities of Strasburg, Frankfurt
a. m. Speier, Worms, Nuerenberg, Magdeburg, Bremen, Dantzig, &c. For
particulars see Koellner's Symbolik, Vol. I, pp. 575-77.

_The Smalcald Articles_ were rejected by Sweden and Denmark.

_The Apology_ to the Augsburg Confession, was denied, official
authority, by Sweden and Denmark.

_The Larger Catechism_ of Luther, in Sweden and Denmark.

Even _the Smaller Catechism_ of Luther was not received as symbolic in
Sweden. See Guericke's Symbolik, pp. 67, &c., 113.

Here, then, we perceive, that those ultra Lutherans of our day, who
insist on the whole mass of former symbols as essential to Lutheranism,
must unchurch a very large portion of the Lutheran Church even of the
sixteenth century. But among these we can by no means class the author
of the Plea, who is evidently a Lutheran of the more enlightened and
liberal class.

The author of the Plea represents "the Augsburg Confession, as the
_unexceptionable_ password of the adherents of the Lutheran Church for
three centuries." The idea designed probably is, that the _great mass_
of doctrines taught in this confession has been thus received. For it
is a historical fact, that cannot be contested, that private confession,
which is enjoined in the eleventh, twenty-fifth and twenty-eighth
Articles of the Augsburg Confession, and was retained by Luther,
Melancthon and their churches, was from the begining [sic] rejected by
the _entire Lutheran Church in Sweden and Denmark_, as well as other
places, and a public confession of the whole church, such as is now
employed in Germany and this country, introduced in its stead. See
Siegel's Handbuch, Vol. I., p. 200.

"Of course the accusation against the Augsburg Confession, involves an
exhibition of Luther and Melancthon, those pillars of the Reformation,
as teaching _heretical doctrines_, which are not in accordance with the
word of God." p. 4. This language we regard as not entirely correct.
Those errors alone are, in correct English, usually termed "heretical,"
which are of fundamental importance, and deny some doctrine that is
necessary to salvation. That this is neither affirmed or implied by the
Platform, must, we think, be admitted by all. But that both Luther and
Melancthon did entertain some erroneous views in 1530, some of which
are taught in the Augsburg Confession, namely, those specified in the
Platform, is affirmed by the great body of our American Lutheran

"The errors are not, on the side of the Augsburg Confession, but on the
side of those _who agitate our Lutheran Church_ with the introduction
of a fatherless and motherless child, the Definite Platform." To this
we reply, the Platform was publicly adopted by three or four Synods in
the West, within a few weeks after its publication. As to its
authorship, we never denied having prepared it, at the urgent request
of some of those brethren, on the plan agreed on by them, and some
Eastern brethren of the very first respectability. It was carefully
revised by ourselves and Dr. B. Kurtz, and we have not yet found a
single one of its positions refuted. That the request was made and
complied with, will not be regarded as discreditable to either party by
impartial judges, after the smoke of battle shall have disappeared, and
the vision of men again be unobstructed. As to the friends of the
Platform being agitators of the church, we regard the supposition as
erroneous. The Platform was designed to be adopted by those Western
Synods, as it has been, publicly, but without controversy, as other
Synods had done before with their symbolic platforms. But enemies of
the Platform raised the alarm, and agitated the church with threatened
dangers. That the friends of the assailed instrument should stand up in
its vindication, was an indispensable act of self-defence, to which no
impartial man will object.

"We shall endeavor to maintain in this controversy, a dignified and
Christian spirit, as becomes this holy subject, and those who,
differing in some points, know one Master and one service. People on
earth will always differ in their opinions. The truth will gain by
giving free scope to investigation, and by the illustration of the
different sides of the same question." This position is true, and
creditable alike to the head and the heart of the author. Church
government and doctrine are topics of primary importance to the
prosperity of the kingdom of the Redeemer, and no reason can be
assigned why they cannot be debated to the edification of the church,
except the human frailty of disputants. Had these subjects been
discussed in our religious papers with calmness, and in a Christian
spirit, they would have been alike instructive and edifying both to
ministers and laity. The discussion would have infused into laymen a
deeper interest for the welfare of the church, and a larger liberality
in the support of her institutions. Are we not commanded to prove all
things, and hold fast that which is good; and to be always ready to
give to him that asked us a reason for the hope that is in us? But let
us not despond; God will overrule even these controversies to the good
of his church. _Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit._

"The Synods adopting this Platform are expected to make it a principle
_not to receive into their membership any one who will not subscribe
this Definite Platform_," (meaning the whole pamphlet,) p. 6. On this
subject the Platform was entirely misapprehended, by the readers not
reflecting that the third resolution, on p. 6, must be construed in
connection with the two immediately preceding and numerically connected
with it. Resolutions first and second declare the "doctrinal Platform"
to consist of the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the American
Recension of the Augsburg Confession, together with the General Synod's
Formula of Government and Discipline. And the third resolution adds, no
one shall be received into this Synod who will not subscribe "_this_
Platform," namely, the one just defined. This American Recension or
Revision of the Augsburg Confession, contains, _unaltered_, the
doctrinal articles of that Confession, except, that a few sentences are
omitted, and _nothing added in their stead_. Now, if it be admitted that
when an enumeration of the parts of a whole is professedly and
explicitly made, any thing not included in that enumeration is excluded,
then certainly, as the first two resolutions enumerated specifically
the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the American Recension of the
Augsburg Confession, as the  parts constituting the Platform to which
assent was required, it follows that the list of Symbolic Errors
rejected, which is not named at all, and which formed a separate part of
the pamphlet, is excluded. But the misapprehension evidently arose from
the fact, that after the term _doctrinal platform_ had been used in the
work, to designate the doctrinal and disciplinarian basis contained in
the first part of it, the name _Definite Synodical Platform_ was
selected for the whole pamphlet, and the distinction not kept up with
sufficient prominence before the mind of the reader. This is remedied in
the second edition, by employing the phrase _Doctrinal Basis or Creed_
for the first, and "_Synodical Disclaimer_, or List of Symbolical
Errors" for the second part. Moreover it is expressly stated, on p. 5,
that "whilst we will not admit into our Synod any one who believes in
Exorcism, Private Confession, and Absolution, or the Ceremonies of the
Mass," (not one of which is practiced, so far us we know, by a single
minister connected with the General Synod), the Platform "grants
liberty in regard to all the other topics, omitted from the Augsburg
Confession in the American Recension of it." For it adds, "We are
willing, as heretofore, to admit ministers who receive these views,
provided they regard them as _non-essential_" (that is, as
_non-fundamental_, not, as has been asserted by others, as of minor or
of little importance), "and are willing to co-operate in peace with
those who reject them." To the List of Errors rejected no one is
required to subscribe, and it is published by the Synod as a disclaimer
of these errors, which are often imputed to us, but which are rejected
by the great body of the American Lutheran Church. The Platform cannot,
therefore, with truth, be said to exclude old-Lutherans, unless they
are so rigid as to regard their own views on these disputed points as
essential, and are unwilling to co-operate in _peace_ with their
brethren: and in that case it is certainly preferable for all parties,
that they should organize a Synod for themselves.

Says the author of the Plea, p. 6: "Suppose some Episcopal ministers
having arrived at the conviction that some of their church canons were
wrong," "would it be regarded as anything else than a most _astounding
presumption_, for such men to dare to change the character of the church
canons and denounce some of them as errors, and at the same time to
maintain that _they themselves are the true representatives of the
Episcopal Church_, and can _unchurch_ others?" Here are three
positions, all of which we regard as erroneous. In the _first_ place,
it is not presumptuous, but a Christian duty, when ministers of a
church are firmly convinced, that the avowed standards of their church
contain some tenets contrary to the word of God, publicly to disavow
them, that their influence may not aid in sustaining error; and if the
majority of a synod participate in this opinion, it is their duty to
change their standards into conformity with God's word. The Augsburg
Confession itself was such, a disclaimer of Romish errors, and avowal
of the truth: and if it was the duty of the ministry in the sixteenth
century to make their public  profession conform to their belief of
Scripture truth, it is equally the duty of every other age. But
although their case involves the _principle_ objected to by the _Plea_,
the following cases are more exactly analogous. The Episcopal ministry
and laity did, after the American Revolution, change their doctrine,
that the king is the head of the church and adopted the opinion that no
civil officer, as such, has any office in the church. They accordingly
rejected from their creed Article XXI., and also excluded from their
liturgy and forms of prayer, all allusion to the king as the head or
governor of the church. Listen to the testimony of the _Episcopal_
ministers of Maryland, in 1783, soon after the acknowledgment of the
independence of this country. They passed a number of resolutions, of
which the fourth reads thus: "That as it is the _right_, so it will be
the _duty_ of the Episcopal Church, when duly organized, constituted,
and represented in a Synod or Convention of the different orders of her
ministers and people, to revise her liturgy, forms of prayer and of
public worship, in order to adapt the same _to the late Revolution_,

Our _Presbyterian_ brethren also changed their Confession of Faith, and
adapted it to their belief. Hear the testimony of _Dr. Hodge_, in his
Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the United
States: [Note 2] the Synod then "took into consideration the twentieth
chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the third paragraph of
the twenty-third chapter, and the first paragraph of the thirty-first
chapter; and having made some alterations, agreed that the said
paragraphs, as now altered, be printed for consideration, together with
a draught of a plan of government and discipline." They were
subsequently adopted.

In like manner did our _Methodist Episcopal_ brethren deal with the
Thirty-nine Articles of the Episcopal Church, which they had avowed
from the days of Wesley. They not only rejected the recognition of the
king as the head of the church, but also entirely omitted Article
XVII., which is supposed by many to inculcate Calvinism, together with
several others; and materially altered Articles I., II., VI., IX.,
XXVI., and XXXIV. If, then, it be competent for these several Synods,
or Conferences, to change the Westminster Confession and Thirty-nine
Articles, which were prepared far more deliberately, and with much less
restraint, and had become equally venerable by age, without any one
pretending to deny their authority, or to pronounce the measure
"presumptuous," why may not the Synod of Wittenberg, and other similar
bodies, correct the Augsburg Confession, by the omission of several
tenets, believed not only by her members, but by the great body of
American Lutherans, to be unscriptural? Now the Definite Platform was
prepared at the request of the leading members of those Western Synods,
according to a plan previously agreed on among them and others, for the
express purpose of being proposed for discussion, correction, and
_adoption by these Synods;_ and, until so acted on, was a mere
unofficial proposal, _such as any friends of the church have a right to
make_. And who can dispute their right, or the right of any Synod, to
adopt a Confession of Faith for herself, when the Constitution of the
General Synod originally conceded this power specifically to each
Synod, and still does so, in Article III., Section 3, by requiring them
only to adhere to the _fundamental_ doctrines of the Bible, as taught
by our church? Is not a Lutheran Synod possessed of as much power as an
Episcopal or Methodist convention? And although an individual
necessarily drew up the document, it was prepared according to the plan
decided on by about twenty brethren, and claimed no authority until
acted on by Synod. The Definite Platform could never, _with truth_, be
regarded as the work of a few individuals. Its inception was the result
of a consultation of a large number of influential brethren, especially
of the West, who had been convinced by the aggressions of surrounding
symbolists, that a decided, but also a more _definite_ stand on the
ground of the General Synod, was necessary in self-defence. It was
prepared and published at their request, not as an official document,
but as a draft of such a basis as they had agreed on. It was presented
to them, and taken up for consideration by their several Synods; and
the unanimity with which they adopted it is conclusive proof that it
was prepared according to the stipulated principles. By denying the
right of the several Synods of Ohio, and of any other Synod, to improve
or decide on their own doctrinal basis, within the fundamentals of
Scripture as taught in the Augsburg Confession, the enemies of the
Platform _renounce the principles of the General Synod_, which
expressly allows this right; and they also renounce the original and
universally acknowledged Independent or Congregational principles of
Lutheran Church Government, avowed by Luther, Melancthon, and all the
leading divines of our church, one part of which is the right and
obligation to form our own views of Scripture truth, and to avow them
to the world.

No individual can justly pronounce the Platform an invasion of his
rights; for it has never even been proposed by _its friends_ to any
Synod other than those at the request of whose members it was prepared;
and should it, at any time hereafter, be presented, it will possess no
authority unless conferred on it by Synodical action, in which each
minister has a right to participate. The war that has been and is still
waged against the Platform, by old Lutheran Synods, and papers, to whom
it was never proposed for adoption, is wholly offensive; and whilst we
do not deny the right of any Synod to take it up by way of counsel, the
intolerant and aggressive principles avowed by Old School papers, is a
direct assault on the rights of American or New School Lutherans, which
cannot in the end fail to unite them in measures of self-defence.

_Secondly_, the Plea is mistaken, in supposing that the friends of the
Platform profess to be the true representatives of the Lutheran Church
in the _symbolic_ sense of the term: for have they not reiterated, in a
score of publications, for five and twenty years past, that they do not
hold all the views of the former symbols; and does not the Platform
itself explicitly disclaim any such idea, by publicly protesting
against the errors of those books?

_Thirdly_, the idea of our "unchurching others," is openly disclaimed
by the Platform, as was proved above.

Again, says the Plea: "Those who undertake to change the doctrinal
basis of a church, take upon themselves an awful responsibility," p. 7.
True; but there is an equally awful responsibility resting on those
who, favored by Providence with the increased light of three centuries,
continue to avow in their creed, and thus lead multitudes to embrace
the superstitious and truly dangerous errors, which remain in these
documents issued in the earlier and immature stages of the Reformation,
and some of them under circumstances unpropitious to a free expression
of views of Scripture doctrine. If these errors constituted the essence
of Lutheranism, we ought to forsake the church; but as they do not, we
are under sacred obligation to expunge them from our creed, so that we
may not aid in their perpetuation.

"From this renewed church (of the Reformation) as from a new heart, of
mankind, new and fresh and vigorous blood flows in an uninterrupted
stream through mighty arteries, into the whole world." p. 7. Or rather,
we would say, this fresh and vigorous blood flows not from the church,
much less from the errors which she retained in her symbols, but from
that amount, of _God's truth_, which constitutes the great mass of her
confession. The separation of these errors, instead of impairing the
efficiency of the church, will greatly multiply her energies, and pave
the way for new and enlarged conquests over the world.

"Let any one examine the theological mastership, which this learned
and honored disciple of Christ (Melancthon) exhibited in his Apology
for the Augsburg Confession--and he will be convinced of the folly of
those, who presume to think, that he, or his mighty coadjutor,
(Luther,) might be materially benefited by the dogmatical and exegetical
instructions of the theological professors and authors of the present
times." p. 7.8. This all sounds well enough in the abstract, and we
ourselves have frequently and with equal sincerity, praised these great
reformers. But after all, they were fallible men. This same Melancthon,
in this same Apology for the Augsburg Confession, regards Private
Confession and Absolutism [sic] as the third _sacrament_. At
the Diet of Augsburg, he was willing to yield to Romish bishops the
dangerous powers which they formerly had exercised over the churches,
and when he saw danger thicken around him, he positively wrote to
Luther, inquiring whether they might not, yield to the papists in the
matter of _private and closet masses_, as will be seen in the sequel!
Besides, these modern "professors, authors," and, we will add, pastors,
do not propose to improve the Confession by any light of their own; but
by the progressive light, which the Providence of God has vouchsafed to
the prayers, the philological and exegetical studies of three centuries.
This light we receive with gratitude to God, and cannot for a moment
doubt, that if these noble servants of Christ were now living, they
would be amongst its most grateful recipients. They both continued
through life to study the word of God, and to profess their improved
views without the least hesitation. So far was Melancthon himself from
regarding any of his works perfect, that he continued  deliberately to
make improvements, even in this same Augsburg Confession, after the
storms of papal persecution had subsided, till the end of his life. And
we might easily fill pages with the declarations of Luther, avowing his
sense of the imperfections of his publications, and of the work of
Reformation in his day.

"We believe," says the Plea, "that they (Luther and Melancthon) are no
more than guides to the fountain of truth, to the gospel; and whenever
we find that they lead us off from the Word of God, we are bound not to
hesitate in our decided deviation from their views." p. 8. This is
precisely the noble, enlightened, and christian stand point of the
American Lutheran Church. In principle, the respected author of the
Plea, does not differ from us. It is only in its application to
particular cases, that we may occasionally not coincide.

"The state of theology and religion of an age, does not at all depend
upon the progress of general science and social life." p. 10. From this
sentiment and the train of observation in reference to it on the same
page, we do not dissent. But no American Lutheran appeals to _this_
spirit of the age, exhibited in the progress of the physical sciences,
as proofs of any advance in theology. The sciences to which we refer as
media of increasing life, are those on which the proper interpretation
of the sacred volume depends, philology, archaeology, hermeneutics, &e.,
and certainly our brother cannot dissent from this position, he will not
maintain, that no progress has been made, in the knowledge of the
original languages of Scripture by continued studies of scores of the
ablest  philologians the world has ever seen, especially during the last
half century. He will not deny, that the exploring labors of travellers
[sic] to the lands of holy writ, the increased study of the manners and
customs and institutions of the nations inhabiting them, have
illustrated some portions of the sacred volume. Nor will he affirm the
utter fruitlessness of all the prayerful efforts of men of God, during
the last three centuries, to understand the general principles of
languge, [sic] the different significations of words, (the literal, the
tropical, the typical, the allegorical, &c.,) and the proper rules for
the interpretation of the Sacred Record. He is too well acquainted with
the literary fame of Germany and the writings of that galaxy of
theological luminaries, that has reflected so much glory on the land of
the Reformation, not to admit that many parts of the Sacred Record are
better understood at present, than they were three centuries ago. But
the principal difficulty which prevented the full and clear appreciation
of divine truth in the earlier Reformers, was the fact that _they were
educated till adult age, [Note 3] in all the superstitious rites and
ceremonies of the Romish Church_, and we all know that it is impossible
entirely to emancipate ourselves from the prejudices of early education.
Under these circumstances the marvel is, not that they retained a few
papal views and practices, but that they accomplished as much as they
did, in unlearning the errors of their early education.

"If all Christianity were to take its first start to-day;-to-morrow
already interpretations and confessions would spring up like mushrooms
in a hot-bed." p. 11. This idea is expressed rather too strongly for
the claims of history; as it is certain that during the golden era of
Christianity, the first three centuries, no other creeds were employed
by the churches generally, than the so-called Apostles' and the Nicene
Creeds. It is chiefly since the period of the Reformation, that the
church of the Redeemer has been cut up into so many denominations,
professing different and some of them very extended creeds.

"Every denomination has an individual life, and the law of
self-preservation ought, to teach her, that she is throwing herself
away, if she, is not determined to stand by her banners and to defend
her position." p. 11. Whatever definition we may adopt of the
indefinite and cloudy term "_life_" in this passage, our reply is, the
life of every Christian church ought to be the _life of the Gospel_,
and the life of the church as established and conducted by the inspired
apostles. Every thing in the life of any church inconsistent with this,
must be wrong. It is true, since the formation of the different
Protestant denominations, each one of them has a different creed, and
is characterized by some peculiarities of government or worship, and if
these peculiarities are intended by the "peculiar life" of a
denomination, we judge it would be equally wrong for the members of any
church, to lay it down as a rule in every case to defend them. It would
bear some resemblance to the corrupt, political motto, so justly
denounced by all good men: _Our Country right or wrong_. Had Luther
adopted this rule, it would have required him to defend all the errors
of Rome, which had been fully sanctioned by that church. But his
judgment taught him differently, and he gradually rejected every one of
those elements of the peculiar _life_ of Romanism, which he found
hostile to the life of the [sic] God's word. But if it be replied,
that by "peculiar life" is intended those peculiarities of our
church, which are accordant with the Gospel; we fully assent to the
position. This is precisely the principle, on which we endeavor to act.
_We defend and retain every peculiarity of the church of our fathers,
which we find taught in the word of God, or consistent with its spirit_;
whilst we deem it a privilege and duty to labor at the improvement of
our church and her ecclesiastical framework or platform, by removing
from it every thing which, after a life of prayerful study, we are
persuaded is offensive to God, because opposed to His word. Even the
Form of Concord affirms the principle for which we here contend, by
representing creeds as exhibitions of the sense in which _Christians of
a particular age_ understood the Bible; and never, until the duty of the
church in every age to conform her standards to the word of God, is
conceded; can she as a whole become more united, more pure and
scriptural, and the kingdom of Christ be extended throughout the earth.

The Plea objects to what it styles "the officious manner in which some
persons raise alarm throughout the church, promulgate their intention
to change the Augsburg Confession, and act in such a manner as if their
views in regard to the so-called errors of the Augsburg Confession were
absolutely above all possibility of error." p. 13. This objection is
probably based on a want of acquaintance with the history of our church
in this country, if it is designed to refer particularly to the
Definite Platform; which would be excuseable in our brother, as his
residence amongst us is comparatively of recent date. But the truth is,
that the rejection of the custom of requiring assent to the Augsburg
Confession by the fathers in the Pennsylvania Synod _fifty years ago_,
is proof enough of their dissatisfaction with that document. Nor did
they hesitate distinctly to declare their dissent from some of its
tenets. This was done not only privately, but also in their occasional
publications. As to private confession and absolution, _they never
adopted that practice in this country;_ but from the beginning
employed a _public_ and _general_ confession, preparatory to the Lord's
Supper, as our church in Sweden and Denmark did in the days of the
Reformation. As to the _ceremonies_ of the public mass, they were
rejected by our church universally, some years after the diet of
Augsburg, as private and closet masses had been before. The General
Synod, at the adoption of her constitution in 1820, freely expressed
her dissatisfaction in the public discussions, with some parts of the
Augsburg Confession, and inserted a clause in her constitution, giving
_power both to the General Synod and to each District Synod to form a
new Confession of Faith_, for their own use. _Dr. Lochman_, one of the
most active, pious, and respected divines of our church, in his
Catechism, published in 1822, states it as one of "_the leading
principles_ of our church, [sic on quotation marks] "that
the Holy Scriptures and _not human authority_, are the only source
whence we are to draw our religious sentiments, whether they relate to
faith or practice." "That Christians are accountable to God alone for
their religious principles," and says not a word about adherence to the
Augsburg Confession, as one of the principles of our church.

He also published an edition of the Augsburg Confession, in his work,
entitled Doctrine and Discipline of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in
which _he made more omissions than are found in the American
Recension;_ and yet no one found fault with him for doing so. That the
reader may judge of the extent of these omissions, we specify them: In

Art. I. he omitted the definition of _person_, in the Trinity.

Art. II. omits the condemnatory clause.

Art. III. omits the epithet _pure_, in reference to the Virgin Mary,
and the reference to the so called "Apostles' Creed."

Art. IV. omits the closing sentence, that God will regard this faith as

Art. V. omits the condemnatory clause, and part of another sentence.

Art. VI. omits the word "_true_" in reference to the unity of the

Art. VIII. omits the condemnatory clause concerning the _Donatists_.

Art. IX. omits the name _Anabaptists_.

Art. X. omits the condemnatory clause.

Art. XII. omits "absolution" and part of the condemnatory clause.

Art. XVII. omits the condemnatory clause.

Art. XVIII. omits the name of Augustine's work, Hypognosticon, and
about _ten lines at the close_.

Art. XIX. omits the _last sentence_.

Art. XX. omits different portions of this long article, amounting to
one-half of the whole.

Art. XXI. omits all that is said on war, and the Turks, &c., and the
entire concluding paragraph, amounting to half a page 12mo.

Yet this work was circulated throughout the church, and we never heard
a single word of objection, although the notes appended to it are far
from being symbolic.

Rev. J. A. Probst, in his work on the Reunion of the Lutheran and
Reformed Churches, published in 1826, speaking of this country, and
especially the Synod of Pennsylvania, of which he was a member, says,
"Zwingle's more liberal, rational, and scriptural view of this doctrine,
(election) as well as of the _Lord's Supper, has become the prevailing
one among the Lutheran and Reformed_," p. 74. The same fact, the
rejection of some of the articles of the Augsburg Confession, is taught
in some publications in 1827, by _Dr. Endress_, one of our most
respected and learned ministers; and is confirmed by the language of the
resolution passed by the Synod of Pennsylvania in 1823, on the subject
of union between the Lutheran and Reformed churches in this country,
between which bodies they affirm a _unity of doctrinal views_. This
dissent, was publicly avowed by Dr. _F. C. Schaeffer_, of New York, who,
in  his edition of Luther's Catechism, published in 1820, omitted the
word "_real_ or _true_" in reference to the Saviour's body in the
eucharist, (p. 21,) and in his Address at the Laying of the Corner-stone
of St. Matthew's Church, thus expresses himself. "We rejoice with
thanksgiving before the Lord, because he has given us _our great
symbolical book, the bible_. This is preferable to all the "books" and
"_confessions" of men_. According to a fundamental principle of the
Lutherans, we depend not merely on the irrigating streamlets that
originate in the fountain to which we have access, but we rather drink
from that fountain itself. The study and proper interpretation of the
sacred writings, accompanied by the use of all outward helps which
God's providence has furnished, and aided by fervent prayer in the
acceptable name of Jesus Christ the Mediator, is mainly inculcated in
the Evangelical Lutheran Church." p. 10.

This same dissent from the symbols, was also publicly avowed by _Dr.
Hazelius_, who in his Annotations on the Augsburg Confession,
published in 1841, says, "The opinions now entertained in the Lutheran
church, as to the nature of the sacrament of the _Lord's Supper_,
differ in no material point from those entertained by the other
protestant churches on the subject." p. 21. This dissent in
non-fundamentals from the Augsburg Confession, is also avowed by _Dr.
Bachman_, in his Discourse on the Doctrines and Discipline of the
Lutheran Church, published in 1837, and sanctioned by his Synod: also
by _Dr. Lintner_, in his preface to the Augsburg Confession, in 1837,
pp. 3, 4; by _Dr. Krauth_, in his Sketch of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in the United Slates, for Buck's Theological Dictionary, in
1830; in which he says the doctrines of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
are _substantially_ those of the Augsburg Confession," [sic on
quotation mark!] implying dissent from that creed in some
non-essentials; and recently his own dissent in an article in the
Lutheran Observer, and the Evangelical Review of July, 1850. _Dr. G. B.
Miller_ published his dissent from the Confession on some of its
representations of baptism, (baptismal regeneration, as he contends,)
and the _real presence_ in the Eucharist, in his Sermon before the
Ministerium of New York, in 1831.

The same dissent was freely expressed by _Dr. Baugher_, in his Report
on the "Doctrines and Usages of the Synod of Maryland," in which he
thus describes his position and that of this Synod:

"ON REGENERATION.--We believe that the Scriptures teach that
regeneration is the act of God, the Holy Ghost, by which, through the
truth, the sinner is persuaded to abandon his sins and submit to God,
on the terms made known in the gospel. This change, we are taught, is
radical and is essential to present peace and eternal happiness.
Consequently, it is possible, and is the privilege of the regenerated
person to know and rejoice in the change produced in him."

"OF THE SACRAMENTS.--We believe that the Scriptures teach, that there
are but two sacraments, viz.: Baptism and the Lord's Supper, in each
of which, truths essential to salvation are symbolically represented.
We do not believe that they exert any influence '_ex opere operato_,'
but only through the faith of the believer. _Neither do the Scriptures
warrant the belief, that Christ is present in the Lord's Supper in any
other than a spiritual manner_."

"OF THE SYMBOLICAL BOOKS.--Luther's Larger and Smaller Catechisms, the
Formula Concordiae, Augsburg Confession, Apology, and Smalkald
Articles are called in Germany the Symbolical Books of the church. We
regard them as good and useful exhibitions of truth, but do not receive
them as binding on the conscience, except so far as they agree with the
Word of God."

To this catalogue we might add the names of many others, who have
avowed the same position of dissent from this venerable symbol, long
before the Definite Platform was thought of. No one in former times
presumed to deny the right of our ministers and synods expressing this
dissent, and proposing to form a new creed, if they deem it requisite.
To call the dissenting position of the _Definite Platform_ a new one,
is therefore a historical error; and to attempt to cast odium on it by
the charge of officiousness, is also an act of injustice. The same
charge would equally lie against the greater part of our best
ministers during the last half century, _and against the founders of
the General Synod themselves_.

With this occasional disclaimer of these errors, American Lutherans
have hitherto been satisfied, nor would the question of officially
adopting a new creed have been raised at this time, had not the
Ultra-Lutherans of our land, of late become animated by a new zeal to
disseminate their symbolic errors, and to denounce as not Lutherans,
all who do not receive them. When the adoption of a new creed was thus
forced upon them, a number of the brethren advocated the formation of
one entirely new; but others believing it best to retain the venerable
mother symbol of Protestantism, as far as we could regard her
teachings as Scriptural, proposed the omission of the few disputed
points, and the adoption of the residue unaltered, thus retaining
nearly the whole of the doctrinal articles. The suggestion was
adopted, as being more respectful to the venerable symbol of our
church, we were urged to prepare the work for the consideration of
some of the Western Synods; and thus the American Recension of the
Augsburg Confession originated from respect for that creed, rather
than the want of it. The talk about sacrilege, &c., would sound more
natural among Romanists than Protestants; and the idea of deception
is utterly unfounded, because the very name adopted, "American
Recension," is a constant notification to the reader of some change.
Neither one or the other charge was ever made against the Methodist
Episcopal Church, for making four times as many changes in the
Thirty-nine Articles. As to respect for the Confession, we see but
little difference between several methods proposed amongst American
Lutherans; to adopt the Confession as to the fundamentals of Scripture
doctrine, leaving all free to  reject the non-fundamentals; or to
publish the symbol, with a list appended of some of its articles,
which may be rejected; or to omit those same articles, leaving them
free, and adopting all the residue unconditionally. On neither of
these three plans does the _matter_ of the Confession remain intact,
even if the letter does; for in _all_, certain parts of it divested
of binding authority, and left to the judgment of each individual.
The American Recension is nothing more than a revised edition of the
Confession, in which those parts are omitted that had already been
divested of binding authority, and thus been superseded by subsequent
ecclesiastical legislation.

And is it not creditable to any church, when she finds some tenets of
her creed in conflict with the Scriptures, and calculated to circulate
error, to reform and improve it? We should suppose that every
enlightened and reflecting theologian, and still more every intelligent
layman, would concur in the sentiments of that devoted friend and
defender of the Lutheran Church, _Dr. Koecher_, of Jena, in 1759, who,
discussing the charge that our church had changed her doctrines, says,
"It avails nothing merely to charge a church with having made changes
in her Creed; we must direct our attention to the subject or doctrine
itself, and inquire whether it is true or false. Because, _not every
alteration in matters of faith is inadmissible and censurable_.
Suppose a church to perceive that a doctrinal error has crept into her
creed, and to correct it by the exclusion of the error; does she not
merit our approbation, much rather that our censure or abuse? Suppose
that the Lutherans did formerly believe in transubstantiation (as has
been charged,) but in the course of time rejected this doctrine,
because they found it militate against divine truth; suppose the
earlier Lutheran divines did approve of the doctrine of unconditional
election, and limited grace of God, whilst our later theologians had
renounced them, because they are in conflict with the teachings of
God's word:--we say, suppose this had been the case, though it was not;
their procedure would not be improper, and their doctrinal change
would merit our approbation and praise, rather than censure." How much
more christian and manly are these views, than the position which,
though not avowed, is acted on by many, that the members of a church
should never attempt to improve her symbols; but, as a matter of
course, defend any doctrine taught by them, because it is there
inculcated. What is this else than practically to elevate Luther,
Melancthon, Zwingli, Calvin, or Wesley, above Christ? What is it else,
than prefering [sic] to be Lutherans rather than Christians, if we are
not ever ready to renounce anything Lutheran, if found not to be
Christian? How can the church of Christ continue to develope [sic]
herself in accordance with the divine purposes and plan, unless every
part of the church is kept in constant contact with the Bible, and is
ever willing to improve and conform its entire framework to the
increased light of God's word and Providence? It was Luther's deep
sense of obligation to the Bible, as paramount to all human authority,
which enabled him and his Spartan band of coadjutors, under God, to
reform the church of Germany from so many Romish errors, and nothing
short of the same noble principle can conduct the church safely in her
high and holy mission of converting the world. Whilst, therefore, we
love Luther much, let us, my brethren, ever love Christ more. And
whilst we respect the soul-stirring productions of the illustrious
reformers, let that respect never induce us to sanction any errors
contained in them, or bias our minds against the free and full
reception of the revelations of God's holy Word!

Note 1. Colton's Genius of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the
United States, &c., p. 151.

Note 2. Vol. ii., p. 498.

Note 3. Luther was a faithful papist until he was upwards of _thirty
years_ did, when he began to protest against the errors of Rome.


In forming an idea of the estimate which should be placed on the
Augsburg Confession, as an expression of the results attained by the
biblical studies of Luther, Melancthon and their associates, at the
date of the diet in 1530; much depends on the question, whether the
circumstances under which it was prepared, and the design for which it
was intended, were favorable to a free and full exhibition of their
views. The affirmative of this question has often been declared in this
country; but the contrary is incontestably established by authentic
history, as well as by the declarations of the Reformers themselves.
The diet, it will be remembered, was appointed by the Emperor of
Germany, Charles V., for the purpose of settling the controversies
between the Pope and the Protestant princes of his empire, as well as
for other political purposes. The place selected was the City of
_Augsburg_, in Bavaria, about two hundred English miles from
Wittenberg, and about ninety miles from Coburg, where Luther was left
by the Elector during the diet. [Note 1] The Pope had long been urging
the emperor to adopt violent measures for the suppression of the
Protestants. He fondly anticipated that a deathblow would now be given
to the Protestant cause, and with which party the emperor would side
was not fully known, although, being a Romanist, little favor could be
expected by the Confessors. The Confession was composed by Melancthon
out of the Torgau Articles, at Augsburg, where he and the Elector John,
with his retinue, arrived on the 2d of May. On the 10th of May, it was
sent to Luther, at Coburg, for his revision, and he returned it with
his approbation on the 16th, remarking, "I have read Philip's Apology
(the Confession,) and am very well (_fast_ wohl, an obsolete meaning of
the term "fast,") pleased with it. I know nothing to improve or alter
at it; nor would it be suitable, as I cannot tread so softly and
lightly." [Note 2] As the emperor did not arrive until about a month
later, Melancthon continued to make various alterations, to render the
Confession more acceptable to the Romanists; for the fears of the
Protestants were greatly excited, as will appear by the following
extracts from Melancthon's own letters, penned at this eventful period.

In a letter to _Luther_, dated Augsburg, June 15th, Melancthon says,
"On the day before Corpus Christi festival, at 8 o'clock, P. M., the
emperor arrived at Augsburg. From the imperial court, it appears, we
have nothing to expect; for the sole object which _Campegius_ seeks to
accomplish, is that we should be suppressed _by force_. Nor is there
any one in the emperor's entire court, who is milder than he himself."
[Note 3] This was indeed a gloomy prospect, for they were entirely at
the mercy of their emperor. He could reenact the scenes of the previous
century, and send them, like Huss and Jerome, to the dungeon and the

On the 26th of June, the day after the public presentation of the
Confession, he again addresses _Luther:_ "We live here in the _most
lamentable anxiety and incessant tears_. To this a new source of
consternation has been added today, after we had read the letter of
_Vitus_ (Dietrich, Luther's friend,) in which he states that you are so
much offended at us, that you are unwilling even to read our letters.
My father, I will not increase my sufferings by words, but I merely beg
you to consider, where and _in what danger we are_, where we can have
nothing to tranquilize us except your consolations. Streams of sophists
and monks collect here daily, to inflame the hatred of the emperor
against us. But the friends, if we could formerly number them amongst
our (party,) are no longer with us. Alone and despised, we are here
_contending against endless dangers_. Our Vindication (the Confession)
has been presented to the emperor, and I herewith send it to you for
perusal. (If it had not been altered after Luther had seen and approved
it, it would have been superfluous to send him another copy.) In my
judgment, it is strong enough; for you will here perceive the monks
depicted sufficiently. Now, it appears to me, that before our enemies
reply, we must determine, _what we will yield to them_ in reference to
the 'eucharist in both kinds,' what touching matrimony (_celibacy_ of
priests,) and what in regard to 'CLOSET MASSES.' In [sic] appears
they are determined in no case to yield the last two." [Note 4]

In a letter to _Camerarius_, [Note 5] he thus describes his condition:
"My spirit is _filled with lamentable anxiety_, not for the sake of our
cause, but on account of the indifference of our associates. Be not
concerned about me, for I commit myself to God. But _something
remarkable disturbs us_, which I can only tell you personally." [Note 6]

To _Luther_, he writers [sic] on the 27th of June, "I cannot
describe how deeply I was distressed, on reading in the letter of
_Vitus_, (or Dietrich, a favorite of Luther, who remained with him at
Coburg, as his associate,) that you are irreconciliably [sic] offended,
because I do not write with sufficient frequency." "The condition of our
affairs here is still such, that we spend the _greater part of our time
in tears_. We have written very often, as we can prove." From this and
other passages in Melancthon's letters, as well as from his complaints,
that he could not induce [Note 7] the _Protestant princes_ to send
messengers regularly to Luther, Niemeyer regards it as evident, that
Luther's displeasure arose in part from the fact, that the princes felt
disposed, at this important juncture, to act without either his
knowledge, counsel, or co-operation, probably under the impression,
that, they could more easily effect a reconciliation, if the intrepid,
firm and hated Luther were kept out of view.

But to proceed with Melancthon's letter. "Our Confession (he says,) has
been presented to the emperor, and I have sent you a copy. I entreated
you (in my former letter) to inform me, how far we might _yield to our
opponents_, if it is practicable. It is true, as you know, we have
already consulted on these subjects; but they are always adjusted in a
different manner on the field of battle (sie geben sich im Schlachtfeld
allezeit anders,) from what they are when previously made the subjects
of discussion. I presume the greatest conflict will occur in regard to
_private masses_. But as yet I have no certain information." [Note 8]

In another letter to Luther, dated Aug. 6, he says: "The Landgrave
proceeds with great moderation, and has openly told me, that in order
to preserve peace, _he would submit to still more severe conditions_,
provided they could be accepted without bringing reproach on the

During the pendency of these negotiations, Melancthon made repeated
efforts by letter to conciliate influential individuals of the papal
party. Among these is his letter to _Cardinal Campegius, the apostolic
legate, of July 6th, which reflects no little light on the state of his
mind. This intense anxiety to gain the imperial favor for the
Protestant cause, could not fail strongly to tempt him to make the
Confession as palatable as possible to the Romanists, by yielding
nearly everything that he did not regard as essential. Hear the letter:

"_Most Reverend Sir:_--As many good men applaud the very great
moderation exhibited by your Eminence, amid your honors and elevation,
I am induced to cherish the hope, that your Eminence will receive my
letter with favor. Verily it was a true saying which Plato uttered,
that nothing more desirable, or better, or more divine, can happen to
men, than when wisdom is associated with power in government. Hence,
when the intelligence arrived, that your Eminence was sent to this Diet,
as judge in the pending religious controversy, many good men
congratulated Germany, that the investigation of these most important
affairs was confided to a man, who transcended others not merely by his
high (official) dignity, but also much more by his wisdom; for even
heretofore the fame of your Eminence's wisdom him resounded through all
Germany. Now, as I believed, that with this wisdom your Eminence would
greatly abhor violent measures, I was thereby induced to write to your
Eminence, that it might be made known to you, that we also long only
for peace and concord, and reject no condition for the restoration of

"We have _no doctrine different from that of the Romish Church_, (wir
haben keinen von der Roemischen Kirche verschiedenen Lehrsatz,) yea, we
have restrained many who wished to disseminate pernicious doctrines, as
may be proved by public testimonies. [Note 9] _We are prepared to obey
the Romish Church, if, with that mildness which she has always
manifested toward all men, she will only overlook and yield, some
little_, (einiges Wenige,) _which we could not now alter if we would_."
[Note 10] Let not your Eminence believe our enemies, who wickedly
pervert our writings, and falsely impute to us anything which can
inflame the general hatred against us. We reverently _pledge obedience
[Note 11] to the authority of the Roman Pontif_, [sic] and to the entire
organization of the (Verfassung) of the [sic on repetition]
church, only let not the Pope of Rome reject us. Many feel assured,
that if your Eminence were better acquainted with our cause and views,
you would not approve of these violent counsels. For no other reason do
we incur greater hostility in Germany, than because we defend the
doctrines of the Romish [Note 12] Church with the utmost steadfastness.
This fidelity, if the Lord will, we will show to the Romish Church
_until our last breath_. There is indeed some _small_ difference in
usages, which seems to be unfavorable to union. But the ecclesiastical
laws themselves declare, that the unity of the church may continue even
amid such diversity of customs." [Note 13]

Is it possible that any impartial man, after reading this letter can
suppose the circumstances of this diet to have been favorable to a free
and full expression of the points of dissent, between the Protestants
and Papists, even at that day? During the entire six weeks that
Melancthon was at Augsburg, before the arrival of the Emperor, his mind
was in this agitated and alarmed condition. According to his own
account he continued daily to make changes in the Confession, _after_
it had been submitted to Luther. No wonder, therefore, that Luther,
responding to Melancthon's inquiry, "what more they could yield to the
Romanists," makes this rather dissatisfied reply, under date June 29:
"_Your Apology_ (the Augsburg Confession, as altered by Melancthon.
after Luther had sanctioned it on the 15th of May, and it had been
presented to tho diet on the 25th of June,) _I have received, and
wonder what you mean, when you desire to know, what and how much, may
be yielded to the papists. As far as I am concerned, TOO MUCH HAS
Here it in evident that the various changes, made by Melancthon between
the 15th of May and 25th of June, led Luther to affirm what American
Lutherans now maintain, that _he had yielded too much to the papists in
the Augsburg Confession_. "I daily altered and recast the greater part
of it, (says Melancthon himself,) and would [Note 15] have altered still
more if our counsellors [sic] had allowed it." And so much greater was
his dissatisfaction at the still more important concessions, [Note 16]
which Melancthon and his associates were willing to make, in their
negotiations after the Confession had been delivered, that, in a letter
of Sept. 20, to _Justus Jonas_, one of the principal Protestant
theologians at the Diet, he gives vent to his feelings in the following
remarkable language: "I almost burst with anger and displeasure, (Ich
boerste schier fuer Zorn und Widerwillen,) and I beg you only to cut
short the matter, cease to negotiate with them (the Papists,) any
longer, and come home. They have the Confession. They have the gospel.
If they are willing to yield to it, then it is well. If they are
unwilling, they may go. If war comes out of it, let it come. We have
entreated and done enough. The Lord has prepared them as victims for the
slaughter, that he may reward them according to their works. But us, his
people, he will deliver, even if we were sitting in the fiery furnace at
Babylon." [Note 17] Thus have we heard abundant evidence from the lips
of Melancthon and Luther themselves, that the circumstances under which
the Augsburg Confession was composed, in eight days, before its
submission for Luther's sanction, and the increasing pressure under
which Melancthon afterwards made numerous changes in it, during five
weeks before its presentation to the Diet, were far from being favorable
to a full and free exhibition of the deliberate views of the Reformers
even at that date, and fully account for some of the remnants of
Romanism still found in that confession, whose import we are now to
examine. The declaration of that elaborate historian _Arnold_, is
therefore only too true; "_Melancthon had prepared the Confession amid
great fear and trembling, and in many things accommodated himself to
the Papists_." (Nun hatte dieselbe Melancthon zuvor in grossen Zittern
und Angsten aufgesetzet, und sich in vielen nach den Papisten
bequemet." [Note 18]

Of similar import is the judgment of _Dr. Hazelius." [sic on
quotation mark] [Note 19] In reference to the article of Baptism, says
he, we have first to remind the reader of the sentiments expressed by
the Confessors, in the preface to this (the Augsburg) Confession,
declaring there, and in various passages of their other writings, that
_it was their object_, not only to couch the sentiments and doctrines
they professed, in language the least offensive to their opponents,
premised, we shall endeavor to discover the meaning of the Reformers in
regard to the article of baptism from some of those portions of their
writings, where they had not cause to be so circumspect and careful of
not giving offence to the Roman party, as they had in the delivery of
the Augsburg Confession."

Nor is it at all surprising, that, as Luther's views of the evils of the
mass were so much clearer even at this period, he should, after seven
years more time for study, and in times of peace and security, express
his abhorrence of this Romish error in such strong terms as we meet in
the Smalcald Articles. Indeed, it was this undecided character of the
Augsburg Confession on some points, which led the Elector, who, in other
respects valued it highly, to have this new Confession prepared by
Luther for the Council, which Pope Paul III. [sic] had
convoked, to meet at Mantua, in 1537, for the purpose of settling these
religious disputes. Because, says Koellner, "the Augsburg Confession
had been prepared with the view to give the _least possible offence to
the opponents_. But now, the Evangelical party, being stronger, were not
only able to avow the points of difference more openly; but they were
also determined to do so; and for such negotiations a different form
(from that of the Augsburg Confession) was of course requisite. Finally,
the transactions at Augsburg, during the reciprocal efforts at
reconciliation, and especially through the great mildness and yielding
disposition of Melancthon, had in regard to many doctrines, obliterated
the clear and real point of difference, so that in many of them the
_opponents affirmed, there was no longer any difference at all_."
Koellner's Symbolik, Vol. I., p. 441.

Note 1. The reason why he was left, was because the civil authorities
of Augsburg excepted him in the safe passport, which they sent to the
Elector, under date of April 30. See Koellner, Vol. I., p. 172.

Note 2. "Ich habe M. Philipsen's Apologie ueberlesen, die gefaellt mir
fast wohl, und weisz nichts daran zu bessern, noch zu aendern, wuerde
sich auch nicht schicken: denn ich so sanft und leise nicht treten

Note 3. We mention here once for that all our extracts from
Melancthon's Letters are translated from _C. Niemeyer's_ work, entitled
_Philip Melancthon_ im Jahre der Augsburgischen Confession, Halle, 1830.

Note 4. Niemeyer, pp. 26, 27.

Note 5. At that time Professor of Greek and Latin Literature in the
Gymnasium of Nurenberg.

Note 6. Niemeyer, p. 28.

Note 7. Niemeyer, p. 78. "Ich kann es bei Hofe nicht erlangen, dasz von
heir [sic] ein bestimmter Bote an Luther geschickt wird."

Note 8. Page 30.

Note 9. Dogma nullum habemus diversum a Romana Ecclesia.

Note 10. Here Niemeyer also gives the Latin: "Parati sumus, obedire
ecclesiae Romanae, modo ut illa pro sua dementia, qua semper ergo omnes
homines usa est, pauca quaedam vel dissimulet, vel relaxet, quae jam ne
quidem, si velimus, mutare queamus.

Note 11. Ad haec Romani Pontificis auctoritatem et universam politiam
ecclesiasticam, reverenter colimus, modo non abjiciat nos Romanus

Note 12. Here, says Niemeyer, Melancthon probably means the Romish
church as she ought to be, and not as she was.

Note 13. Page 32.

Note 14. Eure Apologia habe ich empfangen, und nimmt mich wunder was
ihr meynet, dasz ihr begehrt zu wissen, was und wie viel man den
paepstlichen soll nachgeben. _Fuer meine person ist ihnen allzuviel
nachgegeben in der Apologia (Confession)_. Luther's Werke, B. XX.,
p. 185, Leipsic Edit.

Note 15. See his letter to Camerarius, dated June 26, 1530. "Ich
veraenderte und gosz das meiste taeglich um, und wuerde noch mehreres
geaedert [sic] haben, wenn es unsere Raethe erlaubt
hatten." Niemeyer, p. 28.

Note 16. Melancthon had agreed to the restoration of the power of the
bishops, and evidently, as seen by his letter to Luther, of June 26,
if Luther had not objected, he would have made some retractions on the
celibacy of the clergy, the communion in both kinds and even the
private and closet masses. The Protestants did admit that the saints
pray for us in heaven, and that commemorative festivals might be kept
to pray God to accept the intercession of these saints; but by no
means that our prayers should be addressed to the saints themselves.
Niemeyer, p. 87.

Note 17. Luther's Works, Vol. XX, p. 196.

Note 18. Gottfried Arnold's Unpartheische Kirchen und Ketzer Historien,
Vol. I., p. 809, edit. 2d of 1740.

Note 19. Doctrine and Discipline of the Synod of South Carolina, pp.
18, 19, published in 1841.


_The Preamble_.

On the subject of the preamble, we will add a few authorities for one
or two of its positions, which we have heard called in question. On
page 3, we read:--

"Subsequently, Luther and his coadjutors _still further changed_ their
views on some subjects in that Confession, such as the mass." The truth
of this position is demonstrated even by the extract from the Smalcald
Articles, given on p. 22 of the Platform. In the Augsburg Confession,
Melanchon [sic] says (and Luther approved of it): "It, is
_unjustly_ charged against our churches, that they have abolished the
mass. For it is notorious that the _mass is celebrated among us_ with
greater devotion and seriousness than by our opponents." But seven
years later, in the Smalcald Articles, Luther employs this very
different language, which was sanctioned by his coadjutors: "_The mass
in the Papal church, must be the greatest and most terrible
abomination_, since it is directly and strongly opposed to this chief
article (of Justification through faith in Christ,)" &c. Here the
contradiction in words is positive and unqualified. But we must
recollect that the term mass here, as will be fully proved hereafter,
does not signify the Papal mass in full. It is a well-known fact, and
the Confession itself informs us, that the confessors had long before
rejected _private and closet masses_, and also had rejected the idea of
the public mass being a _sacrifice_, or offering of Christ, for the
sins of the living or the dead. But that the word mass cannot be
regarded as merely synonymous with Lord's Supper, or communion, in this
passage, as it frequently is elsewhere, is clear from the context. For
we are told that by proper and diligent instruction "in the design and
proper mode of receiving the holy sacrament," "the people are attracted
to the _communion and to the mass_," (zur communion _und_ mess gezogen
wird;) clearly proving that by mass they here meant something else than
communion, namely, the public mass, divested of its _sacrificial_
nature, and of its design to benefit any others than the communicants
themselves; in short, regarding it, thus modified, as an admissible
_preparation_ for the holy communion. This mass, which the Platform,
_with great moderation_, styles merely "_Ceremonies_" of the mass," p.
21, they confessedly did subsequently also abandon, as they had done
private and closet masses before.

Again, if we may believe Luther himself, they certainly did a afterward
change their ground in regard to the jurisdiction of the Pope and
bishops. Hear his own language in 1533, three years later: "Hitherto we
have always, and especially at the diet of Augsburg, very humbly
offered to the Pope and bishops, that we would not destroy their
ecclesiastical right and power, but that we would gladly be consecrated
and governed by them, and _aid in maintaining their prerogatives and
power_, if they would not force upon us articles too unchristian. But
we have been unable to obtain this; on the contrary, they wish to force
us away from the truth, to adopt their lies and abominations, or wish
us put to death. If now, (as they are such hardened Pharaohs,) their
authority and consecration should fare as their indulgences did, whose
fault will it be?" He then proceeds to denounce the power and
consecration which he had admitted at the time of the Augsburg Diet,
and declares the church's entire independence of Rome for ordination.
[Note 1]

Again, the Preamble asserts, "That the entire Lutheran Church of
Germany has rejected the symbolical books _as a whole_, and also
abandoned some of the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession, among
others the far greater part of them, the doctrine of the _bodily_
presence of the Saviour in the eucharist."

The truth of these positions is well known to those acquainted with
the churches in Germany generally. A few extracts from standard
authorities may be pleasing to those not well informed on this subject.
Says _Koellner_, in 1837: "The theologians of more recent times have,
as a body, departed from the rigid doctrinal system of the symbols, and
let it be particularly noted, not only those who in the opposing parties
are termed rationalists, but also those who, in antithesis to these,
desire to be regarded as _champions for the doctrines of the church._
Accordingly, not only those who have been sufficiently denounced as
heterodox, have abandoned the doctrines of the symbols, but also the
so-called _orthodox_, such as _Doederlein, Morus, Michaelis_, the
venerable _Reinhard, Knapp, Storr, Schott, Schwartz, Augusti,
Marheinecke_, as well as _Hahn, Oltshausen, Tholuk_, and _Hengstenberg_.
In like manner has the public _pledge to the symbols_ been greatly
relaxed, and is _nowhere unconditional_; but in fidelity to the
principles of Protestantism, and guarding it, the obligation is always
expressed with the _explicit reservation_ of the supreme authority of
the Scriptures, as is evident from an inspection of the pledges
prescribed in the different Protestant countries." [Note 2] Again: "It
may as well be confessed and openly avowed, for the good of the church,
that, _there are but few theologians who still believe and teach the
doctrines of the symbols_." [Note 3]

Professor _Schultz_, in his work on the Eucharist, [Note 4] in 1831,
says: "If, in the most recent times, individuals have here and there
arisen in the Lutheran Church itself, as defenders of Luther's views
of the Lord's Supper, it must not be overlooked, that even they,
sensibly feeling the difficulty of their undertaking, resort to all
manner of subtle explanations and arbitrary additions, in order to
explain away the objectionable aspects of this view."

Finally, listen to the testimony of _Dr. Hagenbach_, of Basel, one of
the most distinguished orthodox divines of Europe: "_How few Lutherans_,
in this rationalizing period, firmly _adhere to the doctrine of the
bodily presence_ of Christ in the eucharist: and how few Reformed
adhered consistently to the doctrine of unconditional election. If,
therefore, the one, party relinquished the one, and the other party the
other point (or dividing doctrine,) then the union between them was of
course effected in the most natural way possible." [Note 5]

We close our observations on this topic with the impressive counsels of
the venerable Dr. Knapp: [Note 6] "Speculations concerning the manner
of the presence of the body and blood of Christ, have not the least
influence upon the nature and efficacy of the Lord's Supper. What the
Christian chiefly needs to know is the object and uses of this rite,
and to act accordingly. Vide §145. He must there therefore believe from
the heart that Christ died for him; that now, in his exalted state, he
is still active in providing for his welfare; and that hence it becomes
him to approach the Lord's table with feelings of the deepest reverence
and most grateful love to God and to Christ. Upon this everything
depends, and this makes the ordinance truly edifying and comforting in
its influence. These benefits may be derived from this ordinance by all
Christians; and to all who have true faith, or who allow this ordinance
to have its proper effect in awakening attention to the great truths
which it exhibits, it is a powerful, divinely-appointed means of grace,
whatever theory respecting it they may adopt--the Lutheran, the Reformed,
or even the Roman Catholic transubstantiation, gross as this error is."

_The American Recension of the Augsburg Confession_.

The general principle, on which this Recension was constructed, is to
present the doctrinal articles entire, without the change of a single
word, merely omitting the several sentences generally regarded as
erroneous, together with nearly the entire condemnatory clauses, and
_adding nothing_ in their stead. All that the Recension contains is
therefore the unadulterated Augsburg Confession, slightly abridged. The
following list will show, that _almost the entire Confession is thus
retained,_ a single article only being omitted, viz.: that on Private
Confession and Absolution.

ART. I. _Of God:_ retained _entire_.

ART. II. _Of Natural Depravity:_ entire, except the omission of the
words, "by baptism and the Holy Spirit." The condemnatory clause is
also given, except the name " Pelagians and others, &c."

ART. III. _Of the Son of God and his Mediatorial Work:_ retained

ART. IV. _Of Justification:_ retained _entire_.

ART. V. _Of the Ministerial Office:_ retained _entire_.

ART. VI. _Concerning New Obedience_ (or a Christian Life:) _entire_.

ART. VII. _Of the Church: entire_.

ART. VIII. _What the Church is: entire_, except the omission of the
last two sentences.

ART. IX. _Concerning Baptism:_ according to the German copy. _entire_.

ART. X. _Of the Lord's Supper:_ omits the words "_body_ and _blood_"
and "_truly_," and the phrase "are dispensed_," &c.

ART. XI. _Of Confession:_ omitted, as private confession and
absolution" [sic on punctuation] are confessedly not taught
in Scripture.

ART. XII _Of Repentance (after Backsliding:) entire_, except the
omission of "the church's granting _absolution_ to those manifesting
repentance," and that faith is produced also "_by means absolution_."

ART. XIII. _Of the Use of the Sacraments. entire_.

ART. XIV. _Of Church Orders, (or the Ministry.) entire_.

ART. XV. _Of Religious Ceremonies. entire_.

ART. XVI. _Of Political Affairs;_ (excepting the word "imperial.")

ART. XVII. _Of Christ's Return to Judgment. entire_.

ART. XVIII. _Of Free Will. entire_.

ART. XIX. _Of the Author of Sin. entire_.

ART. XX. _Of God's Works. entire_.

ART. XXI. _Of the Invocation of the Saints_, (except a reference to
the authority of the Romish church, the canons and the fathers.)

Note 1. See Luther's Works, Vol. XXI., p. 34, Leipsic ed. See this
subject ably discussed in several articles in the Evangelical Lutheran,
of December, 1835, by Dr. S. Sprecher, President of Wittenberg
College, Ohio.

Note 2. Koellner's Symbolik, Vol. I., p. 121.

Note 3. Idem. p. 148.

Note 4. P. 344.

Note 5. Hagenbach's Church History of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth
Centuries, Vol. II., p. 358; also Hahn's Lehrbuch, 1828, p. 578.

Note 6. See Knapp's Theology, translated by L. Woods, Jr., page 513,1
(Glauben's Lehre, &c., 1827,) or German copy, Vol. II., p. 505.

_or List of Symbolic Errors rejected by the great body of the churches
belonging to the General Synod_.

Having now arrived at the second part of the Definite Synodical
Platform, namely, that part which is not to be subscribed to by the
members of Synod; but which is published as the view of the majority,
from which individuals are allowed to dissent; we shall pursue the
following order in regard to each topic:

1. We shall recapitulate, briefly, what the Platform does assert.

2. State the objections made to these positions by the plea of Rev.
Mr. Mann.

3. Examine these objections and vindicate what seems to be the truth.
And as the Rev. Mr. Mann confines himself to the alleged errors of the
Augsburg Confession, we shall, with little exception, do the same.


1. As to _what the Platform teaches_ on this topic, there ought to be
no difficulty; because,

_a_. On page 5 of the Platform, we find a definite list of the errors
contained in the Augsburg Confession, viz.:

1. The approval of the _ceremonies_ of the mass.

2. Private Confession and Absolution.

3. Denial of the Divine obligation of the Christian Sabbath.

4. Baptismal Regeneration.

5. The real presence of the body and blood of the Saviour in the

Here it is evident that the charge is, that the Confession advocates
the _ceremonies_ of the mass, but _not the mass itself_, as has been

_b_. In the same connexion it is stated, "These are the _only_ errors
contained in the Augsburg Confession." But if these are the only errors
charged, then it follows that the error of inculcating the mass itself,
or doctrine of the mass, is at all events _not charged in the
Platform_, if it is in words even contained in the Confession.

_c_. The _caption_ in the list of errors on page 21 of the Platform, is
not headed the _Mass_, as is the article of the Confession to which it
refers; but what the Confession calls mass, the Platform, _with great
moderation_, styles _Ceremonies_ of the mass.

_d_. In the list of errors, the profession of which should exclude from
membership in Synods accepting the Platform, we find p. 15, the
following: "Whilst we will not admit into our Synod any one who
believes in Exorcism, Private Confession and Absolution, or the
_Ceremonies_ of the Mass." Here again _Ceremonies_ of the mass are
stated, but if the Platform taught that the Mass itself is inculcated
in the Confession, believers in the Mass would, _a fortiori_, have also
been mentioned as excluded.

What then is the meaning of the sentence on page 22 of the Platform,
"In refutation of the _tolerant views of the mass_ above expressed,
&c?" Why, of course we should suppose it meant those views of the mass
which the Platform charges against the Confession, as taught in these
passages, namely, retaining and approving the _ceremonial_ of the mass,
which constituted by far the greater part of the public mass, so
called, although its nature had been changed by denying the
_sacrificial_ character of the minister's act of self-communion, and
its being performed for the benefit of _others_, either living or dead.
We think also, some objectionable parts of the ceremonial itself were
changed, although the Confession asserts that the addition of some
German hymns, along with the Latin, was the only alteration made. Among
those objectionable parts retained, was _the elevation of the host_,
of which Luther thus speaks, in his _Short Confession about the
Sacrament_ against the Fanatics,in 1544. [Note 1] "It, happened about
twenty or twenty-two years ago, when I began to condemn the mass
(messe,) and wrote severely against the papists, to show that it (the
mass) was not a sacrifice, nor a work of ours, but a gift and blessing
or testament of God, which we could not offer to God, but ought and
must receive from him. At that time I was disposed to reject _the
elevation of the host_, on account of the papists, who regard it, as a
sacrifice, &c. But as our doctrine was at that time new and exceedingly
offensive over the whole world, I had to proceed cautiously, and on
account of the weak, to yield many things, which I, at a later period,
would not do. I therefore suffered the elevation of the host, to
remain, especially as it admits of a favorable, explanation, as I
showed in my little work '_De Captivitate Babylonica, &c._'" The
elevation of the host was still practised in Saxony generally in 1542,
[Note 2] twelve years after the Confession was written, approving of
the ceremonies of the mass, of which this was one. This remnant of
popery was, however, universally rejected soon after this period,
certainly before 1545, and in Wittenberg, in 1542.

_Again_, what is the natural import of the phrase on page 21 of the
Platform: "Accordingly the Lutheran church, in Europe and America, has
unanimously repudiated alike the mass and its ceremonies." The passage
itself specifies no time, when either was rejected, and neither says
nor implies that both were rejected at the same time. The word
"accordingly" refers to what preceded. The whole reads thus: "Topic I.,
_Ceremonies_ of the mass. The error taught on this subject by the
Augsburg Confession and Apology to it (namely, the error on these
ceremonies of the mass) was rejected by the reformers themselves a few
years after the Confession was first published. Accordingly, the
Lutheran Church, both in Europe and America, has unanimously
repudiated alike the mass and its ceremonies." As the Augsburg
Confession expressly teaches that private and closet masses had been
_previously_ rejected, and the Platform says the _only_ error in the
Augsburg Confession on this subject is the _ceremonies_ of the public
mass, its sacrificial and vicarious nature having also been repudiated
long before, it follows, that the thing here spoken of as the mass and
its ceremonies is that remnant of this rite, which, as proved above,
had not yet been rejected before 1530, the essential doctrine even of
the public mass having been rejected long before. Hence, the import of
this passage is: that whilst the reformers had long before the Diet of
Augsburg rejected the doctrine of the mass, as a sacrifice or a
vicarious service for the benefit of others, and had wholly rejected
_private and closet masses;_ they retained the ceremonies or ritual of
the public mass, preceding communion: but even this latter also they
renounced soon after; and accordingly, the Lutheran church, every where
in Europe and America, imitating their example, has repudiated alike
the mass and its ceremonies, which with the above-mentioned various
qualifications, are taught in the passages cited from the Confession.
Had we been writing for those unacquainted with the Augsburg
Confession, the qualifications here referred to, might have been

2. Our _next inquiry is, What objection does the Plea make to the
representations of the Platform on this subject?

The whole charge of our respected friend against the Platform is, that
it misapprehends the _import of the word mass_ in the 24th Article, and
therefore misrepresents the Confession, in charging it with sanctioning
the ceremonies of the Romish mass. To support this charge he affirms,
that the word mass (or missa, mess,) was at the time of the Confession,
in 1530, _in general use for the eucharist;_ and that in later years
the term mass, in this sense, was entirely given up by the Reformers,
page 15 of Plea.

The charge is certainly a grave one, and if unfounded, a grievous
injustice is done to the venerable mother symbol of Protestantism.
Viewing it in this light, we were slow to admit its truth ourselves,
until a pretty extensive acquaintance with the writings of the
Reformers compelled us to yield our conviction. Still we would have
greatly preferred to remain silent on the subject and throw the mantle
of oblivion over this deformity of our symbolic mother; had not
ill-advised ultra-symbolists of late years carried on a crusade against
all Lutherans who will not adopt the entire symbolic system. The charge
in the Platform was advisedly made, after careful examination. Since
the charge has been denied, we have again extensively examined the
writings of the Reformers, and whilst it would afford us pleasure to
withdraw it, and acknowledge our error; our conviction has grown more
firm, and we shall be greatly surprised if the great majority of
impartial minds do not find the evidence of our position fully
satisfactory. At the same time, whilst we charge the Confession with
favoring merely the _ceremonies_ of the mass, other writers of the
first respectability, have expressed the charge in stronger language.
Thus _Fuhrmann_, in his Lexicon of Religious and Ecclesiastical History,
speaking of the Romish mass, says: "_That Luther for some time tolerated
it, and gave if a a German garb and afterwards abolished it, is
notorious_. [Note 3] And that impartial and highly respectable historian
of our own country, Dr. Murdock, whose extended and valuable additions
to the classic church history of Dr. Moshiem, abundantly prove his
acquaintance with the subject; in giving a synopsis of the contents of
the Augsburg Confession, thus epitomises the 24th Article: "_The
Protestants are falsely taxed with abolishing the mass_. They only
purified it; and discarded the idea of its being a work of merit, or
offering for the sins of the living and the dead, which militates
against the scriptural doctrine, that Christ's sacrifice is the only
sin offering." [note 4]

In order that we may give this question an impartial and conscientious
investigation, let us first inquire into the meaning of the word mass
among the Papists, apart from the present dispute. "_Mass_ (missa,
Mess,) says _Fuhrmann_, in his Lexicon of Religious and Ecclesiastical
History, [Note 5] at first signified that worship of God, which
_preceded_ the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Subsequently, and
especially in the fifth century, ministers termed the public celebration
of the eucharist, _mass_ (or missa, dismissed); because this service
took place after the catechumens were dismissed. This word 'missa' was
gradually corrupted into _mass_. But how did that mode of celebrating
this ordinance arise in the Romish Church, _which consisted in the
priest's giving the sacrament to himself alone, connected with solemn
turnings around, and moving about from place to place, and changes of
attitude, resembling in some degree a theatrical exhibition, which is
termed mass?_" He then proceeds to explain the history of the Romish
mass here defined.

_Siegel_, in his excellent Manual of Christian Ecclesiastical
Antiquities, published at Leipsic, in 1837, in four volumes, presents
an extended view of this subject, from which we will extract little
more than his definition of the mass. "The mass, in the Roman Catholic
sense of the term, belongs not to the centuries of Christian antiquity,
but to a later period." [Note 6] We take up the subject at the time
when the Catholic doctrine of _transubstantiation_ was fully developed,
(since the Lateran Council of 1215.) In conformity to this view of the
sacrament, (the doctrine of transubstantiation,) _the idea of the mass
was so developed, as to signify that solemn act of the priest,
decorated with many ceremonies, by which he offers the unbloody
sacrifice at the altar." [Note 7] The mass service is a commixture of
Scripture passages, long and short prayers, extracts from the gospels
and epistles (pericopen,) liturgic forms, which are divided into
several chief parts, designated by different names, Introitus,
Offertorium, Canon missae," &c. [Note 8] This whole service amounts to
some fifteen or twenty octavo pages, including the directions for
genuflections, crossings, tergiversations, &c., occupying about an hour
in the reading, the performance of which by the priest was termed
"reading mass," as the listening of the audience was called "hearing

In view of these authorities, we may take for granted, what we suppose
no one will deny, that in the Romish Church, not only of the present
day, but since several centuries before the Reformation, and,
therefore, in 1530, the most common and primary meaning of the word
_mass_, was not Lord's Supper; but that long ceremonial, including the
consecration of the elements, elevation of the host, and self-communion
of the priest, as an offering of the body of Christ a sacrifice for the
sins of the living and dead, _which preceded_ the distribution of the
sacrament to the people.

_Again_, it will be admitted, that whilst among Papists the above
specific meaning of the word mass was the most common one, that term
was also not unfrequently used by synecdoche, as a part of the whole,
to designate the sacramental celebration in general: just as we use the
word "_preaching_" which specifically signifies the delivery of a
sermon, for the whole services of public worship in the phrase, "will
you go to preaching to-day?"

_Finally_, it will be admitted, that the Reformers, having been
educated as Papists, were trained up to this twofold use of the word
mass, namely, specifically the extended services above described, which
_preceded_ the communion, and sometimes informally the eucharist,
communion or sacrament in general.

The question then seems definitely to be reduced to these two inquiries;
first, _Did the Reformers retain this distinction in the use of the word
mass at the time of the Diet at Augsburg; and, secondly, did they employ
the word in its specific sense in the disputed passages of that

_First Inquiry_.

We shall _first_ inquire whether this distinction in the use of the word
mass was observed by the Reformers at and before the time of the
Augsburg Diet?

I. And _first_ let us listen to _Luther_ himself. In 1523, the great
Reformer, 1, in his "_Method of conducting Christian Mass_," addressed
to Rev. Nicolas Hausman, after having rejected such portions of the
Romish mass, as he thought wrong, he approved others, as explained by
himself, such as the, Introitus, the Kyrie eleison, the Collecta or
prayer epistles, the Singing of the Gradual, a short sequens, the
Gospel, the Nicene Creed, and a number of other matters, including the
elevation of the host, but not for worship, [Note 9] he proceeds to the
next part of the Treatise which is headed "How to _administer the most
holy sacrament to the people," [Note 10] and his first sentence is the
following: "Let this much suffice to be said of the _Mass_, and service
of the minister; we will now proceed to treat of the manner in which the
holy _sacrament_ shall be administered to the people, for whose benefit
especially the Supper of our Lord was instituted." Here we clearly see
the distinction between the performances of the priest _before_ the
communion which constitute the _Mass_, and the distribution of the
elements to the people, which he terms holy _sacrament_. Then, after
having discussed the subject of the communion, that it should be
received in both kinds, &c., he adds, "Let this suffice for the present
on the subject of the mass _and_ communion." [Note 11]

2. In his _letter to Lazarus Spengler_, in 1528, Luther observes this
same distinction. "In the first place," he remarks, "it is unreasonable
that any one should be forced to receive the sacrament or to abstain
from it." And he adds: "All masses, at which there are _no
communicants_" (that is, at which the sacrament is not administered,)
"should absolutely be omitted." [Note 12] Here the administration of
the supper to the laity is termed _sacrament_, and that service
performed by the minister, which was sometimes succeeded by the
sacrament or communion, and at others not, is called _mass_.

3. _The Counsel of Luther and Pomeranius_, in 1528, to Duke George:
"First, as you inquire concerning _parish_ masses, &c. Be it known to
you that no minister can with good conscience perform mass alone, when
there are no communicants. Therefore here there is no room for further
inquiry; either there must be communicants, or them should be no
mass." [Note 13]

4. Luther's "_Confession of the Christian Doctrines, in XVII.
Articles_," published in 1530. This is a very short Confession, each
article containing but three or four sentences, and the whole amounting
to only three or four 8vo. pages. In Article X. he says: "The
_eucharist_ or _sacrament_ of the altar also consists of two parts,
namely that the true body and blood of Christ should verily be present
in the bread and wine;" and in Article XVI. he says: "Above all other
abominations, the _masses_, that have hitherto been regarded as a
_sacrifice_ or _good work_, by which one designed to procure grace for
the other, are to be rejected." [Note 14] Here the distinction is not
only made between the mass and eucharist, but the doctrine of the mass
as a sacrifice of Christ offered by the priest for others, is also
denounced. It will also be recollected that this view of the mass as a
sacrifice, and as vicarious, is strongly denounced in the Augsburg
Confession, whilst the charge of having rejected the rite itself with
these and other modifications, is flatly denied, in these words: "It is
_unjustly_ charged against our churches, that they have abolished the
mass," (Art. XXIV., p. 21 of the Platform,) a thing never charged
against them in reference to the eucharist, for from the very beginning
of the Reformation, they charged the Papists with having mutilated it,
and claimed the restoration of the cup also to the laity.

5. In a _letter_ of September 20, 1530, addressed _to Justus Jonas_, one
of the theologians at the diet, Luther thus expresses himself: "For,
what else do our opponents, (the Papists,) presume to propose, than that
they shall not yield a hairsbreadth, but that we not only yield on the
subject of the canon, _the mass_, the _one kind_, (in the eucharist,)
celibacy, (of the clergy,) and jurisdiction (of the bishops); but shall
also admit that they have taught the truth, and acted properly in all
things, and were falsely accused by us." [Note 15] Here the mass is
again distinguished from the eucharist in one kind. He then adds: "If we
will get at it (yielding to the Papists,) let us yield only the canon,
and the closet masses; and either of these two is sufficient fully to
deny our doctrine and to confirm theirs." The _canon_ was that part of
the ritual of the mass which contained the forms of transubstantiation,
which were positively rejected by the reformers, the closet masses are
rejected in the Augsburg Confession; but Luther says nothing against the
public mass, qualified as it is in the Confession.

6. In his _Exhortation to the Sacrament_ of the body and blood of
Christ, published in 1530, he says: "If the Papists do, as usual,
quibble at my language, and boast that I myself here make a sacrifice
in the _sacrament_, although I have hitherto contended that the _mass_
is no sacrifice; then you shall answer thus: I make _neither the mass
nor the sacrament_ a sacrifice, ("Ich mache _weder_ Messe _noch_
Sacrament zum opfer,") but the remembrance of Christ," [Note 16] &c.
Here the two are distinguished as clearly as language can discriminate
between two separate objects, and even placed in antithesis to one
another: and let it be remembered, that all the examples are taken from
works published either before or in the very year in which the Augsburg
Confession was written. A few years later, in 1534, in a letter to a
friend, in which he inveighs strongly against the closet masses and the
perverted order or arrangements of the mass, (verkehrte ordnung der
Messe,) and against the Romish mass in general: "I wish, and would very
gladly see and hear, that the two words mass and sacrament were
considered by every one as being as far apart as light and darkness,
yea, as the devil and God. For they (the Papists) must themselves
confess, that mass dues not signify the reception of the sacrament as
Christ instituted it; but the reception of the sacrament they do, (and
no thanks to them,) they _must_ call _communion. But that is called_
MASS _which the priest alone performs at the altar, in which no common
christian or layman takes part_." All other christians do nothing more
than receive the sacrament, _and do not perform mass_. [Note 17]
Certainly it must be evident that Luther did not regard the word mass as
the ordinary term for eucharist, but had a clear idea of the
distinction, and of the importance of observing it.

II. Let us now adduce similar evidence from the writings of
_Melancthon himself_, who wrote the Confession, to show that he also
observed the distinction between _mass_ and _eucharist_. This evidence
will be the stronger as all his letters quoted, were written from
Augsburg itself, during the very time that he composed the Confession,
and whilst it was under consideration in the Diet. [Note 18]

1. In a letter to Luther, dated Augsburg, July 30, 1530, Melancthon
says: "Zwingle has sent hither a printed Confession. His views of the
_Eucharist_ (Abendmahl) he urge strongly. He wishes all bishops to be
extirpated." Then after speaking of human traditions, he adds: "In the
matter of the _mass_, (not eucharist, which he had just mentioned
before,) and in the first discussion (Aufsatz, composition) of the
doctrinal articles I think I was cautions enough, but on the topics
concerning unwritten traditions, I was never rightly satisfied with
myself." [Note 19]

2. In another letter to Luther, of August 6th, he says: "At last, on
Aug. 3d, we heard the (Romish) Refutation (of the Augsburg Confession),
and also the declaration of the emperor. His declaration was terrible
enough, but the Refutation was composed in such a puerile manner, that
we could not but heartily congratulate each other. There is not a
single composition of Faber, (the pensman of the Refutation,) however
silly it may be, that is not exceeded in silliness by this. On the
doctrine concern the two kinds, (in the Eucharist,) he adduced the
history of the sons of Eli, who desired bread to eat; and wished to
prove by it, that it becomes laymen to be satisfied with the mere bread
in the _Eucharist_. His defence of the _Mass_ was very frosty." [Note
20] Here we find the eucharist and the mass spoken of as separate
things, and the discussion of the one represented as silly, and that of
the other frosty.

3. In a letter to Luther, dated August 22d, he thus writes: "Yesterday
we closed the discussion, or rather the quarrel (Gezaenk) which has been
conducted before the umpires. The third point was the question of merit,
&c. Then he came to the _two kinds_ (in the eucharist). Here he exerted
himself to the utmost to prove that _both_ kinds are not commanded. He
maintained that it was a matter of indifference whether one or both
kinds are received, and and [sic] that if we would teach
this, he would cheerfully allow us both kinds. This I could not accede
to; nevertheless, I excused those who had hitherto erroneously received
but one kind; for they cried out, the whole church is condemned by us.
What think you of this? The command of Jesus refers to ministers and
laymen. Hence if it is our duty to receive the _sacrament_, we are also
obligated to retain the form of the entire sacrament. If you also are
of this opinion, then inform me of it distinctly. On the subject of the
_mass_, vows and marriage, there was no discussions, only some
conditions were proposed, which we, however, did not accept." [Note 21]
Here again, the distinction between the sacrament and the mass is
clearly made, and we are told that at the disputation before the
umpires, the former was debated and the latter not. Can anything be
plainer, than that a distinction is here made between eucharist and

4. Under date of August 28, Melancthon thus writes to _Luther:_ "They
(the Papists,) wish us to admit, that neither those who administer but
one kind, nor those who receive it, are guilty of sin. We have, indeed,
exonerated those from blame, who receive but one kind; but as to those
who administer but one,--there is the knot. The Synod of Basil conceded
the _whole sacrament_ to the Bohemians, on condition that they would
acknowledge that it may, with propriety, be taken and received in one
kind only. This confession they also wish to extort from us. _Eckius_
says he contends for this point, merely because the people cannot be
retained in the discharge of duty, unless _we_ also release their
consciences in regard to the _sacrament_ (that is, unless the reformers
would admit, that its reception in one kind was also allowable). We
therefore desire to know your judgment on the case. As to the
application of _masses_, they are willing to postpone this till the
meeting of the synod (or council); and thus they intimate, that they
will not oppress us with the reception of their ungodly views on the
_mass_ (Koethe's edition: mit der gottlosen Application der Messe, with
the ungodly application of the mass, _i.e._ to the living and dead).
And yet they desire us to receive the _canon_ of the mass, (_i.e._ the
most objectionable part of the ritual of the mass, relating to the
transubstantiation of the bread and wine, its application to others,
&c.,) but with a convenient and devout explanation." [Note 22] Here
again, the distinction between the mass and the sacrament is clearly

5. On Sept. 4th, he again writes to _Luther:_ "I know that this long
silence must be very annoying to you, especially at this time, when we
ought to consult one another most frequently; but believe me, nothing
is so much opposed to my wishes in the court, as this indifference in
dispatching more frequent messengers to you, and yet I am unable to
induce them to do it. We have not yet received from our opponents the
proposed conditions in reference to the _two kinds_ (in the eucharist),
marriage and _the_ mass." [Note 23] Here again, who does not see the

6. In a document, which Melancthon prepared for a friend of the
chancellor of the bishop of Luettich, in which he states how far they
yielded, and also the points in which they could not agree, we find the
following: "_Of the two kinds_.--Here we excused those (the laity,) who
receive one kind alone (that is, merely the bread in the eucharist),
for as they do not distribute the sacraments, they have to receive the
sacrament as it is given to them." [Note 24] "_Of the mass_.--In regard
to the mass we have already given our reply: namely, that our party
retain the substantials (substantalia,) and principal parts of the
mass, so far as the consecration is concerned, &c." [Note 25] "_The
mass is not_ a work which, when applied to others, merits grace for
them _ex opere operato;_ but according to the confession of the whole
church, the _Lord's Supper is_ the sacrament, through which grace is
offered to him that receives it, which grace he also really receives,
but not by the more external act, but through faith, when he is certain
that, in it., grace and pardon of sins are offered." [Note 26]

III. We will add a few short _extracts from other reformers_, written
at the time of the Diet, to confirm our position that they also made a
distinction between the mass and the eucharist, and that by the former
they meant that performance of the priest alone at the altar, which
preceded the communion.

1. _Aurifaber_, who was a particular personal friend of Luther, and was
present at his death. In his account of the incidents of Luther and his
doctrines in the year 1530, speaking of the special committee which was
appointed on the 16th of August, consisting of seven members on each
side, he remarks: [Note 27] "These assembled and took into
consideration the Augsburg Confession of the Protestant States,
deliberating on one article after another, and the first day agreed
upon eleven articles. The second day they continued their negotiations
and agreed toll [sic] to twenty-one articles. But on the
articles concerning _the mass_, marriage of priests, _the Lord's
Supper_, monastic vows and the jurisdiction of the bishops, &c., they
could not agree and remained at variance." Here the mass and the Lord's
Supper are distinctly classed as different topics.

2. _Spalatin_, one of the theologians who attended the Elector to
Augsburg, in his narrative of what occurred during the diet, giving a
brief abstract of the contents of the Augsburg Confession, epitomises
the, Xth Article thus: Of the Holy _Sacrament of the true body and
blood of Christ_ in the Sacrament of the altar; and the XXIV Article,
"of the _Mass_, how it is celebrated amongst us, and the reason why
closet masses have been rejected by us." Here again, who does not see
that the two are represented as distinct?

IV. We shall close this cumulative mass of evidence for the
distinction between the terms mass and eucharist or Lord's supper, at
the time of the diet of Augsburg, by an extract from the professed
_refutation of the Augsburg Confession_, prepared by the _papists_
during the diet; from which it will be evident, not only that they make
this distinction themselves, which no one denies, but that _they
understood the Augsburg Condition as making it also_.

In their reply to Article XXIV. of the Confession, (or the III. of the
Abuses Corrected) they state: "For the _mass_ is celebrated, in order
that the _holy eucharist_ may be offered in memory of the passion of
Christ." [Note 28] "In those churches, (which apostatize in the latter
times) _no more masses_ will be celebrated, _no more sacrament_
distributed, no more altars, nor images of the saints, &c." [Note 29]
Finally, near the close of their pretended refutation of this Article
of the Augsburg Confession, (XXIV.) the papist Refutation says, "It is
therefore not rejected or regarded as wrong that the (Protestant)
Princes and cities (according to their Confession, Article XXIV.,)
celebrate one common (public) mass in their churches; if they only
performed it properly, according to the holy rule and canonical
regulations, as all Catholics perform it. But that they (the
Protestants, in their Confession) reject all _other_ masses, can
neither be tolerated nor suffered by the christian faith and Catholic
profession, (that is, cannot be allowed by us, who profess the Roman
Catholic faith.) [Note 30]

Here then, in view of all this mass of evidence, we appeal to every
candid and conscientious reader, whether it is not impossible, fairly,
to resist the conviction, that the Reformers did, at and before the
diet at Augsburg in 1530, ordinarily observe the distinction to which
they had been trained in the Romish church, between the words _mass_
and _eucharist_, or _Lord's supper_, so that in all cases where
precision was necessary, and especially where both were spoken of, each
was called by its appropriate name? We say "ordinarily," because we
freely admit that sometimes they did use the word mass in a more general
sense, as a part for the whole, to include both the eucharist and the
mass proper, just as we now use the term preaching for the whole of the
public service, in the inquiry, "Will you go to preaching to day?"
whilst in its proper meaning, preaching has reference only to the
sermon. Our chain of argument is therefore not complete until we add
another link, and prove that the Reformers employed the word mass in
its specific and proper signification, in the disputed passages of the
Augsburg Confession, as they did in the numerous passages above cited,
and as the Papists themselves understood them to do.

_Second Inquiry_.

Let us now, in _the second_ place, inquire, _Whether the Reformers
employed the word mass in its proper and specific meaning in the
disputed passages of the Augsburg Confession_.

The affirmative of this question is, we think, certain, from a variety
of evidences.

1. Because we find _two different articles of the Confession, the one
with mass (Messe) for its caption, and the other headed:_ OF THE HOLY
SUPPER (vom Heiligen Abendmahl.) Now, if mass here signified Holy
Supper, the probability is that one or the other term would have been
used in both places. The design of captions prefixed to a chapter or
article, is to indicate the general contents of such article; and a
diversity of caption or title, naturally raises the presumption that
different subjects are discussed. The most natural method of deciding
this question concerning the meaning of the caption, is to inquire what,
are the subjects discussed in each article. If the subjects discussed in
both articles are the same, then the captions are or ought to be
synonymous, and as the Lord's Supper never signifies mass in its
specific sense, it follows that mass would have to mean Lord's Supper.
But if different subjects are treated of in the two articles, then the
captions, if appropriate, must mean different things. Now, it will not
be denied, that whilst the Article X., headed Lord's Supper, discusses
matter specifically relating to the eucharist, (namely the real presence
of the body and blood of the Saviour in the Holy Supper;) the Article
XXIV., headed the _Mass_, actually discusses what is specifically termed
the mass, namely, the ceremony and acts of the priest or minister
_preceding_ the Lord's Supper. Thus, the article states, "No perceptible
change was made in the public ceremonies of the mass, except the
addition of German hymns along with the Latin; but it is well known that
there are no other "public ceremonies" connected with the Lord's Supper
in the Romish church, except those embraced in _the_ mass, specifically
so called, and that the _Latin_ hymns were part of this mass, "Masses
are bought and sold at annual fairs, and the greater part of them (the
masses) in all the churches, were sold for money;" but we have never
heard that Romanists had to pay for receiving the communion, it is only
for a certain performance of the priest, called mass, that they pay the
priest. These "money masses and closet masses," are condemned; whilst no
objection is made to public mass, at which the sacrament is
administered; on the contrary, it is stated, that by proper instruction,
"the people are attracted to communion _and_ the mass." The question is
referred to "whether a mass performed for a number of persons
collectively, was as efficacious as a separate mass for each
individual;" but who ever heard of christians receiving one Lord's
Supper collectively, for a number of other persons, or for an
individual? And if the thing is done by the priest, then it is what is
specifically called mass. So also, who ever heard of the Lord's Supper
being received "for the dead;" but it is very common for the priest to
say _mass_ for the dead. Thus, might we add additional sentences from
this Article XXIV., which applied to the Lord's Supper, make no sense,
but are appropriately and historically true of the mass in its specific
sense. Since then almost the whole article treats of the mass proper,
does not common sense, as well as the legitimate principles of
interpretation, require us so to interpret the word mass in the caption
and passages cited from this article? The same reason would apply to a
comparison of the caption of Article XXII., or I, of the Abuses
Corrected, namely, "Of Communion in both kinds," compared with the word
mass; but we deem it unnecessary.

2. That the word mass is here used in its appropriate sense, is evident,
_because Melancthon himself, in translating the Latin original into
German_, always renders the Latin term for mass (missa) by the German
term messe (mass); whereas if he had used the Latin term in its more
general sense in Article XXIV., he would at least sometimes have
translated it eucharist, or Lord's Supper. But so far as we have
examined, the word mass (messe) is always employed in this article,
where the German is a translation of the Latin. In one case at least we
have found the German and Latin Confessions pursue different trains of
thought; so that though mass is found in the one, nothing corresponding
is contained in the other. The same may be affirmed of all translations
into English that we have seen, whether made in this country or in
Great Britain. No translator, so far as our knowledge extends, has
ventured to render "missa" or " messe," by Lord's Supper or eucharist;
but by the appropriate term "_mass;_" because they all felt that the
context and scope of the Article demanded it.

3. Another proof in Article XXIV. itself, that the word mass is used to
designate that ceremonial, which preceded the distribution of the
sacrament, is found in _the fact that both the word mass and sacrament
are used together, with the copulative conjunction_ AND _connecting
them. a_. Thus, near the commencement of the article, we read: "Our
people are instructed repeatedly, and with the utmost diligence,
concerning the design and proper mode of receiving the holy sacrament;
namely, to comfort alarmed consciences; by which means the people are
attracted to the _communion_ AND _the mass_," [Note 31] (dadurch das
volk zur communion _und_ Mess gezogen wird.) The Latin copy here has a
different train of remarks.

_b_. Again, the following passage near the close of the Article: "The
ancient canons also show that one of the priests performed the mass,
_and_ administered the communion to the other priests and deacons."
[Note 32] (Auch zeigen die alten canones an, dasz einer das Amt
gehalten hat UND die andern Priester und Diakon communicirt.) _c_. Also
the passage preceding this: "Our custom is, that on holy days, and also
at other times, if communicants are present, _we hold mass_ AND _admit
to communion_ such as desire it." (So wird diese Weise bei uns gehalten,
dasz man an Feiertagen, auch sonst so communicanten da sind, mess haelt,
und etliche so das begehren, communiciert. _Servatur_ apud nos _una
communis missa_ singulis feriis, atque aliis etiam diebus, si qui
sacramento velint uti, _ubi porrigitur sacramentum his qui petunt_.)
Here, then, we find three passages in this very Article itself, in which
the mass is distinguished from the distribution of the supper, and the
two things are connected by "and," necessarily implying their diversity.

4. That the words [sic] mass is used in its appropriate specific sense
in this Article, and not as synonymous with Lord's Supper, or eucharist,
as the Plea for the Augsburg Confession [Note 33] asserts, is proved by
the fact, that _if you substitute either of these words for it, many
passages in the Article will not make sense_. We will present a few
specimens, which may be multiplied by any one who will take Article
XXIV. of the Confession and read it, substituting either Lord's Supper
or eucharist in place of the word mass.

"By which means the people are attracted to the communion and the
_eucharist_, (the mass;") which is equivalent to saying, they were
attracted to the eucharist and the eucharist.

"An annual fair was made, at which _eucharists_ (masses) were bought
and sold." This would be historically untrue.

"And the greater part of them (the _eucharists_) in all the churches,
were performed for money." To this the same remark applies.

"These money-_eucharists_ and closet _eucharists_ (masses,) have ceased
in our churches:" but the eucharist certainly had not ceased.

"Hence also arose the controversy, whether a _eucharist_ (mass)
performed for (not by) a number of persons collectively, was as
efficacious as a separate _eucharist_ for each individual." This
question applies only to the mass proper, and was never mooted about
the eucharist.

"The ancient canons also show, that one of the priests performed or
celebrated (halten, celebrare) _eucharist, and administered the
communion to the other priests and deacons." [Note 34] This specimen,
like the first, would be purely tautological.

5. That the word mass is used in Article XXIV., distinctively for the
mass, is evident from the fact that the _Romanists so understood_ it,
and in their answer to the Confession attempt to refute the Protestant
rejection not of the Lord's Supper, but of the private _masses_, the
closet _masses_, and the sacrificial and vicarious nature of the _mass_
in general whilst they applaud the retention of public mass by the
Reformers, if they would only celebrate it according to canonical
regulations. We will cite a single passage, out of many that might be

"It, is therefore not rejected, nor regarded as wrong, that the
(Protestant) princes and cities (according to Article XXIV. of their
Confession, on which they are commenting,) celebrate one common (or
public) mass in their churches; if they only performed it properly,
according to the holy rule and canonical regulations, as all Catholics
perform it. But that they (the Protestants) reject all _other_ masses,
can neither be tolerated nor suffered by the Christian faith and
Catholic profession;" (that is, cannot be allowed by us who profess the
Roman Catholic religion. [Note 35]) As this Romish Refutation is rarely
met with, we add the exact original: "_Wird demnach nicht verworfen
noch fuer unrecht erkannt, dasz die Fuersten und Staedt halten ein
gemeine Mess in der Kirchen, wann sie solche nur ordentlich und richtig
nach der heiligen Richtschnur und canonischen Regel hielten und
thaeten, we es alle Catholischen halten:  Dieweil sie aber alle andere
Messen abschaffen, das kann der Christlich glaub und Catholische
Profession und Bekaentnisz weder dulden noch leiden_."

6. The same fact is confirmed still further by _the Apology to the
Augsburg Confession_, written by Melancthon, in reply to the Romish
Refutation, from which we have just presented an extract. From this it
is evident that the Papists had correctly understood the Augsburg
Confession as speaking of the mass properly so called; and that we have
therefore also not misunderstood or misrepresented it. Speaking of the
very part of the Refutation from which the above passage is cited,
Melancthon says: "In the first place, we must state, by way of
introduction, that we _do not abolish the mass_. For on every Sunday
and Festival, _masses_, (Messen) (not Lord's Suppers) are held in our
churches, at which the _sacrament_ is administered to those who desire
it." Here evidently mass and the sacrament are two things.

"Our opponents make a great talk (geschwaetz) about the _Latin_ mass,
that is about the Mass which, as is well known, was and is _read_ in
Latin; but certainly they did not talk about the Latin Lord's Supper.

"But where do we find the Pharisaic, doctrine written, that the
_hearing_ of the mass without understanding it, is, ex opere operato,
meritorious and saving?" The term _hearing_ evidently refers to the
mass, which was read; but what sense would there be in the phrase
_hearing_ the Lord's Supper?

"That we do not celebrate private masses, but only a _public mass_
(eine oeffentliche Messe,) when the people also commune, is not at all
contrary to the common (or general) Christian church." Here the
_private_ masses are distinguished from the _public_ mass, and the fact
affirmed, as clearly as language can convey the idea, that the
_Reformers did retain and practice_ PUBLIC _mass on sacramental
occasions_." [Note 36]  We might easily adduce a number of other
passages from this book, but really it seems to be a work of

To this decided declaration of Melancthon, we might add his assertions
on other occasions. Let a single one suffice. In his letter to Margrave
George, of Brandenburg, on the _private_ mass, he uses this language:
"Finally, as your excellence wishes to know what we retain in our
churches of the ceremonies of the mass, I would inform your excellence,
that the mass is entirely abolished, _except when are persons present_
who wish to receive the Lord's Supper;" [Note 37] that is, we have
entirely abolished private masses; at which, as it is well known, no
one communed but the priest himself, but retain the _public mass_ at
communion seasons.

_Finally_, to make assurance doubly sure, we will add a similar
testimony from Luther himself, in a letter of Counsel to Lazarus
Spengler, in 1528: "In the _first place_, let all masses be absolutely
dispensed with at which there are no communicants present; as they
properly ought to be set aside. Secondly, that in the two parish
churches (namely, in Nuerenberg, where Spongier resided,) one or two
masses should be held on Sabbath and holy days, according as there may
be many or few communicants." [Note 38]

Now, in this passage, the word mass either means Lord's Supper in
general or mass in particular. It does not mean the former, because it
was something which Luther says had been performed _without any_
communicants being present, but should not be performed hereafter,
unless there were communicants. Again, he says, that on Sabbath or holy
days, when there are communicants present, this mass, which from its
nature _could_ be and had been performed without communicants, should
be performed once or twice. But what sense is there in terming that the
administration of the Lord's Supper at which there are no communicants.
Or in talking about administering one or two Lord's Suppers, as the
number of communicants might be large or small? For ourselves, it is
impossible to doubt, that the mass proper is here intended, which was
often celebrated by the minister alone, and which, at communion
seasons, was the usual preparation for the communion.

_And now, what is the result of our inquiry?_

We premised, as conceded by all, that as the word mass among the
Romanists does now, so it did at the time of the the [sic]
Reformation, and several centuries before, specifically signify a
certain service of about an hour's length, consisting of a commixture
of Scripture passages, long and short prayers, invocations, extracts
from the gospels and epistles, liturgic forms, the forms of
consecration of the elements and transubstantiation of them into the
Saviour's body and blood, with numerous crossings, genuflexions, the
elevation of the host and especially the self-communion of the priest,
as an offering of the body of Christ a bloodless sacrifice for the sins
of the living or dead; all of which was read and done by the _priest
himself_ before the altar; and which preceded the sacramental
communion of the congregation, and was the only preparation for the

We also admitted, that then, as now, the word mass was sometimes used
by the Romanists for the sacramental celebration in general, including
the mass proper.

Thirdly, we assumed as undenied, that the Reformers, having been born
and educated in the Romish religion till their majority, were
accustomed to this two-fold use of the term mass.

We then asserted that the Reformers continued the twofold use of the
term, and as its occasional use for the eucharist in general is not
disputed, we especially proved that they continued to observe the
distinction and to employ it in its _specific sense_, whenever the
mass proper was spoken of.

We proved from various letters and other documents of _Luther_, written
in the year of the Diet, that he makes the distinction and uses the
term mass for the above described mass proper.

We proved from various letters and other articles of _Melancthon_,
written during the session of the Diet, that he employed it in this
specific sense.

We proved that the other Reformers used the word in this specific
sense, such as Aurifaber, and Spalatin. And finally:

We proved that the _Romanists_ used it in this sense at the Diet, in
their pretended Refutation of the Augsburg Confession.

There being no possible doubt of the Reformers using the word mass to
mean the specific mass, in their other writings at that time; the, only
remaining question was, whether Melancthon so used it in the disputed
passages of the Article XXIV. of the Augsburg Confession.

That he did here employ it, in this specific sense, we proved by the
following facts: Because he made two different captions or headings for
two different articles, and in the one headed "Of the Lord's Supper,"
he discusses that subject, and in the other headed "The Mass," he
discusses what is specifically termed mass.

We proved, that Melancthon and all other translators from the Latin or
German copy, have translated these passages, messa, and _mass_, and not
Abendmahl, or Lord's Supper, or Eucharist.

We have proved, that in this very Article XXIV., the mass and sacrament
are spoken of in the same sentence as different things, being connected
together by the word "_and_."

We have proved, that if we substitute the Lord's Supper instead of mass
in this Article, many of the passages will make nonsense.

We have proved, that the Romanists themselves in their Refutation of
the Augsburg Confession, understood this Article XXIV. as speaking of
the Mass proper, and censured it for rejecting private masses, _whilst
it approved of it_ for retaining public masses.

_Finally_, we have proved, that Melancthon, in replying to this Romish
Refutation, does not charge them with having misunderstood the XXIV.
Article; but goes on to refute their arguments, implying that they had
understood him correctly.

In view of all these facts it is impossible for us to doubt, that the
word mass in the objected passages of the Article XXIV., signifies the
mass in its specific sense, and not the Lord's Supper in general: and
that when the Reformers affirm in their Confession, that "they are
unjustly charged with having abolished the mass" they meant that they
retained the mass on sacramental occasions, with the limitations and
altered explanations of the nature and application of it, specified in
different parts of the Confession; whilst they freely admitted, that
they had rejected private and closet, masses, and indeed all masses,
except on occasions when the sacrament was administered to the people.
What the Romanists considered as the essential doctrine of the mass,
viz., its being a sacrifice of Christ, offered by the priest, and its
being offered by him for others than himself, either living or dead,
and its being performed at any other time, or for any other purpose
than as a preparative for Sacramental Communion, the Confession
rejects, but the _outward_ rite itself, on public sacramental occasions,
it professes to retain: and this being the only charge made in the
_Platform_ on this subject, we appeal to every candid reader to decide,
whether it has not been fully established.

Whether Melancthon and the princes had yielded more in this Confession
than Luther approved, and whether any of the alterations confessedly
made in the Confession after Luther had approved it, related to this
Article, is quite a different question, and cannot affect the meaning
of the Article itself.  It is not improbable that such was the case;
but even the ritual, which Luther prepared in 1523, contained the
greater part of the Romish mass, such as the _Introitus_, the _Kyrie
Eleison_, the _Collecta_, or prayer and _epistles, Singing of the
Gradual_, a _Short Sequens_, the _Gospel_, the _Nicene Creed_, and a
number of other matters, not excepting even the _elevation_ of the host,
but not for adoration, which latter he retained till [sic]
_till twelve years after the Diet at Augsburg!_ Yet, even at that time,
he had rejected the greater part of the most objectionable portions of
the mass. Hence, as the Platform charges the Confession only with
favoring the _Ceremonies of the Mass_, the charge is not only sustained,
but falls short, of what we have established in the preceding pages: and
all the vituperation aimed at us by different individuals, who have
studied the subject imperfectly, or not at all, we cheerfully forgive,
conscious that the aim of all we have published on this subject has been
the prosperity of the church, and assured that it will be blessed by the
Master to this glorious end.

_Reference to the author's former works containing representations_ of
this subject.

In view of these indisputable results of a careful investigation of the
original sources, it may not be amiss to cast a glance at the
representations of this subject in our former publications during the
last quarter of a century, as we have frequently been charged, not
indeed by the author of the Plea, but by superficial writers, with
self-contradiction and misrepresentation. It would indeed have been in
perfect unison with the habit of the best authors of Europe and America,
to change our opinions as we extended our investigations, and freely to
profess such change. Nor should we feel any reluctance in following such
distinguished authorities, if we felt that our case required it. But in
reperusing our former statements, we cannot see that they differ, in any
material point, from the results of our latest investigations above

In the Popular Theology, (page 406 of the seventh edition,) first
published in 1834, speaking of the article of the Augsburg Confession on
the Mass, we find the following:--"On this subject, (the mass,) the
language of the Confession was less condemnatory, than that which they
soon after employed. In the Smalcald Articles, which were published
seven years after this Confession, in 1537, Luther declares the Papal
mass to be a most momentous and abominable corruption; because it
militates directly and powerfully against the fundamental doctrine,
(justification by faith in Jesus Christ.") We then add several extracts
from the Augsburg Confession, showing that the confessors rejected the
_sacrificial_ and _vicarious_ nature of the mass, as well as other
objectionable features of it. Now here we find the same two positions
taken, which the preceding discussions of this chapter have established,
namely, that the Confession is less condemnatory than the later Smalcald
Articles; that it favors the mass more, and speaks of it in milder
language than was employed at a subsequent period. As no one of any note
at that day pretended to urge the adoption of the entire Augsburg
Confession, much less of all the symbolical books, there was no
necessity of dilating on the objectionable features of the Confession,
and we of course abstain from doing so. In this silence we would have
persevered to this day, had not a new generation of European symbolists
since then sought refuge on our shores, and carried on aggressive
operations, incessantly assailing the General Synod and her members, and
charging them with unfaithfulness to Confessions which they never
adopted, except as to fundamentals; thus compelling us to expose these
remnants of Romish error which they certainly do contain.

When, we turn to our _History of the American Lutheran Church_,
published in 1852, we find on pages 240, 241, the following statement:--
"The mass, that is, _the name and some of the ceremonies_ of the Romish
mass, were retained in the Augsburg Confession; although the errors in
doctrine, by which the Romish mass grew out of the Scripture doctrine
of the Lord's Supper, were rejected in that as well as subsequent
symbols." "Our churches," (says the Augsburg Confession, Art. XXIV.)
"are _unjustly_ charged with having rejected the mass, (messe.) For it
is publicly known that the mass is celebrated amongst us with greater
devotion and earnestness, than amongst our opponents." "Nor has there
been any perceptible change made in the public ceremonies of the mass,
except that at several places _German_ hymns are sung along with the
_Latin_ ones." "Our custom is on holy days (and at other times also, _if
there be communicants_) to _say mass_, (not to say a Lord's Supper,) and
those who desire it, receive the Lord's Supper." Subsequently, however,
great changes were made in the public ceremonies attendant on the Lord's
Supper, and Luther in his Smalcald Articles rejects the mass entirely,
both the name and accompanying ceremonies. And soon after the whole
Lutheran church followed him. Still, if the Augsburg Confession were
_strictly binding on us_, we should be under the necessity of adopting
on sacramental occasions all the public ceremonies then and now usual in
the Romish Church in celebrating public mass." Here again we see the
following points, which were clearly proved above: 1. That the Augsburg
Confession denies having rejected the mass. 2. That she does reject
those doctrinal errors which gave rise to the Romish mass. 3. That it
was their custom on public occasions (when persons were present who
desired to commune) to say a mass, and then administer the sacrament to
them. 4. That the Confession explicitly asserts that "_no perceptible
change_" had been made in the public ceremonies of the mass, except the
introduction of German hymns along with the Latin ones in several
places. Hence the inference would necessarily follow, that if they had
made no perceptible change in the public ceremonies of the mass, we
could make none, if the Confession was _strictly binding_ on us: and as
the ceremonies of the Romish mass are the same now as then, the
ceremonies which the Confession prescribes are the same as those now
observed in the church, and if we obeyed the Confession, we should have
to perform the same without any "_perceptible_" difference, except the
addition of German hymns along with the Latin, which were at that time
used in the Lutheran Church. These, Luther for sometime himself
defended, as it is certain he did the elevation of the host, (but not
for adoration,) till 1542, more than _twenty years_ after he commenced
the Reformation. Those who object to these statements confound the
teachings of the Confession with the _subsequent practice of Luther and
the churches_; yea, it has appeared to us, in the course of our recent
examinations on these subjects, that the Augsburg Confession was not
even up to the progress of reform attained by churches at that day, and
this may be one reason why Luther told Melancthon he had yielded too
much to the Papists in the Confession. In our Lutheran Manual, we have
simply presented the article of the Confession in full, in
juxtaposition with the Smalcald Article, treating of the same subject;
and have done so without note or comment, except the remark, that the
latter refutes the tolerant views of the mass expressed in the former.
We can, therefore, see no inconsistency between what we have published
on this subject at distant intervals, certainly much less than might
have occurred to the most careful and conscientious writer, on a
subject so closely connected with the fluctuations of language.
Doubtless, by taking detached portions of a paragraph apart from the
limitations connected with them, and falsely imputing sinister motives
to almost every sentence, it in possible to make the most correct author
contradict himself and misrepresent his subject; but with such men,
whether their misrepresentations arise from deliberate design or
inveterate general habit, we cannot consent to debate. The injury done
is rather to the cause of Christ and of truth than ourselves, and we can
well afford to commit the case for adjudication to that Omniscient
Being, "who judgeth righteously."

Note 1. See Luther's Works, Leipsic ed., Vol. xxi, pp. 447, 448.

Note 2. See Luther's letter to Prince George in his Works, Vol. xxi.,
p. 430.

Note 3. Vol. iii., p. 114.

Note 4. See Murdock, Edition of Moshiem's History, Vol. iii, page 53,
Harper's edition.

Note 5. Fuhrmann's Lexicon, Vol. iii., p. 3.

Note 6. Siegel's Manual, Vol. iii., p. 362.

Note 7. Ibid, p. 366.

Note 8. Ibid, p. 375.

Note 9. Luther's Works, Vol. xxii., p. 233-37.

Note 10. Ibid, p. 237.

Note 11. Ibid, p. 240.

Note 12. Ibid. p. 338.

Note 13. Luther's Works, Vol. xix., p. 666.

Note 14. Ibid., Vol. xx., p. 3.

Note 15. Luther's Works, Vol. xx., p. 195.

Note 16. Ibid., p. 257.

Note 17. Luther's Works, Vol. xxi., p. 63.

Note 18. The edition from which all our translations of Melancthon's
Letters are made is that of Niemeyer, published at Halle, in 1830,
entitled Philip Melancthon in Jahre der Augsburgischen Confession.

Note 19. Niemeyer's Melancthon, pp. 41-43.

Note 20. Ibid., p. 56.

Note 21. Niemeyer's Melancthon, p. 71.

Note 22. Niemeyer's Melancthon, p. 76.

Note 23. Niemeyer, p. 90, 91.

Note 24. Koethe's Melancthon's Works, Vol. I., p. 263.

Note 25. Ibid., p. 265.

Note 26. Ibid., p. 267.

Note 27. Luther's Works, Vol. XX., p. 199.

Note 28. Pfeiffer's Augapfel, second edit., p. 1045.

Note 29. Ibid. p. 1048.

Note 30. Pfeiffer's Aug. Appel., second edit., p. 1050.

Note 31. See the Lutheran Manual, p. 288, and Muller's Symb. Bucher,
p. 51.

Note 32. See Lutheran Manual, p. 289.

Note 33. Plea, &c., p. 15.

Note 34. Lutheran Manual, pp. 288, 289, and Muller's Symb. pp. 51, 52,

Note 35. Pfeiffer's Augapfel, 2d ed., p. 1045.

Note 36. Mueller's Symb. Books, pp. 248, 249.

Note 37. Koethe's Melancthon's Werke, Vol. i., p. 250.

Note 38. Luther's Works, Leipsic ed., Vol. xxii., p. 338.


This rite, in any sense of the term, that can be given to it in the
Augsburg Confession and other former symbols of the Lutheran church,
has long since been abandoned throughout our church in Europe,
excepting in that small portion of German churches, known as Old
Lutherans, and among those foreigners in the west of our country, who
constitute the Missouri Synod. It is historically unjust to apply the
term _private_ confession to that public confession of sins, made by
the congregation collectively, as part of our preparatory exercises
on sacramental occasions, and usually a misnomer to apply the name
private confession, to the habit of some of our German ministers,
(termed Anmeldung,) of having all communicants call on them for
conversation on their spiritual state, prior to sacramental communion.
Although these customs both grew out of private confession properly so
called, neither of them retains its essential elements.

Let us first inquire _what does the Augsburg Confession mean by the
phrase Private Confession_. Among the Romanists, _Auricular_
Confession is that rite, in which every individual of both sexes must,
at least once a year, appear before the priest at the confession box
in the church or chapel, and confess in detail all the sins that he
can recollect; after which, the priest assigns the penitent some acts
of penance, and on his promising to perform them, he then, as in the
stead of God, professes to forgive him his sins. The Reformers, however,
distinctly rejected the necessity of the penitents enumerating his
individual sins, and the propriety of the minister's prescribing any
penance to the penitent. They also distinctly made confession optional
with the penitent, and the absolution dependent on his faith; and this
purified rite they termed _Private_ Confession, although in some parts
of the church it was still called Auricular Confession (Ohrenbeicht).
[Note 1] The manner in which this rite was performed in the Lutheran
Church, is thus described by _Funk_ in his work entitled
"Kirchenordnungen of the first century of the Lutheran Church in
Germany," in which he presents the results of thirty of the _oldest_
Lutheran Formulas of Church Discipline and Worship. "Absolution was
received _privately_, by each one _individually, kneeling_ before the
_confessional_, the confessor _imposing his hands_ at the time. Private
confession was given only _in the church_, in which the confessional
was so located _near the pulpit_, that _no other person could be near,
or hear what was said_ by the penitent." [Note 2]


I. What does the Platform teach in regard to _this Private Confession?_
The Platform teaches, 1. That it was retained by the Augsburg
Confession and other symbolical books. 2. It is objected to by the
Platform, as unauthorized by the Word of God. 3. And thirdly, as being
inconsistent with the fundamental doctrine of the Reformation, that
_faith it the only condition_ of the justification or pardon of the

II. What does the Plea object to these positions?

1. That the impression might be made by the Platform, that the Lutheran
doctrine has some affinity to the Romish doctrine of Auricular
Confession. But the Platform expressly states the rejection of
_Auricular_ Confession by the Reformers, and their retention of what
they called private confession in its stead, the latter differing from
the former as above stated. The Plea next introduces a formula of
absolution, used in Wittenberg, in 1559, to show the harmlessness of the
rite. But here, unfortunately, if we are not entirely mistaken, our
friend has overlooked the fact, that it is a formula for _public_, and
_not private_ confession which he cites. This is certain from the
language throughout, being addressed "_to all such as are here
present_," &c. It is well known that _private_ confession was rejected
in the Lutheran Church in Denmark and Sweden in the beginning, as well
as by different portions of Germany at an early day, and a public or
general confession adopted in its stead. In Luther's Short Directory
for Confession, &c., [[Note 3] tr. note: there is no note number in the
original to go with the corresponding footnote, but this appears to be
where it should go] we have his formula for _private_ or individual
absolution, which will convey to the reader a more correct idea of its
form: After the directions for confession of sins; the

Confessor says: "_God be merciful to thee and strengthen thy faith.

"_Dost thou believe that my remission of thy sins is God's remission?_

Answer of the penitent: "_Yes, dear sir, I do_."

Then the confessor says: "_According to thy faith, so be it unto thee.
And I, by command of our Lord Jesus  Christ, forgive thee thy sins, in
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in

Another specimen of private absolution we find in the Kirchenordnung,
[Note 4] or Church Directory of Count _Wolfgang_, of the Palatinate,
on the Rhine, &c., published in Nuernberg, 1557.

"The Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be gracious
and merciful to thee, and will pardon all thy sins, for the sake of his
dear Son Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for them. And in the name
of this, our Lord Jesus Christ, by his command, and in virtue of his
declaration, 'Whose sins ye remit they am remitted,' &c., _I pronounce
thee free and clear of all thy sins_, that they shall all be forgiven
thee, as certainly and completely, as Jesus Christ by his sufferings and
death merited the same, and in his gospel has commanded it to be
preached to all the world. Receive, therefore, this consoling promise,
which I have now made to thee in the name of the Lord Christ, let thy
conscience be at rest, and do thou confidently believe, that thy sins
are assuredly forgiven thee, for Christ's sake, in the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen."

2. The Plea affirms, that private confession may be useful as a means
of bringing the, members of the church into personal interview with
their pastor. The advantage of such interviews we freely admit; but
they can be and are secured in our churches without this rite; and as
it is confessedly destitute of Scripture authority, we have no right to
invent a _new ordinance_ in Christ's church for any purpose.

3. The Plea maintains that explanation of "the power of the Keys,"
which authorizes a minister to pronounces absolution of sins, and
appeals to Matth. xviii. 18, "Whatsoever ye shall bind one arth," [sic]
&c. But the previous context "tell it to the _church_" &c., clearly
shows that it refers to church discipline, and signifies "whatever acts
of discipline ye enact in regard to such an individual, I will ratify in
heaven." But this has no bearing on private confession and absolution.
The other passage from John, xx. 23, "Whosoever's sins ye remit," &c.,
was uttered on a different occasion, after the Saviour's resurrection;
and either refers to a miraculous power bestowed on the apostles, to
discern the condition of the heart, and to announce pardon to those
whom they knew to be truly penitent and believing; or it confers on the
ministry, in all ages, the power to announce _in general_ the
conditions on which God will pardon sinners. But it contains no
authority to uninspired ministers to apply these promises to
individuals, the condition of whose hearts they cannot know, as is done
in private absolution.

III. We therefore feel constrained to maintain the positions of the
Platform on this subject also.

1. _That private confession and absolution were inculcated by the
Augsburg Confession_, is so evident, that it cannot be successfully
denied. Nor is this done only in the Abuses Corrected, as the Plea
seems to suppose, p. 20. In Art. XI. of the Confession, we read: "In
regard to confession, they teach, _that private absolution ought to be
retained in the church;_ but that an enumeration of all our
transgressions is not requisite to confession."

In the _Apology [Note 5] to the Confession_, Melancthon employs this
language: "Wherefore it would be _impious_ to take away private
absolution from the church." (Quare impium esset, &c.) _Luther_, in the
Smalcald Articles, Art. VIII., says, confession and absolution ought _by
no means_ be abolished in the church, &c., (Nequaquam in ecclesia
confessio et absolutio abolenda est, &c.;) and he is speaking of
_private_ confession.

The Romish alleged Refutation of the Augsburg Confession, on the above
cited Art. XI., thus expresses its approbation: "This article (Art.
XI.) that private and special absolution should remain, and be
preserved in the churches is _Catholic_. Yet two things must be required
of them, (of the Reformers,) that both men and women should attend
confession at least once a year, &c.; secondly, to confess all the sins
you _can_ recollect." [Note 6]

_Dr. Plank_, in his celebrated and elaborate History of the Origin and
Changes of the Protestant Doctrinal System, [Note 7] speaking of the
negotiations between the Reformers and Papists during the Diet of
Augsburg, says, "On the subject of the Confessional _there was an entire
agreement_, for they (the Reformers) had declared that they regarded
Confession as a very useful institution, and had no idea of suffering it
to fall, and also regarded it as good, that the people should be
accustomed to confess their sins," viz., at the confessional.

_Siegel_, in his Manual of Christian Ecclesiastical Antiquities,
[Note 8] after stating that Luther rejected _Auricular_ Confession, as a
sacrament, and a means of oppressing the conscience, adds: "But, on the
other hand, Luther was as unwilling as Melancthon, to have _private
confession_ abolished, and the latter had, in his Loci Theologici,
pronounced private absolution to be as necessary as baptism." In regard
to confession in the Lutheran Church of Germany, the fact is, that
private confession, which the Reformers so earnestly recommended, is
almost entirely abandoned and changed into a general (and public)
confession, which may with more propriety be termed preparatory services
to the Lord's Supper."

Finally, we will add the testimony of only one more witness, _Prof.
Jacobson_, in the excellent _Theological Encyclopedia of Dr. Herzog_,
now in progress of publication in Germany, who says, "Whilst the
compulsory part of the institution (private confession,) fell to the
ground, each one was left to judge whether and how much he would
confess. The institution itself _was retained_, and _private
confession_ especially recommended. The Augsburg Confession presupposes
it (private confession,) _as the rule:_" Our custom is not to give the
sacrament to those who have not first been confessed and absolved;" and
the Smalcald articles [sic] teach that Confession and
Absolution must by no means be allowed to be omitted in the church."
[Note 9]

After all this testimony, it may be regarded as incontestably
established, that the former symbolical books of our church do teach
_private confession_ and absolution, with some modifications, and
hence, that the church in Sweden and Denmark _always rejected this part
of the Augsburg Confession_, in practice, and that the entire church in
Germany and the United States, which now use a _public_ confession,
have made a similar departure from the teachings of the Augsburg
Confession as well as of Luther, Melancthon and the other Lutheran

2. That _this rite of private confession, is unauthorized by any
command of the Word of God, in so clear, that the Symbolical books
themselves admit it_, and commend the rite merely on the ground of
human expediency, and inferential scriptural reasoning. The same
acknowledgment is made by the Plea of the Rev. Mr. Mann. In Art. XXVI.
of Augsburg Confession, being Topic V. of the Abuses Corrected, the
confession says: "Confession is _not commanded in Scripture_, but has
been instituted _by the church_." [Note 10]

3. The rite of _private absolution_, on which the Reformers lay much
stress, is in like manner destitute of scriptural authority, and most
injurious to the interests of spiritual religion. The _omniscient_
Saviour could well say to the sick of the palsy, "Son, be of good cheer,
thy sins be forgiven thee," Matt. ix. 2; for he knew the heart of man.

For the same reason he could say to Mary Magdalene, "Thy sins are
forgiven." Luke vii. 48.

But, even the inspired apostles never in a single instance, either
undertook to forgive sins themselves, or to announce the pardon of sin
to any _individual personally_. It is therefore a solemn thing for
ministers, unguided by inspiration, to assume greater power. To
proclaim publicly and privately the willingness of God to pardon the
impenitent, is an important and delighful [sic] part of the minister's
duty; but for uninspired men to institute a special rite in the church,
for the express purpose of announcing _pardon to individuals_, even when
done conditionally, as the reformers maintained it always should be, is
inevitably calculated to lead, especially the less intelligent, to
believe their sins forgiven, at least in part, because the ministers
announce the fact, and because they have professed penitence to him.
But this is wholly unauthorised in God's Word. On the contrary:--

(_a_) The Scriptures throughout represent _God_, and _the Lamb of God_,
as the only beings that can "forgive" and "take away" sin. Exod. xxxiv.
6, 7. The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, "The Lord God,
merciful--_forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin_."

The blessed Saviour, in his memorable prayer, teaches us to address
our supplication, not to the minister, but to our _heavenly Father_,
"forgive us our sins," &c., Luke xi. 4. He says nothing, nor does any
writer of the Old or New Testament _say a word_ about advising a resort
to the priest or minister to obtain forgiveness of sins. The same truth
is taught in a multitude of other passages. We refer the reader to a
few: Eph. iv. 32; Acts viii. 22; 1 John i. 9; Matth. ix. 6; Mark xi. 25;
1 Kings viii. 30; 2 Chron. vii. 14; Psalm lxxxvi. 5; Jerem. xxxi. 34;
Dan. ix. 19.

(_b_) The very fact, that sin is committed essentially _against God_,
is a violation of _his_ law, implies that no other being, not even an
angel or archangel, much less a man, can forgive it, "Against thee,
thee only have I sinned," said the Psalmist, "and done this evil in
thy sight."

(_c_)  The offers of pardon in God's Word, are all _conditional_ and
_general_, and these alone has the minister the right to proclaim,
either to a congregation or to an individual. The implication of the
promise to individuals is made by the Holy Spirit, working faith in the
individual, or enabling him to trust in Christ. "Being justified by
faith, we have peace with God," and this peace is the believer's
evidence, is the Testimony of the Spirit, that our sins are forgiven.

(_d_) The actual pardon of individuals by God, depends on their
possessing the moral fitness required by him. It is based on their
having performed the prescribed moral conditions sincerely, of which
none but the Omniscient Jehovah can certainly judge; hence, even the
declarative annunciation of pardon to individuals, is not only
unauthorized but dangerous. Because, even if conditionally announced,
the formality of the absolution, and the fact that the church has made
a _special rite_ of it, are calculated to beget the idea, especially in
the unintelligent, that the granting of absolutions by the minister, is
proof of the genuineness of their faith, and reality of their pardon.

(_e_) Finally, the doctrine of ministerial absolution, or the supposed
sin-forgiving power of the ministry, is inconsistent with the doctrine,
that justification or pardon can be attained only by a living faith in
Jesus Christ, a doctrine of cardinal importance in the eyes of the
Reformers, and the one which Luther has styled the _articulus stantis
vel cadentis ecclesiae_, the doctrine with which the church must stand
or fall." The Scriptures and also the Reformers, teach that pardon or
justification can be obtained only through the merits of Christ, which
merits must be apprehended by a living faith, which living faith can be
found only in the regenerate or converted soul. Hence, as none but a
regenerate sinner can exercise living faith, no other can be pardoned,
whatever else he may do or possess. Now those who attend confession are
either regenerate, or they are not. If they were regenerated or
converted before they went to confession, they had faith, and were
pardoned before; if they were unregenerate or unconverted, then neither
their confession, nor the priest's absolution, can confer pardon on
them, because they have not a living faith, although they may be
sincere and exercise some sorrow for their sins. On the other hand, if
any amount of seriousness and penitence, short of true conversion or
regeneration, could, through the confessional, or any other rite,
confer pardon of sin; the line of distinction between converted and
unconverted, between mere formalists and true Christians would be
obliterated; we should have pardoned saints and pardoned sinners in the
church, converted and unconverted heirs of the promise, believing and
unbelieving subjects of justification, and the words of the Lord Jesus
would prove a lie, "That, _unless a man be born again, he cannot enter
the kingdom of heaven!_"-Def. Platform, p. 25.

On the subject of this rite, we regret to state, that a more careful
study of the subject, as presented in the above results, will not
permit us to speak as favorably of the practice of the Reformers, as we
did in some of our former publications, twenty years ago, and even
later. The positions above maintained, we think, cannot be successfully
controverted, as our investigations of the original sources has been
sufficiently extensive to dispel all doubt.

Note 1. See Koecher, p. 515.

Note 2. Funk's Kirchenordnungen, pp. 189, 190.

Note 3. Mueller's Symb. B., p. 364.

Note 4. Page 97.

Note 5. Mueller's Symb. B., p. 185.

Note 6. Pleiffer, p. 534. [sic]

Note 7. Vol. iii. pt. 1, p. 125.

Note 8. Vol. i., pp. 199, 206.

Note 9. Vol. iv., p. 781.

Note 10. Lutheran Manual, p. 293.


The incalculable importance of the proper observation of the Christian
Sabbath to the progress of the kingdom of Christ in general, and to
the growth of piety in the heart of every Christian in particular, is
a point on which, we are happy to state, there is no difference between
the Plea and the Platform. Yet we cannot resist the conviction, that in
our efforts to observe this day, not with the pharisaic formalities of
the Jew, but with the conscientious spirituality of the Christian, the
question whether in doing so, we are obeying an injunction of God,
exhibited in the inspired example of his apostles, or are merely
conforming to an uninspired regulation of the church, must be of great

The lax views of the early reformers on this subject are so frequently
met with in theological discussions, that we had not expected to find
the position of the Platform disputed; but rather that the theory of
the Reformers would be defended, as is done by writers of no mean name
in Germany at the present day. The author of the Plea, however, takes a
different view of the Confession, and affirms that this venerable
document does not deny the divine institution and obligation of the
Christian Sabbath. "Luther and Melancthon (says he,) had received from
the older church, the doctrine and practice of the Christian Sabbath,
as a holy day, as a divine institution and obligation, and they had not
a word to say against this view of the Sabbath. But they had a great
deal to say against the abuses, by which the bishops made the Sabbath a
day of sin and dishonor to God and his church, instead of making it a
day devoted to his glory," p. 28.

This opinion is different from that commonly entertained among the
learned. A few authorities alone may suffice to sustain our statement.
_Dr Ruecker_, in his work on _The Lord's Day_, in which he thoroughly
examines the views of the church on this subject, in all the different
ages of her history, fully confirms the position of the Definite
Platform. He says, "_The Reformers do not recognize in the religious
observance of Sunday an institution resting on an immediate divine
command;_ and the idea of a transfer of the Sabbatic law of the Old to
the New Testament Sunday, is altogether strange to them, and is
positively rejected by them, as in consistent with the gospel" (Die
Reformatorem erkennen in der Sonntagsfeier _keine unmittelbar
goettliche anordnung, &c._) Ruckert, von Tage des Herrn, p. 48.

And again, on p. 67, he affirms this more liberal view of the Lord's
Day, to be the more general one in Germany at the present time. "So
far," says he, "as we know, the most important, living, theological
writers, of the present day, entertain this so-called more liberal or
lax view, (namely, that of Luther.)"

_Dr. Hengstenberg_, the well-known editor of the Evangelical Church
Paper at Berlin, Prussia, and author of numerous learned and valuable
works, uses the following language: "What Luther's views were, on the
law concerning the Sabbath, may easily be inferred from his views of
the Old Testament law in general, and of the Decalogue in particular.
The distinction which became current after his day, between the moral
and ceremonial law, according to which Christ abrogated only the
latter, whilst the former is regarded as universal and binding on all
ages, was distant from his views. He regards the whole law as an
external, coercive letter, designed only for the Jews." "How _Luther_
regarded the Sabbath from this general view, is so clearly exhibited in
his Larger Catechism, that the introduction of other passages from his
writings, is entirely superfluous." He then quotes the passages which
will be given in full in our next section, in which Luther declares the
Sabbath to be designed only for the Jews, and that in its outward sense
it does not concern Christians. (Darum, says Luther, gehet nun dies
gebot nach dem groben Verstande uns Christen nichts an, &c.) Melancthon
(continues Hengstenberg,) agreed with Luther, and this view was
introduced into the Augsburg Confession." See Hengstenberg, ueber den
Tag des Herrn, Berlin, 1852, pp. 108, 109, 110.

But the accuracy of the Platform will no longer be disputed, when even
_Dr. Walter_, [sic; should be Walther] the leader of the old Lutheran
Synod of Missouri, and editor of their periodical, a man of acknowledged
theological learning and rigid advocate for the entire Augsburg
Confession, bears testimony in favor of our position. In the March No.
of the Lehre und Wehre, p. 93, he thus expresses his views: "We cannot
agree with him (the author, whom he is reviewing) in the views he
expresses concerning the Sabbath. He asserts that the Sabbath or
Christian Sunday _is a divine institution_, and that this is the
doctrine of the Lutheran Symbols: That the Lutheran Church differs from
the Calvinistic only in the mode of observing the Sabbath, the former
advocating an evangelical, the latter, a legal method. _The contrary of
this is clearly evident from Article XXVIII. of the Augsburg
Confession_, and it would be _almost incomprehensible how the author
could fail to perceive this_, were it not for his manifest desire to
make the sanctification of the Sabbath as binding a duty as any other
precept in the decalogue, and his apprehension that this could not be
accomplished any other way, than by maintaining the divine appointment
of the Sunday.

Once more, let us listen to the the [sic] testimony of that
learned and impartial historian of our own country, _Dr. Murdock_,
himself, though a native American, a highly respectable German scholar:
"The XXVIII. Article of Augsburg Confession," says he, "teaches that as
to Sundays and other holy days, and rites and forms of worship, bishops
may and should appoint such as are convenient and suitable; and the
people should observe them, NOT AS DIVINE ORDINANCES, but as conducive
to good order and edification."  Murdock's Mosheim, Vol. iii., p. 53,
Harper's edition.

I. _What is the charge of the Definite Platform against the Augsburg
Confession on this subject?_ It is, that

The Augsburg Confession "treats the Sabbath as a mere Jewish
institution, and supposes it to be totally revoked whilst the propriety
of our retaining the Lord's Day or Christian Sabbath as a day of
religious worship, is supposed to rest only on the agreement of the
churches for the convenience of general convocation.

II. What ground does the Plea take?

It denies the position, and affirms the contrary, as above stated, while
it supposes the Confession to object not to the divine institution and
obligation of the Lord's Day, but to the corruptions which the Romish
church had connected with it, and especially the idea that the
observance of the Lord's Day was a meritorious work, which would secure
our justification before God.

The observations of the Plea against the self-righteous abuse of the
Sabbath are just and Christian, but do not affect the position of the
Platform. The author also intersperses other useful practical remarks,
which we have not have room to quote. The simple point of difference,
of any moment, is that relating to the question whether our obligation
to observe the Christian Sabbath rests on its appointment by God or by
the church. Indeed, it can scarcely be said that this question remains,
for the author of the Plea, at the close of his discussion, virtually
acknowledges the point affirmed by the Platform, when he says: "The
Augsburg Confession, notwithstanding her definite assertion that the
Christian Sabbath rests on _no special dictate of the Word of God_,
maintains that by necessity, and by right, the _church_ instituted our
Christian Sabbath, and we ought to keep it." P. 34. To this we shall
confine our proof.

III. _We shall prove that the Augsburg Confession does deny the divine
appointment of the Christian Sabbath or Lord's Day_.

In establishing this position, we shall first prove from the other
writings of Luther and Melancthon, that they both rejected the divine
appointment of the Christian Sabbath or Lord's day; secondly, show from
the Augsburg Confession itself, as well as the Apology to it, both
written by Melancthon, that its divine appointment is there denied.

Let us listen to the _declarations of Luther_ on this subject. In his
Commentary on the Pentateuch, speaking of the decalogue, he says:
"Saint Paul and the entire New Testament have abolished the Sabbath of
the Jews, in order that men may understand that the Sabbath concerns
the Jews alone. It is therefore unnecesssary [sic] that the Gentiles
should observe the Sabbath, although it was a great and rigid command
among the Jews." [Note 1] "Among Christians, under the New Testament,
every day is a holy day, and _all days are free_. Therefore, says
Christ, the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day. Matt. xii. 8.
Therefore Paul, at different places, admonishes the Christians, not to
suffer themselves to be bound to any particular day. Ye observe days and
months, and times and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed
upon you labor in vain. Gal. iv. 10, 11. And still more clearly in
Colossians ii. 16, 17. Let no mint therefore judge you in meat or in
drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of Sabbath
days: which are a shadow of things to come." "But although the Sabbath
is _now revoked_, and the consciences of men are free from it, it is
nevertheless good and necessary that _some_ particular day of the week
be observed, in order that the word of God may be dispensed on it, may
be heard and learned; for not every one can attend to it every day.
Moreover, nature demands that both man and beast rest one day in the
week, and abstain from labor. Hence, if any one desires to make a
necessary command out of the Sabbath, as a work required of God, he must
observe Saturday and not Sunday, for Saturday was enjoined upon the
Jews, and not Sunday. But Christians have hitherto observed Sunday, and
not Saturday, because on that day Christ, arose. Now this is a certain
evidence to us that the Sabbath, yea the entire Moses (Mosaic
dispensation) no longer concerns us, else we would be under obligation
to observe Saturday. This is a great and strong proof that the Sabbath
is revoked; for throughout the whole New Testament we find no place in
which the observance of the Sabbath in enjoined upon Christians."

"But why (continues Luther,) is Sunday observed among Christians?
Although, _all days are free and one day is like another_, it is still
necessary and good, yea, very necessary, that some one day be observed,
_whether it be Sabbath, Sunday or any other day_. For God designs to
lead the world decently, and govern it peaceably; therefore he gave six
days for work, but on the seventh day, servants, hirelings, and
laborers of every kind, yea, even horses and oxen and other laboring
animals shall have rest, as this precept requires, in order that they
may be refreshed by rest. And especially in order that those, who at
other times have no leisure, may hear the preached word and thereby
learn to know God. And for this reason, namely, of love and necessity,
Sunday has been retained, not on account of the Mosaic precept, but for
the sake of our necessities in order that we might rest and learn the
word of God." [Note 2]

In his larger Catechism, Luther thus expresses himself. [Note 3]

"_This commandment, therefore, with respect to its outward and literal
sense, does not concern us Christians; for it is wholly an external
thing, like other ordinances of the Old Testament, confined to certain
conditions, and places, which are all now left free through Christ_.
But in order that we may draw up for the uninformed, a Christian
meaning of what God requires of us in this commandment, is is necessary
to observe, that _we keep the Sabbath-day, not for the sake of
intelligent and learned (gelehrten) Christians; for these have no need
of it:_ but in the first place, on account, of physical reasons and
necessities, which nature teaches and requires for the _common mass_ of
people, _men-servants_ and _maid-servants_, who attend during the whole
week to _their labor and employments_, so that they may also have a day
set apart for _rest and refreshment (erquicken:_) in the second, mostly
for the purpose of enabling us to take time and opportunity on these
Sabbath-days, (since we cannot otherwise attain them,) to attend _to
divine service_, so that we may assemble ourselves to hear and treat of
the Word of God, and then to praise him, to sing and pray to him.

"But this, I say, is not so confined to time, _as ii was among the Jews,
that it must be precisely on this or that day; for one day is not
better in itself than another, but it should be daily attended to;_ but
since the mass of the people cannot attend to it, we should _reserve
one day in the week, at least, for this purpose_. Inasmuch, however, as
Sunday has been _set apart from of old_ for this purpose, we should
therefore let it remain so, that the Sabbath may be observed with
_uniformity_, and that no one create disorder through unnecessary

The above testimony of Luther is so distinct and decided, that he
certainly would not have approved of the Augsburg Confession if
Melancthon had introduced a different doctrine into it. But there was
no difference of opinion on this point, between these two luminaries of
the church.

2. _Melancthon_, in a letter addressed to Luther from Augsburg, dated
July 27, 1530, thus speaks of the Christian Sabbath: "When St. Peter
appoints the religious observance of Sunday, I regard this work (the
observance of the day) _not as divine worship_, (Gottesdienst, cultus,)
but as being attended by bodily advantage, (leiblichen Nutzen,) if the
people assemble together on a fixed day." [Note 4]

Again, in his _System of Divinity_, or _Loci Theologici_," [Note 5] we
find the following unequivocal declaration: "We have, heard above that
the Levitical _ceremonies_ are abolished. But the law concerning the
Sabbath is a Levitical ceremony, and _St. Paul_ expressly says,
Col. ii., Let no one judge you, if you do not observe the Sabbaths,"
(Niemend [sic] soll euch richten, so ihr die Sabbathe nicht haltet;) why
then (it may be asked) do you insist so rigidly on this precept? Answer.
This precept in the words of Moses embraces two things, one _common_,
that is necessary to the church at all times, and a _particular day_,
which concerned only the government of Israel. The _common_ part (of
this precept) is the proper public office (or duty) to preach and to
observe the divine ceremonies, which God has at any time enjoyed. This
_common_ precept binds all men; for this honor all rational creatures
owe to God, to aid in sustaining the office of preacher, and Christian
assemblies, (public worship,) according to the condition and calling of
each one, as shall be farther stated hereafter. _But the particular
part, concerning the seventh day_, DOES NOT BIND US: therefore we hold
meetings on the _first day and on any other days_ of the week, _as
occasion offers_."

Such then being the views of the illustrious reformers, one of whom
penned the Augsburg Confession, and the other sanctioned it, we might
naturally expect to find them expressed in the Confession itself, which
a bare recital of a few passages, will prove to be the case.

And, I. From the _Augsburg Confession_, Art. XXVIII.

"And what are we to believe concerning _Sunday_  (the Lord's day,) and
other similar ordinances and ceremonies of the church? To this inquiry
we reply, the bishops and clergy may make regulations, that order may be
observed in the church, not with the view of thereby obtaining the grace
of God, nor in order thus to make satisfaction for sins, nor to bind the
consciences, to hold and regard this as a _necessary_ worship of God, or
to believe that they would _commit sin_ if they _violated_ these
regulations without offence to others. Thus St. Paul to the Corinthians
(1 Cor. xi. 5,) has ordained that _women shall have their heads_ covered
in the congregation; also, that ministers should not all speak at the
same time in the  congregation, but in an orderly manner, one after

"It is becoming in a Christian congregation to observe such order, for
the sake of love and peace, and to obey the bishops and clergy in these
cases, and to observe these regulations so far as not to give offence
to one another, so that there may be no disorder or unbecoming conduct
in the church. Nevertheless, the consciences of men must not be
oppressed, by representing these things as _necessary to salvation_, or
_teaching that they are guilty of sin, if they break these regulations
without offence to others;_ for no one affirms that a woman commits sin
who goes out with her head uncovered, without giving offence to the
Whitsunday, and similar festivals and customs. For _those who suppose
that the ordinance concerning Sunday_ instead of Sabbath, _is enacted
as necessary, are greatly mistaken_. For the Holy Scripture has
abolished the Sabbath, and teaches that all the ceremonies of the old
law may be omitted, since the publication of the gospel. And yet, as it
was necessary to appoint a certain day, in order that the people might
know when they should assemble, the _Christian church_, (not the
apostles,) has up appointed Sunday (the Lord's day) for this purpose;
and to this change she was the more inclined and willing, that the
people might have an example of Christian _liberty_, and might know
that _the observance of neither the Sabbath nor any other day is
necessary_.  There have been numerous erroneous disputations published,
concerning the change of the law, the ceremonies of the New Testament,
and the change of the Sabbath, which have all sprung from the false and
erroneous opinion, that Christians must have such a mode of divine
worship as is conformed to the Levitical or Jewish service, and that
Christ enjoined it on the apostles and bishops, to invent new
ceremonies, which should be necessary to salvation." [Note 6]

Here we are distinctly taught, (_a_) that the Jewish Sabbath is
entirely abolished; (_b_) that no particular day was divinely appointed
in its stead; (_c_) that those who suppose the ordinance concerning
Sunday instead of Sabbath is enacted as necessary, "are greatly
mistaken." (_d_) But that, as it was necessary to appoint a certain day
for the, convocation of the people, "the _Christian church_ (not the
apostles,) appointed Sunday."

II. Of similar import are the teachings of the _Apology to the
Confession_, which also flowed from the pen of Melancthon.

_Apology to the Confession, Art. IV._

"But we maintain, that the harmony of the church is no more broken by
variations in such _human ordinances_, than it is by variations in the
natural length of the day in different places. Yet we like to see the
_general ceremonies_ uniformly kept, for the sake of harmony and order,
as in our churches, for instance, we retain (behalten) the _mass_, the
_Lord's Day_, and _other great festivals_.

"And we approve, all _human ordinances_ which are good and useful,
especially those which promote good external discipline among youth and
the people generally. But the inquiry is not, shall human ordinances be
observed on account of external discipline and tranquillity? [sic] The
question is altogether different; it is, is the observance of such
human ordinances a divine service by which God is reconciled; and that
without such ordinances, no one can be righteous before God? This is
the chief inquiry, and when this shall have been finally answered, it
will be easy to judge whether the unity of the church requires
uniformity in such ordinances." [Note 7]

Here again the Lord's day (_a_) is classed in the category of _human_
ordinances, the observance of which is free, and may differ in
different places.

(_b_) Yet uniformity in general ceremonies is pleasing, such as "the
mass, the Lord's day, and other great festivals."

(_c_) It is classed again with _human_ ordinances which promote good
external discipline among the people.

And now having proved that the lax views of the Christian Sabbath,
charged by the Platform on the Augsburg Confession, are attributed to
it by the learned in Germany generally, that Luther and Melancthon
teach them in their other writings: in view of all these evidences, we
ask every impartial, conscientious reader, whether it is possible to
doubt the accuracy of the positions maintained by the Platform on this
subject--namely, that the Augsburg Confession treats the Sabbath, or
religious observance of the _seventh_ day of the week, as a mere
Jewish institution, an institution appointed of God for the Jews alone;
whilst the propriety of retaining the _Lord's day_ or Christian Sabbath,
as a day of religious observation and worship, in their judgment, rests
on the appointment of the church, and the necessity of having some one
day for the convenience of the people in assembling for public worship.
The act of keeping any one day _entirely_ for religious observance,
they regard as ceremonial and temporary, and the moral or common part
of the precept, as stated in our extract from Melancthon, they resolve
into the general duty of preaching and hearing the gospel, and of
sustaining public assemblies for this purpose; that is, of bearing the
expenses incident to the support of the ministry and the ordinances of
God's house.

"Our American churches, on the contrary, as well as some few in
Germany, believe in the divine institution and obligation of the
Christian Sabbath, or Lord's day, convinced that the Old Testament
Sabbath was not a mere Jewish institution; but that it was appointed by
God at the close of the creative week, when he rested on the seventh
day, and blessed it, and sanctified it, (Gen. ii. 2, 3,) that is, set
it (namely, one whole day in seven,) apart for holy purposes, for
reasons of universal and perpetual nature, Exod. xx. 11. Even in the
re-enactment of it in the Mosaic rode, its original appointment is
acknowledged, '_Remember_ the Sabbath day--because in six days God made
heaven and earth--and rested on the _seventh; wherefore_ he, (_then_, in
the beginning,) _blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it_.' Now this
reason has no more reference to the Jews than to any other nation, and
if it was sufficient to make the observance of the Sabbath obligatory
on them, it must be equally so for all other nations before and after

'Since therefore the observance and sanctification of a portion of his
time, is based on universal reasons in the nature of man, especially as
a religious being, and the proportion of time was fixed at a _seventh_,
by the example and precepts of the Creator in the beginning; the
Sabbath or religious observance of one day in seven, must be
universally obligatory, and the abrogation of the Mosaic ritual, can at
most only repeal those ceremonial additions which that ritual made, and
must leave the original Sabbath as it found it. Now whilst the apostles,
and first Christians under the inspired guidance, for a season also
attended worship on the Jewish Sabbath, they observed the day of the
Lord's resurrection, the first day of the week, as their day of special
religious convocations; and this _inspired example_ is obligatory on
Christians in all ages. Still the essence of the institution consists,
not in the particular day of the week, though that is now fixed, but in
the religious observance of one entire day in seven." [Note 8]

We do not, indeed, maintain that the conduct of the apostles was
inspired on all occasions; but it seems just and necessary to maintain,
that when engaged in the specific and appropriate duties of that
office, for which they were inspired, they were as much under the
guidance of the Spirit in their _actions_, as their words.

On the divine institution and obligation of the Christian Sabbath, we
refer the reader to an extended argument in its favor, in the author's
Lutheran Manual, pp. 310-24.

Note 1. Luther's Works, Leipsic edit., Vol. iii., pp. 642, 643.

Note 2. Luther's Works, Vol. iii., p. 643.

Note 3. Symbolical Books, pp. 449, 450, corrected by the original.

Note 4. Niemeyer's Briefe Melanchthons, [sic] p. 50.

Note 5. Vol. iv., p. 113, of Koethe's edit.

Note 6. See Schmucker's Lutheran Manual, pp. 306, 307.

Note 7. See Symb. B. Newmarket, ed. 2d., corrected by the German,
p. 223.

Note 8. See Definite Synodical Platform, p. 27.


On this subject the author of the Plea does not pursue the order of the
Platform, in which baptism and the eucharist are discussed separately;
but he unites the two under the caption of Baptismal Regeneration and
the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and enters into some discussions of
the sacraments in general, and then introduces remarks on each in
particular. Whilst we deem a separate discussion of each sacrament
necessary to its proper elucidation, there are certain general views
common to them both, which may with propriety be considered in
connexion. We, therefore, devote some pages to this purpose, under the
head of the _General Nature of the Sacraments_, and reserve the
discussion of each one individually to subsequent chapters. It would
require an extended volume to discuss all the several aspects of this
interesting and solemn subject glanced at by our author. He does not,
however, present in definite lineaments the precise system, which he
attributes to the Lutheran Symbols; and lest we should do him injustice
in endeavoring to present his system in detail, in order to controvert
it, we deem it more Christian and courteous to specify only a few items
of his chapter, and occupy our space chiefly in presenting and
defending what we regard as the doctrine taught in the Word of God on
this subject. This doctrine is also the theory that underlies the
positions of the Definite Platform, and, we suppose, is assented to by
its friends.

The Plea affirms, "The Lutheran doctrine maintains that the Sacraments
have an _intrinsic value; but the Definite Platform seems to regard
them as mere _signs_, which may have a tendency to _promote piety_,
p. 35. On this point we think our author has not clearly presented the
point of difference between the friends of the Platform and the Plea.
We not only admit, but strenuously affirm, that the sacraments have an
important _intrinsic_ influence. The Platform thus describes it:
"Baptism in adults is a means of making a profession of previous faith,
or of being received into the visible church, as well as a _pledge_ and
_condition_ of obtaining _those blessings purchased by Christ_, and
offered to all who repent, believe in him and profess his name by
baptism," p. 30. As to the question, whether this influence is intrinsic
or not, it is not touched in the Platform; although we doubt not its
adherents very generally hold the affirmative. But the real point of
dispute is the _precise nature_ of the influence exerted by the
sacraments. The symbols _seem_ to regard _forgiveness of sins_, that is,
justification, as the _immediate_ effect of every worthy reception of
these ordinances; whilst the friends of the Platform hold this influence
to consist in their tendency to produce that _living faith_, resulting
from regeneration, which is the _only condition of pardon_, and without
the possession of which God has not promised to forgive the sins of any
one, no matter what outward duties he may perform. For God will not
forgive the sins of an unconverted sinner. The symbols do, indeed, often
insist on the necessity of faith, yet they speak as though in those who
do believe, it was the sacrament, and not their faith in the Redeemer,
which secured the blessing. Nor do they in many passages sufficiently
discriminate, that it is not a mere historical or intellectual, but a
living faith, a faith of the heart also, a faith that works by love and
purifies the heart and overcomes the world, a faith that involves an
entire surrender to the soul of God, which is required to the full
efficacy of the sacraments.

The Plea affirms that the primitive church regarded the sacraments as
"_mysteries_;" p. 37. But the author presents no evidence of this fact
from God's word, or the _apostolic_ church; and the church of subsequent
ages is no conclusive doctrinal authority for us as Protestants.

The Plea states: "He (God) is able to accomplish by the Holy Baptism,
performed in the mysterious name of the ever adored Trinity, a work of
regeneration in the heart of the little child." "The expression used in
the Augsburg Confession, Art. II., is, regenerated by baptism and the
Holy Ghost, (John iii. 5.) This doctrine, however, is not to be
understood as if the new creation was fully completed by new generation.
It is complete so far as a _live seed_ is complete in itself. This does,
by no means, exclude subsequent development brought about by favorable
internal and external influences;" p. 36. "And Christ, the Godman, is
able to make us poor earthly creatures partakers of his celestial
nature_, (2 Pet. i. 4,) in the most solemn rite of his church, (the
eucharist,) which is therefore communion between Christ and man, in the
fullest manner possible on earth;" p. 37. Here the respected author, by
adopting the theory that _a living seed_ is implanted _by baptism_,
(whether into the soul or body he does not specify,) and then that the
Godman Christ Jesus makes these baptized individuals _partakers of his
CELESTIAL NATURE by the sacramental supper_, seems to favor something
like that theory of concorporation, or a physical union between Christ
and the believer, which is known in _various_ phases as Puseyism in
England, and Nevinism in the German Reformed Church of this country,
and which has spread a withering influence over the interests of
practical piety wherever embraced. Yet we would by no means affirm that
the Rev. Mr. Mann has embraced all the cardinal features of this system.
The objection that is fatal to it in our mind is, that we cannot find it
in God's word. [Note 1]

We shall therefore proceed to ascertain the Scripture doctrine in regard
to the influence of the sacraments in general. For the sake of brevity
and perspicuity, we shall present it in a concatenation of propositions,
that in the end will cover the whole ground, and conduct us safely to
the surest biblical results.

_Scripture view of the Influence of the Sacraments_.

I. The plan of salvation, revealed in God's word, presupposes that, man
is a _fallen creature, depraved in nature and practice_,--that all men
are rebels against the righteous government of God, lying under his
righteous displeasure, and morally disqualified for heaven. And also,
that without holiness no man shall see the Lord! [Note 2] "That which
is born of the flesh, is flesh," is sinful, and except a man be _born
again_, he cannot see the kingdom of God." [Note 3] Consequently,
without a new-birth, an entire moral renovation, in which the rebel
lays down the arms of his rebellion, and the slave of sin is delivered
from the dominion of his depraved habits, and becomes an obedient
servant of Christ, loving holiness and delighting in the service of
God, it is impossible for him to obtain pardon or to be justifled.

II. The _grand means_ by which the Holy Spirit effects this moral
reformation, is _divine truth_, either oral, written or symbolic. "Go
ye into all the world, says the Saviour, and _preach the gospel_ to
every creature; he that _believeth_ and is baptised, shall be saved,
and he that _believeth_ not shall be damned." Here preaching the
"gospel," the truths of God's word, is placed _foremost_ in the list of
instrumentalities, and baptism is only appended as a rite to be
performed _after_ the Holy Spirit, through the preached word, has
wrought faith in the hearer's soul. But faith  presupposes regeneration.
Hence, as truth is the instrumentality employed by the Holy Spirit in
the production of _regeneration_, and _faith_, as baptism is to be
added _after_ the great moral change, conversion has been effected in
adults, it follows that the truth or word is the grand and principal
means of grace, and not secondary to baptism.

In other passages the _mission of the apostles_ is characterized as a
mission to _preach_, and baptism is not even named at all. Jesus
ordained the twelve, we are told, that they might be with him, and that
he might send them forth to _preach_, &c.; Mark iii. 14, 15. And Paul
even thanks God, in his epistle to the Corinthians, [Note 4] that he
had baptized none of them save Crispus and Caius, and adds: "For Christ
sent me, _not to baptise_, but to _preach_ the gospel." Paul, therefore,
certainly regarded preaching as far more important than baptism. Of the
apostles, Luke informs us, they _daily_ in the temple and in every
house, ceased not _to teach and preach_ Jesus Christ; Acts v. 41, 42.
And in order to gain more time for their great work, they appointed
deacons to attend at tables, that they might give themselves
"continually to prayer and the _ministry of the Word_," but they say
nothing of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Paul expressly tells the
Romans (x. 13-15,) that faith comes by _hearing_ (not by baptism); and
to the Corinthians he says, "For in Christ, Jesus I have begotten you,
through the _gospel_. 1 Cor. iv. 15. We are regenerated by the
incorruptible "_seed of the word_." [Note 5] We are sanctified by "_the
truth_." In short, our call, [Note 6] our convictions, [Note 7]
regeneration, our faith, our sanctification, [Note 8] our preservation
[Note 9] and salvation, [Note 10] are all produced by the _word_ or
_truth_, and it must be the grand means of grace. [Note 11]

This truth, contained in God's Word, is therefore fully adequate to the
production of all the progressive changes, by which we pass from the
condition of the careless sinner to that of the advanced and sanctified

III. The _stage of progress_ in this moral renovation which in
_requisite_ before the returning sinner is _morally_ qualified for
pardon or justification, is that implied by a _living faith_. This
justifying faith may be defined to be, "that voluntary act of the
illuminated and evangelically penitent sinner, by which he confides in
the mercy of God through Christ for salvation, on the terms offered in
the gospel." [Note 12] A more historical faith implies no such
preparation, nor the more intellectual belief of the reality and truth
of the statements of God's Word, whilst the heart is estranged from him;
for with such a faith the devils believe and tremble but remain devils
still. Nor does the state of the convicted, or penitent, or seeking, but
yet unconverted sinners furnish such moral preparation to receive
pardon. Evidently nothing short of living faith will satisfy the
representations of God's Word and the nature of the case. Whenever the
returning sinner exercises the first act of this living faith, he is
justified, that is, then God performs that judicial or forensic act, by
which a believing sinner, in consideration of the merits of Christ, is
released from the penalty of the divine law, and is declared to be
entitled to heaven. [Note 13] In this state of justification the
believer continues through life, unless he by voluntary transgression
falls from a state, of grace and becomes a backslider.

IV. _The evidence of this pardon or justification, to the believer
himself, is within his own heart:_--

(_a_) It is that peace of God, or sense of pardoned sin, wrought in the
soul by the Holy Spirit. "Being justified by faith, we have _peace with
God_, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. v. 1.

(_b_) "_The love of God shed abroad in our hearts_ by the Holy Ghost
which is given unto us. [Note 14]

(_c_) It is the testimony of "the Spirit bearing witness with our
spirits that we are children of God." [Note 15] "He that believeth hath
the witness in himself." [Note 16]

(_d_) It is the _fruit of the Spirit_, exhibited in the believer's life,
"which is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance." [Note 17]

(_c_) It is "being led by the Spirit of God," for then, says the
apostle," [sic on punctuation] they are the sons of God.
[Note 18]

All these evidences presuppose or involve that great change of heart
and life, termed by the Saviour new birth, by which the sinner becomes
morally qualified for that pardon, purchased by the blood of Christ,
and appropriate to the believer by his faith. But no outward rites
_necessarily_ imply such moral preparation, and hence they could not be
the conditions of justification, according to the analogy of God's

V. Hence the sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, are not the
_immediate_ conditions or means of pardon or justification; _but they
are means of grace, like the Word of God, and seals of grace to all
worthy recipients_. They have _an intrinsic efficacy_ by virtue of the
truths symbolically represented by them, and an _additional specific
efficacy_ in virtue of their peculiar nature, in connexion with the
influence of the Holy Spirit, to awaken, convert and sanctify the soul.
The distinguished Lutheran divine, _Dr. Baumgarten_, speaking of adult
receivers of these ordinances, thus expresses his view: "The sacraments
stand in the same relation to these influences, (namely, those of
covenant grace,) as does the _Word of God_. Hence they are also called
the visible word of God, _verbum visible;_ because the _offer_ of their
reformatory, changing and restoring influence is universal, and reaches
every recipient of these ordinances; but its actual communication and
full effect take place only in those, who permit themselves to be made
susceptible of it." [Note 19] In regard to children, however, he with
equal propriety adds, that the blessings which baptism confers on them,
are bestowed irrespectively of any action of their own.

These sacraments, however, do not necessarily prove the existence of any
particular progress in the work of conversion, or any definite state of
mind, except, a general disposition to seek the Lord, which is implied
in the willingness to attend on these ordinances. They cannot therefore
be the condition of pardon or justification.

These influences, like those of the truth, may be resisted, and depend
for their success on the disposition of the recipient; they do not act
_ex opere operato_. The _special_ influence of the sacraments, so far as
known, is the same in kind_ as that of the truth.

_That the sacraments are not_ IMMMEDIATE _conditions of pardon or
justification_, is evident, from a multitude of considerations.

1. If the sincere reception of the sacraments actually secures pardon
or justification _per se, immediately_, without the intervening
instrumentality of a living faith, then faith is not the only condition
of justification as the scriptures teach, but we are justified either
by faith, or by the sacraments, and then there will be _three conditions
of justification_, faith, baptism, and the Lord's Supper! For thousands
receive the eucharist sincerely, who are unregenerate, and have not a
living faith.

2. Because no sinner is morally qualified for pardon, until he has been
regenerated, and has consecrated himself to the service of God; but
multitudes receive the sacrament who are unregenerate, and who
therefore cannot be justified or pardoned, even by the sincere
reception of the sacraments. Hence as the reception of the sacraments
is no certain proof of pardon, it cannot be the immediate condition of

3. The sacraments are not immediate conditions of justification or
pardon, because _previous faith_ is required in the recipients of each
of them. "He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved," [Note 20]
says the great Redeemer; "but he that believeth not shall be damned."
But if some may be baptised who are destitute of faith, then the
existence of faith is not necessarily involved in baptism. And as
baptism without faith does not rescue the soul from damnation, it
evidently cannot be the _immediate_ or certain condition of pardon; for
if the immediate condition of a blessing is performed, that blessing
must be conferred. And since previous faith is required in baptism, and
none but the baptised are admitted to the Lord's Supper, it is evident
that faith is also required of communicants.

4. That they are not _immediate_ conditions of pardon, is evident,
because the same truths which the sacraments inculcate, do not when
taught orally or in God's word, invariably or necessarily secure the
pardon or justification of all attentive hearers. The result of the
proper use of the truth preached or read, is invariably the spiritual
advancement of the sinner, whatever the stage of his progress may be.
And such appears to be the operation of the sacraments. As it is absurd
to affirm that each sermon preached, will convert or affect the pardon
of every sinner who attentively hears it; so it were equally gratuitous
to affirm the same of the sacraments. If the sinner had been on the
verge of regeneration and faith _before_ he heard the sermon in
question, and the hearing of that discourse completed the change, the
result might be affirmed of the last sermon which preceded his faith,
but not of its predecessors; and so also of the sacraments as means of
grace. Every sermon attentively heard will benefit all who thus hear it.
But whether it will produce conviction, or penitence, or faith, or a
sense of pardoned sin, depends on the recipient's previous stage of
progress in the divine life.

5. If the sacraments were possessed of a sin-forgiving power, in such a
sense, as to be the _immediate_ conditions of pardon or justification,
then the sinner would be dependent for pardon on the sacraments, and on
the clergyman who administers them, and not immediately on the Spirit
of God. But this would virtually be one of the most dangerous features
of Puseyism and Romanism, by which the minister is thrust in between
the penitent, sinner and his God, and the priest is elevated to the
position of the dispenser of pardon, holding in his hand the keys of the
kingdom of heaven. Now it is indeed flattering to the frail heart of the
minister (for we are all mere men) to find himself elevated to such an
exalted post, to stand (as the Papists say of their priest) in the place
of God, and have his whole congregation _look to him_ for the pardon of
sin, in private confession and the sacraments; and this may possibly be
one of the reasons why this Puseyite, semi-Romish system is more popular
with the clergy than with the laity. But Protestant ministers should
never forget, that the Saviour himself asserted it as his peculiar
characteristic, "that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive
sin." Mark ii. 7.

6.  That the sacraments are not the necessary or certain conditions of
pardon, is evident, also, from the fact, that some, as the thief upon
the cross, were saved without them after their institution, whilst
others who had partaken of them were lost, of which Judas and Simon
Magus are examples.

7. That the sacraments are not immediate conditions of pardon is
finally evident from the declaration of the apostle Peter, "The like
figure whereunto baptism doth now save us; _not the putting away of the
filth of the flesh_, that is, _not the mere outward rite_ of applying
the water, but the answer of a good conscience toward God." [Note 21]
that is, the faithful performance of the duties to which our Christian
profession, made in baptism, obligated us, by keeping a conscience void
of offence before God and man.

From all this, it is very clear, that whilst the sacraments are divinely
appointed as means and seals of grace, they operate like divine truth,
either oral or written, by promoting that great change of heart, without
which no man can see God: that where they are received with a living
faith, there is indeed pardon of sin or justification; but this pardon
is the result of that living faith, the appointed condition of
justification, and not of the sacraments, which can only tend to secure
pardon by promoting faith.

That these views of the mode of operation of the sacraments, are
sustained by many of our ablest divines, is evinced by the following
extracts from their works. _Dr. Mosheim_, one of the greatest ornaments
of the Lutheran Church, expressly affirms, "Those who possess _faith_
have the benefits of Christ sealed and confirmed to them. Let it
therefore be remarked, that _faith is necessary to the salutary fruit
and effect of the sacraments_, though not required as necessary to their
essence (namely, as valid outward ordinances.") [Note 22] The
distinguished _Dr. Reinhard_ says, "We attribute to the sacraments a
really beneficial influence in effecting our salvation, only in as far
as they are used in accordance with their design. This is a necessary
inference from the nature of a ceremony (or rite) in general, which can
only then be of any service, when it excites _those views and feelings_,
which it is designed to produce." Here this illustrious divine evidently
implies that the sacraments exert their influence by promoting certain
views and feelings, and that these are the _immediate_ causes of the
beneficial results, such as pardon and salvation: consequently the
sacraments are mediate, but not immediate conditions of pardon.

One extract more, taken from the "Biblical Theology" of the venerable
_Dr. Knapp_, of Halle, edited by _Dr. Guericke_, may suffice: "The power
and influence of these several religious ordinances or sacraments, is
_not physical_ and _mechanical_, and also _not magical_, or operating by
enchantment (or charm.) Nor does the mere external rite exert any
influence. On the contrary, they stand in the most intimate connexion
with the doctrines themselves, which they represent, and never exert any
influence without them. Therefore they can by themselves exert no
influence in the case of a person who has no knowledge and lively
conviction of the doctrines which they represent. But the truths which
are thereby represented to the senses, and are to be appropriated to
ourselves, operate precisely in the same way, or the Holy Spirit works
through them on the hearts of men, in exactly the same way as these
truths are wont to act apart, (from the sacraments,) when they are
heard, read or meditated on by any person; only, that in the case of
the sacraments, these truths are not communicated by words, but in a
different way presented to the senses. All that we have said (Part. I.,
Art. 8) on the influences exerted by the Holy Spirit, through the word,
(or divine doctrine,) and in the use of the divine doctrines on the
hearts of men, is also applicable to this subject. For he operates in
a similar manner in these religious ordinances, through the divine
doctrines which are represented by them to the senses, and appropriated
by ourselves. Against the abuse of such divinely appointed religious
ordinances, when their mere external performance is regarded as
sufficient, (as in the case of the sacrifices,) even Moses and all the
prophets, protest in the most emphatic manner." [Note 23]

From all those considerations it is most evident, that although _baptism
and the Lord's Supper are important, and influential, and divinely
appointed ordinances; neither of them can be the immediate condition of
pardon or justification, because neither necessarily involves that state
of moral qualification, which, the Scriptures require for pardon_,
namely, genuine conversion or regeneration, evinced by its immediate and
invariable result, a _living faith_.

Note 1. For the information of such of our readers as prefer a
skeleton of the Puseyite system of the sacraments, rather than wade
through volumes of Semi-romish discussion, we annex its features:---

I. That man is "made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an
inheritor of the kingdom of heaven," in and by holy Baptism.

II. That man "made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an
inheritor of the kingdom of heaven," in and by holy Baptism, is renewed
from time to time in holy Communion.

III. That a "death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness" is
given to every adult, and every infant, in and by the outward visible
sign or form in Baptism, "water, in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

IV. That the gift may be received, in the case of adults, worthily or
unworthily, but that it is always received.

V. That the body and blood of Christ are given to every one who
receives the Sacramental Bread and Wine.

VI. That the gift may be received worthily or unworthily, but that it
is always received.

There is no mistaking the meaning of this. It is clear and explicit;
but wherein it differs from Romanism it would be difficult to tell.

Note 2. Heb. xii. 14.

Note 3. John iii. 6, 2.

Note 4. 1 Cor. i. 14-17.

Note 5. See also 1 Pet. i. 23. Luke viii. 4, 11, 15. Here the whole
process of conversion is described, and the grand instrumentality is the
word or seed, but not a syllable is said of baptism. Also James i. 18.

Note 6. 2 Tim. ii. 14.

Note 7. Jer. xxiii. 29.

Note 8. John xvii. 17.

Note 9. Psalm cxix. 11.

Note 10. 1 Tim. 4.

Note 11. Verbum Dei est medium salutis _efficacissimum_, quippe cujus
vis non est tantum objectiva, sed etiam effectiva. Hollazii Theol. Dog.
II. p. 452. See the writer's Elemental Contrast, pp. 26, 27.

Note 12. Mark i. 15. _Repent_ ye and _believe_ the gospel. James ii.
14-17 Even so _faith_, if it have not works is dead, being alone, &c.

Note 13. Rom. v.1, 2; iii. 21, 22, 23. John iii. 18.

Note 14. Rom. v. 5.

Note 15. Rom. viii. 16.

Note 16. 1 John v. 10.

Note 17. Rom. viii. 15.

Note 18. Gal. v. 22.

Note 19. Dogmatik, Vol. iii., p. 285.

Note 20. Mark xvi. 16. Acta ii. 37, 38: viii. 37, &c. Acts ix. 11. &c.

Note 21. 1 Peter, iii. 21.

Note 22. Elementa Theol. Dog., Vol. ii, p. 295. Qui fidem habent, illis
beneficia Christi obsignantur et confirmantur. Notandum ergo est, fidem
quidem ad salutarem fructum et effectum sacramentorum, non autem ad
corum essentiam requiri.

Note 23. Biblische Glaubenslehre von Dr. H. E. F. Knapp, Prop. Halle,
1840, p. 292.


In regard to this error, the author of the Plea, relieves us from the
necessity of proving that it is contained in the Symbolical books, by
himself not only acknowledging the fact, but also defending the
doctrine. For ourselves we do not think it taught as clearly in the
Augsburg Confession, as most of the other errors touched on in the
Definite Platform. But although not inculcated as explicitly as the
others, the substance of the doctrine runs through the entire symbolic
system, and therefore is justly chargeable on it. The name is not often
distinctly met with there, but the thing meets us on many occasions.
This seems evident even from the following few citations.

_Proof that this doctrine was taught by the Lutheran Symbols and early
Lutheran divines.

ART. II. - _Augsburg Confession_

"Our churches teach that this innate disease and original sin, is truly
sin, and condemneth all those under the eternal wrath of God, who are
_not born again by Baptism and the Holy Spirit_."

_Apology to Augsburg Confession_, p. 226.

"Our opponents also agree to the ninth article, in which we confess that
_Baptism is necessary to salvation_, and that the baptism of infants is
not fruitless, but necessary and salutary.

_Luther's Smaller Catechism_.

"_What does Baptism confer or benefit?_

"_Ans_.--It effects the _forgiveness of sins, delivers from death_ and
_the devil_, and confers _everlasting salvation_ upon all who believe
it, (not believe in Christ,) as the words and promise of God declare."

"_How can water effect such great things?_

"_Ans_.--Indeed it is not the water that has such effect, but the Word
of God that is with and in the water, and the faith trusting such Word
of God in the water. For without the Word of God the water is mere
water, hence no baptism; but with the Word of God it constitutes a
baptism, that is, a gracious water of life, and a _washing of
regeneration_, in the Holy Ghost."--_Symb. B_., p. 421.

_Luther's Larger Catechism_.

"Every Christian, therefore, has enough to learn and practice in
baptism during his life; for he must ever exert himself to _maintain_ a
firm faith in _what it promises and brings_ him, namely, triumph over
the devil and death, the _remission of sins_, the grace of God, Christ
with all his works, and _the Holy Ghost with all his gifts_. In short,
the blessings of baptism are so great, that if feeble nature could but
comprehend them we might justly doubt their reality. For, imagine to
yourself a physician, who possessed an art preventing persons from
dying; or, even if they died, immediately restoring them to life so as
to live eternally afterwards, how the world would rush and flock around
him with money, while the poor, prevented by the rich, could not
approach him! And yet, here in _baptism_, every one has such a treasure,
and medicine gratuitously brought to his door-a medicine which abolishes
death, and preserves all men to eternal life_."--_P_. 525.

_Luther's Larger Catechism_.

"It (baptism) is, therefore, very appropriately called food for the
soul, which flourishes and strengthens the new man; _for through baptism
we are born anew;_ but beside this, the old vicious nature in the flesh
and blood nevertheless adheres to man, in which there are so many
impediments and obstacles, with which we are opposed as well by the
devil as by the world, so that we often become weary and faint, and
sometimes stumble."--_Symb. B_., p. 533.

In the _Visitation Articles_, published fourteen years after the other
symbolical books for the purpose of explaining their true import, and
then made symbolic in Saxony:

ART. III.--_On Baptism_.

SECT. II. "By baptism as the _laver of regeneration_, and _the renewing
of the Holy Ghost_, God saves us, and works in us such righteousness
and purification from sins, that whosoever _perseveres_ in such
covenant, and reliance, _will not be lost_, but have eternal life."

SECT. IV. "Baptism is the bath (laver) of regeneration, _because in it
we are regenerated_, and sealed with the spirit of sonship and obtain
pardon."-_Mueller's Symb. Buecher_, pp. 848, 849.

That the doctrine of baptismal regeneration was taught by Luther, and
the prominent older divines of our church, is well known to those
acquainted with their works.

1. _Luther_, indeed, sometimes expressed the most extravagant ideas of
baptism, maintaining that the water in baptism, was pervaded by the
divine majesty, and was a (durch goettertes Wasser,) water penetrated
through and through with God! [Note 1] He compares the water in baptism
to heated iron, in which, though you see nought but iron, fire also is
contained, which represents the divine name and power pervading the
water. But we will not enter any further into his extravagant
illustrations of the power of baptism. The result at which he arrives
is thus expressed: "Therefore, he (this omnipotent name or power of
God,) must also in baptism, make pure and holy, heavenly and divine
persons, as we shall hereafter further see." (Darum musz er auch in der
Taufe reine und heilige und eitel himmlishe, goettliche Menschen machen,
wie wir hernach sehen werden.") [Note 2]

In his sermon on Baptism, Luther thus describes the influence of this
ordinance:--"The import of baptism is a blessed dying unto sin, and
resurrection in the grace of God, that the old man that was conceived
in sin, may arise and go forth _a new man_ born of grace. Thus St. Paul
in, Tit. iii. 5, terms baptism a bath of _the new birth_, that in this
bath men may be _born again_ and renewed. Thus also Christ, in John iii.
3, says: Unless ye are born again of water and the Spirit (of grace), ye
cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven. For just as a child is born of
its mother, and by this bodily birth is a sinful being and a _child of
wrath;_ thus also is man taken and _born spiritually_ from the baptism,
and by _this birth he is a child of grace and a justified person_. Thus
are sins drowned in baptism, and thus does righteousness arise in the
place of sin." [Note 3]

2. _Melancthon_, whilst he by no means indulges in the extravagant and
unscriptural views of a change in the water employed in baptism, by the
Deity's pervading it, &c., seems however in substance to have
entertained views of the efficacy of this ordinance, amounting to
baptismal regeneration.

"The real use of baptism," (says he,) "is taught by these two
particulars, the outward sign and the promise, 'he that believeth and
is baptised shall be saved;' also the words which are used in baptism,
'I baptise thee in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy
Ghost:' that is, through this outward sign (baptism) I, in the place of
God, _testify that you are reconciled to God, and accepted of him_, who
is Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Father receives you for the sake of
the Son, and grants you the Holy Spirit, by which he will renew, make
alive, comfort, and sanctify you." [Note 4]

And, again, when discussing the subject, of pedobaptism, he thus
describes his view:--"In and by baptism the Holy Spirit is given to
children, who operates in them according to their measure (masse) or
capacity, as he operated in John in the womb of Elizabeth. And although
there, is a difference between the old and the young, inasmuch as the
old are attentive to the works, still the influences of the Holy Spirit
are in both old and young a tendency toward God." [Note 5]

That this doctrine was also taught by the great majority of the most
distinguished older theologians of our church, is a point which requires
no proof to those acquainted with those authors. As their works are
accessible to comparatively few of our readers, we will annex a
quotation from several of them, at the same time abbreviating them as
much as is consistent with perspicuity. Thus, Dr. Hunnius, professor at
Wittenberg, and subsequently Superintendent at Luebeck, [Note 6] in his
Epitome Credendorum, says:--"The sacrament of baptism is a spiritual
action, instituted and ordained by Christ, by the performance of which a
man is baptised with water, in the name of the Father, and the Son and
the Holy Ghost; and by means of which he receives _forgiveness of sins_,
is received into God's covenant of mercy, and is made partaker of the
merits of Christ, of _adoption_ and of _eternal salvation_." [Note 7]
Again, "Baptism is not a sign of regeneration, that is to take place
some time after baptism had been administered to him. For as _baptism
causes regeneration_, it cannot be said to signify the same," &c. [Note
8] And again, "Nevertheless, we have seen it to be the will of God, that
they (children) should enter the kingdom of heaven, and it therefore
becomes indispensably necessary for them to be regenerated. But this
_regeneration is brought about by no other means than by baptism_, which
we know to be the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy
Ghost," &c. [Note 9] The celebrated _Dr. Gerhard_ says, "The holy
Trinity is present with his grace (in baptism). The Father receives the
baptized person into favor; the Son bestows his righteousness upon him,
and the Holy Spirit _regenerates_ and _renews him_,--produces faith,
_regeneration_ and renovation, and seals the covenant of grace in the
hearts of the baptized." [Note 10]

Again, "Baptism is the first gateway of grace, the sacrament of
initiation: the Lord's Supper is the sacrament of confirmation; by
baptism we are _regenerated_, by the Holy Supper we are nourished and
strengthened to eternal life. As in nature so in grace, we are first
born and then fed, first generated and then we increase, (ix. 67.) _Dr.
Buddeus_, one of the most distinguished theologians of the School of
Halle, in his "Theologia Dogmatica, [sic on punctuation] p.
1127, says, "The design of the baptism of infants is their
_regeneration;_ in the case of adults, the confirmation and sealing of
that faith, which they should have before (the reception of the rite.")

Since therefore we have seen that the doctrine of baptismal
regeneration was taught not only by the symbolical books, but also by
Luther and Melancthon in their other writings, as well as by the
leading divines of the first two centuries after the Reformation, who
all received the symbolical books, and understood their import, we may
regard the charge of the Platform as established beyond contradiction,
that this tenet was a part of Symbolic Lutheranism.

_Influence of this Doctrine on the Pulpit_.

Now the influence of this doctrine on the ministrations of the pulpit,
is of the most deleterious nature. The word of God represents all
mankind as by nature dead in trespasses and sins. Paul tells us that
"there is none righteous, no not one, for all have sinned and come short
of the glory of God:" and affirms that the carnal mind is enmity against
God. The faithful ambassador of Christ must therefore announce the
command of God, "that all men every where should repent: and that unless
they do repent, they shall all likewise perish. He must divide his
congregation into two classes, the friends and the enemies of God, those
who are for the Saviour and those who are against him: and he must
insist upon judging not by their profession, "Lord, Lord, but by the
question, whether they _do the will of our Father in heaven_." Thus when
the faithful servant of Christ represents all as unconverted, and
exposed to the curse of the divine law, who do not give evidence of
regeneration in their walk and conversation; careless sinners become
alarmed and feel the necessity of fleeing from the wrath to come, by
repenting and turning to God, by seeking pardon and a new heart, and
consecrating all their powers of mind and body to the service of God.

But all this the believer in baptismal regeneration cannot consistenly
[sic] do. Because 1. If we believe all our hearers _regenerated_, (for
they are generally all baptised) even those whose life presents not the
least evidence of piety, and many proofs to the contrary; we still
must believe them in some sense the children of God, as they are born
again! We cannot tell them that they are in the gall of bitterness and
bonds of iniquity; because we profess to believe them regenerated--
therefore children of God in some sense.

2. We cannot exhort the impenitent baptised, though apparently dead in
trespasses and sins, to pray for a _new heart_ and a new spirit; for
these, as regenerated persons, they have obtained.

3. The minister who believes in baptismal regeneration, cannot with
Paul proclaim, "If any man be in Christ Jesus and is a new creature,
old limits are passed away, behold all things have become new;" for his
ungodly baptised hearers are all new creatures by baptism, and yet their
old sinful habits _have not passed away_, and all things have not become
new to them.

4. He cannot consistently preach, that those who have put on the new man
(Ephes. iv. 24,) are created in righteousness and true holiness; for the
majority of those said to be regenerated, or to have put on the new man
by baptism, continue in sin and are destitute of righteousness and trim

5. He cannot, with the blessed Master, preach, "by their fruits ye shall
know them; for here, on his theory, are regenerate souls bringing forth
the fruits of death, good (regenerate) trees bringing forth rotten
fruits," which is as incredible as thorns producing grapes, and thistles
yielding figs.

6. The believer in baptismal regeneration cannot consistently preach,
that "not every one who saith, "Lord, Lord," shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven, but only those who also do the will of our heavenly
Father; for here are regenerate men who have the germ of eternal life in
them (by baptism) who do not the will of God. Now as these on his theory
are regenerate men, the bible promises them salvation. But according to
the Saviour they shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The apostle James Inquires, [sic] "What doth it profit, my
brethren, though a man say he hath faith and have not works? Will his
(dead) faith save, him?" Or we may add, can his dead baptismal
regeneration do it? As the apostle of the Gentiles declares, that
circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping
of the commandments of God: so as baptism occupies the place of
circumcision, baptism is nothing and the want of it nothing, unless
accompanied with a sincere, universal and irrevocable purpose to keep
the commandments of God.

If any one responds, we do not mean regeneration in its proper sense,
when we ascribe it to the influence of baptism; then do not deceive
yourselves and others by employing the name, when you do not mean the
thing. The Saviour uses it for an entire, and radical change, and we
have no right to use it for anything else.

Or does any one say, by baptismal regeneration, we understand an
inferior kind or degree of regeneration, the beginning of the change. If
so, then do not mistake the beginning for the completion of this great
spiritual renovation; nor ascribe to the one, the precious promises and
spiritual benefits which belong only to the other.

In short, if the word regeneration, in connexion with baptism, be
employed to signify anything resembling its proper meaning, its
influence on the preached gospel must be baneful; and just in proportion
as we use it in a sense approximating to its legitimate import, does it
obscure, confuse and derange the ideas of men as to the great and
glorious plan of salvation in the gospel, which represent all men as
either for or against Christ, and appeals to their works as decisive of
their actual, spiritual character, as friends or as enemies of the

Such being the deleterious influence of this doctrine, it is important
to show, that it finds no sanction from a just interpretation of the
Word of God.

By baptismal regeneration is properly meant the doctrine that baptism
is necessarily and invariably attended by spiritual regeneration; and
that such water baptism is essential to salvation.

In the case of all adults, the Scriptures represent _faith in Christ_ as
the necessary prerequisite to baptism, and baptism as a rite by which
those who had already consecrated themselves to Christ, or been
converted, made a public profession of the fact, received a pledge of
the divine favor, or of forgiveness of sins, and were admitted to
membership in the visible church. The same inspired records also teach,
that if men are destitute of this faith, if they believe not, they shall
be damned, notwithstanding their baptism. "He that _believeth_ and is
baptized shall be saved, and he that _believeth_ not, shall be damned,"
Matt. xvi. 16. And Philip said to the eunuch, "If thou _believest_ with
all thy heart, thou mayest be baptized," Acts viii. 37. "_Repent_ and be
baptized," Acts ii. 38; viii. 62; xviii. 8. Hence if baptism required
previous faith and repentance, or conversion in adults, and if, when
they were destitute of this faith or conversion, they were damned,
notwithstanding their baptism; it follows that baptism was not, and is
not, a converting ordinance in adults, and does not necessarily effect
or secure their regeneration.

Now that baptism cannot accomplish more in infants than in adults, is
self-evident; hence if it is not a converting ordinance in adults, it
cannot be in infants.

The effects of baptism on _infants are nowhere specified in Scripture;_
hence we must suppose them to be same as in adults, so far as children
are naturally capable of them. Of _regeneration_, in the proper sense of
the term, infants are incapable; for it consists in a radical change in
our religious views of the divine character, law, &c.; a change in our
religious feelings, and in our religions purposes and habits of action;
of none of which are children capable.

Again, as regeneration does not destroy but merely restrains the natural
depravity, or innate, sinful dispositions of the Christian, (for these
still remain in him after conversion,) it must consist mainly in a
change, of that _increased predisposition to sin arising from action, of
that preponderance of _sinful habits_ formed by voluntary indulgence of
our natural depravity, after we have reached years of moral agency. But
infants have no such _increased_ predisposition, no _habits_ of sin
prior to moral agency, consequently there can be no change of them, no
regeneration in this meaning of the term. Hence, if baptism even did
effect regeneration in adults, which we have proved not to be the case;
still it could have no such influence on infants, as they are _naturally
incapable_ of the mental exercises involved in it. The child, on its
first attainment of moral agency, has merely natural depravity, until by
voluntary indulgence in sin, it contracts personal guilt, and forms
habits of sinful action. If the child, by the grace of God and proper
religious instruction, continues to resist the solicitations of its
depraved nature, its continued obedience will form holy habits, and this
preponderance of holy habits, when established, constitutes its
regeneration. If the growing child, as its powers of moral agency are
developed, for any reason indulges its innate sinful propensities, it
becomes a confirmed sinner, and its subsequent regeneration, if it take
place, will be the more striking, as its change of habits must be

Baptism in _adults_, is a means of making a public profession, of
previous faith, or of being received into the visible church, as well
as a pledge and condition of obtaining those blessings purchased by
Christ, and offered to all who repent, believe in him, and profess his
name by baptism.

Baptism in _infants_, is the pledge of the bestowment of those blessings
purchased by Christ for all. " As in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive." And "The promise is to you and your
_children_," Acts ii. 39. These blessings are forgiveness of sins, or
exemption from the penal consequences of natural depravity, (which would
at least be exclusion from heaven on account of moral disqualification
for admission,) reception into the visible church of Christ, grace to
help in every time of need, and special provision for the nurture and
admonition in the Lord, to which parents pledge themselves.

The language of the Saviour to Nicodemus, John iii. 6, "_Unless a man be
born of water and the spirit_" doubtless refers also to baptism, which
had been known to the Jews, and practiced by John the Baptist, before
the ministry of Christ, as a mode of _public reception_ of proselytes,
who were then said to be new born. Its import is to inform Nicodemus,
that he must _publicly_ profess the religion of Jesus by baptism, and
also be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, if he desired to enter the
kingdom of heaven. Thus, also, the words, Acts xxii. 16, "_Arise and be
baptized, and wash away thy sins_," were addressed to Paul _after_ he
had surrendered himself to Christ, and signifies: "Arise, and publicly
profess Christ by baptism, and thus complete your dedication of
yourself to his cause, the condition, on the sincere performance of
which, God will for Christ's sake, pardon your sins."

Baptismal regeneration, either in infants or adults, is therefore a
doctrine not taught in the Word of God, and fraught with much injury to
the souls of men, although inculcated in the former symbolical books.
At the same time, whilst the doctrine of baptismal regeneration
certainly did prevail in our European churches, and is taught in the
former symbolical books, it is proper to remark, that the greater part
of the passages in the symbols relating to this subject, are explained
by many in the present day, to signify no more than we above inculcate,
and therefore a not teaching baptismal regeneration.

Note 1. Luther's Works, Vol. xii., p. 339.

Note 2. Ibid.

Note 3. Ibid. Vol. xxii., p. 139.

Note 4. Melanchthon's [sic] Works, Koethe's edit., Vol. iv., p. 234.

Note 5. Ibid. pp. 251, 242.

Note 6. Died in 1643.

Note 7. Gottheil's Translation, p. 187.

Note 8. Ibid. p. 188.

Note 9. Ibid. p. 193.

Note 10. Loc. Com. Vol. iv., p. 260.


That the doctrine of the _real presence_ of the body and blood of the
Saviour in the eucharist, is taught in the symbolical books, is
acknowledged by the Plea of the Rev. Mr. Mann, and indeed generally
admitted, though variously stated and explained. It would therefore be
unnecessary to quote those symbols in proof, were it not that many of
our readers have not access to them elsewhere, and that the
completeness of our representation, as well as the plan of our work
require it. The following passages will suffice to explain this view:--

_Augsburg Confession_, Art. X.


"Concerning the holy Supper of the Lord, it is taught, that the _true
body and blood_ of Christ are truly present, under the form of bread
and wine, in the Lord's Supper, and are there administered and
received."--_Symb. Books_, p. 112.

_Apology to the Confession_, Art. VII., VIII. (IV.)

"Our adversaries (the Romanists,) do not object to the tenth article
(of the Augsburg Confession,) in which we confess that the _body and
blood_ of Christ our Lord, are _truly present_ in the holy supper, and
administered and received with the visible elements, the bread and wine,
as hitherto maintained in the (Romish) church, and as the Greek Canon
shows."--_Symb. Books_, p. 227.

_Smalcald_, Article VI.

"Concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, we hold that the bread and wine
in the Eucharist, are _the true body and blood_ of Christ, which are
administered and received, not only by pious, but also by impious
Christians."--_Symb. Books_, p. 384.

_Luther's Smaller Catechism_.

"_What is the Sacrament of the altar?_

"_Ans_.--It is the _true body and blood_ of our Lord Jesus Christ, with
bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself, for us Christians to eat
and drink."--_Symb. Books_, p. 124.

_Form of Concord_, Pt. I., Art. VII.

"We teach that the _true body and blood_ of our Lord Jesus Christ, are
truly and essentially, or substantially, present in the Lord's Supper,
administered with the bread and wine, and _received with the lips by
all_ those who use this sacrament, be they worthy or unworthy, good or
evil, believing or unbelieving; being received by the believing unto
consolation and life, but by the unbelieving unto judgment."-_Symb.
Books_, p. 570.

"We believe, teach, and confess, that the words of the testament of
Christ, are not to be understood otherwise than according to their
_literal_ sense, so that the bread does not signify the absent body of
Christ, and the wine the absent blood of Christ, but on account of
their sacramental union, _that the bread and wine_ ARE _truly the body
and blood of Christ_." (Sondern dass es wahrhaftig um sacramentlicher
Einigkeit willen der Leib und Blut Christi sei. Sed ut propter
sacramentalem unionem panis et vinum _vere sint corpus et sanguis
Christi_.)--_Idem_., p. 571.

"We believe, teach, and confess, that not only the truly believing and
the worthy, but also the unworthy and the unbelieving, _receive the
true body and blood of Christ_."-Page 572.

"In addition to the above clear passages, incontestably teaching the
real presence, it deserves to be ever remembered, that only fourteen
years after the Form of Concord was published, when Duke Frederick
William, during the minority of Christian II., published the VISITATION
ARTICLES OF SAXONY, in 1594, in order to suppress the Melancthonian
tendencies to reject this and other peculiarities of the symbols, the
Article on this subject which was framed by men confessedly adhering to
the old symbols, and designing to re-enunciate their true import, and
which was enforced upon the whole church in Saxony as symbolic, gives
the most objectionable view of this doctrine, viz.: I. 'The pure
doctrine of our church is, that the words, '_Take and eat, this is my
body: drink, this is my blood_, are to be understood _simply and
according to the letter_.' II. That the body (which is received and
eaten,) is the _proper_ and _natural body_ (der rechte natuerliche Leib)
of Christ, _which hung upon the cross;_ and the blood (which is drunk)
is the _proper_ and _natural blood_ (das rechte natuerliche Blut) _which
flowed from the side of Christ_.' Mueller's Symb. Books, p. 847. Now we
cannot persuade ourselves, that this is the view of a single minister of
the General Synod, or of many out of it; and yet these are the views
that those are obligated to receive, who avow implicit allegiance to the
former symbolical books of our church in Europe. If any adopt the
modification received by many of our distinguished divines, such as
Reinhard Storr, Knapp, and others, they do not faithfully embrace the
symbolical doctrine, and cannot fairly profess to do so."

In regard to the arguments against this view of the _mode_ of the
Saviour's presence, we shall merely add an enumeration of the principal,
and refer the reader for a more full and detailed discussion of the
subject to Discourse IV. contained in our History of the American
Lutheran Church, pp. 120 to 154, 5th edition.

The Reformers justly rejected the Romish error, that the bread and wine
were transformed and transubstantiated into the body and blood of
Christ. But they still adhered to the opinion, that the real body and
blood of the Saviour are present at the Eucharist, in some mysterious
way, and are received by the month of every communicant, worthy and
unworthy. This view of the subject appears inconsistent with the Word
of God, for various reasons:-

(_a_) When Christ uttered the words, this (bread) is my body, his body
was not yet dead, but living and reclining, at their side at the table.
It was therefore certainly not received by them into their mouths. The
language must, therefore, have been figurative, such as Jesus was
accustomed often to employ. Thus, when he said, "I am the _door_" John
x. 9, he certainly does not mean a literal door, such as a door of wood
or stone or brass or of any other material. He means that the
acceptance of the atonement and mediation by the sinner is the
appointed condition of salvation to him. Thus also when he says, "I am
the _true vine_" John xv. 1; or "The field is the world," "The seed is
the word," &c., he evidently is speaking figuratively and communicating
important moral truth, by images drawn from physical nature, as is
naturally done by nearly all writers and speakers of all ages and in
all languages.

(_b_) The blessed Saviour himself exhorts us, "Do this in remembrance of
me;" but we can remember only that which is past and absent. Hence when
he admonishes us to do this in remembrance of him, he teaches us, that
he is not personally or bodily present at the eucharistic celebration.

(_c_) Paul also represents the design of this ordinance to be, "To show
or publish the _Lord's death_," until he comes. But the Lord's death
upon the cross occurred about eighteen hundred and twenty years ago.
Therefore, according to Paul, the object of the holy supper is to
commemorate a _past event_, and not a present person.

(_d_) The doctrine of the real presence of the true body and blood of
Christ, contradicts the clear and indisputable testimony of our senses,
for as the body and blood are to be received by the mouth of the
communicant, they must be circumscribed by space, and the reception must
be a local and material one, which if it did occur at sacramental
occasions, could be observed by the senses.

(_e_) It contradicts the observation of all nations and all ages, that
every body or material substance must occupy a definite portion of
space, and cannot be at more than one place at the same time.

For these and other reasons the great mass of our ministers and
churches, connected with the General Synod, reject this doctrine, as
inconsistent with the word of God. The disposition to reject this error,
or at least to leave the mode of the Saviour's presence undecided, was
manifested by Melancthon himself, as is evident from his having stricken
out the words which teach it from the Augsburg Confession, and from his
having inserted others in their stead of a general nature, leaving room
for different opinions on this question. The same disposition prevailed
extensively in Germany in the latter third of the sixteenth century.
But during the first quarter of the present century, the conviction that
the Reformers did not purge away the whole of the Romish error from this
doctrine, gained ground universally until the great mass of the whole
Lutheran Church, before the year 1817, had rejected the doctrine of the
real presence. During the last twenty years the doctrines and writings
of the Reformation in general have been the subject of extensive study
by the reviving church in Germany, and as is natural, a small portion
of the churches have embraced the symbolic view of this doctrine in
full, and have become known as Old Lutherans, whilst others, both there
and in this country, have embraced various modifications of it. But the
great body of the ministers and churches regard the real presence of
the _body_ and _blood_ of the Saviour, in any proper sense, which the
words convey, as a misapprehension of the word of God.

_The supposed special Sin-forgiving Power of the Lord's Supper_.

On this subject, important as it is, especially to the masses of the
less educated, who are most liable to these erroneous views, but little
need be said in addition to the principles established on the subject
of the sacraments in general. The word of God clearly inculcates the
doctrine, to which Luther and his coadjutors gave such prominence, that
no one can be justified or pardoned except by a living faith in Christ,
and such a faith is found only in the regenerate mind. And whenever the
sinner exercises this living faith in Christ he is justified, that is,
his sins are pardoned, he is in a _state of justification_, and
continues in it, until by deliberate, voluntary violation of God's law,
he falls from grace. Now, every communicant either possesses this faith,
or he does not. If he does, he is justified or pardoned before he
communes; if he is destitute of this faith, his communing cannot justify
or pardon him; for man is justified by faith alone. Yet are there
thousands of church members who afford no satisfactory evidence of
regeneration, or of that faith which works by love, and purifies the
heart, and overcomes the world; who, because they approach the
sacramental table with seriousness and sincerity, and perhaps with some
sorrow for their sins, believe that they obtain pardon for their
transgressions, and yet still continue in their unregenerate state. It
cannot be said that the symbolical books clearly teach the above error,
but they are not sufficiently guarded, and are understood by many as
inculcating the doctrine, that a sincere and devout participation of
the Lord's Supper secures the pardon of sin, even where satisfactory
evidences of regeneration are wanting, the persons referred to
mistaking a mere historical belief for a living faith. Hence, as the
_Scripture nowhere connects the forgiveness of sins with the duty of
sacramental communion_, any more than with the performance of any other
prominent christian duty, it is not proper that we should do so. The
design of the Holy Supper is to show forth the Lord's death, to profess
the name of the Redeemer before the world, to confirm the previous
faith of the communicant, to bring him into closest spiritual communion
with his blessed Saviour, and to secure his special spiritual blessing:
but not to bestow forgiveness of sins upon the unregenerate, however
serious they may be. Against this dangerous error all should therefore
carefully guard, and ever remember the declaration of the Lord Jesus
when he said, "_Unless a man be born again_ (become a new creature in
Christ Jesus) _he cannot see the kindom [sic] of God_."


This superstitious practice, which consists in a prescribed formula of
adjuration, accompanied by various menacing demonstrations, by the use
of which the priest professes to expel the evil spirits from an
individual, of whom they are supposed to have taken possession, was
practised in the Romish Church, principally before the baptism of
infants. The rite was retained, with an altered interpretation, in
various parts of the Lutheran Church in Europe, for several centuries.
In the American Lutheran Church, it was never received by the fathers
of our church, and is regarded as unscriptural and highly objectionable,
under the most favorable interpretation that can be given it.

As exorcism is not touched by the Augsburg Confession, it is also not
discussed by the Rev. Mr. Mann, in his Plea. But as others have
objected to the Platform for representing it as in any degree a part of
the Symbolic system, we will adduce evidence enough to satisfy every
impartial and reasonable reader, that it was so regarded for several
centuries, by a considerable portion of the Lutheran Church in Europe;
and that the assertion of the Platform, "_that this rite was retained,
with an altered interpretation, in various parts of the Lutheran Church
in Europe, for several centuries_," (p. 23,) is even more than

As our church, in common with the other state churches of Europe, is
controlled by the civil government, the ministers and members of the
church were never invited or permitted to deliberate and decide on the
question what books they will receive as symbolical or binding. This
work the political rulers or princes determined for them, in
consultation with some leading divines. Still we may fairly regard those
confessional writings as symbolical, which have been prescribed by the
government, and received and _practiced_ on by the churches. Now, if the
"Taufbuechlein," " Tract or Directory for Baptism," of Luther, _in which
Exorcism is commanded_, was thus prescribed and received [tr. note:
there is a space here which could be meant to contain the word "by"] two
or three principalities or provinces of Europe, the position of the
Platform is vindicated; but the truth is, it was received by entire
kingdoms and provinces, and retained in practice for centuries; so that
the Platform is more than sustained. Let us _first_ hear the testimony
of the best authorities of Germany on the subject, and _then_ sum up
the results.

(_a_) _Dr. Guericke, [Note 1] Professor of Theology at Halle, the author
of a well-known Church History, testifies: "Moreover, the Smaller
Catechism (of Luther) contained, even in the oldest known German
edition, (Wittenberg, 1529,) several forms of prayer, the Family
diretory [sic] or selection of Scripture passages on the
duties of all orders and conditions of men, and the Directory for
marriage and _baptism, all of which supplementary tracts were also
received into the_ FIRST _authentic edition of the German "Book of
Concord_." The baptismal directory was therefore received into the very
first authentic edition of the symbolical books.

(_b_) _Dr. Koellner_, Professor of Theology at Goettingen, in his
excellent "Symbolik," p. 501, states: "There was a Latin Directory for
Baptism extant, (in the Romish church,) which Luther translated into
German unaltered in 1523. It is found in Vol. II. of his works, Jena
edition, pp. 248-252, and Vol. II. All, pp. 304-327. But in 1524 or 1526
he wrote the Baptismal Directory, and brought it into the form in which
it was added to the Catechism. Thus it is found Vol. II. of Altenb. ed.
p. 227. It was therefore added to the Catechism by Luther himself, and
at the earliest period (of the Reformation.) [Note 2] The directory for
the solemnization of matrimony was also added by Luther in the 2d
edition. Both those Tracts were usually published together with the
smaller Catechism; and were also received into the Corpus Thuring. and
into _the first edition of the Book of Concord_, June, 1580."

Again, we see that this Directory for baptism in which exorcism is
prescribed, was not only the production of Luther, but also added by
him to his Catechism, and introduced into the very first collection of
the symbolical book.

(_c_) _Dr. Baumgarten Crusius_, Professor of Theology at Jena, in his
History of Christian Doctrines, Vol. II. p. 322, thus testifies: "By
means of the religiously energetic language of Luther, _exorcism_ was
introduced among his party, and established itself amid much opposition,
(amongst others from the Papists) in rigid opposition to Calvinism, and
as is the case amongst us _at present_, (1846,) from attachment to
ancient, stern orthodoxy, and their idea of genuine Lutheranism, as well
as from the superstitious belief of a magic influence over the kingdom
of evil spirits."--"The liturgic formula (for exorcism) retained in the
Lutheran church, was first zealously espoused by the populace, when the
Crypto-Calvinists especially in Saxony, raised opposition to it; and
since then it has been regarded as a _criterion of Lutheranism_,
although exorcism is not mentioned in the Saxon Articles of Visitation,
and from an early period it was defended by the Lutheran theologians
merely as a free matter of indifference, with only a figurative
meaning." Here we find not only that exorcism has extensively prevailed
in the Lutheran church of Germany, but that as late as 1846, it still
was adhered to by some in Saxony: and that for a long time after the
rise of Crypto-Calvinism in the latter part of the sixteenth century,
adherence to this rite was regarded as a _test_ of genuine Lutheranism.
How vain therefore the attempt to deny that it was regarded as a part of
symbolic Lutheranism in some parts of the church!

(_d_.) _Dr. Augusti_, Professor of Theology at Bonn, and more recently
at Berlin, the celebrated author of numerous works, bears the following
testimony: "At the close of the sixteenth century the vindication of
exorcism was considered a proof of _Lutheran orthodoxy_ in opposition to
the Reformed and Crypto-Calvinists. In the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries there was much contention for and against it; and even in the
_nineteenth_ century its retention or rejection was not yet regarded as
a matter of indifference." p. 350.

(_e_) In _Siegel's_ Manual of Christian Ecclesiastical Antiquities, (a
learned and excellent work in four volumes, published in Leipsic, 1836,)
vol II. p. 64, 65, 67, we find the following testimony: "Inasmuch as he
(Luther) pronounced this rite not indeed as necessary, but yet as
_highly useful_, in order to remind the people very impressively of the
power of sin and the devil; it was not remarkable that the zealous
adherents of Luther were also unwilling to abandon his views on this
subject. Hence we find that _in all countries in which the views and
example of Luther were rigidly adhered to, as in Saxony, Wuertemburg,
Hanover, Sweden, and other places_, a strong attachment to exorcism
prevailed, which was often regarded _as the criterion of orthodoxy_."
"Some Lutherans cherished exorcism with a kind of _passionate
fondness_." "In the sixteenth century exorcism was alternately defended
in one place and disapproved in another; and in the latter half of the
eighteenth, attention was again directed to the subject partly by
accidental circumstances, and partly also by the great changes in the
department of theology. The result has been that exorcism has been
entirely abolished in different individual towns; and in several
countries. This, for example, was the case in Regensburg in 1781, in
Hamburg in 1786, and since 1811, in all Sweden." "In other Protestant
Lutheran Stales, it is still left to the choice of the parents, whether
they will have their children baptised with or without exorcism." "The
author (says Siegel) was himself placed in the unpleasant predicament
in the year 1836," of having been requested to perform baptism with

(_f_) _Dr. Sigismund J. Baumgarten_ of Halle, one of the most learned
and profound divines that ever adorned the Lutheran church, who himself
published one of the best and the most extensively circulated editions
of the symbolical books in 1747, not only inserts the Directory for
Baptism (which inculcates exorcism) among the symbolical books, but on
p. 637 bears the following testimony: "The Directory for solemnizing
marriage, as well as the following _Directory for Baptism_, are found in
the _oldest Corp. Doctrinae_, in the _Thuringian, Julian, Brandenburg_,
and first DRESDEN EDITIONS, and also subsequently, in the Leipsic and
Reineccian," p. 637.

From these historical testimonies the following points are clearly

1. That the Directory for Baptism, in which _exorcism_ is prescribed,
was certainly received into the first and authentic edition of the
German Book of Concord, or collection of symbolical books. This is
attested by Drs. Guericke, Sig. Baumgarten, and Koellner. It was
subsequently republished in various other editions, down till the recent
editions of Mueller, and also of Ludwig in our own country. In other
editions [Note 3] it was omitted, because in some portions of Germany
exorcism was rejected at an early day, as stated in the History of the
American Lutheran Church.

2. It is proved that the _practice of exorcism_ was for a long time
regarded as a _test of orthodoxy_ in many Lutheran territories of
Germany. Attested by Drs. Augusti, Baumgarten Crusius and Siegel. In
these countries editions of the symbolical books containing the
Baptismal Directory were in use, and the rite was regarded as

3. The rite was received and practised throughout Sweden, the entire
kingdom of Wuertemberg, Hanover, Saxony, &c., &c. Siegel and others.

4. It is established incontestibly [sic] that the practice was continued
for centuries in some of these countries, and was but recently renounced
by others. Siegel and others. [sic]

We may therefore well affirm, that the position of the Definite
Platform on this subject has been established beyond the possibility of
serious doubt, namely, "_That this rite was retained, with an altered
interpretation, in various parts of the Lutheran Church in Europe for
several centuries_." p. 23.

As to making the symbolic character of a book depend on its being found
in any particular number of editions or in them all, it is inadmissible,
because, as Dr. Hase remarks, and the respected author of the Plea
admits, the Augsburg Confession is the only one of the Lutheran
symbolical books which has been universally received throughout the
church. These editions, moreover, have been published, some by the civil
governments, and others by private individuals; and the Lutheran church
as such, has never been called on to decide which books are symbolic.
The practice of different portions of the church is different, therefore
the distinction must be made as to the extent to which each book was
received; and as it is certain that exorcism was in some countries and
periods even regarded as a _distinctive test_ of orthodoxy, _then
and there_, this rite must have been regarded as symbolic in the
highest degree.

Note 1. Symbolik, p. 103, n. 2.

Note 2. The original is: Also von Luther selbst und schon in den ersten
_Zeugen_ von ihm dem Katechismus ange haengt." [sic on
punctuation] _Zeugen_ here is evidently a typographical error for

Note 3. For particulars see the writer's History of the American
Lutheran Church, pp. 239-241.


We have thus found the statements of the Definite Platform, as to the
tenets taught in the Augsburg Confession and other Symbolical books,
established by the most careful and conscientious investigation of the
original sources. Such are the facts incontestibly [sic] proved. They
are true, and will remain true, notwithstanding all the ill-advised
efforts to hide them. The Augsburg Confession, and other symbols, do
teach the tenets ascribed to them in the Platform, and, in the judgment
of the great mass of American Lutherans, the Word of God rejects them,
and inculcates the contrary. All the invective and vituperation, not of
the author of the Plea but of multitudes of old-Lutherans, &c., cannot
change the truth, for it is unchangeable and eternal; nor is it their
duty to deny it, any more than it is ours.

The question then arises, what is our duty under these circumstances?
What does God expect of us, in view of these facts, as men to whom the
interests and management of a portion of his church are confided? As men
to whom he has given his inspired oracles, as the sure word of prophecy,
to which we are to give heed? As men who love Luther and his
fellow-laborers much, but desire to love Christ more?

Does our duty call on us to deny the truth, and say, these doctrines are
not taught in these books, when the most careful examination has assured
us of the contrary? No honest man can affirm this.

Is it honest or honorable to avow, unconditionally, creeds containing
errors, and then labor to gloss over or defend these errors, because
they are there? This would be to descend to the level of corrupt
politicians, who professedly defend every measure of their party,
whether right or wrong.

Is it our duty to profess such creeds, then by arbitrary interpretations
to explain away these errors, and thus endeavor to hide them from the
public view? This would be injustice to the memory of their authors, and
cast reproach on the principles of the Reformation, the essence of which
was, that human errors must be rejected in favor of God's Word; and that
the standards or professed doctrines of the church, must in every age be
conformed to her views of Scripture truth.

Is it our duty, is it the Master's will, that we should try to believe
those tenets of a creed which the Scriptures condemn? This would be
treason to the Master, and be hearkening to the teachings of man rather
than of God! Yet how many are there from whose lips the phrase
confessional fidelity (Bekenntnisstreue,) is heard far oftener than
fidelity to God's word (Bibeltreue)!

Is it our duty to renounce the Augsburg Confession altogether? This
would be the case, _if its errors were fundamental_. But as they are few
in number, and all relate to non-fundamental points, this does not
necessarily follow. As nineteen twentieths of the creed are sustained by
Scripture, and embody a rich and ample exhibition of divine truth, ten
times as extended as that which was invested with normative authority in
the golden age, the first three centuries of the Christian church, and
used as a term of Christian fellowship, we may well retain the creed,
after in some way disavowing its several errors. And the historical
importance of the document, as the type of a renovated Christianity,
authenticated by the blessing of Heaven, renders its retention
desirable, as far as it has approved itself to the conscience of the
church, after the increasing philological, exegetical, and historical
light of three progressive centuries.

The position of those who maintain that _genuine Lutheranism_ demands
perpetual adherence to everything contained in this Confession, yea, as
some affirm, to all the former symbolical books, is utterly untenable.
In the _first_ place, these brethren forget that the symbolic system,
_i.e._, the practice of binding ministers to the so-called symbolical
books, was _not_ adopted at the organization of the Lutheran Church,
_nor at any time during Luther's life_, nor until more than half a
century after the rise of Lutheranism, and more than a quarter of a
century after the noble Luther had gone to his heavenly rest.
_Symbolism is therefore no part of original Lutheranism_. The efforts of
Luther to reform the Romish Church began in 1517--the first regular
organization of Lutheran churches was not made until some time after his
excommunication by the Pope, in 1520. The first directory for Lutheran
worship was published by Luther in 1523, in which, although private
masses and the idea of the mass being a sacrifice had been rejected, the
_ceremonies_ of the mass, even the _elevation of the host_, (though not
for adoration) were retained; another improved one in 1526; and the
Augsburg Confession was presented to the Diet in 1530; but the full
symbolic system contended for by some of our opponents, was not adopted
until 1580, _after the Lutheran church had existed more than half a
century!!_ That system, historically considered, is not, therefore,
Lutheran, but _Post_-Lutheran and _Ultra_-Lutheran, for it is after him
in time, and goes beyond him at least in one point of doctrine, and far
beyond him in the abridgement [sic] of ministerial liberty of doctrinal
profession, and in exaction of uniformity on minor points. Again, these
brethren forget that Luther thought it his duty to _reform_ the church
of his birth, and did _not leave it until driven out by the Pope_. The
efforts of American Lutherans to reform and render more biblical the
ecclesiastical framework of our church, is therefore, _truly Lutheran in
principle_, indeed far more Lutheran, than to retain unaltered those
symbols, when we believe that the progress of Protestant light and
biblical investigation for three hundred years, has proved them to
contain important errors.

Thirdly, they forget that _Luther himself never saw, much less approved,
the most objectionable and stringent of these books_, the Form of
Concord, the profession of which they would make essential to

Fourthly, they overlook the fact that _entire Lutheran kingdoms, such as
Denmark and Sweden, from the beginning rejected some of these books_,
and yet are everywhere acknowledged as Lutherans.

Fifthy, [sic] they forget that the _Form of Concord itself professes to
regard Confessions of faith only an exhibitions of the manner_ in which
Christians of _a particular age understand the Scriptures;_ implying
that they were not supposed even by the authors of the symbolic system
themselves to be unchangeable, although their incorporation with the
civil law of the land, closed the door against all subsequent

A revision of our symbolic standpoint, is therefore perfectly consistent
with primitive Lutheranism; and according to the Congregational or
Independent principles of Lutheran church government, advocated by
Luther, and hitherto practiced on by our American church, as well as
avowed by the Constitution of the General Synod, each District Synod is
competent to do this work for herself as long as she retains "the
_fundamental_ doctrines of the Bible as taught by our church."

How then can this important work be best accomplished, of releasing
ourselves on the one hand from the profession of the errors contained
in the Confession, and on the other of avowing the unadulterated truths
of God's word?

1. Shall we _drop the practice of binding our ministers to any creed
except the Bible_, and refer in unofficial ways to the _Augsburg
Confession_, as in general a correct summary of our views of Bible
truth? This was the practice of the _fathers of our church in the Synod
of Pennsylvania from the beginning of this century, till within two or
three years_. It was practiced by that body whilst it was controlled by
_Drs. Helmuth, Schmidt, Muhlenberg_, of Lancaster, _Schaeffer_, of
Philadelphia, _Endress, Lochman, J. G. Schmucker, Geissenhainer_
subsequently of New York, _Muhlenberg_, of Reading, and the present
venerable Senior of the Ministerium, Rev. _Baetis_. This plan we always
regarded as too lax, and preferred the distinct avowal of the Augsburg
Confession as to the fundamental doctrines of the Bible, and were
ourselves instrumental in introducing its qualified recognition into
the General Synod's Theological Seminary in 1825, and her Constitution
for District Synods in 1829. Still we have recently been denounced as
unfaithful to the confession, by those unacquainted with the history of
our church during the last five and thirty years.

2. Shall we _adopt a new creed_, to supercede [sic] the venerable
Augsburg Confession? This is unnecessary, because the points regarded as
erroneous in it, are confessedly few and non-essential. When these are
erased, the great mass of Christian truth remains intact, and not one
of all the cardinal doctrines of the Reformation is affected.

3. Shall we adopt and publish the entire Augsburg Confession, _with a
list annexed to it, of those points believed by the majority to be
erroneous_, providing that they may be rejected by all who do not
believe them? This would be a contradictory procedure, first to publish
the whole, and then to reject a portion of it as not symbolic or
binding. If these supposed errors are not to be received, why
perpetuate their memory, and afford to the enemies of our venerable
church, a constant supply of material to fight against us, and render
the church odious in the popular eye?

4. Shall we remain satisfied with _the General Synod's doctrinal basis_,
of absolute assent to the _Bible_, and agreement with the _Augsburg
Confession_ as far as the _fundamentals_ of God's Word are concerned?

This pledge we always regarded as accordant with the principles of God's
Word, and sufficient for the necessities of the church. Amid the recent
progress of more rigid symbolism, and symbolic sympathies, it has,
however, been disparaged by some connected with the General Synod. We
still believe it sufficient, _provided all_ the Synods embraced in the
General Synod will adhere to it; and those who have recently adopted the
entire symbolic system, will return to it. But if District Synods of
symbolic tendencies, will adopt the obligation to the mass of symbolic
books; New School Lutherans are compelled, in self-defence, also to
define their position more minutely, that the christian public may not
hold them responsible for the errors of the former symbols, nor their
supposed adherence to them tend to give them currency. If, therefore,
Old School Synods adhere to their recent pledge to all the symbolical
books, we prefer the following course for other District Synods.

5. The best plan by far in our judgment is to _retain the great body of
the Confession unaltered, and simply to omit the few sentences
inculcating the disputed or erroneous topics_. The remainder is believed
by all, and can be subscribed by all, whether they believe the omitted
topics or not.

This is precisely the thing done by the American Recension of the
Augsburg Confession. _It's [sic] principle is to omit the
disputed points and, retain unaltered the remainder, on which we all
agree_. On the three disputed points which alone are believed by any
amongst us, namely, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of the
Saviour in the eucharist, and the denial of the divine appointment of
the Christian Sabbath, entire freedom is allowed. As to the others,
private confession and absolution, the ceremonies of the mass, and
exorcism, which was taught not in the Augsburg Confession, but in the
Appendix to Luther's Smaller Catechism,--they are not received by any
one within the pale of the General Synod, and are so distinctly
semi-Romish that they are prohibited by the Platform. The adoption of
the name, _American Recension_, always notifies th reader of some
revision, and precluded the charge of an attempt to pass it off for the
unaltered Confession of the sixteenth century.

The Synodical Disclaimer or List of these rejected errors, which is
annexed to the Platform, can be dropped as soon as the churches are
fully informed of the ground of our not receiving the other symbolical
books, or if this be deemed unnecessary, it may be dropped at once. By
the adoption of either of the latter two methods, and especially of the
last, by the individual District Synods, they would present to the
world a clear profession of their faith, have a sufficient test for the
admission of members, and the rejection of heretics, and could
harmoniously labor together for the furtherance of the gospel. We have
thus in the fear of God and in the spirit of Christian love; but
uninfluenced by the fear or favor of man, presented our deliberate
convictions on the subjects now agitating the church, after six and
thirty years of study of the Bible, and experience in the ministry of
our divine Master. And we close with the earnest prayer, that the Great
Head of the Church, may employ these pages for the advancement of his
glory, that he may conduct his beloved Zion onward in her march of
development and progress, until she has attained her millennial
features, and her world-wide extension, and until "the kingdoms of this
world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall
reign for ever and ever."


As the American Recension, contained in this Platform, adds not a single
sentence to the Augsburg Confession, nor omits anything that has the
least pretension to be considered "a fundamental doctrine of Scripture,"
it is perfectly consistent with the doctrinal test of the General Synod,
as contained in her Formula of Government and Discipline, Chap. XVIII.,
§ 5, and XIX., § 2. The Apostles' and Nicene Creeds are also universally
received by our churches. Hence any District Synod, connected with the
General Synod, may, with perfect consistency, adopt this Platform.


Whereas it is the duty of the followers of Christ to profess his [sic]
religion before the world (Matt. x. 32), not only by their holy walk
and conversation, but also by "walking in the apostles' doctrines"
(1 Cor. xiv. 32), and bearing testimony "to the faith once delivered to
the saints" (Jude 3), Christians have, from the earlier ages, avowed
some brief summary of their doctrines or a Confession of their faith.
Such confessions, also called symbols, were the so-called Apostles'
Creed, the Nicene Creed, &c., of the first four centuries after Christ.

Thus also did the Lutheran Reformers of the sixteenth century, when
cited by the Emperor to appear before the Diet at Augsburg, present the
Confession, bearing the name of that city, as an expose of their
principal doctrines; in which they also professedly reject only the
_greater part_ of the errors that had crept into the Romish Church.
(See conclusion of the Abuses Corrected.)

Again, a quarter of a century after Luther's death, this and other
writings of Luther and Melancthon, together with another work which
neither of them ever saw, the Form of Concord, were made binding on
ministers and churches, not by the church herself, acting of her own
free choice, but by the civil authorities of certain kingdoms and
principalities, in consultation with some prominent theologians. The
majority of Lutheran kingdoms, however, rejected one or more of them,
and the Augsburg Confession alone has been acknowledged by the entire
Lutheran Church. (Hutterus Red. p. 116, § 50.)

Whereas the entire Lutheran Church of Germany has rejected the binding
authority of the symbolical books as a whole, and also abandoned some
of the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession, and our fathers in this
country more, [sic] than half century ago, ceased to require
a pledge to any of these books, whilst they still believed and in
various ways avowed the great fundamental doctrines contained in them:

And whereas the General Synod of the American Lutheran Church, about a
quarter of a century ago, again introduced a qualified acknowledgment of
the Augsburg Confession, in the Constitution of her Theological
Seminary, and in her Constitution for District Synods, at the ordination
and licensure of ministers, without specifying tho doctrines to be
omitted, except by the designation that they are not fundamental
doctrines of Scripture; and whereas a desire has extensively prevailed
amongst our ministers and churches, to have this basis expressed in a
more definite manner; and the General Synod has left this matter
optional with each district Synod:

_Therefore, Resolved_, That this Synod hereby avows its belief in the
following doctrinal Basis, namely, the so-called _Apostles' Creed_, the
_Nicene Creed_, and _the American Recension of the Augsburg Confession_,
as a more definite expression of the doctrinal pledge prescribed by the
General Synod's Constitution for District Synods, and as a correct
exhibition of the Scripture doctrines discussed in it: and that we
regard agreement among brethren on these subjects as a sufficient basis
for harmonious co-operation in the same church.


_The Old and New Testaments the only Infallible Rule of Faith and

1. "We believe, teach, and confess, that the only rule and standard,
according to which all doctrines and teachers alike ought to be tried
and judged, are the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone, as
it is written, Psalm cxix. 105: 'Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a
light upon my path.' And St. Paul, Gal. i.8, says 'Though an angel from
heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached
unto you, let him be accursed.'

2. "But all human writings and symbols, are not authorities like the
Holy Scriptures; but they are only a testimony and explanation of our
faith, showing the manner in which at any time the Holy Scriptures were
understood and explained by those who then lived, in respect to articles
that had been controverted in the church of God, and also the grounds on
which doctrines that were opposed to the Holy Scriptures, had been
rejected and condemned."--_Form of Concord, pp_. 551, 552.


I believe in God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the
Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was
crucified, dead and buried. -- The third day he rose from the dead, he
ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father
Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy universal church; the communion
of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and
the life everlasting.


I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of
his Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of light, true God of
the true God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation, came
down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin
Mary, and was made man and was crucified also for us under Pontius
Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again,
according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on
the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again with glory to
judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who
proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son
together is worshipped [sic] and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy universal and apostolic church. I acknowledge
one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection
of the dead and the life of the world to come.



Our churches with one accord teach, that the decree of the Council of
Nice, concerning the unity of the Divine essence, and concerning the
three persons, is true, and ought to be confidently believed, viz.: that
there is one Divine essence, which is called and is God, eternal,
incorporeal, indivisible, infinite in power, wisdom and goodness, the
Creator and Preserver of all things visible and invisible; and yet, that
there are three persons, who are of the same essence and power, and are
co-eternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the term
person they use in the same sense in which it is employed by
ecclesiastical writers on this subject: to signify, not a part or
quality of something else, but that which exists of itself.


Our churches likewise teach, that since the fall of Adam, all men who
are naturally engendered, are born with sin, that is, without the fear
of God or confidence towards Him, and with sinful propensities: and that
this disease, or natural depravity, is really sin, and still causes
eternal death to those who are not born again. And they reject the
opinion of those who, in order that they may detract from the glory of
the merits and benefits of Christ, allege that man may be justified
before God by the powers of his own reason.


They likewise teach, that the Word, that is, the Son of God, assumed
human nature, in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that the two
natures, human and divine, inseparably united in one person, constitute
one Christ, who is true God and man, born of the Virgin Mary; who truly
suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried, that he might reconcile
the Father to us, and be a sacrifice not only for original sin, but
also for all the actual sins of men. Likewise that he descended into
hell (the place of departed spirits), and truly arose on the third day;
then ascended to heaven, that he might sit at the right hand of the
Father, might perpetually reign over all creatures, and might sanctify
those who believe in him, by sending into their hearts the Holy Spirit,
who governs, consoles, quickens, and defends them against the devil and
the power of sin. The same Christ will return again openly, that he may
judge the living and the dead, &c., according to the Apostolic Creed.


They in like manner teach, that men cannot be justified before God by
their own strength, merits, or works; but that they are justified
gratuitously for Christ's sake, through faith; when they believe, that
they are received into favor, and that their sins are remitted on
account of Christ, who made satisfaction for our transgressions by his
death. This faith God imputes to us as righteousness. ROM. iii. 4


In order that we may obtain this faith, the ministerial office has been
instituted, whose members are to teach the gospel, and administer the
sacraments. For through the instrumentality of the word and sacraments,
as means of grace, the Holy Spirit is given, who, in his own time and
place (or more literally, when and where it pleases God), produces
faith in those who hear the gospel message, namely, that God, for
Christ's sake, and not on account of any merit in us, justifies those
who believe that on account of Christ they are received into (the
divine) favor.


They likewise teach, this faith must bring forth good fruits; and that
it is our duty to perform those good works which God has commanded,
because he has enjoined them, and not in the expectation of thereby
meriting justification before him. For, remission of sins and
justification are secured by faith; as the declaration of Christ himself
implies: "When ye shall have done all those things, say, we are
unprofitable servants."

The same thing is taught by the ancient ecclesiastical writers: for
Ambrose says, "this has been ordained by God, that he who believes in
Christ is saved without works, receiving remission of sins gratuitously
through faith alone."


They likewise teach, that there will always be one holy church. The
church is the congregation of the saints, in which the gospel is
correctly taught and the sacraments are properly administered. And for
the true unity of the church nothing more is required, than agreement
concerning the doctrines of the gospel, and the administration of the
sacraments. Nor is it necessary, that the same human traditions, that
is, rites and ceremonies instituted by men, should be everywhere
observed. As Paul says: "One faith, one baptism, one God and Father of
all," &c.


Although the church is properly a congregation of saints and true
believers; yet in the present life, many hypocrites and wicked men are
mingled with them.


Concerning baptism, our churches teach, that it is "a necessary
ordinance," [Note 1] that it is a means of grace, and ought to be
administered also to children, who are thereby dedicated to God, and
received into his favor.


In regard to the Lord's Supper they teach that Christ is present with
the communicants in the Lord's Supper, "under the emblems of bread and
wine." [Note 2]


[As Private Confession and Absolution, which are inculcated in this
Article, though in a modified form, have been universally rejected by
the American Lutheran Church, the omission of this Article is demanded
by the principle on which the American Recension of the Augsburg
Confession is constructed; namely, to omit the several portions, which
are rejected by the great mass of our churches in this country, and to
add nothing in their stead.] [tr. note: bracketed in the original]


Concerning repentance they teach, that those who have relapsed into sin
after baptism, may at any time obtain pardon, when they repent. But
repentance properly consists of two parts. The one is contrition, or
being struck with terrors of conscience, on account of acknowledged sin.
The other is faith, which is produced by the gospel; which believes that
pardon for sin is bestowed for Christ's sake; which tranquilizes the
conscience, and liberates it from fear. Such repentance must be
succeeded by good works as its fruits.


Concerning the use of the sacraments our churches teach, that they were
instituted not only as marks of a Christian profession amongst men; but
rather as signs and evidences of the divine disposition towards us,
tendered for the purpose of exciting and confirming the faith of those
who use them. Hence the sacraments ought to be received with faith in
the promises which are exhibited and proposed by them.

They therefore condemn the opinion of those who maintain, that the
sacraments produce justification in their recipients as a matter of
course, [Note 3] who do not teach that faith is necessary, in the
reception of the sacraments, to the remission of sins.


Concerning church orders they teach, that no person ought publicly to
teach "or preach," [Note 4] in the church, or to administer the
sacraments, without a regular call.


Concerning ecclesiastical ceremonies they teach, that those ceremonies
ought to be observed, which can be attended to without sin, and which
promote peace and good order in the church, such as certain holy-days,
festivals, &c. Concerning matters of this kind, however, men are
cautioned, lest their consciences be burdened, as though such
observances were necessary to salvation. They are also admonished that
human traditionary observances, instituted with a view to appease God,
and to merit his favor, and make satisfaction for sins, are contrary to
the gospel and the doctrine of faith "in Christ." [Note 5] Wherefore
vows and traditionary observances concerning meats, days, &c.,
instituted to merit grace and make satisfaction for sins, are useless,
and contrary to the gospel.


In regard to political affairs our churches teach that legitimate
political enactments are good works of God; that it is lawful for
Christians to hold civil offices, to pronounce judgment, and decide
cases according to existing laws; to inflict just punishment, wage just
wars, and serve in them; to make lawful contracts; hold property; to
make oath when required by the magistrate, to marry, and to be married.

Hence Christians ought necessarily to yield obedience to their civil
officers and laws; unless they should command something sinful; in
which case it is a duty to obey God rather than man. Acts v. 29.


Our churches also teach, that at the end of the world, Christ will
appear for judgment; that he will raise all the dead; that he will
bestow upon the pious and elect eternal life and endless joys, but will
condemn wicked men and devils to be punished without end.


Concerning free will our churches teach, that the human will possesses
some liberty for the performance of civil duties, and for the choice of
those things lying within the control of reason. But it does not possess
the power, without the influence of the Holy Spirit, of being just
before God, or yielding spiritual obedience: for the natural man
receiveth not the things which are of the Spirit of God: but this is
accomplished in the heart, when the Holy Spirit is received through the

The same is declared by Augustine in so many words: "We confess that all
men have a free will, which possesses the judgment of reason, by which
they cannot indeed, without the divine aid, either begin or certainly
accomplish what is becoming in things relating to God; but only in
'outward' [Note 6] works of the present life, as well good as evil. In
good works, I say, which arise from our natural goodness, such as to
choose to labor in the field, to eat and drink, to choose to have a
friend, to have clothing, to build a house, to take a wife, to feed
cattle, to learn various and useful arts, or to do any good thing
relative to this life; all which things, however, do not exist without
the divine government; yea, they exist and begin to be from Him and
through Him. And in evil works (men have a free will), such as to choose
to worship an idol, to will to commit murder," &c.

It is not possible by the mere powers of nature, without the aid of the
Holy Spirit, to love God above all things, and to do his commands
according to their intrinsic design. For, although nature may be able,
after a certain manner, to perform external actions, such as to abstain
from theft, from murder, &c., yet it cannot perform the inner motions,
such as the fear of God, faith in God, chastity, patience, &c.


On this subject they teach, that, although God is  the Creator and
Preserver of nature, the cause of sin must be sought in the depraved
will of the devil and of wicked men, which, when destitute of divine
aid, turns itself away from God: agreeably to the declaration of Christ,
"When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own." - JOHN viii. 44.


Our writers are falsely acccused [sic] of prohibiting good works. Their
publications on the ten commandments, and other similar subjects, show,
that they gave good instructions concerning all the different stations
and duties of life, and explained what course of conduct, in any
particular calling, is pleasing to God. Concerning these things,
preachers formerly said very little, but urged the necessity of puerile
and useless works, such as certain holy-days, fasts, brotherhoods,
pilgrimages, worship of saints, rosaries, monastic vows, &c. These
useless things, our adversaries, having been admonished, now unlearn,
and no longer teach as formerly. Moreover, they now begin to make
mention of faith, about which they formerly observed a marvellous [sic]
silence. They now teach, that we are not justified by works alone, but
join faith to works, and maintain that we are justified by faith and
works. This doctrine is more tolerable than their former belief, and is
calculated to impart more consolation to the mind. Inasmuch, then, as
the doctrine concerning faith, which should be regarded as a principal
one by the church, had so long been unknown; for all must confess, that
concerning the righteousness of faith, the most profound silence
reigned in their sermons, and the doctrine concerning works alone was
discussed in the churches; our divines have admonished the churches as

First, that our works cannot reconcile God, or merit the remission of
sins, grace, and justification: but this we can attain only by faith,
when we believe that we are received into favor, for Christ's sake, who
alone is appointed our mediator and propitiatory sacrifice, by whom the
Father can be reconciled. He, therefore, who expects to merit grace by
his works, casts contempt on the merits and grace of Christ, and is
seeking the way to God, in his own strength, without the Saviour; who
nevertheless has told us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." This
doctrine concerning faith, is incessantly inculcated by the Apostle Paul
(Ephes. ii), "Ye are saved by grace, through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God," not of works, &c. And, lest any one
should cavil at our interpretation, and charge it with novelty, we state
that this whole matter is supported by the testimony of the fathers. For
Augustine devotes many volumes to the defence of grace, and the
righteousness of faith, in opposition to the merit of good works. And
Ambrosius, on the calling of he Gentiles, &c., inculcates the same
doctrine. For thus he says, concerning the calling of the Gentiles:
"Redemption by the blood of Christ is of little value, nor is the honor
of human works subordinated to the mercy of God, if justification, which
is of grace, is supposed to be merited by previous works, so as to be
not the gift of him that bestows it, but the reward of him that earned
it." But, although this doctrine is despised by the inexperienced, the
consciences of the pious and timid find it a source of much consolation,
for they cannot attain peace of conscience in any works, but in faith
alone, when they entertain the confident belief that, for Christ's sake,
God is reconciled to them. Thus Paul teaches us (Rom. v.), "Being
justified by faith, we have peace with God." This whole doctrine must be
referred to the conflict in the conscience of the alarmed sinner, nor
can it be otherwise understood. Hence the inexperienced and
worldly-minded are much mistaken, who vainly imagine that the
righteousness of the Christian is nothing else than what in common life
and in the language of philosophy is termed morality.

Formerly, the consciences of men were harassed by the doctrine of works,
nor did they hear any consolation from the gospel. Some conscience drove
into deserts, and into monasteries, hoping there to merit the divine
favor by a monastic life. Others invented different kinds of works, to
merit grace, and make satisfaction for their sins. There was therefore
the utmost necessity, that this doctrine concerning faith in Christ
should be inculcated anew; in order that timid minds might find
consolation, and know that justification and the remission of sins are
obtained by faith in the Saviour. The people are also now instructed,
that faith does not signify a mere historical belief, such as wicked men
and devils have; but that, in addition to a historical belief, it
includes an acquaintance with the consequences of the history, such as
remission of sins, by grace through Christ, righteousness, &c., &c.

Now, he who knows that the Father is reconciled to him through Christ,
possesses a true acquaintance with God, confides in his providence, and
calls upon his name: and is therefore not without God, as are the
Gentiles. For the devil and wicked men cannot believe the article
concerning the remission of sins. But they hate God as an enemy, do not
call upon his name, nor expect any thing good at his hands. Augustine,
in speaking of the word faith, admonishes the reader that in Scripture
this word does not signify mere knowledge, such as wicked men possess,
but that confidence or trust, by which alarmed sinners are comforted
and lifted up. We, moreover, teach, that the performance of works is
necessary, because it is commanded of God, and not because we expect to
merit grace by them. Pardon of sins and grace are obtained only by
faith. And because the Holy Spirit is received by faith the heart of man
is renovated, and new affections produced, that he may be able to
perform good works. Accordingly, Ambrosius states, faith is the source
of holy volitions and an upright life. For the faculties of man, unaided
by the Holy Spirit, are replete with sinful propensities, and too feeble
to perform works that are good in the sight of God. They are moreover
under the influence of Satan, who urges men to various sins, and impious
opinions, and open crimes; as may be seen in the examples of the
philosophers who, though they endeavored to lead moral lives, failed to
accomplish their designs, and were guilty of many notorious crimes. Such
is the imbecility of man, when he undertakes to govern himself by his
own strength, without faith and the Holy Spirit.

From all this it is manifest, that our doctrine, instead of being
charged with prohibiting good works, ought much rather to be applauded,
for teaching the manner in which truly good works can be performed. For,
without faith, human nature is incapable of performing the duties either
of the first or second table. Without it, man does not call upon God,
nor expect any thing from him, nor bear the cross: but seeks refuge
amongst men, and reposes on human aid. Hence, when faith and confidence
in God are wanting, all evil desires and human schemes reign in the
heart; wherefore Christ also says, "without me ye can do nothing" (John
xv.); and the church responds, Without thy favor there is nothing good
in man.


Concerning the invocation of saints our churches teach, that the saints
ought to be held in remembrance, in order that we may, each in his own
calling, imitate their faith and good works; that the emperor may
imitate the example of David, in carrying on war to expel the Turks
from our country; for both are kings. But the sacred volume does not
teach us to invoke saints or to seek aid from them. For it proposes
Christ to us us our only mediator, propitiation, high priest, and
intercessor. On his name we are to call, and he promises, that he will
hear our prayers, and highly approves of this worship, viz.: that he
should be called upon in every affliction (1 John ii.): "If any one sin,
we have an advocate with the Father," &c.

This is about the substance of our doctrines, from which it is evident
that they contain nothing inconsistent with the Scriptures. Under these
circumstances, those certainly judge harshly, who would have us
regarded as heretics. But the difference of opinion between us (and the
Romanists) relates to certain abuses, which have crept into the (Romish)
churches without any good authority; in regard to which, if we do
differ, the bishops ought to treat us with lenity, and tolerate us, on
account of the confession which we have just made.

Note 1. German reading.

Note 2. German reading.

Note 3. Ex opere operato, from the mere outward performance of the act.

Note 4. German reading.

Note 5. German reading.

Note 6. German copy.


Absolution, form of, 99, 100.
Additions, no heterogeneous ones to be made to the divinely constituted
church, 18.
Alterations in Augsburg Confession by Melancthon, 54.
American, Lutheran, has no reference to place of birth, 9.
American Recension, Digest of, 61.
--------- --------- originated from respect to Augsburg Confession, 44.
Anecdote of the Leyden cobbler, 16.
--------- of Melancthon's mother, 14.
Apology to Augsburg Confession, 25.
Apostles' Creed, when and by whom formed, 20.
Arnold on the diet at Augsburg, 55.
Athanasian Creed adopted, 21.
Augsburg Diet, Papists predominant at, 55.
--------- --------- Melancthon's alarm at, 55.
--------- --------- subscription to, not required in Luther's time, 22.
--------- --------- itself a disclaimer of error, 30.
--------- --------- practice of requiring assent to, rejected, by the
fathers of Pennsylvania Synod fifty years ago, 39.
Augsburg Confession, disadvantages under which it was prepared, 47.
--------- --------- dissented from by Dr. Lochman, 39.
--------- --------- parts of, omitted by him in his edition, 40.
--------- --------- dissented from by many of our principal divines, 41,
Aurifaber's narrative of Augsburg Diet, 78.

Bachman, Dr., dissents from Symbolical books, 42.
Baptism, its influence on adults, 143-144.
--------- --------- infants, 144, 145, 146.
Baptismal Regeneration, see Regeneration baptismal.
Basel, Synod of, it conceded both kinds, 76.
Bible, Luther's deep sense of obligation to, 46.
--------- true and infallible symbol, 41.
Bishops, Reformers willing again to submit to them, 58.
Bohemians claim eucharist entire, 76.

Campegius, Letter of Melancthon to, 51.
Canon of the mass, 73, 77.
Ceremonies of the mass, 64.
Church of Christ, importance of the, 17.
--------- no essential additions to be made to her, 18.
Confession, Dr. Plank on, 102.
--------- private, unscriptural, 103.
--------- how performed, 98-100.
Concessions, Melancthon's, 54, 49.
--------- of the Reformers to Papists, 49.
Concluding remarks, 161-68.
Controversy, religious, sometimes necessary and useful, 13.
--------- how it should be conducted, 16.
--------- the present commenced by Old Lutherans, 8.
Creed of the Council of Nice, 20.
Creeds not commanded by the Bible, 19.
--------- only inferential, 19.
--------- human, all uninspired, 23.
--------- not all changes in, to be deprecated, 45.
--------- must be conformed to Bible truth in every age, 23, 29.

Definite Platform, its origin, 26.
--------- --------- its authors not agitators, 26.
--------- --------- not a new rejection of errors, 43.
--------- --------- retains more of the Augsburg Confession than the
General Synod's Pledge, 15.
--------- --------- adopted by several Synods, 15.
--------- --------- misunderstood, 28.
--------- --------- an unofficial proposal till adopted by Synods,--right
to make it, 32.
--------- --------- claimed no authority till adopted, 32.
Denomination, a Christian bound not to defend, but to reject the errors
of its symbols, 38.
Depravity natural, a scriptural doctrine, 6, 7.
Design of this work, 3, 4.
Disadvantages attending the preparation of Augsburg Confession, 48.
Disclaimer, Synodical, 63.
Doctrine, fundamental, list of, 5.
Duty of a church to test her creed by Scripture, 23.
--------- --------- to alter her creed if found erroneous, 29, 162-68.
--------- --------- cannot be to deny the truth, 162.

Elevation of the host, long retained by Luther, 65.
Endress, Dr., disavows parts of the Augsburg Confession, 41.
Episcopal Church in America changed her standards, 30.
Eucharist, the symbols on, 148, 149, 150.
--------- real presence of Christ's body in, refuted, 151-52.
--------- supposed sin-forgiving power of, not scriptural, 153-54.
Exorcism, altered interpretation of, 155.
--------- long retained in some parts of the church, 155, &c.
--------- Koellner, Guericke, other authorities, 156.
--------- ascertained facts in the case, 160.
Faber, his attempted refutation of Augsburg Confession, 76.
Faith, a living, always required for pardon, 130.
Forgiveness of sin belongs to God alone, 104, &c.
Form of Concord rejected by a large part of the Lutheran Church, 24.
--------- --------- acknowledges the right of altering confessions, 38.
Fuhrman on the mass, 68.
Fundamental doctrine, what? 4.
Funk on Private Confession, 98.

General Synod, liberality of her basis, 9.
Golden age of the Christian church, 20.
Gospel, life of the, the true life of a church, 37.

Hagenbach, Dr., on bodily presence in the supper, 60.
Hazelius, Dr., on the Diet of Augsburg, 55.
--------- Dr., dissents from the Augsburg Confession, 42.
History of American Lutheran Church, 93.
Host, elevation of, long retained, 65.

Improvement of erroneous creeds creditable to a church, 45.
Investigation the safeguard of religious truth, 14.

Jacobsen, Professor, on Confession, 102.
Jonas, Justus, Luther's Letter to, 54.
Justification, faith and not the sacraments the immediate condition
of, 130.

Keys, power of, 100, 101.
Knapp, Dr., not symbolic, 59.
--------- on the eucharist, 60.
--------- influence of the sacraments defined, 133.
Koecher, Dr., views of the duty of a church to correct her
confession, 45.

Larger Catechism of Luther rejected, 25.
Latin hymns in the mass, 82.
Life, the true, of the church, what? 37.
Lintner, Dr., dissents from the Augsburg Confession, 42.
Lochman, Dr., omits large portions of the Augsburg Confession in his
recension, 40.
Lord's Supper, see Eucharist.
Luther, the Protestant princes abstain from consulting him during the
Diet at Augsburg, 50.
--------- progressive reformer, 65.
--------- his use of the word mass, 71, &c.
--------- engaged in constant controversy, 14.
--------- was originally pledged to the whole Romish system, 21.
--------- enlightened by the study of Scripture, 21.
--------- never signed any confession of faith, 22.
--------- his defiance of papists, 54.
--------- his letter to Lazarus Spengler, 71, to Hausmann, 71, to
Jonas, 72.
--------- acknowledges the imperfection of the reformation, 35.
--------- his oath of obedience to Papacy, 21.
--------- his sense of obligation to the Bible, 46.
Lutheran Church, American, founded on Independent or Congregational,
or Republican principles, 32, 33.

Mass, closet, early rejected, 65.
--------- public, rejected after Augsburg diet, 66.
--------- ceremonies of, retained by Augsburg Confession, 66, 68.
--------- its nature, 69, 71.
--------- reformers trained to its Papal use, 70.
--------- the usus loquendi of the word, 71, 72, 81-90.
--------- distinct from sacrament or Lord's Supper, 71, &c., 74.
--------- Canon of, what, 73.
--------- Luther's definition of, 74.
--------- meaning, in the symbols, 81, &c., 90.
Mann, Rev., misapplies the word heretic, 26.
--------- misapprehends the profession of the New School Lutherans, 33.
Melancthon, his concessions to Popery, 53, 54.
--------- Luther's rebuke for his concessions, 53, 54.
--------- on the mass, 74-78.
--------- Letters to Luther, 75, 76, 77, 48. [sic]
--------- advice to his mother, 14.
--------- did not regard the Augsburg Confession as perfect, 23.
--------- ready to submit to Romish bishops again, 35.
--------- describes his danger and depression at the Diet, 49.
--------- complains about the indifference of the princes to consult
Luther, 50.
--------- his remarkable letter to Campegius, 51.
Methodists, Episcopal, made extensive changes in the Thirty-nine
Articles, 31.
Miller, Dr. G. B., dissents from the Augsburg Confession, 42.
Mosheim, Dr., 68, 132.
Murdock, Dr., on the mass, 68.

Natural Depravity, a Scriptural doctrine, 6, 7.
--------- --------- reality of it taught by the author, 6, 7.
New creed, advocated by some, 44.

Our church, right or wrong, an unchristian motto, 38.
Obedience, offered to the Romish church by Melancthon, to obtain
peace, 52.

Pardon or justification, faith the condition of, 130.
Peculiarities of our church when scriptural, to be retained, 38.
Plank, Dr., on confession, 102.
Platform, Definite, see Definite Platform.
Political institutions less important than the church, 17.
Popular Theology, reference to, 93.
Presbyterians changed their confession, 31.
Private confession, how performed, 98.
--------- --------- rejected, 25.
Public confession substituted for private, 25.
Puseyism, 131.
--------- flatters the vanity of ministers, 131.

Question, the true state of, 17.

Rationalism, unjustly charged on some American writers by Germans, 7, 8.
Recension, American, digest of, 61.
Reformation, time of, at the diet, not favorable to the formation of a
full, impartial creed, 22, 47.
Reformers, progressive, 57, 58, 65.
--------- fallible men, 35.
Refutation, papal, of Augsburg Confession, 79.
--------- distinguishes between mass and eucharist, 79.
Reinhard, Dr., not symbolic, 59, 132.
Reply to Rev. Mann's general observations, 22-24.
Responsibility, fearful, of disseminating error in creeds, 34.
Right of ministers to dissent from the Augsburg Confession conceded, 43.
Reformer's, the, if living would themselves reject these errors, 35.
--------- were educated till adult age in all the superstitions
of Rome, 37.
Regeneration, baptismal, 135, &c.
--------- --------- taught by the symbolical books, 135, 136, 137.
--------- --------- taught by the Reformers, 138-140.
--------- --------- taught by the early theologians, 140, &c.
Regeneration, baptismal, influence of this doctrine on the
pulpit, 141, &c.
Rufinus' report on the origin of the Apostles' creed, 19.
Romanists and Puseyites in error, 18.

Sabbath, views of the Reformers on, 107, 111, 112, &c.
--------- Ruecker, Hengstenberg, Waler, on, 108, 109.
Sacraments, their relation to pardon or justification, 9.
Schaeffer, Dr. F. C., dissents from the Augsburg Confession, 41.
Schaff, Dr., an inadvertence corrected, 5, 6.
Schultz, Dr., on German theology, 60.
Scriptures, why better understood more than three centuries ago, 36.
Siegel, on history of the mass, 69; confession, 102.
Sin, pardon of, belongs to God, 104, &c.
Smalcald Articles, more decided, 55.
--------- --------- rejected by Sweden and Denmark, 25.
Smaller Catechism of Luther, rejected in Sweden, 25.
Spalatin, his abstract of Augsburg Confession, 79.
--------- distinguishes between mass and Lord's Supper, 79.
Standpoint of the American Lutheran Church, 35.
Storr, Dr., 59.
Symbolism, Post-Lutheran and Ultra-Lutheran, 164.
Symbolic, what makes a book such, 160, 161.
Symbols, departure of German theologians from, 59.
Symbolic System, when introduced, 22.
--------- --------- no part of original Lutheranism, 163.
Symbol, the mother, of Protestantism retained, 44.
Synods, General, doctrinal basis defended, 4.

Theologians, German, unsymbolic, 59.
Theological Seminary, liberality of her doctrinal basis, 9.
Topics discussed in this work, 4.
Truth fears not investigation, 44.

Ultra-Lutherans must unchurch the Lutherans of Luther's lifetime, 25.

War on the Platform by Old Lutherans, offensive and not defensive
war, 25.
Western Synods, the Platform primarily designed for them 27.
Word of God, the inspired, complete, 18.
--------- --------- the only creed used in the apostolic age, 18.

Zwingle's Confession, 75.

[tr. note: after the index, the copy transcribed includes a 12 page
catalog of books available from the publisher T. Newton Kurtz,
Baltimore, Maryland which, in accordance with LibraryBlog
guidelines, was not transcribed. The introductory statement, however,
is transcribed below; the first 9 lines all appeared in different type
fonts and sizes.]


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