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´╗┐Title: Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
Author: Bente, F. (Friedrich), 1858-1930
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church" ***

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Louis, Class of 1980

Historical Introductions
to the
Symbolical Books
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
by F. Bente

I. The Book of Concord, or The Concordia.

1. General and Particular Symbols.

Book of Concord, or Concordia, is the title of the Lutheran _corpus
doctrinae, i.e._, of the symbols recognized and published under that
name by the Lutheran Church. The word symbol, _sumbolon,_ is derived
from the verb _sumballein,_ to compare two things for the purpose of
perceiving their relation and association. _Sumbolon_ thus developed the
meaning of _tessara,_ or sign, token, badge, banner, watchword, parole,
countersign, confession, creed. A Christian symbol, therefore, is a mark
by which Christians are known. And since Christianity is essentially the
belief in the truths of the Gospel, its symbol is of necessity a
confession of Christian doctrine. The Church, accordingly, has from the
beginning defined and regarded its symbols as a rule of faith or a rule
of truth. Says Augustine: "Symbolum est regula fidei brevis et grandis:
brevis numero verborum, grandis pondere sententiarum. A symbol is a rule
of faith, both brief and grand: brief, as to the number of words, grand,
as to the weight of its thoughts."

Cyprian was the first who applied the term symbol to the baptismal
confession, because, he said, it distinguished the Christians from
non-Christians. Already at the beginning of the fourth century the
Apostles' Creed was universally called symbol, and in the Middle Ages
this name was applied also to the Nicene and the Athanasian Creeds. In
the Introduction to the Book of Concord the Lutheran confessors
designate the Augsburg Confession as the "symbol of our faith," and in
the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, as "our symbol of this time."

Symbols may be divided into the following classes: 1. Ecumenical
symbols, which, at least in the past, have been accepted by all
Christendom, and are still formally acknowledged by most of the
evangelical Churches; 2. particular symbols, adopted by the various
denominations of divided Christendom; 3. private symbols, such as have
been formulated and published by individuals, for example, Luther's
Confession of the Lord's Supper of 1528. The publication of private
confessions does not necessarily involve an impropriety; for according
to Matt. 10, 32 33 and 1 Pet. 3, 15 not only the Church as a whole, but
individual Christians as well are privileged and in duty bound to
confess the Christian truth over against its public assailants.
Self-evidently, only such are symbols of particular churches as have
been approved and adopted by them. The symbols of the Church, says the
Formula of Concord, "should not be based on private writings, but on
such books as have been composed, approved, and received in the name of
the churches which pledge themselves to one doctrine and religion."
(CONC. TRIGL., 851, 2.)

Not being formally and explicitly adopted by all Christians, the
specifically Lutheran confessions also are generally regarded as
particular symbols. Inasmuch, however, as they are in complete agreement
with Holy Scripture, and in this respect differ from all other
particular symbols, the Lutheran confessions are truly ecumenical and
catholic in character. They contain the truths believed universally by
true Christians everywhere, explicitly by all consistent Christians,
implicitly even by inconsistent and erring Christians. Christian truth,
being one and the same the world over is none other than that which is
found in the Lutheran confessions.

2. The German Book of Concord.

The printing of the official German edition of the Book of Concord was
begun in 1578 under the editorship of Jacob Andreae. The 25th of June,
1580, however, the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation of the
Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V, was chosen as the date for its
official publication at Dresden and its promulgation to the general
public. Following are the contents of one of the five Dresden folio
copies which we have compared: 1. The title-page, concluding with the
words, "Mit Churf. G. zu Sachsen Befreiung. Dresden MDLXXX." 2. The
preface, as adopted and signed by the estates at Jueterbock in 1579,
which supplanted the explanation, originally planned, of the theologians
against the various attacks made upon the Formula of Concord. 3. The
three Ecumenical Symbols. 4. The Augsburg Confession of 1530. 5. The
Apology of 1530. 6. The Smalcald Articles of 1537, with the appendix,
"Concerning the Power and Supremacy of the Pope." 7. Luther's Small
Catechism, omitting the "Booklets of Marriage and Baptism," found in
some copies. 8. Luther's Large Catechism. 9. The Formula of Concord,
with separate title-pages for the Epitome and the Solida Declaratio,
both dated 1580. 10. The signatures of the theologians, etc., amounting
to about 8,000. 11. The Catalogus Testimoniorum, with the superscription
"Appendix" (found in some copies only). The Preface is followed by a
_Privilegium_ signed by Elector August and guaranteeing to Matthes
Stoeckel and Gimel Bergen the sole right of publication, a document not
found in the other copies we compared. The Formula of Concord is
followed by a twelve-page index of the doctrines treated in the Book of
Concord, and the list of signatures, by a page containing the trade-mark
of the printer. The center of this page features a cut inscribed,
"Matthes Stoeckel Gimel Bergen 1579." The cut is headed by Ps. 9, 1. 2:
"Ich danke dem Herrn von ganzem Herzen und erzaehle all deine Wunder.
Ich freue mich und bin froehlich in dir und lobe deinen Namen, du
Allerhoechster. I thank the Lord with all my heart and proclaim all Thy
wonders. I am glad and rejoice in Thee, and praise Thy name, Thou Most
High." Under the cut are the words: "Gedruckt zu Dresden durch Matthes
Stoeckel. Anno 1580. Printed by Matthes Stoeckel, Dresden, 1580."

In a letter dated November 7, 1580, Martin Chemnitz speaks of two
Dresden folio editions of the German Book of Concord, while Feuerlinus,
in 1752, counts seven Dresden editions. As a matter of fact, the Dresden
folio copies differ from one another, both as to typography and
contents. Following are the chief differences of the latter kind: 1.
Only some copies have the liturgical Forms of Baptism and of Marriage
appended to the Small Catechism. 2. The Catalogus is not entitled
"Appendix" in all copies, because it was not regarded as a part of the
confession proper. 3. In some copies the passage from the Augsburg
Confession, quoted in Art. 2, 29 of the Solida Declaratio, is taken, not
from the Mainz Manuscript, but from the quarto edition of 1531, which
already contained some alterations. 4. Some copies are dated 1580, while
others bear the date 1579 or 1581. Dr. Kolde gives it as his opinion
that in spite of all these and other (chiefly typographical) differences
they are nevertheless all copies of one and the same edition, with
changes only in individual sheets. (_Historische Einleitung in die
Symbolischen Buecher der ev.-luth. Kirche,_ p. 70.) Dr. Tschackert
inclines to the same view, saying: "Such copies of this edition as have
been preserved exhibit, in places, typographical differences. This,
according to Polycarp Leyser's _Kurzer und gegruendeter Bericht,_
Dresden, 1597 (Kolde, 70), is due to the fact that the manuscript was
rushed through the press and sent in separate sheets to the interested
estates, and that, while the forms were in press, changes were made on
the basis of the criticisms sent in from time to time, yet not equally,
so that some copies differ in certain sheets and insertions." (_Die
Entstehung der luth. und der ref. Kirchenlehre,_ 1910, p. 621.)

However, while this hypothesis explains a number of the variations in
the Dresden folio copies, it does not account for all of them especially
not for those of a typographical nature. In one of the five copies which
we compared, the title-page, radically differing from the others, reads
as follows: "Formula Concordiae. Das ist: Christliche, Heilsame Reine
Vergleichunge, in welcher die Goettliche Leer von den vornembsten
Artikeln vnserer wahrhafftigen Religion, aus heiliger Schrift in kurtze
bekanntnues oder Symbola vnd Leerhafte Schrifften,: welche allbereit vor
dieser zeit von den Kirchen Gottes Augspurgischer Confession, angenommen
vnd approbiert:, verfasset. Sampt bestendiger, in Gottes wort
wolgegruendeter, richtiger, endlicher widerholung, erklerung und
entscheidung deren Streit, welche vnter etlichen Theologen, so sich zu
ermelter Confession bekant, fuergefallen. Alles nach inhalt der heiligen
Schrifft, als der einigen Richtschnur der Goettlichen wahrheit, vnd nach
anleitung obgemeldter in der Kirchen Gottes, approbierten Schrifften.
Auff gnedigsten, gnedigen, auch guetigsten beuehl, verordnung und
einwilligung nach beschriebener Christlichen Churfuersten, Fuersten vnd
Stende des heiligen Roemischen Reichs Deutscher Nation, Augspurgischer
Confession, derselben Landen, Kirchen, Schulen vnd Nachkommen zum trost
vnd besten in Druck vorfertiget. M. D. LXXIX." ("Formula of Concord,
that is, Christian, wholesome, pure agreement, in which the divine
doctrine of the chief articles of our true religion have been drawn up
from the Holy Scripture in short confessions or symbols and doctrinal
writings, which have already before this time been accepted and approved
by the Churches of God of the Augsburg Confession, together with a firm,
Scripturally well-founded, correct, final repetition, explanation and
decision of those controversies which have arisen among some theologians
who have subscribed to said Confession, all of which has been drawn up
according to the contents of Holy Scripture, the sole norm of divine
Truth, and according to the analogy of the above-named writings which
have the approval of the Churches of God. Published by the most
gracious, kind, and benevolent command, order, and assent of the
subscribed Christian Electors, princes, and estates of the Holy Roman
Empire, of the German nation, of the Augsburg Confession, for the
comfort and benefit of said lands churches, schools, and posterity.

Apart from the above title this copy differs from the others we examined
in various ways Everywhere (at four different places) it bears the date
1579, which, on the chief title-page, however, seems to have been
entered in ink at a later date. Also the place of publication, evidently
Dresden, is not indicated. Two variations are found in the Preface to
the Book of Concord, one an omission, the other an addition. The
signatures of the princes and estates to the Preface are omitted.
Material and formal differences are found also on the pages containing
the subscriptions of the theologians to the Formula of Concord; and the
Catalogus is lacking entirely. The typography everywhere, especially in
the portions printed in Roman type, exhibits many variations and
divergences from our other four copies, which, in turn, are also
characterized by numerous typographical and other variations. The copy
of which, above, we have given the contents is dated throughout 1580.
Our third copy bears the same date 1580, excepting on the title-page of
the Solida Declaratio, which has 1579. In both of these copies the
typography of the signatures to the Book of Concord is practically
alike. In our fourth copy the date 1580 is found on the title-page of
the Concordia, the Catalogus, and the appended Saxon Church Order, which
covers 433 pages, while the title-pages of the Epitome and the
Declaratio and the page carrying the printer's imprint are all dated
1579. In this copy the typography of the signatures closely resembles
that of the copy dated everywhere 1579. In our fifth Dresden folio copy,
the title-page of the Book of Concord and the Catalogus are dated 1580,
while the title-pages of the Epitome and Solida Declaratio are dated
1579. This is also the only copy in which the Catalogus is printed under
the special heading "Appendix."

In view of these facts, especially the variation of the Roman type in
all copies, Kolde's hypothesis will hardly be regarded as firmly
established. Even if we eliminate the copy which is everywhere dated
1579, the variations in our four remaining Dresden folio copies cannot
be explained satisfactorily without assuming either several editions or
at least several different compositions for the same edition, or perhaps
for the two editions mentioned by Chemnitz. Feuerlinus distinguishes
seven Dresden editions of the Book of Concord--one, printed for the
greater part in 1578, the second, third, and fourth in 1580, the fifth
in 1581, the sixth also in 1581, but in quarto, and the seventh in 1598,
in folio. (_Bibliotheca Symbolica,_ 1752, p. 9.) A copy like the one
referred to above, which is everywhere dated 1579, does not seem to have
come to the notice of Feuerlinus.

In the copy of the Tuebingen folio edition which is before us, the Index
follows the Preface. The appendices of the Small Catechism are omitted,
likewise the superscription Appendix of the Catalogus. Our copy of the
Heidelberg folio edition of 1582 omits the Catalogus and adds the
Apology of the Book of Concord of 1583, as also the Refutation of the
Bremen Pastors of the same year. A copy of the Magdeburg quarto edition
lying before us has the year 1580 on the title-pages of the Book of
Concord, the Epitome, the Declaratio, and the Catalogus. The Preface is
followed by three pages, on which Joachim Frederick guarantees to
"Thomas Frantzen Buchvorlegern" (Thomas Frantzen, publishers) the sole
right of publication for a period of five years, and prohibits the
introduction of other copies, excepting only those of the Dresden folio
edition of 1580. Luther's Booklets of Marriage and of Baptism are
appended to the Small Catechism, and to the Large Catechism is added
"Eine kurze Vermahnung zu der Beicht, A Brief Exhortation to
Confession." (None of the Dresden folio copies we compared contain these
appendices, nor are they found in the Latin editions of 1580 and 1584.)
The index is followed by a page of corrected misprints. The last page
has the following imprint: "Gedruckt zu Magdeburg durch Johann Meiszner
und Joachim Walden Erben, Anno 1580, Printed at Magdeburg by John
Meissner's and Joachim Walden's heirs. In the year 1580."

3. The Latin Concordia.

Even before the close of 1580, Selneccer published a Latin Concordia
containing a translation of the Formula of Concord begun by Lucas
Osiander in 1578 and completed by Jacob Heerbrand. It was a private
undertaking and, owing to its numerous and partly offensive mistakes,
found no recognition. Thus, for instance, the passage of the Tractatus
"De Potestate et Primatu Papae" in sec. 24: "Christ gives the highest
and final judgment to the church," was rendered as follows: "Et Christus
summum et ultimum ferculum apponit ecclesiae." (p. 317.) Besides,
Selneccer had embodied in his Concordia the objectionable text of the
Augsburg Confession found in the octavo edition of 1531, which
Melanchthon had altered extensively.

The necessary revision of the Latin text was made at the convention in
Quedlinburg during December, 1582, and January, 1583, Chemnitz giving
material assistance. The revised edition, which constitutes the Latin
_textus receptus_ of the Formula of Concord, was published at Leipzig in
1584. Aside from many corrections, this edition contains the translation
of the Formula of Concord as already corrected by Selneccer in 1582 for
his special Latin-German edition, and afterwards thoroughly revised by
Chemnitz. The texts of the Augsburg Confession and the Apology follow
the _editio princeps_ of 1531. The 8,000 signatures, embodied also in
the Latin edition of 1580, were omitted, lest any one might complain
that his name was appended to a book which he had neither seen nor
approved. In keeping herewith, the words in the title of the Book of
Concord: "_et nomina sua huic libro subscripserunt_--and have subscribed
their names to this book," which Mueller retained in his edition, were
eliminated. The title-page concludes as in the edition of 1580, the word
"denuo" only being added and the date correspondingly changed. On the
last two pages of this edition of 1584 Selneccer refers to the edition
of 1580 as follows: "Antea publicatus est liber Christianae Concordiae,
Latine, sed privato et festinato instituto, Before this the Book of
Concord has been published in Latin, but as a private and hasty
undertaking." In the edition of 1584, the text of the Small Catechism is
adorned with 23 Biblical illustrations.

Among the later noteworthy editions of the Book of Concord are the
following: Tuebingen 1599; Leipzig, 1603, 1622; Stuttgart 1660, 1681.
Editions furnished with introductions or annotations or both: H.
Pipping, 1703; S.J. Baumgarten, 1747; J.W. Schoepff, Part I, 1826, Part
II, 1827; F.A. Koethe, 1830; J.A. Detzer, 1830; F.W. Bodemann, 1843. In
America the entire Book of Concord was printed in German by H. Ludwig,
of New York, in 1848, and by the Concordia Publishing House of St.
Louis, Mo., in 1880. In Leipzig, Latin editions appeared in the years
1602, 1606, 1612, 1618, 1626, 1654, 1669, 1677. Adam Rechenberg's
edition "with an appendix in three parts and new indices" (_cum
appendice tripartita et novis indicibus_) saw five editions--1678, 1698,
1712, 1725, 1742. We mention also the edition of Pfaffius, 1730;
Tittmann, 1817; H.A.G. Meyer, 1830, containing a good preface; Karl
Hase, in his editions of 1827, 1837, and 1845, was the first to number
the paragraphs. Reineccius prepared a German-Latin edition in 1708. This
was followed in 1750 by the German-Latin edition of Johann Georg Walch.
Mueller's well-known German-Latin Concordia saw eleven editions between
1847 and 1912. Since 1907 it appears with historical introductions by
Th. Kolde.

4. English Translations.

All of the Lutheran symbols have been translated into the English
language repeatedly. In 1536 Richard Tavener prepared the first
translation of the Augsburg Confession. Cranmer published, in 1548, "A
Short Instruction into the Christian Religion," essentially a
translation of the Ansbach-Nuernberg Sermons on the Catechism. In 1834 a
translation of the German text of the Augsburg Confession with
"Preliminary Observations" was published at Newmarket, Va., by Charles
Henkel, Prof. Schmidt of the Seminary at Columbus O., assisting in this
work. The Introduction to the Newmarket Book of Concord assigns Henkel's
translation of the Augsburg Confession to the year 1831. Our copy,
however, which does not claim to be a second edition, is dated 1834. In
his _Popular Theology_ of 1834, S.S. Schmucker offered a translation of
the Latin text, mutilated in the interest of his _American Lutheranism._
Hazelius followed him with a translation in 1841. In 1848, Ludwig, of
New York, issued a translation of the German text of the Unaltered
Augsburg Confession, as well as of the Introduction, prepared by C.H.
Schott, together with the Ecumenical Symbols, also with introductions.
The title-page of our copy lists the price of the book at 12 1/2 cents.
C.P. Krauth's translation of the Augsburg Confession appeared in 1868.
The first complete translation of the German text of the entire Book of
Concord was published in 1851 by the publishing house of Solomon D.
Henkel & Bros., at Newmarket, Va. In this translation, however, greater
stress was laid on literary style than upon an exact reproduction of the
original. Ambrose and Socrates Henkel prepared the translation of the
Augsburg Confession, the Apology, the Smalcald Articles, the Appendix,
and the Articles of Visitation. The Small Catechism was offered in the
translation prepared by David Henkel in 1827. The Large Catechism was
translated by J. Stirewalt; the Epitome, by H. Wetzel; the Declaratio,
by J.R. Moser. The second, improved edition of 1854 contained a
translation of the Augsburg Confession by C. Philip Krauth, the Apology
was translated by W.F. Lehmann, the Smalcald Articles by W.M. Reynolds,
the two Catechisms by J.G. Morris, and the Formula of Concord together
with the Catalogus by C.F. Schaeffer. In both editions the historical
introductions present a reproduction of the material in J.T. Mueller's
_Book of Concord._

In 1882 a new English translation of the entire Book of Concord,
together with introductions and other confessional material, appeared in
two volumes, edited by Dr. H.E. Jacobs. The first volume of this edition
embraces the confessional writings of the Lutheran Church. It contains
C.P. Krauth's translation of the Augsburg Confession as revised for
Schaff's _Creeds of Christendom._ Jacobs translated the Apology (from
the Latin, with insertions, in brackets, of translations from the German
text), the Smalcald Articles (from the German), the Tractatus (from the
Latin), and the Formula of Concord. The translation of the Small
Catechism was prepared by a committee of the Ministerium of
Pennsylvania. The Large Catechism was done into English by A. Martin. A
reprint of this edition appeared in 1911, entitled "People's Edition,"
in which the Augsburg Confession is presented in a translation prepared
by a committee of the General Council, the General Synod, the United
Synod in the South, and the Ohio Synod. The second volume of Jacobs's
edition of the Book of Concord embodies historical introductions to the
Lutheran symbols, translations of the Marburg Articles, the Schwabach
Articles, the Torgau Articles, the Altered Augsburg Confession of 1540
and 1542, Zwingli's Ratio Fidei, the Tetrapolitana, the Romish
Confutatio, Melanchthon's Opinion of 1530, Luther's Sermon on the
Descent into Hell of 1533, the Wittenberg Concordia, the Leipzig Interim
the Catalogus Testimoniorum, the Articles of Visitation, and the
Decretum Upsaliense of 1593. The Principles of Faith and Church Polity
of the General Council and an index complete this volume. A Norwegian
and a Swedish translation of the Book of Concord have also been
published in America.

5. Corpora Doctrinae Supplanted by Book of Concord.

More than twenty different Lutheran collections of symbols or _corpora
doctrinae_ (a term first employed by Melanchthon), most of them bulky,
had appeared after the death of Luther and before the adoption of the
Formula of Concord, by which quite a number of them were supplanted.
From the signatures to its Preface it appears that the entire Book of
Concord was adopted by 3 electors, 20 princes, 24 counts, 4 barons, and
35 imperial cities. And the list of signatures appended to the Formula
of Concord contains about 8,000 names of theologians, preachers, and
schoolteachers. About two-thirds of the German territories which
professed adherence to the Augsburg Confession adopted and introduced
the Book of Concord as their _corpus doctrinae._ (Compare Historical
Introduction to the Formula of Concord.)

Among the _corpora doctrinae_ which were gradually superseded by the
Book of Concord are the following: 1. Corpus Doctrinae Philippicum, or
Misnicum, or Wittenbergense of 1560, containing besides the Three
Ecumenical Symbols, the following works of Melanchthon: Variata,
Apologia, Repetitio Augustanae Confessionis, Loci, Examen Ordinandorum
of 1552, Responsio ad Articulos Bavaricae Inquisitionis, Refutatio
Serveti. Melanchthon, shortly before his death, wrote the preface for
the Latin as well as the German edition of this Corpus. 2. Corpus
Doctrinae Pomeranicum of 1564 which adds Luther's Catechisms, the
Smalcald Articles, and three other works of Luther to the Corpus
Doctrinae Philippicum, which had been adopted 1561. 3. Corpus Doctrinae
Prutenicum, or Borussicum, of Prussia, 1567, containing the Augsburg
Confession, the Apology, the Smalcald Articles, and Repetition of the
Sum and Content of the True, Universal Christian Doctrine of the Church,
written by Moerlin and Chemnitz. 4. Corpus Doctrinae Thuringicum in
Ducal Saxony, of 1570, containing the Three Ecumenical Symbols, Luther's
Catechisms, the Smalcald Articles, the Confession of the Landed Estates
in Thuringia (drawn up by Justus Menius in 1549), and the Prince of
Saxony's Book of Confutation (_Konfutationsbuch_) of 1558. 5. Corpus
Doctrinae Brandenburgicum of 1572, containing the Augsburg Confession
according to the Mainz Manuscript, Luther's Small Catechism, Explanation
of the Augsburg Confession drawn from the postils and doctrinal writings
"of the faithful man of God Dr. Luther" by Andreas Musculus, and a
Church Agenda. 6. Corpus Doctrinae Wilhelminum of Lueneburg, 1576,
containing the Three Ecumenical Symbols, the Augsburg Confession, the
Apology, the Smalcald Articles, Luther's Catechisms, Formulae Caute
Loquendi (Forms of Speaking Cautiously) by Dr. Urbanus Regius, and
Formulae Recte Sentiendi de Praecipuis Horum Temporum Controversiis
(Forms of Thinking Correctly concerning the Chief Controversies of These
Times) by Martin Chemnitz. 7. Corpus Doctrinae Iulium of Duke Julius of
Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel, 1576, containing the documents of the
Wilhelminum, with the sole addition of the Short Report of Some
Prominent Articles of Doctrine, from the Church Order of Duke Julius, of
1569. 8. The Hamburg Book of Confession of 1560, which was also adopted
by Luebeck and Lueneburg, and contained a confession against the Interim
drawn up by Aepinus in 1548, and also four declarations concerning
Adiaphorism, Osiandrism, Majorism, and the doctrine of the Lord's
Supper, drawn up since 1549. 9. The Confessional Book of Braunschweig,
adopted in 1563 and reaffirmed in 1570, containing, The Braunschweig
Church Order of 1528, the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology
thereof, the Smalcald Articles, Explanation, etc., drawn up at Lueneburg
in 1561 against the Crypto-Calvinists. 10. The Church Order of the city
of Goettingen 1568, containing the Church Order of Goettingen of 1531,
Luther's Small Catechism, the Smalcald Articles, the Augsburg
Confession, and the Apology. (Tschackert, _l.c._, 613f.; Feuerlinus,
_l.c._, 1f.)

6. Subscription to Confessions.

The position accorded the symbols in the Lutheran Church is clearly
defined by the Book of Concord itself. According to it Holy Scripture
alone is to be regarded as the sole rule and norm by which absolutely
all doctrines and teachers are to be judged. The object of the
Augustana, as stated in its Preface, was to show "what manner of
doctrine has been set forth, in our lands and churches from the Holy
Scripture and the pure Word of God." And in its Conclusion the Lutheran
confessors declare: "Nothing has been received on our part against
Scripture or the Church Catholic," and "we are ready, God willing, to
present ampler information according to the Scriptures." "Iuxta
Scripturam"--such are the closing words of the Augsburg Confession. The
Lutheran Church knows of no other principle.

In the Formula of Concord we read: "Other writings, however, of ancient
or modern teachers, whatever name they bear, must not be regarded as
equal to the Holy Scriptures, but all of them together be subjected to
them, and should not be received otherwise or further than as witnesses,
[which are to show] in what manner after the time of the apostles, and
at what places, this doctrine of the prophets and apostles was
preserved." (777, 2.) In the Conclusion of the Catalog of Testimonies we
read: "The true saving faith is to be founded upon no church-teachers,
old or new, but only and alone upon God's Word, which is comprised in
the Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles, as unquestionable
witnesses of divine truth." (1149.)

The Lutheran symbols, therefore, are not intended to supplant the
Scriptures, nor do they do so. They do, however, set forth what has been
at all times the unanimous understanding of the pure Christian doctrine
adhered to by sincere and loyal Lutherans everywhere; and, at the same
time, they show convincingly from the Scriptures that our forefathers
did indeed manfully confess nothing but God's eternal truth, which every
Christian is in duty bound to, and consistently always will, believe,
teach, and confess.

The manner also in which Lutherans pledge themselves confessionally
appears from these symbols. The Augsburg Confession was endorsed by the
princes and estates as follows: "The above articles we desire to present
in accordance with the edict of Your Imperial Majesty, in order to
exhibit our Confession and let men see a summary of the doctrine of our
teachers." (95, 6.) In the preamble to the signatures of 1537 the
Lutheran preachers unanimously confess: "We have reread the articles of
the Confession presented to the Emperor in the Assembly at Augsburg, and
by the favor of God all the preachers who have been present in this
Assembly at Smalcald harmoniously declare that they believe and teach in
their churches according to the articles of the Confession and Apology."
(529.) John Brenz declares that he had read and reread, time and again,
the Confession, the Apology, etc., and judged "that all these agree with
Holy Scripture, and with the belief of the true and genuine catholic
Church (_haec omnia convenire cum Sacra Scriptura et cum sententia verae
kai gnesies catholicae ecclesiae_)." (529.) Another subscription--to the
Smalcald Articles--reads: "I, Conrad Figenbotz, for the glory of God
subscribe that I have thus believed and am still preaching and firmly
believing as above." (503, 13.) Brixius writes in a similar vein: "I ...
subscribe to the Articles of the reverend Father Martin Luther, and
confess that hitherto I have thus believed and taught, and by the Spirit
of Christ I shall continue thus to believe and teach." (503, 27.)

In the Preface to the Thorough Declaration of the Formula of Concord the
Lutheran confessors declare: "To this Christian Augsburg Confession, so
thoroughly grounded in God's Word, we herewith pledge ourselves again
from our inmost hearts. We abide by its simple, clear, and unadulterated
meaning as the words convey it, and regard the said Confession as a pure
Christian symbol, with which at the present time true Christians ought
to be found next to God's Word.... We intend also, by the grace of the
Almighty, faithfully to abide until our end by this Christian
Confession, mentioned several times, as it was delivered in the year
1530 to the Emperor Charles V; and it is our purpose, neither in this
nor in any other writing, to recede in the least from that oft-cited
Confession, nor to propose another or new confession." (847, 4. 5.)
Again: "We confess also the First, Unaltered Augsburg Confession as our
symbol for this time (not because it was composed by our theologians,
but because it has been taken from God's Word and is founded firmly and
well therein), precisely in the form in which it was committed to
writing in the year 1530, and presented to the Emperor Charles V at
Augsburg." (851, 5.)

In like manner the remaining Lutheran symbols were adopted. (852. 777.)
Other books, the Formula of Concord declares, are accounted useful, "as
far as (_wofern, quatenus_) they are consistent with" the Scriptures and
the symbols. (855, 10.) The symbols, however, are accepted "that we may
have a unanimously received, definite, common form of doctrine, which
all our Evangelical churches together and in common confess, from and
according to which, because (_cum, weil_) it has been derived from God's
Word, all other writings should be judged and adjusted, as to how far
(_wiefern, quatenus_) they are to be approved and accepted." (855, 10.)

After its adoption by the Lutheran electors, princes, and estates, the
Formula of Concord, and with it the entire Book of Concord, was, as
stated, solemnly subscribed by about 8,000 theologians, pastors, and
teachers, the pledge reading as follows: "Since now, in the sight of God
and of all Christendom, we wish to testify to those now living and those
who shall come after us that this declaration herewith presented
concerning all the controverted articles aforementioned and explained,
and no other, is our faith, doctrine, and confession in which we are
also willing, by God's grace to appear with intrepid hearts before the
judgment-seat of Jesus Christ, and give an account of it; and that we
will neither privately nor publicly speak or write anything contrary to
it, but, by the help of God's grace, intend to abide thereby: therefore,
after mature deliberation, we have, in God's fear and with the
invocation of His name, attached our signatures with our own hands."
(1103, 40.)

Furthermore, in the Preface to the Book of Concord the princes and
estates declare that many churches and schools had received the Augsburg
Confession "as a symbol of the present time in regard to the chief
articles of faith, especially those involved in controversy with the
Romanists and various corruptions of the heavenly doctrine." (7.) They
solemnly protest that it never entered their minds "either to introduce,
furnish a cover for, and establish any false doctrine, or in the least
even to recede from the Confession presented in the year 1530 at
Augsburg." (15.) They declare: "This Confession also, by the help of
God, we will retain to our last breath when we shall go forth from this
life to the heavenly fatherland, to appear with joyful and undaunted
mind and with a pure conscience before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus
Christ." (15.) "Therefore we also have determined not to depart even a
finger's breadth either from the subjects themselves or from the phrases
which are found in them (_vel a rebus ipsis vel a phrasibus, quae in
illa habentur, discedere_), but, the Spirit of the Lord aiding us, to
persevere constantly, with the greatest harmony, in this godly
agreement, and we intend to examine all controversies according to this
true norm and declaration of the pure doctrine." (23.)

7. Pledging of Ministers to the Confessions.

Such being the attitude of the Lutherans towards their symbols, and such
their evaluation of pure doctrine, it was self-evident that the public
teachers of their churches should be pledged to the confessions. In
December 1529, H. Winckel, of Goettingen, drew up a form in which the
candidate for ordination declares: "I believe and hold also of the most
sacred Sacrament ... as one ought to believe concerning it according to
the contents of the Bible, and as Doctor Martin Luther writes and
confesses concerning it especially in his Confession" (of the Lord's
Supper, 1528). The Goettingen Church Order of 1530, however, did not as
yet embody a vow of ordination. The first pledges to the symbols were
demanded by the University of Wittenberg in 1533 from candidates for the
degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 1535 this pledge was required also of
the candidates for ordination. The oath provided that the candidate must
faithfully teach the Gospel without corruption, steadfastly defend the
Ecumenical Symbols, remain in agreement with the Augsburg Confession,
and before deciding difficult controversies consult older teachers of
the Church of the Augsburg Confession. Even before 1549 the candidates
for philosophical degrees were also pledged by oath to the Augsburg

In 1535, at the Diet of Smalcald, it was agreed that new members
entering the Smalcald League should promise "to provide for such
teaching and preaching as was in harmony with the Word of God and the
pure teaching of our [Augsburg] Confession." According to the Pomeranian
Church Order which Bugenhagen drew up in 1535, pastors were pledged to
the Augsburg Confession and the Apology thereof. Capito, Bucer, and all
others who took part in the Wittenberg Concord of 1536, promised, over
their signatures, "to believe and to teach in all articles according to
the Confession and the Apology." (_Corpus Reformatorum,_ opp.
Melanthonis, 3, 76.) In 1540, at Goettingen, John Wigand promised to
accept the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, and to abide by them all
his life. "And," he continued, "if I should be found to do otherwise or
be convicted of teaching and confessing contrary to such Confession and
Apology, then let me, by this signature, be condemned and deposed from
this divine ministry. This do I swear, so help me God." Also at
Goettingen, Veit Pflugmacher vowed, in 1541, that he would preach the
Gospel in its truth and purity according to the Augsburg Confession and
the contents of the postils of Anton Corvinus. He added: "Should I be
found to do otherwise and not living up to what has been set forth
above, then shall I by such act have deposed myself from office. This do
I swear; so help me God."

In 1550 and 1552, Andrew Osiander attacked the oath of confession which
was in vogue at Wittenberg, claiming it to be "an entanglement in
oath-bound duties after the manner of the Papists." "What else," said
he, "does this oath accomplish than to sever those who swear it from the
Holy Scriptures and bind them to Philip's doctrine? Parents may
therefore well consider what they do by sending their sons to Wittenberg
to become Masters and Doctors. Money is there taken from them, and they
are made Masters and Doctors. But while the parents think that their son
is an excellent man, well versed in the Scriptures and able to silence
enthusiasts and heretics, he is, in reality, a poor captive, entangled
and embarrassed by oath-bound duties. For he has abjured the Word of God
and has taken an oath on Philip's doctrine." Replying to this fanatical
charge in 1553, Melanchthon emphasized the fact that the doctrinal
pledges demanded at Wittenberg had been introduced chiefly by Luther,
for the purpose of "maintaining the true doctrine." "For," said
Melanchthon, "many enthusiasts were roaming about at that time, each, in
turn, spreading new silly nonsense, _e.g._, the Anabaptists, Servetus,
Campanus, Schwenckfeld, and others. And such tormenting spirits are not
lacking at any time (_Et non desunt tales furiae ullo tempore_)." A
doctrinal pledge, Melanchthon furthermore explained, was necessary "in
order correctly to acknowledge God and call upon Him to preserve harmony
in the Church, and to bridle the audacity of such as invent new
doctrines." (_C.R._ 12, 5.)

II. The Three Ecumenical or Universal Symbols.

8. Ecumenical Symbols.

The Ecumenical (general, universal) Symbols were embodied in the Book of
Concord primarily for apologetic reasons. Carpzov writes: "The sole
reason why our Church appealed to these symbols was to declare her
agreement with the ancient Church in so far as the faith of the latter
was laid down in these symbols, to refute also the calumniations and the
accusations of the opponents, and to evince the fact that she preaches
no new doctrine and in no wise deviates from the Church Catholic."
(_Isagoge,_ 37.) For like reasons Article I of the Augsburg Confession
declares its adherence to the Nicene Creed, and the first part of the
Smalcald Articles, to the Apostles' and Athanasian Creeds. The oath
introduced by Luther in 1535, and required of the candidates for the
degree of Doctor of Divinity, also contained a pledge on the Ecumenical
Symbols. In 1538 Luther published a tract entitled, "The Three Symbols
or Confessions of the Faith of Christ Unanimously Used in the Church,"
containing the Apostles' Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Te Deum of
Ambrose and Augustine. To these was appended the Nicene Creed.

In the opening sentences of this tract, Luther remarks: "Whereas I have
previously taught and written quite a bit concerning faith, showing both
what faith is and what faith does, and have also published my Confession
[1528], setting forth both what I believe and what position I intend to
maintain; and whereas the devil continues to seek new intrigues against
me, I have decided, by way of supererogation, to publish conjointly, in
the German tongue, the three so-called Symbols, or Confessions, which
have hitherto been received, read, and chanted throughout the Church. I
would thereby reaffirm the fact that I side with the true Christian
Church, which has adhered to these Symbols, or Confessions, to the
present day, and not with the false, vainglorious church, which in
reality is the worst enemy of the true Church, having introduced much
idolatry beside these beautiful confessions." (St. L. 10, 993; Erl. 23,
252.) Luther's translation of the Ecumenical Symbols, together with the
captions which appeared in his tract, were embodied in the Book of
Concord. The superscription, "Tria Symbola Catholica seu Oecumenica,"
occurs for the first time in Selneccer's edition of the Book of Concord
of 1580. Before this, 1575, he had written: "Quot sunt Symbola fidei
Christianae in Ecclesia? Tria sunt praecipua quae nominantur oecumenica,
sive universalia et authentica, id est, habentia auctoritatem et non
indigentia demonstratione aut probatione, videlicet Symbolum
Apostolicum, Nicaenum et Athanasianum." (Schmauk, _Confessional
Principle,_ 834.)

9. The Apostles' Creed.

The foundation of the Apostles' Creed was, in a way, laid by Christ
Himself when He commissioned His disciples, saying, Matt. 28, 19. 20:
"Go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you." The formula of Baptism here
prescribed, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost," briefly indicates what Christ wants Christians to be taught, to
believe, and to confess. And the Apostles' Creed, both as to its form
and contents, is evidently but an amplification of the trinitarian
formula of Baptism. Theo. Zahn remarks: "It has been said, and not
without a good basis either, that Christ Himself has ordained the
baptismal confession. For the profession of the Triune God made by the
candidates for Baptism is indeed the echo of His missionary and
baptismal command reechoing through all lands and times in many thousand
voices." (_Skizzen aus dem Leben der Kirche,_ 252.)

But when and by whom was the formula of Baptism thus amplified?--During
the Medieval Ages the Apostles' Creed was commonly known as "The Twelve
Articles," because it was generally believed that the twelve apostles,
assembled in joint session before they were separated, soon after
Pentecost drafted this Creed, each contributing a clause. But, though
retained in the Catechismus Romanus, this is a legend which originated
in Italy or Gaul in the sixth or seventh (according to Zahn, toward the
end of the fourth) century and was unknown before this date. Yet, though
it may seem more probable that the Apostles' Creed was the result of a
silent growth and very gradual formation corresponding to the
ever-changing environments and needs of the Christian congregations,
especially over against the heretics, there is no sufficient reason why
the apostles themselves should not have been instrumental in its
formulation, nor why, with the exception of a number of minor later
additions its original form should not have been essentially what it is

Nathanael confessed: "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King
of Israel," John 1, 49, the apostles confessed: "Thou art the Christ,
the Son of the living God," Matt. 16, 16; Peter confessed: "We believe
and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God," John
6, 69; Thomas confessed: "My Lord and my God," John 20, 28. These and
similar confessions of the truth concerning Himself were not merely
approved of, but solicited and demanded by, Christ. For He declares most
solemnly: "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I
confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall
deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in
heaven," Matt. 10, 32. 33. The same duty of confessing their faith,
_i.e._, the truths concerning Christ, is enjoined upon all Christians by
the Apostle Paul when he writes: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved," Rom. 10, 9.

In the light of these and similar passages, the trinitarian baptismal
formula prescribed by Christ evidently required from the candidate for
Baptism a definite statement of what he believed concerning the Father,
Son and Holy Ghost, especially concerning Jesus Christ the Savior. And
that such a confession of faith was in vogue even in the days of the
apostles appears from the Bible itself. Of Timothy it is said that he
had "professed a good profession before many witnesses," 1 Tim. 6, 12.
Heb. 4, 14 we read: "Let us hold fast our profession." Heb. 10, 23: "Let
us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering." Jude urges
the Christians that they "should earnestly contend for the faith which
was once delivered unto the saints," and build up themselves on their
"most holy faith," Jude 3. 20. Compare also 1 Cor. 15, 3. 4; 1 Tim. 3,
16; Titus 1, 13; 3, 4-7.

10. Apostles' Creed and Early Christian Writers.

The Christian writers of the first three centuries, furthermore, furnish
ample proof for the following facts: that from the very beginning of the
Christian Church the candidates for Baptism everywhere were required to
make a confession of their faith; that from the beginning there was
existing in all the Christian congregations a formulated confession
which they called the rule of faith, the rule of truth, etc.; that this
rule was identical with the confession required of the candidates for
Baptism; that it was declared to be of apostolic origin; that the
summaries and explanations of this rule of truth, given by these
writers, tally with the contents and in part, also with the phraseology
of the Apostles' Creed; that the scattered Christian congregations, then
still autonomous, regarded the adoption of this rule, of faith as the
only necessary condition of Christian unity and fellowship.

The manner in which Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin, Aristides, and
other early Christian writers present the Christian truth frequently
reminds us of the Apostles' Creed and suggests its existence. Thus
Justin Martyr, who died 165, says in his first Apology, which was
written about 140: "Our teacher of these things is Jesus Christ, who
also was born for this purpose and was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
procurator of Judea, that we reasonably worship Him, having learned that
He is the Son of the true God Himself, and holding Him in the second
place, and the prophetic Spirit in the third." "Eternal praise to the
Father of all, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Similar strains, sounding like echoes of the Second Article, may be
found in the Epistles to the Trallians and to the Christians at Smyrna
written by Ignatius, the famous martyr and bishop of Antioch, who died

Irenaeus, who died 189, remarks: Every Christian "who retains immovable
in himself the rule of the truth which he received through Baptism (_ho
ton kanona tes altheias akline en eauto katechon, hon dia tou
baptismatos eilephe_)" is able to see through the deceit of all
heresies. Irenaeus here identifies the baptismal confession with what he
calls the "rule of truth, _kanon tes eiltheias_" _i.e._, the truth which
is the rule for everything claiming to be Christian. Apparently, this
"rule of truth" was the sum of doctrines which every Christian received
and confessed at his baptism. The very phrase "rule of truth" implies
that it was a concise and definite formulation of the chief Christian
truths. For "canon, rule," was the term employed by the ancient Church
to designate such brief sentences as were adopted by synods for the
practise of the Church. And this "rule of truth" is declared by Irenaeus
to be "the old tradition," "the old tradition of the apostles": he te
apo ton apostolon en te ekklesia paradosis. (Zahn, _l.c._, 379f.)
Irenaeus was the pupil of Polycarp the Martyr; and what he had learned
from him, Polycarp had received from the Apostle John. Polycarp, says
Irenaeus, "taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and
which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true." According
to Irenaeus, then, the "rule of truth" received and confessed by every
Christian at his baptism was transmitted by the apostles. The contents
of this rule of truth received from the apostles are repeatedly set
forth by Irenaeus. In his _Contra Haereses_ (I, 10, 1) one of these
summaries reads as follows: "The Church dispersed through the whole
world, to the ends of the earth has received from the apostles and their
disciples the faith in one God, the Father Almighty, who has made heaven
and earth and the sea and all things that are in them, and in one Jesus
Christ, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in
the Holy Spirit, who has proclaimed through the prophets the
dispensations, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the
passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily assumption
into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord, and His manifestation
from heaven in the glory of the Father." It thus appears that the "rule
of truth" as Irenaeus knew it, the formulated sum of doctrines mediated
by Baptism, which he, in accordance with the testimony of his teacher
Polycarp, believed to have been received from the apostles, at least
approaches our present Apostolic Creed.

11. Tertullian and Cyprian on Apostles' Creed.

A similar result is obtained from the writings of Tertullian, Cyprian,
Novatian, Origen and others. "When we step into the water of Baptism,"
says Tertullian, who died about 220, "we confess the Christian faith
according to the words of its law," _i.e._, according to the law of
faith or the rule of faith. Tertullian, therefore, identifies the
confession to which the candidates for Baptism were pledged with the
brief formulation of the chief Christian doctrines which he variously
designates as "the law of faith," "the rule of faith," frequently also
as _tessara,_ watchword and _sacramentum,_ a term then signifying the
military oath of allegiance. This Law or Rule of Faith was, according to
Tertullian, the confession adopted by Christians everywhere, which
distinguished them from unbelievers and heretics. The unity of the
congregations, the granting of the greeting of peace, of the name
brother, and of mutual hospitality,--these and similar Christian rights
and privileges, says Tertullian, "depend on no other condition than the
similar tradition of the same oath of allegiance," _i.e._, the adoption
of the same baptismal rule of faith. (Zahn, 250.)

At the same time Tertullian most emphatically claims, "that this rule of
faith was established by the apostles, aye, by Christ Himself," inasmuch
as He had commanded to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Zahn, 252.) In his book _Adversus
Praxeam,_ Tertullian concludes an epitome which he gives of "the rule of
faith" as follows: "That this rule has come down from the beginning of
the Gospel, even before the earlier heretics, and so, of course before
the Praxeas of yesterday, is proved both by the lateness of all heretics
and by the novelty of this Praxeas of yesterday." (Schaff, _Creeds of
Christendom,_ 2, 18.) The following form is taken from Tertullian's _De
Virginibus Velandis:_ "For the rule of faith is altogether one, alone
(_sola_), immovable, and irreformable, namely, believing in one God
omnipotent the Maker of the world, and in His Son Jesus Christ, born of
the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, raised from the dead
the third day, received into the heavens, sitting now at the right hand
of the Father who shall come to judge the living and the dead, also
through the resurrection of the flesh." Cyprian the Martyr, bishop of
Carthage, who died 257, and who was the first one to apply the term
_symbolum_ to the baptismal creed, in his Epistle to Magnus and to
Januarius, as well as to other Numidian bishops, gives the following as
the answer of the candidate for Baptism to the question, "Do you
believe?": "I believe in God the Father, in His Son Christ, in the Holy
Spirit. I believe the remission of sins, and the life eternal through
the holy Church."

12. Variations of the Apostles' Creed.

While there can be no reasonable doubt either that the Christian
churches from the very beginning were in possession of a definite and
formulated symbol, or that this symbol was an amplification of the
trinitarian formula of Baptism, yet we are unable to ascertain with any
degree of certainty what its exact original wording was. There has not
been found in the early Christian writers a single passage recording the
precise form of the baptismal confession or the rule of truth and faith
as used in the earliest churches. This lack of contemporal written
records is accounted for by the fact that the early Christians and
Christian churches refused on principle to impart and transmit their
confession in any other manner than by word of mouth. Such was their
attitude, not because they believed in keeping their creed secret, but
because they viewed the exclusively oral method of impartation as the
most appropriate in a matter which they regarded as an affair of deepest
concern of their hearts.

It is universally admitted, even by those who believe that the apostles
were instrumental in formulating the early Christian Creed, that the
wording of it was not absolutely identical in all Christian
congregations, and that in the course of time various changes and
additions were made. "Tradition," says Tertullian with respect to the
baptismal confession, received from the apostles, "has enlarged it,
custom has confirmed it, faith observes and preserves it." (Zahn, 252.
381.) When, therefore, Tertullian and other ancient writers declare that
the rule of faith received from the apostles is "altogether one,
immovable, and irreformable," they do not at all mean to say that the
phraseology of this symbol was alike everywhere, and that in this
respect no changes whatever had been made, nor that any clauses had been
added. Such variations, additions, and alterations, however, involved a
doctrinal change of the confession no more than the Apology of the
Augsburg Confession implies a doctrinal departure from this symbol. It
remained the same Apostolic Creed, the changes and additions merely
bringing out more fully and clearly its true, original meaning. And this
is the sense in which Tertullian and others emphasize that the rule of
faith is "one, immovable, and irreformable."

The oldest known form of the Apostles' Creed, according to A. Harnack,
is the one used in the church at Rome, even prior to 150 A.D. It was,
however, as late as 337 or 338, when this Creed, which, as the church at
Rome claimed, was brought thither by Peter himself, was for the first
time quoted as a whole by Bishop Marcellus of Ancyra in a letter to
Bishop Julius of Rome, for the purpose of vindicating his orthodoxy.
During the long period intervening, some changes, however, may have
been, and probably were, made also in this Old Roman Symbol, which reads
as follows:--

_Pisteuo eis theon patera pantokratora; kai eis Christon Iesoun [ton]
huion autou ton monogene, ton kupion hemon, ton gennethenta ek
pneumatos hagiou kai Marias tes parthenou, ton epi Pontiou Pilatou
staurothenta kai taphenta, te trite hemera anastanta ek [ton] nekron,
anabanta eis tous ouranous, kathemenon en dexia tou patros, hothen
erchetai krinai zontas kai nekrous; kai eis pneuma hagion, hagian
ekklesian aphesin hamartion, sapkos anastasin._ (Herzog, _R. E._ 1,

13. Present Form of Creed and Its Contents.

The complete form of the present _textus receptus_ of the Apostles'
Creed, evidently the result of a comparison and combination of the
various preexisting forms of this symbol, may be traced to the end of
the fifth century and is first found in a sermon by Caesarius of Arles
in France, about 500.--In his translation, Luther substituted
"Christian" for "catholic" in the Third Article. He regarded the two
expressions as equivalent in substance, as appears from the Smalcald
Articles, where he identifies these terms, saying: "Sic enim orant
pueri: Credo sanctam ecclesiam catholicam sive Christianam." (472, 5;
498, 3.) The form, "I believe a holy Christian Church," however, is met
with even before Luther's time. (Carpzov, _Isagoge,_ 46.)--In the Greek
version the received form of the Apostles' Creed reads as follows:--

_Pisteuo eis theon patera, pantokratora, poieten ouranou kai ges. Kai
eis Iesoun Christon, huion autou ton monogene, ton kurion hemon, ton
sullephthenta ek pneumatos hagiou, gennethenta ek Marias tes parthenou,
pathonta epi Pontiou Pilatou, staurothenta, thanonta, kai taphenta,
anastanta apo ton nekron, anelthonta eis tous ouranous, kathezomenon en
dexia theou patros pantodunamou, ekeithen erchomenon krinai zontas kai
nekrous. Pisteuo eis to pneuma to hagion, hagian ekklesian, hagion
koinonian, aphesin hamartion sarkos anastasin, zoen aionion, Amen._

As to its contents, the Apostles' Creed is a positive statement of the
essential facts of Christianity. The Second Article, says Zahn, is "a
compend of the Evangelical history, including even external details."
(264.) Yet some of the clauses of this Creed were probably inserted in
opposition to prevailing, notably Gnostic, heresies of the first
centuries. It was the first Christian symbol and, as Tertullian and
others declare, the bond of unity and fellowship of the early Christian
congregations everywhere. It must not, however, be regarded as inspired,
much less as superior even to the Holy Scriptures; for, as stated above,
it cannot even, in any of its existing forms, be traced to the apostles.
Hence it must be subjected to, and tested and judged by, the Holy
Scriptures, the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule and
norm of all doctrines, teachers, and symbols. In accordance herewith the
Lutheran Church receives the Apostles' Creed, as also the two other
ecumenical confessions, not as _per se_ divine and authoritative, but
because its doctrine is taken from, and well grounded in, the prophetic
and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments. (CONC. TRIGL. 851,

14. The Nicene Creed.

In the year 325 Emperor Constantine the Great convened the First
Ecumenical Council at Nicaea, in Bithynia, for the purpose of settling
the controversy precipitated by the teaching of Arius, who denied the
true divinity of Christ. The council was attended by 318 bishops and
their assistants, among whom the young deacon Athanasius of Alexandria
gained special prominence as a theologian of great eloquence, acumen,
and learning. "The most valiant champion against the Arians," as he was
called, Athanasius turned the tide of victory in favor of the
Homoousians, who believed that the essence of the Father and of the Son
is identical. The discussions were based upon the symbol of Eusebius of
Caesarea, which by changes and the insertion of Homoousian phrases (such
as _ek tes ousias tou patrous; gennetheis, ou poietheis; homoousios to
patri_) was amended into an unequivocal clean-cut, anti-Arian
confession. Two Egyptian bishops who refused to sign the symbol were
banished, together with Arius, to Illyria. The text of the original
Nicene Creed reads as follows:--

_Pisteuomen eis hena theon, patera pantokratora, panton oraton te kai
aoraton poieten. Kai eis hena kurion Iesoun Christon, ton huion tou
theou, gennethenta ek tou patros monogene, toutestin ek tes ousias tou
patros, theon ek theou, phos ek photos, theon alethinon ek theou
alethinou, gennethenta, ou poiethenta, homoousion to patri, di' ou ta
panta egeneto, ta te en to ourano kaita epi tes ges; ton di' hemas tous
anthropous kai dia ten hemeteran soterian katelthonta kai sarkothenta
kai enanthropesanta, pathonta, kai anastanta te trite hemera, kai
anelthonta eis tous ouranous, kai erchomenon palin krinai zontas kai
nekrous. Kai eis to pneuma to hagion. Tous de legontas, hoti pote hote
ouk en, kai hoti ex ouk onton egeneto, en ex heteras hupostaseos e
ousias phaskontas einai, e ktiston, e alloioton, e trepton ton huion
tou theou, toutous anathematizei he katholike kai apostolike ekklesia._
(Mansi, _Amplissima Collectio,_ 2, 665 sq.)

15. Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

In order to suppress Arianism, which still continued to flourish,
Emperor Theodosius convened the Second Ecumenical Council, in 381 at
Constantinople. The bishops here assembled, 150 in number, resolved that
the faith of the Nicene Fathers must ever remain firm and unchanged, and
that its opponents, the Eunomians, Anomoeans, Arians, Eudoxians,
Semi-Arians, Sabellians, Marcellians, Photinians, and Apollinarians,
must be rejected. At this council also Macedonius was condemned, who
taught that the Holy Spirit is not God: _elege gar auto me einai theon,
alla tes theontos tou patros allotrion._ (Mansi, 3, 568. 566. 573. 577.
600.) By omissions, alterations, and additions (in particular concerning
the Holy Spirit) this council gave to the Nicene Creed its present form.
Hence it is also known as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The Third
Ecumenical Council, which assembled at Toledo, Spain, in 589, inserted
the word "Filioque," an addition which the Greek Church has never
sanctioned, and which later contributed towards bringing about the great
Eastern Schism. A. Harnack considers the Constantinopolitanum (CPanum),
the creed adopted at Constantinople, to be the baptismal confession of
the Church of Jerusalem, which, he says, was revised between 362 and 373
and amplified by the Nicene formulas and a rule of faith concerning the
Holy Ghost. (Herzog, _R. E._, 11, 19f.) Following is the text of the
CPanum according to Mansi:

_Pisteuomen eis hena theon patera, pantokratora, poieten ouranou kai ges,
oratwn te pantwn kai aoratwn. Kai eis hena kurion Iesoun Christon ton
huion tou theou ton monogene, ton ek tou patros gennethenta pro panton
ton aionon, phos ek photos, theon alethinon ek theou alethinou,
gennethevta, ou poiethenta, homoousion to patri, di' ou ta panta
egeneto, ton di' hemas tous anthropous kai dia ten hemeteran soterian
katelthovnta ek tov ouranon, kai sarkothenta ek pneumatos hagiou kai
Marias tes parthenou, kai enanthropesanta, staurothenta te huper hemon
epi Pontiou Pilatou, kai pathonta, kai taphenta, kai anastanta te trite
hemera kata tas gpaphas, kai anelthonta eis tous ouranous, kai
kathezomenon ek dexion tou patros, kai palin erchomenon meta doxes
krinai zontas kai nekrous; ou tes basileias ouk estai telos. Kai eis
pneuma to hagion, to kurion, to zoopoion, to ek tou patros
ekporeuomenon, to sun patri kai huio sumproskunoumenon kai
sundoxazovmenon, to lalesan dia ton propheton, eis mian hagian
katholiken kai apostoliken ekklesian. Homologoumen hen baptisma eis
aphesin hamartion; prosdokomen anastasin nekron, kai zwen tou mellontos
aionos. Amen._ (3, 565.)

16. The Athanasian Creed.

From its opening word this Creed is also called Symbolum Quicunque.
Roman tradition has it that Athanasius, who died 373, made this
confession before Pope Julius when the latter summoned him "to submit
himself to him [the Pope], as to the ecumenical bishop and Supreme
arbiter of matters ecclesiastical (_ut ei, seu episcopo oecumica et
supremo rerum ecclesiasticarum arbitro, sese submitteret_)." However,
Athanasius is not even the author of this confession, as appears from
the following facts: 1. The Creed was originally written in Latin. 2.
It is mentioned neither by Athanasius himself nor by his Greek
eulogists. 3. It was unknown to the Greek Church till about 1200, and
has never been accorded official recognition by this Church nor its
"orthodox" sister churches. 4. It presupposes the post-Athanasian
Trinitarian and Christological controversies.--Up to the present day it
has been impossible to reach a final verdict concerning the author of
the Quicunque and the time and place of its origin. Koellner's
_Symbolik_ allocates it to Gaul. Loofs inclines to the same opinion and
ventures the conjecture that the source of this symbol must be sought in
Southern Gaul between 450 and 600. (Herzog, _R. E._, 2, 177.) Gieseler
and others look to Spain for its origin.

Paragraphs 1, 2, and 40 of the Athanasian Creed have given offense not
only to theologians who advocate an undogmatic Christianity, but to many
thoughtless Christians as well. Loofs declares: The Quicunque is
unevangelical and cannot be received because its very first sentence
confounds _fides_ with _expositio fidei._ (H., _R. E._, 2, 194.)
However, the charge is gratuitous, since the Athanasian Creed deals with
the most fundamental Christian truths: concerning the Trinity, the
divinity of Christ, and His work of redemption, without the knowledge of
which saving faith is impossible. The paragraphs in question merely
express the clear doctrine of such passages of the Scriptures as Acts 4,
12: "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other
name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved;" John 8, 21:
"If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins"; John 14, 6:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man
cometh unto the Father but by Me." In complete agreement with the
impugned statements of the Athanasian Creed, the Apology of the Augsburg
Confession closes its article "Of God" as follows: "Therefore we do
freely conclude that they are all idolatrous, blasphemers, and outside
of the Church of Christ who hold or teach otherwise." (103)

In the early part of the Middle Ages the Quicunque had already received
a place in the order of public worship. The Council of Vavre resolved,
1368: "Proinde Symbolum Apostolorum silenter et secrete dicitur quotidie
in Completorio et in Prima, quia fuit editum tempore, quo nondum erat
fides catholica propalata. Alia autem duo publice in diebus Dominicis et
festivis, quando maior ad ecclesiam congregatur populus, decantantur,
quia fuere edita tempore fidei propalatae. Symbolum quidem Nicaenum post
evangelium cantatur in Missa quasi evangelicae fidei expositio. Symbolum
Athanasii de mane solum cantatur in Prima, quia fuit editum tempore quo
maxime fuerunt depulsa et detecta nox atra et tenebrae haeresium et
errorum." (Mansi, 26, 487.) Luther says: "The first symbol, that of the
apostles, is indeed the best of all, because it contains a concise,
correct and splendid presentation of the articles of faith and is easily
learned by children and the common people. The second, the Athanasian
Creed, is longer ... and practically amounts to an apology of the first
symbol." "I do not know of any more important document of the New
Testament Church since the days of the apostles" [than the Athanasian
Creed]. (St. L. 10, 994; 6, 1576; E. 23, 253.)

17. Luther on Ecumenical Creeds.

The central theme of the Three Ecumenical Symbols is Christ's person and
work, the paramount importance of which Luther extols as follows in his
tract of 1538: "In all the histories of the entire Christendom I have
found and experienced that all who had and held the chief article
concerning Jesus Christ correctly remained safe and sound in the true
Christian faith. And even though they erred and sinned in other points,
they nevertheless were finally preserved." "For it has been decreed,
says Paul, Col. 2, 9, that in Christ should dwell all the fulness of the
Godhead bodily, or personally, so that he who does not find or receive
God in Christ shall never have nor find Him anywhere outside of Christ,
even though he ascend above heaven, descend below hell, or go beyond the
world." "On the other hand, I have also observed that all errors,
heresies, idolatries, offenses, abuses, and ungodliness within the
Church originally resulted from the fact that this article of faith
concerning Jesus Christ was despised or lost. And viewed clearly and
rightly, all heresies militate against the precious article of Jesus
Christ, as Simeon says concerning Him, Luke 2, 34, that He is set for
the falling and the rising of many in Israel and for a sign which is
spoken against; and long before this, Isaiah, chapter 8, 14, spoke of
Him as 'a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.'" "And we in the
Papacy, the last and greatest of saints, what have we done? We have
confessed that He [Christ] is God and man; but that He is our Savior,
who died and rose for us, etc., this we have denied and persecuted with
might and main" (those who taught this). "And even now those who claim
to be the best Christians and boast that they are the Holy Church, who
burn the others and wade in innocent blood, regard as the best doctrine
[that which teaches] that we obtain grace and salvation through our own
works. Christ is to be accorded no other honor with regard to our
salvation than that He made the beginning, while we are the heroes who
complete it with our merit."

Luther continues: "This is the way the devil goes to work. He attacks
Christ with three storm-columns. One will not suffer Him to be God; the
other will not suffer Him to be man, the third denies that He has
merited salvation for us. Each of the three endeavors to destroy Christ.
For what does it avail that you confess Him to be God if you do not also
believe that He is man? For then you have not the entire and the true
Christ, but a phantom of the devil. What does it avail you to confess
that He is true man if you do not also believe that He is true God? What
does it avail you to confess that He is God and man if you do not also
believe that whatever He became and whatever He did was done for you?"
"Surely, all three parts must be believed, namely, that He is God, also,
that He is man, and that He became such a man for us, that is, as the
first symbol says: conceived by the Holy Ghost born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered, was crucified, died, and rose again, etc. If one small part is
lacking, then all parts are lacking. For faith shall and must be
complete in every particular. While it may indeed be weak and subject to
afflictions, yet it must be entire and not false. Weakness [of faith]
does not work the harm but false faith--that is eternal death." (St. L.
10, 998; E. 23, 258.)

Concerning the mystery involved in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the
chief topic of the Ecumenical Creeds, Luther remarks in the same tract:
"Now, to be sure, we Christians are not so utterly devoid of all reason
and sense as the Jews consider us, who take us to be nothing but crazy
geese and ducks, unable to perceive or notice what folly it is to
believe that God is man, and that in one Godhead there are three
distinct persons. No, praise God, we perceive indeed that this doctrine
cannot and will not be received by reason. Nor are we in need of any
sublime Jewish reasoning to demonstrate this to us. We believe it
knowingly and willingly. We confess and also experience that, where the
Holy Spirit does not, surpassing reason, shine into the heart, it is
impossible to grasp, or to believe, and abide by, such article;
moreover, there must remain in it [the heart] a Jewish, proud, and
supercilious reason deriding and ridiculing such article, and thus
setting up itself as judge and master of the Divine Being whom it has
never seen nor is able to see and hence does not know what it is passing
judgment on, nor whereof it thinks or speaks. For God dwells in a 'light
which no man can approach unto,' 1 Tim. 6, 16. He must come to us, yet
hidden in the lantern, and as it is written, John 1, 18: 'No man hath
seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of
the Father, He hath declared Him,' and as Moses said before this, Ex.
33: 'There shall no man see Me [God] and live.'" (St. L. 10, 1007; E.
23, 568.)

III. The Augsburg Confession.

18. Diet Proclaimed by Emperor.

January 21, 1530, Emperor Charles V proclaimed a diet to convene at
Augsburg on the 8th of April. The manifesto proceeded from Bologna,
where, three days later, the Emperor was crowned by Pope Clement VII.
The proclamation, after referring to the Turkish invasion and the action
to be taken with reference to this great peril, continues as follows:
"The diet is to consider furthermore what might and ought to be done and
resolved upon regarding the division and separation in the holy faith
and the Christian religion; and that this may proceed the better and
more salubriously, [the Emperor urged] to allay divisions, to cease
hostility, to surrender past errors to our Savior, and to display
diligence in hearing, understanding, and considering with love and
kindness the opinions and views of everybody, in order to reduce them to
one single Christian truth and agreement, to put aside whatever has not
been properly explained or done by either party, so that we all may
adopt and hold one single and true religion; and may all live in one
communion, church, and unity, even as we all live and do battle under
one Christ."

In his invitation to attend the diet, the Emperor at the same time
urged the Elector of Saxony by all means to appear early enough (the
Elector reached Augsburg on May 2 while the Emperor did not arrive
before June 16), "lest the others who arrived in time be compelled to
wait with disgust, heavy expenses and detrimental delay such as had
frequently occurred in the past." The Emperor added the warning: In case
the Elector should not appear, the diet would proceed as if he had been
present and assented to its resolutions. (Foerstemann, _Urkundenbuch,_ 1,
7 f.)

March 11 the proclamation reached Elector John at Torgau. On the 14th
Chancellor Brueck advised the Elector to have "the opinion on which our
party has hitherto stood and to which they have adhered," in the
controverted points, "properly drawn up in writing, with a thorough
confirmation thereof from the divine Scriptures." On the same day the
Elector commissioned Luther, Jonas, Bugenhagen, and Melanchthon to
prepare a document treating especially of "those articles on account of
which said division, both in faith and in other outward church customs
and ceremonies, continues." (43.) At Wittenberg the theologians at once
set to work, and the result was presented at Torgau March 27 by
Melanchthon. On April 4 the Elector and his theologians set out from
Torgau, arriving at Coburg on the 15th, where they rested for eight
days. On the 23d of April the Elector left for Augsburg, while Luther,
who was still under the ban of both the Pope and the Emperor, remained
at the fortress Ebernburg. Nevertheless he continued in close touch with
the confessors, as appears from his numerous letters written to
Augsburg, seventy all told about twenty of which were addressed to

19. Apology Original Plan of Lutherans.

The documents which the Wittenberg theologians delivered at Torgau
treated the following subjects: Human Doctrines and Ordinances, Marriage
of Priests, Both Kinds, Mass, Confession, Power of Bishops, Ordination,
Monastic Vows, Invocation of the Saints, German Singing, Faith and
Works, Office of the Keys (Papacy), Ban, Marriage, and Private Mass.
Accordingly, the original intention of the Lutherans was not to enter
upon, and present for discussion at Augsburg, such doctrines as were not
in controversy (Of God, etc.), but merely to treat of the abuses and
immediately related doctrines, especially of Faith and Good Works. (66
ff.) They evidently regarded it as their chief object and duty to
justify before the Emperor and the estates both Luther and his
protectors, the electors of Saxony. This is borne out also by the
original Introduction to the contemplated Apology, concerning which we
read in the prefatory remarks to the so-called Torgau Articles mentioned
above: "To this end [of justifying the Elector's peaceable frame of
mind] it will be advantageous to begin [the projected Apology] with a
lengthy rhetorical introduction." (68; _C. R._, 26, 171.) This
introduction, later on replaced by another, was composed by Melanchthon
at Coburg and polished by him during the first days at Augsburg. May 4
he remarks in a letter to Luther: "I have shaped the Exordium of our
Apology somewhat more rhetorical (_hretorikoteron_) than I had written
it at Coburg." (_C. R._, 2, 40; Luther, St. L. 16, 652.) In this
introduction Melanchthon explains: Next to God the Elector builds his
hope on the Emperor, who had always striven for peace, and was even now
prepared to adjust the religious controversy in mildness. As to the
Elector and his brother Frederick, they had ever been attached to the
Christian religion, had proved faithful to the Emperor, and had
constantly cultivated peace. Their present position was due to the fact
that commandments of men had been preached instead of faith in Christ.
Not Luther, but Luther's opponents, had begun the strife. It was for
conscience' sake that the Elector had not proceeded against Luther.
Besides, such action would only have made matters worse, since Luther
had resisted the Sacramentarians and the Anabaptists. Equally unfounded
were also the accusations that the Evangelicals had abolished all order
as well as all ceremonies, and had undermined the authority of the
bishops. If only the bishops would tolerate the Gospel and do away with
the gross abuses, they would suffer no loss of power, honor, and
prestige. In concluding Melanchthon emphatically protests: "Never has a
reformation been undertaken so utterly without any violence as this [in
Saxony]; for it is a public fact that our men have prevailed with such
as were already in arms to make peace." (Kolde, _l.c._, 13.) The
document, accordingly, as originally planned for presentation at
Augsburg, was to be a defense of Luther and his Elector. In keeping
herewith it was in the beginning consistently designated "Apology."

20. Transformation of Apology into Confession Due to Eck's Slanders.

This plan, however, was modified when the Lutherans, after reaching
Augsburg, heard of and read the 404 Propositions published by Dr. John
Eck, in which Luther was classified with Zwingli, Oecolampadius,
Carlstadt, Pirkheimer, Hubmaier, and Denk, and was charged with every
conceivable heresy. In a letter of March 14, accompanying the copy of
his Propositions which Eck sent to the Emperor, he refers to Luther as
the domestic enemy of the Church (_hostis ecclesiae domesticus_), who
has fallen into every Scylla and Charybdis of iniquity; who speaks of
the Pope as the Antichrist and of the Church as the harlot; who has
praise for none but heretics and schismatics; whom the Church has to
thank for the Iconoclasts, Sacramentarians, New Hussites, Anabaptists,
New Epicureans, who teach that the soul is mortal, and the Cerinthians;
who rehashes all the old heresies condemned more than a thousand years
ago, etc. (Plitt, _Einleitung in die Augustana,_ 1, 527 ff.) Such and
similar slanders had been disseminated by the Papists before this, and
they continued to do so even after the Lutherans, at Augsburg, had made
a public confession of their faith and had most emphatically disavowed
all ancient and modern heresies. Thus Cochlaeus asserted in his attack
on the Apology, published 1534, that Lutheranism was a concoction of all
the old condemned heresies, that Luther taught fifteen errors against
the article of God, and Melanchthon nine against the Nicene Creed, etc.
Luther, he declared, had attacked the doctrine of the Trinity in a
coarser fashion than Arius. (Salig, _Historie d. Augsb. Konf.,_ 1, 377.)

These calumniations caused the Lutherans to remodel and expand the
defense originally planned into a document which should not merely
justify the changes made by them with regard to customs and ceremonies,
but also present as fully as possible the doctrinal articles which they
held over against ancient and modern heresies, falsely imputed to them.
Thus to some extent it is due to the scurrility of Eck that the
contemplated Apology was transformed into an all-embracing Confession, a
term employed by Melanchthon himself. In a letter to Luther, dated May
11, 1530, he wrote: "Our Apology is being sent to you--though it is
rather a Confession. _Mittitur tibi apologia nostra, quamquam verius
confessio est._ I included [in the Confession] almost all articles of
faith, because Eck published most diabolical lies against us, _quia
Eckius edidit diabolikontatas diabolas contra nos._ Against these it was
my purpose to provide an antidote." (_C. R._ 2, 45; Luther, St. L. 16,

This is in accord also with Melanchthon's account in his Preface of
September 29, 1559 to the German _Corpus Doctrinae_ (Philippicum),
stating: "Some papal scribblers had disseminated pasquinades at the diet
[at Augsburg, 1530], which reviled our churches with horrible lies,
charging that they taught many condemned errors, and were like the
Anabaptists, erring and rebellious. Answer had to be made to His
Imperial Majesty, and in order to refute the pasquinades, it was decided
to include all articles of Christian doctrine in proper succession, that
every one might see how unjustly our churches were slandered in the
lying papal writings. ... Finally, this Confession was, as God directed
and guided, drawn up by me in the manner indicated, and the venerable
Doctor Martin Luther was pleased with it." (_C. R._ 9, 929.)

The original plan, however, was not entirely abandoned, but merely
extended by adding a defense also against the various heresies with
which the Lutherans were publicly charged. This was done in an objective
presentation of the principal doctrines held by the Lutherans, for which
the Marburg and Schwabach Articles served as models and guides.

21. Marburg, Schwabach, and Torgau Articles.

The material from which Melanchthon constructed the Augsburg Confession
is, in the last analysis, none other than the Reformation truths which
Luther had proclaimed since 1517 with ever-increasing clarity and force.
In particular, he was guided by, and based his labor on, the Marburg
Articles, the Schwabach Articles, and the so-called Torgau Articles. The
Marburg Articles, fifteen in number, had been drawn up by Luther, in
1529, at the Colloquy of Marburg, whence he departed October 6, about
six months before the Diet at Augsburg. (Luther, St. L., 17, 1138 f.)
The seventeen Schwabach Articles were composed by Luther, Melanchthon,
Jonas, Brenz and Agricola, and presented to the Convention at Smalcald
about the middle of October, 1529. According to recent researches the
Schwabach Articles antedated the Marburg Articles and formed the basis
for them. (Luther, Weimar Ed., 30, 3, 97, 107.) In 1530 Luther published
these Articles, remarking: "It is true that I helped to draw up such
articles; for they were not composed by me alone." This public statement
discredits the opinion of v. Schubert published in 1908 according to
which Melanchthon is the sole author of the Schwabach Articles, Luther's
contribution and participation being negligible. The Schwabach Articles
constitute the seventeen basic articles of the first part of the
Augsburg Confession. (St. L. 16, 638. 648. 564; _C. R._ 26, 146 f.)

The so-called Torgau Articles are the documents referred to above,
touching chiefly upon the abuses. Pursuant to the order of the Elector,
they were prepared by Luther and his assistants, Melanchthon,
Bugenhagen, and possibly also Jonas. They are called Torgau Articles
because the order for drafting them came from Torgau (March 14), and
because they were presented to the Elector at Torgau. (Foerstemann, 1,
66; _C. R._ 26, 171; St. L. 16, 638.) With reference to these articles
Luther wrote (March 14) to Jonas, who was then still conducting the
visitation: "The Prince has written to us, that is, to you, Pomeranus,
Philip, and myself, in a letter addressed to us in common, that we
should come together set aside all other business, and finish before
next Sunday whatever is necessary for the next diet on April 8. For
Emperor Charles himself will be present at Augsburg to settle all things
in a friendly way, as he writes in his bull. Therefore, although you are
absent, we three shall do what we can today and tomorrow; still, in
order to comply with the will of the Prince, it will be incumbent upon
you to turn your work over to your companions and be present with us
here on the morrow. For things are in a hurry. _Festinata enim sunt
omnia._" (St. L. 16, 638.)

Melanchthon also wrote to Jonas on the 15th of March: "Luther is
summoning you by order of the Prince; you will therefore come as soon as
it is at all possible. The Diet, according to the proclamation, will
convene at Augsburg. And the Emperor graciously promises that he will
investigate the matter, and correct the errors on both sides. May Christ
stand by us!" (_C. R._ 2, 28; Foerstemann, 1, 45.) It was to these
articles (Torgau Articles) that the Elector referred when he wrote to
Luther from Augsburg on the 11th of May: "After you and others of our
learned men at Wittenberg, at our gracious desire and demand, have
drafted the articles which are in religious controversy, we do not wish
to conceal from you that Master Philip Melanchthon has now at this place
perused them further and drawn them up in one form." (_C. R._ 2, 47.)

22. Luther's Spokesman at Augsburg.

The material, therefore, out of which Melanchthon, who in 1530 was still
in full accord with Luther doctrinally, framed the fundamental symbol of
the Lutheran Church were the thoughts and, in a large measure, the very
words of Luther. Melanchthon gave to the Augsburg Confession its form
and its irenic note, its entire doctrinal content, however must be
conceded to be "_iuxta sententiam Lutheri,_ according to the teaching of
Luther," as Melanchthon himself declared particularly with respect to
the article of the Lord's Supper. (_C. R._ 2, 142.) On the 27th of June,
two days after the presentation of the Confession, Melanchthon wrote to
Luther: "We have hitherto followed your authority, _tuam secuti hactenus
auctoritatem,_" and now, says Melanchthon, Luther should also let him
know how much could be yielded to the opponents. (2, 146.) Accordingly,
in the opinion of Melanchthon, Luther, though absent, was the head of
the Evangelicals also at Augsburg.

In his answer Luther does not deny this, but only demands of Melanchthon
to consider the cause of the Gospel as his own. "For," says he, "it is
indeed my affair, and, to tell the truth, my affair more so than that of
all of you." Yet they should not speak of "authority." "In this matter,"
he continues, "I will not be or be called your author [authority]; and
though this might be correctly explained, I do not want this word. If it
is not your affair at the same time and in the same measure, I do not
desire that it be called mine and be imposed upon you. If it is mine
alone, I shall direct it myself." (St. L. 16, 906. 903. Enders, _Luthers
Briefwechsel,_ 8, 43.)

Luther, then, was the prime mover also at Augsburg. Without him there
would have been no Evangelical cause, no Diet of Augsburg, no
Evangelical confessors, no Augsburg Confession. And this is what Luther
really meant when he said: "_Confessio Augustana mea;_ the Augsburg
Confession is mine." (Walch 22, 1532.) He did not in the least thereby
intend to deprive Melanchthon of any credit properly due him with
reference to the Confession. Moreover, in a letter written to Nicolaus
Hausmann on July 6, 1530, Luther refers to the Augustana as "our
confession, which our Philip prepared; _quam Philippus noster paravit._"
(St. L. 16, 882; Enders 8, 80.) As a matter of fact, however, the day of
Augsburg, even as the day of Worms, was the day of Luther and of the
Evangelical truth once more restored to light by Luther. At Augsburg,
too, Melanchthon was not the real author and moving spirit, but the
instrument and mouthpiece of Luther, out of whose spirit the doctrine
there confessed had proceeded. (See Formula of Concord 983, 32--34.)

Only blindness born of false religious interests (indifferentism,
unionism, etc.) can speak of Melanchthon's theological independence at
Augsburg or of any doctrinal disagreement between the Augsburg
Confession and the teaching of Luther. That, at the Diet, he was led,
and wished to be led, by Luther is admitted by Melanchthon himself. In
the letter of June 27, referred to above, he said: "The matters, as you
[Luther] know, have been considered before, though in the combat it
always turns out otherwise than expected." (St. L. 16, 899; _C. R._ 2,
146.) On the 31st of August he wrote to his friend Camerarius: "Hitherto
we have yielded nothing to our opponents, except what Luther judged
should be done, since the matter was considered well and carefully
before the Diet; _re bene ac diligenter deliberata ante conventum_." (2,

Very pertinently E. T. Nitzsch said of Melanchthon (1855): "With the son
of the miner, who was destined to bring good ore out of the deep shaft,
there was associated the son of an armorer, who was well qualified to
follow his leader and to forge shields, helmets, armor, and swords for
this great work." This applies also to the Augsburg Confession, in which
Melanchthon merely shaped the material long before produced by Luther
from the divine shafts of God's Word. Replying to Koeller, Rueckert, and
Heppe, who contend that the authorship of the Augsburg Confession must
in every way be ascribed to Melanchthon, Philip Schaff writes as
follows: "This is true as far as the spirit [which Luther called
'pussyfooting,' _Leisetreten_] and the literary composition are
concerned; but as to the doctrines Luther had a right to say, 'The
Catechism, the Exposition of the Ten Commandments, and the Augsburg
Confession are _mine._'" (_Creeds_ 1, 229.)

23. Drafting the Confession.

May 11 the Confession was so far completed that the Elector was able to
submit it to Luther for the purpose of getting his opinion on it.
According to Melanchthon's letter of the same date, the document
contained "almost all articles of faith, _omnes fere articulos fedei._"
(_C. R._ 2, 45.) This agrees with the account written by Melanchthon
shortly before his death, in which he states that in the Augsburg
Confession he had presented "the sum of our Church's doctrine," and that
in so doing he had arrogated nothing to himself; for in the presence of
the princes, etc., each individual sentence had been discussed.
"Thereupon," says Melanchthon, "the entire Confession was sent also to
Luther, who informed the princes that he had read it and approved it.
The princes and other honest and learned men still living will remember
that such was the case. _Missa est denique et Luthero tota forma
Confessionis, qui Principibus scripsit, se hanc Confessionem et legisse
et probare. Haec ita acta esse, Principes et alii honesti et docti viri
adhuc superstites meminerint._" (9, 1052.) As early as May 15 Luther
returned the Confession with the remark: "I have read Master Philip's
Apology. I am well pleased with it, and know nothing to improve or to
change in it; neither would this be proper, since I cannot step so
gently and softly. Christ, our Lord, grant that it may produce much and
great fruit which, indeed, we hope and pray for. Amen." (St. L. 16,
657.) Luther is said to have added these words to the Tenth Article:
"And they condemn those who teach otherwise, _et improbant secus
docentes._" (Enders, 7, 336.)

Up to the time of its presentation the Augsburg Confession was
diligently improved, polished, perfected, and partly recast. Additions
were inserted and several articles added. Nor was this done secretly and
without Luther's knowledge. May 22 Melanchthon wrote to Luther: "Daily
we change much in the Apology. I have eliminated the article On Vows,
since it was too brief, and substituted a fuller explanation. Now I am
also treating of the Power of the Keys. I would like to have you read
the articles of faith. If you find no shortcoming in them, we shall
manage to treat the remainder. For one must always make some changes in
them and adapt oneself to conditions. _Subinde enim mutandi sunt atque
ad occasiones accommodandi._" (_C. R._ 2, 60; Luther, 16, 689.)
Improvements suggested by Regius and Brenz were also adopted. (Zoeckler,
_Die A. K._, 18.)

Even Brueck is said to have made some improvements. May 24 the Nuernberg
delegates wrote to their Council: "The Saxon Plan [Apology] has been
returned by Doctor Luther. But Doctor Brueck, the old chancellor, still
has some changes to make at the beginning and the end." (_C. R._ 2, 62.)
The expression "beginning and end (_hinten und vorne_)," according to
Tschackert, is tantamount to "all over (_ueberall_)." However, even
before 1867 Plitt wrote it had long ago been recognized that this
expression refers to the Introduction and the Conclusion of the
Confession, which were written by Brueck. (Aug. 2, 11.) Bretschneider is
of the same opinion. (_C. R._ 2, 62.) June 3 the Nuernberg delegates
wrote: "Herewith we transmit to Your Excellencies a copy of the Saxon
Plan [Confession] in Latin, together with the Introduction or Preamble.
At the end, however, there are lacking one or two articles [20 and 21]
and the Conclusion, in which the Saxon theologians are still engaged.
When that is completed, it shall be sent to Your Excellencies. Meanwhile
Your Excellencies may cause your learned men and preachers to study it
and deliberate upon it. When this Plan [Confession] is drawn up in
German, it shall not be withheld from Your Excellencies. The Saxons,
however, distinctly desire that, for the present, Your Excellencies keep
this Plan or document secret, and that you permit no copy to be given to
any one until it has been delivered to His Imperial Majesty. They have
reasons of their own for making this request. ... And if Your
Excellencies' pastors and learned men should decide to make changes or
improvements in this Plan or in the one previously submitted, these,
too, Your Excellencies are asked to transmit to us." (2, 83.) June 26
Melanchthon wrote to Camerarius: "Daily I changed and recast much; and I
would have changed still more if our advisers (_sumphradmones_) had
permitted us to do so." (2, 140.)

24. Public Reading of the Confession.

June 15, after long negotiations, a number of other estates were
permitted to join the adherents of the Saxon Confession. (_C. R._ 2,
105.) As a result, Melanchthon's Introduction, containing a defense of
the Saxon Electors, without mentioning the other Lutheran estates, no
longer fitted in with the changed conditions. Accordingly, it was
supplanted by the Preface composed by Brueck, and translated into Latin
by Justus Jonas, whose acknowledged elegant Latin and German style
qualified him for such services. At the last deliberation, on June 23,
the Confession was signed. And on June 25, at 3 P.M., the ever-memorable
meeting of the Diet took place at which the Augustana was read by
Chancellor Beyer in German, and both manuscripts were handed over. The
Emperor kept the Latin copy for himself, and gave the German copy to the
Imperial Chancellor, the Elector and Archbishop Albrecht, to be
preserved in the Imperial Archives at Mainz. Both texts, therefore, the
Latin as well as the German, have equal authority, although the German
text has the additional distinction and prestige of having been publicly
read at the Diet.

As to where and how the Lutheran heroes confessed their faith, Kolde
writes as follows: "The place where they assembled on Saturday, June 25,
at 3 P.M., was not the courtroom, where the meetings of the Diet were
ordinarily conducted, but, as the Imperial Herald, Caspar Sturm,
reports, the 'Pfalz,' the large front room, _i.e._, the Chapter-room of
the bishop's palace, where the Emperor lived. The two Saxon chancellors,
Dr. Greg. Brueck and Dr. Chr. Beyer, the one with the Latin and the
other with the German copy of the Confession, stepped into the middle of
the hall, while as many of the Evangelically minded estates as had the
courage publicly to espouse the Evangelical cause arose from their seats.
Caspar Sturm reports: 'Als aber die gemeldeten Commissarii und
Botschaften der oesterreichischen Lande ihre Werbung und Botschaft
vollendet und abgetreten, sind darauf von Stund' an Kurfuerst von Sachsen
naemlich Herzog Johannes, Markgraf Joerg von Brandenburg, Herzog Ernst
samt seinem Bruder Franzisko, beide Herzoege zu Braunschweig und
Lueneburg, Landgraf Philipp von Hessen, Graf Wolf von Anhalt usw. von
ihrer Session auf; und gegen Kaiserliche Majestaet gestanden.' The
Emperor desired to hear the Latin text. But when Elector John had called
attention to the fact that the meeting was held on German soil, and
expressed the hope that the Emperor would permit the reading to proceed
in German, it was granted. Hereupon Dr. Beyer read the Confession. The
reading lasted about two hours; but he read with a voice so clear and
plain that the multitude, which could not gain access to the hall,
understood every word in the courtyard." (19 f.)

The public reading of the Confession exercised a tremendous influence in
every direction. Even before the Diet adjourned, Heilbronn, Kempten,
Windsheim, Weissenburg and Frankfurt on the Main professed their
adherence to it. Others had received the first impulse which
subsequently induced them to side with the Evangelicals. Brenz has it
that the Emperor fell asleep during the reading. However, this can have
been only temporarily or apparently, since Spalatin and Jonas assure us
that the Emperor, like the other princes and King Ferdinand, listened
attentively. Their report reads: "_Satis attentus erat Caesar,_ The
Emperor was attentive enough." Duke William of Bavaria declared: "Never
before has this matter and doctrine been presented to me in this
manner." And when Eck assured him that he would undertake to refute the
Lutheran doctrine with the Fathers, but not with the Scriptures, the
Duke responded, "Then the Lutherans, I understand, sit in the Scriptures
and we of the Pope's Church beside the Scriptures! _So hoer' ich wohl,
die Lutherischen sitzen in der Schrift und wir Pontificii daneben!_" The
Archbishop of Salzburg declared that he, too desired a reformation, but
the unbearable thing about it was that one lone monk wanted to reform
them all. In private conversation, Bishop Stadion of Augsburg exclaimed,
"What has been read to us is the truth, the pure truth, and we cannot
deny it." (St. L. 16, 882; Plitt, _Apologie,_ 18.) Father Aegidius, the
Emperor's confessor, said to Melanchthon, "You have a theology which a
person can understand only if he prays much." Campegius is reported to
have said that for his part he might well permit such teaching; but it
would be a precedent of no little consequence, as the same permission
would then have to be given other nations and kingdoms, which could not
be tolerated. (Zoeckler, _A. K._, 24.)

25. Luther's Mild Criticism.

June 26 Melanchthon sent a copy of the Confession, as publicly read, to
Luther, who adhering to his opinion of May 15, praised it yet not
without adding a grain of gentle criticism. June 29 he wrote to
Melanchthon: "I have received your Apology and can not understand what
you may mean when you ask what and how much should be yielded to the
Papists. ... As far as I am concerned too much has already been yielded
(_plus satis cessum est_) in this Apology; and if they reject it, I see
nothing that might be yielded beyond what has been done, unless I see
the proofs they proffer, and clearer Bible-passages than I have hitherto
seen. ... As I have always written--I am prepared to yield everything to
them if we are but given the liberty to teach the Gospel. I cannot yield
anything that militates against the Gospel." (St. L. 16, 902; Enders, 8,
42. 45.) The clearest expression of Luther's criticism is found in a
letter to Jonas, dated July 21, 1530. Here we read: "Now I see the
purpose of those questions [on the part of the Papists] whether you had
any further articles to present. The devil still lives, and he has
noticed very well that your Apology steps softly, and that it has veiled
the articles of Purgatory, the Adoration of the Saints, and especially
that of the Antichrist, the Pope." Another reading of this passage of
Luther: "_Apologiam vestram, die Leisetreterin, dissimulasse,_" is
severer even than the one quoted: "_Apologiam vestram leise treten et
dissimulasse._" (St. L. 16, 2323, Enders, 8, 133.)

Brenz regarded the Confession as written "very courteously and modestly,
_valde de civiliter et modeste._" (_C. R._ 2, 125.) The Nuernberg
delegates had also received the impression that the Confession, while
saying what was necessary, was very reserved and discreet. They reported
to their Council: "Said instruction [Confession], as far as the articles
of faith are concerned, is substantially like that which we have
previously sent to Your Excellencies, only that it has been improved in
some parts, and throughout made as mild as possible (_allenthalben aufs
glimpflichste gemacht_), yet, according to our view, without omitting
anything necessary." (2, 129.) At Smalcald, in 1537, the theologians
were ordered by the Princes and Estates "to look over the Confession, to
make no changes pertaining to its contents or substance, nor those of
the Concord [of 1536], but merely to enlarge upon matters regarding the
Papacy, which, for certain reasons, was previously omitted at the Diet
of Augsburg in submissive deference to His Imperial Majesty." (Kolde,
_Analecta,_ 297.)

Indirectly Melanchthon himself admits the correctness of Luther's
criticism. True, when after the presentation of the Confession he
thought of the angry Papists, he trembled fearing that he had written
too severely. June 26 he wrote to his most intimate friend, Camerarius:
"Far from thinking that I have written milder than was proper, I rather
strongly fear (_mirum in modum_) that some have taken offense at our
freedom. For Valdes, the Emperor's secretary, saw it before its
presentation and gave it as his opinion that from beginning to end it
was sharper than the opponents would be able to endure." (_C. R._ 2,
140.) On the same day he wrote to Luther: "According to my judgment, the
Confession is severe enough. For you will see that I have depicted the
monks sufficiently." (141.)

In two letters to Camerarius, however, written on May 21 and June 19,
respectively, hence before the efforts at toning down the Confession
were completed, Melanchthon expressed the opinion that the Confession
could not have been written "in terms more gentle and mild, _mitior et
lenior._" (2, 57.) No doubt, Melanchthon also had in mind his
far-reaching irenics at Augsburg, when he wrote in the Preface to the
Apology of the Augsburg Confession: "It has always been my custom in
these controversies to retain, so far as I was at all able, the form of
the customarily received doctrine, in order that at some time concord
might the more readily be effected. Nor, indeed, am I now departing far
from this custom, although I could justly lead away the men of this age
still farther from the opinions of the adversaries." (101, 11.)
Evidently, Melanchthon means to emphasize that in the Augustana he had
been conservative criticizing only when compelled to do so for
conscience' sake.

26. Luther Praising Confession and Confessors.

Luther's criticism did not in the least dampen his joy over the glorious
victory at Augsburg nor lessen his praise of the splendid confession
there made. In the above-mentioned letter of June 27 he identifies
himself fully and entirely with the Augustana and demands that
Melanchthon, too, consider it an expression of his own faith, and not
merely of Luther's faith. July 3 he wrote to Melanchthon: "Yesterday I
reread carefully your entire Apology, and it pleases me extremely
(_vehementer_)." (St. L. 16, 913; Enders, 8, 79.) July 6 he wrote a
letter to Cordatus in which he speaks of the Augustana as "altogether a
most beautiful confession, _plane pulcherrima confessio._" At the same
time he expresses his great delight over the victory won at Augsburg,
applying to the Confession Ps. 119, 46: "I will speak of Thy testimonies
also before kings, and will not be ashamed,"--a text which ever since
has remained the motto, appearing on all of its subsequent manuscripts
and printed copies.

Luther said: "I rejoice beyond measure that I lived to see the hour in
which Christ was publicly glorified by such great confessors of His, in
so great an assembly, through this in every respect most beautiful
Confession. And the word has been fulfilled [Ps. 119, 46]: 'I will speak
of Thy testimonies also before kings;' and the other word will also be
fulfilled: 'I was not confounded.' For, 'Whosoever confesses Me before
men' (so speaks He who lies not), 'him will I also confess before My
Father which is in heaven.'" (16, 915; E. 8, 83.) July 9 Luther wrote to
Jonas "Christ was loudly proclaimed by means of the public and glorious
Confession (_publica et gloriosa confessione_) and confessed in the open
(_am Lichte_) and in their [the Papists'] faces, so that they cannot
boast that we fled, had been afraid, or had concealed our faith. I only
regret that I was not able to be present when this splendid Confession
was made (_in hac pulchra confessione_)." (St. L. 16, 928; E. 8, 94.)

On the same day, July 9, Luther wrote to the Elector: "I know and
consider well that our Lord Christ Himself comforts the heart of Your
Electoral Grace better than I or any one else is able to do. This is
shown, too, and proved before our eyes by the facts, for the opponents
think that they made a shrewd move by having His Imperial Majesty
prohibit preaching. But the poor deluded people do not see that, through
the written Confession presented to them, more has been preached than
otherwise perhaps ten preachers could have done. Is it not keen wisdom
and great wit that Magister Eisleben and others must keep silence? But
in lieu thereof the Elector of Saxony, together with other princes and
lords, arises with the written Confession and preaches freely before His
Imperial Majesty and the entire realm, under their noses so that they
must hear and cannot gainsay. I think that thus the order prohibiting
preaching was a success indeed. They will not permit their servants to
hear the ministers, but must themselves hear something far worse (as
they regard it) from such great lords, and keep their peace. Indeed,
Christ is not silent at the Diet; and though they be furious, still they
must hear more by listening to the Confession than they would have heard
in a year from the preachers. Thus is fulfilled what Paul says: God's
Word will nevertheless have free course. If it is prohibited in the
pulpit, it must be heard in the palaces. If poor preachers dare not
speak it, then mighty princes and lords proclaim it. In brief, if
everything keeps silence, the very stones will cry out, says Christ
Himself." (16, 815.) September 15, at the close of the Diet, Luther
wrote to Melanchthon: "You have confessed Christ, offered peace, obeyed
the Emperor, endured reproach, been sated with slander, and have not
recompensed evil for evil; in sum you have performed the holy work of
God, as becomes saints, in a worthy manner. ... I shall canonize you
(_canonizabo vos_) as faithful members of Christ." (16, 2319; E. 8,

27. Manuscripts and Editions of Augustana.

As far as the text of the Augsburg Confession is concerned, both of the
original manuscripts are lost to us. Evidently they have become a prey
to Romish rage and enmity. Eck was given permission to examine the
German copy in 1540, and possibly at that time already it was not
returned to Mainz. It may have been taken to Trent for the discussions
at the Council, and thence carried to Rome. The Latin original was
deposited in the Imperial Archives at Brussels, where it was seen and
perused by Lindanus in 1562. February 18, 1569, however, Philip II
instructed Duke Alva to bring the manuscript to Spain, lest the
Protestants "regard it as a Koran," and in order that "such a damned
work might forever be destroyed; _porque se hunda para siempre tan
malvada obra._" The keeper of the Brussels archives himself testifies
that the manuscript was delivered to Alva. There is, however, no lack of
other manuscripts of the Augsburg Confession. Up to the present time no
less than 39 have been found. Of these, five German and four Latin
copies contain also the signatures. The five German copies are in verbal
agreement almost throughout, and therefore probably offer the text as
read and presented at Augsburg.

The printing of the Confession had been expressly prohibited by the
Emperor. June 26 Melanchthon wrote to Veit Dietrich: "Our Confession has
been presented to the Emperor. He ordered that it be not printed. You
will therefore see that it is not made public." (_C. R._ 2, 142.)
However, even during the sessions of the Diet a number of printed
editions six in German and one in Latin, were issued by irresponsible
parties. But since these were full of errors, and since, furthermore,
the Romanists asserted with increasing boldness and challenge that the
Confession of the Lutherans had been refuted, by the Roman Confutation,
from the Scriptures and the Fathers, Melanchthon, in 1530, had a correct
edition printed, which was issued, together with the Apology, in May,
1531. This quarto edition ("Beide, Deutsch Und Lateinisch Ps. 119") is
regarded as the _editio princeps._

For years this edition was also considered the authentic edition of the
Augsburg Confession. Its Latin text was embodied 1584 in the Book of
Concord as the _textus receptus._ But when attention was drawn to the
changes in the German text of this edition (also the Latin text had been
subjected to minor alterations), the Mainz Manuscript was substituted in
the German Book of Concord, as its Preface explains. (14.) This
manuscript, however contains no original signatures and was erroneously
considered the identical document presented to the Emperor, of which it
was probably but a copy. In his Introduction to the Symbolical Books, J.
T. Mueller expresses the following opinion concerning the Mainz
Manuscript: "To say the least, one cannot deny that its text, as a rule,
agrees with that of the best manuscripts, and that its mistakes can
easily be corrected according to them and the _editio princeps,_ so that
we have no reason to surrender the text received by the Church and to
accept another in place thereof, of which we cannot prove either that it
is any closer to the original." (78.) Tschackert, who devoted much study
to the manuscripts of the Augsburg Confession, writes: "The Saxon
theologians acted in good faith, and the Mainz copy is still certainly
better than Melanchthon's original imprint [the _editio princeps_] yet,
when compared with the complete and--because synchronous with the
originally presented copy--reliable manuscripts of the signers of the
Confession, the Mainz Manuscript proves to be defective in quite a
number of places." (_L.c._ 621 f.)

However, even Tschackert's minute comparison shows that the Mainz
Manuscript deviates from the original presented to the Emperor only in
unimportant and purely formal points. For example, in sec. 20 of the
Preface the words: "Papst das Generalkonzilium zu halten nicht
geweigert, so waere E. K. M. gnaediges Erbieten, zu fordern und zu
handeln, dass der" are omitted. Art. 27 sec. 48 we are to read: "dass
die erdichteten geistlichen Orden Staende sind christlicher
Vollkommenheit" instead of: "dass die erdichteten geistlichen
Ordensstaende sind christliche Vollkommenheit." Art. 27, sec. 61 reads,
"die Uebermass der Werke," instead of, "die Uebermasswerke," by the way,
an excellent expression, which should again be given currency in the
German. The conclusion of sec. 2 has "Leichpredigten" instead of
"Beipredigten." According to the manuscripts, also the Mainz Manuscript,
the correct reading of sec. 12 of the Preface is as follows: "Wo aber
bei unsern Herrn, Freunden und besonders den Kurfuersten, Fuersten und
Staenden des andern Teils die Handlung dermassen, wie E. K. M.
Ausschreiben vermag (bequeme Handlung unter uns selbst in Lieb und
Guetigkeit) nicht verfangen noch erspriesslich sein wollte" etc. The
words, "bequeme Handlung unter uns selbst in Lieb' und Guetigkeit," are
quoted from the imperial proclamation. (Foerstemann, 7, 378; Plitt, 2,

Originally only the last seven articles concerning the abuses had
separate titles, the doctrinal articles being merely numbered, as in the
Marburg and Schwabach Articles, which Melanchthon had before him at
Augsburg. (Luther, Weimar 30, 3, 86. 160.) Nor are the present captions
of the doctrinal articles found in the original German and Latin
editions of the Book of Concord, Article XX forming a solitary
exception; for in the German (in the Latin Concordia, too, it bears no
title) it is superscribed: "Vom Glauben und guten Werken, Of Faith and
Good Works." This is probably due to the fact that Article XX was taken
from the so-called Torgau Articles and, with its superscription there,
placed among the doctrinal articles. In the German edition of 1580 the
word "Schluss" is omitted where the Latin has "Epilogus."

As to the translations, even before the Confession was presented to the
Emperor, it had been rendered into French. (This translation was
published by Foerstemann, 1, 357.) The Emperor had it translated for his
own use into both Italian and French. (_C. R._ 2, 155; Luther, St. L.,
16, 884.) Since then the Augustana has been done into Hebrew, Greek,
Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, Slavic, Danish, Swedish, English, and many
other languages. As to the English translations, see page 6. [tr. note:
numbered section 4, above]

28. Signatures of Augsburg Confession.

Concerning the signatures of the Augustana, Tschackert writes as
follows: The names of the signers are most reliably determined from the
best manuscript copies of the original of the Confession, which have
been preserved to us. There we find the signatures of eight princes and
two free cities, to wit, Elector John of Saxony, Margrave George of
Brandenburg-Ansbach, Duke Ernest of Braunschweig-Lueneburg, Landgrave
Philip of Hesse, then John Frederick, the Electoral Prince of Saxony,
Ernest's brother Francis of Braunschweig-Lueneburg, Prince Wolfgang of
Anhalt, Count Albrecht of Mansfeld, and the cities Nuernberg and
Reutlingen. (_L.c._ 285; see also Luther's letter of July 6, 1530, St.
L. 16, 882.) Camerarius, in his Life of Melanchthon, relates that
Melanchthon desired to have the Confession drawn up in the name of the
theologians only, but that his plan did not prevail because it was
believed that the signatures of the princes would lend prestige and
splendor to the act of presenting this confession of faith. Besides,
this plan of Melanchthon's was excluded by the Emperor's proclamation.

Although Philip of Hesse, in the interest of a union with the Swiss, had
zealously, but in vain, endeavored to secure for the article concerning
the Lord's Supper a milder form still, in the end, he did not refuse to
sign. Regius wrote to Luther, May 21, that he had discussed the entire
cause of the Gospel with the Landgrave, who had invited him to dinner,
and talked with him for two hours on the Lord's Supper. The Prince had
presented all the arguments of the Sacramentarians and desired to hear
Regius refute them. But while the Landgrave did not side with Zwingli
(_non sentit cum Zwinglio_), yet he desired with all his heart an
agreement of the theologians, as far as piety would permit (_exoptat
doctorum hominum concordiam, quantum sinit pietas_). He was far less
inclined to dissension than rumor had it before his arrival. He would
hardly despise the wise counsel of Melanchthon and others. (Kolde,
_Analecta,_ 125; see also _C. R._ 2, 59, where the text reads, "_nam
sentit cum Zwinglio_" instead of, "_non sentit cum Zwinglio._")
Accordingly, the mind of the Landgrave was not outright Zwinglian, but
unionistic. He regarded the followers of Zwingli as weak brethren who
must be borne with, and to whom Christian fellowship should not be
refused. This also explains how the Landgrave could sign the Augustana,
and yet continue his endeavors to bring about a union.

May 22 Melanchthon wrote to Luther: "The Macedonian [Philip of Hesse]
now contemplates signing our formula of speech, and it appears as if he
can be drawn back to our side; still, a letter from you will be
necessary. Therefore I beg you most urgently that you write him,
admonishing him not to burden his conscience with a godless doctrine."
Still the Landgrave did not change his position in the next few weeks.
June 25, however, Melanchthon reported to Luther: "The Landgrave
approves our Confession and has signed it. You will, I hope accomplish
much if you seek to strengthen him by writing him a letter." (_C. R._ 2,
60. 92. 96. 101. 103. 126; Luther St. L., 16, 689; 21a, 1499.)

At Augsburg, whither also Zwingli had sent his _Fidei Ratio,_ the
South-German imperial cities (Strassburg, Constance, Memmingen, Lindau)
presented the so-called _Confessio Tetrapolitana,_ prepared by Bucer and
Capito, which declares that the Sacraments are "holy types," and that in
the Lord's Supper the "true body" and the "true blood" of Christ "are
truly eaten and drunk as meat and drink for the souls which are thereby
nourished unto eternal life." However, in 1532 these cities, too, signed
the Augsburg Confession.

Thus the seed which Luther sowed had grown wonderfully. June 25, 1530,
is properly regarded as the real birthday of the Lutheran Church. From
this day on she stands before all the world as a body united by a public
confession and separate from the Roman Church. The lone, but courageous
confessor of Worms saw himself surrounded with a stately host of true
Christian heroes, who were not afraid to place their names under his
Confession, although they knew that it might cost them goods and blood,
life and limb. When the Emperor, after entering Augsburg, stubbornly
demanded that the Lutherans cease preaching, Margrave George of
Brandenburg finally declared: "Rather than deny my God and suffer the
Word of God to be taken from me, I will kneel down and have my head
struck off." (_C. R._ 2, 115.) That characterizes the pious and heroic
frame of mind of all who signed the Augustana in 1530 In a letter, of
June 18, to Luther, Jonas relates how the Catholic princes and estates
knelt down to receive the blessing of Campegius when the latter entered
the city, but that the Elector remained standing and declared: "To God
alone shall knees be bowed; _In Deo flectenda sunt genua._" (Kolde,
_Analecta,_ 135.) When Melanchthon called the Elector's attention to the
possible consequences of his signing the Augsburg Confession, the latter
answered that he would do what was right, without concerning himself
about his electoral dignity; he would confess his Lord, whose cross he
prized higher than all the power of the world.

Brenz wrote: "Our princes are most steadfast in confessing the Gospel,
and surely, when I consider their great steadfastness, there comes over
me no small feeling of shame because we poor beggars [theologians] are
filled with fear of the Imperial Majesty." (_C. R._ 2, 125.) Luther
praises Elector John for having suffered a bitter death at the Diet of
Augsburg. There, says Luther, he had to swallow all kinds of nasty soups
and poison with which the devil served him; at Augsburg he publicly,
before all the world, confessed Christ's death and resurrection, and
hazarded property and people, yea, his own body and life; and because of
the confession which he made we shall honor him as a Christian. (St. L.
12, 2078 f.) And not only the Lutheran Church, but all Protestant
Christendom, aye, the entire world has every reason to revere and hold
sacred the memory of the heroes who boldly affixed their names to the
Confession of 1530.

29. Tributes to Confession of Augsburg.

From the moment of its presentation to the present day, men have not
tired of praising the Augsburg Confession, which has been called
_Confessio augusta, Confessio augustissima,_ the "_Evangelischer
Augapfel,_" etc. They have admired its systematic plan, its
completeness, comprehensiveness, and arrangement; its balance of
mildness and firmness; its racy vigor, freshness, and directness; its
beauty of composition, "the like of which can not be found in the entire
literature of the Reformation period." Spalatin exclaims: "A Confession,
the like of which was never made, not only in a thousand years, but as
long as the world has been standing!" Sartorius: "A confession of the
eternal truth, of true ecumenical Christianity, and of all fundamental
articles of the Christian faith!" "From the Diet of Augsburg, which is
the birthday of the Evangelical Church Federation, down to the great
Peace Congress of Muenster and Osnabrueck, this Confession stands as the
towering standard in the entire history of those profoundly troublous
times, gathering the Protestants about itself in ever closer ranks, and,
when assaulted by the enemies of Evangelical truth with increasing fury,
is defended by its friends in severe fighting, with loss of goods and
blood, and always finally victoriously holds the field. Under the
protection of this banner the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany has
been built up on firm and unassailable foundations: under the same
protection the Reformed Church in Germany has found shelter. But the
banner was carried still farther; for all Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, and
Prussians have sworn allegiance to it, and the Esthonians, Latts, Finns,
as well as all Lutherans of Russia, France, and other lands recognize
therein the palladium of their faith and rights. No other Protestant
confession has ever been so honored." (Guericke, _Kg._, 3, 116 f.)

Vilmar says in praise of the Confession: "Whoever has once felt a gentle
breath of the bracing mountain air which is wafted from this mighty
mountain of faith [the Augsburg Confession] no longer seeks to pit
against its firm and quiet dignity his own uncertain, immature, and
wavering thoughts nor to direct the vain and childish puff of his mouth
against that breath of God in order to give it a different direction."
(_Theol. d. Tatsachen,_ 76.) In his Introduction to the Symbolical
Books, J. T. Mueller says: "Luther called the Diet of Augsburg 'the last
trumpet before Judgment Day;' hence we may well call the confession
there made the _blast_ of that trumpet, which, indeed, has gone forth
into all lands, even as the Gospel of God which it proclaims in its
purity." (78.) The highest praise, however, is given the Augsburg
Confession by the Church which was born with it, when, _e.g._, in the
Formula of Concord, the Lutherans designate it as "the symbol of our
time," and glory in it as the Confession, which, though frowned upon and
assailed by its opponents, "down to this day has remained unrefuted and
unoverthrown (bis auf diesen Tag unwiderlegt und unumgestossen
geblieben)." (777, 4; 847, 3.)

IV. Melanchthon's Alterations of the Augsburg Confession.

30. Changes Unwarranted.

Melanchthon continued uninterruptedly to polish and correct the Augsburg
Confession till immediately before its presentation on June 25, 1530.
While, indeed he cannot be censured for doing this, it was though
originally not so intended by Melanchthon, an act of presumption to
continue to alter the document after it had been adopted, signed, and
publicly presented. Even the _editio princeps_ of 1531 is no longer in
literal agreement with the original manuscripts. For this reason the
German text embodied in the Book of Concord is not the one contained in
the _editio princeps,_ but that of the Mainz Manuscript, which, as
stated, was erroneously believed to be the identical German copy
presented to the Emperor. The Latin text of the _editio princeps,_
embodied in the Book of Concord, had likewise undergone some, though
unessential, changes. These alterations became much more extensive in
the Latin octavo edition of 1531 and in the German revision of 1533. The
Variata of 1540 and 1542, however, capped the climax as far as changes
are concerned, some of them being very questionable also doctrinally. In
their "Approbation" of the Concordia Germanico-Latina, edited by
Reineccius, 1708, the Leipzig theologians remark pertinently:
Melanchthon found it "impossible to leave a book as it once was."
Witness his _Loci_ of 1521, which he remodeled three times--1535, 1542,
and 1548. However, the _Loci_ were his own private work while the
Augustana was the property and confession of the Church.

Tschackert is right when he comments as follows: "To-day it is regarded
as an almost incomprehensible trait of Melanchthon's character that
immediately after the Diet and all his lifetime he regarded the
Confession as a private production of his pen, and made changes in it as
often as he had it printed, while he, more so than others, could but
evaluate it as a state-paper of the Evangelical estates, which, having
been read and delivered in solemn session, represented an important
document of German history, both secular and ecclesiastical. In
extenuation it is said that Melanchthon made these changes in
pedagogical interests, namely, in order to clarify terms or to explain
them more definitely; furthermore, that for decades the Evangelical
estates and theologians did not take offense at Melanchthon's changes.
Both may be true. But this does not change the fact that the chief
editor of the Confession did not appreciate the world-historical
significance of this state-paper of the Evangelical estates." (_L.c._
288.) Nor can it be denied that Melanchthon made these changes, not
merely in pedagogical interests, but, at least a number of them, also
in the interest of his deviating dogmatic views and in deference to
Philip of Hesse, who favored a union with the Swiss. Nor can Melanchthon
be fully cleared of dissimulation in this matter. The revised Apology of
1540, for example, he openly designated on the titlepage as "diligently
revised, _diligenter recognita";_ but in the case of the Augsburg
Confession of 1540 and 1542 he in no way indicated that it was a changed
and augmented edition.

As yet it has not been definitely ascertained when and where the terms
"Variata" and "Invariata" originated. At the princes' diet of Naumburg,
in 1561, the Variata was designated as the "amended" edition. The Reuss
Confession of 1567 contains the term "unaltered Augsburg Confession." In
its Epitome as well as in its Thorough Declaration the Formula of
Concord speaks of "the First Unaltered Augsburg Confession--_Augustana
illa prima et non mutata Confessio._" (777, 4; 851, 5.) The Preface to
the Formula of Concord repeatedly speaks of the Variata of 1540 as "the
other edition of the Augsburg Confession--_altera Augustanae
Confessionis editio._" (13 f.)

31. Detrimental Consequences of Alterations.

The changes made in the Augsburg Confession brought great distress,
heavy cares, and bitter struggles upon the Lutheran Church both from
within and without. Church history records the manifold and sinister
ways in which they were exploited by the Reformed as well as the
Papists; especially by the latter (the Jesuits) at the religious
colloquies beginning 1540, until far into the time of the Thirty Years'
War, in order to deprive the Lutherans of the blessings guaranteed by
the religious Peace of Augsburg, 1555. (Salig, _Gesch. d. A. K._, 1, 770
ff.; _Lehre und Wehre_ 1919, 218 ff.)

On Melanchthon's alterations of the Augsburg Confession the Romanists,
as the Preface to the Book of Concord explains, based the reproach and
slander that the Lutherans themselves did not know "which is the true
and genuine Augsburg Confession." (15.) Decrying the Lutherans, they
boldly declared "that not two preachers are found who agree in each and
every article of the Augsburg Confession, but that they are rent asunder
and separated from one another to such an extent that they themselves no
longer know what is the Augsburg Confession and its proper sense."
(1095.) In spite of the express declaration of the Lutherans at
Naumburg, 1561, that they were minded to abide by the original Augsburg
Confession as presented to Emperor Charles V at Augsburg, 1530, the
Papists and the Reformed did not cease their calumniations, but
continued to interpret their declarations to mean, "as though we [the
Lutherans] were so uncertain concerning our religion, and so often had
transfused it from one formula to another, that it was no longer clear
to us or our theologians what is the Confession once offered to the
Emperor at Augsburg." (11.)

As a result of the numerous and, in part radical changes made by
Melanchthon in the Augsburg Confession, the Reformed also, in the course
of time more and more, laid claim to the Variata and appealed to it over
against the loyal Lutherans. In particular, they regarded and
interpreted the alteration which Melanchthon had made in Article X, Of
the Lord's Supper, as a correction of the original Augustana in
deference to the views of Calvinism. Calvin declared that he (1539 at
Strassburg) had signed the Augustana "in the sense in which its author
[Melanchthon] explains it (_sicut eam auctor ipse interpretatur_)." And
whenever the Reformed, who were regarded as confessionally related to
the Augsburg Confession (_Confessioni Augustanae addicti_), and as such
shared in the blessings of the Peace of Augsburg (1555) and the Peace of
Westphalia (1648), adopted, and appealed to, the Augustana, they
interpreted it according to the Variata.

Referring to this abuse on the part of the Reformed and
Crypto-Calvinists, the Preface to the Book of Concord remarks: "To these
disadvantages [the slanders of the Romanists] there is also added that,
under the pretext of the Augsburg Confession [Variata of 1540], the
teaching conflicting with the institution of the Holy Supper of the body
and blood of Christ and also other corruptions were introduced here and
there into the churches and schools." (11. 17.)--Thus the changes made
in the Augsburg Confession did much harm to the Lutheran cause.
Melanchthon belongs to the class of men that have greatly benefited our
Church, but have also seriously harmed it. "These fictions" of the
adversaries, says the Preface to the Book of Concord concerning the
slanders based on Melanchthon's changes "have deterred and alienated
many good men from our churches, schools, doctrine, faith, and
confession." (11.)

32. Attitude toward Variata.

John Eck was the first who, in 1541, at the religious colloquy of Worms,
publicly protested against the Variata. But since it was apparent that
most of the changes were intended merely as reenforcements of the
Lutheran position against the Papists, and Melanchthon also declared
that he had made no changes in "the matter and substance or in the
sense," _i.e._, in the doctrine itself, the Lutherans at that time, as
the Preface to the Book of Concord shows, attached no further importance
to the matter. The freedom with which in those days formal alterations
were made even in public documents, and the guilelessness with which
such changes were received, appears, for example, from the translation
of the Apology by Justus Jonas. However, not all Lutherans even at that
time were able to view Melanchthon's changes without apprehension and
indifference. Among these was Elector John Frederick, who declared that
he considered the Augustana to be the confession of those who had signed
it, and not the private property of Melanchthon.

In his admonition to Brueck of May 5, 1537, he says: "Thus Master Philip
also is said to have arrogated to himself the privilege of changing in
some points the Confession of Your Electoral Grace and the other princes
and estates, made before His Imperial Majesty at Augsburg, to soften it
and to print it elsewhere [a reprint of the changed Latin octavo edition
of 1531 had been published 1535 at Augsburg and another at Hagenau]
without the previous knowledge and approval of Your Electoral Grace and
of the other estates which, in the opinion of Your Electoral Grace, he
should justly have refrained from, since the Confession belongs
primarily to Your Electoral Grace and the other estates; and from it
[the alterations made] Your Electoral Grace and the other related
estates might be charged that they are not certain of their doctrine and
are also unstable. Besides, it is giving an offense to the people." (_C.
R._ 3, 365.) Luther, too, is said to have remonstrated with Melanchthon
for having altered the Confession. In his Introduction to the Augsburg
Confession (Koenigsberg, 1577) Wigand reports: "I heard from Mr. George
Rorarius that Dr. Luther said to Philip, 'Philip, Philip, you are not
doing right in changing Augustanam Confessionem so often for it is not
your, but the Church's book.'" Yet it is improbable that this should
have occurred between 1537 and 1542, for in 1540 the Variata followed,
which was changed still more in 1542, without arousing any public
protest whatever.

After Luther's death, however, when Melanchthon's doctrinal deviations
became apparent, and the Melanchthonians and the loyal Lutherans became
more and more opposed to one another, the Variata was rejected with
increasing determination by the latter as the party-symbol of the
Philippists. In 1560 Flacius asserted at Weimar that the Variata
differed essentially from the Augustana. In the Reuss-Schoenburg
Confession of 1567 the Variata was unqualifiedly condemned; for here we
read: We confess "the old, true, unaltered Augsburg Confession, which
later was changed, mutilated, misinterpreted, and falsified ... by the
Adiaphorists in many places both as regards the words and the substance
(_nach den Worten und sonst in den Haendeln_), which thus became a
buskin, _Bundschuh,_ pantoffle, and a Polish boot, fitting both legs
equally well [suiting Lutherans as well as Reformed] or a cloak and a
changeling (_Wechselbalg_), by means of which Adiaphorists,
Sacramentarians, Antinomians, new teachers of works, and the like hide,
adorn, defend, and establish their errors and falsifications under the
cover and name of the Augsburg Confession, pretending to be likewise
confessors of the Augsburg Confession, for the sole purpose of enjoying
with us under its shadow, against rain and hail, the common peace of the
Empire, and selling, furthering, and spreading their errors under the
semblance of friends so much the more easily and safely." (Kolde,
_Einleitung,_ 30.) In a sermon delivered at Wittenberg, Jacob Andreae
also opposed the Variata very zealously.

Thus the conditions without as well as within the Lutheran Church were
such that a public declaration on the part of the genuine Lutherans as
to their attitude toward the alterations of Melanchthon, notably in the
Variata of 1540, became increasingly imperative. Especially the
continued slanders, intrigues, and threats of the Papists necessitated
such a declaration. As early as 1555, when the Peace of Augsburg was
concluded, the Romanists attempted to limit its provisions to the
adherents of the Augustana of 1530. At the religious colloquy of Worms,
in 1557, the Jesuit Canisius, distinguishing between a pure and a
falsified Augustana, demanded that the adherents of the latter be
condemned, and excluded from the discussions.

33. Alterations in Editions of 1531, 1533, 1540.

As to the alterations themselves, the Latin text of the _editio
princeps_ of the Augsburg Confession of 1531 received the following
additions: sec. 3 in Article 13, sec. 8 in Article 18, and sec. 26 in
Article 26. Accordingly, these passages do not occur in the German text
of the Book of Concord. Originally sec. 2 in the conclusion of Article
21 read: "_Tota_ dissensio est de paucis quibusdam abusibus," and sec. 3
in Article 24: "Nam ad hoc _praecipue_ opus est ceremoniis, ut doceant
imperitos." The additions made to Articles 13 and 18 are also found in
the German text of the _editio princeps_. (_C. R._ 26, 279. 564.)

In the "Approbation" of the Leipzig theologians mentioned above we read:
The octavo edition of the Augustana and the Apology printed 1531 by
George Rauh, according to the unanimous testimony of our theologians,
cannot be tolerated, "owing to the many additions and other changes
originating from Philip Melanchthon. For if one compares the 20th
Article of the Augsburg Confession as well as the last articles on the
Abuses: 'Of Monastic Vows' and 'Of Ecclesiastical Authority,' it will
readily be seen what great additions (_laciniae_) have been patched onto
this Wittenberg octavo edition of 1531. The same thing has also been
done with the Apology, especially in the article 'Of Justification and
Good Works,' where often entire successive pages may be found which do
not occur in the genuine copies. Furthermore, in the declaration
regarding the article 'Of the Lord's Supper,' where Paul's words, that
the bread is a communion of the body of Christ, etc., as well as the
testimony of Theophylact concerning the presence of the body of Christ
in the Supper have been omitted. Likewise in the defense of the articles
'Of Repentance,' 'Of Confession and Satisfaction,' 'Of Human
Traditions,' 'Of the Marriage of Priests,' and 'Of Ecclesiastical
Power,' where, again, entire pages have been added." (_L.c._ 8, 13; _C.
R._ 27, 437.) In the German edition of the Augsburg Confession of 1533
it was especially Articles 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 15, and 20 that were
remodeled. These alterations, however, involve no doctrinal changes,
with the possible exception of Article 5, where the words "where and
when He will" are expunged. (_C. R._ 26, 728.)

As to the Variata of 1540, however, the extent of the 21 doctrinal
articles was here almost doubled, and quite a number of material
alterations were made. Chief among the latter are the following: In
Article 5 the words, "ubi et quando visum est Deo," are omitted. In the
10th Article the rejection of the Reformed doctrine is deleted, and the
following is substituted for the article proper: "De coena Domini
docent, quod cum pane et vino vere exhibeantur corpus et sanguis Christi
vescentibus in Coena Domini." (_C. R._ 26, 357.) The following sentences
have also given offense: "Et cum hoc modo consolamur nos promissione seu
Evangelio et erigimus nos fide, certo consequimur remissionem
peccatorum, et _simul_ datur nobis Spiritus Sanctus." "Cum Evangelium
audimus aut cogitamus aut sacramenta tractamus et fide nos consolamur
_simul_ est efficax Spiritus Sanctus." (354.) For the words of the 18th
Article: "sed haec fit in cordibus, cum per Verbum Spiritus Sanctus
concipitur," the Variata substitutes: "Et Christus dicit: Sine me nihil
potestis facere. Efficitur autem spiritualis iustitia in nobis, cum
_audiuvamur_ a Spiritu Sancto. Porro Spiritum Sanctum concipimus, cum
Verbo Dei assentimur, ut nos fide in terroribus consolemur." (362.)
Toward the end of the same article we read: "Quamquam enim externa opera
aliquo modo potest efficere humana natura per sese, ... verum timorem,
veram fiduciam, patientiam, castitatem non potest efficere, nisi
Spiritus Sanctus gubernet et _adiuvet_ corda nostra." (363.) In the 19th
Article the phrase "non adiuvante Deo" is erased, which, by the way,
indicates that Melanchthon regarded these words as equivalent to those
of the German text: "so Gott die Hand abgetan," for else he would have
weakened the text against his own interests. (363.) To the 20th Article
Melanchthon added the sentence: "Debet autem ad haec dona [Dei] accedere
exercitatio nostra, quae et _conservat_ ea et meretur incrementum, iuxta
illud: Habenti dabitur. Et Augustinus praeclare dixit: Dilectio meretur
incrementum dilectionis, cum videlicet exercetur." (311.)

34. Alterations Render Confession Ambiguous.

True in making all these changes, Melanchthon did not introduce any
direct heresy into the Variata. He did, however, in the interest of his
irenic and unionistic policy and dogmatic vacillations, render ambiguous
and weaken the clear sense of the Augustana. By his changes he opened
the door and cleared the way, as it were, for his deviations in the
direction of Synergism, Calvinism (Lord's Supper), and Romanism (good
works are necessary to salvation). Nor was Melanchthon a man who did
not know what he was doing when he made alterations. Whenever he
weakened and trimmed the doctrines he had once confessed, whether in his
_Loci_ or in the Augustana, he did so in order to satisfy definite
interests of his own, interests self-evidently not subservient to, but
conflicting with, the clear expression and bold confession of the old
Lutheran truth.

Kolde, referring in particular to the changes made in the 10th Article,
says: "It should never have been denied that these alterations involved
real changes. The motives which actuated Melanchthon cannot be
definitely ascertained, neither from his own expressions nor from
contemporary remarks of his circle of acquaintances" [As late as 1575
Selneccer reports that Philip of Hesse had asked Melanchthon to erase
the _improbatio_ of the 10th Article, because then also the Swiss would
accept the Augustana as their confession]. "A comparison with the
Wittenberg Concord of May, 1536 (_cum pane et vino vere et
substantialiter adesse_--that the body and blood [of Christ] are really
and substantially present with the bread and wine, _C. R._ 3, 75)
justifies the assumption that by using the form: _cum pane et vino vere
exhibeantur,_ he endeavored to take into account the existing agreement
with the South Germans (_Oberlaender_). However, when, at the same time,
he omits the words: _vere et substantialiter adesse,_ and the
_improbatio,_ it cannot, in view of his gradually changed conception of
the Lord's Supper, be doubted that he sought to leave open for himself
and others the possibility of associating also with the Swiss." (25.)

An adequate answer to the question what prompted Melanchthon to make his
alterations will embrace also the following points: 1. Melanchthon's
mania for changing and remodeling in general. 2. His desire, especially
after the breach between the Lutherans and the Papists seemed incurable,
to meet and satisfy the criticism that the Augustana was too mild, and
to reenforce the Lutheran position over against the Papists. 3.
Melanchthon's doctrinal deviations, especially in Reformed and
synergistic directions.

35. Variata Disowned by Lutheran Church.

It cannot be denied that during Luther's life and for quite a time after
his death the Variata was used by Lutherans without any public
opposition and recognized as the Augsburg Confession. Martin Chemnitz,
in his "Iudicum de Controversiis quibusdam circa quosdam Augustanae
Confessionis Articulos--Decision concerning Certain Controversies about
Some Articles of the Augsburg Confession," printed 1597, says that the
edition of 1540 was employed at the religious colloquies with the
previous knowledge and approval of Luther; in fact, that it was drawn up
especially for the Colloquy at Hagenau, which the opponents (Cochlaeus
at Worms, Pighius at Regensburg) had taken amiss. "Graviter tulerant,"
says Chemnitz, "multis articulis pleniori declaratione plusculum lucis
accessisse, unde videbant veras sententias magis illustrari et Thaidis
Babyloniae turpitudinem manifestius denudare--They took it amiss that
more light had been shed on many articles by a fuller explanation,
whence they perceived the true statements to be more fully illustrated
and the shame of the Babylonian Thais to be more fully disclosed."
(Mueller, _Einleitung,_ 72.)

Furthermore, it is equally certain that on the part of the Lutheran
princes, the Variata was employed without any sinister intentions
whatever, and without the slightest thought of deviating even in the
least from the doctrine of the original Augustana, as has been falsely
asserted by Heppe, Weber, and others. Wherever the Variata was adopted
by Lutheran princes and theologians, it was never for the purpose of
weakening the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession in any point.
Moreover, the sole reason always was to accentuate and present more
clearly the contrast between themselves and the Papists; and, generally
speaking, the Variata did serve this purpose. True, Melanchthon at the
same time, no doubt planned to prepare the way for his doctrinal
innovations; but wherever such was the case he kept it strictly to

The complete guilelessness and good faith in which the Lutheran princes
and theologians employed the Variata, and permitted its use appears
from the Preface to the Book of Concord. For here they state: "Therefore
we have decided in this writing to testify publicly, and to inform all,
that we wished neither then nor now in any way to defend, or excuse or
to approve, as agreeing with the Gospel-doctrine, false and godless
doctrines and opinions which may be concealed under certain coverings of
words [in the Variata]. We, indeed, never received the latter edition
[of 1540] in a sense differing in any part from the former which was
presented [at Augsburg]. Neither do we judge that other useful writings
of Dr. Philip Melanchthon, or of Brenz, Urban Regius, Pomeranus, etc.,
should be rejected and condemned, as far as in all things, they agree
with the norm which has been set forth in the Book of Concord." (17.)

Accordingly, when the Variata was boldly exploited by the Romanists to
circulate all manner of slanders about the Lutherans; when it also
became increasingly evident that the Reformed and Crypto-Calvinists
employed the Variata as a cover for their false doctrine of the Lord's
Supper; when, furthermore within the Lutheran Church the suspicion
gradually grew into conviction that Melanchthon, by his alterations had
indeed intended to foist doctrinal deviations upon the Lutheran Church;
and when, finally, a close scrutiny of the Variata had unmistakably
revealed the fact that it actually did deviate from the original
document not only in extent, but also with regard to intent, not merely
formally, but materially as well,--all loyal Lutheran princes and
theologians regarded it as self-evident that they unanimously and
solemnly declare their exclusive adherence to the Augsburg Confession
as presented to Emperor Charles at Augsburg, and abandon the Variata
without delay. At Naumburg, in 1561, the Lutheran princes therefore,
after some vacillation, declared that they would adhere to the original
Augsburg Confession and its "genuine Christian declaration and norm,"
the Smalcald Articles. Frederick III of the Palatinate alone withdrew,
and before long joined the Calvinists by introducing the Heidelberg
Catechism, thus revealing the spuriousness of his own Lutheranism.

It was due especially to the Crypto-Calvinists in Electoral Saxony and
to the _Corpus Doctrinae Philippicum_ that the Variata retained a
temporary and local authority, until it was finally and generally
disowned by the Lutheran Church and excluded from its symbols by the
adoption of the Formula of Concord. For here our Church pledges
adherence to "the First, Unaltered Augsburg Confession, delivered to the
Emperor Charles V at Augsburg in the year 1530, in the great Diet."
(777, 4; 847, 5; 851, 5.) And in the Preface to the Book of Concord the
princes and estates declare: "Accordingly, in order that no persons may
permit themselves to be disturbed by the charges of our adversaries spun
out of their own minds, by which they boast that not even we are certain
which is the true and genuine Augsburg Confession, but that both those
who are now among the living and posterity may be clearly and firmly
taught and informed what that godly Confession is which we and the
churches and schools of our realms at all times professed and embraced,
we emphatically testify that next to the pure and immutable truth of
God's Word we wish to embrace the first Augsburg Confession alone which
was presented to the Emperor Charles V, in the year 1530, at the famous
Diet of Augsburg, this alone (we say), and no other." (15.) At the same
time the princes furthermore protest that also the adoption of the
Formula of Concord did not make any change in this respect. For
doctrinally the Formula of Concord was not, nor was it intended to be, a
"new or different confession," _i.e._, different from the one presented
to Emperor Charles V. (20.)

V. The Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession.

36. Papal Party Refusing Conciliation.

At the Diet of Augsburg, convened in order to restore the disturbed
religious peace, the Lutherans were the first to take a step towards
reconciliation by delivering their Confession, June 25, 1530. In
accordance with the manifesto of Emperor Charles, they now expected that
the papal party would also present its view and opinion, in order that
the discussions might thereupon proceed in love and kindness, as the
Emperor put it. In the Preface to their Confession the Lutherans
declared: "In obedience to Your Imperial Majesty's wishes, we offer, in
this matter of religion the Confession of our preachers and of
ourselves, showing what manner of doctrine from the Holy Scriptures and
the pure Word of God has been up to this time set forth in our lands,
dukedoms, dominions and cities, and taught in our churches. And if the
other Electors, Princes, and Estates of the Empire will, according to
the said imperial proposition, present similar writings, to wit, in
Latin and German, giving their opinions in this matter of religion, we,
with the Princes and friends aforesaid, here before Your Imperial
Majesty, our most clement Lord, are prepared to confer amicably
concerning all possible ways and means, in order that we may come
together, as far as this may be honorably done, and, the matter between
us on both sides being peacefully discussed without offensive strife,
the dissension, by God's help, may be done away and brought back to one
true accordant religion; for as we all are under one Christ and do
battle under Him, we ought to confess the one Christ, after the tenor of
Your Imperial Majesty's edict, and everything ought to be conducted
according to the truth of God; and this is what, with most fervent
prayers, we entreat of God." (39, 8.)

The Lutherans did not believe that the manifesto of the Emperor could be
construed in any other way than that both parties would be treated as
equals at the Diet. Not merely as a matter of good policy, but _bona
fide,_ as honest Germans and true Christians, they clung tenaciously to
the words of the Emperor, according to which the Romanists, too, were to
be regarded as a party summoned for the trial, the Emperor being the
judge. The Lutherans simply refused to take the word of the Emperor at
anything less than par, or to doubt his good will and the sincerity of
his promise. The fact that from the very beginning his actions were in
apparent contravention of the manifesto was attributed by the Lutherans
to the sinister influence of such bitter, baiting, and unscrupulous
theologians as Eck, Cochlaeus, and Faber, who, they claimed, endeavored
to poison and incite the guileless heart of the Emperor. Thus the
Lutherans would not and could not believe that Charles had deceived
them,--a simple trust, which, however, stubborn facts finally compelled
them to abandon.

The Romanists, on the other hand, boasting before the Emperor that they
had remained with the true Christian faith, the holy Gospel, the
Catholic Church, the bull of the Pope, and the Edict of Worms, refused
with equal tenacity to be treated as a party summoned for trial. June
25, 1530, Elector John wrote to Luther: "Thus we and the other princes
and estates who are related to us in this matter had to consent to
submit our opinion and confession of faith. Our opponents, however, as
we are told, declined to present theirs and decided to show to the
Emperor that they adhered to the Edict [of Worms] and to the faith which
their fathers had bequeathed to and bestowed upon them, and which they
intended to adhere to even now; if, however the Pope or, in his place,
the Legate, together with His Imperial Majesty, would point out, and
expect them to adopt, a different and new faith, they would humbly hear
the Emperor's opinion." (Luther, St. L. 16, 758.)

Thus presupposing what they were summoned to prove at Augsburg, namely,
that the doctrine of the Pope was identical with the old Christian
faith, the Romanists declared a presentation of their views unnecessary.
The Lutherans, they maintained, were convicted apostates and rebels
against Pope and Church, against Emperor and realm; sentence was not
first to be pronounced upon them, but had been pronounced long ago, the
Diet's duty merely being to confirm and execute it; hence, there was
nothing else to be done by the Emperor than to attend to his office as
warden and protector of the Church, and, together with the princes and
estates, to proceed against the heretics with drastic measures. Also in
the later discussions, conducted with a view of effecting a
reconciliation, the Romanists refused to relinquish this position. From
beginning to end they acted as the accusers, judges, and henchmen of the
Lutherans. Nor was anything else to be expected, since, unlike the
Lutherans, they considered not God's Word, but the Pope the supreme
arbiter in religious matters. Thus from the very outset, the gulf
between the two parties was such that it could not be bridged. Common
ground was lacking. On the one side conscience, bound by the Word of
God! On the other, blind subjection to human, papal authority! Also
Romanists realized that this fundamental and irreconcilable difference
was bound to render futile all discussions. It was not merely his own
disgust which the papal historian expressed when he concluded his report
on the prolonged discussions at Augsburg: "Thus the time was wasted with
vain discussions." (Plitt, _Apologie,_ 43.)

37. Further Success Not Hoped for by Luther.

Luther regarded the public reading of the Confession as an unparalleled
triumph of his cause. Further results, such as a union with the
Romanists, he did not expect. On July 9, 1530, he wrote to Jonas: _"Quid
sperem de Caesare, quantumvis optimo, sed obsesso?_ What can I hope of
the Emperor, even the best, when he is obsessed" [by the papal
theologians]? The most Luther hoped for was mutual political toleration.
In the letter quoted he continues: "But they [the Papists] must expect a
sad, and we a happy issue. Not indeed, that there ever will be unity of
doctrine; for who can hope that Belial will be united with Christ?
Excepting that perhaps marriage [of priests] and the two kinds [of the
Sacrament] be permitted (here too however, this adverb 'perhaps' is
required, and perhaps too much 'perhaps'). But this I wish and earnestly
hope for, that, the difference in doctrine being set aside, a political
union may be made. If by the blessing of Christ this takes place, enough
and more than enough has been done and accomplished at this Diet. ...
Now, if we obtain also the third thing, that we adjourn with worldly
peace secured, then we shall have clearly defeated Satan in this year."
(Enders, 8, 95; St. L. 16 927. 1666.)

July 21, 1530, Luther wrote in a similar vein to Jonas: "The fact that
these frogs [the papal theologians who wrote the Confutation] with their
croakings [_coaxitatibus_ = pasquinades against Luther, instead of
answers to the Augustana] have free access [to the Emperor] chagrins me
very much in this great work in the most important matters. ... But this
happens to prove that I am a true prophet; for I have always said that we
work and hope in vain for a union in doctrine; it would be enough if we
could obtain worldly peace." (16, 927. 2324.) August 25, when the
prolonged discussions of reconciliation were nearing their end, he wrote
to Melanchthon: "In sum, it does not please me at all that unity of
doctrine is to be discussed, since this is utterly impossible, unless
the Pope would abolish his entire popery. It would have sufficed if we
had presented to them the reasons for our faith and desired peace. But
how can we hope that we shall win them over to accept the truth? We have
come to hear whether they approve our doctrine or not, permitting them
to remain what they are, only inquiring whether they acknowledge our
doctrine to be correct or condemn it. If they condemn it, what does it
avail to discuss the question of unity any longer with avowed enemies?
If they acknowledge it to be right, what necessity is there of retaining
the old abuses?" (16, 1404.)

Though willing to yield to the Catholic party in all other matters,
Luther refused to compromise the divine truth in any point or in any
way. For this reason he also insisted that the Emperor should not be
recognized as judge and arbiter without qualification, but only with the
proviso that his decision would not conflict with the clear Word of God.
According to Luther, everybody, Pope and Emperor included, must submit
to the authority of the Scriptures. In a letter of July 9, 1530 he wrote
to the Elector: "In the first place; Should His Imperial Majesty desire
that the Imperial Majesty be permitted to decide these matters, since it
was not His Majesty's purpose to enter into lengthy discussions, I think
Your Electoral Grace might answer that His Imperial Majesty's manifesto
promises that he would graciously listen to these matters. If such was
not intended, the manifesto would have been needless, for His Imperial
Majesty might have rendered his decision just as well in Spain without
summoning Your Electoral Grace to Augsburg at such great labor and
expense. ... In the second place: Should His Imperial Majesty insist
that the Imperial Majesty be permitted to decide these matters Your
Electoral Grace may cheerfully answer Yes, the Imperial Majesty shall
decide these matters, and Your Electoral Grace would accept and suffer
everything, provided only that His Imperial Majesty make no decision
against the clear Scriptures, or God's Word. For Your Electoral Grace
cannot put the Emperor above God, nor accept his verdict in opposition
to God's Word." (16, 815.)

38. Papal Peace Sought by Emperor.

By their obstinate refusal to regard themselves as a party summoned, the
Romanists from the outset, made it impossible for the Emperor to
maintain the role of an impartial judge, which, probably, he had never
really intended to be. At any rate, though earnestly desirous of
religious peace, his actions throughout the Diet do not reveal a single
serious effort at redeeming his promise and putting his beautiful words
into practise. Being bound to the Pope and the papal party both
religiously and politically, Charles did not require of the Romanists a
fulfilment of the obligations imposed upon them by his manifesto. All
the concessions were to be made by the Lutherans. _Revoca!_--that was
the first and only word which Rome had hitherto spoken to Luther.
"Revoke and submit yourselves!"--that, in the last analysis, was also
the demand of the Emperor at Augsburg with respect to the Lutheran
princes, both when he spoke in tones friendly and gentle and when he
uttered severe and threatening words. Charles, it is true, desired
peace, but a Roman peace, a peace effected by universal blind submission
to the Pope; not a peace by mutual understanding and concessions; least
of all a peace by political religious tolerance, such as Luther desired,
and which in our days is generally regarded as the outstanding feature
of modern civilization, notably of Americanism. To force the Lutherans
into submission and obedience to the Pope, that was the real object of
the Emperor. And the political situation demanded that this be
accomplished by peaceable and gentle means--if possible.

Self-evidently, in his endeavors to establish a Papal Peace, the
Emperor, who was haunted and tormented by the fear that all efforts
might prove futile, was zealously seconded, encouraged, and prodded on
by the papal theologians. To bring about a religious peace, such as the
Emperor contemplated, this, they flattered Charles, would be an
ever-memorable achievement, truly worthy of the Emperor: for the eyes of
all Christendom were upon him, and he had staked his honor upon the
success of this glorious undertaking. June 3 the Father Confessor of the
Emperor, Garsia, then at Rome, wrote to Charles: "At present there is
nothing so important in this life as that Your Majesty emerge victorious
in the German affair. In Italy you will be accounted the best prince on
earth if God should vouchsafe this grace unto us that the heresies which
have arisen in that nation be cured by your hand." (Plitt, 4.) June 6
Garsia wrote: "Gracious Lord! After the letters from the legate
[Campegius, concerning the return of Christian II to the Roman Church,
the disagreement between Philip of Hesse and the Elector, etc.] had been
read at to-day's Consistorial Meeting, almost all the cardinals said
that Your Majesty was the angel sent from heaven to restore Christendom.
God knows how much I rejoiced, and although the sun burned fiercely when
I returned to my home, how patiently I bore it! I was not sensitive to
it from sheer joy at hearing such sweet words about my master from those
who a year ago had maligned him. My chief comfort, however, was to
behold that they were right; for it seems as if God were performing
miracles by Your Majesty, and to judge by the beginning you have made in
curing this ailment, it is evident that we may expect the issue to prove
far more favorable than our sins merit." (II. 67.)

39. Compulsion Advocated by Theologians.

All Romanists, the Emperor included, were of the opinion that the
Protestants must be brought back to the papal fold. But they differed
somewhat as to the means of accomplishing this purpose. Some demanded
that force be resorted to forthwith, while others counseled that
leniency be tried first. Campegius advised kindness at the beginning,
and greater severity only in dealing with certain individuals, but that
sharper measures and, finally, force of arms ought to follow. At Rome
force was viewed as the "true rhubarb" for healing the breach,
especially among the common people. July 18 Garsia wrote to the Emperor:
"If you are determined to bring Germany back to the fold, I know of no
other or better means than by presents and flattery to persuade those
who are most eminent in science or in the empire to return to our faith.
Once that is done, you must, in dealing with the remaining common
people, first of all publish your imperial edicts and Christian
admonitions. If they will not obey these, then the true rhubarb to cure
them is force. This alone cured Spain's rebellion against its king. And
force is what will also cure Germany's unfaithfulness to God, unless,
indeed, divine grace should not attend Your Majesty in the usual
measure. God would learn in this matter whether you are a faithful son
of His, and should He so find, then I promise you that among all
creatures you will find no power sufficiently strong to resist you. All
will but serve the purpose of enabling you to obtain the crown of this
world." (42.)

Among the open advocates of force were Cochlaeus, Eck, Faber, and the
theologians and monks who flocked to Augsburg in large numbers about the
time the Augsburg Confession was read. They all considered it their
prime duty to rouse the passions of the Emperor, as well as of the
Catholic princes and estates, and to incite them against the Lutherans.
Their enmity was primarily directed against the Augustana, whose
objective and moderate tone had gained many friends even among the
Catholics, and which had indirectly branded Eck and his compeers as
detractors and calumniators. For had not Duke William of Bavaria, after
the reading of the Confession, rebuked Eck, in the presence of the
Elector of Saxony, for having misrepresented the Lutheran doctrine to
him? The moderation of the Augustana, said these Romanists, was nothing
but the cunning of serpents, deception and misrepresentation, especially
on the part of the wily Melanchthon, for the true Luther was portrayed
in the 404 theses of Eck. Cochlaeus wrote that the Lutherans were slyly
hiding their ungodly doctrines in order to deceive the Emperor: "astute
occultari in illorum Confessione prava eorum dogmata, de quibus ibi
tacendo dissimulabant, ut in hypocrisi loquentes Maiestati Tuae aliisque
principibus imponerent." (Laemmer, _Vortridentinische Theologie,_ 39.)
Thus the malice and fanaticism of the papal theologians and the monks
rose in proportion as friendliness was shown the Lutherans by Catholic
princes and the Emperor. They feared that every approach toward the
Lutherans would jeopardize the _pax Pontificia._

The fanaticism of the papal theologians is frequently referred to by the
Lutherans. June 26 Melanchthon wrote to Luther: "Sophists and monks are
daily streaming into the city, in order to inflame the hatred of the
Emperor against us." (_C. R._ 2, 141.) June 27: "Our Confession was
presented last Saturday. The opponents are now deliberating upon how to
answer; they flock together, take great pains, and incite the princes,
who already have been sufficiently aroused. Eck vehemently demands of
the Archbishop of Mainz that the matter be not debated, since it has
already been condemned." (144.) June 29 Jonas wrote to Luther: "Faber is
goaded on by furies and Eck is not a whit more sensible. Both insist in
every manner imaginable that the affair ought to be managed by force and
must not be heard." (154.) Melanchthon, July 8: "By chance Eck and
Cochlaeus came to the legate [Campegius, with whom Melanchthon was
deliberating]. I heard them say, distinctly enough, I believe, that the
opponents are merely deliberating upon how to suppress us by force."
(175.) July 15: "Repeatedly have I been with certain enemies who belong
to that herd of Eck. Words fail me to describe the bitter, Pharisaical
hatred I noticed there. They do nothing, they plan nothing else than how
they may incite the princes against us, and supply the Emperor with
impious weapons." (197.) The implacable theologians also succeeded in
fanaticizing some of the princes and bishops, who gradually became more
and more opposed to any kind of settlement by mutual understanding.

The chief exponent of force was Cochlaeus. In his _Expostulatio,_ which
appeared at Augsburg in May, 1530, he argued that not only according to
papal, but according to imperial law as well, which the Evangelicals
also acknowledged, and according to the Scriptures, heretics might, aye,
must be punished with death. The treatise concludes as follows: "Thus it
is established that obdurate heretics may be executed by every form of
law. We, however, much prefer to have them return to the Church, be
converted, healed and live, and we beseech them to do so. _Constat
igitur, haereticos pertinaces omni iure interimi posse. Nos tamen longe
magis optamus et precamur, ut redeuntes ad ecclesiam convertantur,
sanentur et vivant._" (Plitt, 1, 5.)

Naturally Eck, too, was prominent among those who counseled the
employment of compulsory measures; indeed, he could not await the hour
when the order would be given to proceed against the heretics with fire
and sword. He lamented, in bitter terms, the fact that the Emperor had
not made use of stern measures as soon as he arrived in Germany. For
now, said he, procrastination and the conciliatory demeanor of the
Evangelicals, especially of Melanchthon and Brueck, had made it
impossible to rouse the Emperor to such a degree as the exigency of the
case demanded. (Plitt, 63.) Luther wrote: "For that shameless gab and
bloodthirsty sophist, Doctor Eck, one of their chief advisers, publicly
declared in the presence of our people that if the Emperor had followed
the resolution made at Bononia, and, immediately on entering Germany,
had courageously attacked the Lutherans with the sword, and beheaded one
after another, the matter would have been easily settled. But all this
was prevented when he permitted the Elector of Saxony to speak and be
heard through his chancellor." (St. L. 16, 1636.)

40. Emperor Employs Mildness.

While a number of the Catholic estates, incited by the theologians, were
also in favor of immediately resorting to brutal force, the Emperor, for
political reasons, considered it more advisable to employ kindness.
Lauding the extreme affability and leniency of Charles, Melanchthon
wrote to Luther, January 25: "The Emperor greets our Prince very kindly;
and I would that our people, in turn, were more complaisant towards him.
I would ask you to admonish our Junior Prince by letter in this matter.
The Emperor's court has no one milder than himself. All others harbor a
most cruel hatred against us. _Caesar satis benigne salutat nostrum
principem; ac velim vicissim nostros erga ipsum officiosiores esse. Ea
de re utinam iuniorem principem nostrum litteris admonueris. Nihil ipso
Caesare mitius habet ipsius aula. Reliquii omnes crudelissime nos
oderunt_." (_C. R._ 2, 125.)

The reading of the Augustana strengthened this friendly attitude of
Charles. Both its content and its conciliatory tone, which was not at
all in harmony with the picture of the Lutherans as sketched by Eck,
caused him to be more kindly disposed toward Protestantism, and
nourished his hope that religious peace might be attained by peaceable
means. Other Catholic dignitaries and princes had been impressed in the
same manner. July 6 Luther wrote to Hausmann: "Many bishops are inclined
to peace and despise the sophists, Eck and Faber. One bishop [Stadion of
Augsburg] is said to have declared in a private conversation, 'This [the
Confession of the Lutherans] is the pure truth, we cannot deny it,' The
Bishop of Mainz is being praised very much for his endeavors in the
interest of peace. Likewise Duke Henry of Brunswick who extended a
friendly invitation to Philip to dine with him, and admitted that he was
not able to disprove the articles treating of both kinds, the marriage
of priests, and the distinction of meats. Our men boast that, of the
entire Diet, no one is milder than the Emperor himself. Such is the
beginning. The Emperor treats our Elector not only graciously, but most
respectfully. So Philip writes. It is remarkable how all are aglow with
love and good will toward the Emperor. It may happen, if God so wills,
that, as the first Emperor [Charles at Worms] was very hostile, so this
last Emperor [Charles at Augsburg] will be very friendly. Only let us
pray; for the power of prayer is clearly perceived." (St. L. 16, 882.)
The Emperor's optimism was, no doubt, due to the fact that, unlike his
theologians, he did not perceive and realize the impassable gulf fixed
between Lutheranism and the Papacy, as appeared also from the Augustana,
in which, however, the Emperor mistook moderation of tone for surrender
of substance.

41. Augustana Submitted to Catholic Party.

Full of hope the Emperor, on June 26, immediately after its public
presentation, submitted the Lutheran Confession to the Catholic estates
for deliberation. These, too, though not in the least inclined to
abandon their arrogant attitude, seem to have given themselves over to
the delusion that the Lutherans could now be brought to recede from
their position. Accordingly, their answer (Responsum) of June 27,
couched in conciliatory language, recommended as "the humble opinion of
the electors and estates that the Imperial Roman Majesty would submit
this great and important matter to a number of highly learned, sensible,
honest, conciliating, and not spiteful persons, to deliberate on, and to
consider, the writing [the Augustana], as far as necessary, enumerating,
on the one hand, whatsoever therein was found to be in conformity and
harmony with the Gospel, God's Word, and the holy Christian Church, but,
on the other hand, refuting with the true foundation of the Gospel and
the Holy Scripture and its doctrine, and bringing into true Christian
understanding, such matters as were found to be against, and out of
harmony with, the Gospel, the Word of God, and the Christian Church."
(Laemmer, 32.) They recommended, however, that in this entire matter
Campegius be consulted, and for that purpose be furnished with a copy of
the Lutheran Confession.

The Romanists furthermore resolved that the Lutherans be asked whether
they had any additional points to present, and, if so, to do this
immediately. The Lutherans, considering this a snare, declared, on July
10, that in their Confession they had made it a special point to present
the chief articles which it is necessary to believe in order to be
saved, but had not enumerated all abuses, desiring to emphasize such
only as burdened the consciences, lest the paramount questions be
obscured; that they would let this [all that was enumerated in their
Confession] suffice, and have included other points of doctrine and
abuses which were not mentioned, that they would not fail to give an
answer from the Word of God in case their opponents should attack the
Confession or present anything new. (Foerstemann, 2, 16. _C. R._ 2,
181.) No doubt, the Papists felt that the Lutherans really should have
testified directly also against the Papacy, etc. This, too, was the
interpretation which Luther put on the inquiry of the Romanists. July
21, 1530, he wrote to Jonas: But now I see what the questions aimed at
whether you had other articles to present. For Satan still lives and has
noticed very well that your Apology [Augustana] steps softly and has
passed by the articles concerning purgatory, the adoration of the
saints, and especially Antichrist, the Pope. (St. L. 16, 2323, Enders,
8, 133.)

July 5 the Emperor accepted the opinion of the estates and appointed the
confutators. At the same time he declared with reference to the
Lutherans that he was the judge of the content of their writing
(Augustana); that, in case they should not be satisfied with his
verdict, the final decision must remain with the Council, but that
meanwhile the Edict of Worms would be enforced everywhere. (Laemmer, 34;
_C. R._ 2, 175.) Thus the Emperor, in unmistakable terms, indicated that
the Roman Confutation would bring his own final verdict, which no
further discussions could modify, and that he would compel the Lutherans
by force to observe the Edict of Worms if they refused to submit
willingly. The Catholic estates endorsed the Emperor's declaration, but
added the petition that, after the Confutation had been read, the
Lutherans be asked in all kindness to return and that, in case this
remained fruitless, an attempt be made to bring about an agreement to be
reached by a committee appointed by both parties. Evidently, the estates
as well as the Emperor expected the Lutherans to yield and surrender.
Still, for the present, they were willing and preferred to attain this
end by mild and gentle means.

42. Rabid Theologians Appointed as Confutators.

Campegius, to whom the entire matter was entrusted, manipulated things
in such a manner that the result was the very opposite of what the
Emperor and estates had resolved upon. To be sure he made it appear as
though he were entirely neutral leaving everything to the discretion of
the German princes. He knew also how to hide his real sentiments from
the Lutherans. Jonas, for example reports that in his address of June 24
Campegius had said nothing harsh or hateful (_nihil acerbe, nihil
odiose_) against the Lutherans. Spalatin reports: "Some one besought the
Legate and Cardinal Campegius to assist in obtaining peace for the cause
of the Gospel. To this he responded: Since the papal power was
suspicious to us the matter rested with the Emperor and the German
princes. Whatever they did would stand." (Koellner, _Symbolik,_ 403.)
Thus Campegius created the impression of absolute neutrality while in
reality he was at the same time busy with secret intrigues against the

Among the Confutators (Brueck mentions 19, Spalatin 20, others 22, still
others 24), selected by Campegius and appointed by the Emperor, were
such rabid abusive and inveterate enemies of Luther as Eck, Faber,
Cochlaeus, Wimpina, Colli (author of a slanderous tract against Luther's
marriage), Dietenberger etc. The first three are repeatedly designated
as the true authors of the Confutation. In his _Replica ad Bucerum,_ Eck
boasts: "Of all the theologians at Augsburg I was chosen unanimously to
prepare the answer to the Saxon Confession, and I obeyed. _Augustae ab
omnibus theologis fui delectus unanimiter, qui responsum pararem contra
confessionem Saxonicam, et parui._" (Koellner, 407.) July 10 Brenz wrote
to Myconius: "Their leader (_antesignanus_) is that good man Eck. The
rest are 23 in number. One might call them an Iliad [Homer's Iliad
consists of 24 books] of sophists." (_C. R._ 2, 180.) Melanchthon, too,
repeatedly designates Eck and Faber as the authors of the Confutation.
July 14 he wrote to Luther: "With his legerdemain (_commanipulatione_)
Eck presented to the Emperor the Confutation of our Confession." (193.)
August 6: "This Confutation is the most nonsensical of all the
nonsensical books of Faber." (253.) August 8, to Myconius: "Eck and
Faber have worked for six entire weeks in producing the Confutation of
our Confession." (260.) Hence also such allusions in Melanchthon's
letters as "confutatio Fabrilis," "Fabriliter scripta," and in the
Apology: "Nullus Faber Fabrilius cogitare quidquam posset, quam hae
ineptiae excogitatae sunt ad eludendum ius naturae." (366, 10.) Brueck
was right when he said that some of the Confutators were "purely
partial, and altogether suspicious characters." (Koellner, 411.)

43. Confutation Prepared.

The resolution which the Catholic estates passed June 27 was to the
effect that the imperial answer to the Lutheran Confession be made "by
sober and not spiteful men of learning." The Emperor's Prolog to the
Confutation, accordingly, designated the confutators as "certain
learned, valiant, sensible, sober, and honorable men of many nations."
(_C. R._ 27, 189.) At the same time they were told to couch their answer
in winning, convincing, moderate, and earnest terms. The imperial
instruction read: "To this end it is indeed good and needful that said
document [the Augustana] be carefully considered and diligently studied
by learned, wise, and sober persons, in order that they [the Lutherans]
be shown in all kindness (_durch gute Wege_) where they err, and be
admonished to return to the good way, likewise, to grant them whatsoever
may be serviceable and adapted to our holy Christian faith; and to set
forth the errors, moderately and politely, with such good and holy
arguments as the matter calls for, to defend and prove everything with
suitable evangelical declarations and admonitions, proceeding from
Christian and neighborly love; and at the same time to mingle therewith
earnestness and severity with such moderation as may be likely to win
the five electors and princes, and not to destroy their hope or to
harden them still more." (Koellner, 403)

However, inspired by Campegius and goaded on by blind hatred, the
Confutators employed their commission for the purpose of casting
suspicion on the Lutherans and inciting the Emperor against them. They
disregarded the imperial admonition for moderation, and instead of an
objective answer to the Augustana, they produced a long-winded
pasquinade against Luther and the Evangelical preachers, a fit companion
piece to the 404 theses of Eck--a general accusation against the
Protestants, a slanderous anthology of garbled quotations from Luther,
Melanchthon, and other Evangelical preachers. The insinuation lurking in
the document everywhere was that the Confession of the Lutheran princes
was in glaring contradiction to the real doctrine of their pastors. The
sinister scheme of the Romanists, as the Elector in 1536 reminded the
Lutheran theologians, was to bring the princes in opposition to their
preachers. (_C. R._ 3, 148.) The mildness and moderation of the
Augustana, they openly declared, was nothing but subtle cunning of the
smooth and wily Melanchthon, who sought to hide the true state of
affairs. In a book which Cochlaeus published against the Apology in 1534
he said that the open attacks of Luther were far more tolerable than the
serpentine cunning and hypocrisy of Melanchthon (_instar draconis
insidiantis fraudes intendens_), as manifested in particular by his
demeanor toward Campegius at Augsburg in 1530. (Laemmer, 56; Salig, 1,
376.) Thus the Roman Confutators disregarded their commission to refute
the Augustana, and substituted a caricature of Luther and his doctrines
designed to irritate the Emperor.

44. A Bulky, Scurrilous Document.

The Confutation, compiled by Eck and Faber from various contributions of
the Confutators, was ready by the 8th of July, and was presented to the
Emperor on the 12th or 13th. The German translation was prepared by the
Bavarian Chancellor, Leonhard von Eck. July 10 Brenz had written: "It is
reported that they are preparing wagonloads of commentaries against our
Confession." (_C. R._ 2, 180.) Spalatin reports that the Confutators
delivered to the Emperor "a pile of books against Doctor Martin with
most scurrilous titles." The chief document was entitled: "Catholic and,
as it were, Extemporaneous Response concerning Certain Articles
Presented in These Days at the Diet to the Imperial Majesty by the
Illustrious Elector of Saxony and Certain Other Princes as well as Two
Cities. _Catholica et quasi extemporanea Responsio super nonnullis
articulis Caesareae Maiestati hisce diebus in dieta imperiali Augustensi
per Illustrem Electorem Saxoniae et alios quosdam Principes et duas
Civitates oblatis._" It was supplemented by nine other treatises on all
manner of alleged contradictions and heresies of Luther and Anabaptistic
as well as other fruits of his teaching. (Laemmer, 37, _C. R._ 2, 197.)
The pasquinade with its supplements comprised no less than 351 folios,
280 of which were devoted to the answer proper. Cochlaeus also
designates it as "very severe and extended, _acrior extensiorque._" July
14 Melanchthon reported he had heard from friends that the Confutation
was "long and filled with scurrilities." (193. 218.) July 15: "I am
sending you [Luther] a list of the treatises which our opponents have
presented to the Emperor, from which you will see that the Confutation
is supplemented by antilogs and other treatises in order to stir up
against us the most gentle heart of the Emperor. Such are the stratagems
these slanderers (_sycophantae_) devise." (197.)

The effect of the Confutation on the Emperor, however, was not at all
what its authors desired and anticipated. Disgusted with the miserable
bulky botch, the Emperor convened the estates on July 15, and they
resolved to return the bungling document to the theologians for
revision. Tone, method, plan, everything displeased the Emperor and
estates to such an extent that they expunged almost one-third of it.
Intentionally they ignored the nine supplements and demanded that
reflections on Luther be eliminated from the document entirely;
moreover, that the theologians confine themselves to a refutation of the
Augustana. (Laemmer, 39.) Cochlaeus writes: "Since the Catholic princes
all desired peace and concord, they deemed it necessary to answer in a
milder tone, and to omit all reference to what the [Lutheran] preachers
had formerly taught and written otherwise than their Confession stated."
(Koellner, 406.) In a letter to Brueck he declared that such coarse
extracts and articles [with which the first draft of the Confutation
charged Luther] should not be mentioned in the reply to the Confession,
lest any one be put to shame or defamed publicly. (Laemmer, 39.)

In his Annals, Spalatin reports: "At first there were perhaps 280
folios. But His Imperial Majesty is said to have weeded out many folios
and condensed the Confutation to such an extent that not more than
twelve folios remained. This is said to have hurt and angered Eck
severely." (St. L. 21a, 1539.) In a letter to Veit Dietrich, dated July
30, Melanchthon remarks sarcastically: "Recently Eck complained to one
of his friends that the Emperor had deleted almost the third part of his
treatise, and I suspect that the chief ornaments of the book were rooted
out, that is, the glaring lies and the most stupid tricks, _insignia
mendacia et sycophantiae stolidissimae._" (_C. R._ 2, 241.) Brenz
regarded this as an evidence of the extent to which the Augustana had
perturbed the opponents, leaving them utterly helpless. July 15 he wrote
to Isemann: "Meanwhile nothing new has taken place in our midst, except
that I heard that the confession of the sophists was to-day returned by
the Emperor to its authors, the sophists, and this for the reason that
it was so confused, jumbled, vehement, bloodthirsty, and cruel
(_confusa, incordita, violenta, sanguinolenta et crudelis_) that he was
ashamed to have it read before the Imperial Senate.... We experience
daily that we have so bewildered, stunned, and confused them that they
know not where to begin or to end." (198.) "Pussyfooting
(_Leisetreten_)!"--such was the slogan at Augsburg; and in this
Melanchthon was nowhere equaled. Privately also Cochlaeus elaborated a
milder answer to the Lutheran Confession. But even the friends who had
induced him to undertake this task considered his effort too harsh to be
presented to the Emperor.

The first, rejected draft of the Confutation has been lost, with the
sole exception of the second article, preserved by Cochlaeus. On the
difference between this draft and the one finally adopted, Plitt
comments as follows: "The Confutation as read simply adopted the first
article of the Confession [Augustana] as in complete agreement with the
Roman Church. The original draft also approved this article's appeal to
the Council of Nicaea, but added that now the Emperor should admonish
the confessing estates to accept everything else taught by the Catholic
Church, even though it was not verbally contained in the Scriptures, as,
for example, the Mass, Quadragesimal fasting, the invocation of the
saints, etc.; for the wording of the doctrine of the Trinity could be
found in the Scriptures just as little as that of the points mentioned,
furthermore, that he also call upon them to acknowledge said Synod of
Nicaea in all its parts, hence also to retain the hierarchical degrees
with their powers; that he admonish them to compel their preachers and
teachers to retract everything which they had said and written against
that Synod, especially Luther and Melanchthon, its public defamers.
Refusal of such retraction would invalidate their appeal to that Synod
and prove it to be nothing but a means of deception. Finally they were
to be admonished not to believe their teachers in anything which was
against the declarations of the Church catholic. Such was the form in
which the first draft of the Confutation was couched. Everywhere the
tendency was apparent to magnify the differences, make invidious
inferences, cast suspicion on their opponents, and place them in a bad
light with the Emperor and the majority. This was not the case in the
answer which was finally read." (37.)

45. Confutation Adopted and Read.

Only after repeated revisions in which Campegius and the imperial
counselors Valdes and Granvella took part was an agreement reached
regarding the form of the Confutation. July 30 the Emperor received the
fourth revision and on August 1 he presented it to the bishops, princes,
and estates for their opinion. There still remained offensive passages
which had to be eliminated. A fifth revision was necessary before the
approval of the Emperor and the estates was forthcoming. A Prolog and an
Epilog were added according to which the Confutation is drawn up in the
name of the Emperor. Thus the original volume was boiled down to a
comparatively small document. But to speak with Kolde, even in its final
form the Confutation is "still rather an accusation against the
Evangelicals, and an effort to retain all the medieval church customs
than a refutation of the Augustana." (34.) August 6 Jonas wrote to
Luther: "The chaplain [John Henkel] of Queen Maria informed us that they
had five times changed their Confutation, casting and recasting, minting
and reminting it, and still there finally was produced nothing but an
uncouth and confused conglomeration and a hodgepodge, as when a cook
pours different soups into one pot. At first they patched together an
enormous volume, as Faber is known to be a verbose compiler; the book
grew by reason of the multitude of its lies and scurrilities. However,
at the first revision the Emperor eliminated the third part of the book,
so that barely twelve or sixteen folios remained, which were read." (St.
L. 21a, 1539.)

On August 3, 1530, in the same hall in which the Augsburg Confession had
been submitted thirty-eight days before, in the presence of all the
estates of the empire, the Augustanae Confessionis Responsio,
immediately called Confutatio Pontificia by the Protestants, was read in
the German language by Alexander Schweiss, the Imperial Secretary.
However, the reading, too, proved to be a discreditable affair. Owing to
the great haste in which the German copy had been prepared, an entire
portion had been omitted; the result was that the conclusion of Article
24 as well as Articles 25 and 26 were not presented. Furthermore,
Schweiss, overlooking the lines of erasure, read a part which had been
stricken, containing a very bold deliverance on the sacrifice of the
Mass, in which they labored to prove from the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin
that the word _facite_ in the institution of the Sacrament was
synonymous with "sacrifice." (Kolde, 34.) August 6, 1530, Jonas wrote to
Luther: The opponents presented their Confutation to the Emperor on July
30, and on the 3d of August it was read in the presence of the Emperor
and the estates, together with a Prolog and an Epilog of the Emperor.
"The reading also consumed two entire hours, but with an incredible
aversion, weariness, and disgust on the part of some of the more
sensible hearers, who complained that they were almost driven out by
this utterly cold, threadbare songlet (_cantilena_), being extremely
chagrined that the ears of the Emperor should be molested with such a
lengthy array of worthless things masquerading under the name of
Catholic doctrines." (St. L. 21a, 1539.) August 4 Brenz wrote to
Isemann: "The Emperor maintains neutrality; for he slept both when the
Augustana and when the Confutation was read. _Imperator neutralem sese
gerit; nam cum nostra confessio legeretur obdormivit; rursus cum
adversariorum responsio legeretur, iterum obdormivit in media negotii
actione_." (_C. R._ 2, 245.)

The Confutation was neither published, nor was a copy of it delivered to
the Lutherans. Apparently the Romanists, notably the Emperor and the
estates, were ashamed of the document. True, Cochlaeus reports that
toward the close of the Diet Charles authorized him and Eck to publish
it, but that this was not done, because Duke George and the Emperor left
Augsburg shortly after, and the printer also moved away. (Koellner,
414.) All subsequent pleading and imploring, however, on the part of Eck
and others, to induce the Emperor to publish the Confutation fell on
deaf ears. Evidently Charles no longer took any interest in a document
that had so shamefully shattered his fond ambition of reconciling the
religious parties. What appeared in print, early in 1531, was merely an
extract prepared by Cochlaeus, entitled, _Summary of the Imperial
Answer,_ etc. The first Latin edition of the Confutation appeared as
late as 1573; the first German edition, in 1808. All previous German
impressions (also the edition of 1584) are translations of the Latin
edition of 1573. (_C. R._ 27, 25. 82.) Concerning the German text of the
Confutation Kolde remarks: "Since changes were made even after it had
been read, we have even less definite knowledge, respecting details, as
to what was read than in the case of the Augustana." (35.) One may
therefore also speak of a Confutatio Variata. The doctrine of the
Confutation does not differ essentially from that which was later on
affirmed by the Council of Trent (1545-1563). However, says Kolde,
"being written by the German leaders of the Catholic party under the eye
of the Papal Legate, and approved by the Emperor, the German bishops,
and the Roman-minded princes, it [the Confutation] must be reckoned
among the historically most important documents of the Roman Catholic
faith of that day."

46. Confutation Denounced by Lutherans.

In the opinion of the Lutherans, the final draft of the Confutation,
too, was a miserable makeshift. True, its tone was moderate, and, with
few exceptions, personal defamations were omitted. The arrangement of
subjects was essentially the same as in the Augustana. Still it was not
what it pretended to be. It was no serious attempt at refuting the
Lutheran Confession, but rather an accumulation of Bible-texts,
arbitrarily expounded, in support of false doctrines and scholastic
theories. These efforts led to exegetical feats that made the
Confutators butts of scorn and derision. At any rate, the Lutherans
were charged with having failed, at the public reading, to control their
risibilities sufficiently. Cochlaeus complains: "During the reading many
of the Lutherans indulged in unseemly laughter. _Quando recitata fuit,
multi e Lutheranis inepte cachinnabantur._" (Koellner, 411.) If this did
not actually occur, it was not because the Confutators had given them no
cause for hilarity.

"Altogether childish and silly"--such is Melanchthon's verdict on many
of their exegetical pranks. August 6 he wrote letter after letter to
Luther, expressing his contempt for the document. "After hearing that
Confutation," says Melanchthon, "all good people seem to have been more
firmly established on our part, and the opponents, if there be among
them some who are more reasonable, are said to be disgusted
(_stomachari_) that such absurdities were forced upon the Emperor, the
best of princes." (_C. R._ 2, 252.) Again: Although the Emperor's
verdict was very stern and terrible, "still, the Confutation being a
composition so very puerile, a most remarkable congratulation followed
its reading. No book of Faber's is so childish but that this Confutation
is still more childish." (253.) In another letter he remarked that,
according to the Confutation, in which the doctrine of justification by
faith was rejected, "the opponents had no knowledge of religion
whatever." (253.)

August 4 Brenz wrote to Isemann: "All things were written in the fashion
of Cochlaeus, Faber, and Eck. Truly a most stupid comment, so that I am
ashamed of the Roman name, because in their whole Church they can find
no men able to answer us heretics at least in a manner wise and
accomplished. _Sed omnia conscripta erant Cochleice et Fabriliter et
Eccianice. Commentum sane stupidissimum, ut pudeat me Romani nominis,
quod in sua religione non conquirant viros, qui saltem prudenter et
ornate nobis haereticis responderent._" (245.) August 15 Luther
answered: "We received all of your letters, and I praise God that he
made the Confutation of the adversaries so awkward and foolish a thing.
However, courage to the end! _Verum frisch hindurch!_" (Enders, 8, 190.)

47. Luther on the Confutation.

Derision increased when the Papists declined to publish the Confutation,
or even to deliver a copy of it to the Lutherans for further inspection.
This refusal was universally interpreted as an admission, on the part of
the Romanists, of a guilty conscience and of being ashamed themselves of
the document. In his _Warning to My Beloved Germans,_ which appeared
early in 1531, Luther wrote as follows: "But I am quite ready to believe
that extraordinary wisdom prompted them [the Papists at Augsburg] to
keep this rebuttal of theirs and that splendid booklet [Confutation] to
themselves, because their own conscience tells them very plainly that it
is a corrupt, wicked, and frigid thing, of which they would have to be
ashamed if it were published and suffered itself to be seen in the light
or to endure an answer. For I very well know these highly learned
doctors who have cooked and brewed over it for six weeks, though with
the ignorant they may be able to give the matter a good semblance. But
when it is put on paper, it has neither hands nor feet, but lies there
in a disorderly mass, as if a drunkard had spewed it up, as may be seen,
in particular, in the writings of Doctor Schmid and Doctor Eck. For
there is neither rhyme nor rhythm in whatsoever they are compelled to
put into writing. Hence they are more sedulous to shout and prattle.
Thus I have also learned that when our Confession was read, many of our
opponents were astonished and confessed that it was the pure truth,
which they could not refute from the Scriptures. On the other hand, when
their rebuttal was read, they hung their heads, and showed by their
gestures that they considered it a mean and useless makeshift as
compared with our Confession. Our people, however, and many other pious
hearts were greatly delighted and mightily strengthened when they heard
that with all the strength and art which our opponents were then called
upon to display, they were capable of producing nothing but this flimsy
rebuttal, which now, praise God! a woman, a child, a layman, a peasant
are fully able to refute with good arguments taken from the Scriptures,
the Word of Truth. And that is also the true and ultimate reason why
they refused to deliver [to the Lutherans a copy of] their refutation.
Those fugitive evil consciences were filled with horror at themselves,
and dared not await the answer of Truth. And it is quite evident that
they were confident, and that they had the Diet called together in the
conviction that our people would never have the boldness to appear, but
if the Emperor should only be brought to Germany in person, every one
would be frightened and say to them: Mercy, dear lords, what would you
have us do? When they were disappointed in this, and the Elector of
Saxony was the very first to appear on the scene, good Lord, how their
breeches began to--! How all their confidence was confounded! What
gathering together, secret consultations, and whisperings resulted! ...
The final sum and substance of it all was to devise ways and means
(since our men were the first joyously and cheerfully to appear) how to
keep them from being heard [block the reading of the Augustana]. When
also this scheme of theirs was defeated, they finally succeeded in
gaining the glory that they did not dare to hand over their futile
rebuttal nor to give us an opportunity to reply to it! ... But some one
might say: The Emperor was willing to deliver the answer to our party
provided they would promise not to have it published nor its contents
divulged. That is true, for such a pledge was expected of our men. Here,
however, every one may grasp and feel (even though he is able neither to
see nor hear) what manner of people they are who will not and dare not
permit their matter to come to the light. If it is so precious a thing
and so well founded in the Scriptures as they bellow and boast, why,
then, does it shun the light? What benefit can there be in hiding from
us and every one else such public matters as must nevertheless be taught
and held among them? But if it is unfounded and futile, why, then, did
they in the first resolution [of the Diet], have the Elector of
Brandenburg proclaim and publish in writing that our Confession had been
refuted [by the Confutation] with the Scriptures and stanch arguments?
If that were true, and if their own consciences did not give them the
lie, they would not merely have allowed such precious and well-founded
Refutation to be read, but would have furnished us with a written copy,
saying: There you have it, we defy any one to answer it! as we did and
still do with our Confession. ... What the Elector of Brandenburg said
in the resolution [read at the Diet], that our Confession was refuted
with the Scriptures and with sound arguments, is not the truth, but a
lie. ... For this well-founded refutation [Confutation] has as yet not
come to light, but is perhaps sleeping with the old Tannhaeuser on Mount
Venus (_Venusberg_)." (St. L. 15, 1635.)

VI. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession.

48. Emperor Demands Adoption of Confutation.

The Confutation was written in the name of the Emperor. This is
indicated by the title: "Roman Imperial Confutation,
_Roemisch-Kaiserliche Konfutation._" (_C. R._ 21, 189.) And according to
his declaration of July 5, demanding that the Lutherans acknowledge him
as judge, the Emperor, immediately before the reading, announced: The
Confutation contained his faith and his verdict on the Confession of the
Lutherans; he demanded that they accept it; should they refuse to do so,
he would prove himself the warden and protector of the Church. In the
Epilog the Emperor gave expression to the following thoughts: From this
Confutation he saw that the Evangelicals "in many articles agree with
the Universal and also the Roman Church, and reject and condemn many
wicked teachings current among the common people of the German nation."
He therefore did not doubt that, having heard his answer to their
Confession, they would square themselves also in the remaining points,
and return to what, by common consent, had hitherto been held by all
true believers. Should they fail to heed his admonition, they must
consider that he would be compelled to reveal and demean himself in this
matter in such manner as "by reason of his office, according to his
conscience, behooved the supreme warden and protector of the Holy
Christian Church." (27, 228.) Immediately after the reading, Frederick,
Duke of the Palatinate, declared in the name of the Emperor that the
Confutation was the Emperor's answer to the Lutherans, the verdict he
rendered against their Confession; and they were now called upon to
relinquish the articles of their Confession that were refuted in the
Confutation, and to return to the Roman Church in unity of faith. (See
the reports of Brenz, Melanchthon, and the delegates from Nuernberg, _C.
R._ 2, 245. 250. 253.) Thus the Emperor, who had promised to have the
deliberations carried on in love and kindness, demanded blind
submission, and closed his demand with a threat. His manifesto was
Protestant; his actions remained Papistical. In the estimation of the
Romanists, the Emperor, by condescending to an extended reply to the
Lutheran Confession, had done more than his duty, and much more than
they had considered expedient. Now they rejoiced, believing that
everything they wished for had been accomplished, and that there was no
other way open for the Lutherans than to submit, voluntarily or by

Naturally the attitude of the Emperor was a great disappointment to the
Lutherans, and it caused much alarm and fear among them. From the very
beginning they had declared themselves ready in the interest of peace,
to do whatever they could "with God and conscience." And this remained
their position to the very last. They dreaded war, and were determined
to leave no stone unturned towards avoiding this calamity. In this
interest even Philip of Hesse was prepared to go to the very limits of
possibility. Melanchthon wrote: "The Landgrave deports himself with much
restraint. He has openly declared to me that in order to preserve peace,
he would accept even sterner conditions, as long as he did not thereby
disgrace the Gospel." (_C. R._ 2, 254.) But a denial of God, conscience,
and the Gospel was precisely what the Emperor expected. Hence the
Lutherans refer to his demands as cruel, impossible of fulfilment, and
as a breach of promise. Outraged by the Emperor's procedure, and fearing
for his own safety, the Landgrave secretly left the Diet on August 6.
War seemed inevitable to many. The reading of the Confutation had
shattered the last hopes of the Lutherans for a peaceful settlement.
They said so to each other, and wrote it to those at home, though not
all of them in the lachrymose tone of the vacillating Melanchthon, who,
filled with a thousand fears was temporarily more qualified for
depriving others of their courage than for inspiring courage. (Plitt,

49. Sustained by Luther.

In these days of severe trials and sore distress the Lutherans were
sustained by the comforting letters of Luther and the bracing
consciousness that it was the divine truth itself which they advocated.
And the reading of the Confutation had marvelously strengthened this
conviction. Brueck reports an eyewitness of the reading of the Augustana
as saying: "The greater portion among them [the Papists] is not so
ignorant as not to have seen long ago that they are in error." (Plitt,
18.) Because of this conviction there was, as Melanchthon reported, a
"marvelous congratulation" among the Lutherans after the reading of the
Confutation. "We stand for the divine truth, which God cannot but lead
to victory, while our opponents are condemned by their own consciences,"
--such was the buoying conviction of the Lutherans. And in this the
powerful letters of Luther strengthened the confessors at Augsburg. He
wrote: "This is the nature of our Christian doctrine, that it must be
held and grasped as certain and that every one must think and be
convinced: The doctrine is true and sure indeed and cannot fail. But
whoever falls to reasoning and begins to waver within himself, saying:
My dear friend, do you believe that it is true, etc.? such a heart will
never be a true Christian." (Plitt, 12.)

Concerning the spiritual support which the confessors at Augsburg,
notably Melanchthon, received from Luther, Plitt remarks: "What Luther
did during his solitary stay in the Castle at Coburg cannot be rated
high enough. His ideal deportment during these days, so trying for the
Church, is an example which at all times Evangelical Christians may look
up to, in order to learn from him and to emulate him. What he wrote to
his followers in order to comfort and encourage them, can and must at
all times refresh and buoy up those who are concerned about the course
of the Church." (24.) June 30 Veit Dietrich who shared Luther's solitude
at Coburg, wrote to Melanchthon: "My dear Philip, you do not know how
concerned I am for your welfare, and I beseech you for Christ's sake not
to regard as vain the Doctor's [Luther's] letters to you. I cannot
sufficiently admire that man's unique constancy, joy, confidence, and
hope in these days of most sore distress. And daily he nourishes them by
diligent contemplation of the Word of God. Not a day passes in which he
does not spend in prayer at least three hours, such as are most precious
for study. On one occasion I chanced to hear him pray. Good Lord, what a
spirit, what faith spoke out of his words! He prayed with such reverence
that one could see he was speaking with God, and withal with such faith
and such confidence as is shown by one who is speaking with his father
and friend. I know, said he, that Thou art our Father and our God.
Therefore I am certain that Thou wilt confound those who persecute Thy
children. If Thou dost not do it, the danger is Thine as well as ours.
For the entire matter is Thine own. We were compelled to take hold of
it; mayest Thou therefore also protect it, etc. Standing at a distance,
I heard him praying in this manner with a loud voice. Then my heart,
too, burned mightily within me, when he spoke so familiarly, so
earnestly, and reverently with God, and in his prayer insisted on the
promises in the Psalms, as one who was certain that everything he prayed
for would be done. Hence I do not doubt that his prayer will prove a
great help in the desperately bad affair of this Diet. And you, my
teacher, would do far better to imitate our father, the Doctor, also in
this point. For with your miserable cares and your weakling tears you
will accomplish nothing, but prepare a sad destruction for yourself and
us all, who take pleasure in, and are benefited by nothing more than
your welfare." (_C. R._ 2, 158f.; St. L. 15, 929f.)

50. Copy of Confutation Refused to Lutherans.

Since the Confutation, in the manner indicated, had been presented as
the Emperor's final verdict upon the Augsburg Confession the Lutherans
were compelled to declare themselves. Accordingly, Chancellor Brueck at
once responded to the demand for submission made through the Palatinate
after the reading of the Confutation, saying: The importance of this
matter, which concerned their salvation, required that the Confutation
be delivered to the Lutherans for careful inspection and examination to
enable them to arrive at a decision in the matter. The delegates from
Nuernberg reported, in substance: After the Confutation was read, Doctor
Brueck answered: Whereas, according to their Confession, the Lutherans
were willing to do and yield everything that could be so done with a
good conscience, whereas, furthermore, according to the Confutation,
some of their [the Lutherans'] articles were approved, others entirely
rejected, still others partly admitted to be right and partly
repudiated; and whereas the Confutation was a somewhat lengthy document:
therefore the Electors, princes, and cities deemed it necessary to scan
these articles more closely, the more so, because many writings were
adduced in them that made it necessary to show to what intent, and if at
all they were rightly quoted, and accordingly requested the Emperor,
since he had promised to hear both parties, to submit the Confutation
for their inspection. The Emperor answered: "As it was now late and
grown dark, and since the matter was important, he would consider their
request and reply to it later." Hereupon, according to the Nuernberg
delegates, "the chancellor pleaded again and most earnestly that His
Imperial Majesty would consider this important and great affair as a
gracious and Christian emperor ought to do, and not deny their prayer
and petition, but deliver to them the document which had been read."
(_C. R._ 2, 251.)

Now, although the Romanists were in no way minded and disposed to submit
the Confutation to the Lutherans, they nevertheless did not consider it
wise to refuse their petition outright and bluntly; for they realized
that this would redound to the glory neither of themselves nor of their
document. The fanatical theologians, putting little faith in that sorry
fabrication of their own, and shunning the light, at first succeeded in
having a resolution passed declaring the entire matter settled with the
mere reading. However in order to save their faces and to avoid the
appearance of having refused the Confutation as well as "the scorn and
ridicule on that account" (as the Emperor naively put it), and "lest any
one say that His Imperial Majesty had not, in accordance with his
manifesto, first dealt kindly with" the Lutherans, the estates resolved
on August 4 to grant their request. At the same time, however, they
added conditions which the Lutherans regarded as dangerous, insinuating
and impossible, hence rendering the Catholic offer illusory and

August 5 the Emperor communicated the resolutions adopted by the
Catholic estates to the Lutherans. According to a report of the
Nuernberg delegates the negotiations proceeded as follows: The Emperor
declared that the Confutation would be forwarded to the Lutherans, but
with the understanding that they must come to an agreement with the
Catholic princes and estates; furthermore that they spare His Imperial
Majesty with their refutations and make no further reply and, above all,
that they keep this and other writings to themselves, nor let them pass
out of their hands, for instance, by printing them or in any other way.
Hereupon Brueck, in the name of the Lutherans, thanked the Emperor, at
the same time voicing the request "that, considering their dire
necessity, His Imperial Majesty would permit his Elector and princes to
make answer to the Confutation." Duke Frederick responded: The Emperor
was inclined to grant them permission to reply, but desired the answer
to be "as profitable and brief as possible," also expected them to come
to an agreement with the Catholics, and finally required a solemn
promise that they would not permit the document to pass out of their
hands. Brueck answered guardedly: The Lutherans would gladly come to an
agreement "as far as it was possible for them to do so with God and
their conscience;" and as to their answer and the preservation of the
document, they would be found "irreprehensible." The Emperor now
declared: "The document should be delivered to the Lutherans in case
they would promise to keep it to themselves and not allow it to fall
into other hands; otherwise His Imperial Majesty was not minded to
confer with them any longer." Brueck asked for time to consider the
matter, and was given till evening. In his response he declined the
Emperor's offer, at the same time indicating that an answer to the
Confutation would be forthcoming nevertheless. The Lutherans, he said,
felt constrained to relinquish their petition, because the condition
that the document be kept in their hands had been stressed in such a
manner that they could not but fear the worst interpretation if it would
nevertheless leak out without their knowledge and consent; still, they
offered to answer the Confutation, since they had noted the most
important points while it was read; in this case, however, they asked
that it be not charged to them if anything should be overlooked; at the
same time they besought the Emperor to consider this action of theirs as
compelled by dire necessity, and in no other light. (_C. R._ 2, 255ff.)
In the Preface to the Apology, Melanchthon says: "This [a copy of the
Confutation] our princes could not obtain, except on the most perilous
conditions, which it was impossible for them to accept." (99.)

51. Lutherans on Roman Duplicity and Perfidy.

The duplicity and perfidy of the Emperor and the Romanists in their
dealings with the Lutherans was characterized by Chancellor Brueck as
follows: "The tactics of the opponents in offering a copy [of the
Confutation] were those of the fox when he invited the stork to be his
guest and served him food in a broad, shallow pan, so that he could not
take the food with his long bill. In like manner they treated the five
electors and princes, as well as the related cities, when they offered
to accede to their request and submit a copy to them, but upon
conditions which they could not accept without greatly violating their
honor." (Koellner, 419.) Over against the Emperor's demand of blind
submission and his threat of violence, the Lutherans appealed to their
pure Confession, based on the Holy Scriptures, to their good conscience,
bound in the Word of God, and to the plain wording of the imperial
manifesto, which had promised discussions in love and kindness. In an
Answer of August 9, _e.g._, they declared: The articles of the Augustana
which we have presented are drawn from the Scriptures, and "it is
impossible for us to relinquish them with a good conscience and peace of
heart, unless we find a refutation founded on God's Word and truth, on
which we may rest our conscience in peace and certainty." (Foerstemann,
2, 185.) In the Preface to the Apology, Melanchthon comments as follows
on the demand of the Romanists: "Afterwards, negotiations for peace were
begun, in which it was apparent that our princes declined no burden,
however grievous, which could be assumed without offense to conscience.
But the adversaries obstinately demanded that we should approve certain
manifest abuses and errors; and as we could not do this, His Imperial
Majesty again demanded that our princes should assent to the
Confutation. This our princes refused to do. For how could they, in a
matter pertaining to religion, assent to a writing which they had not
been able to examine, especially as they had heard that some articles
were condemned in which it was impossible for them, without grievous
sin, to approve the opinions of the adversaries?" (99.)

Self-evidently the Lutherans also protested publicly that the procedure
of the Romanists was in contravention of the proclamation of the Emperor
as well as of his declaration on June 20, according to which both
parties were to deliver their opinions in writing for the purpose of
mutual friendly discussion. In the Answer of August 9, referred to above
they said: "We understand His Imperial Majesty's answer to mean nothing
else than that, after each party had presented its meaning and opinion,
such should here be discussed among us in love and kindness." Hence,
they said, it was in violation of this agreement to withhold the
Confutation, lest it be answered. (Foerstemann, 2, 184f.) Luther
expressed the same conviction, saying: "All the world was awaiting a
gracious diet, as the manifesto proclaimed and pretended, and yet, sad
to say, it was not so conducted." (St. L. 16, 1636.)

That the Romanists themselves fully realized that the charges of the
Lutherans were well founded, appears from the subterfuges to which they
resorted in order to justify their violence and duplicity, notably their
refusal to let them examine the Confutation. In a declaration of August
11 they stated "that the imperial laws expressly forbid, on pain of loss
of life and limb, to dispute or argue (_gruppeln_) about the articles of
faith in any manner whatever," and that in the past the edicts of the
Emperor in this matter of faith had been despised, scorned, ridiculed,
and derided by the Lutherans. (Foerstemann, 2, 190.) Such were the
miserable arguments with which the Romanists defended their treachery.
Luther certainly hit the nail on the head when he wrote that the
Romanists refused to deliver the Confutation "because their consciences
felt very well that it was a corrupt, futile, and frigid affair, of
which they would have to be ashamed in case it should become public and
show itself in the light, or endure an answer." (St. L. 16, 1635.)

52. Original Draft of Apology.

August 5 the Lutherans had declared to the Emperor that they would not
remain indebted for an answer to the Confutation, even though a copy of
it was refused them. They knew the cunning Romanists, and had prepared
for every emergency. Melanchthon, who, according to a letter addressed
to Luther (_C. R._ 2, 254), was not present at the reading of the
Confutation, writes in the Preface to the Apology: "During the reading
some of us had taken down the chief points of the topics and arguments."
(101.) Among these was Camerarius. August 4 the Nuernberg delegates
reported to their senate that the Confutation comprising more than fifty
pages, had been publicly read on August 3, at 2 P.M., and that the
Lutherans had John Kammermeister "record the substance of all the
articles; this he has diligently done in shorthand on his tablet as far
as he was able, and more than all of us were able to understand and
remember, as Your Excellency may perceive from the enclosed copy." (_C.
R._ 2, 250.)

On the basis of these notes the council of Nuernberg had a theological
and a legal opinion drawn up, and a copy of the former (Osiander's
refutation of the Confutation) was delivered to Melanchthon on August 18
by the Nuernberg delegates. Osiander specially stressed the point that
the demand of the Romanists to submit to the decision of the Church in
matters of faith must be rejected, that, on the contrary, everything
must be subordinated to the Holy Scriptures. (Plitt, 87.) In drawing up
the Apology, however, Melanchthon made little, if any, use of Osiander's
work. Such, at least, is the inference Kolde draws from Melanchthon's
words to Camerarius, September 20: "Your citizens [of Nuernberg] have
sent us a book on the same subject [answer to the Confutation], which I
hope before long to discuss with you orally." (383.) There can be little
doubt that Melanchthon privately entertained the idea of writing the
Apology immediately after the reading of the Confutation. The
commission, however, to do this was not given until later; and most of
the work was probably done in September. For August 19 the Nuernberg
delegates reported that their "opinion" had been given to Melanchthon,
who as yet, however, had not received orders to write anything in reply
to the Confutation, "unless he is privately engaged in such
undertaking." (_C. R._ 2, 289.)

At Augsburg the execution of the resolution to frame an answer to the
Confutation had been sidetracked for the time being, by the peace
parleys between the Lutherans and the Catholics, which began soon after
the Confutation was read and continued through August. But when these
miscarried, the Evangelical estates, on the 29th of August, took
official action regarding the preparation of an Apology. Of the meeting
in which the matter was discussed the Nuernberg delegates report: "It
was furthermore resolved: 'Since we have recently declared before His
Majesty that, in case His Majesty refused to deliver to us the
Confutation of our Confession without restrictions [the aforementioned
conditions] we nevertheless could not refrain from writing a reply to
it, as far as the articles had been noted down during the reading, and
from delivering it to His Imperial Majesty: we therefore ought to
prepare ourselves in this matter, in order to make use of it in case of
necessity,' In this we, the delegates of the cities, also acquiesced.
... I, Baumgaertner, also said: In case such a work as was under
discussion should be drawn up, we had some opinions [the theological and
the legal opinions of the city of Nuernberg], which might be of service
in this matter, and which we would gladly submit. Hereupon it was
ordered that Dr. Brueck and other Saxons be commissioned to draft the
writing." (321.) The assumption, therefore, that Melanchthon was the
sole author of the first draft of the Apology is erroneous. In the
Preface to the Apology he writes: "They had, however, commanded me _and
some others_ to prepare an Apology of the Confession, in which the
reasons why we could not accept the Confutation should be set forth to
His Imperial Majesty, and the objections made by the adversaries be
refuted." (101.) In the same Preface he says that he had originally
drawn up the Apology at Augsburg, "_taking counsel_ with others." (101.)
However, we do not know who, besides Brueck, these "others" were.

53. Apology Presented, But Acceptance Refused.

By September 20 Melanchthon had finished his work. For on the same day
he wrote to Camerarius: "The verdict [decision of the Diet] on our
affair has not yet been rendered. ... Our Prince thought of leaving
yesterday, and again to-day. The Emperor however, kept him here by the
promise that he would render his decision within three days. ... Owing
to the statements of evil-minded people, I am now remaining at home and
have in these days written the Apology of our Confession, which, if
necessary, shall also be delivered; for it will be opposed to the
Confutation of the other party, which you heard when it was read. I
have written it sharply and more vehemently" (than the Confession). (_C.
R._ 2, 383.)

Before long, a good opportunity also for delivering this Apology
presented itself. It was at the meeting of the Diet on September 22 when
the draft of a final resolution (_Abschied_) was read to the estates.
According to this decision, the Emperor offered to give the Evangelicals
time till April 15, 1531, to consider whether or not they would unite
with the Christian Church, the Holy Father, and His Majesty "in the
other articles," provided however, that in the mean time nothing be
printed and absolutely no further innovations be made. The imperial
decision also declared emphatically that the Lutheran Confession had
been refuted by the Confutation. The verdict claimed the Emperor "had,
in the presence of the other electors, princes, and estates of the holy
empire, graciously heard the opinion and confession [of the Evangelical
princes], had given it due and thorough consideration, and had refuted
and disproved it with sound arguments from the holy gospels and the
Scriptures." (Foerstemann, 2, 475.)

Self-evidently, the Lutherans could not let this Roman boast pass by in
silence. Accordingly, in the name of the Elector, Brueck arose to voice
their objections, and, while apologizing for its deficiencies, presented
the Apology. In his protest, Brueck dwelt especially on the offensive
words of the imperial decision which claimed that the Augustana was
refuted by the Confutation. He called attention to the fact that the
Lutherans had been offered a copy only under impossible conditions; that
they had nevertheless, on the basis of what was heard during the
reading, drawn up a "counter-plea, or reply;" this he was now holding in
his hands, and he requested that it be read publicly; from it every one
might learn "with what strong, irrefutable reasons of Holy Scripture"
the Augustana was fortified. (Foerstemann, 2, 479.) Duke Frederick took
the Apology, but returned it on signal from the Emperor, into whose ear
King Ferdinand had been whispering. Sleidan relates: "Cumque hucusce
[tr. note: sic] perventum esset, Pontanus apologiam Caesari defert; eam
ubi Fridericus Palatinus accepit, subnuente Caesare, cui Ferdinandus
aliquid ad aures insusurraverat, reddit." A similar report is found in
the annals of Spalatin. (Koellner, 422.)

By refusing to accept the Apology, the Emperor and the Romanists _de
facto_ broke off negotiations with the Lutherans; and the breach
remained, and became permanent. September 23 the Elector left Augsburg.
By the time the second imperial decision was rendered, November 19, all
the Evangelical princes had left the Diet. The second verdict dictated
by the intolerant spirit of the papal theologians, was more vehement
than the first. Confusing Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Anabaptists,
Charles emphasized the execution of the Edict of Worms; sanctioned all
dogmas and abuses which the Evangelicals had attacked; confirmed the
spiritual jurisdiction of the bishops; demanded the restoration of all
abolished rites identified himself with the Confutation; and repeated
the assertion that the Lutheran Confession had been refuted from the
Scriptures. (Foerstemann, 2, 839f.; Laemmer, 49.)

In his _Gloss on the Alleged Imperial Edict_ of 1531, Luther dilates as
follows on the Roman assertion of having refuted the Augustana from the
Scriptures: "In the first place concerning their boasting that our
Confession was refuted from the holy gospels, this is so manifest a lie
that they themselves well know it to be an abominable falsehood. With
this rouge they wanted to tint their faces and to defame us, since they
noticed very well that their affair was leaky, leprous, and filthy, and
despite such deficiency nevertheless was to be honored. Their heart
thought: Ours is an evil cause, this we know very well, but we shall say
the Lutherans were refuted; that's enough. Who will compel us to prove
such a false statement? For if they had not felt that their boasting was
lying, pure and simple, they would not only gladly, and without offering
any objections, have surrendered their refutation as was so earnestly
desired, but would also have made use of all printing-presses to publish
it, and heralded it with all trumpets and drums, so that such defiance
would have arisen that the very sun would not have been able to shine on
account of it. But now, since they so shamefully withheld their answer
and still more shamefully hide and secrete it, by this action their evil
conscience bears witness to the fact that they lie like reprobates when
they boast that our Confession has been refuted, and that by such lies
they seek not the truth, but our dishonor and a cover for their shame."
(St. L. 16, 1668.)

54. Apology Recast by Melanchthon.

Owing to the fact that Melanchthon, immediately after the presentation
of the Apology, resolved to revise and recast it, the original draft was
forced into the background. It remained unknown for a long time and was
published for the first time forty-seven years after the Diet. Chytraeus
embodied it in his _Historia Augustanae Confessionis,_ 1578, with the
caption, "_Prima Delineatio Caesari Carolo Die 22. Septembris Oblata,
sed Non Recepta_--The First Draft which was Offered to Emperor Charles
on September 22, but Not Accepted." The German and Latin texts are found
in _Corp. Ref._ 27, 275ff. and 322. Following is the Latin title:
"Apologia Confessionis, 1530. Ps. 119: Principes persecuti sunt me
gratis." The German title runs: "Antwort der Widerlegung auf unser
Bekenntnis uebergeben." (245. 378.) Plitt says of the original Apology:
"It was well qualified to be presented to the Emperor, and, in form
also, far surpassed the Confutation of the Papists. Still the
Evangelical Church suffered no harm when the Emperor declined to accept
it. The opportunity for revision which was thus offered and fully
exploited by Melanchthon, who was never able to satisfy himself,
resulted in a great improvement. The Apology as it appeared the
following year is much riper, sharper in its rebuttal, and stronger in
its argumentation." (88.)

The draft of the Apology presented at Augsburg concluded as follows: "If
the Confutation had been forwarded to us for inspection we would perhaps
have been able to give a more adequate answer on these and additional
points." (_C. R._ 27, 378.) When, therefore, the Emperor had refused to
accept it, Melanchthon determined to revise, reenforce, and augment the
document. September 23 he left Augsburg in the company of the Elector;
and already while _en route_ he began the work. In his _History of the
Augsburg Confession,_ 1730, Salig remarks: "Still the loss of the first
copy [of the Apology] does not seem to be so great, since we now possess
the Apology in a more carefully elaborated form. For while the Diet was
still in session, and also after the theologians had returned home,
Melanchthon was constantly engaged upon it, casting it into an entirely
different mold, and making it much more extensive than it was before.
When the theologians had returned to Saxony from the Diet, Melanchthon,
in Spalatin's house at Altenburg, even worked at it on Sunday, so that
Luther plucked the pen from his hand, saying that on this day he must
rest from such work." (1, 377.) However, since the first draft was
presented to the Emperor on September 22, and Melanchthon, together with
the Elector, left Augsburg on the following day, it is evident that he
could not have busied himself very much with the revision of the Apology
at Augsburg. And that Luther, in the Altenburg incident, should have put
especial stress on the Sunday, for this neither Salig nor those who
follow him (_e.g._, Schaff, _Creeds,_ 1, 243) offer any evidence. In his
_Seventeen Sermons on the Life of Luther,_ Mathesius gives the following
version of the incident: "When Luther, returning home with his
companions from Coburg, was visiting Spalatin, and Philip, constantly
engrossed in thoughts concerning the Apology, was writing during the
meal, he arose and took the pen away from him [saying]: 'God can be
honored not alone by work, but also by rest and recreation; for that
reason He has given the Third Commandment and commanded the Sabbath.'"
(243.) This report of Mathesius certainly offers no ground for a
Puritanic explanation of the incident in Spalatin's home.

Originally Melanchthon does not seem to have contemplated a revision on
a very large scale. In the Preface, which was printed first, he merely
remarks that he made "some additions" (_quaedam adieci_) to the Apology
drawn up at Augsburg. (101.) Evidently, at the time when he wrote this,
he had no estimate of the proportions the work, which grew under his
hands, would finally assume. Before long also he obtained a complete
copy of the Confutation. It was probably sent to him from Nuernberg,
whose delegate had been able to send a copy home on August 28, 1530.
(Kolde, 37.) Says Melanchthon in the Preface to the Apology: "I have
recently seen the Confutation, and have noticed how cunningly and
slanderously it was written, so that on some points it could deceive
even the cautious." (101.) Eck clamored that the Confutation "had gotten
into Melanchthon's hands in a furtive and fraudulent manner, _furtim et
fraudulenter ad manus Melanchthonis eandem pervenisse._" (Koellner,
426.) The possession of the document enabled Melanchthon to deal in a
reliable manner with all questions involved, and spurred him on to do
most careful and thorough work.

55. Completion of Apology Delayed.

Owing to the fact that Melanchthon spent much more time and labor on the
work than he had anticipated and originally planned, the publication of
the Apology was unexpectedly delayed. October 1, 1530, Melanchthon wrote
to Camerarius: "Concerning the word 'liturgy' [in the Apology] I ask you
again and again carefully to search out for me its etymology as well as
examples of its meaning." November 12, to Dietrich: "I shall describe
them [the forms of the Greek mass] to Osiander as soon as I have
completed the Apology, which I am now having printed and am endeavoring
to polish. In it I shall fully explain the most important controversies,
which, I hope, will prove profitable." (_C. R._ 2, 438.) In a similar
strain he wrote to Camerarius, November 18. (440.) January 1, 1531,
again to Camerarius: "In the Apology I experience much trouble with the
article of Justification, which I seek to explain profitably." (470.)
February, 1531, to Brenz: "I am at work on the Apology. It will appear
considerably augmented and better founded. For this article, in which we
teach that men are justified by faith and not by love, is treated
exhaustively." (484.) March 7, to Camerarius: "My Apology is not yet
completed. It grows in the writing." (486.) Likewise in March, to
Baumgaertner: "I have not yet completed the Apology, as I was hindered,
not only by illness, but also by many other matters, which interrupted
me, concerning the syncretism Bucer is stirring up." (485.) March 17, to
Camerarius: "My Apology is making slower progress than the matter calls
for." (488.) Toward the end of March, to Baumgaertner: "The Apology is
still in press; for I am revising it entirely and extending it." (492.)
April 7, to Jonas: "In the Apology I have completed the article on
Marriage, in which the opponents are charged with many real crimes."
(493.) April 8, to Brenz: "We have almost finished the Apology. I hope
it will please you and other good people." (494.) April 11, to
Camerarius: "My Apology will appear one of these days. I shall also see
that you receive it. At times I have spoken somewhat vehemently, as I
see that the opponents despise every mention of peace." (495.) Finally,
in the middle of April, to Bucer: "My Apology has appeared, in which, in
my opinion, I have treated the articles of Justification, Repentance,
and several others in such a manner that our opponents will find
themselves heavily burdened. I have said little of the Eucharist."

These letters show that Melanchthon took particular pains with the
article of Justification, which was expanded more than tenfold. January
31, he was still hard at work on this article. Kolde says: "This was due
to the fact that he suppressed five and one-half sheets [preserved by
Veit Dietrich] treating this subject because they were not satisfactory
to him, and while he at first treated Articles 4 to 6 together, he now
included also Article 20, recasting anew the entire question of the
nature of justification and the relation of faith and good works.
Illness and important business, such as the negotiations with Bucer on
the Lord's Supper, brought new delays. He also found it necessary to be
more explicit than he had contemplated. Thus it came about that the work
could first appear, together with the Augustana, end of April, or, at
the latest, beginning of May." (37) According to the resolution of the
Diet, the Lutherans were to have decided by April 15, 1531, whether they
would accept the Confutation or not. The answer of the Lutherans was the
appearance, on the bookstalls, of the Augustana and the Apology, and a
few days prior, of Luther's "Remarks on the Alleged Imperial Edict,
_Glossen auf das vermeinte kaiserliche Edikt._"

56. German Translation by Jonas.

The Apology was written in Latin. The _editio princeps_ in quarto of
1531 contained the German and the Latin texts of the Augsburg
Confession, and the Latin text of the Apology. From the very beginning,
however, a German translation was, if not begun, at least planned. But,
though announced on the title-page of the quarto edition just referred
to, it appeared six months later, in the fall of 1531. It was the work
of Justus Jonas. The title of the edition of 1531 reads: "_Apologie der
Konfession, aus dem Latein verdeutscht durch Justus Jonas, Wittenberg._
Apology of the Confession done into German from the Latin by Justus
Jonas, Wittenberg." For a time Luther also thought of writing a "German
Apology." April 8, 1531, Melanchthon wrote to Brenz: "_Lutherus nunc
instituit apologiam Germanicam._ Luther is now preparing a German
Apology." (_C. R._ 2, 494. 501.) It is, however, hardly possible that
Luther was contemplating a translation. Koellner comments on
Melanchthon's words: "One can understand them to mean that Luther is
working on the German Apology." _Instituit,_ however, seems to indicate
an independent work rather than a translation. Koestlin is of the
opinion that Luther thought of writing an Apology of his own, because he
was not entirely satisfied with Melanchthon's. (_Martin Luther_ 2, 382.)
However, if this view is correct, it certainly cannot apply to
Melanchthon's revised Apology, to which Luther in 1533 expressly
confessed himself, but to the first draft at Augsburg, in which, _e.g._,
the 10th Article seems to endorse the concomitance doctrine. (_Lehre und
Wehre_ 1918, 385.) At all events, Luther changed his plan when Jonas
began the translation of the new Apology.

The translation of Jonas is not a literal reproduction of the Latin
original, but a version with numerous independent amplifications. Also
Melanchthon had a share in this work. In a letter of September 26, 1531,
he says: "They are still printing the German Apology, the improvements
of which cost me no little labor." (_C. R._ 2, 542.) The deviations from
the Latin original therefore must perhaps be traced to Melanchthon
rather than to Jonas. Some of them are due to the fact that the
translation was based in part not on the text of the _editio princeps,_
but on the altered Latin octavo edition, copies of which Melanchthon was
able to send to his friends as early as September 14. See, for example
the 10th Article, where the German text follows the octavo edition in
omitting the quotation from Theophylact. The German text appeared also
in a separate edition, as we learn from the letter of the printer Rhau
to Stephen Roth of November 30, 1531: "I shall send you a German
Apology, most beautifully bound." (Kolde, 39.) German translations
adhering strictly to the text of the _editio princeps_ are of a much
later date.

57. Alterations of Apology.

Melanchthon, who was forever changing and improving, naturally could not
leave the Apology as it read in the first edition. This applies to both
the German and the Latin text. He was thinking of the Latin octavo
edition when he wrote to Brenz, June 7, 1531: "The Apology is now being
printed, and I am at pains to make some points in the article of
Justification clearer. It is an extremely great matter, in which we must
proceed carefully that Christ's honor may be magnified." (2, 504.) The
same edition he had in mind when he wrote to Myconius, June 14, 1531:
"My Apology is now in press, and I am endeavoring to present the article
of Justification even more clearly; for there are some things in the
solution of the arguments which are not satisfactory to me." (506.)
Accordingly, this octavo edition, of which Melanchthon was able to send
a copy to Margrave George on September 14, revealed important
alterations: partly improvements, partly expansions, partly deletions.
The changes in the 10th Article, already referred to, especially the
omission of the quotation from Theophylact, attracted most attention.
The succeeding Latin editions likewise revealed minor changes. The
Apology accompanying the Altered Augsburg Confession of 1540, was
designated by Melanchthon himself as "_diligenter recognita,_ diligently
revised." (_C. R._ 26, 357. 419.)

Concerning the German Apology, Melanchthon wrote to Camerarius on
January 1, 1533: "I have more carefully treated the German Apology and
the article of Justification, and would ask you to examine it. If you
have seen my Romans [Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans], you will
be able to notice how exactly and methodically I am endeavoring to
explain this matter. I also hope that intelligent men will approve it.
For I have done this in order to explain necessary matters and to cut
off all manner of questions, partly false, partly useless." (_C. R._ 2,
624.) About the same time he wrote to Spalatin: "Two articles I have
recast entirely: Of Original Sin and Of Righteousness. I ask you to
examine them, and hope that they will profit pious consciences. For in
my humble opinion I have most clearly presented the doctrine of
Righteousness and ask you to write me your opinion." (625.) Kolde says
of this second revision of the German text of 1533: "This edition, which
Melanchthon described as 'diligently amended,' is much sharper in its
tone against the Romanists than the first and reveals quite extensive
changes. Indeed, entire articles have been remodeled, such as those Of
Justification and Good Works, Of Repentance. Of the Mass, and also the
statements on Christian perfection." (41.) These alterations in the
Latin and German texts of the Apology, however, do not involve changes
in doctrine, at least not in the same degree as in the case of the
Augustana Variata of 1540. Self-evidently, it was the text of the first
edition of the German as well as the Latin Apology that was embodied in
the Book of Concord.

58. Purpose, Arrangement, and Character of Apology.

The aim of the Apology was to show why the Lutherans "do not accept the
Confutation," and to puncture the papal boast that the Augustana had
been refuted with the Holy Scriptures. In its Preface we read:
"Afterwards a certain decree was published [by the Emperor], in which
the adversaries boast that they have refuted our Confession from the
Scriptures. You have now, therefore, reader, our Apology, from which you
will understand not only what the adversaries have judged (for we have
reported in good faith), but also that they have condemned several
articles contrary to the manifest Scripture of the Holy Ghost, so far
are they from overthrowing our propositions by means of the Scriptures."
(101.) The Apology is, on the one hand, a refutation of the Confutation
and, on the other hand, a defense and elaboration of the Augustana,
presenting theological proofs for the correctness of its teachings.
Hence constant reference is made to the Augsburg Confession as well as
the Confutation; and scholastic theology is discussed as well. On this
account also the sequence of the articles, on the whole, agrees with
that of the Augustana and the Confutation. However, articles treating of
related doctrines are collected into one, _e.g._, Articles 4, 5, 6, and
20. Articles to which the Romanists assented are but briefly touched
upon. Only a few of them have been elaborated somewhat _e.g._, Of the
Adoration of the Saints, Of Baptism, Of the Lord's Supper, Of
Repentance, Of Civil Government. The fourteen articles, however, which
the Confutation rejected are discussed extensively, and furnished also
with titles, in the _editio princeps_ as well as in the Book of Concord
of 1580 and 1584. In Mueller's edition of the Symbolical Books all
articles of the Apology are for the first time supplied with numbers and
captions corresponding with the Augsburg Confession.

In the Apology, just as in the Augsburg Confession, everything springs
from, and is regulated by, the fundamental Lutheran principle of Law and
Gospel, sin and grace, faith and justification. Not only is the doctrine
of justification set forth thoroughly and comfortingly in a particular
article, but throughout the discussions it remains the dominant note,
its heavenly strain returning again and again as the _motif_ in the
grand symphony of divine truths--a strain with which the Apology also
breathes, as it were, its last, departing breath. For in its Conclusion
we read: "If all the scandals [which, according to the Papists, resulted
from Luther's teaching] be brought together, still the one article
concerning the remission of sins (that for Christ's sake, through faith,
we freely obtain the remission of sins) brings so much good as to hide
all evils. And this, in the beginning [of the Reformation], gained for
Luther not only our favor, but also that of many who are now contending
against us." (451.)

In Kolde's opinion, the Apology is a companion volume, as it were, to
Melanchthon's _Loci Communes,_ and a theological dissertation rather
than a confession. However, theological thoroughness and erudition do
not conflict with the nature of a confession as long as it is not mere
cold intellectual reflection and abstraction, but the warm, living, and
immediate language of the believing heart. With all its thoroughness and
erudition the Apology is truly edifying, especially the German version.
One cannot read without being touched in his inmost heart, without
sensing and feeling something of the heart-beat of the Lutheran
confessors. Jacobs, who translated the Apology into English, remarks:
"To one charged with the cure of souls the frequent reading of the
Apology is invaluable; in many (we may say, in most) parts it is a book
of practical religion." (_The Book of Concord_ 2, 41.) The Apology does
not offer all manner of theories of idle minds, but living testimonies
of what faith, while struggling hotly with the devil and languishing in
the fear of death and the terrors of sin and the Law found and
experienced in the sweet Gospel as restored by Luther. In reading the
Apology, one can tell from the words employed how Melanchthon lived,
moved, and fairly reveled in this blessed truth which in opposition to
all heathen work-righteousness teaches terrified hearts to rely solely
and alone on grace. In his _History of Lutheranism_ (2, 206) Seckendorf
declares that no one can be truly called a theologian of our Church who
has not diligently and repeatedly read the Apology or familiarized
himself with it. (Salig, 1, 375.)

59. Moderate Tone of Apology.

The tone of the Apology is much sharper than that of the Augsburg
Confession. The situation had changed; hence the manner of dealing with
the opposition also changed. The Romanists had fully revealed themselves
as implacable enemies, who absolutely refused a peace on the basis of
truth and justice. In the Conclusion of the Apology we read: "But as to
the want of unity and dissension in the Church, it is well known how
these matters first happened and who caused the division namely, the
sellers of indulgences, who shamefully preached intolerable lies, and
afterwards condemned Luther for not approving of those lies, and
besides, they again and again excited more controversies, so that Luther
was induced to attack many other errors. But since our opponents would
not tolerate the truth, and dared to promote manifest errors by force it
is easy to judge who is guilty of the schism. Surely, all the world, all
wisdom, all power ought to yield to Christ and his holy Word. But the
devil is the enemy of God, and therefore rouses all his might against
Christ to extinguish and suppress the Word of God. Therefore the devil
with his members, setting himself against the Word of God, is the cause
of the schism and want of unity. For we have most zealously sought
peace, and still most eagerly desire it, provided only we are not forced
to blaspheme and deny Christ. For God, the discerner of all men's
hearts, is our witness that we do not delight and have no joy in this
awful disunion. On the other hand, our adversaries have so far not been
willing to conclude peace without stipulating that we must abandon the
saving doctrine of the forgiveness of sin by Christ without our merit,
though Christ would be most foully blasphemed thereby." (451.)

Such being the attitude of the Romanists, there was no longer any reason
for Melanchthon to have any special consideration for these implacable
opponents of the Lutherans and hardened enemies of the Gospel, of the
truth, and of religious liberty and peace. Reconciliation with Rome was
out of the question. Hence he could yield more freely to his impulse
here than in the Augustana; for when this Confession was written an
agreement was not considered impossible. In a letter of July 15, 1530,
informing Luther of the pasquinades delivered to the Emperor,
Melanchthon declared: "If an answer will become necessary, I shall
certainly remunerate these wretched, bloody men. _Si continget, ut
respondendum sit, ego profecto remunerabor istos nefarios viros
sanguinum_." (_C. R._ 2, 197.) And when about to conclude the Apology, he
wrote to Brenz, April 8, 1531: "I have entirely laid aside the mildness
which I formerly exercised toward the opponents. Since they will not
employ me as a peacemaker, but would rather have me as their enemy, I
shall do what the matter requires, and faithfully defend our cause."
(494.) But while Melanchthon castigates the papal theologians, he spares
and even defends the Emperor.

In Luther's _Remarks on the Alleged Imperial Edict,_ of 1531, we read:
"I, Martin Luther, Doctor of the Sacred Scriptures and pastor of the
Christians at Wittenberg, in publishing these Remarks, wish it to be
distinctly understood that anything I am writing in this booklet against
the alleged imperial edict or command is not to be viewed as written
against his Imperial Majesty or any higher power, either of spiritual or
civil estate.... I do not mean the pious Emperor nor the pious lords,
but the traitors and reprobates (be they princes or bishops), and
especially that fellow whom St. Paul calls God's opponent (I should say
God's vicar), the arch-knave, Pope Clement, and his servant Campegius,
and the like, who plan to carry out their desperate, nefarious roguery
under the imperial name, or, as Solomon says, at court." (16, 1666.)
Luther then continues to condemn the Diet in unqualified terms. "What a
disgraceful Diet," says he, "the like of which was never held and never
heard of, and nevermore shall be held or heard of, on account of his
disgraceful action! It cannot but remain an eternal blot on all princes
and the entire empire, and makes all Germans blush before God and all
the world." But he continues exonerating and excusing the Emperor: "Let
no one tremble on account of this edict which they so shamefully invent
and publish in the name of the pious Emperor. And should they not
publish their lies in the name of a pious Emperor, when their entire
blasphemous, abominable affair was begun and maintained for over six
hundred years in the name of God and the Holy Church?" (16, 1634.)

In a similar manner Melanchthon, too, treats the Emperor. He calls him
"_optimum imperatorem,_" and speaks of "the Emperor's most gentle
disposition, _mansuetissimum Caesaris pectus,_" which Eck and his party
were seeking to incite to bloodshed. (_C. R._ 2, 197.) In the Preface he
says: "And now I have written with the greatest moderation possible; and
if any expression appears too severe, I must say here beforehand that I
am contending with the theologians and monks who wrote the Confutation,
and not with the Emperor or the princes, whom I hold in due esteem."
(101.) In Article 23 Melanchthon even rises to the apostrophe: "And
these their lusts they ask you to defend with your chaste right hand,
Emperor Charles (whom even certain ancient predictions name as the king
of modest face; for the saying appears concerning you: 'One modest in
face shall reign everywhere')." (363.)

The Confutators, however, the avowed enemies of truth and peace, were
spared no longer. Upon them Melanchthon now pours out the lye of bitter
scorn. He excoriates them as "desperate sophists, who maliciously
interpret the holy Gospel according to their dreams," and as "coarse,
sluggish, inexperienced theologians." He denounces them as men "who for
the greater part do not know whereof they speak," and "who dare to
destroy this doctrine of faith with fire and sword," etc. Occasionally
Melanchthon even loses his dignified composure. Article 6 we read: "Quis
docuit illos asinos hanc dialecticam?" Article 9: "Videant isti asini."
In his book of 1534 against the Apology, Cochlaeus complains that the
youthful Melanchthon called old priests asses, sycophants, windbags,
godless sophists, worthless hypocrites, etc. In the margin he had
written: "Fierce and vicious he is, a barking dog toward those who are
absent, but to those who were present at Augsburg, Philip was more
gentle than a pup. _Ferox et mordax est, latrator in absentes,
praesentes erat Augustae omni catello blandior Philippus_." (Salig, 1,

On this score, however, Cochlaeus and his papal compeers had no reason
to complain, for they had proved to be past masters in vilifying and
slandering the Lutherans, as well as implacable enemies, satisfied with
nothing short of their blood and utter destruction. As a sample of their
scurrility W. Walther quotes the following from a book written by Duke
George of Saxony: "Er [Luther] ist gewiss mit dem Teufel besessen, mit
der ganzen Legion, welche Christus von den Besessenen austrieb und
erlaubte ihnen, in die Schweine zu fahren. Diese Legion hat dem Luther
seinen Moenchschaedel hirnwuetig und wirbelsuechtig gemacht. Du
unruhiger, treuloser und meineidiger Kuttenbube! Du bist allein der
groesste, groebste Esel und Narr, du verfluchter Apostat! Hieraus kann
maenniglich abnehmen die Verraeterei und Falschheit deines
blutduerstigen Herzens, rachgierigen Gemuets und teuflischen Willens, so
du, Luther, gegen deinen Naechsten tobend, als ein toerichter Hund mit
offenem Maul ohne Unterlass wagest. Du treuloser Bube und teuflischer
Moench! Du deklarierter Mameluck and verdammter Zwiedarm, deren neun
einen Pickharden gelten. Ich sage vornehmlich, dass du selbst der aller
unverstaendigste Bacchant und zehneckichte Cornut und Bestia bist. Du
meineidiger, treuloser und ehrenblosser Fleischboesewicht! Pfui dich
nun, du sakrilegischer, der ausgelaufenen Moenche und Nonnen, der
abfaelligen Pfaffen und aller Abtruennigen Hurenwirt! Ei, Doktor
Schandluther! Mein Doktor Erzesel, ich will dir's prophezeit haben, der
allmaechtige Gott wird dir kuerzlich die Schanze brechen und deiner
boshaftigsten, groebsten Eselheit Feierabend geben. Du Sauboze, Doktor
Sautrog! Doktor Eselsohr! Doktor Filzhut! Zweiundsiebzig Teufel sollen
dich lebendig in den Abgrund der Hoelle fuehren. Ich will machen, dass
du als ein Hoellenhund sollst Feuer ausspruehen und dich endlich selbst
verbrennen. Ich will dich dem wuetenigen Teufel und seiner Hurenmutter
mit einem blutigen Kopf in den Abgrund der Hoelle schicken." (_Luthers
Charakter,_ 148.)

Despite the occasional asperity referred to, the Apology, as a whole, is
written with modesty and moderation. Melanchthon sought to keep the
track as clear as possible for a future understanding. In the interest
of unity, which he never lost sight of entirely, he was conservative and
not disposed needlessly to widen the existing gulf. In the Preface to
the Apology he declares: "It has always been my custom in these
controversies to retain, so far as I was at all able, the form of the
customarily received doctrine, in order that at some time concord could
be reached the more readily. Nor, indeed, am I now departing far from
this custom, although I could justly lead away the men of this age still
farther from the opinions of the adversaries." (101.) This irenic
feature is perhaps most prominent in the 10th Article, Of the Lord's
Supper, where Melanchthon, in order to satisfy the opponents as to the
orthodoxy of the Lutherans in the doctrine of the Real Presence,
emphasizes the agreement in such a manner that he has been misunderstood
as endorsing also the Romish doctrine of Transubstantiation.

60. Symbolical Authority of Apology.

The great importance ascribed to the Apology appears both from its
numerous reprints and the strenuous endeavors of the opponents to oppose
it with books, which, however, no one was willing to print. The
reception accorded it by the Lutherans is described in a letter which
Lazarus Spengler sent to Veit Dietrich May 17: "We have received the
Apology with the greatest joy and in good hope that it will be
productive of much profit among our posterity." Brenz declares it worthy
of the canon [worthy of symbolical authority]: "Apologiam, me iudice,
canone dignam" (_C. R._ 2, 510), a phrase which Luther had previously
applied to Melanchthon's _Loci._ The joy of the Lutherans was equaled
only by the consternation of their enemies. The appearance of the
Apology surprised and perturbed them. They keenly felt that they were
again discredited in the public opinion and had been outwitted by the
Lutherans. On November 19 Albert of Mayence sent a copy of the Apology
to the Emperor in order to show him how the Catholic religion was being
destroyed while the Confutation remained unpublished. Cochlaeus
complained that to judge from letters received, the Apology found
approval even in Rome, whereas no printer could be found for Catholic
replies to the Apology. He wrote: "Meantime, while we keep silence, they
flaunt the Apology and other writings, and not only insult us, but cause
our people and cities to doubt and to grow unstable in the faith."
(Kolde, 40.)

The Apology, as revised and published by Melanchthon, was a private
work. His name, therefore, appeared on the title-page of the edition of
1531, which was not the case with respect to the Confession and Apology
presented at Augsburg. The latter were official documents, drawn up by
order of the Lutheran princes and estates, while the revised Apology was
an undertaking for which Melanchthon had received no commission.
Accordingly, as he was not justified in publishing a work of his own
under the name of the princes, there was nothing else for him to do than
to affix his own signature. In the Preface to the Apology he says: "As
it passed through the press, I made some additions. Therefore I give my
name, so that no one can complain that the book has been published
anonymously." (100.) Melanchthon did not wish to make any one beside
himself responsible for the contents of the revised Apology.

Before long, however, the Apology received official recognition. At
Schweinfurt, 1532, in opposition to the Papists, the Lutherans appealed
to the Augustana and Apology as the confession of their faith,
designating the latter as "the defense and explanation of the
Confession." And when the Papists advanced the claim that the Lutherans
had gone farther in the Apology than in the Augustana, and, April 11,
1532, demanded that they abide by the Augustana, refrain from making the
Apology their confession, and accordingly substitute "Assertion" for the
title "Apology," the Lutherans, considering the Apology to be the
adequate expression of their faith, insisted on the original title.
April 17 they declared: "This book was called Apology because it was
presented to Caesar after the Confession; nor could they suffer its
doctrine and the Word of God to be bound and limited, or their preachers
restricted to teach nothing else than the letter of the Augsburg
Confession, thus making it impossible for them to rebuke freely and most
fully all doctrinal errors, abuses, sins, and crimes. _Nominatum fuisse
Apologiam scriptum illud, quod Caesari post Confessionem exhibitum sit,
neque se pati posse, ut doctrina sua et Verbum Dei congustetur,
imminuatur et concionatores astringantur, ut nihil aliud praedicent
quam ad litteram Augustanae Confessionis, neque libere et plenissime
adversus omnes errores doctrinae, abusus, peccata et crimina dicere
possint._" Hereupon the Romanists, on April 22, demanded that at least a
qualifying explanation be added to the title Apology. Brueck answered on
the 23d: "It is not possible to omit this word. The Apology is the
correlate of the Confession. Still the princes and their associates do
not wish any articles taught other than those which have so far begun to
be discussed. _Omitti istud verbum non posse; Apologiam esse correlatum
Confessionis; nolle tamen Principes et socios, ut alii articuli
docerentur quam huiusque tractari coepti sint_." (Koellner, 430.)

In his Letter of Comfort, 1533, to the Leipzig Lutherans banished by
Duke George, Luther says: "There is our Confession and Apology....
Adhere to our Confession and Apology." (10, 1956.) Membership in the
Smalcald League was conditioned on accepting the Apology as well as the
Augustana. Both were also subscribed to in the Wittenberg Concord of
1536. (_C. R._ 3, 76.) In 1537, at Smalcald, the Apology (together with
the Augustana and the Appendix Concerning the Primacy of the Pope) was,
by order of the Evangelical estates, subscribed by all of the
theologians present, and thereby solemnly declared a confession of the
Lutheran Church. In 1539 Denmark reckoned the Apology among the books
which pastors were required to adopt. In 1540 it was presented together
with the Augustana at Worms. It was also received into the various
_corpora doctrinae._ The Formula of Concord adopts the Apology, saying:
"We unanimously confess this [Apology] also, because not only is the
said Augsburg Confession explained in it as much as is necessary and
guarded [against the slanders of the adversaries], but also proved by
clear, irrefutable testimonies of Holy Scripture." (853, 6.)

VII. Smalcald Articles and Tract concerning Power and Primacy of Pope.

61. General Council Demanded by Lutherans.

In order to settle the religious controversy between themselves and the
Papists, the Lutherans, from the very beginning, asked for a general
council. In the course of years this demand became increasingly frequent
and insistent. It was solemnly renewed in the Preface of the Augsburg
Confession. The Emperor had repeatedly promised to summon a council. At
Augsburg he renewed the promise of convening it within a year. The Roman
Curia, however, dissastisfied with the arrangements made at the Diet,
found ways and means of delaying it. In 1532, the Emperor proceeded to
Bologna, where he negotiated with Clement VII concerning the matter, as
appears from the imperial and papal proclamations of January 8 and 10,
1533, respectively. As a result, the Pope, in 1533, sent Hugo Rangon,
bishop of Resz, to Germany, to propose that the council be held at
Placentia, Bologna, or Mantua. Clement, however, was not sincere in
making this offer. In reality he was opposed to holding a council. Such
were probably also the real sentiments of his successor, Paul III. But
when the Emperor who, in the interest of his sweeping world policy, was
anxious to dispose of the religious controversy, renewed his pressure,
Paul finally found himself compelled to yield. June 4 1536, he issued a
bull convoking a general council to meet at Mantua, May 8, 1537.
Nothing, however, was said about the principles according to which it
was to be formed and by which it should be governed in transacting its
business. Self-evidently, then, the rules of the former councils were to
be applied. Its declared purpose was the peace of the Church through the
extinction of heresy. In the Bull _Concerning the Reforms of the Roman
Court,_ which the Pope issued September 23, he expressly declared that
the purpose of the council would be "the utter extirpation of the
poisonous, pestilential Lutheran heresy." (St. L. 16, 1914.) Thus the
question confronting the Protestants was, whether they could risk to
appear at such a council, and ought to do so, or whether (and how) they
should decline to attend. Luther, indeed, still desired a council. But
after 1530 he no longer put any confidence in a council convened by the
Pope, although, for his person, he did not refuse to attend even such a
council. This appears also from his conversation, November 7, 1535, with
the papal legate Peter Paul Vergerius (born 1497; accused of Lutheranism
1546; deprived of his bishopric 1549; defending Protestantism after
1550; employed by Duke Christoph of Wuerttemberg 1553; died 1564.)
Koestlin writes: "Luther relates how he had told the legate: 'Even if
you do call a council, you will not treat of salutary doctrine, saving
faith, etc., but of useless matters, such as laws concerning meats, the
length of priest's garments, exercises of monks, etc.' While he was thus
dilating, says Luther, the legate, holding his head in his hand, turned
to a near-by companion and said: 'He strikes the nail on the head,' The
further utterances of Luther: 'We do not need a council for ourselves
and our adherents, for we already have the firm Evangelical doctrine and
order; Christendom, however, needs it, in order that those whom error
still holds captive may be able to distinguish between error and truth,'
appeared utterly intolerable to Vergerius, as he himself relates. He
regarded them as unheard-of arrogance. By way of answer, he asked,
whether, indeed the Christian men assembled from all parts of the world,
upon whom, without doubt, the Holy Spirit descends, must only decide
what Luther approved of. Boldly and angrily interrupting him Luther
said: 'Yes, I will come to the council and lose my head if I shall not
defend my doctrine against all the world;' furthermore he exclaimed:
'This wrath of my mouth is not my wrath, but the wrath of God.'
Vergerius rejoiced to hear that Luther was perfectly willing to come to
the council; for, so he wrote to Rome, he thought that nothing more was
needed to break the courage of the heretics than the certain prospect
of a council, and at the same time he believed that in Luther's assent
he heard the decision of his master, the Elector, also. Luther declared
that it was immaterial to him where the council would meet, at Mantua,
Verona, or at any other place. Vergerius continued: 'Are you willing to
come to Bologna?' Luther: 'To whom does Bologna belong?' Vergerius: 'To
the Pope.' Luther: 'Good Lord, has this town, too, been grabbed by the
Pope? Very well, I shall come to you there.' Vergerius: 'The Pope will
probably not refuse to come to you at Wittenberg either,' Luther: 'Very
well, let him come; we shall look for him with pleasure.' Vergerius: 'Do
you expect him to come with an army or without weapons?' Luther: 'As he
pleases, in whatsoever manner he may come, we shall expect him and shall
receive him.'--Luther and Bugenhagen remained with Vergerius until he
departed with his train of attendants. After mounting, he said once more
to Luther: 'See that you be prepared for the council.' Luther answered:
'Yes, sir, with this my neck and head.'" (_Martin Luther_ 2, 382 sq.)

62. Luther's Views Regarding the Council.

What Luther's attitude toward a general council was in 1537 is expressed
in the Preface to the Smalcald Articles as follows: "But to return to
the subject. I verily desire to see a truly Christian council, in order
that many matters and persons might be helped. Not that we need it, for
our churches are now through God's grace, so enlightened and equipped
with the pure Word and right use of the Sacraments, with knowledge of
the various callings and of right works that we on our part ask for no
council, and on such points have nothing better to hope or expect from a
council. But we see in the bishoprics everywhere so many parishes vacant
and desolate that one's heart would break, and yet neither the bishops
nor canons care how the poor people live or die, for whom nevertheless
Christ has died, and who are not permitted to hear Him speak with them
as the true Shepherd with His sheep. This causes me to shudder and fear
that at some time he may send a council of angels upon Germany utterly
destroying us, like Sodom and Gomorrah, because we so wantonly mock Him
with the council." (457.)

From a popish council Luther expected nothing but condemnation of the
truth and its confessors. At the same time he was convinced that the
Pope would never permit a truly free, Christian council to assemble. He
had found him out and knew "that the Pope would see all Christendom
perish and all souls damned rather than suffer either himself or his
adherents to be reformed even a little, and his tyranny to be limited."
(455) "For with them conscience is nothing, but money, honors, power,
are everything." (455. 477.) The Second Part of his Articles Luther
concludes as follows: "In these four articles they will have enough to
condemn in the council. For they cannot and will not concede to us even
the least point in one of these articles. Of this we should be certain,
and animate ourselves with the hope that Christ, our Lord, has attacked
His adversary, and He will press the attack home both by His Spirit and
coming. Amen. For in the council we will stand not before the Emperor or
the political magistrate, as at Augsburg (where the Emperor published a
most gracious edict, and caused matters to be heard kindly), but before
the Pope and devil himself, who intends to listen to nothing, but merely
to condemn, to murder, and to force us to idolatry. Therefore we ought
not here to kiss his feet or to say, 'Thou art my gracious lord,' but as
the angel in Zechariah 3, 2 said to Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O
Satan." (475.) Hence his Preface also concludes with the plaint and
prayer: "O Lord Jesus Christ, do Thou Thyself convoke a council, and
deliver Thy servants by Thy glorious advent! The Pope and his adherents
are done for, they will have none of Thee. Do Thou, then, help us, who
are poor and needy, who sigh to Thee, and beseech Thee earnestly,
according to the grace which Thou hast given us, through Thy Holy Ghost,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Father, blessed forever.
Amen." (459.)

63. Elector Opposed to Hearing Papal Legate.

From the very beginning, Elector John Frederick was opposed to a
council. And the question which particularly engaged his attention was,
whether the Lutherans should receive and hear the papal legate who would
deliver the invitation. Accordingly, on July 24, the Elector came to
Wittenberg and through Brueck delivered four (five) articles to the
local theologians and jurists for consideration with instructions to
submit their answer in writing. (_C. R._ 3, 119.) August 1, Melanchthon
wrote to Jonas: "Recently the Prince was here and demanded an opinion
from all theologians and jurists.... It is rumored that a
cardinal-legate will come to Germany to announce the council. The Prince
is therefore inquiring what to answer, and under what condition the
synod might be permitted." (106.) The articles which Brueck presented
dealt mainly with the questions: whether, in view of the fact that the
Pope is a party to the issue and his authority to convene a council is
questioned, the legate should be heard, especially if the Emperor did
not send a messenger along with him, whether one would not already
submit himself to the Pope by hearing the legate; whether one ought not
to protest, because the Pope alone had summoned the council; and what
should be done in case the legate would summon the Elector as a party,
and not for consultation, like the other estates. (119f.)

In the preparation of their answer, the Elector desired the Wittenberg
scholars to take into careful consideration also his own view of the
matter, which he persistently defended as the only correct one. For this
purpose he transmitted to them an opinion of his own on Brueck's
articles referred to in the preceding paragraph. In it he maintained
that the papal invitation must be declined, because acceptance involved
the recognition of the Pope "as the head of the Church and of the
council." According to the Elector the proper course for the Lutheran
confederates would be to inform the legate, immediately on his arrival
in Germany, that they would never submit to the authority which the Pope
had arrogated to himself in his proclamation, since the power he assumed
was neither more nor less than abominable tyranny; that they could not
consider the Pope as differing from, or give him greater honor than, any
other ordinary bishop; that, besides, they must regard the Pope as their
greatest enemy and opponent; that he had arranged for the council with
the sinister object of maintaining his antichristian power and
suppressing the holy Gospel, that there was no need of hearing the
legate any further, since the Pope, who was sufficiently informed as to
their teaching, cared neither for Scripture nor for law and justice, and
merely wished to be their judge and lord; that, in public print, they
would unmask the roguery of the Pope, and show that he had no authority
whatever to convoke a council, but, at the same time, declare their
willingness to take part in, and submit their doctrine to, a free,
common, Christian, and impartial council, which would judge according to
the Scriptures. Nor did the Elector fail to stress the point that, by
attending at Mantua, the Lutherans would _de facto_ waive their former
demand that the council must be held on German soil. (99ff.)

64. Elector Imbued with Luther's Spirit.

Evidently, the Elector had no desire of engaging once more in diplomatic
jugglery, such as had been indulged in at Augsburg. And at Smalcald,
despite the opposing advice of the theologians, his views prevailed, to
the sorrow of Melanchthon, as appears from the latter's complaint to
Camerarius, March 1, 1637. (_C. R._ 3, 293.) The Elector was thoroughly
imbued with the spirit of Luther, who never felt more antagonistic
toward Rome than at Smalcald, although, as shown above, he was
personally willing to appear at the council, even if held at Mantua.
This spirit of bold defiance appears from the articles which Luther
wrote for the convention, notably from the article on the Papacy and on
the Mass. In the latter he declares: "As Campegius said at Augsburg that
he would be torn to pieces before he would relinquish the Mass, so, by
the help of God, I, too, would suffer myself to be reduced to ashes
before I would allow a hireling of the Mass, be he good or bad, to be
made equal to Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior, or to be exalted above
Him. Thus we are and remain eternally separated and opposed to one
another. They feel well enough that when the Mass falls, the Papacy lies
in ruins. Before they will permit this to occur, they will put us all to
death if they can." (465.) In the Pope, Luther had recognized the
Antichrist; and the idea of treating, seeking an agreement, and making a
compromise with the enemy of his Savior, was intolerable to him. At
Smalcald, while suffering excruciating pain, he declared, "I shall die
as the enemy of all enemies of my Lord Christ." When seated in the
wagon, and ready to leave Smalcald, he made the sign of the cross over
those who stood about him and said: "May the Lord fill you with His
blessing and with hatred against the Pope!" Believing that his end was
not far removed, he had chosen as his epitaph: "Living, I was thy pest;
dying, I shall be thy death, O Pope! _Pestis eram vivus, moriens ero
mors tua, Papa!_"

The same spirit of bold defiance and determination not to compromise the
divine truth in any way animated the Elector and practically all of the
princes and theologians at Smalcald, with, perhaps, the sole exception
of Melanchthon. Koestlin writes: "Meanwhile the allies at Smalcald
displayed no lack of 'hatred against the Pope.' His letters, delivered
by the legate, were returned unopened. They decidedly refused to take
part in the council, and that in spite of the opinion of their
theologians, whose reasons Melanchthon again ardently defended. For, as
they declared in an explanation to all Christian rulers, they could not
submit to a council which, according to the papal proclamation, was
convoked to eradicate the Lutheran heresy, would consist only of
bishops, who were bound to the Pope by an oath, have as its presiding
officer the Pope, who himself was a party to the matter, and would not
decide freely according to the Word of God, but according to human and
papal decrees. And from the legal standpoint they could hardly act
differently. Theologians like Luther could have appeared even before
such a council in order to give bold testimony before it. Princes,
however, the representatives of the law and protectors of the Church,
dared not even create the appearance of acknowledging its legality." (2,

65. Opinion of Theologians.

August 6 the Wittenberg professors assembled to deliberate on Brueck's
articles and the views of the Elector. The opinion resolved upon was
drawn up by Melanchthon. Its contents may be summarized as follows: The
Lutherans must not reject the papal invitation before hearing whether
the legate comes with a citation or an invitation. In case they were
invited like the rest of the princes to take part in the deliberations,
and not cited as a party, this would mean a concession on the part of
the Pope, inasmuch as he thereby consented "that the opinion of our
gracious Lord [the Elector] should be heard and have weight, like that
of the other estates." Furthermore, by such invitation the Pope would
indicate that he did not consider these princes to be heretics. If the
legate were rebuffed the Romanists would proceed against the Lutherans
as obstinate sinners (_contumaces_) and condemn them unheard, which, as
is well known, would please the enemies best. The Lutherans would then
also be slandered before the Emperor as despisers of His Majesty and of
the council. Nor did the mere hearing of the legate involve an
acknowledgment of the papal authority. "For with such invitation [to
attend the council] the Pope does not issue a command, nor summon any
one to appear before his tribunal, but before another judge, namely, the
Council, the Pope being in this matter merely the commander of the other
estates. By hearing the legate, therefore, one has not submitted to the
Pope or to his judgments.... For although the Pope has not the authority
to summon others by divine law, nevertheless the ancient councils, as,
for example, that of Nicaea, have given him this charge, which external
church regulation we do not attack. And although in former years, when
the empire was under one head some emperors convoked councils, it would
be in vain at present for the Emperor to proclaim a council, as foreign
nations would not heed such proclamation. But while the Pope at present,
according to the form of the law has the charge to proclaim councils, he
is thereby not made the judge in matters of faith, for even popes
themselves have frequently been deposed by councils. Pope John
proclaimed the Council of Constance, but was nevertheless deposed by
it." Accordingly the opinion continues: "It is not for us to advise that
the council be summarily declined, neither do we consider this
profitable, for we have always appealed to a council. What manner of
suspicion, therefore, would be aroused with His Imperial Majesty and all
nations if at the outset we would summarily decline a council, before
discussing the method of procedure!" And even if the Lutherans should be
cited [instead of invited], one must await the wording of the citation,
"whether we are cited to show the reason for our teaching, or to hear
ourselves declared and condemned as public heretics." In the latter case
it might be declined. In the former, however, the citation should be
accepted, but under the protest "that they had appealed to a free
Christian council," and did not acknowledge the Pope as judge. "And if
(_caeteris paribus,_ that is, provided the procedure is correct
otherwise) the council is considered the highest tribunal, as it ought
to be considered, one cannot despise the command of the person to whom
the charge is given to proclaim councils, whoever he may be. But if
afterwards the proceedings are not conducted properly, one can then
justly lodge complaint on that account." "To proclaim a council is
within the province of the Pope; but the judgment and decision belongs
to the council.... For all canonists hold that in matters of faith the
council is superior to the Pope, and that in case of difference the
council's verdict must be preferred to that of the Pope. For there must
be a supreme court of the Church, _i.e._, the council." On account of
the place, however they should not refuse to appear. (_C. R._ 3,119.)

In their subsequent judgments the theologians adhered to the view that
the Protestants ought not to incur the reproach of having prevented the
council by turning down the legate. Luther says, in an opinion written
at Smalcald, February, 1537: "I have no doubt that the Pope and his
adherents are afraid and would like to see the council prevented, but in
such a manner as would enable them to boast with a semblance of truth
that it was not their fault, since they had proclaimed it, sent
messengers, called the estates, etc., as they, indeed, would brag and
trump it up. Hence, in order that we might be frightened and back out,
they have set before us a horrible devil's head by proclaiming a
council, in which they mention nothing about church matters, nothing
about a hearing, nothing about other matters, but solely speak of the
extirpation and eradication of the poisonous Lutheran heresy, as they
themselves indicate in the bull _De Reformatione Curiae_ [of September
23, 1536, St. L. 16 1913ff.]. Here we have not only our sentence which
is to be passed upon us in the council but the appeal also with hearing,
answer, and discussion of all matters is denied us, and all pious,
honorable men who might possibly have been chosen as mediators are also
excluded. Moreover, these knaves of the devil are bent on doing their
pleasure, not only in condemning (for according to the said bull
launched against us they want to be certain of that) but also in
speedily beginning and ordering execution and eradication, although we
have not yet been heard (as all laws require) nor have they, the
cardinals, ever read our writing or learned its doctrine, since our
books are proscribed everywhere, but have heard only the false writers
and the lying mouths, having not heard us make a reply, although in
Germany both princes and bishops know, also those of their party, that
they are lying books and rascals, whom the Pope, Italy, and other
nations believe.... Hence they would like to frighten us into refusing
it [the Council] for then they could safely say that we had prevented
it. Thus the shame would not only cleave to us, but we would have to
hear that, by our refusal, we had helped to strengthen such abominations
of the Pope, which otherwise might have been righted." Such and similar
reasons prompted Luther to declare that, even though he knew "it would
finally end in a scuffle," he was not afraid of "the lousy, contemptible
council," and would neither give the legate a negative answer, nor
"entangle himself," and therefore not be hasty in the matter. (St. L.
16, 1997.) Even after the princes at Smalcald had resolved not to attend
the council, Luther expressed the opinion that it had been false wisdom
to decline it; the Pope should have been left without excuse; in case it
should convene, the council would now be conducted without the

66. Elector's Strictures on Opinion of Theologians.

Elector John Frederick was not at all satisfied with the Wittenberg
opinion of August 6. Accordingly, he informed the theologians assembled
August 30 at Luther's house, through Brueck, that they had permitted
themselves to be unduly influenced by the jurists, had not framed their
opinion with the diligence required by the importance of the matter, and
had not weighed all the dangers lurking in an acceptance of the
invitation to the council. If the Lutherans would be invited like the
other estates, and attend, they must needs dread a repetition of the
craftiness attempted at Augsburg, namely, of bringing their princes in
opposition to their preachers. Furthermore, in that case it would also
be considered self-evident that the Lutherans submit to the decision of
the majority in all matters. And if they refused, what then? "On this
wise we, for our part, would be lured into the net so far that we could
not, with honor, give a respectable account of our action before the
world. For thereupon to appeal from such decision of the council to
another would by all the world be construed against our part as
capriciousness pure and simple. At all events, therefore, the Lutherans
could accept the papal invitation only with a public protest, from which
the Pope and every one else could perceive in advance, before the
council convened, that the Lutherans would not allow themselves to be
lured into the net of a papal council, and what must be the character of
the council to which they would assent." (_C. R._ 3, 147.)

In this Protest, which the Elector presented, and which Melanchthon
translated into Latin, we read: "By the [possible] acceptance [of the
invitation to the council] they [the Lutherans] assent to no council
other than a general, free, pious, Christian, and impartial one; not to
one either which would be subject to, and bound by, papal prejudices
(as the one promised by Clement VII), but to such a synod as will
endeavor to bring godly and Christian unity within the Church by
choosing pious, learned, impartial, and unsuspected men for the purpose
of investigating the religious controversies and adjudicating them from
the Word of God, and not in accordance with usage and human traditions,
nor on the basis of decisions rendered by former synods that militate
against the Word of God." (152. 157.)

67. Counter-Council Disadvised.

The other matters which engaged the Elector's attention dealt primarily
with measures of defense, the convening of a counter-council
(_Gegenkonzil_) and the preparation of articles which all would
unanimously accept, and by which they proposed to stand to the
uttermost. August 20 Brueck brought these points up for discussion. And
in a "memorandum" which the Elector personally presented to the
theologians at Wittenberg on December 1, 1536, he expressed his opinion
as follows: The Lutherans were not obligated to attend the council,
neither would it be advisable. One could not believe or trust the
opponents. Nothing but trickery, deception, harm, and destruction might
be expected. At the council the Lutheran doctrine would be condemned,
and its confessors excommunicated and outlawed. To be sure, the Lutheran
cause was in God's hands. And as in the past, so also in the future God
would protect it. Still they must not on this account neglect anything.
Luther should therefore draw up articles from which he was determined
not to recede. After they had been subscribed by the Wittenbergers and
by all Evangelical pastors at the prospective meeting [at Smalcald], the
question might also be discussed whether the Lutherans should not
arrange for a counter-council "a universal, free, Christian council,"
possibly at Augsburg. The proclamation for this council might be issued
"by Doctor Luther together with his fellow-bishops and ecclesiastics, as
the pastors." However, one might also consider whether this should not
preferably be done by the princes and estates. In such an event,
however, one had to see to it that the Emperor be properly informed, and
that the entire blame be saddled upon the Pope and his adherents, the
enemies and opponents of our side. (141)

The seriousness with which the Elector considered the idea of a
counter-council appears from the details on which he entered in the
"memorandum" referred to where he puts especial emphasis on the
following points: At this free, universal council the Lutherans were
minded "to set forth their doctrine and faith according to the divine,
holy Scriptures." Every one, whether priest or layman, should be heard
in case he wanted to present anything concerning this doctrine from the
Holy Scriptures. A free, safe, Christian passport was to be given to
all, even to the worst enemy, leaving it to his discretion when to come
and go. Only matters founded in the Scriptures were to be presented and
discussed at such council. Human laws, ordinances, and writings should
under no circumstances be listened to in matters pertaining to faith and
conscience, nor be admitted as evidence against the Word of God.
"Whoever would submit such matters, should not be heard, but silence
enjoined upon him." To the verdict of such a holy and Christian council
the Lutherans would be willing to submit their doctrine. (141.)

The theologians answered in an opinion of December 6, 1536, endorsing
the Protest referred to above, but disapproving the counter-council.
Concerning the first point they advised that a writing be published and
sent to the Emperor and all rulers in which the Lutherans were to
"request that ways and means be considered of adopting a lawful
procedure [at the council] promoting the true Christian unity of
Christendom." Concerning the counter-council, however, they advised at
all events not to hasten with it. For to convoke it would produce a
great and terrible appearance of creating a schism, and of setting
oneself against all the world and contemplating taking the field soon.
Therefore such great, apparent resistance should not be undertaken till
one intends to do something in the matter openly and in deed. Concerning
the defense, the Wittenberg theologians were of the opinion that it was
the right and duty of the princes to protect and defend their subjects
against notorious injuries (if, for example, an attempt should be made
to force upon them the Romish idolatry, or to rend asunder the marriages
of their pastors), and also against the Emperor, even after the council
had condemned them as heretics. Luther signed this opinion with the
following words: "I, too, Martin Luther, will help with my prayers and,
if necessary, also with my fist." (126.)

68. Articles Drafted by Luther.

In the memorandum of December 1 the Elector spoke of the articles Luther
was to frame as follows: Although, in the first place, it may easily be
perceived that whatsoever our party may propose in such a [popish]
council as has been announced will have no weight with the opposition,
miserable, blinded, and mad men that they are, no matter how well it is
founded on Holy Scripture moreover, everything will have to be Lutheran
heresy, and their verdict, which probably has already been decided and
agreed upon, must be adopted and immediately followed by their proposed
ban and interdict [decree excommunicating and outlawing our party], it
will, nevertheless, be very necessary for Doctor Martin to prepare his
foundation and opinion from the Holy Scriptures, namely, the articles as
hitherto taught, preached, and written by him, and which he is
determined to adhere to and abide by at the council, as well as upon his
departure from this world and before the judgment of Almighty God, and
in which we cannot yield without becoming guilty of treason against God,
even though property and life, peace or war, are at stake. Such articles
however, as are not necessary, and in which for the sake of Christian
love, yet without offense against God and His Word, something might be
yielded (though, doubtless, they will be few in number), should in this
connection also be indicated separately by said Doctor Martin. And when
Doctor Martin has completed such work (which, if at all possible for the
Doctor, must be done between the present date and that of the Conversion
of St. Paul [January 25], at the latest), he shall thereupon present it
to the other Wittenberg theologians, and likewise to some prominent
preachers whose presence he should require to hear from them, at the
same time admonishing them most earnestly, and asking them whether they
agreed with him in these articles which he had drawn up, or not, and
thereupon, as they hoped for their souls salvation their sentiment and
opinion be learned in its entirety, but not in appearance, for the sake
of peace, or because they did not like to oppose the Doctor, and for
this reason would not fully open their hearts, and still, at a later
time would teach, preach, write, and make public something else or
advise the people against said articles, as some have in several
instances done before this. An agreement having been reached, the
articles were to be subscribed by all and prepared in German and Latin.
At the prospective meeting [at Smalcald] they should be submitted to the
religious confederates for discussion and subscription. Hence, in the
invitation, every prince should be asked "to bring with him two or three
theologians, in order that a unanimous agreement might be reached there,
and no delay could be sought or pretended." (139.) Accordingly, the
Elector planned to have Luther draw up articles which were to be
accepted by all, first at Wittenberg and then at Smalcald, without
compulsion and for no other reason than that they expressed their own
inmost convictions. The situation had changed since 1530, and the
Elector desired a clearer expression, especially on the Papacy. Hence he
did not appoint Melanchthon, but Luther, to compose the articles. The
truth was to be confessed without regard to anything else.

Luther had received the order to draw up these articles as early as
August 20, 1536. September 3 Brueck wrote to the Elector on this matter:
"I also delivered to Doctor Martin the credentials which Your Electoral
Grace gave to me, and thereupon also spoke with him in accordance with
the command of Your Electoral Grace. He promised to be obedient in every
way. It also appears to me that he already has the work well in hand, to
open his heart to Your Electoral Grace on religion, which is to be, as
it were, his testament." (147.) Luther, who at the time thought that his
end would come in the near future, had no doubt used such an expression
himself. His articles were to be his testament. In the preface to the
articles he touched upon it once more, saying: "I have determined to
publish these articles in plain print, so that, should I die before
there will be a council (as I fully expect and hope, because the knaves
who flee the light and shun the day take such wretched pains to delay
and hinder the council), those who live and remain after my demise may
be able to produce my testimony and confession in addition to the
Confession which I previously issued, whereby up to this time I have
abided, and by God's grace will abide." (455.)

The Elector seems also to have enjoined silence on Luther with respect
to the articles until they had been approved at Wittenberg. For in his
letter to Spalatin, of December 15, 1536, Luther wrote: "But you will
keep these matters [his journey to Wittenberg to discuss the articles]
as secret as possible, and pretend other reasons for your departure.
_Sed haec secreta teneas quantum potes, et finge alias causas abeundi._"
(St. L. 21b, 2135.) December 11 the Elector again called attention to
the articles, desiring that Amsdorf, Agricola, and other outside
theologians be called to Wittenberg at his expense to take part in the
discussion. Shortly after, Luther must have finished the articles. The
numerous changes and improvements appearing in the original manuscript,
which is still preserved in the Heidelberg library, show how much time
and labor he spent on this work. Concluding his articles, Luther says:
"These are the articles on which I must stand, and, God willing, shall
stand even to my death; and I do not know how to change or to yield
anything in them. If any one wishes to yield anything, let him do it at
the peril of his conscience." (501, 3.)

Toward the close of the year Luther submitted the draft to his
colleagues, Jonas, Bugenhagen, Cruciger, Melanchthon, and those who had
come from abroad, Spalatin, Amsdorf, and Agricola. After thorough
discussion it was adopted by all with but few changes, _e.g._ regarding
the adoration of the saints, concerning which Luther had originally said
nothing. (Kolde, 44.) Spalatin reports that all the articles were read,
and successively considered and discussed. The Elector had spoken also
of points in which a concession might be possible. In the discussion at
Wittenberg, Spalatin mentioned as such the question whether the
Evangelicals, in case the Pope would concede the cup to them, should
cease preaching against the continuance of the one kind among the
Papists; furthermore, what was to be done with respect to ordination and
the adiaphora. Luther had not entered upon a discussion of these
questions, chiefly, perhaps, because he was convinced that the council
would condemn even the essential articles. (Compare Melanchthon's
letter of August 4, 1530, to Campegius, _C. R._ 2, 246.) After the
articles had been read and approved, Spalatin prepared a copy (now
preserved in the archives at Weimar), which was signed by the eight
theologians present, by Melanchthon, however, with the limitation that
the Pope might be permitted to retain his authority "iure humano," "in
case he would admit the Gospel." Perhaps Melanchthon, who probably would
otherwise have dissimulated, felt constrained to add this stricture on
account of the solemn demand of the Elector that no one should hide any
dissent of his, with the intention of publishing it later. (_C. R._ 3,

69. Articles Endorsed by Elector.

With these first subscriptions, Luther sent his articles to the Elector
on January 3, 1537, by the hand of Spalatin. In the accompanying letter
of the same date he informed the Elector that he had asked Amsdorf,
Eisleben [Agricola], and Spalatin to come to Wittenberg on December 28
or the following days. "I presented the articles which I had myself
drawn up according to the command of Your Electoral Grace and talked
them over with them for several days, owing to my weakness, which
intervened (as I think, by the agency of Satan); for otherwise I had
expected to deliberate upon them no longer than one day. And herewith I
am sending them, as affirmed with their signatures, by our dear brother
and good friend, Magister George Spalatin, to deliver them to Your
Electoral Grace, as they all charged and asked me so to do. At the same
time, since there are some who, by suspicion and words, insinuate that
we parsons (_Pfaffen_), as they call us, by our stubbornness desire to
jeopardize you princes and lords, together with your lands and people,
etc., I very humbly ask, also in the name of all of us, that by all
means Your Electoral Grace would reprimand us for this. For if it would
prove dangerous for other humble people, to say nothing of Your
Electoral Grace, together with other lords, lands, and people, we would
much rather take it upon ourselves alone. Accordingly, Your Electoral
Grace will know well how far and to what extent you will accept these
articles, for we would have no one but ourselves burdened with them,
leaving it to every one whether he will, or will not, burden also
himself with them." (St. L. 21b, 2142.)

In his answer of January 7, 1537, the Elector expressed his thanks to
Luther for having drawn up the articles "in such Christian, true, and
pure fashion," and rejoiced over the unanimity of his theologians. At
the same time he ordered Chancellor Brueck to take steps toward having
the most prominent pastors of the country subscribe the articles, "so
that these pastors and preachers, having affixed their names, must abide
by these articles and not devise teachings of their own, according to
their own opinion and liking, in case Almighty God would summon Doctor
Martin from this world, which rests with His good will." (Kolde, 45.) In
the letter which the Elector sent to Luther, we read: "We give thanks to
Almighty God and to our Lord Christ for having granted you health and
strength to prepare these articles in such Christian, true, and pure
fashion; also that He has given you grace, so that you have agreed on
them with the others in Christian, also brotherly and friendly unity....
From them we also perceive that you have changed your mind in no point,
but that you are steadfastly adhering to the Christian articles, as you
have always taught, preached, and written, which are also built on the
foundation, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, against whom the gates of
hell cannot prevail, and who shall also remain in spite of the Pope, the
council, and its adherents. May Almighty God, through our Lord Christ,
bestow His grace on us all, that with steadfast and true faith we abide
by them, and suffer no human fear or opinion to turn us therefrom!...
After reading them over for the second time we can entertain no other
opinion of them, but accept them as divine, Christian, and true, and
accordingly shall also confess them and have them confessed freely and
publicly before the council, before the whole world, and whatsoever may
come, and we shall ask God that He would vouchsafe grace to our brother
and to us, and also to our posterity, that steadfastly and without
wavering we may abide and remain in them." (21b, 2143.)

70. Melanchthon's Qualified Subscription.

In his letter to Luther the Elector made special reference also to the
qualified subscription of Melanchthon. "Concerning the Pope," he said,
"we have no hesitation about resisting him most vehemently. For if, from
good opinion, or for the sake of peace, as Magister Philip suggests, we
should suffer him to remain a lord having the right to command us, our
bishops, pastors, and preachers, we would expose ourselves to danger and
burden (because he and his successors will not cease in their endeavors
to destroy us entirely and to root out all our posterity), for which
there is no necessity, since God's Word has delivered and redeemed us
therefrom. And if we, now that God has delivered us from the Babylonian
captivity, should again run into such danger and thus tempt God, this
[subjection to the Pope] would, by a just decree of God, come upon us
through our wisdom, which otherwise, no doubt, will not come to pass."
(2145.) Evidently, the Elector, though not regarding Melanchthon's
deviation as a false doctrine, did not consider it to be without danger.

At the beginning of the Reformation, Luther had entertained similar
thoughts, but he had long ago seen through the Papacy, and abandoned
such opinions. In the Smalcald Articles he is done with the Pope and his
superiority, also by human right. And this for two reasons: first,
because it would be impossible for the Pope to agree to a mere
superiority _iure humano,_ for in that case he must suffer his rule and
estate to be overturned and destroyed together with all his laws and
books; in brief, he cannot do it; in the second place, because even such
a purely human superiority would only harm the Church. (473, 7. 8.)
Melanchthon, on the other hand, still adhered to the position which he
had occupied in the compromise discussions at Augsburg, whence, _e.g._,
he wrote to Camerarius, August 31, 1530 "Oh, would that I could, not
indeed fortify the domination, but restore the administration of the
bishops. For I see what manner of church we shall have when the
ecclesiastical body has been disorganized. I see that afterwards there
will arise a much more intolerable tyranny [of the princes] than there
ever was before." (_C. R._ 2, 334.) At Smalcald, however, his views met
with so little response among the princes and theologians that in his
"Tract on the Primacy of the Pope" he omitted them entirely and followed
Luther's trend of thought. March 1, 1537, Melanchthon himself wrote
concerning his defeat at the deliberations of the theologians on the
question in which articles concessions might be made in the interest of
peace, saying that the unlearned and the more vehement would not hear of
concessions, since the Lutherans would then be charged with
inconsistency and the Emperor would only increase his demands. (_C. R._
3, 292.) Evidently then, even at that time Melanchthon was not entirely
cured of his utopian dream.

"If the Pontiff would admit the Gospel, _si pontifex evangelium
admitteret._" A. Osiander remarked: "That is, if the devil would become
an apostle." In the Jena edition of Luther's works Melanchthon's phrase
is commented upon as follows: "And yet the Pope with his wolves, the
bishops, even now curses, blasphemes, and outlaws the holy Gospel more
horribly than ever before, raging and fuming against the Church of
Christ and us poor Christians in most horrible fashion, both with fire
and sword, and in whatever way he can, like a real werwolf, [tr. note:
sic!] aye, like the very devil himself." (6, 557b.) The same comment is
found in the edition of the Smalcald Articles prepared 1553 by Stolz
and Aurifaber, where the passage begins: "O quantum mutatus ab illo [the
former Melanchthon]!" (Koellner, 448. 457.) Carpzov remarks pertinently:
"This subscription [of Melanchthon] is not a part of the Book of Concord
[it does not contain the doctrine advocated by the Book of Concord], nor
was it approved by Luther; moreover, it was later on repudiated by
Philip himself." (_Isagoge_ 823. 894.)

71. Luther's Articles Sidetracked at Smalcald.

It was a large and brilliant assembly, especially of theologians, which
convened at Smalcald in February, 1537. Luther, too, was present. On
January 7 the Elector had written: "We hope that our God will grant you
grace, strength, and health that you may be able to make the journey to
Smalcald with us, and help us to right, and bring to a good issue, this
[matter concerning the Pope] and other matters."

As stated above, the Elector's plan was to elevate Luther's articles to
a confession officially recognized and subscribed to by all Lutheran
princes, estates, and theologians. Accordingly, on February 10, at the
first meeting held at Smalcald, Chancellor Brueck moved that the
theologians deliberate concerning the doctrine, so that, in case the
Lutherans would attend the council, they would know by what they
intended to stand, and whether any concessions were to be made, or, as
Brueck put it, whether anything good [perhaps a deliverance on the
Papacy] should be adopted, or something should be conceded.

Self-evidently, Brueck had Luther's articles in mind, although it cannot
be proved that he directly and expressly mentioned them or submitted
them for discussion and adoption. Perhaps, he felt from the very
beginning that the Elector would hardly succeed with his plans as
smoothly and completely as anticipated. For Luther, desiring to clear
the track for the whole truth in every direction, the Reformed as well
as the Papistic, both against the "false brethren who would be of our
party" (Preface to Sm. Art. 455, 4), as well as against the open
enemies, had in his articles so sharpened the expressions employed in
the Wittenberg Concord of 1536 concerning the Lord's Supper that the
assent of Philip of Hesse and the attending South German delegates and
theologians (Bucer, Blaurer, Wolfart, etc.) was more than doubtful.
Luther's letter to the adherents of Zwingli, December 1, 1537, shows
that he did not at all desire unnecessarily to disturb the work of union
begun by the Wittenberg Concord. (St. L. 17, 2143.) Still, he at the
same time endeavored to prevent a false union resting on
misunderstanding and self-deception. And, no doubt, his reformulation of
the article on the Lord's Supper was intended to serve this purpose.
Besides, owing to a very painful attack of gravel, Luther was not able
to attend the sessions, hence could not make his influence felt in a
decisive manner as desired by the Elector.

This situation was exploited by Melanchthon in the interest of his
attitude toward the Zwinglians, which now was much more favorable than
it had been at Augsburg, 1530. From the very outset he opposed the
official adoption of Luther's articles. He desired more freedom with
regard to both the Romanists and the Reformed than was offered by
Luther's articles. The first appears from his subscription. Concerning
the article of the Lord's Supper, however, which the Strassburgers and
others refused to accept, Melanchthon does not seem to have voiced any
scruples during the deliberations at Wittenberg. Personally he may even
have been able to accept Luther's form, and this, too, more honestly
than Bucer did at Smalcald. For as late as September 6, 1557, he wrote
to Joachim of Anhalt: "I have answered briefly that in doctrine all are
agreed, and that we all embrace and retain the Confession with the
Apology and Luther's confession written before the Synod of Mantua.
_Respondi breviter, consensum esse omnium de doctrina: amplecti nos
omnes et retinere Confessionem cum Apologia et confessione Lutheri
scripta ante Mantuanam Synodum._" (_C. R._ 9, 260.) But, although
Melanchthon, for his person, accepted Luther's article on the Lord's
Supper, he nevertheless considered it to be dangerous to the Concord
with the Southern Germans and to the Smalcald League. Privately he also
made known his dissatisfaction in no uncertain manner. And in so doing,
he took shelter behind Philip of Hesse, who, as at Augsburg, 1530, still
desired to have the Zwinglians regarded and treated as weak brethren.

Kolde relates: "On the same day (February 10) Melanchthon reported to
the Landgrave: 'One article, that concerning the Sacrament of the Holy
Supper, has been drawn up somewhat vehemently, in that it states that
the bread is the body of the Lord which Luther at first did not draw up
in this form, but, as contained in the [Wittenberg] Concord, namely,
that the body of the Lord is given with the bread, and this was due to
Pomeranus, for he is a vehement man and a coarse Pomeranian. Otherwise
he [Melanchthon] knew of no shortcoming or complaint in all the
articles.' ... 'He also said' (this the Landgrave reports to Jacob Sturm
of Strassburg as an expression of Melanchthon) 'that Luther would hear
of no yielding or receding, but declared: This have I drawn up; if the
princes and estates desired to yield anything, it would rest with them,'
etc. The estates, Melanchthon advised, might therefore in every way
declare that they had adopted the Confession and the Concord, and were
minded to abide by them. At the same time he promised to demand at the
prospective deliberation of the theologians, 'that the article of the
Sacrament be drawn up as contained in the Concord. 'Melanchthon's
assertion that Bugenhagen influenced Luther's formulation of the article
on the Lord's Supper is probably correct. At any rate, it can be proved
that Luther really changed the article. For a glance at the original
manuscript shows that he had at first written, in conformity with the
Concord, 'that the true body and blood of Christ is under the bread and
wine,' but later on changed it to read: 'that the bread and wine of the
Lord's Supper are the true body and blood of Christ.'" (48.) Melanchthon
was diplomatic enough to hide from the Landgrave his strictures on
Luther's articles about the Pope, knowing well that in this point he
could expect neither approval nor support.

72. Articles Not Discussed in Meeting of League.

As the Southern Germans regarded Luther's formulation of the article on
the Lord's Supper with disfavor, the Landgrave found little difficulty
in winning over (through Jacob Sturm) the delegates of Augsburg and Ulm
to Melanchthon's view of declaring adherence only to the Confession and
the Wittenberg Concord. Already on February 11 the cities decided to
"decline on the best grounds" the Saxon proposition. Following were the
reasons advanced: It was not necessary at present to enter upon the
proposition, since the council would make slow progress, as the Emperor
and the King of France were not yet at peace. They had not understood
this (the adoption of the Saxon proposition) to be the purpose of the
invitation to bring scholars with them. They had a confession, the
Augustana, presented to the Emperor. It was also to be feared that
deliberations on the question whether any concessions should be made,
might lead to a division; nor would this remain concealed from the
Papists. If the Elector desired to present some articles, he might
transmit them, and they, in turn, would send them to their superiors
for inspection. (Kolde, _Analecta,_ 296.)

In the afternoon of February 11 the princes according to the report of
the Strassburgers, expressed their satisfaction with the resolution of
the cities. At the same time they declared that they were not minded to
make any concessions to the Papists, nor to dispute about, or question,
anything in the Confession or the Wittenberg Concord, "but merely to
review the Confession, not to change anything against its contents and
substance, nor that of the Concord, but solely to enlarge on the Papacy,
which before this, at the Diet, had been omitted in order to please His
Imperial Majesty and for other reasons;" that such was the purpose of
the deliberation for which the scholars had been summoned; and that this
was not superfluous, since "they were all mortal, and it was necessary
that their posterity be thoroughly informed as to what their doctrine
had been, lest others who would succeed to their places accept something
else." The report continues: "The cities did not object to this." (296.)
According to this report, then, Luther's articles were neither discussed
nor adopted at the official meeting of the princes and estates belonging
to the Smalcald League. Without mentioning them, they declared in their
final resolution: Our scholars have "unanimously agreed among themselves
in all points and articles contained in our Confession and Apology,
presented at the Diet of Augsburg, excepting only that they have
expanded and drawn up more clearly than there contained _one article,_
concerning the Primacy of the Pope of Rome." (Koellner, 468.) Koestlin
remarks: "Since the princes decided to decline the council absolutely,
they had no occasion to discuss Luther's articles." (2, 403.)

73. Meeting of Theologians.

At Smalcald the first duty imposed upon the scholars and theologians was
once more to discuss the Augustana and the Apology carefully, and to
acknowledge both as their own confessions by their signatures. Thereupon
they were, in a special treatise, to enlarge on the Papacy. The
Strassburg delegates report: "It has also come to pass that the scholars
received orders once more to read the articles of the Confession and to
enlarge somewhat on the Papacy, which they did." (Kolde, _Analecta,_
298.) However, since neither the Augustana nor its Apology contained an
article against the Papacy, the demand of the princes could only be
satisfied by a special treatise, the "Tractatus de Potestate et Primatu
Papae," which Melanchthon wrote and completed by February 17, whereupon
it was immediately delivered to the princes.

The princes had furthermore ordered the theologians, while reviewing and
discussing the Augustana (and its Apology), to reenforce its doctrine
with additional proofs. Owing to lack of time and books, this was not
carried out. February 17 Osiander reports to the Nuernberg preachers:
"We are enjoying good health here, although we traveled in stormy
weather and over roads that offered many difficulties, and are living
under a constantly beclouded sky, which unpleasantries are increased by
troublesome and difficult questions in complicated matters.... The first
business imposed on us by the princes embraces two things: first, to
fortify the Confession and the Apology with every kind of argument from
the Holy Scriptures, the fathers, councils, and the decrees of the
Popes; thereupon, diligently to discuss in detail everything concerning
the Primacy, which was omitted in the Confession because it was odious.
The latter we completed so far to-day that we shall immediately deliver
a copy to the princes. The former, however will be postponed to another
time and place, since it requires a longer time, as well as libraries,
which are lacking here." (_C. R._ 3, 267.)

The discussion of the Confession was also to serve the purpose of
obtaining mutual assurance whether they were all really agreed in
doctrine. This led to deliberations on the doctrine of the Lord's Supper
as well as on the question what concessions might be made to the
Romanists. According to a report of Melanchthon, March 1, the
theologians were to discuss the doctrines, not superficially, but very
thoroughly, in order that all disagreement might be removed, and a
harmonious and complete system of doctrines exist in our churches. They
were to review the Confession in order to learn whether any one
deviated in any article or disapproved of anything. But Melanchthon
remarks that this object was not reached, since the special request had
been voiced not to increase the disagreement by any quarrel and thus to
endanger the Smalcald League. (_C. R._ 3, 292.) In a second letter of
the same date he says that a real doctrinal discussion had never come to
pass, partly because Luther's illness prevented him from taking part in
the meetings, partly because the timidity of certain men [the Landgrave
and others] had prevented an exact disputation lest any discord might
arise. (296.) March 3 he wrote to Jonas in a similar vein saying that
the reports of violent controversies among the theologians at Smalcald
were false. For although they had been in consultation with one another
for the purpose of discovering whether all the theologians in attendance
there agreed in doctrine the matter had been treated briefly and
incidentally. (298.)

As far as the Lord's Supper is concerned Melanchthon's report concerning
the superficial character of the doctrinal discussions is little if at
all exaggerated. He himself was one of those timid souls of whom he
spoke having from the beginning done all he could not only to bar
Luther's articles from the deliberations but also to prevent any
penetrating discussion of the Lord's Supper. Assent to the Wittenberg
Concord was considered satisfactory although all felt, and believed to
know, that some of the Southern Germans did not agree with the loyal
Lutherans in this matter. Of the attending theologians who were under
suspicion Bucer, Blaurer, Fagius, Wolfart, Fontanus, and Melander, only
the first two took part in the deliberations. (292.) March 1 Melanchthon
wrote to Camerarius: "Bucer spoke openly and clearly of the Mystery [the
Lord's Supper] affirming the presence of Christ. He satisfied all of our
party also those who are more severe. Blaurer, however, employed such
general expressions as, that Christ was present. Afterward he added
several more ambiguous expressions. Osiander pressed him somewhat hotly;
but since we did not desire to arouse any very vehement quarrel, I
terminated the discussion. Thus we separated, so that agreement was
restored among all others, while he [Blaurer] did not seem to
contradict. I know that this is weak but nothing else could be done at
this time, especially since Luther was absent, being tortured by very
severe gravel pains." (292.)

This agrees with the report Veit Dietrich made to Foerster, May 16,
stating: At the first meeting of the committee of the theologians they
completed the first nine articles of the Augustana. Blaurer, Wolfart,
and some others of those who were doctrinally under suspicion (_nobis
suspecti de doctrina_) were present. "However, when the article of the
Lord's Supper was to be discussed on the following day, the meeting was
prevented, I do not know by whom. It is certain that the princes, too,
desired another meeting, because they feared a rupture of the [Smalcald]
Alliance, if any doctrinal difference should become evident, which,
however, would occur if the matter were thoroughly discussed. Since the
disputation was prevented, we were commissioned to write on the Power of
the Pope in order to have something to do. Report had it that Blaurer
did not approve the Concord of Wittenberg; certainly, he asked Philip
for expressions of the Fathers (which are now in my possession), in
order to be better furnished with arguments. This prompted Pomeranus and
Amsdorf again to convene the theologians against Melanchthon's will.
Then the Lord's Supper was discussed. Bucer indeed satisfied all.
Blaurer, however, while speaking vaguely of the other matters,
nevertheless publicly attacked the statement that the ungodly do not
receive the body of Christ." Wolfart declared that he was present at the
Concord made at Wittenberg, and had approved it. It was unpleasant for
him [Dietrich] when hereupon Stephanus Agricola and then Wolfart
rehashed some old statements, _vetera quaedam dicta._ (370.)

74. Luther's Articles Subscribed.

As to the articles of Luther, Veit Dietrich reports that they were
privately circulated at Smalcald and read by all. They were also to be
read at the meeting of the theologians on February 18. (_C. R._ 3, 371.)
As a matter of fact, however, neither a public reading nor a real
discussion, nor an official adoption resulted. The Strassburg delegates
report: "Doctor Martin Luther has also drawn up some special articles,
which he purposed to send to the council on his own accord, copies of
which we have designated with W." The Strassburgers, then, were in
position to send home a copy of these articles. Furthermore Osiander
relates in a letter dated February 17: "Besides this, Luther has also
written articles at Wittenberg, short indeed, but splendid and keen
(_illustres et argutos_), in which everything is summed up in German
wherefrom we cannot recede in the council without committing sacrilege.
To-morrow we shall read them publicly in our meeting, in order that any
one who wishes to add anything to them may present this in the presence
of all. They will also, as I hope, deliberate on the [Wittenberg]
Concord in the matter concerning the Lord's Supper. I regard Bucer as
being sincerely one of us; Blaurer, however, by no means. For Philip
tells of his having remarked that he was not able to agree with us."
(268.) On February 18, however, Luther was taken ill and an official,
public reading and discussion of his articles did not take place on this
day nor, as already stated, at a later date.

Luther's articles, however, were nevertheless adopted at Smalcald,
though not by the South Germans. When all other business had been
transacted, they were presented for voluntary subscription. Bugenhagen
had called the theologians together for this purpose. He proposed that
now all those who wished (_qui velint_) should sign the articles Luther
had brought with him. Hereupon Bucer declared that he had no commission
to do this. However, in order to obliterate the impression that he
declined to subscribe because of doctrinal differences, he added that he
knew nothing in Luther's articles which might be criticized. Blaurer of
Constance, Melander of Hesse, and Wolfart of Augsburg followed his
example in declaring that they had no commission to sign the articles.
In order not to endanger the Smalcald League, Bugenhagen, as appears
from his proposition refrained from urging any one to sign. This was
also the position of the other theologians.

Veit Dietrich reports: "Bucer was the first to say that he had no orders
to sign. He added, however, that he knew of nothing in these articles
that could be criticized, but that his magistrates had reasons for
instructing him not to sign them. Afterwards Blaurer, Dionysius
Melander, and your Boniface [Wolfart of Augsburg] said the same [that
they had not been authorized by their superiors to sign]. The thought
came to me immediately why Bucer, who taught correctly, should have been
the first to refuse his signature, since it was certain that the others,
Blaurer and if you will, also your man, would not subscribe because they
did not approve of the dogma of the Lord's Supper. This would have led
to an open doctrinal schism, which the Elector, Ernst of Lueneburg, and
the Counts of Anhalt would, under no circumstances, have tolerated among
the confederates. But, since Bucer did not subscribe, it was not
necessary to dispute about the doctrine. When we saw this, I was also
pleased that Luther's articles received no attention [in the official
subscription], and that all subscribed merely to the Augustana and the
Concord. And there was no one who refused to do this." (371.)

While thus Bucer, Fagius, Wolfart, Blaurer, and Fontanus refused to
affix their signatures, the attending loyal Lutheran theologians
endorsed Luther's articles all the more enthusiastically. And while the
signatures affixed to the Augustana and the Apology total 32, including
the suspected theologians, 44 names appear under Luther's articles.
Among these is found also the abnormal subscription of Melander of
Hesse: "I subscribe to the Confession, the Apology, and the Concord in
the matter of the Eucharist," which is probably to be interpreted as a
limitation of Luther's Article of the Lord's Supper.

Although, therefore, the subscription of the Smalcald Articles lacked
the official character and was not by order of the Smalcald League as
such, it nevertheless is in keeping with the actual facts when the
Formula of Concord refers to Luther's Articles as "subscribed at that
time [1537] by the chief theologians." (777, 4; 853, 7.) All true
Lutheran pastors assembled at Smalcald recognized in Luther's articles
their own, spontaneous confession against the Papists as well as against
the Zwinglians and other enthusiasts.

75. Endorsed by Princes and Estates.

The Thorough Declaration of the Formula of Concord makes the further
statement that the Smalcald Articles were to be delivered in the Council
at Mantua "in the name of the Estates, Electors, and Princes." (853, 7.)
Evidently this is based on Luther's Preface to the Smalcald Articles
written 1538, in which he says concerning his Articles: "They have also
been accepted and unanimously confessed by our side, and it has been
resolved that, in case the Pope with his adherents should ever be so
bold as seriously and in good faith, without lying and cheating to hold
a truly free Christian Council (as, indeed, he would be in duty bound to
do), they be publicly delivered in order to set forth the Confession of
our Faith." (455.)

Kolde and others surmise that Luther wrote as he did because, owing to
his illness, he was not acquainted with the true situation at Smalcald.
Tschackert, too, takes it for granted that Luther, not being
sufficiently informed, was under the erroneous impression that the
princes and estates as well as the theologians had adopted, and
subscribed to, his articles. (300. 302.) Nor has a better theory of
solving the difficulty hitherto been advanced. Yet it appears very
improbable. If adopted, one must assume that Luther's attention was
never drawn to this error of his. For Luther does not merely permit his
assertion to stand in the following editions of the Smalcald Articles,
but repeats it elsewhere as well. In an opinion written 1541 he writes:
"In the second place, I leave the matter as it is found in the articles
adopted at Smalcald; I shall not be able to improve on them; nor do I
know how to yield anything further." (St. L. 17, 666.)

The Elector, too, shared Luther's opinion. In a letter of October 27,
1543, he urged him to publish in Latin and German (octavo), under the
title, Booklet of the Smalcald Agreement--_Buechlein der geschehenen
Schmalkaldischen Vergleichung,_ the "Articles of Agreement,
Vergleichungsartikel," on which he and Melanchthon had come to an
agreement in 1537, at Smalcald, with the other allied estates, scholars,
and theologians. (St. L. 21b, 2913.) October 17, 1552, immediately after
he had obtained his liberty, the Elector made a similar statement. (_C.
R._ 7, 1109.) Nor did Spalatin possess a knowledge in this matter
differing from that of Luther and the Elector. He, too, believed that
not only the theologians, but the princes and estates as well, with the
exception of Hesse, Wuerttemberg, Strassburg, etc., had subscribed to
Luther's articles. (Kolde, 51.)

Evidently, then, Luther's statement was generally regarded as being
substantially and approximately correct and for all practical purposes
in keeping, if not with the exact letter and form at least with the real
spirit of what transpired at Smalcald and before as well as after this
convention. It was not a mere delusion of Luther's, but was generally
regarded as agreeing with the facts, that at Smalcald his articles were
not only subscribed by the theologians, but adopted also by the Lutheran
princes and estates, though, in deference to the Landgrave and the South
German cities, not officially and by the Smalcald League as such.

76. Symbolical Authority of Smalcald Articles.

The importance attached to the Smalcald Articles over against the
Reformed and Crypto-Calvinists appears from a statement made by the
Elector of Saxony, October 17, 1552 (shortly after his deliverance from
captivity), in which he maintained that the Lutheran Church could have
been spared her internal dissensions if every one had faithfully abided
by the articles of Luther. He told the Wittenberg theologians that
during his captivity he had heard of the dissensions and continued
controversies, "which caused us no little grief. And we have therefore
often desired with all our heart that in the churches of our former
lands and those of others no change, prompted by human wisdom, had been
undertaken nor permitted in the matters [doctrines] as they were held
during the life of the blessed Doctor Martin Luther and during our rule,
and confirmed at Smalcald, in the year 1537, by all pastors and
preachers of the estates of the Augsburg Confession then assembled at
that place. For if this had been done, no doubt, the divisions and
errors prevailing among the teachers of said Confession, together with
the grievous and harmful offenses which resulted therefrom, would, with
the help of God, have been avoided." (_C. R._ 7, 1109.)

In the Prolegomena to his edition of the Lutheran Confessions, Hase
remarks concerning the symbolical authority of Luther's articles: "The
formula of faith, drawn up by such a man, and adorned with such names,
immediately enjoyed the greatest authority. _Fidei formula a tali viro
profecta talibusque nominibus ornata maxima statim auctoritate
floruit._" To rank among the symbolical books, Luther's articles
required a special resolution on the part of the princes and estates as
little as did his two catechisms; contents and the Reformer's name were
quite sufficient. Voluntarily the articles were subscribed at Smalcald.
On their own merits they won their place of honor in our Church. In the
situation then obtaining, they voiced the Lutheran position in a manner
so correct and consistent that every loyal Lutheran spontaneously gave
and declared his assent. In keeping with the changed historical context
of the times, they offered a correct explanation of the Augsburg
Confession, adding thereto a declaration concerning the Papacy, the
absence of which had become increasingly painful. They struck the
timely, logical, Lutheran note also over against the Zwinglian and
Bucerian [Reformed and Unionistic] tendencies. Luther's articles offered
quarters neither for disguised Papists nor for masked Calvinists. In
brief they gave such a clear expression to genuine Lutheranism that
false spirits could not remain in their company. It was the recognition
of these facts which immediately elicited the joyful acclaim of all true
Lutherans. To them it was a recommendation of Luther's articles when
Bucer, Blaurer, and others, though having subscribed the Augsburg
Confession, refused to sign them. Loyal Lutherans everywhere felt that
the Smalcald Articles presented an up-to-date touchstone of the pure
Lutheran truth, and that, in taking their stand on them, their feet were
planted, over against the aberrations of the Romanists as well as the
Zwinglians, on ground immovable.

In the course of time, the esteem in which Luther's articles were held,
rose higher and higher. Especially during and after the controversies on
the Interim, as well as in the subsequent controversies with the
Crypto-Calvinists, the Lutherans became more and more convinced that the
Smalcald Articles and not the Variata, contained the correct exposition
of the Augsburg Confession. At the Diet of Regensburg, in 1541, the
Elector, by his delegates, sent word to Melanchthon "to stand by the
Confession and the Smalcald Agreement [Smalcald Articles] in word and in
sense." The delegates answered that Philip would not yield anything
"which was opposed to the Confession and the Smalcald Agreement," as he
had declared that "he would die rather than yield anything against his
conscience." (_C. R._ 4, 292.) In an opinion of 1544 also the
theologians of Hesse, who at Smalcald had helped to sidetrack Luther's
articles put them on a par with the Augustana. At Naumburg in 1561,
where Elector Frederick of the Palatinate and the Crypto-Calvinists
endeavored to undermine the authority of Luther, Duke John Frederick of
Saxony declared that he would abide by the original Augustana and its
"true declaration and norm," the Smalcald Articles.

Faithful Lutherans everywhere received the Smalcald Articles into their
_corpora doctrinae._ In 1567 the Convention of Coswig declared them to
be "the norm by which controversies are to be decided, _norma decidendi
controversias_." Similarly, the Synod of Moelln, 1559. In 1560 the
ministerium of Luebeck and the Senate of Hamburg confessionally accepted
the Articles. Likewise, the Convention of Lueneburg in 1561, and the
theologians of Schleswig-Holstein in 1570. The Thorough Declaration
could truthfully say that the Smalcald Articles had been embodied in the
confessional writings of the Lutheran Church "for the reason that these
have always and everywhere been regarded as the common, unanimously
accepted meaning of our churches and, moreover, have been subscribed at
that time by the chief and most enlightened theologians, and have held
sway in all evangelical churches and schools." (855, 11.)

77. Editions of Smalcald Articles.

In 1538 Luther published his Articles, which _editio princeps_ was
followed by numerous other editions, two of them in the same year. In
the copy of the Articles which Spalatin took at Wittenberg the title
reads: "Opinion concerning the Faith, and What We Must Adhere to
Ultimately at the Future Council. _Bedenken des Glaubens halben, und
worauf im kuenftigen Konzil endlich zu beharren sei._" The _editio
princeps_ bears the title: "Articles which were to be Delivered on
Behalf of Our Party at the Council of Mantua, or Where Else It Would
Meet. _Artikel, so da haetten aufs Konzilium zu Mantua, oder wo es
wuerde sein, ueberantwortet werden von unsers Teils wegen._" These
titles designate the purpose for which the articles were framed by order
of the Elector. In the edition of 1553, published by John Stolz and John
Aurifaber, Luther's Articles are designated as "prepared for the Diet of
Smalcald in the year 1537, _gestellt auf den Tag zu Schmalkalden Anno
1537._" Says Carpzov: "They are commonly called Smalcald Articles after
the place where they were composed [an error already found in Brenz's
letter of February 23, 1537, appended to the subscriptions of the "Tract
on the Power and Primacy of the Pope" (529). See also Formula of Concord
777, 4; 853, 7], as well as solemnly approved and subscribed since the
articles were composed by Luther and approved by the Protestants at
Smalcald a town in the borders of Saxony and Ducal Hesse, and selected
for the convention of the Protestants for the reason that the
individuals who had been called thither might have an easy and safe
approach." (_Isagoge,_ 769.)

The text of the Smalcald Articles, as published by Luther, omits the
following motto found in the original: "This is sufficient doctrine for
eternal life. As to the political and economic affairs, there are enough
laws to trouble us, so that there is no need of inventing further
troubles much more burdensome. Sufficient unto the day is the evil
thereof. _His satis est doctrinae pro vita aeterna. Ceterum in politia
et oeconomia satis est legum, quibus vexamur, ut non sit opus praeter
has molestias fingere alias quam miserrimas [necessarias]. Sufficit diei
malitia sua._" (Luther, Weimar 50, 192. St. L. 16 1918.) Apart from all
kinds of minor corrections, Luther added to the text a Preface (written
1538) and several additions, some of them quite long, which, however,
did not change the sense. Among these are sec. 5, secs. 13 to 15, and
secs. 25-28 of the article concerning the Mass; secs. 42-45 concerning
the False Repentance of the Papists; secs. 3-13 about Enthusiasm in the
article concerning Confession. The editions of 1543 and 1545 contained
further emendations. The German text of Luther's first edition of 1538
was received into the Book of Concord, "as they were first framed and
printed." (853, 7.) The first Latin translation by Peter Generanus
appeared in 1541, with a Preface by Veit Amerbach (later on Catholic
Professor of Philosophy at Ingolstadt). In 1542 it was succeeded by an
emended edition. In the following year the Elector desired a
Latin-German edition in octavo. The Latin translation found in the Book
of Concord of 1580 was furnished by Selneccer; this was revised for the
official Latin Concordia of 1584.

78. Tract on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.

Melanchthon's "Tract Concerning the Power and Primacy of the Pope,
_Tractatus de Potestate et Primatu Papae,_" presents essentially the
same thoughts Luther had already discussed in his article "Of the
Papacy." Melanchthon here abandons the idea of a papal supremacy _iure
humano,_ which he had advocated at Augsburg 1530 and expressed in his
subscription to Luther's articles, and moves entirely in the wake of
Luther and in the trend of the Reformer's thoughts. The Tract was
written not so much from his own conviction as from that of Luther and
in accommodation to the antipapal sentiment which, to his grief, became
increasingly dominant at Smalcald. (_C. R._ 3, 270. 292f. 297.) In a
letter to Jonas, February 23, he remarks, indicating his accommodation
to the public opinion prevailing at Smalcald: "I have written this
[Tract] somewhat sharper than I am wont to do." (271. 292.) Melanchthon
always trimmed his sails according to the wind; and at Smalcald a
decidedly antipapal gale was blowing. He complains that he found no one
there who assented to his opinion that the papal invitation to a council
ought not be declined. (293.) It is also possible that he heard of the
Elector's criticism of his qualified subscription to Luther's articles.
At all events, the Tract amounts to a retraction of his stricture on
Luther's view of the Papacy. In every respect, Smalcald spelled a defeat
for Melanchthon. His policy toward the South Germans was actually
repudiated by the numerous and enthusiastic subscriptions to Luther's
articles, foreshadowing, as it were, the final historical outcome, when
Philippism was definitely defeated in the Formula of Concord. And his
own Tract gave the _coup de grace_ to his mediating policy with regard
to the Romanists. For here Melanchthon, in the manner of Luther, opposes
and denounces the Pope as the Antichrist, the protector of ungodly
doctrine and customs, and the persecutor of the true confessors of
Christ, from whom one must separate. The second part of the Tract,
"Concerning the Power and the Jurisdiction of the Bishops, _De Potestate
et Iurisdictione Episcoporum,_" strikes an equally decided note.

The Tract, which was already completed by February 17, received the
approval of the estates, and, together with the Augustana and the
Apology, was signed by the theologians upon order of the princes. (_C.
R._ 3, 286.) Koellner writes: "Immediately at the convention Veit
Dietrich translated this writing [the Tract] into German, and (as
appears from the fact that the Weimar theologians in 1553 published the
document from the archives with the subscriptions) this German
translation was, at the convention, presented to, and approved by, the
estates as the official text, and subscribed by the theologians." (464.)
Brenz's letter appended to the subscriptions shows that the signing did
not take place till after February 23, perhaps the 25th of February. For
on the 26th Melanchthon and Spalatin refer to it as finished.

With reference to the Concord of 1536, let it be stated here that,
although mentioned with approval by the theologians and also included in
Brenz's and Melander's subscriptions to the Smalcald Articles, the
princes and estates nevertheless passed no resolution requiring its
subscription. Melanchthon writes that the princes had expressly declared
that they would abide by the Wittenberg Concord. (_C. R._ 3, 292.) Veit
Dietrich's remark to Foerster, May 16, 1537, that only the Augustana and
the Concord were signed at Smalcald, is probably due to a mistake in
writing. (372.)

79. Authorship of Tract.

The Tract first appeared in print in 1540. A German translation,
published 1541, designates it as "drawn up by Mr. Philip Melanchthon and
done into German by Veit Dietrich." (_C. R._ 23 722.) In the edition of
the Smalcald Articles by Stolz and Aurifaber, 1553, the Tract is
appended with the caption: "Concerning the Power and Supremacy of the
Pope, Composed by the Scholars. Smalcald, 1537." In the Jena edition of
Luther's Works the Smalcald Articles are likewise followed by the Tract
with the title: "Concerning the Power and Supremacy of the Pope,
Composed by the Scholars in the Year 37 at Smalcald and Printed in the
Year 38." (6, 523.) This superscription gave rise to the opinion that
the German was the original text. At any rate, such seems to have been
the belief of Selneccer, since he incorporated a Latin translation,
based on the German text, into the Latin edition of his Book of Concord,
privately published 1580. Apart from other errors this Latin version
contained also the offensive misprint referred to in our article on the
Book of Concord. In the official edition of 1584 it was supplanted by
the original text of Melanchthon. The subtitle, however, remained:
"Tractatus per Theologos Smalcaldicos Congregatos Conscriptus."

To-day it is generally assumed that by 1553 it was universally forgotten
both that Melanchthon was the author of the Tract, and that it was
originally composed in Latin. However, it remains a mystery how this
should have been possible--only twelve years after Dietrich had published
the Tract under a title which clearly designates Melanchthon as its
author, and states that the German text is a translation. The evidence
for Melanchthon's authorship which thus became necessary was furnished
by J. C. Bertram in 1770. However, before him Chytraeus and Seckendorf,
in 1564, had expressly vindicated Melanchthon's authorship. Be it
mentioned as a curiosity that the Papist Lud. Jac. a St. Carolo
mentioned a certain "Articulus Alsmalcaldicus, Germanus, Lutheranus" as
the author of the Tract. In the Formula of Concord and in the Preface to
the Book of Concord the Tract is not enumerated as a separate
confessional writing, but is treated as an appendix to the Smalcald

80. A Threefold Criticism.

On the basis of the facts stated in the preceding paragraphs, Kolde,
followed by others believes himself justified in offering a threefold
criticism. In the first place, he opines that Luther's Articles are
"very improperly called 'Smalcald Articles.'" However, even if Luther's
Articles were not officially adopted by the Smalcald League as such,
they were nevertheless, written for the Convention of Smalcald, and were
there signed by the assembled Lutheran theologians and preachers and
privately adopted also by most of the princes and estates. For Luther's
Articles then, there is and can be no title more appropriate than
"Smalcald Articles." Tschackert remarks: "Almost all [all, with the
exception of the suspected theologians] subscribed and thereby they
became weighty and important for the Evangelical churches of Germany;
and hence it certainly is not inappropriate to call them 'Smalcald
Articles,' even though they were written at Wittenberg and were not
publicly deliberated upon at Smalcald." (302.)

"It is entirely unhistorical," Kolde continues in his strictures, "to
designate Melanchthon's Tract, which has no connection with Luther's
Articles, as an 'Appendix' to them when in fact it was accepted as an
appendix of the Augustana and Apology." (50.) It is a mistake,
therefore, says Kolde, that the Tract is not separately mentioned in the
Book of Concord, nor counted as a separate confessional writing. (53.)
Likewise Tschackert: "On the other hand, it is a mistake to treat
Melanchthon's Tract as an appendix to the Smalcald Articles, as is done
in the Book of Concord. The signatures of the estates have rather given
it an independent authority in the Church." (302.) However, there is
much more of a connection between Luther's Articles and the Tract than
Kolde and Tschackert seem to be aware of. Luther's Articles as well as
the Tract were prepared for the Convention at Smalcald. Both were there
signed by practically the same Lutheran theologians. The fact that in
the case of the Smalcald Articles this was done voluntarily rather
enhances and does not in the least diminish, their importance. Both
also, from the very beginning, were equally regarded as Lutheran
confessional writings. The Tract, furthermore, follows Luther's
Articles also in substance, as it is but an acknowledgment and
additional exposition of his article "Of the Papacy." To be sure, the
Tract must not be viewed as an appendix to Luther's Articles, which,
indeed, were in no need of such an appendix. Moreover, both the Articles
and the Tract may be regarded as appendices to the Augsburg Confession
and the Apology. Accordingly, there is no reason whatever why, in the
Book of Concord, the Tract should not follow Luther's Articles or be
regarded as closely connected with it, and naturally belonging to it.
Koellner is right when he declares it to be "very appropriate" that the
Tract is connected and grouped with the Smalcald Articles. (469.)

Finally, Kolde designates the words in the title "composed,
_conscriptus,_ by the scholars" as false in every respect. Likewise
Tschackert. (303.) The criticism is justified inasmuch as the expression
"composed, _zusammengezogen, conscriptus,_ by the scholars" cannot very
well be harmonized with the fact that Melanchthon wrote the Tract. But
even this superscription is inappropriate, at least not in the degree
assumed by Kolde and Tschackert. For the fact is that the princes and
estates did not order Melanchthon, but the theologians, to write the
treatise concerning the Papacy, and that the Tract was presented in
their name. Koellner writes: "It is certainly a splendid testimony for
the noble sentiments of those heroes of the faith that the Elector
should know of, and partly disapprove, Melanchthon's milder views, and
still entrust him with the composition of this very important document
[the Tract], and, on the other hand, equally so, that Melanchthon so
splendidly fulfilled the consideration which he owed to the views and
the interests of the party without infringing upon his own conviction."
"Seckendorf also," Koellner adds "justly admires this unusual
phenomenon." (471.) However, Koellner offers no evidence for the
supposition that the Elector charged Melanchthon in particular with the
composition of the Tract. According to the report of the Strassburg
delegates, the princes declared that "the scholars" should peruse the
Confession and enlarge on the Papacy. The report continues: "The
scholars received orders ... to enlarge somewhat on the Papacy which
_they_ did, and thereupon transmitted _their_ criticism to the Elector
and the princes." (Kolde, _Anal.,_ 297.) This is corroborated by
Melanchthon himself, who wrote to Camerarius, March 1, 1537: "We
received orders (_iussi sumus_) to write something on the Primacy of
Peter or the Roman Pontiff." (_C. R._ 3, 292.) February 17 Osiander
reported: "The first business imposed on _us_ by the princes was ...
diligently to explain the Primacy which was omitted from the Confession
because it was regarded as odious. The latter of these duties _we_ have
to-day completed, so that _we_ shall immediately deliver a copy to the
princes." (3, 267.) These statements might even warrant the conclusion
that the theologians also participated, more or less in the drawing up
of the Tract, for which however, further evidence is wanting. Nor does
it appear how this view could be harmonized with Veit Dietrich's
assertion in his letter to Foerster, May 16: "Orders were given to write
about the power of the Pope the primacy of Peter, and the ecclesiastical
jurisdiction. Philip alone performed this very well." (3, 370.) However,
entirely apart from the statement of Osiander, the mere fact that the
theologians were ordered to prepare the document, and that it was
delivered by and in the name of these theologians, sufficiently warrants
us to speak of the document as "The Tract of the Scholars at Smalcald"
with the same propriety that, for example, the opinion which Melanchthon
drew up on August 6, 1536, is entitled: "The First Proposal of the
Wittenberg Scholars concerning the Future Council." (_C. R._ 3, 119.)

VIII. Luther's Efforts at Restoring Catechetical Instruction.

81. Modern Researches Respecting Luther's Catechisms.

Besides G. v. Zezschwitz (_System der christlichkirchlichen Katechetik,_
3 volumes, 1862 to 1874) and numerous other contemporary and later
students, G. Buchwald, F. Cohrs, and O. Albrecht have, since the middle
of the past century, rendered no mean service by their researches
pertaining to Luther's Catechisms. Buchwald edited the three series of
sermons on the Five Chief Parts which Luther delivered in 1528, pointed
out their important bearing on his Catechisms, and shed new light on
their origin by discovering and exploiting the Stephan Roth
correspondence. He published the results of his labors in 1894 under the
title, "The Origin of the Two Catechisms of Luther and the Foundation of
the Large Catechism. _Die Entstehung der beiden Katechismen Luthers und
die Grundlage des Grossen Katechismus._" F. Cohrs enriched this
department of knowledge by his articles in the third edition of Herzog's
_Realenzyklopaedie,_ and especially by his five-volume work on _The
Evangelical Catechism; Attempts Prior to Luther's Enchiridion,_ in
_Monumenta Germaniae Paedagogica,_ 1900 to 1907. In 1905 O. Albrecht was
entrusted with the preparation of Luther's Catechisms for the Weimar
Critical Edition of Luther's Complete Works. He also contributed the
extensive historical sections of the first of the three parts of Vol.
30, where the Catechisms are treated.

This first part of 826 pages, which appeared in 1910, represents the
latest important research work on the origin of Luther's Catechisms. In
its preface R. Drescher says: "The writings of 1529 to 1530, in their
totality were a difficult mountain, and it gives us particular joy
finally to have surmounted it. And the most difficult and laborious part
of the way, at least in view of the comprehensive treatment it was to
receive, was the publication of the Large and the Small Catechism,
including the three series of Catechism Sermons. ... The harvest which
was garnered fills a large volume of our edition."

82. Meaning of the Word Catechism.

The term _catechismus_ (catechism), like its related terms, _catechesis,
catechizari, catechumeni,_ was common in the ancient Church. In his
_Glossarium,_ Du Cange defines it as "_institutio puerorum etiam recens
natorum, ante quam baptizentur_--the instruction of children, also those
recently born, before their baptism." The synonymous expression,
_catechesis,_ he describes as "_institutio primorum fidei Christianae
rudimentorum, de quibus kateceseis suas scripsit S. Cyrillus
Jerusolymitanus_--instruction in the first rudiments of the Christian
faith, about which St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote his catechizations." (2,
222f.) Also Luther was acquainted with this usage in the ancient Church.
He began his Catechism sermon of November 30, 1528, with the words:
"These parts which you heard me recite the old Fathers called catechism,
_i.e._, a sermon for children which children should know and all who
desire to be Christians." (Weimar 30, 1, 57.) At first Luther seems to
have employed the term but seldom; later on, however, especially after
1526, more frequently. Evidently he was bent on popularizing it. Between
the Preface and the Decalog of the first Wittenberg book edition of the
Small Catechism we find the title, "A Small Catechism or Christian
Training--_Ein kleiner Katechismus oder christliche Zucht._" No doubt,
Luther added the explanation "christliche Zucht" because the word
catechism had not yet become current among the people. May 18, 1528, he
began his sermon with the explanation: "_Catechismus dicitur instructio_
--Catechism is instruction"; likewise the sermon of September 14:
"Catechism, _i.e._, an instruction or Christian teaching," the sermon of
November 30: "Catechism, _i.e._, a sermon for children." In the Preface
to his Small Catechism he again explains the term as "Christian
doctrine." Thus Luther endeavored to familiarize the people with the
word catechism.

The meaning of this term, however, is not always the same. It may
designate the act of instructing, the subject-matter or the doctrine
imparted, a summary thereof, the text of the traditional chief parts, or
a book containing the catechismal doctrine, text, or text with
explanation. Luther used the word most frequently and preferably in the
sense of instruction. This appears from the definitions quoted in the
preceding paragraph, where catechism is defined as "sermon,"
"instruction," "Christian training," etc. "You have the catechism" (the
doctrine), says Luther, "in small and large books." Bugenhagen defines
thus: "Katechismus, dat is, christlike underrichtinge ut den teyn
gebaden Gades." In the Apology, Melanchthon employs the word catechism
as identical with _kathechesis puerorum,_ instruction of the young in
the Christian fundamentals. (324, 41.) "Accordingly," says O. Albrecht,
"catechism means elementary instruction in Christianity, conceived,
first, as the act; then, as the material for instruction; then, as the
contents of a book, and finally, as the book itself." This usage must be
borne in mind also where Luther speaks of his own Catechisms. "German
Catechism" means instruction in, or preaching on, the traditional chief
parts in the German language. And while "Enchiridion" signifies a book
of small compass, the title "Small Catechism" (as appears from the old
subtitle: "Ein kleiner Katechismus oder christliche Zucht") means
instruction in the chief parts, proceeding with compact brevity, and, at
the same time, these parts themselves together with the explanations
added. (W. 30, 1, 454. 539.) As the title of a book the word catechism
was first employed by Althamer in 1528, and by Brenz as the subtitle of
his "Questions" (_Fragestuecke_). A school-book written by John Colet in
the beginning of the sixteenth century bears the title "_Catechyzon,_
The Instructor." (456.)

Not every kind of Christian instruction, however, is called catechism by
Luther. Whenever he uses the word, he has in mind beginners, children,
and unlearned people. In his "German Order of Worship, _Deutsche
Messe,_" of 1526, he writes: "Catechism is an instruction whereby
heathen who desire to become Christians are taught and shown what they
must believe, do, not do, and know in Christianity, hence the name
catechumens was given to pupils who were accepted for such instruction
and who learned the Creed previous to their baptism." (19, 76.) In his
sermon of November 30, 1528: "The Catechism is a sermon for children,
which the children and all who desire to be Christians must know.
Whoever does not know it cannot be numbered among the Christians. For if
he does not know these things, it is evident that God and Christ mean
nothing to him." (30, 1, 57.) In his sermon of September 14: "This
[catechism] is preaching for children, or, the Bible of the laity, which
serves the plain people. Whoever, then, does not know these things, and
is unable to recite them and understand them, cannot be considered a
Christian. It is for this reason, too, that it bears the name catechism,
_i.e._, instruction and Christian teaching, since all Christians at the
very least should know this much. Afterward they ought to learn more of
the Scriptures. Hence, let all children govern themselves accordingly,
and see that they learn it." (27.) May 18 Luther began his sermon thus:
"The preaching of the Catechism was begun that it might serve as an
instruction for children and the unlearned. ... For every Christian must
necessarily know the Catechism. Whoever does not know it cannot be
numbered among the Christians." (2.) In the short Preface to the Large
Catechism: "This sermon is designed and undertaken that it might be an
instruction for children and the simpleminded. Hence, of old it was
called in Greek catechism, _i.e._, instruction for children, what every
Christian must needs know, so that he who does not know this could not
be numbered with the Christians nor be admitted to any Sacrament."
(CONC. TRIGL., 575, 1; 535, 11.)

83. Chief Parts of Catechism.

In Luther's opinion the elementary doctrines which form the subject-
matter of the Catechism are comprised in the three traditional parts:
Decalog, Creed, and Lord's Prayer. These he considered to be the gist of
the doctrine every one must learn if he would be regarded and treated as
a Christian. "Those who are unwilling to learn it," says Luther, "should
be told that they deny Christ and are no Christians; neither should they
be admitted to the Sacraments, accepted as sponsors at Baptism, nor
exercise any part of Christian liberty." (CONC. TRIGL. 535, 11.) Of
course, Luther considered these three parts only a minimum, which,
however, Christians who partake of the Lord's Supper should strive to
exceed, but still sufficient for children and plain people. (575, 5.)
Even in his later years, Luther speaks of the first three parts as the
Catechism proper.

However, probably in consequence of the controversy with the
Enthusiasts, which began in 1524, Luther soon added as supplements the
parts treating of Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Confession. In the
Large Catechism, where Baptism and the Lord's Supper appear as
appendices, Luther emphasizes the fact that the first three parts form
the kernel of the Catechism, but that instruction in Baptism and the
Lord's Supper must also be imparted. "These" (first three), says he,
"are the most necessary parts, which one should first learn to repeat
word for word. ... Now, when these three parts are apprehended, it
behooves a person also to know what to say concerning our Sacraments,
which Christ Himself instituted, Baptism and the holy body and blood of
Christ, namely, the text which Matthew and Mark record at the close of
their gospels, when Christ said farewell to His disciples and sent them
forth." (579, 20.) Luther regarded a correct knowledge of Baptism and
the Lord's Supper not only as useful, but as necessary. Beginning his
explanation of the Fourth Chief Part, he remarks: "We have now finished
the three chief parts of the common Christian doctrine. Besides these we
have yet to speak of our two Sacraments instituted by Christ, of which
also every Christian ought to have at least an ordinary, brief
instruction, because without them there can be no Christian; although,
alas! hitherto no instruction concerning them has been given." (733, 1.)
Thus Luther materially enlarged the Catechism. True, several prayer- and
confession-books, which appeared in the late Middle Ages, also treat of
the Sacraments. As for the people, however, it was considered sufficient
for laymen to be able to recite the names of the seven Roman sacraments.
Hence Luther, in the passage cited from the Large Catechism, declares
that in Popery practically nothing of Baptism and the Lord's Supper was
taught, certainly nothing worth while or wholesome.

84. Parts Inherited from Ancient Church.

The text of the first three chief parts, Luther considered a sacred
heirloom from the ancient Church. "For," says he in his Large Catechism,
"the holy Fathers or apostles have thus embraced in a summary the
doctrine life, wisdom, and art of Christians, of which they speak and
treat, and with which they are occupied." (579, 19.) Thus Luther, always
conservative, did not reject the traditional catechism, both bag and
baggage, but carefully distinguished between the good, which he
retained, and the worthless, which he discarded. In fact, he no more
dreamt of foisting a new doctrine or catechism on the Christian Church
than he ever thought of founding a new church. On the contrary, his sole
object was to restore the ancient Apostolic Church, and his catechetical
endeavors were bent on bringing to light once more, purifying,
explaining, and restoring, the old catechism of the fathers.

In his book _Wider Hans Worst,_ 1541, Luther says: "We have remained
faithful to the true and ancient Church; aye, we are the true and
ancient Church. You Papists, however, have apostatized from us, _i.e._,
from the ancient Church, and have set up a new church in opposition to
the ancient Church." In harmony with this view, Luther repeatedly and
emphatically asserted that in his Catechism he was merely protecting and
guarding an inheritance of the fathers, which he had preserved to the
Church by his correct explanation. In his _German Order of Worship_ we
read: "I know of no simpler nor better arrangement of this instruction
or doctrine than the arrangement which has existed since the beginning
of Christendom, _viz._, the three parts, Ten Commandments, Creed, and
the Lord's Prayer." (W. 19, 76.) In the ancient Church the original
parts for catechumens and sponsors were the _Symbolum_ and the
_Paternoster,_ the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer. To these the
Ten Commandments were added as a formal part of doctrine only since the
thirteenth century. (30, 1, 434.) The usual sequence of these parts was:
Lord's Prayer, Apostles' Creed, and, wherever it was not supplanted by
other matter, the Decalog. It was with deliberation then, that Luther
substituted his own objective, logical order.

In his _Short Form of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's
Prayer,_ 1520 Luther speaks as follows of the three traditional parts,
which God preserved to the Church in spite of the Papacy: "It did not
come to pass without the special providence of God, that, with reference
to the common Christian, who cannot read the Scriptures, it was
commanded to teach and to know the Ten Commandments, Creed, and Lord's
Prayer which three parts indeed thoroughly and completely embrace all
that is contained in the Scripture and may ever be preached, all also
that a Christian needs to know, and this, too, in a form so brief and
simple that no one can complain or offer the excuse that it is too much,
and that it is too hard for him to remember what is essential to his
salvation. For in order to be saved, a man must know three things:
First, he must know what he is to do and leave undone. Secondly, when he
realizes that by his own strength he is unable to do it and leave it
undone, he must know where he may take, seek, and find that which will
enable him to do and to refrain. Thirdly, he must know how he may seek
and obtain it. Even as a sick man needs first of all to know what
disease he has, what he may or may not do, or leave undone. Thereupon he
needs to know where the medicine is which will help him, that he may do
and leave undone like a healthy person. Fourthly, he must desire it,
seek and get it, or have it brought to him. In like manner the
commandments teach a man to know his disease, that he may see and
perceive what he can do and not do, leave and not leave, and thus
perceive that he is a sinner and a wicked man. Thereupon the Creed holds
before his eyes and teaches him where to find the medicine, the grace
which will help him become pious, that he may keep the commandments, and
shows him God and His mercy as revealed and offered in Christ. Fifthly,
the Lord's Prayer teaches him how to ask for, get and obtain it, namely,
by proper, humble, and comforting prayer. These three things comprise
the entire Scriptures." (W. 7, 204.) It was things such as the chief
parts of the Catechism that Luther had in mind when he wrote against the
fanatics, 1528: "We confess that even under the Papacy there are many
Christian blessings aye, all Christian blessings, and thence they have
come to us: the true Holy Scriptures, true Baptism, the true Sacrament
of the Altar, true keys for the forgiveness of sins, the true office of
the ministry, the true catechism, such as the Lord's Prayer, the Ten
Commandments the Articles of Faith, etc." (26, 147.) Luther's meaning
is, that in the midst of antichristendom and despite the Pope, the text
of the three chief parts was, among other things, preserved to the

85. Service Rendered Catechism by Luther.

The fact that the text of the three chief parts existed long before
Luther does not detract from the service which he rendered the
Catechism. Luther's work, moreover, consisted in this, 1. that he
brought about a general revival of the instruction in the Catechism of
the ancient Church; 2. that he completed it by adding the parts treating
of Baptism, Confession, and the Lord's Supper; 3. that he purged its
material from all manner of papal ballast; 4. that he eliminated the
Romish interpretation and adulteration in the interest of
work-righteousness; 5. that he refilled the ancient forms with their
genuine Evangelical and Scriptural meaning. Before Luther's time the
study of the Catechism had everywhere fallen into decay. There were but
few who knew its text, and when able to recite it, they did not
understand it. The soul of all Christian truths, the Gospel of God's
free pardon for Christ's sake, had departed. Concerning "the three parts
which have remained in Christendom from of old" Luther said that "little
of it had been taught and treated correctly." (CONC. TRIGL. 575, 6.)

In his _Warning to My Dear Germans,_ of 1531, he enlarges on the same
thought as follows; "Thanks to God, our Gospel has produced much and
great good. Formerly no one knew what was Gospel, what Christ, what
Baptism, what Confession, what Sacrament, what faith, what spirit, what
flesh, what good works, what the Ten Commandments, what the Lord's
Prayer, what praying, what suffering, what comfort, what civil
government, what matrimony, what parents, what children, what lords,
what servant, what mistress what maid, what devil, what angel, what
world, what life, what death, what sin, what right, what forgiveness of
sin, what God, what bishop, what pastor, what Church, what a Christian,
what the cross. Sum, we knew nothing of what a Christian should know.
Everything was obscured and suppressed by the papal asses. For in
Christian matters they are asses indeed, aye, great, coarse, unlearned
asses. For I also was one of them and know that in this I am speaking
the truth. And all pious hearts who were captive under the Pope, even as
I, will bear me out that they would fain have known one of these things,
yet were not able nor permitted to know it. We knew no better than that
the priests and monks alone were everything; on their works we based our
hope of salvation and not on Christ. Thanks to God, however, it has now
come to pass that man and woman, young and old, know the Catechism, and
how to believe, live, pray, suffer, and die; and that is indeed a
splendid instruction for consciences, teaching them how to be a
Christian and to know Christ." (W. 30, 3, 317.)

Thus Luther extols it as the great achievement of his day that now every
one knew the Catechism, whereas formerly Christian doctrine was unknown
or at least not understood aright. And this achievement is preeminently
a service which Luther rendered. He revived once more the ancient
catechetical parts of doctrine, placed them in the proper Biblical
light, permeated them with the Evangelical spirit, and explained them in
conformity with the understanding of the Gospel which he had gained
anew, stressing especially the _finis historiae_ (the divine purpose of
the historical facts of Christianity, as recorded in the Second
Article), the forgiveness of sins not by works of our own, but by grace,
for Christ's sake.

86. Catechetical Instruction before Luther.

In the Middle Ages the Lord's Prayer and the Creed were called the chief
parts for sponsors (_Patenhauptstuecke_), since the canons required
sponsors to know them, and at Baptism they were obligated to teach these
parts to their godchildren. The children, then, were to learn the Creed
and the Lord's Prayer from their parents and sponsors. Since the
Carolingian Epoch these regulations of the Church were often repeated,
as, for example, in the _Exhortation to the Christian Laity_ of the
ninth century. From the same century dates the regulation that an
explanation of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer should be found in every
parish, self-evidently to facilitate preaching and the examination in
confession. In confession, which, according to the Lateran Council,
1215, everybody was required to make at least once a year, the priests
were to inquire also regarding this instruction and have the chief parts
recited. Since the middle of the thirteenth century the Creed, the
Lord's Prayer, together with the Benedicite, Gratias, Ave Maria, Psalms,
and other matter, were taught also in the Latin schools, where probably
Luther, too, learned them. In the _Instruction for Visitors,_
Melanchthon still mentions "der Kinder Handbuechlein, darin das
Alphabet, Vaterunser, Glaub' und andere Gebet' innen stehen--Manual for
Children, containing the alphabet, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and
other prayers," as the first schoolbook. (W. 26, 237.) After the
invention of printing, chart-impressions with pictures illustrating the
Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments came into the
possession also of some laymen. The poorer classes, however, had to
content themselves with the charts in the churches, which especially
Nicolaus of Cusa endeavored to introduce everywhere. (Herzog's
_Realenzyklopaedie_ 10, 138.) They were followed by confessional
booklets, prayer-booklets, and also by voluminous books of devotion.
Apart from other trash, these contained confessional and communion
prayers instructions on Repentance, Confession, and the Sacrament of
the Altar; above all, however, a mirror of sins, intended as a guide for
self-examination, on the basis of various lists of sins and catalogs of
virtues, which supplanting the Decalog were to be memorized.
Self-evidently, all this was not intended as a schoolmaster to bring
them to Christ and to faith in the free grace of God, but merely to
serve the interest of the Romish penances, satisfactions, and
work-righteousness. Says Luther in the Smalcald Articles: "Here, too,
there was no faith nor Christ, and the virtue of the absolution was not
declared to him, but upon his enumeration of sins and his self-abasement
depended his consolation. What torture, rascality, and idolatry such
confession has produced is more than can be related." (485, 20.) The
chief parts of Christian doctrine but little taught and nowhere
correctly taught,--such was the chief hurt of the Church under the

In the course of time, however, even this deficient and false
instruction gradually fell into decay. The influence of the Latin
schools was not very far-reaching, their number being very small in
proportion to the young. Public schools for the people did not exist in
the Middle Ages. As a matter of fact not a single synod concerned itself
specifically with the instruction of the young. (_H. R._ 10, 137.) At
home, parents and sponsors became increasingly indifferent and
incompetent for teaching. True, the reformers of the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries did attempt to elevate the instruction also in the
Catechism. Geiler's sermons on the Lord's Prayer were published. Gerson
admonished: "The reformation of the Church must begin with the young,"
and published sermons on the Decalog as models for the use of the
clergy. John Wolf also urged that the young be instructed, and
endeavored to substitute the Decalog for the prevalent catalogs of sins.
The Humanists John Wimpheling, Erasmus, and John Colet (who wrote the
_Catechyzon,_ which Erasmus rendered into Latin hexameters) urged the
same thing. Peter Tritonius Athesinus wrote a similar book of
instruction for the Latin schools. However, all of these attempts proved
ineffectual, and even if successful, they would have accomplished little
for truly Christian instruction, such as Luther advocated, since the
real essence of Christianity, the doctrine of justification, was unknown
to these reformers.

Thus in the course of time the people, and especially the young, grew
more and more deficient in the knowledge of even the simplest Christian
truths and facts. And bishops and priests, unconcerned about the ancient
canons, stolidly looked on while Christendom was sinking deeper and
deeper into the quagmire of total religious ignorance and indifference.
Without fearing contradiction, Melanchthon declared in his Apology:
"Among the adversaries there is no catechization of the children
whatever, concerning which even the canons give commands. ... Among the
adversaries, in many regions [as in Italy and Spain], during the entire
year no sermons are delivered, except in Lent." (325, 41.)

87. Medieval Books of Prayer and Instruction.

Concerning the aforementioned Catholic books of prayer and edification
which, during the Middle Ages, served the people as catechisms, Luther,
in his Prayer-Booklet of 1522 (which was intended to supplant the Romish
prayer-books), writes as follows: "Among many other harmful doctrines
and booklets which have seduced and deceived Christians and given rise
to countless superstitions, I do not consider as the least the
prayer-booklets, by which so much distress of confessing and enumerating
sins, such unchristian folly in the prayers to God and His saints was
inculcated upon the unlearned, and which, nevertheless, were highly
puffed with indulgences and red titles, and, in addition, bore precious
names, one being called _Hortulus Animae,_ the other _Paradisus Animae,_
and so forth. They are in sore need of a thorough and sound reformation,
or to be eradicated entirely, a sentence which I also pass on the
Passional or Legend books, to which also a great deal has been added by
the devil." (W. 10, 1, 375.)

The _Hortulus Animae,_ which is mentioned even before 1500, was widely
circulated at the beginning of the sixteenth century. It embraced all
forms of edifying literature. Sebastian Brandt and Jacob Wimpheling
helped to compile it. The _Paradisus Animae_ had the same contents, but
was probably spread in Latin only. The _Hortulus Animae_ contains very
complete rosters of sins and catalogs of virtues for "confessing and
enumerating sins." Among the virtues are listed the bodily works of
mercy (Matt. 25, 35) and the seven spiritual works of mercy: to instruct
the ignorant, give counsel to the doubtful, comfort the afflicted,
admonish sinners, pardon adversaries suffer wrong, and forgive the
enemies. Among the virtues were counted the seven gifts of the Holy
Ghost: wisdom, understanding, ability, kindness, counsel, strength, and
fear. Furthermore the three divine virtues: faith, hope and charity. The
four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. The
eight beatitudes according to Matt. 5, 3ff. The twelve counsels:
poverty, obedience, chastity, love of enemies, meekness, abundant mercy,
simplicity of words, not too much care for temporal things, correct
purpose and simplicity of deeds, harmony of doctrine and works, fleeing
the cause of sin, brotherly admonition. Finally also the seven
sacraments. The list of sins contains the nine foreign sins, the six
sins against the Holy Ghost, the four sins that cry to God for
vengeance, the five senses the Ten Commandments, and the seven mortal
sins: pride, covetousness, unchastity, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.
Each of these mortal sins is again analyzed extensively. The Weimar
edition of Luther's Works remarks: "If these catalogs were employed for
self-examination, confusion, endless torment, or complete
externalization of the consciousness of sin was bound to result. We can
therefore understand why the Reformer inveighs against this 'enumerating
of sins.'" (10, 2, 336.)

The _Hortulus Animae_ also shows how Luther was obliged to purge the
Catechism from all manner of "unchristian follies," as he calls them.
For the entire book is pervaded by idolatrous adoration of the saints.
An acrostic prayer to Mary addresses her as _mediatrix, auxiliatrix,
reparatrix, illuminatrix, advocatrix._ In English the prayer would read
as follows: "O Mary, thou mediator between God and men, make of thyself
the medium between the righteous God and me, a poor sinner! O Mary, thou
helper in all anguish and need, come to my assistance in all
sufferrings, and help me resist and strive against the evil spirits and
overcome all my temptations and afflictions. O Mary, thou restorer of
lost grace to all men, restore unto me my lost time, my sinful and
wasted life! O Mary, thou illuminator, who didst give birth to the
eternal Light of the whole world, illumine my blindness and ignorance,
lest I, poor sinner that I am, enter the darkness of eternal death. O
Mary, thou advocate of all miserable men, be thou my advocate at my last
end before the stern judgment of God, and obtain for me the grace and
the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ! Amen." Another prayer calls Mary
the "mighty queen of heaven, the holy empress of the angels, the one who
stays divine wrath." A prayer to the eleven thousand virgins reads as
follows: "O ye, adorned with chastity, crowned with humility, clad with
patience, covered with the blossoms of virtue, well polished with
moderation--O ye precious pearls and chosen virgin maids, help us in the
hour of death!"

With this idolatry and saint-worship silly superstition was combined. In
order to be efficacious, a certain prayer prescribed in the _Hortulus_
must be spoken not only with "true contrition and pure confession," but
also "before a figure which had appeared to St. Gregory." Whoever offers
a certain prayer "before the image of Our Lady in the Sun" "will not
depart this life unshriven, and thirty days before his death will see
the very adorable Virgin Mary prepared to help him." Another prayer is
good "for pestilence" when spoken "before the image of St. Ann;" another
prayer to St. Margaret profits "every woman in travail;" still another
preserves him who says it from "a sudden death." All of these promises
however, are far surpassed by the indulgences assured. The prayer before
the apparition of St. Gregory obtains 24,600 years and 24 days of
indulgence: another promises "indulgence for as many days as our Lord
Jesus Christ received wounds during His passion, _viz._ 5,475." Whoever
prays the Bridget-prayers not only obtains indulgence for himself, but
15 souls of his kin are thereby delivered from purgatory, 15 sinners
converted, and 15 righteous "confirmed and established in their good
standing." (W. 10, 2, 334.)

Also in the chart booklets for the Latin schools of the Middle Ages the
Ave Maria and Salve Regina played an important part.--Such were the
books which, before Luther, were to serve the people as catechisms, or
books of instruction and prayer. In them, everything, even what was
right and good in itself, such as the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the
Decalog, was made to serve Romish superstition and work-righteousness.
Hence one can easily understand why Luther demanded that they be either
thoroughly reformed or eradicated.

Indeed, the dire need of the Church in this respect was felt and
lamented by none sooner and more deeply than Luther. Already in his
tract _To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation,_ 1520, he
complained that Christian instruction of the young was being neglected.
He writes: "Above all, the chief and most common lesson in the higher
and lower schools ought to be the Holy Scriptures and for the young
boys, the Gospel. Would to God every city had also a school for girls,
where the little maids might daily hear the Gospel for an hour, either
in German or in Latin! Truly, in the past the schools and convents for
men and women were founded for this purpose, with very laudable
Christian intention, as we read of St. Agnes and other saints. There
grew up holy virgins and martyrs, and Christendom fared very well. But
now it amounts to nothing more than praying and singing. Ought not,
indeed, every Christian at the age of nine or ten years know the entire
holy Gospel, in which his name and life is written? Does not the spinner
and the seamstress teach the same handicraft to her daughter when she is
still young? But now even the great men, the learned prelates and
bishops, do not know the Gospel. How unjustly do we deal with the poor
youth entrusted to us, failing, as we do, to govern and instruct them!
What a severe reckoning will be required of us because we do not set
before them the Word of God! For unto them is done as Jeremiah says,
Lam. 2, 11. 12: 'Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled,
my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter
of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the
streets of the city. They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine?
when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their
soul was poured out into their mothers' bosom.' But we do not see the
wretched misery, how the young people, in the midst of Christendom, now
also languish and perish miserably for lack of the Gospel, in which they
should always be instructed and drilled." (W. 6, 461; E. 21, 349.)

88. Church Visitation Reveals Deplorable Ignorance.

The Saxon Visitation brought to light such a total decay of all
Christian knowledge and of Christian instruction as even Luther had not
anticipated. Aside from other evils (clergymen cohabiting with their
cooks, addicted to drink, or even conducting taverns, etc.), the people,
especially in the villages, were found to be grossly ignorant of even
the simplest rudiments of Christian doctrine and most unwilling to learn
anything, while many pastors were utterly incompetent to teach.
According to the official records, one priest, who enjoyed a great
reputation as an exorcist, could not even recite the Lord's Prayer and
the Creed fluently. (Koestlin, _Martin Luther,_ 2, 41.) Luther took part
in the visitation of the Electoral circuit from the end of October till
after the middle of November, 1528, and again from the end of December,
1528, till January, 1529, and on April 26, 1529, at Torgau, he, too,
signed the report on visitation. When Luther therefore describes the
decay of instruction in Popery, he speaks from personal experience.
About the middle of January, 1529, he wrote to Spalatin: "Moreover,
conditions in the congregations everywhere are pitiable, inasmuch as the
peasants learn nothing, know nothing, never pray, do nothing but abuse
their liberty, make no confession, receive no communion, as if they had
been altogether emancipated from religion. They have neglected their
papistical affairs (ours they despise) to such extent that it is
terrible to contemplate the administration of the papal bishops."
(Enders 7, 45.) The intense heartache and mingled feelings which came
over Luther when he thought of the ignorance which he found during the
visitation, are described in the Preface to the Small Catechism as
follows: "The deplorable miserable condition which I discovered lately
when I, too, was a visitor, has forced and urged me to prepare this
Catechism, or Christian doctrine, in this small, plain, simple form.
Mercy! Good God! what manifold misery I beheld! The common people,
especially in the villages, have no knowledge whatever of Christian
doctrine, and, alas! many pastors are altogether incapable, and
incompetent to teach. Nevertheless, all maintain that they are
Christians, all have been baptized and receive the holy Sacrament. Yet
they cannot recite either the Lord's Prayer, or the Creed, or the Ten
Commandments, they live like dumb brutes and irrational swine; and yet
now that the Gospel has come, they have nicely learned to abuse all
liberty like experts. O ye bishops! what will ye ever answer to Christ
for having so shamefully neglected the people and never for a moment
discharged your office? May all misfortune flee you! You command the
Sacrament in one form and insist on your human laws, and yet at the same
time you do not care in the least whether the people know the Lord's
Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, or any part of the Word of God.
Woe, woe, unto you forever!" (533, 1ff.)

To these experiences made during the visitation, Luther also refers when
he says in the Short Preface to the Large Catechism: "For I well
remember the time, indeed, even now it is a daily occurrence that one
finds rude old persons who knew nothing and still know nothing of these
things, and who, nevertheless, go to Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and
use everything belonging to Christians, notwithstanding that those who
come to the Lord's Supper ought to know more and have a fuller
understanding of all Christian doctrine than children and new scholars."
(575, 5.) In his "Admonition to the Clergy" of 1530, Luther describes
the conditions before the Reformation as follows: "In brief, preaching
and teaching were in a wretched and heart-rending state. Still all the
bishops kept silence and saw nothing new, although they are now able to
see a gnat in the sun. Hence all things were so confused and wild, owing
to the discordant teaching and the strange new opinions, that no one was
any longer able to know what was certain or uncertain, what was a
Christian or an unchristian. The old doctrine of faith in Christ, of
love, of prayer, of cross, of comfort in tribulation was entirely
trodden down. Aye, there was in all the world no doctor who knew the
entire Catechism, that is, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and
the Creed, to say nothing of understanding and teaching it, as now, God
be praised, it is being taught and learned, even by young children. In
support of this statement I appeal to all their books, both of
theologians and jurists. If a single part of the Catechism can be
correctly learned therefrom, I am ready to be broken upon the wheel and
to have my veins opened." (W. 30, 1, 301.)

Melanchthon, Jonas, Brenz, George of Anhalt, Mathesius, and many others
draw a similar picture of the religious conditions prevailing in
Germany, England, and other lands immediately prior to the Reformation.
To be sure, Papists, particularly Jesuits, have disputed the accuracy
and truth of these descriptions from the pen of Luther and his
contemporaries. But arrayed against these Romish apologetes is also the
testimony of Papists themselves. In his _Catholicus Catechismus,_
published at Cologne, 1543, Nausea writes: "I endeavored to renew the
instruction, once well known among all churches, which, however, not
only recently, but long ago (I do not know to whose stupidity,
negligence, or ignorance this was due) was altogether forgotten, not
without lamentable loss to the catholic religion. _Veterem illam
catechesin, per omnes quondam ecclesias percelebrem non modo tum, sed et
ante pridem, nescio quorum vel socordia vel negligentia vel ignorantia,
non sine poenitenda catholicae religionis iactura prorsus in oblivionem
coeptam repetere coepi_." (W. 30, 1, 467.) Moreover, when Romanists
dispute Luther's assertions, they refer to the one point only, that
religious instruction (as conceived by Catholics) had not declined in
the measure claimed by Luther. As to the chief point in Luther's
assertion, however, _viz._, the correct Evangelical explanation of the
Catechism, which, in Luther's opinion, is essential to all truly
Christian instruction, the Catholic Church has always been utterly
devoid of it not only prior to the Reformation, but also after it, and
down to the present day. True, even during the Reformation some Papists
were incited to greater zeal in preaching and teaching. It was a
reaction against the Reformation of Luther, who must be regarded as the
indirect cause also of the formal improvement in the instruction of the
young among the Romanists. To maintain their power, bishops and priests
were compelled to resume and cultivate it. This revival, however, meant
only an intensified instruction in the old work-righteousness, and
therefore was the very opposite of the instruction which Luther desired
and advocated. In the Apology, Melanchthon, after charging the Papists
with totally neglecting the instruction of the young, continues: "A few
among them now also begin to preach of good works. But of the knowledge
of Christ, of faith, of the consolation of consciences they are unable
to preach anything, moreover, this blessed doctrine, the precious holy
Gospel, they call Lutheran." (326, 44.)

89. Luther Devising Measures to Restore Catechism.

Fully realizing the general decay of Christian training, Luther at once
directed all his efforts toward bringing about a change for the better.
And well aware of the fact that the future belongs to the rising
generation, the instruction of the common people, and particularly of
the young, became increasingly an object of his especial concern. If the
Church, said he, is to be helped, if the Gospel is to be victorious, if
the Reformation is to succeed, if Satan and Antichrist are to be dealt a
mortal blow, a blow from which they will not recover, it must be done
through the young. For every cause which is not, or cannot be made, the
cause of the rising generation, is doomed from the very outset. "This is
the total ruin of the Church," said Luther as early as 1516; "for if
ever it is to flourish again, one must begin by instructing the young.
_Haec est enim ecclesiae ruina tota; si enim unquam debet reflorere,
necesse est ut a puerorum institutione exordium fiat._" (W. 1, 494.)
For, apart from being incapable of much improvement, the old people
would soon disappear from the scene. Hence, if Christianity and its
saving truths were to be preserved to the Church, the children must
learn them from earliest youth.

In his Large Catechism Luther gave utterance to these thoughts as
follows: "Let this, then, be said for exhortation, not only for those of
us who are old and grown, but also for the young people, who ought to be
brought up in the Christian doctrine and understanding. For thereby the
Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer might be the more
easily inculcated upon our youth, so that they would receive them with
pleasure and earnestness, and thus would practise them from their youth
and accustom themselves to them. For the old are now well-nigh done for,
so that these and other things cannot be attained, unless we train the
people who are to come after us and succeed us in our office and work,
in order that they also may bring up their children successfully, that
the Word of God and the Christian Church may be preserved. Therefore let
every father of a family know that it is his duty, by the injunction and
command of God, to teach these things to his children, or have them
learn what they ought to know." (773, 85.)

A thorough and lasting revival of the Catechism can be hoped for only
through the young--such were Luther's convictions. Accordingly he
implored and adjured pastors and parents not to refuse their help in
this matter. In the Preface to his Small Catechism we read: "Therefore I
entreat you all for God's sake, my dear sirs and brethren, who are
pastors or preachers, to devote yourselves heartily to your office, to
have pity on the people who are entrusted to you, and to help us
inculcate the Catechism upon the people, especially upon the young."
(533, 6.) And as he earnestly admonished the pastors, so he also
tenderly invited them to be faithful in this work. He was firmly
convinced that nothing except the Gospel, as rediscovered and preached
by himself, was able to save men. How, then, could he remain silent or
abandon this work because of the hatred and ungratefulness of men! It
was this new frame of mind, produced by the Gospel, to which Luther
appealed in the interest of the Catechism. "Therefore look to it, ye
pastors and preachers," says he, concluding the Preface to his Small
Catechism. "Our office is now become a different thing from what it was
under the Pope; it is now become serious and salutary. Accordingly it
now involves much more trouble and labor, danger and trials, and in
addition thereto secures but little reward and gratitude in the world.
But Christ Himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully." (539,

At the same time Luther also took proper steps toward giving the
preachers frequent opportunity for Catechism-work. Since 1525 Wittenberg
had a regulation prescribing quarterly instruction in the Catechism by
means of special sermons. The _Instruction for Visitors,_ of 1527,
demanded "that the Ten Commandments, the Articles of Faith, and the
Lord's Prayer be steadily preached and expounded on Sunday afternoons.
... And when the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer and the Creed have
been preached on Sundays in succession, matrimony, and the sacraments of
Baptism and the Lord's Supper shall also be preached diligently. In this
interest the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Articles of
Faith shall be recited word for word, for the sake of the children and
other simple and ignorant folk." (W. 26, 230.) November 29, 1528, in an
admonition to attend these Catechism-sermons, Luther proclaimed from the
pulpit: "We have ordered, as hitherto has been customary with us, that
the first principles and the fundamentals of Christian knowledge and
life be preached four times each year, two weeks in each quarter four
days per week, at 10 A.M." (W. 27, 444; 29, 146.) In Luther's sermon of
November 27, 1530, we read: "It is our custom to preach the Catechism
four times a year. Therefore attend these services, and let the children
and the rest of the household come." (32, 209.) September 10, 1531,
Luther concluded his sermon with the following admonition: "It is the
custom, and the time of the Catechism-sermons is at hand. I admonish you
to give these eight days to your Lord and permit your household and
children to attend, and you yourself may also come and profit by this
instruction. No one knows as much as he ought to know. For I myself am
constrained to drill it every day. You know that we did not have it
under the Papacy. Buy while the market is at the door; some day you will
behold the fruit. We would, indeed, rather escape the burden, but we do
it for your sakes." (34, 2, 195.)

90. Cooperation of Parents Urged by Luther.

In order to bring the instruction of the young into vogue, Luther saw
that church, school, and home must needs cooperate. The home especially
must not fail in this. Accordingly, in his admonitions, he endeavored to
interest the fathers and mothers in this work. He was convinced that
without their vigorous cooperation he could achieve but little. In his
_German Order of Worship,_ 1526, we read: "For if the parents and
guardians of the young are unwilling to take such pains with the young,
either personally or through others, Catechism [catechetical
instruction] will never be established." (W. 19, 76.) In this he was
confirmed by the experiences he had while on his tour of visitation. If
the children were to memorize the Catechism and learn to understand it,
they must be instructed and questioned individually, a task to which the
Church was unequal, and for the accomplishment of which also the small
number of schools was altogether inadequate. Parents, however, were able
to reach the children individually. They had the time and opportunity,
too, morning, noon, and evening, at the table, etc. Furthermore, they
had the greatest interest in this matter, the children being their own
flesh and blood. And they, in the first place, were commanded by God to
provide for the proper training of their children. The fathers and
mothers, therefore, these natural and divinely appointed teachers of the
children, Luther was at great pains to enlist for the urgent work of
instructing the young. They should see that the children and servants
did not only attend the Catechism-sermons in church, but also memorized
the text and learned to understand it. The Christian homes should again
become home-churches, home-schools, where the house-fathers were both
house-priests and house-teachers performing the office of the ministry
there just as the pastors did in the churches.

With ever-increasing energy Luther, therefore, urged the parents to
study the Catechism in order to be able to teach it to their children.
In his sermons on the Ten Commandments, 1516, he admonishes them to
bring up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. "But
alas," he exclaims, "how has not all this been corrupted! Nor is it to
be wondered at, since the parents themselves have not been trained and
educated." In a sermon of 1526: "Here are two doctrines, Law and Gospel.
Of them we preach frequently, but very few there are who take it to
heart. I hear that many are still so ignorant that they do not know the
Ten Commandments nor are able to pray. It plainly shows that they are
altogether careless. Parents ought to see what their children and family
are doing. In the school at home they should learn these three. I hear
that in the city, too, there are wicked people. We cannot enter the
homes; parents, masters, and mistresses ought to be sufficiently skilled
to require their children and servants to say the prayers before
retiring. But they do not know any themselves. What, then, avails it
that we do a great deal of preaching concerning the kingdom of Christ? I
thought conditions had improved. I admonish you master--for it is your
duty--to instruct the servants, the mistress, the maids, and the
children; and it is publicly preached in church for the purpose that it
may be preached at home." (W. 20 485.)

In his sermon of September 14, 1528, Luther declares that the Catechism
is the laymen's Bible, which every one must know who wishes to be
considered a Christian and to be admitted to the Lord's Supper. He then
proceeds: "Hence all children should behave accordingly, and learn. And
you parents are bound to have your children learn these things. Likewise
you lords, take pains that your family, etc. Whoever does not know these
things does not deserve any food. These five points are a brief summary
of the Christian doctrine. When the question is put, 'What is the First
Commandment?' every one should be able to recite: 'Namely this,'" etc.
(W. 30, 1, 27.) Exhorting the people to attend the Catechism-services,
Luther declared November 29, 1528: "Think not, ye housefathers, that you
are freed from the care of your household when you say: 'Oh, if they are
unwilling to go [to Catechism instruction], why should I force them? I
am not in need of it.' You have been appointed their bishop and
house-pastor; beware lest you neglect your duty toward them!" (27, 444.)
On the following day, beginning the sermons he had announced Luther
said: "Therefore I have admonished you adults to have your children and
your servants, attend it [the Catechism-sermon], and also be present
yourselves; otherwise we shall not admit you to Holy Communion. For if
you parents and masters will not help us we shall accomplish little by
our preaching. If I preach an entire year, the household comes, gapes at
the walls and windows of the church, etc. Whoever is a good citizen is
in duty bound to urge his people to learn these things; he should refuse
them food unless, etc. If the servants complain, slam the door on them.
If you have children, accustom them to learn the Ten Commandments, the
Symbol, the Paternoster, etc. If you will diligently urge them, they
will learn much in one year. When they have learned these things, there
are everywhere in the Scriptures fine passages which they may learn
next; if not all, at least some. For this reason God has appointed you a
master, a mistress, that you may urge your household to do this. And
this you are well able to accomplish: that they pray in the morning and
evening, before and after meals. In this way they would be brought up in
the fear of God. I am no idle prattler: I ask you not to cast my words
to the winds. I would not think you so rude if I did not daily hear it.
Every housefather is a priest in his own house, every housemother is a
priestess; therefore see that you help us to perform the office of the
ministry in your homes as we do in church. If you do, we shall have a
propitious God, who will defend us from all evil. In the Psalm [78, 5]
it is written: 'He appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our
fathers, that they should make them known to their children.'" (30, 1,
57.) In the same sermon: "Able teachers are necessary because of the
great need, since parents do not concern themselves about this. But each
master and mistress must remember that they are priests and priestesses
over Hans and Gretchen," their sons and daughters.

In the same way Luther urges this matter in his Catechisms. For here we
read: "Therefore it is the duty of every father of a family to question
and examine his children and servants at least once a week and to
ascertain what they know of it [the Catechism], or are learning, and, if
they do not know it, to keep them faithfully at it." (575, 4.) "Likewise
every head of a household is obliged to do the same with respect to his
domestics, man-servants and maid-servants, and not to keep them in his
house if they do not know these things and are unwilling to learn them.
For a person who is so rude and unruly as to be unwilling to learn these
things is not to be tolerated; for in these three parts everything that
we have in the Scriptures is comprehended in short, plain and simple
terms." (577, 17.) "Therefore let every father of a family know that it
is his duty, by the injunction and command of God, to teach these things
to his children, or have them learn what they ought to know. For since
they are baptized and received into the Christian Church, they should
also enjoy this communion of the Sacrament, in order that they may serve
us and be useful to us; for they must all indeed help us to believe,
love, pray, and fight against the devil." (773, 87.)

In confession and before visitors, housefathers were also to render
account of the manner in which they discharged these duties. In his
sermon of July 11, 1529, Luther said: "You will therefore instruct your
children and servants according to this Catechism.... For you have the
Catechism in small and large books; therefore study it. You had the
visitors, and you have furthermore those who will examine you
housefathers and your household, that they may see how you have
improved.... You should have given money and property for it; yet you
neglect it when it is offered freely; therefore you housefathers ought
to be diligent students of this preaching, that as you learn you may
instruct, _discendo doceatis._" (W. 29, 472; 30, 1, 121.)

91. German Services with German Catechism.

With great emphasis Luther advocated diligent Catechism instruction in
his _Deutsche Messe_ (German Mass, _i.e._, German Service or German
Order of Worship), which he completed toward the end of 1525 and
published in 1526. Luther issued this Service "because German masses and
services are everywhere insisted upon." The demand was made especially
in the interest of the unlearned and the children, for whose benefit,
according to Luther, all such measures were adopted. "For," says he, "we
do not at all establish such orders for those who are already [advanced]
Christians. ... But we are in need of such orders for the sake of those
who are still to become Christians or to grow stronger. Just as a
Christian does not need Baptism, the Word, and Sacrament as a Christian,
since he already has everything, but as a sinner. Chiefly, however, this
is done for the sake of the unlearned and the young people, who should
and must be exercised daily and brought up in the Scriptures, the Word
of God, that they may become accustomed to the Scripture, skilled,
fluent, and at home in it, in order that they may be able to defend
their faith, and in time teach others and help to increase the kingdom
of Christ. For their sake one must read, sing, preach, write, and
compose. And if it would help and promote this aim, I would have all
bells rung, all organs played, and everything that is capable of giving
sound to sound forth. For the Catholic services are so damnable because
they [the Papists] made laws, works, and merits of them, thereby
smothering faith, and did not adapt them to the young and unlearned, to
exercise them in the Scriptures, in the Word of God, but themselves
clung to them [as works], regarding them as beneficial and necessary for
salvation to themselves, that is the devil."

While Luther, in his _German Worship,_ as well as in other places,
favors also Latin masses, yet he demands that "for the sake of the
unlearned laity" German services be introduced. And since the unlearned
could be truly served only by instruction in the fundamental truths of
Christianity, the Catechism, according to Luther, was to constitute a
chief part in these services. "Very well," says he, "in God's name!
First of all a clear, simple plain, good Catechism is needed in the
German service. Catechism, however, is an instruction whereby heathen
who desire to become Christians are taught and instructed in what they
must believe, do, not do, and know concerning Christianity. Pupils who
were accepted for such instruction and learned the faith before being
baptized were therefore called catechumens. Nor do I know how to present
this instruction, or teaching, in a form more simple than it already has
been presented since the beginning of Christianity, and hitherto
retained, to wit, the three parts: the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and
the Lord's Prayer. These three parts contain in simple and brief form
everything that a Christian must know. And since as yet we have no
special congregation (_weil man noch keine sonderliche Gemeinde hat_),
this instruction must proceed in the following manner, by preaching from
the pulpit at various times or daily, as necessity demands, and by
repeating and reading it to the children and servants at home in the
houses morning and evening (if one would make Christians of them). Yet
not only so that they memorize the words or recite them, as was done
hitherto, but by questioning them part for part, and having them state
in their answer what each part means and how they understand it. If all
parts cannot be asked at one time, take one, the next day another. For
if the parents or guardians are unwilling to take such pains with the
young, either personally or through others the Catechism will never be
established." (19, 76.) German Catechism in German services--such, then,
was the slogan which Luther now sounded forth with ever-increasing

92. Luther Illustrating Method of Procedure.

According to Luther's _German Worship,_ pastors were to preach the
Catechism on Mondays and Tuesdays. To insure the desired results
(memorizing and understanding the text), the children should be
questioned, especially at home by the parents. Exemplifying such
catechization, Luther writes: "For so shall they be asked: 'What do you
pray?' Answer: 'The Lord's Prayer,' What do you mean by saying: 'Our
Father who art in heaven?' Answer: 'That God is not an earthly, but a
heavenly Father, who would make us rich and blessed in heaven,' 'What
does "Hallowed be Thy name" mean?' Answer: 'That we should honor God's
name and not use it in vain, lest it be profaned,' 'How, then, is it
profaned and desecrated?' Answer: 'When we who are regarded as His
children lead wicked lives, teach and believe what is wrong,' And so
forth, what God's kingdom means; how it comes; what God's will is, what
daily bread, etc. Likewise also of the Creed: 'What do you believe?'
Answer: 'I believe in God the Father,' etc. Thereupon part for part, as
leisure permits, one or two at a time. Thus: 'What does it mean to
believe in God the Father Almighty?' Answer: 'It means that the heart
trusts Him entirely, and confidently looks to Him for all grace, favor,
help, and comfort, here and hereafter,' 'What does it mean to believe
in Jesus Christ, His Son?' Answer: 'It means that the heart believes we
should all be lost eternally if Christ had not died for us,' etc. In
like manner one must also question on the Ten Commandments, what the
first, the second, the third and other commandments mean. Such questions
you may take from our Prayer-Booklet, where the three parts are briefly
explained, or you may formulate others yourself, until they comprehend
with their hearts the entire sum of Christian knowledge in two parts, as
in two sacks, which are faith and love. Let faith's sack have two
pockets; into the one pocket put the part according to which we believe
that we are altogether corrupted by Adam's sin, are sinners and
condemned, Rom. 5, 12 and Ps. 51, 7. Into the other pocket put the part
telling us that by Jesus Christ we have all been redeemed from such
corrupt, sinful, condemned condition, Rom. 5, 18 and John 3, 16. Let
love's sack also have two pockets. Into the one put this part, that we
should serve, and do good to, every one, even as Christ did unto us,
Rom. 13. Into the other put the part that we should gladly suffer and
endure all manner of evil." (19, 76.)

In like manner passages of Scripture were also to be made the child's
property, as it were; for it was not Luther's idea that instruction
should cease at the lowest indispensably necessary goal (the
understanding of the text of the chief parts). In his _German Order of
Worship_ he goes on to say: "When the child begins to comprehend this
[the text of the Catechism], accustom it to carry home passages of
Scripture from the sermons and to recite them to the parents at the
table, at meal-time, as it was formerly customary to recite Latin, and
thereupon to store the passages into the sacks and pockets, as one puts
_pfennige,_ and _groschen,_ or _gulden_ into his pocket. Let the sack of
faith be, as it were, the gulden sack. Into the first pocket let this
passage be put, Rom. 5: 'By one man's disobedience many were made
sinners': and Ps. 51: 'Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did
my mother conceive me,' Those are two Rheinish gulden in the pocket. The
other pocket is for the Hungarian gulden, such as this passage, Rom. 5:
'Christ was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our
justification:' again, John 1: 'Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world,' That would be two good Hungarian gulden in
the pocket. Let love's sack be the silver sack. Into the first pocket
belong the passages of well-doing, such as Gal. 5: 'By love serve one
another'; Matt. 25: 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least
of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.' That would be two silver
groschen in the pocket. Into the other pocket this passage belongs,
Matt. 5: 'Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you for My sake;' Heb.
12: 'For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth: He scourgeth every son whom
He receiveth.' Those are two Schreckenbergers [a coin made of silver
mined from Schreckenberg] in the pocket." (19, 77f.)

Believing that understanding, not mere mechanical memorizing, of the
Catechism is of paramount import, Luther insisted that the instruction
must be popular throughout. Preachers and fathers are urged to come down
to the level of the children and to prattle with them, in order to bring
the Christian fundamentals home even to the weakest and simplest. In his
_German Mass_ Luther concludes the chapter on instruction as follows:
"And let no one consider himself too wise and despise such child's play.
When Christ desired to train men He had to become a man. If we are to
train children, we also must become children with them. Would to God
that such child's play were carried on well; then we should in a short
time see a great wealth of Christian people, and souls growing rich in
the Scriptures and the knowledge of God until they themselves would give
more heed to these pockets as _locos communes_ and comprehend in them
the entire Scriptures; otherwise they come daily to hear the preaching
and leave again as they came. For they believe that the object is merely
to spend the time in hearing, no one intending to learn or retain
anything. Thus many a man will hear preaching for three, four years and
still not learn enough to be able to give account of his faith in one
particular, as I indeed experience every day. Enough has been written in
books. True, but not all of it has been impressed on the hearts." (19,

93. Value Placed on Memorizing.

Modern pedagogs have contended that Luther's method of teaching the
Catechism unduly multiplies the material to be memorized, and does not
sufficiently stress the understanding. Both charges, however, are
without any foundation. As to the first, it is true that Luther did not
put a low estimate on the memorizing of the Catechism. In the Large
Catechism he says: "Therefore we must have the young learn the parts
which belong to the Catechism or instruction for children well, and
fluently and diligently exercise themselves in them and keep them
occupied with them. Hence it is the duty of every father of a family to
question and examine his children and servants at least once a week, and
to ascertain what they know of it, or are learning, and, if they do not
know it, to keep them faithfully at it." (575, 3f.) Again: "These are
the most necessary parts which one should first learn to repeat word for
word, and which our children should be accustomed to recite daily when
they arise in the morning, when they sit down to their meals, and when
they retire at night; and until they repeat them, they should be given
neither food nor drink." (577, 15.)

According to the Preface to the Small Catechism, the teacher is to abide
with rigid exactness by the text which he has once chosen and have the
children learn it verbatim. "In the first place," says Luther, "let the
preacher above all be careful to avoid many kinds of or various texts
and forms of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the
Sacraments, etc., but choose one form to which he adheres, and which he
inculcates all the time, year after year. For young and simple people
must be taught by uniform, settled texts and forms, otherwise they
easily become confused when the teacher to-day teaches them thus, and in
a year some other way, as if he wished to make improvements, and thus
all effort and labor will be lost. Also our blessed fathers understood
this well; for they all used the same form of the Lord's Prayer, the
Creed, and the Ten Commandments. Therefore we, too, should teach the
young and simple people these parts in such a way as not to change a
syllable, or set them forth and repeat them one year differently than in
another. Hence, choose whatever form you please, and adhere to it
forever. But when you preach in the presence of learned and intelligent
men, you may exhibit your skill and may present these parts in as varied
and intricate ways and give them as masterly turns as you are able. But
with the young people stick to one fixed, permanent form and manner, and
teach them, first of all, these parts, namely, the Ten Commandments, the
Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc., according to the text, word for word, so
that they, too, can repeat it in the same manner after you and commit it
to memory." (533, 7ff.) Thus Luther indeed placed a high value on exact
memorizing of the Catechism.

As to the quantity of memorizing, however, Luther did not demand more
than even the least gifted were well able to render. He was satisfied if
they knew, as a minimum, the text of the first three chief parts and the
words of institution of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. (579, 22. 25.)
That was certainly not overburdening even a weak memory. Luther was
right when he declared in his _Short Form of the Ten Commandments,_ of
1520: In the three chief parts everything "is summed up with such
brevity and simplicity that no one can complain or offer the excuse that
it is too much or too hard for him to remember what he must know for his
salvation." (W. 7, 204.)

Self-evidently, it was not Luther's opinion that instruction or
memorizing should end here. In the Preface to the Small Catechism he
says: "In the third place, after you have thus taught them this Short
Catechism, then take up the Large Catechism, and give them also a richer
and fuller knowledge. Here explain at length every commandment,
petition, and part with its various works, uses, benefits, dangers, and
injuries as you find these abundantly stated in many books written about
these matters." (535, 17.) Then, as Luther often repeats, Bible-verses,
hymns, and Psalms were also to be memorized and explained. Nor did he
exclude the explanation of the Small Catechism from the material for
memorizing. For this very reason he had written the Small Catechism in
questions and answers, because he wished to have it learned, questioned,
and recited from memory. "However," says Luther in the Large Catechism
"for the common people we are satisfied with the three parts, which have
remained in Christendom from of old." (575, 5.) As far, then, as the
material for memorizing is concerned, Luther certainly did not demand
more than even the least gifted were well able to render.

94. Memorizing to Serve Understanding.

The second charge, that Luther attached no special importance to the
understanding of what was memorized, is still more unfounded. The fact
is that everywhere he was satisfied with nothing less than correct
understanding. Luther was a man of thought, not of mere sacred formulas
and words. To him instruction did not mean mere mechanical memorizing,
but conscious, personal, enduring, and applicable spiritual
appropriation. Says he: "However, it is not enough for them to
comprehend and recite these parts according to the words only, but the
young people should also be made to attend the preaching, especially
during the time which is devoted to the Catechism, that they may hear it
explained, and may learn to understand what every part contains, so as
to be able to recite it as they have heard it, and, when asked, may give
a correct answer, so that the preaching may not be without profit and
fruit." (579, 26.) In the Preface to the Small Catechism, Luther
instructs the preachers: "After they [the children] have well learned
the text then teach them the sense also, so that they know what it
means." (535, 14.) Correct understanding was everything to Luther.
Sermons in the churches and catechizations at home were all to serve
this purpose.

In the same interest, _viz._, to enrich the brief text of the Catechism
and, as it were, quicken it with concrete perceptions, Luther urged the
use of Bible-stories as illustrations. For the same reason he added
pictures to both of his Catechisms. His _Prayer-Booklet_ contained as
its most important part the text and explanation of the Catechism and,
in addition, the passional booklet, a sort of Bible History. To this
Luther remarks: "I considered it wise to add the ancient passional
booklet [augmented by Luther] to the Prayer-Booklet, chiefly for the
sake of the children and the unlearned, who are more apt to remember the
divine histories if pictures and parables are added, than by mere words
and teaching, as St. Mark testifies, that for the sake of the simple
Christ, too, preached to them only in parables." (W. 10, 2, 458.)
Indeed, Luther left no stone unturned to have his instruction
understood. On words and formulas, merely memorized, but not
appropriated intellectually, he placed but little value.

Memorizing, too, was regarded by Luther not as an end in itself, but as
a means to an end. It was to serve the explanation and understanding.
And its importance in this respect was realized by Luther much more
clearly than by his modern critics. For when the text is safely
embedded, as it were, in the memory, its explanation is facilitated, and
the process of mental assimilation may proceed all the more readily. In
this point, too, the strictures of modern pedagogs on Luther's Catechism
are therefore unwarranted. Where Luther's instructions are followed, the
memory is not overtaxed, and the understanding not neglected.

The instruction advocated by Luther differed fundamentally from the
mechanical methods of the Middle Ages. He insisted on a thorough mental
elaboration, by means of sermons, explanations, questions and answers,
of the material memorized, in order to elevate it to the plane of
knowledge. With Luther we meet the questions: "What does this mean? What
does this signify? Where is this written? What does it profit?" He
engages the intellect. The _Table of Christian Life_ of the Middle Ages,
which "all good Christians are in duty bound to have in their houses,
for themselves, their children, and household," is regarded by Cohrs as
a sort of forerunner of Luther's Small Catechism. "At the same time,
however," Cohrs adds, "it clearly shows the difference between the
demands made by the Church of the Middle Ages and the requirements of
the Evangelical Church; yonder, numerous parts without any word of
explanation, sacred formulas, which many prayed without an inkling of
the meaning; here, the five chief parts, in which the emphasis is put on
'What does this mean?'" (Herzog, _R._ 10, 138.)

It was due to the neglect of Christian teaching that Christendom had
fallen into decay. Force on the part of the popes and priests and blind
submission on the part of the people had supplanted instruction and
conviction from the Word of God. Hence the cure of the Church, first of
all, called for an instructor in Christian fundamentals. And just such a
catechist Luther was, who made it his business to teach and convince the
people from the Bible. Indeed, in his entire work as a Reformer, Luther
consistently appealed to the intellect, as was strikingly demonstrated
in the turmoil which Carlstadt brought about at Wittenberg. Instruction
was the secret, was the method, of Luther's Reformation. In the Preface
to the Small Catechism he says that one cannot and must not force any
one to believe nor drive any one to partake of the Sacrament by laws,
lest it be turned into poison, that is to say, lest the very object of
the Gospel, which is spontaneous action flowing from conviction, be
defeated. (539, 24; 535, 13.)

95. Manuals Preceding Luther's Catechism.

When Luther, in his _German Order of Worship,_ sounded the slogan:
German services with German instruction in Christian fundamentals! he
did not lose sight of the fact that this required certain helps for both
parents and preachers. A book was needed that would contain not only the
text to be memorized, but also necessary explanations. Accordingly, in
his _German Order of Worship,_ Luther referred to his _Prayer-Booklet_
as a help for instruction. However, the _Brief Form of the Ten
Commandments,_ etc., incorporated in the _Prayer-Booklet,_ was not
adapted for children and parents, as it was not drawn up in questions
and answers. To the experienced teacher it furnished material in
abundance, but children and parents had need of a simpler book.
Hardeland says: "It is certain that Luther in 1526 already conceived the
ideal catechism to be a brief summary of the most important knowledge
[in questions and answers], adapted for memorizing and still
sufficiently extensive to make a thorough explanation possible, at once
confessional in its tone, and fitted for use in divine service."
(_Katechismusgedanken_ 2.) But if Luther in 1526 had conceived this
idea, it was not carried out until three years later.

However, what Luther said on teaching the Catechism by questions and
answers, in the _German Order of Worship,_ was reprinted repeatedly
(probably for the first time at Nuernberg) under the title: "Doctor
Martin Luther's instruction how to bring the children to God's Word and
service, which parents and guardians are in duty bound to do, 1527."
This appeal of Luther also called forth quite a number of other
explanations of the Catechism. Among the attempts which appeared before
Luther's Catechisms were writings of Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Eustasius
Kannel, John Agricola, Val. Ickelsamer, Hans Gerhart, John Toltz, John
Bader, Petrus Schultz, Caspar Graeter, Andr. Althamer, Wenz. Link, Conr.
Sam, John Brenz, O. Braunfels, Chr. Hegendorfer, Caspar Loener, W.
Capito, John Oecolampad, John Zwick, and others. The work of Althamer,
the Humanist and so-called Reformer of Brandenburg-Ansbach, was the
first to bear the title "Catechism." As yet it has not been ascertained
whether, or not, Luther was acquainted with these writings. Cohrs says:
"Probably Luther followed this literature with interest, and possibly
consulted some of it; the relationship is nowhere close enough to
exclude chance; still the frequent allusions must not be overlooked; as
yet it cannot be simply denied that Luther was influenced by these
writings." On the other hand, it has been shown what an enormous
influence Luther exercised on that literature, especially by his _Brief
Form_ and his _Prayer-Booklet._ "In fact," says Cohrs, "Luther's
writings can be adduced as the source of almost every sentence in most
of these books of instruction." (W. 30, 1, 474.) Evidently, Luther's
appeal of 1526 had not fallen on deaf ears.

96. Luther's Catechetical Publications.

Luther not only stirred up others to bring the Catechism back into use,
but himself put his powerful shoulder to the wheel. From the very
beginning he was, time and again, occupied with reading the text of the
Catechism to the people, and then explaining it in sermons. From the end
of June, 1516, to Easter, 1517, he preached on the Ten Commandments and
the Lord's Prayer. (W. 1, 394; 2, 74; 9, 122.) In 1518 the explanation
of the Ten Commandments appeared in print: "_Decem Praecepta
Wittenbergensi Praedicata Populo._ The Ten Commandments Preached to the
People of Wittenberg." (1, 398. 521.) Oecolampadius praised the work,
saying that Luther had here "taken the veil from the face of Moses."
Sebastian Muenster said: Luther explains the Ten Commandments "in such a
spiritual, Christian, and Evangelical way, that its like cannot be
found, though many teachers have written on the subject." (1, 394.)
Agricola published Luther's sermons on the Lord's Prayer at the
beginning of 1518 with some additions of his own, which fact induced
Luther to publish them himself. April 5, 1519, his _Explanation of the
Lord's Prayer in German_ appeared in print. It was intended for the
plain people, "not for the learned." (2, 81 to 130.) July 2, 1519, the
Humanist Beatus Rhenanus wrote to Zwingli that he would like to see this
explanation of the Lord's Prayer offered for sale throughout all
Switzerland, in all cities, markets, villages, and houses. Mathesius
reports: "At Venice Doctor Martin's Lord's Prayer was translated into
Italian, his name being omitted. And when the man saw it from whom the
permission to print it was obtained, he exclaimed: Blessed are the hands
that wrote this, blessed the eyes that see it, and blessed will be the
hearts that believe this book and cry to God in such a manner." (W. 2,
75.) This work passed through many editions. In 1520 it appeared in
Latin and Bohemian, and as late as 1844 in English. March 13, 1519,
Luther wrote to Spalatin: "I am not able to turn the Lord's Prayer
[Explanation of the Lord's Prayer in German of 1518] into Latin, being
busy with so many works. Every day at evening I pronounce the
commandments and the Lord's Prayer for the children and the unlearned,
then I preach." (Enders 1, 449.) Thus Luther preached the Catechism,
and at the same time was engaged in publishing it.

The _Brief Instruction How to Confess,_ printed 1519, was also
essentially an explanation of the Ten Commandments. It is an extract
from Luther's Latin work, _Instructio pro Confessione Peccatorum,_
published by Spalatin. Luther recast this work and published it in
March, 1520, entitled: _Confitendi Ratio._ (W. 2, 59. 65.) As a late
fruit of his _Explanation of the Lord's Prayer in German_ there
appeared, in 1519, the _Brief Form for Understanding and Praying the
Lord's Prayer_ which explains it in prayers. (6, 11-19.) In 1519 there
appeared also his _Short and Good Explanation Before Oneself and Behind
Oneself_ ("vor sich und hinter sich") a concise explanation how the
seven petitions must be understood before oneself ("vor sich"), _i.e._,
being ever referred to God, while many, thinking only of themselves, put
and understand them behind themselves ("hinter sich"). (6, 21. 22.)
June, 1520, it was followed by the _Brief Form of the Ten Commandments,
the Creed, the Lord's Prayer,_ a combination of the revised _Brief
Explanation of the Ten Commandments,_ of 1518, and the _Brief Form for
Understanding the Lord's Prayer,_ of 1519, with a newly written
explanation of the Creed. With few changes Luther embodied it in his
_Prayer-Booklet,_ which appeared for the first time in 1522. Here he
calls it a "simple Christian form and mirror to know one's sins, and to
pray." The best evidence of the enthusiastic reception of the
_Prayer-Booklet_ are the early editions which followed hard upon each
other, and the numerous reprints during the first years. (10, 2,
350-409.) In 1525 Luther's sermons on Baptism, Confession, and the
Lord's Supper were also received into the _Prayer-Booklet,_ and in 1529
the entire Small Catechism.

After his return from the Wartburg, Luther resumed his Catechism labors
with increased energy. March 27 Albert Burer wrote to Beatus Rhenanus:
"Luther intends to nourish the weak, whom Carlstadt and Gabriel aroused
by their vehement preaching, with milk alone until they grow strong. He
daily preaches the Ten Commandments." At Wittenberg special attention
was given to the instruction of the young, and regular Catechism-sermons
were instituted. In the spring of 1521 Agricola was appointed catechist
of the City Church, to instruct the young in religion. Lent 1522 and
1523, Luther also delivered Catechism-sermons, Latin copies of which
have been preserved. In the same year Bugenhagen was appointed City
Pastor, part of his duties being to deliver sermons on the Catechism,
some of which have also been preserved.

Maundy Thursday, 1523, Luther announced that instead of the Romish
confession, abolished during the Wittenberg disturbances, communicants
were to announce for communion to the pastor and submit to an
examination in the Catechism. As appears from Luther's _Formula Missae_
of this year, the pastor was to convince himself whether they were able
to recite and explain the words of institution by questioning them on
what the Lord's Supper is, what it profits, and for what purpose they
desired to partake of it. (12, 215. 479.) To enable the people to
prepare for such examination, Luther (or Bugenhagen, at the instance of
Luther) published a few short questions on the Lord's Supper, culled
from one of Luther's sermons. This examination became a permanent
institution at Wittenberg. In a sermon on the Sacrament of 1526, Luther
says: "Confession, though it serve no other purpose, is a suitable means
of instructing the people and of ascertaining what they believe, how
they learn to pray, etc., for else they live like brutes. Therefore I
have said that the Sacrament shall be given to no one except he be able
to give an account of what he receives [in the Sacrament] and why he is
going. This can best be done in confession." (19, 520.)

Furthermore, on Sundays, after the sermon, the Catechism was read to the
people, a custom which likewise became a fixture in Wittenberg.
According to a small pamphlet of 1526, entitled, "What Shall be Read to
the Common People after the Sermon?" it was the text of the five chief
parts that was read. (Herz., _R._ 10, 132.) These parts came into the
hands of the people by means of the _Booklet for Laymen and Children,_
of 1525, written probably by Bugenhagen. He also reorganized the
Wittenberg school which the fanatics had dissolved; and, self-evidently,
there, too, Catechism instruction was not lacking. In a similar way
religious instruction of the young was begun at other places, as
appears, for example, from the _Opinions on Reformation_ by Nicolaus
Hausmann (Zwickau), of 1523 and 1525. Melanchthon's _Instructions for
Visitors_ (Articuli de quibus egerunt per visitatores), drawn up in
1527, and used in the visitation of 1528 and 1529 as the guide by which
pastors were examined, and pointing out what they should be charged to
do, provide, above all, for Catechism-preaching on every Sunday, and
give instructions for such sermons. (_C. R._ 26, 9. 48.)

Thus Luther's strenuous efforts at establishing the Catechism were
crowned with success. In the Apology of 1530 Melanchthon declares
triumphantly: "Among the opponents there is no Catechism, although the
canons require it. Among us the canons are observed, for pastors and
ministers instruct the children and the young in God's Word, publicly
and privately." (526, 41.)

97. Immediate Forerunners of Luther's Catechisms.

Luther's entire pastoral activity was essentially of a catechetical
nature and naturally issued in his two Catechisms, which, more than any
other of his books, are the result of his labor in the congregation.
Three writings, however, must be regarded as their direct precursors,
_viz._, the _Short Form of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the
Lord's Prayer,_ of 1520, the _Booklet for Laymen and Children,_ of 1525,
and the three series of Catechism-sermons of 1528, delivered in
Bugenhagen's absence. True, they are not yet real catechisms, but they
paved the way for them. The _Short Form_ is a summary and explanation of
the three traditional chief parts. In the preface to this work, Luther
expresses himself for the first time on the value and the coherence of
these parts, which he considered to be the real kernel of the Catechism.
In the _Short Form_ he also abandoned the traditional division of the
Creed into twelve parts, choosing, instead, the threefold division of
the later Small Catechism. In 1522 he embodied the _Short Form_ into his
_Prayer-Booklet,_ in consequence of which it was given extended
circulation. It has been called Luther's first catechism, and Luther
himself regarded it so for in his _German Order of Worship_ he
recommends its use for catechetical instruction. In it are summed up
Luther's catechetical efforts since 1516.

The _Booklet for Laymen and Children_ appeared at Wittenberg in 1525, at
first in Low German (_Ein Boekeschen vor de leyen unde Kinder_), but
done into High German in the same year. Though Bugenhagen is probably
its author, no doubt, the book was written at the suggestion and under
the influence of Luther, parts of whose earlier explanations it
contains, and who also since 1526, made use of it in his public
services. Besides the three traditional parts, it offered for the first
time also those on Baptism (without the baptismal command) and on the
Lord's Supper. The wording of the text was practically the same as that
of Luther's Enchiridion. Several prayers, later found in Luther's
Enchiridion, were also added. Hence the _Booklet for Laymen and
Children_ is properly considered a forerunner of Luther's Catechisms.

The three series of Catechism-sermons of 1528 must be considered the
last preparatory work and immediate source of the explanation of the
Catechisms. Luther delivered the first series May 18 to 30; the second,
from September 14 to 25; the third, from November 30 to December 19.
Each series treats the same five chief parts. We have these sermons in a
transcript which Roerer made from a copy (_Nachschrift_); the third
series also in a copy by a South German. In his _Origin of the
Catechism,_ Buchwald has shown how Luther's Large Catechism grew out of
these sermons of 1528. In his opinion, Luther, while engaged on the
Large Catechism, "had those three series of sermons before him either in
his own manuscript or in the form of a copy (_Nachschrift_)." This
explains the extensive agreement of both, apparent everywhere.

Luther himself hints at this relation; for said sermons must have been
before him when he began the Large Catechism with the words: "This
sermon is designed and undertaken that it might be an instruction for
children and the simple-minded." (575, 1.) This was also Roerer's view,
for he calls the Large Catechism "Catechism preached by D. M.," a title
found also in the second copy (_Nachschrift_) of the third series:
_Catechism Preached by Doctor Martin Luther._ In the conclusion of the
first edition of the Large Catechism, Luther seems to have made use also
of his sermon on Palm Sunday, 1529, and others, and in the _Short
Exhortation to Confession,_ which was appended to the second edition, of
the sermon of Maundy Thursday, 1529, and others. Some historians,
however, have expressed the opinion that the relationship might here be
reversed. The substance of the sermon-series is essentially that also of
the Large Catechism. In form the Catechism differs from the sermons by
summing up in each case what is contained in the corresponding three
sermons and by giving in German what the copies of the sermons offer in
a mixture of Latin and German (principally Latin, especially in the
first series).

Following is a sample of the German-Latin form in which Roerer preserved
these sermons: "Zaehlet mir her illos, qui reliquerunt multas divitias,
wie reiche Kinder sie gehabt haben; du wirst finden, dass ihr Gut
zerstoben und zerflogen ist, antequam 3. et 4. generatio venit, so ist's
dahin. Die Exempel gelten in allen Historien. Saul 1. fuit bonus etc. Er
musste ausgerottet werden, ne quidem uno puello superstite, quia es
musste wahr bleiben, quod Deus hic dicit. Sed das betreugt uns, dass er
ein Jahr oder 20 regiert hat, et fuit potens rex, das verdreusst uns ut
credamus non esse verum. Sed verba Dei non mentiuntur, et exempla
ostendunt etc. Econtra qui Verbo Dei fidunt, die muessen genug haben
etc., ut David, qui erat vergeucht [verjagt] und verscheucht ut avicula;
tamen mansit rex. Econtra Saul. Sic fit cum omnibus piis. Ideo nota bene
1. praeceptum, i.e., debes ex tota corde fidere Deo et praeterea nulli
aliae rei, sive sit potestas etc., ut illis omnibus utaris, ut sutor
subula etc., qui tantum laborat cum istis suis instrumentis. Sic utere
bonis et donis; sie sollen dein Abgott nicht sein, sed Deus." (30, 1,
29.) The three series of sermons of 1528, therefore, were to the
explanation of Luther's Catechisms what the _Booklet for Laymen_ was to
the text.

98. Catechism of Bohemian Brethren.

The assertion has been made that Luther, in his Small Catechism,
followed the Children's Questions of the Bohemian Brethren which at that
time had been in use for about sixty years. This catechism, which was
not clear in its teaching on the Lord's Supper, came to the notice of
Luther 1520 in Bohemian or Latin, and 1523 in German and Bohemian. In
his treatise, _Concerning the Adoration of the Sacrament of the Holy
Body of Christ,_ 1523, Luther remarks: "A book has been circulated by
your people [the Bohemian Brethren] in German and Bohemian which aims to
give Christian instruction to the young. Among other things the
statement is made that [the presence of] Christ in the Sacrament is not
a personal and natural one, and that He must not be adored there, which
disquiets us Germans very much. For without doubt it is known to you
how, through the delegates you sent to me, I requested you to make this
particular article clear in a separate booklet. For by word of mouth I
heard them confess that you hold unanimously that Christ is truly in the
Sacrament with His flesh and blood as it was born of Mary and hung on
the cross, as we Germans believe. That booklet has now been sent to me
by Mr. Luca in Latin. Still, in this article it has not yet been made as
pure and clear as I should like to have seen it. Hence I did not have it
translated into German nor printed as I promised, fearing I might not
render the obscure words correctly, and thus fail to give your meaning
correctly. For it may be regarded as a piece of good luck if one has hit
upon an exact translation, even if the passage is very clear and
certain, as I daily experience in the translations I am making. Now,
that this matter may come to an end, and that the offense of the German
booklet which you have published may be removed, I shall present to you
and everybody, as plainly and as clearly as I am able to do, this
article as we Germans believe it, and as one ought to believe according
to the Gospel. There you may see whether I have stated correctly what
you believe or how much we differ from one another. Perhaps my German
language will be clearer to you than your German and Latin is to me."
(11, 431.) Luther, then, was familiar with the catechism of the
Bohemians, which contained, besides the chief parts of the ancient
Church, also the doctrine of the Sacraments. This, therefore, may have
suggested to him the idea of publishing a small book for children with
questions and answers, which would also contain the parts of Baptism and
the Lord's Supper. Such at least is the opinion of Cohrs, Kolde,
Koestlin, Kawerau, and Albrecht. (W. 30, 1, 466.) But we have no sure
knowledge of this. At any rate, it is not likely that it was the book of
the Bohemian Brethren which prompted Luther to embody the Sacraments in
his Catechism. The further assertion of Ehrenfeuchter, Moenckeberg, _et
al._ that Luther in his Table of Duties followed the Bohemian Brethren,
is incorrect, since the Table of Duties appeared much later in their

IX. The Small and the Large Catechism of Luther.

99. Luther Beginning Work on Catechisms.

Luther first mentioned the plan of publishing a catechism in a letter of
February 2, 1525, to Nicolaus Hausmann. He informs him: "Jonas and
Eisleben [Agricola] have been instructed to prepare a catechism for
children. I am devoting myself to the Postil [last part of the Winter
Postil] and to Deuteronomy, where I have sufficient work for the
present." (Enders, 5, 115.) In a letter of March 26, 1525, also to
Hausmann, Luther repeats: "The Catechism, as I have written before, has
been given to its authors, _ist seinen Verfassern aufgetragen worden._"
(144.) However, when Jonas and Agricola (who soon moved from Wittenberg
to Eisleben) failed, Luther resolved to undertake the work himself,
which, according to his letter of February 2, he had declined merely for
the reason that he was already sufficiently burdened. The execution of
his plan, however, was deferred. September 27, 1525, he wrote to
Hausmann: "I am postponing the Catechism, as I would like to finish
everything at one time in one work." (246.) The same letter shows what
Luther meant. For here he speaks of the reformation of the parishes and
of the introduction of uniform ceremonies. Evidently, then, he at that
time desired to publish the Catechism together with a visitation tract,
such as Melanchthon wrote in 1527. Besides, his _Prayer-Booklet,_
containing the "Brief Form," as well as the _Booklet for Laymen and
Children,_ offered a temporary substitute for the contemplated
Catechism. The deplorable conditions, however, which the Saxon
visitation brought to light would not permit him to tarry any longer.
"The deplorable, miserable condition," says Luther in the Preface to his
Small Catechism, "which I discovered lately when I, too, was a visitor,
has forced and urged me to prepare this Catechism, or Christian
doctrine, in this small, plain, simple form." (535, 1.) Thus the Small
Catechism sprang, as it were, directly from the compassion Luther felt
for the churches on account of the sad state of destitution to which
they had been brought, and which he felt so keenly during the
visitation. However, Luther's statements in the _German Order of
Worship_ concerning the catechetical procedure in question and answer
quoted above show that the thought of such a Catechism did not first
occur to him at this time. Still it was the visitation that added the
decisive impulse to put the idea into immediate execution. Besides, it
was a time in which Luther was entirely engrossed in the Catechism,
having preached in 1528 on the five chief parts no less than three
times. Thus the harvest was at hand. In January, 1529, according to his
own letters, Luther was engaged in this work, having probably begun
about the close of 1528. He was able to make rapid progress, since ample
material was at his command.

The old moot question which of the two Catechisms appeared first was
decided when Buchwald discovered the Stephan Roth letters, which show
that the Small Catechism appeared in chart form in January and March,
1529, while the first Wittenberg book edition appeared in May, after the
Large Catechism had meanwhile come off the press in April. From the fact
that Luther simply called his Large Catechism "German Catechism" one may
infer that he began work on this first, and that, when writing the
title, he had not yet begun the Small Catechism nor planned it
definitely; but not, that Luther completed the Large Catechism first. On
the other hand, from the title "Small Catechism" one can only infer that
Luther, when he wrote thus, had already begun to write, and was working
on, the Large Catechism, but not, that the Small Catechism appeared
later than the large. Albrecht: "One may certainly speak of a small book
before the appearance of a large book of similar kind, if the latter has
been definitely planned, worked out at the same time, and is almost
completed." (W. 30, 1, 569.)

100. Tables Published First.

January 15, 1529, Luther wrote to Martin Goerlitz: "_Modo in parando
catechismo pro rudibus paganis versor._ I am now busy preparing the
Catechism for the ignorant heathen" (not "peasants," for in his _German
Order of Worship,_ Luther says: "Catechism is an instruction by means of
which heathen who desire to become Christians are taught"). It was
formerly asserted that the expression "_pro rudibus paganis_" showed
that Luther here meant the Small Catechism. Appealing to the statement
in the Preface to the Large Catechism: "This sermon is designed and
undertaken that it might be an instruction for children and the
simple-minded," Koellner was the first one to assert that Luther's
phrase of January 15 referred to the Large Catechism. In this he was
followed by Cohrs, Enders, and others. (Enders, 7, 44.) However,
according to the usage of the word catechism described above, the
statement quoted does not preclude that Luther, when writing thus, was
engaged on both Catechisms. And such indeed was the case. For on January
20, 1529, Roerer, the Wittenberg proofreader, wrote to Roth: "Nothing
new has appeared. I believe that the Catechism as preached by D. M. for
the unlettered and simple will be published for the coming Frankfurt
mass. Yet, while writing this, I glance at the wall of my dwelling, and
fixed to the wall I behold tables embracing in shortest and simplest
form Luther's Catechism for children and the household, and forthwith I
send them to you as a sample, so that by the same messenger they may be
brought to you immediately. _Iam novi nihil in lucem prodiit; ad
nundinas credo Francofurdenses futuras Catechismus per D. M. praedicatus
pro rudibus et simplicibus edetur. Hoc vero scribens inspicio parietem
aestuarioli mei, affixas parieti video tabulas complecententes
brevissime simul et crasse catechismum Lutheri pro pueris et familia,
statim mitto pro exemplari, ut eodem tabellario iam ad te perferantur._"
(W. 30, 1, 428; Enders, 7, 44.)

This letter of January 20 is the first time that both of Luther's
Catechisms are mentioned together and distinguished from each other. By
catechism Roerer means the text of the five chief parts which Luther put
at the head of his Large Catechism. "_Catechismus per D. M.
praedicatus_" designates the explanation of this text as comprised in
Luther's three series of sermons of 1528 and summed up in the Large
Catechism. From this preached and later on so-called Large Catechism,
which appeared in April, entitled "German Catechism," Roerer
distinguishes "tables, summing up Luther's Catechism in shortest and
simplest form for children and the household." He means the series of
charts containing the first three chief parts, which Luther considered
the Catechism _par excellence_. And at the time when Roerer spoke of
the prospective publication of the Large Catechism for the Frankfurt
mass, these tables were already hanging on his wall.

Albrecht comments: "For the moment Roerer had not remembered the very
interesting novelty, which had already appeared in the first tables of
the later so-called Small Catechism. However, a glance at the wall of
his room reminded him of it. And from a letter of his dated March 16 we
must infer that they were the three charts containing the Ten
Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer with Luther's
explanation. These he calls 'tables which in shortest and simplest form
embrace Luther's Catechism for the children and the household,' Thus he
wrote in view of the superscription: 'As the head of the family should
teach them in a simple way to his household,' without implying a
difference between the expression _pro pueris et familia_ and the
preceding _pro rudibus et simplicibus,_ since the former are included in
the latter. The difference between the two works is rather indicated by
the words _brevissime simul et crasse._ But at the same time their inner
connection is asserted, for by sending the tables _pro exemplari,_ he
characterizes them as a model or sample of Luther's manner of treating
the Catechism. They are the _catechismus Lutheri,_ that is, the
aforementioned _catechismus per D. M. praedicatus_ in its shortest form
and draft (conceived as an extract of the sermons or of the Large
Catechism). He thought that this sample would indicate what was to be
expected from the forthcoming larger work." (W. 30, 1, 429.)

When, therefore, Luther wrote on January 15: "Modo in parando
catechismo pro rudibus paganis versor," he was engaged on both
Catechisms, and had proceeded far enough to enable him to send the first
tables of the Small Catechism to the printer. Buchwald remarks regarding
the letter of January 20 that Roerer probably had just received the
tables from the press. However, Roerer's letter to Roth of February 12,
1529, shows that already about a month ago he had sent the "tables of
the Catechism" (evidently the same to which he referred January 20) to
Spalatin. Accordingly, these tables were forwarded about January 12. The
following remark in the Church Order for Schoenewald in the district of
Schweinitz: "First to pronounce for the people the Ten Commandments, the
Creed and the Lord's Prayer, thereupon to explain them in the most
simple way, _as published [each] on a printed table,_" takes us back
still a few days more. For the visitation in the district of Schweinitz,
in which Luther took part, was held January 7 to 9, the time from which
also the Schoenewald Church Order dates. At this visitation, therefore,
even prior to January 7, Luther himself distributed the first series of
tables, comprising the first three chief parts, of his Small Catechism.
Cohrs opines that Luther sent this series to the printer about Christmas
1528 at the latest. However, it does not appear why the printing should
have consumed three to four weeks Seb. Froeschels however, is mistaken
when he declares in his book on the _Priesthood of Christ,_ 1565, that,
at a table conversation of 1528, Luther had advised Hans Metsch
constantly to have with him a good small catechism, such as the one he
had written. Knaake surmises that 1528 is a misprint; it should be 1538.
(W. 30, 1, 430f.)

101. Completion of Catechisms Delayed.

It was almost two months after the first table-series had appeared
before the second was published. This delay is accounted for by Luther's
illness and his being burdened with other work, especially with his book
against the Turk. March 3 he wrote to Hausmann: "By reason of Satan's
afflictions I am almost constantly compelled to be a sick well man (_als
Gesunder krank zu sein_), hence I am much hindered in writing and other
work." (Enders, 7, 61.) However, in the same letter Luther informed his
impatiently waiting friend: "The Catechism is not completed, my dear
Hausmann, but it will be completed shortly." Enders remarks that this
refers to the Large Catechism. However, it harmonizes best with Luther's
usage and with the facts if the words are understood as referring to
both Catechisms. "Shortly," Luther had written, and on March 16 Roerer,
according to his letter of this date, forwarded "the tables of
Confession, the German Litany, the tables of the Sacrament of Baptism
and of the blood of Christ." Roerer calls them a novelty, _recens
excussa,_ recently printed, from which it appears that the _tabulae
catechismum Lutheri brevissime simul et crasse complectentes,_ to which
he referred on January 20, did not contain the Sacraments. Thus, then,
the five chief parts, Decalog, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Baptism, and Lord's
Supper were completed by March 16, 1529. Buchwald and Cohrs surmise, but
without further ground for their assumption, that the table with the
Benedicite and the Gratias was issued together with the first series in
January. At the latest, however, the prayers appeared with the second
series. For March 7, 1529, Levin Metzsch wrote to Roth, evidently
referring to Luther's tables: "I am herewith also sending to you the
Benedicite and the Gratias, also the Morning and Evening Prayers,
together with the Vice of Drunkenness." (W. 30, 1, 432.) The exact time
when Luther composed the Table of Duties is not known. And the first
evidence we have of the Small Catechism's appearing in book form is
Roerer's letter of May 16, 1529, saying that he is sending two copies of
the Small Catechism, the price of which, together with other books, is
two groschen. (432.) The necessary data are lacking to determine how
long Luther's manuscript was ready before it was printed, and before the
printed copies were distributed.

As to the large Catechism, it was not completed when the second table
series appeared in March. In a letter, the date of which must probably
be fixed about the end of March, Roerer says: "The Turk is not yet
entirely struck off; neither the Catechism." April 23, however, the
Large Catechism was on the market, for on this day Roerer wrote: "I am
sending three copies of the Catechism." It was the Large Catechism; for
the price of each copy was two groschen, whereas on May 16, 1529, Roerer
had sent two copies of the Small Catechism and other books for two
groschen. (432.) The Large Catechism probably had appeared several weeks
before April 23. Albrecht: "Even if all [of Luther's] sermons from Palm
Sunday to Maundy Thursday, 1529, are considered preliminary works,
according to which the last paragraphs of the Large Catechism were
elaborated, we can assume that its appearance in the beginning or the
first half of April, 1529, was possible. To be sure, the printing must
then have been advanced so far before Holy Week that the rest could be
finished speedily on the basis of the manuscript delivered immediately
after the sermons of Monday and Maundy Thursday had been preached.["]

This theory fits in with the facts that John Lonicer of Marburg had
already completed his Latin translation on May 15, 1529 (although,
according to the title-page, it first appeared in September), and that
Roerer in a letter of April 23 merely mentions the Large Catechism in
passing, without designating it as an important novelty. Stephen Roth,
the recipient of the letter, spent some time at Wittenberg during April,
and probably purchased his first copy there; so Roerer refers to copies
which were ordered subsequently. (482.)

While thus the Small Catechism in chart form was completed and published
before the Large Catechism, the former succeeded the latter in book
form. However, though completed after the Small Catechism, it can be
shown that the beginning and perhaps even part of the printing of the
Large Catechism dates back to 1528, thus preceding in this respect even
the Charts of January 9. If the short Preface to the Large Catechism, as
well as the exhortation at the beginning: "Let the young people also
come to the preaching, that they hear it explained and learn to
understand it," etc., had been written after the 9th of January, Luther
would probably have mentioned the Tables, just as he refers to the Large
Catechism in the Preface to the Small Catechism, which was written about
the end of April or the beginning of May. (535, 17.) Since, however,
Luther makes no such indication, these paragraphs of the Large Catechism
were, no doubt, composed before January, 1529. (575, 1; 579, 26.) The
same inference may be drawn from the fact that, in the explanation of
the First Commandment, the wording of the conclusion of the Ten
Commandments shows a number of variations from its wording in the Small
Catechism, whereas its wording at the close of the explanation of the
commandments is in conformity with it. (588, 30; 672, 320.)

102. Similarity and Purpose of Catechisms.

As great as is the dissimilarity between Luther's two Catechisms, on the
one hand, so great, on the other, is the similarity. If one did not know
that the Large Catechism was begun before the Small, and that both
originated in the sermons of 1528, he might either view the Large
Catechism as a subsequent expansion of the Small, or the latter as a
summary of the former. Yet neither the one nor the other is the case. If
the Large Catechism influenced the Small, so also the latter the former.
Albrecht says: "It is more probable that the Small Catechism influenced
the Large Catechism than _vice versa._" (W. 30, 1, 558.) At all events,
the second table-series could not have been extracted from the Large
Catechism as such, since the latter was only completed after March 25,
whereas these tables were published already on March 16. The Small
Catechism has been characterized as "a small basketful of ripe fruit
gathered from that tree" [the Large Catechism]. In substance that is
true, since both originate from the same source, the sermons of 1528.
Already Roerer calls attention to this similarity, when in the
aforementioned letter, he designates the Large Catechism as
"_Catechismus per D. M. praedicatus,_" and then describes the Small
Catechism as "_tabulae complectentes brevisissime simul et crasse
catechismum Lutheri pro pueris et familia._" Both treat of the same five
chief parts; the explanation of both presupposes the knowledge of the
text of these parts, both owe their origin to the doctrinal ignorance,
uncovered particularly in the Saxon visitation; and the purpose of both
is the instruction of the plain people and the young. Indeed, it was not
for scholars, but for the people that Luther lived, labored, and
contended. "For," says he in his _German Mass,_ "the paramount thing is
to teach and lead the people." (W. 19, 97.)

Above all, Luther endeavored to acquaint the "dear youth" with the
saving truths, not merely for their own sakes, but in the interest of
future generations as well. He desired to make them mature Christians,
able to confess their faith and to impart instruction to their children
later on. In particular, the two Catechisms were to serve the purpose of
properly preparing the children and the unlearned for the Holy
Eucharist, as appears from the Preface to the Small Catechism and from
the last paragraphs of the Large (536, 21ff.; 760, 39ff.); for both end
in admonitions diligently to partake of the Lord's Supper. The Sacrament
of the Altar, in Luther's estimation, is the goal of all catechetical
instruction. For this reason he added to the ancient chief parts those
of Baptism, Confession, and the Lord's Supper.

Accordingly, both Catechisms, though in various respects, are intended
for all: people, youth, parents, preachers, and teachers. It is not
correct to say that Luther wrote his Large Catechism only for scholars,
and the other only for the unlearned. He desired to instruct all, and,
at the same time, enable parents and pastors to teach. According to
Luther, it is the duty of every Christian to learn constantly, in order
also to be able to teach others in turn. If any one, said he, really no
longer needed the Catechism for himself, he should study it nevertheless
for the sake of the ignorant. Nor did Luther exempt himself from such
study. In the Long Preface to the Large Catechism we read: "But for
myself I say this: I am also a doctor and preacher, yea, as learned and
experienced as all those may be who have such presumption and security;
yet I do as a child who is being taught the Catechism, and every
morning, and whenever I have time, I read and say, word for word the Ten
Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Psalms, etc. And I must
still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, but
must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to
remain." (569, 7.)

April 18, 1530, Luther repeated this in a sermon as follows: "Whoever is
able to read, let him, in the morning, take a psalm or some other
chapter in the Bible and study it for a while. For that is what I do.
When I rise in the morning, I pray the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the
Lord's Prayer, and also a psalm with the children. I do so because I
wish to remain familiar with it, and not have it overgrown with mildew,
so that I know it." (W. 32, 65.) In a sermon of November 27, of the same
year, Luther warns: "Beware lest you become presumptuous, as though,
because you have heard it often, you knew enough of the Catechism. For
this knowledge ever desires us to be its students. We shall never finish
learning it, since it does not consist in speech, but in life. ... For I
also, D. M., doctor and preacher, am compelled day by day to pray and to
recite the words of the Decalog, the Symbol, and the Lord's Prayer as
children are wont to do. Hence you need not be ashamed; for much fruit
will result." (209.)

103. Particular Purpose of Large Catechism.

In his sermons of 1529 Luther declared repeatedly that his purpose was
to instruct the plain people and the children in those things which he
regarded as the minimum every Christian ought to know. (30, 1, 2. 27.
57.) And he did not abandon this purpose when he condensed his sermons
into the Large Catechism. Accordingly, he begins it with the words:
"This sermon is designed and undertaken that it might be an instruction
for children and the simple-minded." (575, 1.) Again: "For the reason,
why we exercise such diligence in preaching the Catechism so often is
that it may be inculcated on our youth, not in a high and subtile
manner, but briefly and with the greatest simplicity, so as to enter the
mind readily and be fixed in the memory." (581, 27.) Hence Roerer also
characterized the Large Catechism as "_Catechismus per D. M. praedicatus
pro rudibus et simplicibus._" Many expressions of the Large Catechism
also point to the fact that everything was here intended for the young
and the common people. For example: "All this I say that it may be well
impressed upon the young." (621, 140.) "But now for young scholars let
it suffice to indicate the most necessary points." (681, 12.) "But to
explain all these single points separately belongs not to brief sermons
for children, but rather to the ampler sermons that extend throughout
the entire year." (687, 32.) Thus Luther aimed to serve the people and
the children also by his Large Catechism. Not, indeed, that it was to be
given into the hands of the children (the Small Catechism served that
purpose), but that preachers, teachers, and parents were to use it with
a view to teaching them by example how to expound the articles of the
Christian doctrine for the simple-minded.

In particular, the Large Catechism was to enable the less educated
pastors in the villages and in the country to do justice to their sacred
duty. The instructions of the visitors called for regular
Catechism-sermons. For this purpose Luther sought to furnish the
preachers with material. From the Large Catechism they were to learn how
to deliver simple, plain sermons on the five chief parts. In the longer
Preface Luther therefore directs his admonition "to all Christians, but
especially to all pastors and preachers, that they should daily exercise
themselves in the Catechism, which is a short summary and epitome of the
entire Holy Scriptures, and that they may always teach the same." And
why? Luther explains: "We have no slight reasons for treating the
Catechism so constantly, and for both desiring and beseeching others to
teach it, since we see to our sorrow that many pastors and preachers are
very negligent in this, and slight both their office and this teaching;
some from great and high art, but others from sheer laziness and care
for their paunches," etc. (567.)

Ministers, according to Luther, were to study the Catechism for their
own instruction and edification as well as in the interest of their
office. Hence he concludes his Preface, saying: "Therefore I again
implore all Christians, especially pastors and preachers, not to be
doctors too soon, and imagine that they know everything (for imagination
and cloth unshrunk fall far short of the measure), but that they daily
exercise themselves well in these studies and constantly treat them;
moreover, that they guard with all care and diligence against the
poisonous infection of such security and vain imagination, but steadily
keep on reading, teaching, learning, pondering, and meditating, and do
not cease until they have made a test and are sure that they have taught
the devil to death, and have become more learned than God Himself and
all His saints." (573, 19; 535, 17.)

From the Large Catechism, therefore, pastors were to learn how to preach
the fundamental Christian truths. "To be sure," says Albrecht, "Luther
did not make it as easy for the pastors as was later done by Osiander
and Sleupner in the Nuernberg _Children's Sermons,_ where the individual
sermons are exactly marked off, the form of address to the children is
retained, and, in each instance, a short explanation, to be memorized,
is added to the longer explanation." (W. 30, 1, 478.)--That it was
Luther's purpose to have his Large Catechism serve also parents appears
from the instructions at the beginning and the end of it. (574, 17; 772,

104. Special Purpose of Small Catechism.

The Large Catechism was to serve all; the same applies to the Small
Catechism. But above all it was to be placed into the hands of the
children, who were to use and to memorize it at home, and to bring it
with them for instruction in the church. Buchwald and Cohrs surmise that
Luther published the second table series during Lent with special
reference to "grown people." However, Luther was accustomed to direct
his admonition to partake of the Lord's Supper diligently also to
children, and that, too, to children of comparatively tender years. In
his sermon of March 25, 1529, he says: "This exhortation ought not only
to move us older ones, but also the young and the children. Therefore
you parents ought to instruct and educate them in the doctrine of the
Lord: the Decalog, the Creed, the Prayer, and the Sacraments. Such
children ought also to be admitted to the Table that they may be
partakers" [of the Lord's Supper]. (W. 30, 1, 233.) In his sermon of
December 19, 1528, we read: "Hence, you parents and heads of families,
invite your subordinates to this Sacrament, and we shall demand an
account of you if you neglect it. If you will not go yourselves, let the
young go; we are much concerned about them. When they come, we shall
learn, by examining them how you instruct them in the Word as
prescribed. Hence, do come more frequently to the Sacrament, and also
admonish your children to do so when they have reached the age of
discretion. For in this way we want to learn who are Christians, and who
not. If you will not do so, we shall speak to you on the subject. For
even though you older people insist on going to the devil, we shall
still inquire about your children. Necessity: because sin, the devil,
and death are ever present. Benefit: because the remission of sins and
the Holy Spirit are received." (121f.) The tender age at which the young
were held to partake of the Lord's Supper appears from Bugenhagen's
preface to the Danish edition of the Enchiridion of 1538, where he says
"that after this confession is made, also the little children of about
eight years or less should be admitted to the table of Him who says:
'Suffer the little children to come unto Me,'" (433.) The conjecture,
therefore, that the tables of Confession and the Sacraments were not
intended for children, but specifically for adults, is without
foundation. In all its parts the Small Catechism was intended to serve
the children.

When the first table appeared, it bore the superscription: "The Ten
Commandments, as _the head of the family_ should teach them in a simple
way to his household." Similar to this were the titles of the remaining
charts. And these superscriptions were permitted to stand when Luther
published the Enchiridion in book form. The book edition, therefore, as
well as the chart edition, was to render services also to parents, who
were to take upon themselves a large part of the work in teaching the
young. But how were they to do it, in view of the fact that many of them
did not know the Catechism themselves? This had occurred also to Luther.
He realized that, besides the Large Catechism, parents were in need of a
text-book containing questions and answers, adapted for catechizing the
children on the meaning of each part of the Catechism. This, too, was
the reason why the Small Catechism was rapidly completed before the
Large, which had been begun first. Luther intended parents to use it
first of all for their own instruction and edification, but also for the
purpose of enabling them to discharge their duty by their children and

105. Small Catechism Intended Also for Pastors.

That Luther intended his Small Catechism as a help also for pastors was,
in so many words, stated on the title-page of the first book edition.
For, surprising as it may seem, here he mentions neither the parents nor
the children, but solely the "ordinary pastors and preachers." The
Preface also is addressed to "all faithful, pious pastors and
preachers," and it shows in detail how they were to make use of the
book. Evidently, then, the book edition was intended to render special
services also to preachers. The reason, however, was not, as has been
surmised, because it embodied the booklet on Marriage (the booklet on
Baptism was added in the second edition); for the Preface, which is
addressed to the preachers, does not even mention it. The pastors,
moreover, were especially designated on the title-page as the recipients
of the Enchiridion, inasmuch as they were to employ it in their
religious instruction and catechetical sermons, in order to imbue the
young with its contents. The expression "ordinary pastors and preachers"
referred primarily to the plain preachers in the villages, where no
properly regulated school system existed, and where, at best, the sexton
might assist the pastor in seeing to it that the Catechism was
memorized. Albrecht: "When Luther prepared both Catechisms at the same
time and with reference to each other, he evidently desired their
simultaneous use, especially on the part of the plain pastors, who in
the Small Catechism possessed the leading thoughts which were to be
memorized, and in the Large Catechism their clear and popular
explanation." (W. 30, 1, 548.)

Luther's intention was to make the Small Catechism the basis of
instruction in the church as well as in the homes; for uniform
instruction was required to insure results. Having, therefore, placed
the Catechism into the hands of the parents, Luther could but urge that
it be introduced in the churches, too. He also showed them how to use
it. On June 11, 1529, for instance, he expounded the First Article after
he had read the text and the explanation of the Small Catechism. (549.)
This the pastors were to imitate, a plan which was also carried out. The
charts were suspended in the churches; the people and children were wont
to bring the book edition with them to church; the preachers read the
text, expounded it, and had it recited. The Schoenewald Church Order
prescribed that the pastor "first pronounce for the people" the text of
the chief parts, and then expound it as on Luther's charts. (549.)

106. A Book Also for Schools and Teachers.

When planning and writing his Small Catechism, Luther self-evidently did
not overlook the schools and the schoolteachers. The first booklet of
the charts for the Latin schools of the Middle Ages contained the abc;
the second, the first reading-material, _viz._, the Paternoster, Ave
Maria, and the Credo; the third, the Benedicite, Gratias, and similar
prayers. Albrecht writes: "We may surmise that Luther, when composing
the German tables and combining them in a book, had in mind the old
chart-booklets. This view is supported by the fact that in it he
embodied the prayers, the Benedicite and Gratias, and probably also by
the title Enchiridion, which, besides the titles 'Handbooklet' or 'The
Children's Handbooklet' was applied to such elementary books." (W. 30,
1, 546.) In the _Instruction for the Visitors_ we read: "A certain day,
either Saturday or Wednesday, shall be set aside for imparting to the
children Christian instruction. ... Hereupon the schoolteacher shall
simply and correctly expound at one time the Lord's Prayer, at another
the Creed, at another the Ten Commandments, etc." (W. 26, 238.) In these
schools Luther's Small Catechism served as text-book. From 1529 until
the beginning of the eighteenth century Sauermann's Latin translation
(_Parvus Catechismus pro Pueris in Schola_) was employed in the Latin
schools of Saxony. In the German schools the German Enchiridion was used
as the First Reader. Hence, the Marburg reprint of the first Wittenberg
edition of the Catechism begins with the alphabet, and makes it a point
to mention this fact on its title-page.

Down to the present day no other book has become and remained a
schoolbook for religious instruction to such an extent as Luther's Small
Catechism. And rightly so; for even Bible History must be regarded as
subordinate to it. The assertion of modern educators that instruction in
Bible History must precede instruction in Luther's Catechism rests on
the false assumption that Luther's Catechism teaches doctrines only. But
the truth is that it contains all the essential facts of salvation as
well, though in briefest form, as appears particularly from the Second
Article, which enumerates historical facts only. The Small Catechism is
"the Laymen's Bible, _der Laien Biblia,_" as Luther called it in a
sermon of September 14, 1528, an expression adopted also by the Formula
of Concord. (777, 5.) Luther's Enchiridion presents both the facts of
salvation and their divine interpretation. The picture for which the
Small Catechism furnishes the frame is Christ, the historical Christ, as
glorified by the Holy Spirit particularly in the writings of the Apostle
Paul. In the Lutheran Church the Small Catechism, therefore, deserves to
be and always to remain what it became from the first moment of its
publication: the book of religious instruction for home, school, and
church; for parents, children, teachers, and preachers, just as Luther
had planned and desired.

107. Titles of Large Catechism.

"_Deutsche Katechismus,_ German Catechism," was the title under which
the Large Catechism first appeared, and which Luther never changed. In
the Preface to the Small Catechism he used the expression "Large
Catechism," having in mind his own Catechism, though not exclusively, as
the context shows. (534, 17.) Yet this was the natural title since the
shorter Catechism was from the beginning known as the "Small Catechism."
And before long it was universally in vogue. The Church Order for
Brueck, of 1530, designates the Large Catechism as "the Long Catechism."
In the catalog of his writings of 1533, which Luther prefaced, but did
not compile, it is called "Large Catechism, _Catechismus Gross._"
Likewise in the _Corpus Doctrinae Pomeranicum._ The Articles of the
Visitors in Meiszen, 1533, first employed the designation "The Large and
Small Catechisms." The Church Order for Gera of the same year also
distinguishes: "The Large Catechism and the Small Catechism." The
Eisfeld Order of 1554 distinguishes: "The Small Catechism of Luther" and
"The Large Catechism of Luther." In his treatise on the Large Catechism
of 1541, Spangenberg first employed the new form as a title: "The Large
Catechism and Children's Instruction of Dr. M. Luther."

The title of the Low German edition of 1541 runs: "De Grote Katechismus
Duedesch." The Latin translation by Obsopoeus of 1544 is entitled
"Catechismus Maior." The Index of the Wittenberg complete edition of
Luther's Works of 1553 has "Der grosse Katechismus," while the Catechism
itself still bears the original title, "Deutscher Katechismus." The Jena
edition of 1556 also has the original title, but paraphrases in the
Index: "_Zweierlei Vorrede, gross und klein, D. M. L. auf den
Katechismum, von ihm gepredigt Anno 1529._ Two Prefaces, large and
small, of Dr. M. L. to the Catechism, preached by him in the year 1529."
Since 1570, the _Corpora Doctrinae_ give the title, "The Large
Catechism, German. _Der Grosse Katechismus, deutsch._" So also the Book
of Concord of 1580. In the Leipzig edition and in Walch's the word
"deutsch" is omitted. (W. 30, 1, 474f.)

"German Catechism," corresponding to the title "German Mass," means
German preaching for children, German instruction in the fundamental
doctrines of Christianity. Luther wrote "German Mass" in order to
distinguish it from the Latin, which was retained for many years at
Wittenberg beside the German service (this is also what Wolfgang
Musculus meant when he reported in 1536 that in Wittenberg services were
conducted predominantly in papistic fashion, _ad morem papisticum_). So
also "German Catechism" is in contrast to the Latin instruction in the
churches and especially in the schools. Concerning the latter we read,
_e.g._, in the instruction of the visitors: "The boys shall also be
induced to speak Latin, and the schoolteachers shall, as far as
possible, speak nothing but Latin with them." (26, 240.) Ever since the
early part of the Middle Ages the Latin Credo, Paternoster, etc., had
been regarded and memorized as sacred formulas, the vernacular being
permitted only rarely, and reluctantly at that. Also in the Lutheran
Church the Latin language was not immediately abolished. A number of
Evangelical catechisms, antedating Luther's, were written in, and
presuppose the use of, the Latin language, for example, Melanchthon's
_Enchiridion,_ Urerius's _Paedagogia,_ Agricola's _Elementa Pietatis,_
etc. The Brunswick Liturgy of 1528, drafted by Bugenhagen, prescribed
that on Saturday evening and early on Sunday morning the chief parts of
the Catechism be read in Latin in the churches "on both galleries,
slowly, without chanting (_sine tono_), alternately (_ummeschicht_)."
The Wittenberg Liturgy provided: "Before the early sermon on Sundays or
on festival-days the boys in the choir, on both sides, shall read the
entire Catechism in Latin, verse by verse, without ornamental tone
(_sine tono distincto_)." (477.) Accordingly, when Luther began to
preach on the chief parts in German, he was said to conduct "German
Catechism." And since German services with German instruction were
instituted by Luther in the interest of the unlearned and such as were
unable to attend the Latin schools, the term "German Catechism" was
equivalent to popular instruction in religion. That Luther's Catechism,
also in point of racy language, was German to the core, appears from the
frequent use of German words and expressions which, in part, have since
become obsolete. (Mueller, _Symb. Buecher,_ 857--860.)

108. Editions of Large Catechism.

The first edition (quarto) of the Large Catechism, of which Roerer
forwarded copies on April 23, 1529, contains, as text, the Commandments,
the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the words of institution of the
Sacraments. The text is preceded by a Brief Preface, which, however,
Luther, considering it a part of the Catechism, did not designate and
superscribe as such. Some instructions and admonitions are inserted
between the Catechism-text, which is followed by the detailed
explanation. Such is the form in which the Large Catechism first
appeared, and which, in the main, it also retained. The second edition
(also in quarto and from the year 1529) reveals numerous textual
corrections and adds a longer section to the Lord's Prayer, _viz._,
paragraphs 9 to 11: "at the risk of God's wrath.... seek His grace."
(699.) This addition, though not found in the German Book of Concord of
1580, was received into the official Latin Concordia of 1584.
Furthermore, the second edition of 1529 adds the "Short Admonition to
Confession;" hence the sub-title: "Increased by a New Instruction and
Admonition to Confession." This addition, however, was embodied in
neither the German nor the Latin Concordia. In the Seventh Commandment
the second edition of 1529 omits the words "with whom [arch-thieves]
lords and princes keep company" (644, 230), which, according to
Albrecht, was due to a timid proof-reader. Numerous marginal notes,
briefly summarizing the contents, were also added to this edition and
retained in the Latin Concordia of 1584. Furthermore, it contained 24
woodcuts, the first three of which were already used in Melanchthon's
fragmentary Catechism sermons of 1528, for which book probably also the
remaining cuts were originally intended. Albrecht remarks: "Let it
remain undecided whether the cuts, which Melanchthon probably was first
to select for his catechism sermons of 1528, were received into the
edition of 1529 (which Luther corrected) upon a suggestion of the
printer Rhau, or Bugenhagen, or Luther himself." (W. 30, 1, 493.)

Two Latin as well as a Low German translation (by Bugenhagen) also
appeared in 1529. The Low German edition, printed by Rhau, seems to have
paved the way in using the aforementioned pictures. Of the Latin
translations, one was prepared by Lonicer and printed at Marburg, while
the other, by Vicentius Obsopoeus, rector of the school at Ansbach, was
printed at Hagenau. After making some changes, which were not always
improvements, Selneccer embodied the latter in the Latin Concordia,
adding the longer Preface from the Frankfurt edition of 1544. In the
Large Catechism this new Preface is found for the first time in Rhau's
quarto edition of 1530. Literal allusions to Luther's letter of June 30,
1530, to J. Jonas have given rise to the assumption that it was written
at Castle Coburg. (Enders, 8, 47. 37.) In the Jena edition of Luther's
Works, the Dresden edition of the Book of Concord of 1580, the Magdeburg
edition of 1580, the Heidelberg folio edition of 1582, and the Latin
edition of 1580, this longer Preface follows the shorter. However, since
the shorter Preface forms part of the Catechism itself, the longer
Preface ought to precede it, as is the case in the official Latin
Concordia of 1584. In the Low German edition of 1531 Bugenhagen defends
the expressions, criticized by some: I believe "an Gott, an Christum" in
the Low German edition of 1529, instead of "in Gott, in Christum." (W.
30, 1, 493.) In Rhau's edition of 1532 and 1535 the morning and evening
prayers are added, probably only as fillers. The changes in Rhau's
edition of 1538, styling itself, "newly corrected and improved," consist
in linguistic improvements and some additions and omissions. Albrecht
believes that most, but not all, of these changes were made by Luther
himself, and that the omissions are mostly due to inadvertence.

109. Title of Small Catechism.

Luther seems to have published the chart catechism of January, 1529,
without any special title, though Roerer, from the very first, calls it
a catechism. In the first Wittenberg book edition, however, one finds
inserted, between the Preface and the Decalog, the superscription: "_Ein
kleiner Katechismus oder christliche Zucht._ A Small Catechism or
Christian Discipline." This may have been the title of the charts, since
it would hardly have been introduced for the book edition, where it was
entirely superfluous, the title-page designating it as "The Small
Catechism for the Ordinary Pastors and Preachers." Likewise it cannot be
proved that the opening word on the title-page of this first book
edition was "Enchiridion," since this edition has disappeared without a
trace, and the only remaining direct reprint does not contain the word
"Enchiridion." All subsequent editions however, have it.

The word "Enchiridion" is already found in the writings of Augustine,
and later became common. In his Glossary, Du Cange remarks: "This name
[Enchiridion] St. Augustine gave to a most excellent little work on
faith, hope, and charity, which could easily be carried in the hand, or,
rather, ought continually to be so carried, since it contained the
things most necessary for salvation." (3, 265.) The Erfurt
_Hymn-Booklet_ of 1524 was called "Enchiridion or Handbooklet, very
profitable for every Christian to have with him for constant use and
meditation." In 1531 Luther praised the Psalter, saying: "It may be
called a little Bible, wherein all that is found in the entire Bible is
most beautifully and briefly summed up and has been made and prepared
to be a splendid Enchiridion, or Handbook." (E. 63, 28.) The
_Instruction for Visitors_ calls the primer "the handbooklet of the
children, containing the alphabet, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and
other prayers." In 1523 Melanchthon had published such a book, entitled
"Enchiridion." Thus Enchiridion denotes a book of pithy brevity, an
elementary book. The various Church Orders employ the word in a similar
sense. (W. 30, 1, 540.)

110. Editions of Small Catechism.

At Wittenberg, George Rhau printed the Large Catechism and Michel
Schirlentz the Small Catechism (the chart impressions of which must be
considered the first edition). In the Preface to the Small Catechism,
Luther speaks of "these tables" and "the form of these tables," thus
referring to the chief parts, which were already printed on placards.
However, since "table" also denotes a list, the term could be applied
also to the chief parts in book form. It was nothing new to employ
tables ("_Zeddeln," i.e._, placards printed on one side) in order to
spread the parts of the Catechism in churches, homes, and schools. In
1518 Luther published his "Ten Commandments with a brief exposition of
their fulfilment and transgression," on placards. Of the charts of the
Small Catechism only a Low German copy has as yet been discovered. It
contains Luther's Morning and Evening Prayers, a reduced reproduction of
which is found in the Weimar Edition of Luther's Works. (30, 1, 241.)
The book editions soon took their place beside the charts. It seems (but
here the traces are rather indefinable) that the first three tables were
summed up into a booklet as early as January or February, 1529. At
Hamburg, Bugenhagen published the charts, which he had received till
then, as a booklet, in Low German. It contained the five chief parts and
the Benedicite and Gratias. Shortly after the first Wittenberg book
edition had reached him Bugenhagen translated the Preface and had it
printed as a supplement.

Shortly after the completion of the Large Catechism Luther made
arrangements to have the Small Catechism appear in book form. May 16
Roerer sent two copies of the _Catechismus Minor._ But, as stated above,
all copies of this edition were completely used up. The edition has been
preserved in three reprints only, two of which appeared at Erfurt and
one at Marburg. Th. Harnack published the one Erfurt and the Marburg
reprint, and H. Hartung the other Erfurt reprint in separate facsimile
editions. Evidently these reprints appeared before the second
Wittenberg edition of June, 1529, was known at Erfurt and Marburg. In
estimating their value, however, modern scholars are not agreed as to
whether they represent three direct or one direct and two indirect
reprints. Albrecht is of the opinion that only one of the three may be
looked upon as a direct reprint. Judging from these reprints, the
original edition was entitled: "_Der kleine Katechismus fuer die
gemeinen Pfarrherrn und Prediger._ The Small Catechism for Ordinary
Pastors and Preachers." Aside from the five chief parts, it contained
the Preface, the Morning and Evening Prayers, the Table of Duties, and
the Marriage Booklet. On the other hand, these reprints omit not only
the word Enchiridion, but also the question, "How can bodily eating and
drinking do such great things?" together with its answer. Now, in case
all three should be direct reprints, the omitted question and answer
evidently were not contained in the first Wittenberg edition either. On
the other hand, if only one of them is a direct reprint, the mistake
must be charged to the original Wittenberg impression or to the reprint.
That the omission is an error, probably due to the printer, appears from
the fact that the omitted question and answer were already found on the
charts; for the Hamburg book edition of the charts in Low German has
them, as also Stifel's written copies of the charts. (W. 30, 1, 573.)

Of the Wittenberg editions which followed the _editio princeps,_ those
of 1529, 1531, and 1542 deserve special mention. The first appeared
under the title: "Enchiridion. The Small Catechism for the Ordinary
Pastors and Preachers, enlarged and improved." On the 13th of June this
edition was completed, for Roerer reports on this date: "Parvus
Catechismus sub iucudem iam tertio revocatus est et in ista postrema
editione adauctus." (Kolde _l.c._, 60.) Roerer designates this edition
as the third, probably because two imprints had been made of the _editio
princeps._ According to a defective copy, the only one preserved, this
edition adds to the contents of the _editio princeps_ the word
Enchiridion in the title, the Booklet of Baptism, A Brief Form of
Confessing to the Priest, for the Simple, and the Litany. The fifth
chief part has the question: "How can bodily eating and drinking do such
great things?" In the Lord's Prayer, however, the explanation of the
introduction is still lacking. This emended edition of 1529 furthermore
had the pictures, for the first time as it seems. The booklets on
Marriage and Baptism were retained, as additions, in all editions of the
Small Catechism published during the life of Luther, and in many later
editions as well. As yet, however, it has not been proved directly that
such was intended and arranged for by Luther himself.

Also in the succeeding editions Luther made various material and
linguistic changes. In the edition of 1531 he omitted the Litany, and
for the "Short Form of Confession" he substituted an instruction in
confession, which he inserted between the fourth and fifth chief parts,
under the caption, "How the Unlearned Shall be Taught to Confess." The
Lord's Prayer was complemented by the addition of the Introduction and
its explanation, and the number of cuts was increased to 23. This
edition of 1531, of which but one copy (found in the Bodleiana of
Oxford) is in existence, shows essentially the form in which the
Enchiridion was henceforth regularly printed during and after Luther's
life. (W. 30, 1, 608.) The editions of 1537 reveal several changes in
language, especially in the Bible-verses, which are made to conform to
Luther's translation. In the edition of 1542 the promise of the Fourth
Commandment appears for the first time, and the Table of Duties is
expanded. The Bible-verses referring to the relation of congregations to
their pastors were added, and the verses setting forth the relation of
subjects to their government were considerably augmented. Hence the
title: "Newly revised and prepared, _aufs neue uebersehen und
zugerichtet._" Probably the last edition to appear during Luther's life
was the one of 1543, which, however, was essentially a reprint of the
edition of 1542.

Knaake declared that all the editions which we possess "must be
attributed to the enterprise of the book dealers," and that one cannot
speak of a direct influence of Luther on any of these editions. In
opposition to this extreme skepticism, Albrecht points out that, for
instance, the insertion of the explanation of the Introduction to the
Lord's Prayer and the new form of confession, as well as its insertion
between Baptism and the Lord's Supper, could not have taken place
"without the direct cooperation of Luther."

111. Translations and Elaborations of Small Catechism.

Two of the Latin translations of the Small Catechism date back to 1529.
The first was inserted in the _Enchiridion Piarum Precationum,_ the
Latin translation of Luther's _Prayer-Booklet,_ which appeared toward
the end of August, 1529. Roerer met with great difficulties in editing
the book. August, 1529, he wrote: "You may not believe me if I tell you
how much trouble I am having with the Latin _Prayer-Booklet_ which is
now being printed. Somebody else, it is true, translated it from German
into Latin, but I spent much more labor in this work than he did." (W.
30, 1, 588.) We do not know who the translator was to whom Roerer
refers. It certainly was not Lonicer, the versatile Humanist of Marburg
who at that time had completed the Large Catechism with a Preface dated
May 15, 1529. Kawerau surmises that it was probably _G. Major._
Evidently Luther himself had nothing to do with this translation. This
Catechism is entitled: _Simplicissima et Brevissima Catechismi
Expositio._ Almost throughout the question form was abandoned. In 1532 a
revised form of this translation appeared, entitled: _Nova Catechismi
Brevioris Translatio._ From these facts the theory (advocated also by v.
Zezschwitz and Knaake) has been spun that the Small Catechism sprang
from a still shorter one, which was not throughout cast in questions and
answers, and offered texts as well as explanations in a briefer form.
This would necessitate the further inference that the Preface to the
Small Catechism was originally written in Latin. All of these
suppositions, however, founder on the fact that the charts as we have
them in the handwriting of Stifel are in the form of questions and
answers. The _Prayer-Booklet_ discarded the form of questions and
answers, because its object was merely to reproduce the contents of
Luther's Catechism for such as were unacquainted with German.

The second Latin translation of 1529 was furnished by John Sauermann,
not (as v. Zezschwitz and Cohrs, 1901, in Herzog's _R. E._, 10, 135,
assume) the Canon of Breslau, who died 1510, but probably Johannes
Sauermann of Bambergen, who matriculated at Wittenberg in the winter
semester of 1518. (W. 30, 1, 601.) Sauermann's translation was intended
as a school edition of the Small Catechism. First came the alphabet,
then followed the texts: Decalog, Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Baptism, the
Lord's Supper. Luther's Preface, the Litany, and the Booklets of
Marriage and Baptism were omitted as not adapted for school use. The
chapter on Confession, from the second Wittenberg book edition was
inserted between the fourth and fifth chief parts. The note to the
Benedicite was put into the text with the superscription "Scholion"
(instead of the incorrect "Scholia" of the German edition, found also in
the Book of Concord). "Paedagogus" was substituted for "head of the
family (_Hausvater_)." The word "Haustafel" remained untranslated. The
words of the Third Petition, "so uns den Namen Gottes nicht heiligen und
sein Reich nicht kommen lassen wollen," are rendered: "quae nobis nomen
Dei non _sanctificent_ regnumque eius ad nos pervenire non sinant."

In the Preface, dated September 19, 1529, "Johannes Sauromannus" writes:
"Every one is of the opinion that it is clearly the best thing from
early youth carefully and diligently to instruct the boys in the
principles of Christian piety. And since I believe that of all the
elementary books of the theologians of this age none are better adapted
for this purpose than those of Dr. Martin Luther, I have rendered into
Latin the booklet of this man which is called the Small Catechism,
hoping that it might be given to the boys to be learned as soon as they
enter the Latin school." At the same time Sauermann declares that his
translation was published "by the advice and order (_consilio ac iussu_)
of the author [Luther] himself." (30, 1, 673.) One cannot doubt,
therefore, that Sauermann's translation received Luther's approval. And
being in entire conformity with the _Instruction for Visitors,_ of 1528,
for the Latin city schools, the book was soon in general use. In 1556
Michael Neander speaks of it as "the common Latin version, hitherto
used in all schools." (603.) The Latin Concordia of 1584 contains
Sauermann's version, essentially, though not literally. The Preface,
which Sauermann had not translated, is taken over from the
_Prayer-Booklet._ The part On Confession was newly translated from the
German edition of the Catechism of 1531. The textual changes which were
made in Sauermann's translation for the Concordia of 1584 "show that he
was careful and usually felicitous, and are partly to be explained as
combinations of the first and second Latin translations." (604.)

When, in 1539, Justus Jonas translated the Nuernberg _Sermons for
Children,_ he made a third Latin translation of the Small Catechism. He
calls it "this my Latin translation, not carefully finished indeed, but
nevertheless rendered in good faith." (627.) This Latin text obtained
special importance since it was immediately done into English, Polish,
and Icelandic. In 1560 Job Magdeburg furnished a fourth Latin version.
Concerning the translations into Greek, Hebrew, and other languages see
Weimar Edition of Luther's Complete Works (10, 1, 718f.)

Among the earliest elaborations of the Small Catechism was the Catechism
of Justus Menius, 1532, and the Nuernberg _Children's Sermons_ of 1533.
Both exploit Luther's explanations without mentioning his name. At the
same time some changing, abbreviating, polishing, etc., was done, as
Luther's text was considered difficult to memorize. Albrecht says of
Menius's emendations: "Some of his formal changes are not bad; most of
them, however are unnecessary. The entire book finally serves the
purpose of bringing to light the surpassing merit of the real
Luther-Catechism." (617.) The same verdict will probably be passed on
all the substitute catechisms which have hitherto appeared. John
Spangenberg's Small Catechism of 1541, which was widely used, is, as he
himself says, composed "from the Catechism of our beloved father, Dr.
Martin, and those of others." It contains Luther's Catechism mainly as
changed by Menius. The Nuernberg _Children's Sermons,_ which embodied
also the pictures of Luther's Catechism and received a wide circulation,
were written by Osiander and Sleupner in 1532, and printed at Nuernberg,
1533. They contain almost complete the five chief parts of Luther's
Small Catechism as concluding sentences of the individual sermons, but
in original minting, with abbreviations, additions, and other changes,
which, however, are not nearly as marked as those of Menius. These
changes were also made to facilitate memorizing. Between Baptism and
the Lord's Supper was found the doctrinal part on the Office of the
Keys, which in this or a similar form was, after Luther's death,
appended to or inserted in, the Small Catechism as the sixth or fifth
chief part, respectively.

112. The Part "Of Confession."

The Small Catechism did not spring from Luther's mind finished and
complete at one sitting. Originally he considered the first three chief
parts as constituting the Catechism. Before long, however, he added the
parts of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. These five parts are for the
first time mentioned in the _German Order of Worship,_ and printed
together in the Booklet for Laymen and Children. The Introduction to the
Large Catechism also offers no more. The chart and book editions added
as real parts of the Catechism (the Booklets of Marriage and of Baptism
cannot be viewed as such) the Benedicite and Gratias, the Morning and
Evening Prayers, the Table of Duties, and Confession. It is the last of
these parts which played a peculiar role in the history of the Small
Catechism. Albrecht writes: "In the textual history of the Small
Catechism, Confession (besides the Table of Duties) is the most restless
and movable part. In the Low German editions since 1531 and 1534 it is
found after the Lord's Supper as a sort of sixth chief part. In
individual instances it is entirely omitted. On the other hand, in
elaborations of the Catechism, notably in the Nuernberg
Catechism-sermons, it is supplanted by the Office of the Keys, and in
later prints also combined with it or otherwise recast." (W. 30, 1,

As for Luther, evidently, as soon as he began to work on the Catechism,
he planned to include also a part on Confession. Among the charts there
were already those which dealt with Confession. In fact, Luther must
have here treated this part at comparative length. For Roerer reports
that the price of the Confession charts was three pfennige, whereas the
price of the Sacrament charts was two pfennige. Yet nothing of
Confession was embodied in the first book edition of the Small
Catechism. The first edition also of the Large Catechism had no part
treating of Confession. But the second Wittenberg edition, of 1529
appeared "augmented with a new instruction and admonition concerning
Confession." Likewise the "augmented and improved" Small Catechism of
1529, superscribed, "Enchiridion," contained a "Short Form how the
Unlearned shall Confess to the Priest. _Eine kurze Weise zu beichten
fuer die Einfaeltigen, dem Priester._" This Form was not to serve the
pastor in admonishing, etc., but Christians when going to confession.
Possibly it was one of the charts which Roerer, March 16, mentioned as
novelties. The addition of this part was, no doubt, caused by Luther
himself. This is supported by the fact that Sauermann's translation,
which appeared by Luther's "advice and order," also contained it. And
while in the German book edition it was found in the Appendix, following
the Booklet on Baptism, Sauermann inserted it between Baptism and the
Lord's Supper with the superscription: "How schoolmasters ought in
simplest manner to teach their boys a brief form of confession. _Quo
pacto paedagogi suos pueros brevem confitendi rationem simplicissime
docere debeant._" Evidently this, too, was done with Luther's approval
(_auctoris consilio et iussu_). "Thus Luther at that time already," says
Albrecht, "selected this place for Confession and retained it later on,
when [1531] he furnished another form of confession for the Catechism
which to him seemed more appropriate." The gradual insertion of a new
chief part (of Confession and Absolution) between Baptism and the Lord's
Supper was therefore entirely according to Luther's mind; indeed, it had
virtually been carried out by him as early as 1529.

The original part Of Confession, however, was no catechetical and
doctrinal part in the proper sense of the word, but purely a liturgical
formula of Confession, even the Absolution being omitted. It merely
contained two confessions similar to the forms found in the Book of
Concord, page 552, sections 21 to 23. Hence Luther, in the edition of
1531, replaced it with a catechetico-liturgical form entitled, "How the
Unlearned Should be Taught to Confess." It is identical with the one
found in the Book of Concord of 1580, save only that the original
contained the words, "What is Confession? Answer," which are omitted in
the German Concordia. Luther placed the part Of Confession between
Baptism and the Lord's Supper, thereby actually making this the fifth
and the Lord's Supper the sixth chief part. And when later on (for in
Luther's editions the chief parts are not numbered) the figures were
added, Confession could but receive the number 5, and the Lord's Supper,
6. Thus, then, the sequence of the six parts, as found in the Book of
Concord, was, in a way, chosen by Luther himself.

113. Office of the Keys and Christian Questions.

The three questions on the Office of the Keys in the fifth chief part
form the most important and independent addition to Luther's Small
Catechism. However, they are not only in complete agreement with
Luther's doctrine of Absolution, but, in substance, also contained in
what he himself offered in the part Of Confession. For what Luther says
in paragraphs 26 to 28 in a liturgical form is expressed and explained
in the three questions on the Office of the Keys in a doctrinal and
catechetical form. Not being formulated by Luther, however, they were
not received into the Book of Concord. In the Nuernberg _Text-Booklet_
of 1531 they are placed before Baptism. Thence they were taken over into
the Nuernberg _Children's Sermons_ of 1533 as a substitute for Luther's
form of Confession. Andrew Osiander, in the draft of his Church Order of
1531, in the article on "Catechism and the Instruction of Children,"
added as sixth to the five chief parts: "Of the Keys of the Church, or
the Power to Bind and to Unbind from Sins," quoting as Bible-verse the
passage: "The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples," etc. Brenz, though
not, as frequently assumed, the author of the Nuernberg Catechism, also
contributed toward introducing and popularizing this part of the
Catechism. In his Questions of 1535 and 1536, which appeared in the
Appendix to the Latin translation of Luther's Large Catechism, he
offered an original treatment to the Keys of Heaven, as the sixth chief
part, on the basis of Matt. 16, 19; Luke 19, 16; John 20, 22f.
Thirty-six years after the first publication of Luther's Catechisms,
Mathesius, in his _Sermons on the Life of Luther,_ also speaks of six
chief parts of catechetical instruction; but he enumerates Absolution as
the part between Baptism and the Lord's Supper, hence as the fifth chief
part of the Catechism.

As to the Christian Questions for Those Who Intend to Go to the
Sacrament, it was claimed very early that Luther was the author. They
were first published in 1549, and a number of separate impressions
followed. After 1558 they are usually found in the appendix to the Small
Catechism. The Note, "These questions and answers," etc., designating
Luther as the author, first appeared in an edition of 1551. Together
with this note, the Questions are found in an undated Wittenberg edition
of the Small Catechism, which appeared about 1560, containing pictures
dated 1551. Referring to this edition, the Wittenberg proof-reader,
Christopher Walther, in a polemical writing (1566) against Aurifaber,
asserted that the Questions were not written by Luther, but by John Lang
of Erfurt (+ 1548). The question at issue has not yet been decided. For
while the contents of the Questions reproduce, from beginning to end,
Luther's thoughts, and the last answers are almost literally taken from
the Large Catechism, we have no evidence that Luther compiled them; but,
on the other hand, also no convincing proof against this. Claus Harms
and Koellner asserted that Luther is the author of the Questions, while
Kliefoth and Loehe declared it as probable.--The Introduction to the Ten
Commandments, "I the Lord, thy God," and the Doxology, at the close of
the Lord's Prayer, were added after Luther's death.

114. The Table of Duties--Haustafel.

The eighth and last chart of the Catechism differed from the preceding
ones in that it was superscribed: "Table of Duties (Haustafel),
Consisting of Certain Passages of Scripture for Various Holy Orders and
Stations. Whereby These are to be Admonished, as by a Special Lesson,
Regarding Their Office and Service." The exact time when Luther drew up
this Table is not known. The latest date to which its composition can be
assigned is the end of April or the beginning of May, 1529. It may,
however, be questioned whether it was published at all as a placard. The
two groups of passages: "What the Hearers Owe to Their Pastors," and:
"What Subjects Owe to Their Government," are probably not from Luther.
Following are the grounds supporting this view: 1. They are not
contained in the German editions but appeared for the first time in the
Latin translation. 2. Their superscriptions differ in form from those of
the other groups. 3. They adduce quite a number of Bible-verses, and
repeat some already quoted, _e.g._, 1 Tim. 2, 1, Rom. 13, 1. The German
Book of Concord omitted these passages, while the Latin Concordia of
1580 and 1584 embodied them. Albrecht writes: "The Table of Duties is an
original part of the Catechism, bearing a true Lutheran stamp. But it
was old material worked over, as is the case almost throughout the Small
Catechism." "The oft-repeated assertion, however, that the Table of
Duties was borrowed from the catechism of the Waldensians or Bohemian
Brethren, is not correct. For this Table is not found in the Catechism
of the Brethren of 1522, with which Luther was acquainted, but first in
Gyrick's Catechism of 1554, in which Lutheran material is embodied also
in other places." (W. 30, 1, 645.)

The confession books of the Middle Ages, however, which classified sins
according to the social estates, and especially John Gerson's tract (_De
Modo Vivendi Omnium Fidelium_ reprinted at Wittenberg 1513), which
treated of the offices of all sorts of lay-people in every station of
life, may have prompted Luther to draw up this Table. But, says
Albrecht, "it certainly grew under his hand into something new and
characteristic. The old material is thoroughly shortened, sifted,
supplemented, newly arranged, recast. While Gerson's tract throughout
bears the stamp of the Middle Ages, Luther's Table of Duties, with its
appeal to the Scriptures alone, its knowledge of what is a 'holy
estate,' its teaching that, as divine ordinances, civil government and
the household (when embraced by the common order of Christian love) are
equally as holy as the priesthood, reveals the characteristic marks of
the Reformer's new ideal of life, which, rooting in his faith, and
opposed to the hierarchy and monkery of the Middle Ages, as well as to
the fanaticism of the Anabaptists, became of far-reaching importance for
the entire moral thought of the succeeding centuries." (647.)

Grimm's Lexicon defines "Haustafel" as "_der Abschnitt des Katechismus,
der ueber die Pflichten des Hausstandes handelt,_ that section of the
Catechism which treats of the duties of the household." This verbal
definition, suggested by the term, is too narrow, since Luther's
"Haustafel" is designed "for various holy orders and estates,"
magistrates and pastors included. Still, the term is not on this account
inappropriate. Table (_Tafel, tabula_) signifies in general a roster, a
list, or index of leading points, with or without reference to the chart
form. And such a table suspended in the home and employed in the
instruction of the home congregation, is properly termed "Haustafel."
Agreeably to this, Andreas Fabricius, in 1569, called the "Haustafel" a
domestic table of works, _tabula operum domestica._ Daniel Kauzmann, in
his _Handbook_ (16 sermons on the Catechism) of 1569, says: "It is
called 'Haustafel' of the Christians because every Christian should
daily view it and call to mind therefrom his calling, as from a table
which portrays and presents to every one what pertains to him. It
teaches all the people who may be in a house what each one ought to do
or to leave undone in his calling." (642.)

In his _Catechismus Lutheri_ of 1600 Polycarp Leyser offers the
following explanation: "Why are these passages called a table? Beyond
doubt this is due to the fact that, from of old, good ordinances have
been written and graven on tables. So did God, who prescribed His Law to
the Jews in ten commandments on two tables. Similarly Solon wrote the
laws of Athens on tables. The Romans also had their law of twelve tables
brought from Athens. And so, when the government to-day issues certain
commands, it is customary to suspend them on tables, as also princes and
lords suspend on tables their court rules. But why is it called
'Haustafel' when it also treats of preachers and the government? The
reason for this is given by St. Paul, I Tim. 3, where he calls the
Church a house of the living God. For as the housefather in a large
house summons his servants and prescribes to each one what he is to do,
so God is also wont to call into certain stations those who have been
received into His house by Holy Baptism, and to prescribe to them in
this table how each one in his calling shall conduct himself." (641.)

Concerning the purpose of the Table of Duties, Albrecht remarks: "If I
am correct, Luther, by these additions, would especially inculcate that
Christianity, the essence of which is set forth in the preceding chief
parts, must daily be practised." That is certainly correct, for the
Catechism must not only be learned, but lived. And the Table of Duties
emphasizes the great truth, brought to light again by Luther, that
Christianity does not consist in any peculiar form of life; as Romish
priests, monks, and nuns held, who separated themselves from the world
outwardly, but that it is essentially faith of the heart, which,
however, is not to flee into cloisters and solitudes but courageously
and cheerfully to plunge into practical life with its natural forms and
relations as ordained by Creation, there to be tried as well as
glorified. In his _Admonition to the Clergy,_ 1530, Luther says:
"Furthermore, by such abominable doctrine all truly good works which God
appointed and ordained were despised and utterly set at naught [by the
Papists]. For instance, lord, subject, father, mother, son, daughter,
servant, maid were not regarded as good works, but were called
worldliness, dangerous estates, and lost works." (W. 30, 2, 291.) The
Table of Duties is a protest against such perverted views. For here
Luther considers not only the calling of preachers and teachers, but
also all those of government and subjects, of fathers, mothers, and
children, of masters and servants, of mistresses and maids, of employees
and employers, as "holy orders and estates," in which a Christian may
live with a good conscience, and all of which the Catechism is to
permeate with its truths. "Out into the stream of life with the
Catechism you have learned!" Such, then, is the admonition which, in
particular, the Table of Duties adds to the preceding parts of the

115. Symbolical Authority of Catechisms.

The symbolical authority of Luther's Catechisms must be distinguished
from the practical use to which they were put in church, school, and
home. As to his doctrine, Luther knew it to be the pure truth of the
divine Word. Hence he could not but demand that every one acknowledge
it. Self-evidently this applies also to the doctrinal contents of the
Catechisms. Luther, however, did not insist that his Catechisms be made
the books of instruction in church, school, and home; he only desired
and counseled it. If for the purpose of instruction the form of his
Small Catechism did not suit any one, let him, said Luther, choose
another. In the Preface to the Small Catechism he declared: "Hence,
choose whatever form you think best, and adhere to it forever." Again,
"Take the form of these tables or some other short, fixed form of your
choice, and adhere to it without the change of a single syllable."
Self-evidently Luther is here not speaking of the doctrine of the
Catechism, but of the form to be used for instruction. And with respect
to the latter he makes no demands whatever. However, the contents of
these books and the name of the author sufficed to procure for them the
widest circulation and the most extensive use. Everywhere the doors of
churches, schools, and homes were opened to the writings of Luther.

The tables had hardly been published when catechism instruction already
generally was given according to Luther's Explanation. The church
regulations, first in Saxony, then also in other lands, provided that
Luther's Small Catechism be memorized word for word, and that preaching
be according to the Large Catechism. The Church Order of Henry the
Pious, 1539, declares: "There shall not be taught a different catechism
in every locality, but one and the same form, as presented by Dr. Martin
Luther at Wittenberg, shall be observed everywhere." In 1533 the
ministers of Allstaedt were ordered "to preach according to Luther's
Large Catechism." (Kolde, 63.) The authority of the Catechisms grew
during the controversies after Luther's death, when the faithful
Lutherans appealed to the Smalcald Articles and especially to Luther's
Catechisms. The Lueneburg Articles of 1561 designate them, together with
the Smalcald Articles, as the correct "explication and explanation" of
the true sense of the Augustana. The _Corpus Doctrinae Pomeranicum_ of
1564 declares that "the sum of Christian and evangelical doctrine is
purely and correctly contained in Luther's Catechisms." Their authority
as a genuinely Lutheran norm of doctrine increased when the Reformed of
Germany, in 1563, made the Heidelberg Catechism their particular

Like the Smalcald Articles, Luther's Catechisms achieved their
symbolical authority by themselves, without resolutions of princes
estates, and theologians. The Thorough Declaration of the Formula of
Concord is merely chronicling actual facts when it adopts the Catechisms
for this reason: "because they have been unanimously approved and
received by all churches adhering to the Augsburg Confession, and have
been publicly used in churches, schools, and homes, and, moreover,
because the Christian doctrine from God's Word is comprised in them in
the most correct and simple way, and, in like manner, is explained, as
far as necessary for simple laymen." (852, 8.) The Epitome adds: "And
because such matters concern also the laity and the salvation of their
souls, we also confess the Small and Large Catechisms of Dr. Luther as
they are included in Luther's works, as the Bible of the laity, wherein
everything is comprised which is treated at greater length in Holy
Scripture, and is necessary for a Christian man to know for his
salvation." (777, 5.)

116. Enemies and Friends of Small Catechism.

In recent times liberal German theologians, pastors, and teachers have
endeavored to dislodge Luther's Small Catechism from its position in
church, school, and home. As a rule, these attacks were made in the name
of pedagogy; the real cause, however, were their liberal dogmatical
views. The form was mentioned and assailed, but the contents were meant.
As a sample of this hostility we quote the pedagog, philologian, and
historian Dr. Ludwig Gurlitt (_Die Zukunft,_ Vol. 17, No. 6, p.222): "At
the beginning of the sixteenth century," he says, "a monk eloped from a
cloister and wrote a religious book of instruction for the German
children. At the time it was a bold innovation, the delight of all
freethinkers and men of progress, of all who desired to serve the
future. This book, which will soon celebrate its five-[four-]hundredth
anniversary, is still the chief book of instruction for German children.
True, its contents already are so antiquated that parents reject almost
every sentence of it for themselves; true, the man of today understands
its language only with difficulty--what of it, the children must gulp
down the moldy, musty food. How we would scoff and jeer if a similar
report were made about the school system of China! To this Lutheran
Catechism, which I would best like to see in state libraries only, are
added many antiquated hymns of mystical turgidity, which a simple youth,
even with the best will does not know how to use. All outlived! Faith in
the Bible owes its existence only to the tough power and law of inertia.
It is purely mechanical thinking and speaking which the schoolmaster
preaches to them and pounds into them. We continue thus because we are
too indolent to fight, or because we fear an enlightened people."

The best refutation of such and similar aspersions is a reference to the
enormous circulation which Luther's Small Catechism has enjoyed, to its
countless editions, translations, elaborations, and its universal use in
church, school, and home for four centuries. Thirty-seven years after
the publication of Luther's Catechisms, Mathesius wrote: "Praise God it
is said that in our times over one hundred thousand copies have been
printed and used in great numbers in all kinds of languages in foreign
lands and in all Latin and German schools." And since then, down to the
present day, millions and millions of hands have been stretched forth to
receive Luther's catechetical classic. While during the last four
centuries hundreds of catechisms have gone under, Luther's Enchiridion
is afloat to-day and is just as seaworthy as when it was first launched.
A person, however, endowed with an average measure of common sense will
hardly be able to believe that the entire Lutheran Church has, for four
centuries, been so stupid as would have been the case if men of Dr.
Gurlitt's stripe had spoken only half the truth in their criticisms.

Moreover, the number of detractors disappears in the great host of
friends who down to the present day have not tired of praising the
Catechisms, especially the Enchiridion. They admire its artistic and
perfect form; its harmonious grouping, as of the petals of a flower, the
melody and rhythm of its language, notably in the explanation of the
Second Article, its clarity, perspicuity, and popularity; its
simplicity, coupled with depth and richness of thought; the absence of
polemics and of theological terminology, etc. However, with all this and
many other things which have been and might be said in praise of the
Catechism, the feature which made it what it truly was, a Great Deed of
the Reformation, has not as yet been pointed out. Luther Paulinized,
Evangelicalized, the Catechism by properly setting forth in his
explanations the _finis historiae,_ the blessed meaning of the great
deeds of God, the doctrine of justificaiton. Indeed, also Luther's
Catechism is, in more than one way, conditioned by its times, but in its
kernel, in its doctrine, it contains, as Albrecht puts it, "timeless,
never-aging material. For in it pulsates the heartbeat of the primitive
Christian faith, as witnessed by the apostles, and experienced anew by
the Reformer." (648.) This, too, is the reason why Luther's Enchiridion
is, indeed, as G. v. Zezschwitz remarks, "a booklet which a theologian
never finishes learning, and a Christian never finishes living."

117. Evaluation of Small Catechism.

Luther himself reckoned his Catechisms among his most important books.
In his letter to Wolfgang Capito, July 9, 1537, he writes: "I am quite
cold and indifferent about arranging my books, for, incited by a
Saturnine hunger, I would much rather have them all devoured, _eo quod
Saturnina fame percitus magis cuperem eos omnes devoratos._ For none do
I acknowledge as really my books, except perhaps _De Servo Arbitrio_ and
the Catechism." (Enders, 11, 247.) Justus Jonas declares: "The Catechism
is but a small booklet, which can be purchased for six pfennige but six
thousand worlds could not pay for it." He believed that the Holy Ghost
inspired the blessed Luther to write it. Mathesius says "If in his
career Luther had produced and done no other good thing than to give his
two Catechisms to homes, schools, and pulpits, the entire world could
never sufficiently thank or repay him for it." J. Fr. Mayer: "_Tot res
quot verba. Tot utilitates, quot apices complectens. Pagellis brevis,
sed rerum theologicarum amplitudine incomparabilis._ As many thoughts as
words; as many uses as there are characters in the book. Brief in pages,
but incomparable in amplitude of theological thoughts."

In his dedicatory epistle of 1591, to Chemnitz's _Loci,_ Polycarp Leyser
says: "That sainted man, Martin Luther, never took greater pains than
when he drew up into a brief sum those prolix expositions which he
taught most energetically in his various books.... Therefore he composed
the Short Catechism, which is more precious than gold or gems, in which
the pure doctrine of the prophets and apostles (_prophetica et
apostolica doctrinae puritas_) is summed up into one integral doctrinal
body, and set forth in such clear words that it may justly be considered
worthy of the Canon (for everything has been drawn from the canonical
Scriptures). I can truthfully affirm that this very small book contains
such a wealth of so many and so great things that, if all faithful
preachers of the Gospel during their entire lives would do nothing else
in their sermons than explain aright to the common people the secret
wisdom of God comprised in those few words and set forth from the divine
Scriptures the solid ground upon which each word is built they could
never exhaust this immense abyss."

Leopold von Ranke, in his _German History of the Time of the
Reformation,_ 1839, declares: "The Catechism which Luther published in
1529, and of which he said that he, old Doctor though he was, prayed it,
is as childlike as it is deep, as comprehensible as it is unfathomable,
simple, and sublime. Blessed is the man who nourishes his soul with it,
who adheres to it! He has imperishable comfort in every moment: under a
thin shell the kernel of truth, which satisfies the wisest of the wise."

Loehe, another enthusiastic panegyrist of Luther, declares: "The Small
Lutheran Catechism can be read and spoken throughout with a praying
heart; in short, it can be prayed. This can be said of no other
catechism. It contains the most definitive doctrine, resisting every
perversion, and still it is not polemical--it exhales the purest air of
peace. In it is expressed the manliest and most developed knowledge, and
yet it admits of the most blissful contemplation the soul may wish for.
It is a confession of the Church, and of all, the best known, the most
universal, in which God's children most frequently meet in conscious
faith, and still this universal confession speaks in a most pleasing
personal tone. Warm, hearty, childlike, yet it is so manly, so
courageous, so free the individual confessor speaks here. Of all the
confessions comprised in the Concordia of 1580, this is the most
youthful, the clearest, and the most penetrating note in the harmonious
chime, and, withal, as rounded and finished as any. One may say that in
it the firmest objectiveness appears in the garb of the most pleasing

Schmauk writes: "The Small Catechism is the real epitome of Lutheranism
in the simplest, the most practical, the most modern and living, and, at
the same time, the most radical form. It steers clear of all obscure
historical allusions; it contains no condemnatory articles, it is based
on the shortest and the oldest of the ecumenical symbols. It is not a
work for theologians, but for every Lutheran; and it is not nearly as
large as the Augsburg Confession." (_Conf. Prin.,_ 696.)

McGiffert says: "In 1529 appeared his [Luther's] Large and Small
Catechisms, the latter containing a most beautiful summary of Christian
faith and duty, wholly devoid of polemics of every kind, and so simple
and concise as to be easily understood and memorized by every child. It
has formed the basis of the religious education of German youth ever
since. Though preceded by other catechisms from the pen of this and that
colleague or disciple, it speedily displaced them all, not simply
because of its authorship, but because of its superlative merit, and has
alone maintained itself in general use. The versatility of the Reformer
in adapting himself with such success to the needs of the young and
immature is no less than extraordinary. Such a little book as this it is
that reveals most clearly the genius of the man." (_Life of Luther,_

O. Albrecht writes: "Reverently adhering to the churchly tradition and
permeating it with the new understanding of the Gospel, such are the
characteristics of Luther's Catechisms, especially the Small Catechism."
"On every page new and original features appear beside the traditional
elements." "The essential doctrinal content of the booklet is thoroughly
original; in it Luther offered a carefully digested presentation of the
essence of Christianity, according to his own understanding as the
Reformer, in a manner adapted to the comprehension of children--a
simple, pithy description of his own personal Christian piety, without
polemics and systematization, but with the convincing power of
experienced truth." (W. 30, 1, 647.)--Similar testimonies might easily
be multiplied and have been collected and published repeatedly.

The best praise, however, comes from the enemy in the form of imitation
or even verbal appropriation. Albrecht says: "Old Catholic catechetes,
and not the worst, have not hesitated to draw on Luther's Large
Catechism. If one peruses the widely spread catechism of the Dominican
monk John Dietenberger, of 1537 (reprinted by Maufang in his work on the
Catholic Catechisms of the sixteenth century, 1881), one is frequently
edified and delighted by the diligence with which, besides older
material, Luther's Large and Small Catechisms, as well as the Nuernberg
Catechism-sermons of 1533, have been exploited" (W. 30, 1, 497.)

118. Literary Merit of Small Catechism.

Moenckeberg remarks: The Small Catechism betrays "the imperfection of
the haste in which it had to be finished." As a matter of fact, however,
Luther, the master of German, paid much attention also to its language
in order, by pithy brevity and simple, attractive form, to make its
glorious truths the permanent property of the children and unlearned who
memorized it. In his publication "_Zur Sprache und Geschichte des
Kleinen Katechismus Luthers,_ Concerning the Language and History of
Luther's Small Catechism," 1909, J. Gillhoff writes: "Here, if ever,
arose a master of language, who expressed the deepest mysteries in
sounds most simple. Here, if ever, there was created in the German
language and spirit, and in brief compass, a work of art of German
prose. If ever the gods blessed a man to create, consciously or
unconsciously, on the soil of the people and their needs, a perfect work
of popular art in the spirit of the people and in the terms of their
speech, to the weal of the people and their youth throughout the
centuries, it was here. The explanation of the Second Article is one of
the chief creations of the home art of German poetry. And such it is,
not for the reason that it rises from desert surroundings, drawing
attention to itself alone, but because it sums up and crowns the
character of the book throughout." (16.)

Speaking in particular of the Second Article, Bang, in 1909, said in his
lecture "_Luthers Kleiner Katechismus, ein Kleinod der Volksschule_
--Luther's Small Catechism, a Jewel of the Public Schools": "The
Catechism is precious also for the reason that Luther in the
explanations strikes a personal, subjective, confessional note. When at
home I read the text of the Second Article in silence, and then read
Luther's explanation aloud, it seems to me as if a hymn rushing
heavenward arises from the lapidary record of facts. It is no longer the
language of the word, but of the sound as well. The text reports
objectively, like the language of a Roman, writing tables of law. The
explanation witnesses and confesses subjectively. It is Christianity
transformed into flesh and blood. It sounds like an oath of allegiance
to the flag. In its ravishing tone we perceive the marching tread of the
myriads of believers of nineteen centuries; we see them moving onward
under the fluttering banner of the cross in war, victory, and peace. And
we, too, by a power which cannot be expressed in words, are drawn into
the great, blessed experience of our ancestors and champions. Who would
dare to lay his impious hands on this consecrated, inherited jewel, and
rob the coming generations of it?!" (20.)

X. The Smalcald War and the Augsburg and Leipzig Interims.

119. Bulwark of Peace Removed.

Luther died on the day of Concordia, February 18, 1546. With him peace
and concord departed from the Lutheran Church. His death was everywhere
the signal for action against true Lutheranism on the part of both its
avowed enemies and false brethren. As long as that hero of faith and
prayer was still living, the weight of his personal influence and
authority proved to be a veritable bulwark of peace and doctrinal purity
against the enemies within as well as without the Church. Though enemies
seeking to devour had been lurking long ago, the powerful and commanding
personality of Luther had checked all forces making for war from without
and for dissension from within. The Emperor could not be induced to
attack the Lutherans. He knew that they would stand united and strong as
long as the Hero of the Reformation was in their midst. Nor were the
false brethren able to muster up sufficient courage to come out into the
open and publish their errors while the voice of the lion was heard.

But no sooner had Luther departed than strife began its distracting
work. War, political as well as theological, followed in the wake of his
death. From the grave of the fallen hero a double specter began to loom
up. Pope and Emperor now joined hands to crush Protestantism by brute
force as they had planned long ago. The result was the Smalcald War. The
secret enemies which Lutheranism harbored within its own bosom began
boldly to raise their heads. Revealing their true colors and coming out
in the open with their pernicious errors, they caused numerous
controversies which spread over all Germany (Saxony, the cradle of the
Reformation, becoming the chief battlefield), and threatened to undo
completely the blessed work of Luther, to disrupt and disintegrate the
Church, or to pervert it into a unionistic or Reformed sect. Especially
these discreditable internal dissensions were a cause of deep
humiliation and of anxious concern to all loyal Lutherans. To the
Romanists and Reformed, however, who united in predicting the impending
collapse of Lutheranism, they were a source of malicious and triumphant
scoffing and jeering. A prominent theologian reported that by 1566
matters had come to such a pass in Germany that the old Lutheran
doctrine was publicly proclaimed only in relatively few places. In the
Palatinate public thanks were rendered to God in the churches that also
Electoral Saxony was now about to join them. The Jesuits insisted that,
having abandoned the doctrine of the real presence in the Lord's Supper,
the Lutherans were no longer genuine Lutherans and hence no more
entitled to the privileges guaranteed by the Peace of Augsburg (1555).
That the final result of this turmoil, political as well as theological,
proved a blessing to the Lutheran Church must be regarded and ever
gratefully remembered as a special grace and a remarkable favor of
Almighty God.

120. Luther Foretold Coming Distress.

Though fully conscious of the gravity of the political and theological
situation, and convinced that war and dissensions were bound to come,
Luther was at the same time confident that it would not occur during his
life. With respect to the coming war he said: "With great earnestness I
have asked God, and still pray daily, that He would thwart their [the
Papists'] plan and suffer no war to come upon Germany during my life.
And I am confident that God surely hears such prayer of mine, and I know
that there will be no war in Germany as long as I shall live." (St. L.
9, 1856.) In his Commentary on the Book of Genesis he wrote: "It is a
great consolation when he says (Is. 57, 1) that the righteous are taken
away from the evil to come. Thus we, too, shall die in peace before
misfortune and misery overtake Germany." (St. L. 1, 1758.)

Luther spoke frequently also of the impending doctrinal dissensions. As
early as 1531 he declared that the Gospel would abide only a short time.
"When the present pious, true preachers will be dead," said he, "others
will come who will preach and act as it pleases the devil." (8, 72.) In
1546 he said in a sermon preached at Wittenberg: "Up to this time you
have heard the real, true Word; now beware of your own thoughts and
wisdom. The devil will kindle the light of reason and lead you away
from the faith, as he did the Anabaptists and Sacramentarians.... I see
clearly that, if God does not give us faithful preachers and ministers,
the devil will tear our church to pieces by the fanatics
(_Rottengeister_), and will not cease until he has finished. Such is
plainly his object. If he cannot accomplish it through the Pope and the
Emperor, he will do it through those who are [now] in doctrinal
agreement with us.... Therefore pray earnestly that God may preserve
the Word to you, for things will come to a dreadful pass." (12, 1174.

Reading the signs of the times, Melanchthon also realized that Luther's
prophecies would be fulfilled. His address to the students of Wittenberg
University, on February 19, 1546, in which he announced the death of
Luther, concludes: "_Obiit auriga et currus Israel._ He is dead, the
chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof, who guided the Church in
this last old age of the world. For the doctrine of the forgiveness of
sins and of faith in the Son of God was not discovered by human
sagacity, but revealed by God through this man. Let us therefore love
his memory and his teaching, and may we be all the more humble and
ponder the terrible calamity and the great changes which will follow
this misfortune." (_C. R._ 6, 59.)

Nor were these prophecies of Luther mere intuitions or deductions based
on general reflections only. They were inductions from facts which he
had not failed to observe at Wittenberg, even in his immediate
surroundings. Seckendorf relates that Luther, when sick at Smalcald in
1537, told the Elector of Saxony that after his death, discord would
break out in the University of Wittenberg and that his doctrine would be
changed. (_Comm. de Lutheranismo_ 3, 165.) In his Preface to Luther's
Table Talk, John Aurifaber reports that Luther had frequently predicted
that after his death his doctrine would wane and decline because of
false brethren, fanatics, and sectarians, and that the truth, which in
1530 had been placed on a pinnacle at Augsburg, would descend into the
valley, since the Word of God had seldom flourished more than forty
years in one place. (Richard, _Conf. Hist_., 311.) Stephanus Tucher, a
faithful Lutheran preacher of Magdeburg, wrote in 1549: "Doctor Martin
Luther, of sainted memory, has frequently repeated before many
trustworthy witnesses, and also before Doctor Augustine Schurf, these
words: 'After my death not one of these [Wittenberg] theologians will
remain steadfast.'" Tucher adds: "This I have heard of Doctor Augustine
Schurf not once, but frequently. Therefore I also testify to it before
Christ, my Lord, the righteous Judge," etc. (St. L. 12, 1177; Walther,
_Kern und Stern,_ 7.)

It was, above all, the spirit of indifferentism toward false doctrine,
particularly concerning the Lord's Supper, which Luther observed and
deplored in his Wittenberg colleagues: Melanchthon, Bugenhagen,
Cruciger, Eber, and Major. Shortly before his last journey to Eisleben
he invited them to his house, where he addressed to them the following
solemn words of warning: They should "remain steadfast in the Gospel;
for I see that soon after my death the most prominent brethren will fall
away. I am not afraid of the Papists," he added, "for most of them are
coarse, unlearned asses and Epicureans; but our brethren will inflict
the damage on the Gospel; for 'they went out from us, but they were not
of us' (1 John 2, 19); they will give the Gospel a harder blow than did
the Papists." About the same time Luther had written above the entrance
to his study: "Our professors are to be examined on the Lord's Supper."
When Major, who was about to leave for the colloquy at Regensburg,
entered and inquired what these words signified, Luther answered: "The
meaning of these words is precisely what you read and what they say; and
when you and I shall have returned, an examination will have to be held,
to which you as well as others will be cited." Major protested that he
was not addicted to any false doctrine. Luther answered: "It is by your
silence and cloaking that you cast suspicion upon yourself. If you
believe as you declare in my presence, then speak so also in the church,
in public lectures, in sermons, and in private conversations, and
strengthen your brethren, and lead the erring back to the right path,
and contradict the contumacious spirits; otherwise your confession is
sham pure and simple, and worth nothing. Whoever really regards his
doctrine, faith and confession as true, right, and certain cannot remain
in the same stall with such as teach, or adhere to, false doctrine; nor
can he keep on giving friendly words to Satan and his minions. A teacher
who remains silent when errors are taught, and nevertheless pretends to
be a true teacher, is worse than an open fanatic and by his hypocrisy
does greater damage than a heretic. Nor can he be trusted. He is a wolf
and a fox, a hireling and a servant of his belly, and ready to despise
and to sacrifice doctrine, Word, faith, Sacrament, churches, and
schools. He is either a secret bedfellow of the enemies or a skeptic and
a weathervane, waiting to see whether Christ or the devil will prove
victorious; or he has no convictions of his own whatever, and is not
worthy to be called a pupil, let alone a teacher; nor does he want to
offend anybody, or say a word in favor of Christ, or hurt the devil and
the world." (Walther, 39f.)

121. Unfortunate Issue of Smalcald War.

All too soon the predictions of Luther, and the fears expressed by
Melanchthon and others, were realized. June 26, 1546, four months after
Luther's death, Pope and Emperor entered into a secret agreement to
compel the Protestants by force of arms to acknowledge the decrees of
the Council of Trent, and to return to the bosom of the Roman Church.
The covenant provided that, "in the name of God and with the help and
assistance of His Papal Holiness, His Imperial Majesty should prepare
himself for war, and equip himself with soldiers and everything
pertaining to warfare against those who objected to the Council, against
the Smalcald League, and against all who were addicted to the false
belief and error in Germany, and that he do so with all his power and
might in order to bring them back to the old [papal] faith and to the
obedience of the Holy See." The Pope promised to assist the Emperor with
200,000 Krontaler, more than 12,000 Italian soldiers, and quite a number
of horsemen. He furthermore permitted the Emperor to appropriate, for
the purpose of this war, one half of the total income of the church
property in Spain and 500,000 Krontaler from the revenue of the Spanish

While the Emperor endeavored to veil the real purpose of his
preparations, the Pope openly declared in a bull of July 4, 1546: "From
the beginning of our Papacy it has always been our concern how to root
out the weeds of godless doctrines which the heretics have sowed
throughout Germany.... Now it has come to pass that, by the inspiration
of the Holy Ghost, our dearest son in Christ, Charles, the Roman
Emperor, has decided to employ the sword against these enemies of God.
And for the protection of religion we intend to promote this pious
enterprise with all our own and the Roman Church's possessions.
Accordingly, we admonish all Christians to assist in this war with their
prayers to God and their alms, in order that the godless heresy may be
rooted out and the dissension removed.... To each and all who do these
things we grant the most complete indulgence and remission of all their
sins." (St. L. 17, 1453ff. Walther, 10.)

The Smalcald War, so called because it was directed against the Smalcald
League, was easily won by the Emperor. Among the causes of this
unfortunate issue were the neutral attitude of Joachim II of Brandenburg
and of other Lutheran princes, and especially the treachery of the
ambitious and unscrupulous Maurice, Duke of Saxony and nephew of Elector
John Frederick of Saxony, who, in order to gain the Electorate of
Saxony, had made a secret agreement with the Emperor according to which
he was to join his forces with those of the Emperor against the
Lutherans. The decisive battle was fought at Muehlberg on the Elbe,
April 24, 1547. It proved to be a crushing defeat for the Protestants.
The Elector himself was taken captive, treated as a rebel, and sentenced
to death. The sentence was read to him while he was playing chess with
his fellow-captive, Duke Ernest of Lueneburg. John Frederick answered,
he did not believe that the Emperor would deal so severely with him; if,
however, he were in earnest, they should let him know that he might
order his affairs with his wife and children. He then calmly turned to
the Duke, saying: "Let us continue the game; it's your move." (Jaekel,
_G. d. Ref._ l, 114.) The day after the battle at Muehlberg, Torgau fell
into the hands of the Emperor; and when he threatened to execute the
Elector, having already erected a scaffold for this purpose, Wittenberg,
too, though well protected by 5,000 soldiers, signed a capitulation on
May 19, in order to save the Elector's life. On the 23d of May,
Wittenberg was occupied by the Emperor. Here Charles, when standing at
the grave of Luther, and urged to have the body of "the heretic"
exhumed, spoke the memorable words that he was warring not with the
dead, but with the living. The death-sentence was rescinded, but, apart
from other cruel conditions forced upon the Elector, he was compelled to
resign in favor of Maurice and promise to remain in captivity as long as
the Emperor should desire. His sons were granted the districts of
Weimar, Jena, Eisenach, and Gotha. Philip of Hesse surrendered without
striking a blow, and was likewise treacherously held in captivity and
humiliated in every possible way by the Emperor. The imperial
plenipotentiaries had assured the Landgrave that he would not be
imprisoned. Afterwards, however, the words in the document, "not any
bodily captivity--_nit eenige Leibesgefangenschaft,_" were fraudulently
changed by Granvella to read, "not eternal captivity--_nit ewige
Leibesgefangenschaft_" (Marheineke, _G. d. Deut. Ref._ 4, 438.) The sons
of the Landgrave remained in possession of his territory. Thus all of
Southern and, barring a few cities, also all of Northern Germany was
conquered by Charles. Everywhere the Lutherans were at the tender mercy
of the Emperor, whose undisputed power struck terror into all Germany.

122. The Augsburg Interim.

The first step to reduce the Lutherans to obedience to the Pope was the
so-called Augsburg Interim. It was proclaimed by the Emperor at Augsburg
on May 15, 1548, as the law of the Empire under the title: "Der
roemischen kaiserlichen Majestaet Erklaerung wie es der Religion halben
im heiligen Reich bis zu Austrag des gemeinen Concilii gehalten werden
soll." The people were also forbidden to teach, write, or preach against
the document. The Interim had been prepared by the papal bishops Julius
Pflug and Michael Helding and the court-preacher of Elector Joachim of
Brandenburg, John Agricola, a man with whom Luther had, already since
1540, refused to have any further intercourse owing to his insincerity
and duplicity. "I go forth as the Reformer of all Germany," Agricola
boasted when he left Berlin to attend the Diet at Augsburg, which was to
open September 1, 1547. After the Diet he bragged that in Augsburg he
had flung the windows wide open for the Gospel; that he had reformed the
Pope and made the Emperor a Lutheran, that a golden time had now
arrived, for the Gospel would be preached in all Europe; that he had not
only been present, but had presided at the drafting of the Interim; that
he had received 500 crowns from the Emperor and 500 from King Ferdinand,
etc. (Preger, _M. Flacius Illyricus,_ 1, 119.)

The document, prepared at the command of the Emperor, was called Interim
because its object was to regulate the church affairs until the
religious controversy would be finally settled by the Council of Trent,
to the resolutions of which the Lutherans were required to submit. It
was, however, essentially papal. For the time being, indeed, it
permitted Protestant clergymen to marry, and to celebrate the Lord's
Supper in both kinds, but demanded the immediate restoration of the
Romish customs and ceremonies, the acknowledgment of papal supremacy
_iure divino,_ as well as the jurisdiction of the bishops, and the
adoption of articles in which the doctrines were all explained in the
sense of the Catholic dogmas, and in which truth and falsehood, in
general, were badly mingled. Transubstantiation, the seven sacraments,
and other papal errors were reaffirmed, while Lutheran tenets, such as
the doctrine of justification by faith alone, were either denied or
omitted. And from the fact that this Interim was nevertheless condemned
by the Pope and the Romanists, who demanded an unqualified, blind, and
unconditional submission, the Lutherans could infer what they were to
expect after consenting to these interimistic provisions. The general
conviction among Catholics as well as Protestants was that the Interim
was but the first step to a complete return to Romanism. Indeed, soon
after its promulgation, the Catholic Electors of Mainz and Koeln
endeavored to rob the Lutherans also of the use of the cup and of the
marriage of the priests. The Elector of Mainz declared all such
marriages void and their children bastards. (Jaekel, 162.)

In the most important point, the doctrine of justification, the Augsburg
Interim not only omitted the _sola fide,_ but clearly taught that
justification embraces also renewal. When God justifies a man, the
Interim declared, He does not only absolve him from his guilt, but also
"makes him better by imparting the Holy Ghost, who cleanses his heart
and incites it through the love of God which is shed abroad in his
heart." (Frank, _Theologie d. Konkordienformel,_ 2, 80.) A man "is
absolved from the guilt of eternal damnation and renewed through the
Holy Spirit and thus an unjust man becomes just." (143.) Again: "This
faith obtains the gift of the Holy Ghost, by which the love of God is
shed abroad in our hearts; and after this has been added to faith and
hope, we are truly justified by the infused righteousness which is in
man; for this righteousness consists in faith, hope, and love." (81.)

In Southern Germany, Charles V and his Italian and Spanish troops,
employing brute force, succeeded in rigidly enforcing the Interim
outwardly and temporarily. Free cities rejecting it were deprived of
their liberties and privileges. Constance, having fallen after a heroic
defense, was annexed to Austria. Magdeburg offered the longest
resistance and was outlawed three times. Defiantly its citizens
declared: "We are saved neither by an Interim nor by an Exterim, but by
the Word of God alone." (Jaekel 1, 166.) Refractory magistrates were
treated as rebels. Pastors who declined to introduce the Interim were
deposed, some were banished, others incarcerated, still others even
executed. In Swabia and along the Rhine about four hundred ministers
were willing to suffer imprisonment and banishment rather than conform
to the Interim. They were driven into exile with their families, and
some of them were killed. When Jacob Sturm of Augsburg presented his
grievances to Granvella, the latter answered: "If necessary, one might
proceed against heretics also with fire." "Indeed," Sturm retorted, "you
may kill people by fire, but even in this way you cannot force their
faith." (165.) Bucer and Fagius, preachers in Augsburg, left for
England. Musculus was deposed because he had preached against the
Interim. Osiander was compelled to leave Nuernberg, Erhard Schnepf,
Wuerttemberg. Among the fugitives eagerly sought throughout Germany by
the imperial henchmen was Brenz in Schwaebisch-Hall, the renowned
theologian of Wuerttemberg, who spoke of the Interim only as "Interitus,
Ruin." (_C. R._ 7, 289.) The tombstone of Brenz bears the inscription:
"_Voce, stylo, pietate, fide, ardore probatus_--Renowned for his
eloquence, style, piety, faithfulness, and ardor." (Jaekel, 164.) A
prize of 5,000 gulden was offered for the head of Caspar Aquila, who was
one of the first to write against the Interim. (Preger 1, 12.) Of
course, by persecuting and banishing their ministers, the Emperor could
not and did not win the people. Elector Frederick II of the Palatinate
consented to introduce the Interim. But even in Southern Germany the
success of the Emperor was apparent rather than real. The churches in
Augsburg, Ulm, and other cities stood empty as a silent protest against
the Interim and imperial tyranny.

In Northern Germany the Emperor met with more than a mere passive
resistance on the part of the people as well as the preachers. The
Interim was regarded as a trap for the Lutherans. The slogan ran: "There
is a rogue behind the Interim! _O selig ist der Mann, Der Gott vertrauen
kann Und willigt nicht ins Interim, Denn es hat den Schalk hinter ihm_!"
The Interim was rejected in Brunswick, Hamburg, Luebeck, Lueneburg,
Goslar, Bremen, Goettingen, Hannover, Einbeck, Eisleben, Mansfeld,
Stolberg, Schwarzburg, Hohenstein, Halle, etc. Joachim of Brandenburg
endeavored to introduce it, but soon abandoned these efforts. At a
convent of 300 preachers assembled in Berlin for the purpose of
subscribing to the Interim, an old minister whose name was Leutinger,
arose and declared in the presence of Agricola, the coauthor of the
Interim: "I love Agricola, and more than him I love my Elector; but my
Lord Jesus Christ I love most," and saying this, he cast the document
handed him for subscription into the flames of the fire burning in the
hearth. Before this, Margrave Hans, of Kuestrin, had flung away the pen
handed him for the subscription of the infamous document, saying: "I
shall never adopt this poisonous concoction, nor submit to any council.
Rather sword than pen; blood rather than ink!"

The three Counts of Mansfeld, Hans Jorge, Hans Albrecht, and Hans
Ernest, declared in a letter of August 20, 1548, to the Emperor: "Most
gracious Emperor and Lord! As for our government, the greater part of
the people are miners, who have not much to lose and are easily induced
to leave. Nor are they willing to suffer much coercion. Yet the welfare
of our whole government depends upon them. Besides, we know that, if we
should press the matter, all of the preachers would leave, and the
result would be a desolation of preaching and of the Sacraments. And
after losing our preachers, our own lives and limbs would not be safe
among the miners, and we must needs expect a revolt of all the people."
(Walther 19f.) Thus the Interim before long became a dead letter
throughout the greater part of Germany.

123. Attitude of John Frederick toward Interim.

In order to obtain his liberty, the vacillating Philip of Hesse, though
he had declined to submit to the resolutions of the Council of Trent,
declared himself willing to adopt the Interim. "It is better," he is
reported to have said, "to hear a mass than to play cards," etc. (Jaekel
1, 130. 162.) Special efforts were also made by the Emperor to induce
John Frederick to declare his submission to the Council and to sanction
the Interim. But the Elector solemnly protested that this was impossible
for him. All attempts to induce him to abandon his religious convictions
met with quiet but determined resistance. One of the cruel conditions
under which the Emperor was willing to rescind the death-sentence passed
on the Elector was, that he should consent to everything the Emperor or
the Council would prescribe in matters of religion. But the Elector
declared: "I will rather lose my head and suffer Wittenberg to be
battered down than submit to a demand that violates my conscience.
_Lieber will ich meinen Kopf verlieren und Wittenberg zusammenschiessen
lassen, als eine Forderung eingehen, die mein Gewissen verletzt._" (1,
116.) Through Granvella the Emperor promised the Elector liberty if he
would sign the Interim. But again the Elector declared decidedly that
this was impossible for him.

In a written answer to the Emperor the ex-Elector declared, boldly
confessing his faith: "I cannot refrain from informing Your Majesty that
since the days of my youth I have been instructed and taught by the
servants of God's Word, and by diligently searching the prophetic and
apostolic Scriptures I have also learned to know, and (this I testify as
in the sight of God) unswervingly to adhere in my conscience to this,
that the articles composing the Augsburg Confession, and whatever is
connected therewith, are the correct, true, Christian, pure doctrine,
confirmed by, and founded in, the writings of the holy prophets and
apostles, and of the teachers who followed in their footsteps, in such a
manner that no substantial objection can be raised against it.... Since
now in my conscience I am firmly persuaded of this, I owe this
gratefulness and obedience to God, who has shown me such unspeakable
grace, that, as I desire to obtain eternal salvation and escape eternal
damnation, I do not fall away from the truth of His almighty will which
His Word has revealed to me, and which I know to be the truth. For such
is the comforting and also the terrible word of God: 'Whosoever
therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My
Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him
will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven,' If I should
acknowledge and adopt the Interim as Christian and godly, I would have
to condemn and deny against my own conscience, knowingly and
maliciously, the Augsburg Confession, and whatever I have heretofore
held and believed concerning the Gospel of Christ, and approve with my
mouth what I regard in my heart and conscience as altogether contrary
to the holy and divine Scriptures. This, O my God in heaven, would
indeed be misusing and cruelly blaspheming Thy holy name,... for which I
would have to pay all too dearly with my soul. For this is truly the sin
against the Holy Ghost concerning which Christ says that it shall never
be forgiven, neither in this nor in the world to come, _i.e._, in
eternity." (Walther, 16.)

The Emperor was small enough to punish the heroic refusal and bold
confession of the Elector by increasing the severity of his
imprisonment. For now he was deprived of Luther's writings and even of
the Bible. But the Elector, who drew the line of submission at his
conscience and faith, declared, "that they were able indeed to deprive
him of the books, but could not tear out of his heart what he had
learned from them." And when Musculus and the Lutheran preachers of
Augsburg whom the Emperor had banished because of their refusal to
introduce the Interim, took leave of the Elector, the latter said:
"Though the Emperor has banished you from the realm, he has not banished
you from heaven. Surely, God will find some other country where you may
preach His Word." (Jaekel. 164.)

124. Melanchthon's Attitude toward the Interim.

In the beginning, Melanchthon, too, assumed an attitude of defiance over
against the Augsburg Interim. Especially among his friends and in his
private letters he condemned it. In several letters, also to Elector
Maurice, he and his Wittenberg colleagues declared that they disapproved
of the document, and that the doctrine must not be denied, changed, nor
falsified. (_C. R._ 6, 874. 954.) April 25, 1548 he wrote to Camerarius
that the Interim corrupted the truth in the doctrine of justification,
and that he was unable to assent to its sophisms. (878. 900.) April 29,
1548: "The manifest facts teach that efforts at conciliation with our
persecutors are vain. Even though some kind of concord is patched up,
still a peace will be established such as exists between wolves and
lambs. _Etiam cum sarcitur concordia qualiscumque, tamen pax
constituitur, qualis est inter lupos et agnos._" (_C. R._ 6, 889; Frank
4, 90.) In a letter to Christian, King of Denmark (June 13, 1548), he
said that the Interim "confirmed and reestablished many papal errors and
abuses," and that the "abominable book would cause many dissensions in
the German nation." (_C. R._ 6, 923.) June 20 he wrote with reference to
the Interim: "I shall not change the doctrine of our churches, nor
assent to those who do." (946.) July 31, to the Margrave John of
Brandenburg: "As for my person I do not intend to approve of this book,
called Interim, for which I have many weighty reasons, and will commend
my miserable life to God, even if I am imprisoned or banished." (7, 85.)
In a letter of August 10 he speaks of the corruptions "which are found
in the Augsburg sphinx," and declares that he is determined faithfully
to guard the doctrine of the Gospel. (97.) August 13, 1548, he wrote to
Medler: "Brenz, Nopus [Noppius], Musculus, learned, pious, and most
deserving men, have been driven from their churches, and I hear that
everywhere others are being expelled from other places,--and Islebius
[Agricola] is shouting that this is the way to spread the Gospel."

In a criticism of the Augsburg Interim published in the beginning of
July, 1548, Melanchthon declared: "Although war and destruction are
threatened, it is, nevertheless, our duty to regard the Word of God as
higher; that is to say, we must not deny what we know to be the truth of
the Gospel." On November 10, 1548, he said before a convention of
theologians: "Remember that you are the guardians of truth, and consider
what has been entrusted to you for preservation by God through the
prophets and the apostles, and, last of all, through Dr. Luther. If that
man were still living, the misfortune of a change of doctrine would not
be threatening us; but now that there is no one who is clothed with the
authority which he had, now that there is no one who warns as he was
wont to do, and many are accepting error for truth, the churches are
brought to ruin, the doctrine heretofore correctly transmitted is
distorted, idolatrous customs are established, fear, doubt, and strife
are reigning everywhere." (Walther, 21.)

However, though Melanchthon disapproved of the imperial Interim, he was
afraid to antagonize it openly and unflinchingly. Yet it was just such a
public and decided testimony that was needed, and everywhere expected of
Melanchthon; for he was generally regarded as the logical and lawful
successor of Luther and as the theological leader of the Church. July
22, 1548, Aquila wrote: "What shall I say of the arch-knave Eisleben,
Agricola? He said: 'The Interim is the best book and work making for
unity in the whole Empire and for religious agreement throughout all
Europe. For now the Pope is reformed, and the Emperor is a Lutheran,'"
Imploring Melanchthon to break his silence and sound the public warning,
Aquila continues: "Thou holy man, answer and come to our assistance,
defend the Word and name of Christ and His honor (which is the highest
good on earth) against that virulent sycophant Agricola, who is an
impostor." (7, 78.)

Such were the sentiments of loyal Lutherans everywhere. But Melanchthon,
intimidated by threats of the Emperor, and fearing for his safety,
turned a deaf ear to these entreaties. While the captive Elector was
determined to die rather than submit to the Interim, and while hundreds
of Lutheran ministers were deposed, banished, imprisoned, and some of
them even executed because of their devotion to the truth, Melanchthon
was unwilling to expose himself to the anger of the Emperor. And before
long his fear to confess and his refusal to give public testimony to the
truth was followed by open denial. At the behest of Elector Maurice he
consented to elaborate, as a substitute for the Augsburg Interim, a
compromise document--the so-called Leipzig Interim.

125. Melanchthon and the Leipzig Interim.

After the victory of the Emperor and the proclamation of the Augsburg
Interim, Maurice, the new-fledged Elector, found himself in a dilemma.
Charles V urged him to set a good example in obeying and enforcing the
Interim. Indebted as he was to the Emperor for his Electorate, he, to
some extent, felt bound to obey him also in religious matters. At the
same time, Maurice was personally not at all in agreement with the
radical Augsburg Interim and afraid of forfeiting the sympathies of both
his old and new subjects on account of it. Nor did he fail to realize
the difficulties he would encounter in enforcing it. Accordingly, he
notified the Emperor on May 18 that he was not able to introduce the
Interim at present. Soon after, he commissioned the Wittenberg and
Leipzig theologians to elaborate, as a substitute for the Augsburg
Interim, a compromise, more favorable and acceptable to his subjects. At
the preliminary discussions, especially at Pegau and Celle, the
theologians yielded, declaring their willingness to submit to the will
of the Emperor with respect to the reintroduction of Romish ceremonies
and to acknowledge the authority of the Pope and bishops if they would
tolerate the true doctrine. (Preger 1, 40.) The final upshot of it all
was the new Interim, a compromise document, prepared chiefly by
Melanchthon and adopted December 22, 1548, at Leipzig. This "Resolution
of the Diet at Leipzig" was designated by its opponents the "Leipzig
Interim." Schaff remarks: "It was the mistake of his [Melanchthon's]
life, yet not without plausible excuses and incidental advantages. He
advocated immovable steadfastness in doctrine [?], but submission in
everything else for the sake of peace. He had the satisfaction that the
University of Wittenberg, after temporary suspension, was restored and
soon frequented again by two thousand students. [The school was closed
May 19 and reopened October 16, 1547.] But outside of Wittenberg and
Saxony his conduct appeared treasonable to the cause of the Reformation,
and acted as an encouragement to an unscrupulous and uncompromising
enemy. Hence the venerable man was fiercely assailed from every quarter
by friend and foe." (_Creeds_ 1, 300.)

It is generally held that fear induced Melanchthon to condescend to this
betrayal of Lutheranism,--for such the Leipzig Interim amounted to in
reality. And, no doubt, there is a good deal of truth in this
assumption. For Melanchthon had been told that because of his opposition
to the Augsburg Interim the anger of the Emperor was directed against
him especially, and that he had already called upon Maurice to banish
this "arch-heretic." It certainly served the purpose of Maurice well
that he had to deal with Melanchthon, whose fear and vacillation made
him as pliable as putty, and not with Luther, on whose unbending
firmness all of his schemes would have foundered. However, it cannot
have been mere temporary fear which induced Melanchthon to barter away
eternal truth for temporal peace. For the theologians of Wittenberg and
Leipzig did not only identify themselves with the Leipzig Interim while
the threatening clouds of persecution were hovering over them, but also
afterwards continued to defend their action. When the representatives of
the Saxon cities protested against some of the provisions of the
Interim, they declared, on December 28, 1548: "We have learned your
request and are satisfied with the articles [Leipzig Interim] delivered,
which not we alone, but also several other superintendents and
theologians prepared and weighed well; therefore we are unable to change
them. For they can well be received and observed without any violence to
good conscience." (_C. R._ 7, 270.) It was as late as September, 1556
that Melanchthon, though even then only in a qualified way, admitted
that he had sinned in this matter, and should have kept aloof from the
insidious counsels of the politicians. (8, 839.) Indeed, in 1557 and
1560 the Leipzig and Wittenberg theologians still defended the position
they had occupied during the Interim. Evidently, then apart from other
motives of fear, etc., Melanchthon consented to write the Interim
because he still believed in the possibility of arriving at an
understanding with the Romanists and tried to persuade himself that the
Emperor seriously sought to abolish prevailing errors and abuses, and
because the theological views he entertained were not as far apart from
those of the Leipzig compromise as is frequently assumed.

126. Provisions of Leipzig Interim.

The professed object of the Leipzig Interim was to effect a compromise
in order to escape persecution and desolation of the churches by
adhering to the doctrine, notably of justification, but yielding in
matters pertaining to ceremonies, etc. December 18, 1548, Melanchthon
(in the name of George of Anhalt) wrote to Burchard concerning the
Interim adopted four days later: "They [Maurice and the estates] hope to
be able to ward off dangers if we receive some rites which are not in
themselves vicious; and the charge of unjust obstinacy is made if in
such things we are unwilling to contribute toward public tranquillity...
In order, therefore, to retain necessary things, we are not too exacting
with respect to such as are unnecessary, especially since heretofore
these rites have, to a great extent, remained in the churches of these
regions.... We know that much is said against this moderation, but the
devastation of the churches, such as is taking place in Swabia, would be
a still greater offense." (7, 251ff.) The plan of Melanchthon therefore
was to yield in things which he regarded as unnecessary in order to
maintain the truth and avoid persecution.

As a matter of fact, however, the Leipzig Interim, too, was in every
respect a truce over the corpse of true Lutheranism. It was a unionistic
document sacrificing Lutheranism doctrinally as well as practically. The
obnoxious features of the Augsburg Interim had not been eliminated, but
merely toned down. Throughout, the controverted doctrines were treated
in ambiguous or false formulas. Tschackert is correct in maintaining
that, in the articles of justification and of the Church, "the
fundamental thoughts of the Reformation doctrine were catholicized" by
the Leipzig Interim. (508.) Even the Lutheran _sola_ (_sola fide,_ by
faith alone) is omitted in the article of justification. The entire
matter is presented in terms which Romanists were able to interpret in
the sense of their doctrine of "infused righteousness, _iustitia
infusa._" Faith is coordinated with other virtues, and good works are
declared to be necessary to salvation. "Justification by faith," says
Schmauk, "is there [in the Leipzig Interim] so changed as to mean that
man is renewed by the Holy Spirit, and can fulfil righteousness with his
works, and that God will, for His Son's sake accept in believers this
weak beginning of obedience in this miserable, frail nature." (_Conf.
Prin.,_ 596.)

Furthermore, the Leipzig Interim indirectly admits the Semi-Pelagian
teaching regarding original sin and free will, while other doctrines
which should have been confessed are passed by in silence. It recognizes
the supremacy of the Pope, restores the power and jurisdiction of the
bishops, acknowledges the authority of the council, approves of a number
of ceremonies objectionable as such (_e.g._, the Corpus Christi
Festival), and advocates the reintroduction of these and others in order
to avoid persecution and to maintain outward peace with the Papists.

Self-evidently, in keeping with the Interim, the Pope also could no
longer be regarded as, and publicly declared to be, the Antichrist. In
1561 Flacius wrote that at that time the suspected Lutherans did not
consider the Pope the Antichrist. Simon Musaeus and others were banished
because they refused to eliminate the hymn "Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem
Wort" from their services. (Walther, 25.)--Such, then, being the
character of the Leipzig Interim, it stands to reason that this
document, adopted as it was by Melanchthon and other Lutheran leaders,
was bound to become a fertile source of numerous and violent

127. Flacius and Other Opponents of Interimists.

The Leipzig Interim was imposed upon the churches of Electoral Saxony as
a directory for teaching, preaching, and worship. Melanchthon declared
that it could be adopted with a good conscience, and hence should be
introduced, as demanded by Maurice, in order to insure the peace of the
Church. At Wittenberg and other places corresponding efforts were made.
But everywhere the result was dissension and strife. The Interim
defeated its own purpose. Pastors who declined to conform were deposed,
banished, incarcerated or abused in other ways. And wherever faithful
ministers were removed, the people refused to be served by the hirelings
who took their places. At the very convention at Leipzig where the
Interim was adopted, Wolfgang Pfentner, Superintendent at Annaberg,
declared: "What caused them to reintroduce such tomfooleries [Romish
ceremonies]? Were they growing childish again? They might do what they
wanted to, but as for himself, he could not consent [to the Interim].
And even if he should permit himself to be deceived, his parishioners
would not accept it. For in a letter delivered by a messenger on
horseback they had charged him to agree to no ungodly article, or not
return to them. Accordingly, he would have his head cut off at Leipzig
and suffer this with a good conscience rather than give offense to his
church." (Walther, 22.)

December 24, three days after the adoption of the Interim,
representatives of the cities in Saxony presented complaints to Elector
Maurice and Melanchthon against some of the provisions of the document.
They protested particularly against the reinstitution of Extreme
Unction, the Festival of Corpus Christi, and the use of chrism at
Baptism. (_C. R._ 7, 270.) Even the Wittenberg theologians finally
admitted that in consequence of "the Interim the rupture had become so
great that there was an agreement neither of one church with another,
nor, in the same church, of any deacon, any schoolmaster, or sexton with
his pastor, nor of one neighbor with another, nor of members of the
household with one another." (Walther, 23.)

Foremost among the champions of true Lutheranism over against the
Interimists were John Hermann, Aquila, Nicholas Amsdorf, John Wigand,
Alberus, Gallus, Matthias Judex, Westphal, and especially Matthias
Flacius Illyricus, then (from 1544 to 1549) a member of the Wittenberg
faculty, where he opposed all concessions to the Adiaphorists. It is
due, no doubt, to Flacius more than to any other individual that true
Lutheranism and with it the Lutheran Church was saved from annihilation
in consequence of the Interims. In 1548 he began his numerous and
powerful publications against them. In the same year, 1548, the
following book of John Hermann appeared: "That during These Dangerous
Times Nothing should be Changed in the Churches of God in Order to
Please the Devil and the Antichrist." In 1549: "Against the Mean Devil
who Now Again is Disguising Himself as an Angel of Light."

In 1549, when he was no longer safe in Wittenberg, Flacius removed to
Magdeburg then the only safe asylum in all Germany for such as were
persecuted on account of their Lutheran faith and loyalty, where he was
joined by such "exiles of Christ" as Wigand, Gallus, and others, who had
also been banished and persecuted because of their opposition to the
Interim. Here they inaugurated a powerful propaganda by publishing
broadsides of annihilating pamphlets against the Interim, as well as its
authors, patrons, and abettors. They roused the Lutheran consciousness
everywhere, and before long the great majority of Lutherans stood behind
Flacius and the heroes of Magdeburg. The publications emanating from
this fortress caused such an aversion to the Adiaphoristic princes as
well as theologians among the people that from the very outset all their
plans and efforts were doomed to failure, and the sinister schemes of
the Pope and Emperor were frustrated. Because of this able and staunch
defense of Lutheranism and the determined opposition to any unionistic
compromise, Magdeburg at that time was generally called "God's
chancellery, _Gottes Kanzlei._" Nor did the opposition subside when this
Lutheran stronghold, thrice outlawed by the Emperor, was finally, after
a siege of thirteen months, captured by Maurice. In their attacks the
champions of Magdeburg were joined also by the ministers of Hamburg and
other places. Only in Saxony and Brandenburg the policy of Melanchthon
was defended.

As the conflict extended, it grew in bitterness, revealing with
increasing luridness the insincerity and dishonesty of the Philippists.
True Lutherans everywhere were satisfied that the adoption also of the
Leipzig Interim was tantamount to a complete surrender of Lutheranism.
Their animosity against this document was all the stronger because it
bore the stamp of the Wittenberg and Leipzig theologians and was
sponsored by Melanchthon, the very man whom they had regarded as
Luther's successor and as the leader of the Church. This, too, was the
reason why the Leipzig Interim caused even more resentment among the
Lutherans, especially in Northern Germany, than did the Augsburg
Interim. In their view, Melanchthon and his colleagues had betrayed the
cause of the Reformation and practically joined their forces with those
of the Romanists, even as Maurice had betrayed the Lutherans politically
when fighting at the side of the Emperor against his own coreligionists.
Tschackert remarks: "In view of the fact that at that time about 400
Evangelical pastors in Southern Germany, because of their refusal to
adopt the Augsburg Interim, had suffered themselves to be driven from
their charges and homes and wandered about starving, many with their
wives and children, the yielding of the theologians of Electoral Saxony
could but appear as unpardonable and as a betrayal of the Church."

128. Grief over Melanchthon's Inconstancy.

In consequence of his dubious attitude, Melanchthon also, who before
this had been generally honored as the leader of the Lutheran Church,
completely lost his prestige, even among many of his formerly most
devoted friends. The grief and distress experienced by loyal Lutherans
at his wavering and yielding is eloquently expressed by Antonius
Corvinus, Superintendent at Kalenberg-Goettingen, the Lutheran martyr,
who, because of his opposition to the Interim, was incarcerated for
three years, in consequence of which he died, 1553. In a letter dated
September 25, 1549, he implored his friend to abandon the Interim, and
to "return to his pristine candor, his pristine sincerity, and his
pristine constancy," and "to think, say, write, and do what is becoming
to Philip, the Christian teacher, not the court philosopher." Peace,
indeed, was desirable, but it must not be obtained by distracting the
churches. Christ had also declared that He did not come to bring peace,
but the sword. Even the heathen Horatius Flaccus had said: "_Si fractus
illabitur orbis, impavidum ferient ruinae._" How much more should
Christians avoid cowardice! One must not court the cross wantonly, but
it must be borne courageously when for the sake of truth it cannot be
avoided, etc.

In the original, Corvinus's letter reads, in part, as follows: "O mi
Philippe, o, inquam, Philippe noster, rede per immortalem Christum ad
pristinum candorem, ad pristinam sinceritatem ad pristinam constantiam!
Ne languescito ista tua formidine ac pusillanimitate nostrorum animos
tantopere!... Non sis tantorum in ecclesia offendiculorum autor! Ne
sinas, tua tam egregia scripta, dicta, facta, quibus mirifice hactenus
de ecclesia ac scholis meritus es, isto condonationis, novationis,
moderationis naevo ad eum modum deformari! Cogita, quantum animi ista
vestra consilia et adversariis addant et nostris adimant!... Rogamus,
ut, professionis tuae memor, talem te cum Vitebergensibus tuis iam
geras, qualem te ab initio huius causae gessisti, hoc est, ut ea
sentias, dicas, scribas, agas, quae Philippum, doctorem Christianum, non
aulicum philosophum decent." (Tschackert, 506.)

In a similar manner Melanchthon was admonished also by Brenz, who
preferred exile and misery to the Interim. In a letter written early in
1549 he said: "It is also most manifest that the Interitus [Ruin, a term
employed by Brenz for Interim] conflicts with the Word of the Lord. What
concord, then, can be found between such conflicting things? You think
that one ought to come to the assistance of the churches and pious
ministers. Correct if such can be done without dishonor to Christ.
Perhaps you believe that the Interimists will tolerate the pious
doctrine if we agree to accept all their ceremonies. But do you not know
that it is clearly commanded in the introduction of the Interitus that
no one shall speak or write against this book? What kind of liberty in
regard to doctrine is this? Therefore, if the Church and the pious
ministers cannot be saved in any other way than by dishonoring the pious
doctrine, let us commend them to Christ, the Son of God. He will take
care of them. Meanwhile let us patiently bear our exile and wait for the
Lord." (_C. R._ 7, 289.)

June 18, 1550, Calvin also wrote a letter of warning to Melanchthon, in
which he said in substance: "My grief renders me almost speechless. How
the enemies of Christ enjoy your conflicts with the Magdeburgers appears
from their mockeries. Nor do I acquit you altogether of all guilt.
Permit me to admonish you freely as a true friend. I should like to
approve of all your actions. But now I accuse you before your very face
(_ego te nunc apud te ipsum accuso_). This is the sum of your defense:
If the purity of doctrine be retained, externals should not be
pertinaciously contended for (_modo retineatur doctrinae puritas, de
rebus externis non esse pertinaciter dimicandum_). But you extend the
adiaphora too far. Some of them plainly conflict with the Word of God.
Now, since the Lord has drawn us into the fight, it behooves us to
struggle all the more manfully (_eo virilius nos eniti decebat_). You
know that your position differs from that of the multitude. The
hesitation of the general or leader is more disgraceful than the flight
of an entire regiment of common soldiers. Unless you set an example of
unflinching steadfastness, all will declare that vacillation cannot be
tolerated in such a man. By yielding but a little, you alone have caused
more lamentations and complaints than a hundred ordinary men by open
apostasy (_Itaque plures tu unus paululum cedendo querimonias et gemitus
excitasti quam centum mediocres aperta defectione_). I would die with
you a hundred times rather than see you survive the doctrine surrendered
by you. You will pardon me for unloading into your bosom these pitiable,
though useless groans." (Schluesselburg 13, 635; _C. R._ 41 [_Calvini
Opera_ 13], 593; Frank 4, 88.)

129. Interim Eliminated Politically, But Not Theologically.

It was also in the interest of allaying the animosity against his own
person that Elector Maurice had prevailed upon Melanchthon to frame the
Leipzig Interim. But in this respect, too, the document proved to be a
dismal failure. Openly the people, his own former subjects included,
showed their contempt for his person and character. Everywhere public
sentiment was aroused against him. He was held responsible for the
captivity and shameful treatment of Philip of Hesse and especially of
John Frederick, whom the people admired as the Confessor of Augsburg and
now also as the innocent Martyr of Lutheranism. Maurice, on the other
hand, was branded a mameluke, condemned as a renegade and an apostate,
despised as the traitor of Lutheranism, and abhorred as the "Judas of
Meissen," who had sold his coreligionists for an electorate.

At the same time Maurice was provoked by the arbitrary manner in which
the Emperor exploited and abused his victory by a repeated breach of his
promises, and by the treacherous and shameful treatment accorded his
father-in-law, Philip of Hesse. Chagrined at all this and fully
realizing the utter impossibility of enforcing the Interim, Maurice
decided to end the matter by a single stroke which at the same time
would atone for his treachery, and turn shame into glory and the vile
name of a "traitor" into the noble title of "Champion of Protestantism."
Accordingly Maurice, easily the match of Charles in duplicity and
cunning, secretly prepared his plans, and, suddenly turning his army
against the unsuspecting Emperor, drove him from Innsbruck, scared the
"Fathers of Trent" to their homes, and on April 5, 1552, victoriously
entered Augsburg, where he was received with great rejoicing. The fruits
of this victory were the Treaties of Passau August 2, 1552, and of
Augsburg, 1555, which for the first time granted religious liberty to
the Protestants. The latter placed Lutherans and Catholics on an equal
footing in the Empire and, according to the rule: _Cuius regio, eius
religio,_ gave every prince religious control in his own territory,
non-conformists being granted the right of emigration. To the great
advantage of the Romanists, however, the treaty also provided that
territories ruled by bishops must remain Catholic even though the ruler
should turn Protestant.

But while the Interim was thus eliminated as a political and practical
issue, the theological controversy precipitated by it continued
unabated. Its political elimination cleared the situation toward the
Romanists, but left conditions within the Lutheran Church unsettled. It
neither unified nor pacified the Church. It neither eliminated the false
doctrines and unionistic principles and tendencies injected by the
Interimists, nor did it restore confidence in the doctrinal soundness,
loyalty, and sincerity of the vacillating Philippists, who had caused
the first breach in the Lutheran Church. "Does it agree with the
character of the Lutheran Church to tolerate and approve the doctrines
and principles contained and involved in the Interim, and to harbor and
fellowship such indifferentists as framed, indorsed, and defended this
document?" such and similar were the questions which remained live
issues even after the Interim was politically dead. The theological
situation within the Lutheran Church, therefore, was not changed in the
least when the annihilation threatening her from without was warded off
by the victory of Maurice over the Emperor. The Interim was fraught with
doctrinal issues which made unavoidable the subsequent controversies.

XI. Controversies Following the Interim and Settled by the Formula of

130. Three Theological Parties.

In the theological conflicts after Luther's death three parties may be
distinguished. The first party embraced chiefly the Interimists, the
Synergists, and the Crypto-Calvinists. They were adherents of Philip
Melanchthon, hence called Melanchthonians or, more commonly,
Philippists, and were led by the theologians of Electoral Saxony. Their
object was to supplant the authority and theology of Luther by the
unionistic and liberal views of Melanchthon. Their headquarters were the
universities of Wittenberg and Leipzig. Some of their chief
representatives were: Joachim Camerarius (born 1500, professor of Greek
in Leipzig, a close friend of Melanchthon, died 1574); Paul Eber (born
1511, professor in Wittenberg, died 1568); Caspar Cruciger, Jr. (born
1525, professor in Wittenberg, died at Cassel 1597); Christopher Pezel
(born 1539, professor in Wittenberg, died 1600 or 1604); George Major
(Meier; born 1502, professor in Wittenberg, died 1574); Caspar Peucer
(doctor of medicine, son-in-law of Melanchthon; born 1525, imprisoned
from 1574 till 1586 died 1602); Paul Crell (born 1531, professor in
Wittenberg, died 1579); John Pfefflnger (born 1493, professor in
Leipzig, died 1573); Victorin Strigel (born 1524, 1548 professor in
Jena, died in Heidelberg 1569); John Stoessel (born 1524, died in prison
1576); George Cracow (born 1525, professor of jurisprudence in
Wittenberg, privy counselor in Dresden, died in prison 1575).

The second party, the so-called Gnesio-Lutherans (genuine Lutherans),
was represented chiefly by the theologians of Ducal Saxony and embraced
such staunch and loyal men as Amsdorf, Flacius, Wigand, Gallus, Matthias
Judex, Moerlin, Tileman Hesshusius, Timann, Westphal, and Simon Musaeus.
Though some of these leaders were later discredited by falling into
extreme positions themselves, they all proved to be valiant champions of
Luther and most determined opponents of the Philippists. The strongholds
of this party were Magdeburg and the University of Jena, founded by the
sons of John Frederick in 1547. Led by Flacius, this university
unflinchingly opposed the modified and unionistic Lutheranism advocated
by the Philippists at Wittenberg and Leipzig. Seeberg says, in
substance: The Gnesio-Lutherans were opposed to the philosophy of the
Philippists and stood for "the simple Biblical truth as Luther had
understood it." Even when opposed by the government, they defended the
truth, and were willing to suffer the consequences. Strict doctrinal
discipline was exercised by them. They opposed with equal determination
the errors also of their fellow-combatants: Amsdorf, Flacius, Poach, and
others. Intellectually they were superior to the Philippists. Seeberg
concludes: "In the forms of their time (which were not outgrown by any
one of the Philippists either) they preserved to the Church genuine
Luther-treasures--_echtes Luthergut._" (_Dogmengeschichte_ 4, 2, 482.)

The third, or center-party, was composed of the loyal Lutherans who took
no conspicuous part in the controversies, but came to the front when the
work of pacification began. They were of special service in settling the
controversies, framing the Formula of Concord, and restoring a true and
godly peace to our Church. Prominent among them were Brenz, Andreae,
Chemnitz, Selneccer, Chytraeus, Cornerus, Moerlin, and others. These
theologians were, on the one hand, opposed to all unnecessary
logomachies _i.e._, controversies involving no doctrinal differences,
and, at the same time, were most careful not to fall into any extreme
position themselves. On the other hand, however, they approved of all
controversies really necessary in the interest of truth, rejected and
condemned all forms of indifferentism and unionism, and strenuously
opposed every effort at sacrificing, veiling, or compromising any
doctrine by ambiguous formulas for the sake of external peace or any
other policy whatsoever. (CONC. TRIGL., 855f.)

131. Various Theological Controversies.

Following is a synopsis and summary of the main controversies within the
Lutheran Church after the death of Luther, which were settled in the
first eleven articles of the Formula of Concord. The sequence of these
articles, however, is not strictly historical and chronological, but
dogmatic. In the main, the arrangement of the Augsburg Confession is

The first of these controversies was the so-called Adiaphoristic
Controversy, from 1548 to 1555, in which the Wittenberg and Leipzig
theologians (Melanchthon, Eber, Pfeffinger, etc.) defended the Leipzig
Interim and the reintroduction of Romish ceremonies into the Lutheran
Church. They were opposed by the champions of a consistent and
determined Lutheranism, led by Flacius, who declared: "_Nihil est
adiaphoron in statu confessionis et scandali._ Nothing is an adiaphoron
in case of confession and offense." The controversy was decided by
Article X.

The second is the Majoristic Controversy, from 1551 to 1562, in which
George Major and Justus Menius defended the phrase of Melanchthon that
good works are necessary to salvation. They were opposed by the loyal
Lutherans, of whom Amsdorf, however, lapsed into the opposite error:
Good works are detrimental to salvation. This controversy was settled
by Article IV.

The third is the Synergistic Controversy, from 1555 to 1560, in which
Pfeffinger, Eber, Major, Crell, Pezel, Strigel, and Stoessel held with
Melanchthon that man by his own natural powers cooperates in his
conversion. Their opponents (Amsdorf, Flacius, Hesshusius, Wigand,
Gallus, Musaeus, and Judex) taught, as formulated by Flacius: "_Solus
Deus convertit hominem.... Non excludit voluntatem, sed omnem efficaciam
et operationem eius...._ God alone converts man.... He does not exclude
the will, but all efficaciousness and operation of the same." This
controversy was decided and settled by Article II.

The fourth is the Flacian Controversy, from 1560 to 1575, in which
Flacius, supported by Cyriacus Spangenberg, Christian Irenaeus, Matthias
Wolf, I. F. Coelestinus, Schneider, and others, maintained that original
sin is not an accident, but the very substance of fallen man. The
Lutherans, including the Philippists, were practically unanimous in
opposing this error. It was decided by Article I.

The fifth was the Osiandristic and the Stancarian Controversy, from 1549
to 1566, in which Andrew Osiander denied the forensic character of
justification, and taught that Christ is our righteousness only
according to His divine nature, while Stancarus contended that Christ is
our righteousness according to His human nature only. Both, Osiander as
well as Stancarus, were opposed by Melanchthon, Flacius, and practically
all other Lutherans, the Philippists included. This controversy was
settled by Article III.

The sixth was the Antinomistic Controversy, from 1527 to 1556, in which
various false views concerning the Law and the Gospel were defended,
especially by John Agricola who maintained that repentance (contrition)
is not wrought by the Law, but by the Gospel (a view which, in a
modified form was later on defended also by Wittenberg Philippists),
and, after Luther's death, by Poach and Otto, who rejected the so-called
Third Use of the Law. The questions involved in these Antinomian
controversies were decided by Articles V and VI.

The seventh was the Crypto-Calvinistic Controversy, from 1560 to 1574,
in which the Philippists in Wittenberg, Leipzig, and Dresden (Peucer,
Cracow, Stoessel, etc.) endeavored gradually to supplant Luther's
doctrines concerning the Lord's Supper and the majesty of the human
nature of Christ by the Calvinistic teachings on these points. These
secret and dishonest enemies of Lutheranism were opposed by true
Lutherans everywhere, notably by the theologians of Ducal Saxony. In
1574 they were publicly unmasked as deceivers and Calvinistic schemers.
The controversy was settled by Articles VII and VIII.

The two last controversies were of a local nature. The first was chiefly
confined to Hamburg, the second to Strassburg. In the former city John
Aepinus taught that Christ's descent into hell was a part of His
suffering and humiliation. He was opposed by his colleagues in Hamburg.
In Strassburg John Marbach publicly denounced Zanchi, a
Crypto-Calvinist, for teaching that faith, once engendered in a man,
cannot be lost. The questions involved in these two articles are dealt
with in Articles IX and XI, respectively.

132. Conflicts Unavoidable.

When describing the conflicts after Luther's death, historians
frequently deplore "the dreadful controversies of these dark days of
doctrinal extremists and the polemical spirit of rigid Lutheranism." G.
J. Planck, in particular, characterized them all as useless quarrels and
personal wranglings of narrow-minded, bigoted adherents of Luther, who
vitiated original Lutheranism by making it essentially a matter of "pure
doctrine." To the present day indifferentistically inclined historians
are wont to mar their pages with similar views.

True, "pure doctrine," "unity in the pure doctrine of the Gospel," such
was the shibboleth of the faithful Lutherans over against the
Melanchthonians and other errorists. But this was neither reprehensible
doctrinalism nor a corruption of original Lutheranism, but the very
principle from which it was born and for which Luther contended
throughout his life--a principle of life or death for the Lutheran
Church. It was the _false_ doctrine of justification which made Luther a
most miserable man. It was the _pure_ doctrine as taught by St. Paul
which freed his conscience, transported him into Paradise, as he himself
puts it, and made him the Reformer of the Church. Ever since, purity of
doctrine was held, by Luther and all true Lutheran theologians, to be of
paramount import to Christianity and the Church. Fully realizing that
adulteration of any part of the Christian doctrine was bound to infect
also the doctrine of faith and justification and thus endanger
salvation, they earnestly warned against, and opposed, every deviation
from the clear Word of God, no matter how insignificant it might appear.
They loved the truth more than external peace, more even than their own
lives. Hence they found it impossible to be silent, apathetic, and
complacent spectators while the Philippists and others denied, attacked,
and corrupted the truth taught by Luther from the Word of God.

Accordingly, since the Leipzig Interim involved and maintained doctrines
and principles subversive of genuine Lutheranism and was prepared,
introduced, and defended by the very men who were regarded as pillars of
the Lutheran Church, it was evident from the outset that this document
must of necessity precipitate most serious internal troubles. From the
moment the Wittenbergers cast the Interim as a firebrand into the
Church, a domestic warfare was unavoidable,--if indeed any true
disciples of Luther still remained in the Church of which he, and not
Melanchthon, was the founder. While the Augsburg Interim resulted in an
external theological warfare of the Lutherans against the Romanists,
the Leipzig Interim added a most serious domestic conflict, which
conscientious Lutherans could not evade, though it well-nigh brought our
Church to the brink of destruction. For now the issue was not merely how
to resist the Pope and the Romanists, but, how to purge our own Church
from the Interimists and their pernicious principles. And as long as the
advocates of the Interim or of other aberrations from the old Lutheran
moorings refused to abandon their errors, and nevertheless insisted on
remaining in the Church, there was no real unity in the truth. Hence
there could also be no true peace and brotherly harmony among the
Lutherans. And the way to settle these differences was not indifferently
to ignore them, nor unionistically to compromise them by adopting
ambiguous formulas, but patiently to discuss the doctrines at issue
until an agreement in the truth was reached, which finally was done by
means of the Formula of Concord.

True, these controversies endangered the very existence of our Church.
But the real cause of this was not the resistance which the loyal
Lutherans offered to the errorists, nor even the unseemly severity by
which the prosecution of these controversies was frequently marred, but
the un-Lutheran spirit and the false principles and doctrines manifested
and defended by the opponents. In so far as divine truth was defended
and error opposed, these controversies were truly wars to end war, and
to establish real peace and true unity within our Church. A cowardly
surrender to the indifferentistic spirit, the unionistic policy, the
false principles, and the erroneous doctrines of the Interimists would
have been tantamount to a complete transformation of our Church and a
total annihilation of genuine Lutheranism.

The manner in which these controversies were conducted, it is true, was
frequently such as to obstruct, rather than further, mutual
understanding and peace. As a rule, it is assumed that only the genuine
Lutherans indulged in unseemly polemical invective, and spoke and wrote
in a bitter and spiteful tone. But the Melanchthonians were to say the
least, equally guilty. And when censuring this spirit of combativeness,
one must not overlook that the ultimate cause of the most violent of
these controversies was the betrayal of the Lutheran Church by the
Interimists; and that the severity of the polemics of the loyal
Lutherans did not, at least not as a rule, emanate from any personal
malice toward Melanchthon, but rather from a burning zeal to maintain
sound Lutheranism, and from the fear that by the scheming and the
indifference of the Philippists the fruits of Luther's blessed work
might be altogether lost to the coming generations. The "peace-loving"
Melanchthon started a conflagration within his own church in order to
obtain a temporal and temporary peace with the Romanists; while the
loyal Lutherans, inasmuch as they fought for the preservation of genuine
Lutheranism, stood for, and promoted, a truly honorable, godly, and
lasting peace on the basis of eternal truth. And while the latter fought
honestly and in the open, the Philippists have never fully cleared
themselves from the charges of duplicity, dishonesty, and dissimulation.

133. Melanchthon Prime Mover of Conflicts.

The Leipzig Interim was the signal for a general and prolonged warfare
within the Lutheran Church. It contained the germs of various doctrinal
errors, and produced a spirit of general distrust and suspicion, which
tended to exaggerate and multiply the real differences. Schmauk says:
"The seeds of the subsequent controversies are all to be found in the
Leipzig Interim." (595.) At any rate, most of the controversies after
Luther's death flowed from, or were in some way or other connected with,
this unfortunate document. Such is the view also of the Formula of
Concord, which declares that the thirty years' controversies which it
settled originated especially in the Interim. (857, 19; 947, 29.)

Yet the Interim was rather the occasion than the ultimate cause of these
conflicts. Long before the flames of open discord burst forth, the
embers of secret doctrinal dissension had been glowing under the
surface. Even during the life of Luther much powder had been secretly
stored up for which the Interim furnished the spark. This is proved,
among other things, by Luther's predictions (referred to in the
preceding chapter) concerning his own colleagues. And above all it was
the "peace-loving" Philip who first and most successfully sowed the
dragon's teeth of discord. Melanchthon's doctrinal deviations from the
teachings of Luther and from his own former position must be regarded as
the last cause of both the Leipzig Interim and the lamentable
controversies that followed in its wake. Indeed, a tragic sight to
behold: The co-laborer of Luther, the servant of the Reformation second
only to Luther, the Praeceptor Germaniae, the ardent and anxious lover
of peace, etc.--untrue to his confiding friend, disloyal to the cause of
the Reformation, and the chief cause of strife and dissension in the
Lutheran Church! And withal, Melanchthon, mistaking external union for
real unity and temporal peace with men for true peace with God, felt
satisfied that he had spent the efforts of his entire life in the
interest of the true welfare of the Church! Shortly before his death
(April 19, 1560) he expressed his joy that now he would be delivered
from the "fury of the theologians." On a sheet of paper found on his
table were written a number of reasons why he feared death less. One of
them was: "_Liberaberis ab aerumnis et a rabie teologorum._ You will be
delivered from toils and from the fury of the theologians." (_C. R._ 9,
1098.) Thus even in the face of death he did not realize that he himself
was the chief cause of the conflicts that had embittered his declining

134. Melanchthon's Humanistic and Unionistic Tendencies.

Till about 1530 Melanchthon seems to have been in complete harmony with
Luther, and to have followed him enthusiastically. To propagate, coin,
and bring into scholastic form the Christian truths once more brought to
light by the Reformer he considered to be his peculiar mission. But his
secret letters and, with gradually increasing clearness and boldness,
also his publications show that later on he began to strike out on paths
of his own, and to cultivate and disseminate doctrines incompatible with
the Lutheranism of Luther. In a measure, these deviations were known
also to the Wittenberg students and theologians, to Cordatus, Stifel,
Amsdorf, the Elector John Frederick, Brueck, and Luther, who also called
him to account whenever sufficient evidence warranted his doing so.
(_Lehre und Wehre_ 1908, 61ff.)

In a letter to Cordatus, dated April 15, 1537, Melanchthon was bold
enough to state that he had made many corrections in his writings and
was glad of the fact: "_Multa ultro correxi in libellis meis et
correxisse me gaudeo._" (_C. R._ 3, 342.) In discussing the squabble
between Cordatus and Melanchthon whether good works are necessary for
salvation, Luther is reported by the former to have said, in 1536: "To
Philip I leave the sciences and philosophy and nothing else. But I shall
be compelled to chop off the head of philosophy, too." (Kolde,
_Analecta,_ 266.) Melanchthon, as Luther put it, was always troubled by
his philosophy; that is to say, instead of subjecting his reason to the
Word of God, he was inclined to balance the former against the latter.
The truth is that Melanchthon never fully succeeded in freeing himself
from his original humanistic tendencies, a fact which gave his mind a
moralistic rather than a truly religious and Scriptural bent. Even
during the early years of the Reformation when he was carried away with
admiration for Luther and his work, the humanistic undercurrent did not
disappear altogether. January 22, 1525, he wrote to Camerarius: "_Ego
mihi conscius sum, non ullam ob causam unquam tetheologekenai, nisi at
mores meos emendarem_. I am conscious of the fact that I have never
theologized for any other reason than to improve my morals." (_C. R._ 1,
722.) Such, then, being his frame of mind, it was no wonder that he
should finally desert Luther in most important points, lapse into
synergism and other errors, and, in particular value
indifferentistically doctrinal convictions, notably on the real presence
in the Lord's Supper and the person of Christ. "Over against Luther,"
says Schaff, "Melanchthon represented the unionistic and liberal type of
Lutheranism." (_Creeds,_ 1, 259.) This is correct; but the stricture
must be added that, since unionism and liberalism are incompatible with
the very essence of Lutheranism, Melanchthonianism as such was in
reality not a "type," but a denial of Lutheranism.

Melanchthon lacked the simple faith in, and the firm adherence and
implicit submission to, the Word of God which made Luther the undaunted
and invincible hero of the Reformation. Standing four-square on the
Bible and deriving from this source of divine power alone all his
theological thoughts and convictions, Luther was a rock, firm and
immovable. With him every theological question was decided and settled
conclusively by quoting a clear passage from the Holy Scriptures, while
Melanchthon, devoid of Luther's single-minded and whole-hearted devotion
to the Word of God, endeavored to satisfy his reason as well.
Consequently he lacked assurance and firm conviction, wavered and
vacillated, and was never fully satisfied that the position he occupied
was really the only correct one, while, on the other hand, he endeavored
to present his views concerning some of the disputed doctrines in
ambiguous and indefinite terms. "We have twenty-eight large volumes of
Melanchthon's writings," says C. P. Krauth, "and, at this hour,
impartial and learned men are not agreed as to what were his views on
some of the profoundest questions of church doctrine, on which
Melanchthon was writing all his life!" (_Conservative Ref.,_ 291;
Schmauk, 748.) This indefinite and wavering attitude towards divine
truth, the natural consequence of the humanistic bent of his mind,
produced in Melanchthon a general tendency and proneness to surrender or
compromise doctrinal matters in the interest of policy, and to barter
away eternal truth for temporal peace. It made him an indifferentist and
a unionist, always ready to strike a bargain also in matters pertaining
to Christian faith, and to cover doctrinal differences with ambiguous
formulas. While Luther's lifelong attitude on matters of Christian
doctrine is characterized by the famous words spoken by him at Worms in
1521: "_Ich kann nicht anders,_ I cannot do otherwise," Melanchthon,
treating even questions of faith as matters of expediency rather than of
conscience, was the man who, as a rule, could also do otherwise, and who
was great in manufacturing "Polish boots," as the ambiguous phrases by
which he endeavored to unite opposing parties were called by the
Lutherans in Reuss.

In order to preserve peace with the Romanists at Augsburg in 1530, he
did not hesitate to sacrifice Lutheran truths and to receive into the
bargain a number of what he considered minor papal errors. In his
subsequent overtures to the Reformed he was more than willing to make
similar concessions. The spirit of Melanchthon was the spirit of
religious indifference and of unionism, which, though thoroughly
eliminated by the Formula of Concord, was from time to time revived
within the Lutheran Church by such men as Calixtus, Spener, Zinzendorf,
Neander, and, in our own country, by S. S. Schmucker.

The unionistic tendencies and doctrinal corruptions which Melanchthon
injected into Lutheranism were all the more dangerous to our Church
because they derived special weight and prestige from the fact that
Luther had unstintingly praised his gifts, his books, and the services
he had rendered the Church (St. L. 18, 1671; 23, 1152), that he was now
generally regarded as Luther's successor with regard to theological
leadership of the Church; and that he was gratefully admired as the
Praeceptor Germaniae by a host of loyal pupils, who made it a point also
to cultivate just those theological peculiarities of Master Philip, as
they called him, in which he differed from Luther.

135. Melanchthon's "Shameful Servitude."

That Melanchthon failed our Church in the Interim emergency as well as
in the subsequent controversies is generally ascribed to the fact that
he lacked the bracing influence and assistance of Luther. No doubt,
there is a good deal of truth in this assumption. But the true reason
why he did not measure up to the demands of the times and the
expectations of our Church were not mere moral weaknesses, but rather
the errors and false principles to which he was wedded. How could
Melanchthon have approved himself a leader of the Lutherans when he was
out of sympathy with them, doubted some of their most cherished
doctrines, and long ago had struck out on a path deviating from that
mapped out by Luther? True, the bracing which he received from Luther in
the past had repeatedly kept him from publicly sacrificing the truth,
but even in these instances he did not always yield because he was
really convinced, but because he feared the uncompromising spirit of

That fear of an open conflict with Luther which, he felt, would result
in a crushing defeat for himself, bulked large among the motives which
prompted him to maintain a semblance of true orthodoxy as long as Luther
lived, is clearly admitted by Melanchthon himself. In his notorious and
most discreditable letter to Carlowitz (counselor of Elector Maurice),
written April 28, 1548, eight days after the meeting at Celle, where he
had debauched his conscience by promising submission to the religious
demands of the Emperor, Melanchthon, pouring forth his feelings and
revealing his true inwardness and his spirit of unionism and
indifferentism as much as admitted that in the past he had been
accustomed to hiding his real views. Here he declared in so many words
that it was not he who started, and was responsible for, the religious
controversy between the Lutherans and Romanists, but rather Luther whose
contentious spirit (he said) also had constantly increased the rupture,
and that under Luther he had suffered "a most shameful servitude."

In the original the letter reads, in part, as follows: "Totum enim me
tibi [Carlowitz] aperio.... Ego, cum decreverit princeps etiamsi quid
non probabo, tamen nihil seditiose faciam, sed vel tacebo, vel cedam,
vel feram, quidquid accidet. _Tuli etiam antea servitutem paene
deformem,_ cum saepe Lutherus magis suae naturae, in qua filoneikia erat
non exigua, quam vel personae suae vel utilitati communi serviret. Et
scio, omnibus aetatibus, ut tempestatum incommoda, ita aliqua in
gubernatione vitia modeste et arte ferenda et dissimulanda esse....
Fortassis natura sum ingenio servili." (_C. R._ 6, 879f.)

Even before Melanchthon had, in private letters to his friends,
displayed a similar vein of ill will toward Luther, whom he evidently
feared because of his own secret doctrinal deviations. (_Lehre und
Wehre_ 1908, 61. 68.) No doubt, as stated above, fear was also among the
motives which induced him to identify himself with the Leipzig Interim.
But evidently his own theological attitude, too, differed little from
the spirit pervading this document. At any rate, the letter to Carlowitz
does not support the assumption that Melanchthon really outraged his own
convictions when he wrote and adopted the Interim. As a matter of fact,
he also continued to defend the Interim; and it was as late as 1556
before he was ready to make even a qualified admission of one of the
errors connected with it.

While, therefore, the Lutheran Church will always gratefully acknowledge
the splendid services which Melanchthon rendered in the work of Luther's
Reformation, it must at the same time be admitted and cannot be gainsaid
that, in the last analysis, Melanchthon, by reason of his deviations
from Luther, which will be set forth more fully in the following, was
the ultimate cause and originator of most of the dissensions which began
to distract the Lutheran Church soon after the death of Luther. Andrew
Musculus, who assisted in drafting the _Formula of Concord,_ brought out
this fact (though in terms too strong) when he characterized Melanchthon
as a "philosophical theologian and a patriarch of all heretics."
(Meusel, _Handl._ 4, 710.) In a way, Melanchthon may even be regarded as
the indirect cause of the Smalcald War and its unfortunate issue,
inasmuch, namely, as his vacillating and compromising attitude and his
incompetent leadership created conditions of internal weakness among the
Lutherans, which invited the aggression of Pope and Emperor.

XII. The Adiaphoristic Controversy.

136. Contents of the Leipzig Interim.

To exhibit the insidious character of the Leipzig Interim more fully, we
submit the following quotations. In its Introduction we read: "As far as
the doctrine of the state and nature of man before and after the Fall is
concerned, there is no controversy" (between the Lutherans and
Romanists). The article "Of Justification," in which the Lutheran _sola
fide_ is omitted, declares: "The merciful God does not work with man as
with a block, but draws him, so that his will also cooperates if he be
of understanding years." Again: "And they who have thus received the
forgiveness of sins and the Holy Ghost, and in whom the Holy Ghost
begins faith and trust in the Son of God, love and hope, then become
heirs of eternal salvation for the Savior's sake." In the article "Of
Good Works" we read: "Nevertheless, the new virtues and good works are
so highly necessary that, if they were not quickened in the heart there
would be no reception of divine grace." Again: "It is certainly true
that these virtues, faith, love, hope, and others, must be in us and are
necessary to salvation.... And since the virtues and good works, as has
been said, please God, they merit also a reward in this life, both
spiritual and temporal, according to God's counsel, and still more
reward in the eternal life, because of the divine promise."

The article "Of Ecclesiastical Power" runs as follows: "What the true
Christian Church gathered in the Holy Ghost, acknowledges, determines,
and teaches in regard to matters of faith is to be taught and preached,
since it neither should nor can determine anything contrary to the Holy
Scriptures." Self-evidently, Romanists construed this as an _a priori_
endorsement of the Council and its resolutions. In the article "Of
Ecclesiastical Ministers" we read: "And that all other ministers should
be subject and obedient to the chief bishop [the Pope] and to other
bishops who administer their episcopal office according to God's
command, using the same for edification and not for destruction; which
ministers should be ordained also by such bishops upon presentation by
the patrons." This article conceded the primacy of the Pope and the
ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishops. The article "Of Ordination"
declares: "Also, that, as has been said, upon presentation by patrons,
ministers should hereafter be ordained with Christian ceremonies by such
bishops as administer their episcopal office, and that no one should be
allowed to be in the ministry unless, as has been said, he be presented
by the patrons and have the permission of the bishops." That was
tantamount to a restoration of the "sacrament" of episcopal ordination.

The Interim furthermore demanded the immediate reintroduction of
abolished ceremonies, such as exorcism and other ceremonies of Baptism,
confirmation by bishops, auricular confession, extreme unction,
episcopal ordination, and the like. We read: "That repentance,
confession, and absolution, and what pertains thereto, be diligently
taught and preached; that the people confess to the priests, and receive
of them absolution in God's stead, and be also diligently admonished and
urged to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; also, that no one be admitted
to the highly venerable Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ [in
this indirect way only the cup of the laity is referred to in the
Interim] unless he have first confessed to the priest and received of
him absolution." Again: "Although in this country the unction [Extreme
Unction] has not been in use for many years, yet ... such unction,
according to the apostle, may be hereafter observed." Again: "That
henceforth the mass be observed in this country with ringing of bells,
with lights and vessels, with chants, vestments, and ceremonies." Among
the holidays to be observed the Interim mentions also Corpus Christi and
the festivals of the holy Virgin Mary. Again we read: "The images and
pictures of the sufferings of Christ and of the saints may be also
retained in the churches." Again: "In the churches where the canonical
hours have been formerly observed, the devout Psalms shall be sung in
chapters and towns at the appointed time and on other high festivals,
and also on Sundays." "Likewise, that on Fridays and Saturdays, as well
as during fasts, the eating of meat be abstained from and that this be
observed as an external ordinance at the command of His Imperial
Majesty." The clause, "that this be observed," etc., was regarded by
Flacius and Gallus as implying self-deception and hypocrisy on the part
of the Interimists. (Frank 4 72. 119.) Again, as to the apparel of
priests, that "a distinction be observed between ministers and secular
persons, and that proper reverence be paid the priestly estate." The
Introduction of the Interim gives the assurance that the Lutherans would
obey the Emperor and be found disposed toward peace and unity. The
Conclusion adds the humble promise: "In all other articles we are ready
... in a friendly and submissive manner to confer with Your Beloved and
Princely Graces, and to settle our differences in a Christian way." (_C.
R._ 7, 258. Jacobs, _Book of Concord,_ 2, 260.)

137. Issue in Adiaphoristic Controversy.

From the passages quoted it appears that the Leipzig Interim was
inoculated with the germs of many controversies. However, while in the
beginning its offensive doctrinal features were not fully and generally
recognized and realized, the Emperor's demand for, and approval of, the
Wittenberg and Leipzig theologian's reintroduction of the Romish
ceremonies immediately created an acute situation and a great commotion
everywhere. The resulting theological conflict pertaining to the latter
point in particular was called the Adiaphoristic or Interimistic
Controversy. And, as explained above, even after the Interim had become
a dead letter politically, this controversy did not subside, because its
paramount object was not merely to pass a correct judgment on past
events during the Interim, nor even to obtain norms for similar
situations in the future, but, above all, to eliminate from our Church
the spirit of indifferentism, unionism, and of direct as well as
indirect denial of the Gospel-truth.

Accordingly, the exact issue in the Adiaphoristic Controversy was: May
Lutherans, under conditions such as prevailed during the Interim, when
the Romanists on pain of persecution and violence demanded the
reinstitution of abolished papal ceremonies, even if the ceremonies in
question be truly indifferent in themselves, submit with a good
conscience, that is to say, without denying the truth and Christian
liberty, without sanctioning the errors of Romanism, and without giving
offense either to the enemies or to the friends of the Lutheran Church,
especially its weak members? This was affirmed by the Interimists and
denied by their opponents.

138. Opposition to the Adiaphorists.

Prominent among the theologians who participated in the controversy
against the Adiaphorists were Flacius, Wigand, Gallus, and others, who
in Magdeburg opened a most effective fire on the authors, sponsors, and
advocates of the Interim. Following are some of the chief publications
which dealt with the questions involved: "Opinion concerning the
Interim, by Melanchthon, June 16, 1548," published by Flacius without
the knowledge of Melanchthon.--"Report on the Interim by the Theologians
of Meissen," 1548.--"That in These Dangerous Times (in diesen
geschwinden Laeuften) Nothing is to be Changed in the Churches of God in
Order to Please the Devil and the Antichrist," by John Hermann, 1548. A
Latin edition of this publication appeared 1549, mentioning Flacius as
its author.--"A Brief Report (Ein kurzer Bericht) on the Interim from
which One may Easily Learn the Doctrine and Spirit of That Book,"
1548.--"A General Protest and Writ of Complaint (Eine gemeine
Protestation und Klageschrift) of All Pious Christians against the
Interim and Other Sinister Schemes and Cruel Persecutions by the Enemies
of the Gospel, by John Waremund, 1548." Waremund was a pseudonym for
Flacius.--"Against the Interim, Papal Mass, Canon, and Master Eisleben,"
1519.--"Against the Vile Devil (Wider den schnoeden Teufel), who Now
Again Transforms Himself into an Angel of Light, _i.e._, against the New
Interim, by Carolus Azarias Gotsburgensis, 1549." Of this book, too,
Flacius was the author. (Preger 1, 67.)--"Apology (Entschuldigung) of
Matthias Flacius Illy. to a Certain Pastor," 1549.--"Several Letters of
the Venerable D. M. Luther concerning the Union of Christ and Belial,
Written 1530 to the Theologians at the Diet in Augsburg," 1549, with a
preface by Flacius.--"Apology of Matthias Flacius Illy., Addressed to
the University of Wittenberg, regarding the Adiaphora," 1549.--"Writing
of Matthias Flacius Illy. against a Truly Heathen, yea, Epicurean Book
of the Adiaphorists (in which the Leipzig Interim is Defended) in Order
to Guard Oneself against the Present Counterfeiters of the True
Religion," 1549.--"Answer of Magister Nicolas Gallus and Matthias
Flacius Illy. to the Letter of Some Preachers in Meissen regarding the
Question whether One should Abandon His Parish rather than Don the
Cassock" (_linea vestis, Chorrock_).--"Against the Extract of the
Leipzig Interim, or the Small Interim," by Flacius, 1549.--"Book
concerning True and False Adiaphora (_Liber de Veris et Falsis
Adiaphoris_), in which the Adiaphoristic Controversy is Explained Almost
in Its Entirety, by Flacius, 1549." This book, which is most frequently
quoted and deals most thoroughly with the questions involved, is found
in Schluesselburg's _Catalogus Haereticorum_ 13, 154ff.--"An Admonition
(Vermahnung) to be Constant in the Confession of the Truth, in Cross and
Prayer, by Flacius," 1549.--"A Christian Admonition by Matthias Flacius
Illy. to be Constant in the True, Pure Religion of Jesus Christ and in
the Augsburg Confession," 1550.--"Against the Alleged Power and Primacy
of the Pope, Useful to Read at This Time, when the Whole World Endeavors
again to Place the Expelled Antichrist into the Temple of Christ, by
Matthias Flacius Illy."--"Against the Evangelist of the Holy Chorrock,
D. Geitz Major, by Matthias Flacius Illy., 1552."--For a complete list
of the writings of Flacius against the Interim, see Preger's _Matthias
Flacius Illyricus,_ 2, 540 ff.

Even the titles of these publications indicate that the Adiaphoristic
Controversy did not lack violence and virulence. This animosity against
the Interimists was chiefly due to the fear that their policy would
finally lead to the complete undoing of the Reformation. For while
Melanchthon still believed in and hoped for, an understanding with the
Romanists, Flacius saw through their schemes and fully realized the
impending danger. In the reintroduction of Catholic ceremonies which
Melanchthon regarded as entirely harmless, Flacius beheld nothing but
the entering wedge, which would gradually be followed by the entire mass
of Romish errors and abuses and the absolute dominance of Pope and
Emperor over the Lutheran Church. The obedience demanded by the Emperor,
said Flacius, consists in this, that "we abandon our true doctrine and
adopt the godless Papacy." In all its details, he explained, the
ultimate purpose of the Interim is none other than the reestablishment
of Popery, of which even such seemingly trifling matters as the
reintroduction of the _Chorrock (linea vestis)_ were but the beginning,
as it were, the breach in the dam which was bound ultimately to result
in a complete submersion of Lutheranism. (Frank 4, 74. 76. 119.)

Since the loyal Lutherans, in keeping with the teaching of Luther and
the Lutheran Confessions, regarded the Papacy as antichristendom, they
could not but abhor the concessions made by the Interimists as treachery
against the truth. From the very outset Flacius and Gallus insisted that
their opponents answer the question, "whether the Pope with his
government is the true Antichrist in the Church as according to the Word
of God he has been publicly declared to be in our churches, and whether
he still should and must be regarded and confessed as such." And if
Luther's doctrine was to stand, how, then, they argued, could a union be
effected between the enemies of the Gospel (the Antichrist and his
bishops) and the Lutherans without idolatry and denial of the religion
of Christ? (53. 107.) On the title-page of his _Apology,_ of 1549,
Flacius declares: "The upshot [of the Interim] is the establishment of
the Papacy and the installation of the Antichrist in the temple of
Christ, the encouragement of the wicked to flaunt their victory over the
Church of Christ and to grieve the godly, likewise weakening, leading
into doubt, separation and innumerable offenses." (Schaff 1, 301.)
Regarding the acknowledgment of the Pope and bishops by the Interim,
Flacius remarked: "Mark well, here the werewolf (_Baerwolf_), together
with his fellow-wolves, is placed over the little flock of Christ. There
is, however, no danger whatever; for, as is added [in the Interim: "The
Pope should use his power not for destruction, but for edification"],
they have counted the sheep and commanded the wolves to be gentle. In my
opinion this is certainly a good adiaphoron to restore Antichrist to the
temple from which he has been expelled by the Finger of God." (Preger 1,
191.) Accordingly, burning with shame and indignation, and trembling
with fear for the future of Lutheranism, Flacius charged Melanchthon
with want of faith and with treason against the truth, and characterized
the Leipzig Interim as an unholy union of Christ and Belial, of light
and darkness, of Christ and Antichrist.

While Flacius thus denounced the Interim as well as its authors and
abettors, he at the same time admonished and encouraged the Lutheran
pastors to be steadfast in confessing the truth, in spite of cross and
persecution, and to stand by their flocks as true shepherds. That
minister, he said, who denies or fails to confess the truth, or who
yields to a tyrant, deserts his Church. We must not only confess with
our mouths, but by deeds and actions as well. Not abandonment of the
flock, but suffering is the best way to win the victory over a tyrant.
Flacius also earnestly warned the people against yielding to the princes
and acknowledging, hearing, and following their own ministers if they
advocated and introduced the Interim. Moreover, he encouraged both
pastors and laymen to resist the tyranny of princes demanding the
reinstitution of the Roman ceremonies. "A government," said he in his
_Admonition,_ "no matter which, has not the authority to forbid pastor
to preach the pure doctrine." When the government persecutes the truth,
we must not yield, no matter what the consequences may be. Christians
will sacrifice everything to a tyrannical prince, but not "the truth,
not the consolation of divine grace, nor the hope of eternal life."
(Frank 4, 68. 117.)

139. Doctrinal Position of Anti-Adiaphorists.

The theological position occupied by the opponents of the Adiaphorists
may be summarized as follows: Ceremonies which God has neither commanded
nor prohibited are adiaphora (_res mediae, Mitteldinge_) and _ceteris
paribus_ (other things being equal), may be observed or omitted, adopted
or rejected. However, under circumstances testing one's faith they may
become a matter of principle and conscience. Such is the case wherever
and whenever they are demanded as necessary, or when their introduction
involves a denial of the truth, an admission of error, an infringement
of Christian liberty, an encouragement of errorists and of the enemies
of the Church, a disheartening of the confessors of the truth, or an
offense to Christians, especially the weak. Such conditions, they
maintained, prevailed during the time of the Interim, when both Pope and
Emperor plainly declared it to be their object to reestablish the Romish
religion in Lutheran churches; when the adoption of the Interim and the
reinstitution of the papal ceremonies were universally regarded, by
Catholics as well as Protestants, as the beginning of just such a
reestablishment of the Papacy; when the timid Wittenberg and Leipzig
theologians, instead of boldly confessing the Gospel and trusting to God
for the protection of His Church, compromised the truth and yielded to
the demands of the Romanists in order to escape persecution when the
consciences of Lutherans were perplexed and confused wherever the
abolished rites were reinstituted. Accordingly, they declared that under
the prevailing circumstances the reintroduction of the Romish ceremonies
was nothing short of a denial of Christian faith and of Christian love
as well.

Flacius, in particular, maintained that under the prevailing
circumstances even such ceremonies as were in themselves true adiaphora
ceased to be adiaphora and could not be reintroduced with a good
conscience, because they were forced upon the Lutherans by the enemies
of the Gospel, because they were accepted for reprehensible reasons,
such as fear of persecution and desire for external peace, and because
their reintroduction confounded the consciences, offended the weak, and
gave comfort and encouragement to the enemies of Christ. The people,
Protestants as well as Catholics, said Flacius, would regard such
reintroduction both as an admission on the part of the Lutherans that
they had been in the wrong and the Romanists in the right, and as the
beginning of a general restoration of the Papacy. Explain the
reintroduction of the ceremonies as piously as you may, said he to the
Interimists, the common people, especially the Romanists, always
impressed by ceremonies much more than by the doctrine, will infer that
those teachers who reintroduce the ceremonies approve of the Papacy in
every respect and reject the Evangelical doctrine. In his book _De Veris
et Falsis Adiaphoris_ we read: "Adversarii totum suum cultum, vel certe
praecipua capita suae religionis in ceremoniis collocant, quas cum in
nostris ecclesiis in eorum gratiam restituimus, an non videmur tum eis,
tum aliis eorum impiis cultibus assentiri? Nec dubitant, quin
quandoquidem in tantis rebus ipsis cesserimus, etiam in reliquis cessuri
simus, nostrum errorem agnoscamus, eorumque religionem veram esse
confiteamur." (Schluesselburg 13, 217.) Accordingly, Flacius contended
that under the prevailing circumstances a concession to the Romanists,
even in ceremonies harmless in themselves, was tantamount to a denial of
Lutheranism. The entire argument of the Anti-Adiaphorists was by him
reduced to the following principle or axiom: "_Nihil est adiaphoron in
casu confessionis et scandali._ Nothing is an adiaphoron when confession
and offense are involved." And wherever the Interim was enforced, the
consequences foretold by Flacius showed themselves: consciences were
confused, simple Christians were offended, and the enemies were
strengthened in their error and emboldened in their attacks and in
further demands made upon the Lutherans.

140. Sophistries of Adiaphorists Refuted.

The Wittenberg Interimists endeavored to justify their attitude by a
series of sophisms to which they also adhered in the "Final Report
(Endlicher Bericht) of the Theologians of Both Universities of Leipzig
and Wittenberg," 1570. (Frank 4, 87. 2.) By adopting the Interim, the
Wittenbergers, in reality, had assented also to doctrinally false and
dubious statements and to a number of ceremonies objectionable as such.
Yet they pleaded the guilelessness of their intentions and the
harmlessness of their procedure. They maintained that they had yielded
merely in minor matters and ceremonies, which were neither commanded nor
prohibited by the Word of God; that this was done in order to preserve
intact the central Christian truth of justification; to preserve
political peace and to save the Church from ruin; to protect the weak,
whose shoulders were not strong enough to suffer persecution; that in
their concessions they had been guided by the dictates of true wisdom,
which always chooses the lesser of two evils; and that in all this they
had merely followed the example set by Luther himself. They minimized
the entire affair, and endeavored to explain away the seriousness of the
situation. In particular they ridiculed Flacius for shouting and
sounding the fire-alarm when in reality, they said, he had discovered
nothing but a little smoke coming from a Wittenberg chimney.

But in the ears of all genuine and earnest Lutherans their sophistries
and apologies rang neither true nor sincere. The arguments which they
employed merely served to defeat their own purpose. What else, for
example, than disgust, indignation, and distrust could be the effect on
all honest Lutherans when the Wittenberg theologians, dishonestly
veiling the real facts, declared in their official "Exposition" of 1559
(when danger of persecution had passed long ago) concerning the
reintroduction of Corpus Christi that they had reintroduced this
festival all the more readily in order that they might be able to
instruct the people in the right use of the Sacrament and in the
horrible abuses and profanations of the most holy Supper of the Lord in
the circumgestation and adoration of the bread which their critics [the
Lutheran opponents of the Interimists, by their doctrine concerning the
Lord's Supper] strengthened and that they might thank God for the
purification of the temple from the Romish idol Maozim, Dan. 11, 38.
(Tschackert, 510.) Frank remarks: "One must see this passage black on
white in order to believe the Wittenbergers really capable of
stultifying themselves in such an incredible manner. It is a
monstrosity, a defense unworthy of an honest man, let alone an
Evangelical Christian." (4, 61. 113.)

The weak and insincere arguments of the Adiaphorists were thoroughly and
convincingly refuted by their opponents. To the assertion of the
Wittenbergers that the dispute was concerning mere unimportant
ceremonies which were neither commanded nor prohibited by God, Flacius
and Gallus replied (in their answer to the question of the ministers of
Meissen whether they should leave their charges rather than don the
_Chorrock, lineam vestem induere_) that even with respect to such
seemingly most trifling adiaphora as the cope (_Chorrock, vestis alba_)
one must not overlook what is attached to it. "We do not believe," they
said, "that the robber will let the traveler keep his money, although
first he only asks for his coat or similar things, at the same time,
however, not obscurely hinting that, after having taken these, he will
also demand the rest. We certainly do not doubt that you yourselves, as
well as all men endowed with a sound mind, believe that, since the
beginning is always hardest, these small beginnings of changes are at
present demanded only that a door may be opened for all the other
impieties that are to follow--_quod tantum ideo parva ista mutationum
initia iam proponantur, ut quia principia semper sunt dificillima per ea
aditus reliquis omnibus secuturis impietatibus patefiat._"
(Schluesselburg 13, 644.)

The Adiaphorists pretended that they had consented to the Interim in the
interest of the weak, who were unable to bear persecution. But the
Lutherans answered that weak Christians could not be strengthened in
their faith by teaching and persuading them to deny it and that the
enemies and persecutors of the Gospel could certainly not be regarded as
weak. (Frank 4, 78.) The protestations of the Adiaphorists that they had
made the changes in ceremonies with the very best of intentions were
answered by Flacius in _De Veris et Falsis Adiaphoris_ as follows:
Hardly ever has a Christian denied Christ without endeavoring to deceive
both God and himself as to his motives. "But one must also consider, as
may be clearly shown from 1 Cor. 10, with what design (_quo animo_) the
adversaries propose such things to us, likewise, how they as well as
others interpret our act." (Schl. 13, 217.) "Even though the intention
of those who receive and use the adiaphora be not an evil one, the
question is," said Martin Chemnitz in his _Iudicium de Adiaphoris,_
"whether the opinion of the one who commands, imposes, and demands the
adiaphora is impious or wicked, whether such reception and observation
is interpreted and understood as a turning away from the confession of
the true doctrine, and whether the weak are offended and grow faint
thereby." (717.)

To the claims of the Interimists that they were but following the
example of Luther, who, for the sake of the weak, had tolerated Romish
ceremonies, etc., the Lutherans replied: Distinguish times and
conditions! Luther was dealing with Christians who in their consciences
still felt bound to the Roman usages, while the "weakness" spoken of by
Adiaphorists is not an erring conscience, but fear of persecution.
Moreover Luther tolerated existing Romish ceremonies as long as there
was hope of arriving at an agreement with the Romanists in doctrine,
while the Adiaphorists reinstitute ceremonies which have been abolished,
and this, too, in deference and obedience to irreconcilable adversaries
of the truth. Accordingly, Luther's attitude in this matter flowed from
pure love for truth and from compassion with the weak, whom he
endeavored to win for the truth, while the submission of the
Adiaphorists to the demands of their adversaries is nothing short of
unchristian denial of both true love and faith. (Frank 4, 55.) Brenz
declared: "_Adiaphora ex suis conditionibus iudicanda sunt._ Adiaphora
must be judged from their conditions. For if the condition is good, the
adiaphoron, too, is good, and its observance is commanded. If, however,
the condition is evil, the adiaphoron, too, is evil, and the observance
of it is prohibited." (Schl. 13, 562.)

Furthermore, when the Wittenberg and Leipzig theologians maintained
that, in preferring the lesser evil (the Roman ceremonies) to the
greater (persecution), they had merely listened to, and followed, the
voice of true wisdom, the Lutherans replied that moral evils must not be
placed on a level with physical evils, nor guilt be incurred in order to
avoid suffering and persecution. Westphal declared in his _Explicatio
Generalis Sententiae, quod a Duobus Malis Minus sit Eligendum: "Impium
est, amoliri pericula per peccata, nec ita removentur aut minuuntur sed
accersuntur et augentur poenae._ It is wicked to avert dangers by sins,
nor are they removed or diminished in this way, but rather superinduced
and increased." (13, 251.) "It is better to take upon oneself
punishments and great dangers than to offend God and to provoke His
wrath by such offense." (250.) "It is better and easier to bear many
evils and to undergo many dangers than to be unfaithful in the least
commandment of God, and burden oneself with the guilt of even a single
sin." (251.) Our paramount duty is not to escape persecution, but to
retain a good conscience. Obey the Lord and await His help! Such was the
counsel of Flacius and the loyal Lutherans. (Frank 4, 65.)

But our Wittenberg school will be closed, our churches will be
desolated, and our preachers will be banished, exclaimed the
faint-hearted Wittenbergers. The Lutherans answered: It is our duty to
confess the truth regardless of consequences, and, at the same time, to
look to God for the protection of His Church. Flacius said, in _De Veris
et Falsis Adiaphoris:_ Confess the truth and suffer the consequences! A
Christian cannot obtain peace by offending God and serving and
satisfying tyrants. Rather be drowned by the Spaniards in the Elbe with
a millstone about one's neck than offend a Christian, deny the truth,
and surrender the Church to Satan. "Longe satius esset teste Christo
pati, ut alligata mola asinaria in medium Albis ab Hispanis
proiiceremur, quam _unicum_ parvulum Christi scandalizaremus, multo vero
magis haec et quaevis gravissima pati deberemus, quam _tam infinitis_
(ut iam fit) Christi parvulis offendiculum daremus, ecclesiam Satanae
proderemus et salvificam confessionem veritatis abiiceremus." (Schl. 13,

As to the Wittenberg School, Flacius said: "It would certainly be better
that the school were closed not one, but many years than that we, by
avoiding confession, extremely weaken our own religion as well as
strengthen the one opposed to it." (13, 231.) "As for myself, I do not
doubt that, if only the theologians had been steadfast, the Wittenberg
School would have been to-day much firmer than it is.... The Interim
sprang from the timidity of the Wittenberg theologians.... Even a
thousand Wittenberg schools ought certainly not to be valued so highly
by pious men that, in order to preserve them unimpaired, they would
rather suffer the world to be deprived of the light of the Gospel.
_Certe non tanti mille Wittenbergenses scholae piis esse debent, ut
propter earum incolumitatem velint pati orbem terrarum Evangelii luce
privari._" (232.) In a letter to Melanchthon, written in the beginning
of 1549, Brenz said: "If therefore the Church and pious ministers cannot
be preserved in any other way than by bringing reproach upon the pious
doctrine, then let us commend them to Christ, the Son of God; He will
take care of them; and in the mean time let us patiently bear our
banishment and wait for the Lord." (_C. R._ 7, 290.)

June 30, 1530, Luther had written to Melanchthon, who was then in
Augsburg: "You want to govern things according to your philosophy; you
torment yourself and do not see that this matter is not within your
power and wisdom.... If we fall, Christ, that is to say, the Ruler of
the world, falls with us; and even though He should fall, I would rather
fall with Christ than stand with the Emperor." This passage is contained
in one of the letters of Luther which Flacius published 1548 in order to
dispel Melanchthon's timidity, rouse his Lutheran consciousness, and
cure him of his vain and most dangerous disposition to save the Church
by human wisdom and shrewdness, instead of, as Luther believed, solely
by a bold confession of the truth of God's Word.

141. Theological Attitude of Flacius Sanctioned.

The theological position which Flacius and his fellow-combatants
occupied over against the Adiaphorists was embodied in the Tenth Article
of the _Formula of Concord,_ and thus endorsed by the Lutheran Church as
a whole. Frank says concerning this most excellent article which our
Church owes to the faithfulness of the Anti-Melanchthonians, notably
Flacius: "The theses which received churchly recognition in the _Formula
of Concord_ were those of Flacius." The entire matter, too, concerning
the adiaphora had been discussed so thoroughly and correctly that the
subsequent formulation and recognition of the Tenth Article caused but
little difficulties. (Frank 4, 3f.)

Even Melanchthon, though refusing to confess that he was guilty of any
doctrinal deviations, finally yielded to the arguments of his opponents
and admitted that they were right in teaching as they did regarding the
adiaphora. In his famous letter to Flacius (who, however, was not
satisfied with the manner of Melanchthon's retraction), dated September
5, 1556, he wrote with respect to the Adiaphoristic Controversy: "I knew
that even the least changes [in ceremonies] would be unwelcome to the
people. However, since the doctrine [?] was retained, I would rather
have our people submit to this servitude than forsake the ministry of
the Gospel. _Cum doctrina retineretur integra, malui nostros hanc
servitutem subire quam deserere ministerium evangelii._ And I confess
that I have given the same advice to the Francans (_Francis_). This I
have done; the doctrine of the Confession I have never changed....
Afterwards you began to contradict. I yielded; I did not fight. In
Homer, Ajax fighting with Hector is satisfied when Hector yields and
admits that the former is victor. You never come to an end with your
accusations. Where is the enemy that does such a thing as striking those
who yield and cast their arms away? Win! I yield. I do not contend
concerning those rites, and I most earnestly wish that the churches
would enjoy sweet concord. I also admit that I have sinned in this
matter, and ask forgiveness of God, that I did not flee far from those
insidious deliberations [in which the Interim was framed]. _Fateor hoc
in re a me peccatum esse, et a Deo veniam peto, quod non procul fugi
insidiosas illas deliberationes_." (_C. R._ 8, 839.)

On January 17, 1557, Melanchthon wrote to the Saxon pastors: "I was
drawn into the insidious deliberations of the courts. Therefore, if in
any way I have either fallen or been too weak, I ask forgiveness of God
and of the Church, and I shall submit to the judgments of the Church."
(9, 61.) In the _Formula Consensus,_ written by Melanchthon at Worms, in
1557, the Interim is expressly condemned. For here we read: "With the
help of God we retain, and shall retain, the entire doctrine of
justification, agreeing with the Augsburg Confession and with the
confessions which were published in the church of Hamburg against the
book called Interim. Nor do we want any corruptions or ambiguities to be
mixed with it; and we desire most earnestly that the true doctrine in
all its articles be set forth, as far as possible, in identical and
proper forms of speech, and that ambitious innovations be avoided." (9,
369.) The _Frankfurt Recess_ of 1558, also written by Melanchthon and
signed by the princes, maintains: "Where the true Christian doctrine of
the holy Gospel is polluted or persecuted, there the adiaphora as well
as other ceremonies are detrimental and injurious." (9, 501.)

XIII. The Majoristic Controversy.

142. Early Origin of This Error.

Though not personally mentioned and attacked by the opponents of
Majorism, Melanchthon must be regarded as the real father also of this
controversy. He was the first to introduce and to cultivate the phrase:
"Good works are necessary to salvation." In his _Loci_ of 1535 he taught
that, in the article of justification, good works are the _causa sine
qua non_ and are necessary to salvation, _ad vitam aeternam, ad
salutem._ (Herzog, _R. E._, 1903, 12, 519; Galle, _Melanchthon,_ 345.
134.) Melanchthon defined: "_Causa sine qua non_ works nothing, nor is
it a constituent part but merely something without which the effect does
not occur, or by which, if it were not present, the working cause would
be hindered because it was not added. _Causa sine qua non nihil agit,
nec est pars constituens, sed tantum est quiddam, sine quo non fit
effectus, seu quo, si non adesset, impediretur agens, ideo quia illud
non accessisset."_ (Preger 1, 356.) According to Melanchthon, therefore,
justification cannot occur without the presence of good works. He
explained: "_Et tamen bona opera ita necessaria sunt ad vitam aeternam,
quia sequi reconciliationem necessario debent._ Nevertheless good works
are necessary to eternal life, inasmuch as they must necessarily follow
reconciliation." (_C. R._ 21, 429. 775.) According to the context in
which it is found, this statement includes that good works are necessary
also to justification; for Melanchthon, too, correctly held "that the
adoption to eternal life or the gift of eternal life was connected with
justification, that is, the reconciliation imparted to faith." (453.)

At Wittenberg Melanchthon's efforts to introduce the new formula met
with energetic opposition, especially on the part of Cordatus and
Amsdorf. The formula: "_Bona opera non quidem esse causam efficientem
salutis, sed tamen causam sine qua non_--Good works are indeed not the
efficient cause of salvation, but nevertheless an indispensable cause,"
a necessary antecedent, was launched in a lecture delivered July 24,
1536, by a devoted pupil of Melanchthon, Caspar Cruciger, Sr. [born at
Leipzig, January 1, 1504; professor in Wittenberg; assisted Luther in
translating the Bible and in taking down his lectures and sermons;
present at colloquies in Marburg 1529, in Wittenberg 1536, in Smalcald
1537, in Worms and Hagenau 1540 in Regensburg 1541, in Augsburg 1548;
died November 16, 1548]. According to Ratzeberger, Cruciger had
dictated: "_Bona opera requiri ad salutem tamquam causam sine qua non._"
Cordatus reports Cruciger's dictation as follows: "_Tantum Christus est
causa propter quem; interim tamen verum est, homines agere aliquid
oportere; oportere nos habere contritionem et debere Verbo erigere
conscientiam, ut fidem concipiamus, ut nostra contritio et noster
conatus sunt causae iustificationis sine quibus non_--our contrition and
our endeavor are causes of justification without which it does not take
place." (3, 350.)

Cordatus immediately attacked the new formula as false. "I know," said
he, "that this duality of causes cannot stand with the simple article of
justification." (3, 350.) He demanded a public retraction from Cruciger.
Before long Amsdorf also entered the fray. September 14, 1536, he wrote
to Luther about the new-fangled teaching of Melanchthon, "that works are
necessary to eternal life." (3, 162; Luther, St. L. 21b, 4104.) Pressed
by Cordatus, Cruciger finally admitted that Melanchthon was back of the
phrases he had dictated. He declared that he was the pupil of Mr.
Philip; that the entire dictation was Mr. Philip's; that by him he had
been led into this matter; and that he did not know how it happened. _Se
esse D. Philippi discipulum, et dictata omnia esse D. Philippi, se ab eo
in illam rem traductum, et nescire quomodo._" [tr. note: no opening
quotation mark in original] (_C. R._ 3, 162.)

That Melanchthon had been making efforts to introduce the new phrases in
Wittenberg appears from the passage in his _Loci_ of 1535 quoted above,
and especially from his letters of the two following years. November 5,
1536, he wrote to Veit Dietrich: "Cordatus incites the city, its
neighborhood, and even the Court against me because in the explanation
of the controversy on justification I have said that new obedience is
necessary to salvation, _novam obedientiam necessariam esse ad
salutem._" (185. 179.) May 16, 1537, Veit Dietrich wrote to Forester:
"Our Cordatus, driven, I know not, by what furies, writes against Philip
and Cruciger as against heretics, and is determined to force Cruciger to
retract because he has said that good works are necessary to
salvation.... This matter worries Philip very much, and if certain
malicious men do not control themselves, he threatens to leave." (372.)
As for Melanchthon, he made no efforts to shirk the responsibility for
Cruciger's dictation. "_Libenter totam rem in me transfero_--I
cheerfully transfer the entire affair to myself" he wrote April 15,
1537. Yet he was worried much more than his words seem to indicate.

Complaints against the innovations of Melanchthon and Cruciger were also
lodged with Luther by Cordatus, Amsdorf, and Stiefel. Cordatus reports
Luther as saying after the matter had been related to him, October 24,
1536: "This is the very theology of Erasmus, nor can anything be more
opposed to our doctrine. _Haec est ipsissima theologia Erasmi, neque
potest quidquam nostrae doctrinae esse magis adversum._" To say that new
obedience is the "_causa sine qua non--sine qua non contingit vita
aeterna,_" Luther declared, was tantamount to treading Christ and His
blood under our feet. "_Cruciger autem haec, quae publice dictavit,
publice revocabit._ What he has publicly dictated, Cruciger shall
publicly retract." (Kolde, _Analecta,_ 266.)

According to Ratzeberger, Luther immediately warned and censured
Cruciger "in severe terms." (_C. R._ 4, 1038.) Flacius reports that
Luther had publicly declared more than five times: "_Propositionem: Bona
opera esse necessaria ad salutem, volumus damnatam, abrogatam, ex
ecclesiis et scholis nostris penitus explosam._" (Schluesselburg 7,
567.) After his return from Smalcald, where he had expressed grave fears
as to the future doctrinal soundness of his Wittenberg colleagues,
Luther, in a public disputation on June 1, 1537 "exploded and condemned"
the teaching that good works are necessary to salvation, or necessary to
salvation as a _causa sine qua non_. (_Lehre u. Wehre_ 1908, 65.) Both
parties were present at the disputation, Cordatus as well as Melanchthon
and Cruciger. In a letter to Veit Dietrich, June 27, 1537, Cruciger
reports: Luther maintained that new obedience is an "effect necessarily
following justification," but he rejected the statement: "New obedience
is necessary to salvation, _necessariam ad salutem._" He adds: "_Male
hoc habuit nostrum [Melanchthon], sed noluit eam rem porro agitare._
Melanchthon was displeased with this, but he did not wish to agitate the
matter any further." (_C. R._ 3, 385.) After the disputation Cruciger
was handed an anonymous note, saying that his "Treatise on Timothy" was
now branded as "heretical, sacrilegious, impious, and blasphemous
(_haeretica, sacrilega, impia et blasphema_)," and unless he retracted,
he would have to be regarded as a Papist, a teacher and servant of Satan
and not of Christ, and that his dictations would be published. (387.) In
a letter to Dietrich, Cruciger remarks that Luther had disapproved of
this anonymous writing, but he adds: "I can't see why he [Luther] gives
so much encouragement to Cordatus." (385.)

In private, Luther repeatedly discussed this matter also with
Melanchthon. This appears from their Disputation of 1536 on the
question: "Whether this proposition is true: The righteousness of works
is necessary to salvation." (E. 58, 353.) In a letter to Dietrich of
June 22, 1537, Melanchthon, in substance, refers as follows to his
discussions with Luther: I am desirous of maintaining the unity of the
Wittenberg Academy; in this matter I also employ some art; nor does
Luther seem to be inimical; yesterday he spoke to me in a very kind
manner on the questions raised by Quadratus [Cordatus]. What a spectacle
if the Lutherans would oppose each other as the Cadmean brethren! I will
therefore modify whatever I can. Yet I desire a more thorough exposition
of the doctrines of predestination, of the consent of the will, of the
necessity of our obedience, and of the sin unto death. (_C. R._ 3, 383.)

A number of private letters written by Melanchthon during and
immediately after his conflict with Cordatus, however, reveal much
animosity, not only against Cordatus, but against Luther as well. Nor do
those written after Luther's disputation, June 1, 1537, indicate that he
was then fully cured of his error. (357. 392. 407.) Moreover, in his
_Loci_ of 1538 we read: "_Et tamen haec nova spiritualis obedientia
(nova spiritualitas) necessaria est ad vitam aeternam._ And nevertheless
this new spiritual obedience is necessary to eternal life." (21, 429.)
Evidently, then, Melanchthon did not grasp the matter, and was not
convinced of the incorrectness of his phraseology. Yet he made it a
point to avoid and eliminate from his publications the obnoxious
formula: "_Bona opera necessaria esse ad salutem._" At any rate, his
essay on Justification and Good Works, of October 1537, as well as
subsequent publications of his, do not contain it. In the _Loci_ of
1538, just referred to, he replaced the words _bona opera_ by the phrase
_obedientia haec nova spiritualis,_--indeed, a purely verbal rather than
a doctrinal change. Nor did it reappear even in the _Variata_ of 1540.
In 1541, at Regensburg, Melanchthon consented to the formula "that we
are justified by a living and efficacious faith--_iustificari per fidem
vivam et efficacem._" But when Luther deleted the words "_et efficacem,_
and efficacious," Melanchthon acquiesced. (4, 499.) In the _Loci_ of
1543 he expunged the appendix "_ad salutem,_ to salvation." At the same
time, however, he retained the error in a more disguised form, _viz._,
that good works are necessary to retain faith. For among the reasons why
good works are necessary he here enumerates also "the necessity of
retaining the faith, since the Holy Spirit is expelled and grieved when
sins against the conscience are admitted." (21, 775.)

143. Formula Renewed--Abandoned.

Under the duress of the Augsburg Interim, Melanchthon relapsed into his
old error. July 6, 1548, he (together with Caspar Cruciger, John
Pfeffinger, Daniel Gresser, George Major, and John Foerster) agreed to
the statement: "For this proposition is certainly true that no one can
be saved without love and good works. Yet we are not justified by love
and good works, but by grace for Christ's sake." (7, 22.) In the Leipzig
Interim, adopted several months later, the false teaching concerning the
necessity of good works to salvation was fully restored, as appears from
the quotations from this document cited in the chapter on the
Adiaphoristic Controversy. According to the _Formula of Concord_ this
renewal of the obnoxious formula at the time of the Interim furnished
the direct occasion for the Majoristic Controversy. For here we read:
"The aforesaid modes of speech and false expressions [concerning the
necessity of good works to salvation] were renewed by the Interim just
at a time when there was special need of a clear, correct confession
against all sorts of corruptions and adulterations of the article of
justification." (947, 29.) However, when the controversy on good works
began, and George Major zealously championed the restored formula,
Melanchthon, probably mindful of his former troubles in this matter,
signally failed to support and endorse his friend and colleague.
Moreover, he now advised Major and others to abstain from using the
phrase: Good works are necessary to salvation, "because," said he, "this
appendix [to salvation, _ad salutem_] is interpreted as merit, and
obscures the doctrine of grace."

In an opinion of December, 1553, Melanchthon explains: "New obedience is
necessary; ... but when it is said: New obedience is necessary to
salvation, the Papists understand that good works merit salvation. This
proposition is false, therefore I relinquish this mode of speech." (_C.
R._ 8, 194.) January 13, 1555, he wrote to the Senate of Nordhausen that
their ministers "should not preach, defend, and dispute the proposition
[Good works are necessary to salvation], because it would immediately be
interpreted to mean that good works merit salvation--_weil doch alsbald
diese Deutung angehaengt wird, als sollten gute Werke Verdienst sein der
Seligkeit._" (410.) September 5, 1556, he said in his letter to Flacius:
"I have always admonished George [Major] not only to explain his
sentence (which he did), but to abandon that form of speech. And he
promised that he would not use it. What more can I ask? The same I did
with others." (842.)

In the Frankfurt Recess of 1558, written by Melanchthon and signed by
the Lutheran princes, we read: "Although therefore this proposition,
'New obedience is necessary (_Nova obedientia est necessaria, nova
obedientia est debitum_),' must be retained, we nevertheless do not wish
to attach these words, '_ad salutem,_ to salvation,' because this
appendix is interpreted as referring to merit and obscures the doctrine
of grace, for this remains true that man is justified before God and is
an heir of eternal salvation by grace, for the sake of the Lord Christ,
by faith in Him only." (9, 497. 405.) In an opinion written November 13,
1559, Melanchthon (together with Paul Eber, Pfeffinger, and H. Salmut)
again declared: "I say clearly that I do not employ the phrase, 'Good
works are necessary to salvation.'" (969.) In his _Responsiones ad
Articulos Bavaricos_ of 1559 he wrote: "_Ego non utor his verbis: Bona
opera sunt necessaria ad salutem, quia hoc additione 'ad salutem'
intelligitur meritum._ I do not use these words: Good works are
necessary to salvation, because by the addition 'to salvation' a merit
is understood." In his lectures, too, Melanchthon frequently rejected
the appendix (to salvation), and warned his pupils not to use the
phrase. (4, 543; _Lehre und Wehre_ 1908, 78.)

Thus Melanchthon, time and again, disowned the proposition which he
himself had first introduced. Nowhere, however, did he reject it or
advise against its use because it was inherently erroneous and false as
such but always merely because it was subject to abuse and
misapprehension,--a qualified rejection which self-evidently could not
and did not satisfy his opponents. In an opinion, dated March 4, 1558,
Melanchthon refuses to reject flatly the controverted formula, and
endeavors to show that it is not in disagreement with the mode of speech
employed in the Bible. We read: "Illyricus and his compeers are not
satisfied when we say that the appendix [to salvation] is to be omitted
on account of the false interpretation given it, but demand that we
simply declare the proposition, 'Good works are necessary to salvation,'
to be wrong. Against this it must be considered what also Paul has said,
Rom. 10: Confession is made to salvation (_Confessio fit ad salutem_),
which Wigand maliciously alters thus: Confession is made concerning
salvation (_Confessio fit de salute_). Again, 2 Cor. 7: 'For godly
sorrow worketh repentance to salvation,' Likewise Phil. 2: 'Work out
your own salvation with fear and trembling.' Nor do these words sound
any differently: 'Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be
saved,' Acts 2, 21. But, they say, one must understand these expressions
correctly! That is what we say, too. This disputation however, would be
ended if we agreed to eliminate the appendix and rack our brains no
further--_dass wir den Anhang ausschliessen und nicht weiter
gruebelten._" (9, 474.)

144. Major Champions Error.

The immediate cause of the public controversy concerning the question
whether good works are necessary to salvation was George Major, a
devoted pupil and adherent of Melanchthon and a most active member of
the Wittenberg faculty [Major was born April 25, 1502; 1529 Rector of
the school in Magdeburg; 1536 Superintendent in Eisleben; soon after,
preacher and professor in Wittenberg; 1544 Rector of the University of
Wittenberg; in 1548, at Celle, he, too, submitted to the demands of
Maurice, in the Leipzig Interim he merely objected to the insertion of
Extreme Unction; 1552 Superintendent in Eisleben; professor in
Wittenberg from 1553 until his death in 1574].

"_That Dr. Pommer_ [Bugenhagen] _and Dr. Major have Caused Offense and
Confusion._ Nicholas Amsdorf, Exul Christi. Magdeburg, 1551,"--such was
the title of a publication which appeared immediately prior to Major's
appointment as Superintendent in Eisleben. In it Bugenhagen (who died
1558) and Major (of course, Melanchthon could and should have been
included) were denounced for their connection with the Leipzig Interim.
Major in particular, was censured for having, in the Interim, omitted
the word _sola,_ "alone," in the phrase "_sola fide justificamur,_ we
are justified by faith alone," and for having emphasized instead that
Christian virtues and good works are meritorious and necessary to
salvation. When, as a result of this publication the preachers of
Eisleben and Mansfeld refused to recognize Major as their superior the
latter promised to justify himself publicly. He endeavored to do so in
his _Answer_ published 1552 at Wittenberg, after he had already been
dismissed by Count Albrecht as Superintendent of Eisleben. The _Answer_
was entitled: _Auf des ehrenwuerdigen Herrn Niclas von Amsdorfs Schrift,
so jetzund neulich mense Novembri 1551 wider Dr. Major oeffendtlich im
Druck ausgegangen. Antwort Georg Majors._ In it Major disclaimed
responsibility for the Interim (although he had been present at Celle,
where it had been framed), and declared that he had never doubted the
"_sola fide,_ by faith alone." "But," continued Major, "I do confess
that I have hitherto taught and still teach, and henceforth will teach
all my life: that good works are necessary to salvation. And I declare
publicly and with clear and plain words that no one is saved by evil
works, and also that no one is saved without good works. Furthermore I
say, let him who teaches otherwise, even though an angel from heaven, be
accursed (_der sei verflucht_)!" Again: "Therefore it is impossible for
a man to be saved without good works." Major explained that good works
are necessary to salvation, not because they effect or merit forgiveness
of sins, justification, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life
(for these gifts are merited alone by the death of our only Mediator and
Savior Jesus Christ, and can be received only by faith), "but
nevertheless good works _must be present,_ not as a merit, but as due
obedience toward God." (Schlb. 7, 30.)

In his defiant attitude Major was immediately and firmly opposed by
Amsdorf, Flacius, Gallus, and others. Amsdorf published his "_Brief
Instruction Concerning Dr. Major's Answer, that he is not innocent, as
he boasts._ Ein kurzer Unterricht auf Dr. Majoris Antwort, dass er nicht
unschuldig sei, wie er sich ruehmet," 1552. Major's declaration and
anathema are here met by Amsdorf as follows: "First of all, I would like
to know against whom Dr. George Major is writing when he says: Nobody
merits heaven by evil works. Has even the angry and impetuous Amsdorf
ever taught and written thus? ...We know well, praise God, and confess
that a Christian should and must do good works. Nobody disputes and
speaks concerning that; nor has anybody doubted this. On the contrary,
we speak and dispute concerning this, whether a Christian earns
salvation by the good works which he should and must do.... For we all
say and confess that after his renewal and new birth a Christian should
love and fear God and do all manner of good works, but not that he may
be saved, for he is saved already by faith (_aber nicht darum, dass er
selig werde, denn er ist schon durch den Glauben selig_). This is the
true prophetic and apostolic doctrine, and whoever teaches otherwise is
already accursed and damned. I, therefore, Nicholas von Amsdorf,
declare: Whoever teaches and preaches these words as they read (Good
works are necessary to salvation), is a Pelagian, a mameluke, and a
denier of Christ, and he has the same spirit which prompted Drs. Mensing
and Witzel to write against Dr. Luther, of blessed memory, that good
works are necessary to salvation." (Schlb. 7, 210.)

Another attack was entitled: "Against the Evangelist of the Holy Gown,
Dr. Miser Major. _Wider den Evangelisten des heiligen Chorrocks, Dr.
Geitz Major,_" 1552. Here Flacius--for he was the author of this
publication--maintained that neither justification, nor salvation, nor
the preservation of the state of grace is to be based on good works. He
objected to Major's propositions because they actually made good works
the antecedent and cause of salvation and robbed Christians of their
comfort. He declared: "When we say: That is necessary for this work or
matter, it means just as much as if we said: It is a cause, or, by this
or that work one effects this or that." As to the practical consequences
of Major's propositions, Flacius remarks: "If therefore good works are
necessary to salvation, and if it is impossible for any one to be saved
without them, then tell us, Dr. Major, how can a man be saved who all
his life till his last breath has led a sinful life, but now when about
to die, desires to apprehend Christ (as is the case with many on their
death-bed or on the gallows)? How will Major comfort such a poor
sinner?" The poor sinner, Flacius continues, would declare: "Major, the
great theologian, writes and teaches as most certain that no one can be
saved without good works, and that good works are absolutely necessary
(_ganz notwendig_) to salvation; therefore I am damned, for I have
heretofore never done any good works." "Furthermore Major will also have
to state and determine the least number of ounces or pounds of good
works one is required to have to obtain salvation." (Preger 1, 363f.)

In his "Explanation and Answer to the New Subtle Corruption of the
Gospel of Christ--_Erklaerung und Antwort auf die neue subtile
Verfaelschung des Evangelii Christi,_" 1554 Nicholas Gallus maintained
that, if the righteousness presented by Christ alone is the cause of our
justification and salvation, then good works can only be the fruits of
it. In a similar way Schnepf, Chemnitz, and others declared themselves
against Majorism. (Schlb. 7, 55. 162. 205. 534. 572; _C. R._ 9, 475;
Seeberg, _Dogg._ 4, 486.)

145. Major's Modifications.

Major answered his opponents in his book of 1553 entitled, _A Sermon on
the Conversion to God of St. Paul and All God-fearing Men._ In it he
most emphatically denied that he had ever taught that good works are
necessary in order to _earn_ salvation, and explained more fully
"whether, in what way, which, and why good works are nevertheless
necessary to salvation." Here he also admits: "This proposition would be
dangerous and dark if I had said without any distinction and
explanation: Good works are necessary to salvation. For thus one might
easily be led to believe that we are saved by good works without faith,
or also by the merit of good works, not by faith alone." "We are not
just and saved by renewal, and because the fulfilment of the Law is
begun in us, as the Interim teaches, but in this life we always remain
just and saved by faith _alone._" (Preger 1, 364ff.)

Major explains: "When I say: The new obedience or good works which
follow faith are necessary to salvation, this is not to be understood in
the sense that one must earn salvation by good works, or that they
constitute, or could effect or impart the righteousness by which a man
may stand before the judgment-seat of God, but that good works are
effects and fruits of true faith, which are to follow it [faith] and are
wrought by Christ in believers. For whoever believes and is just, he, at
the risk of losing his righteousness and salvation, is in duty bound and
obliged to begin to obey God as his Father, to do that which is good,
and to avoid evil." (370.)

Major furthermore modified his statement by explaining: Good works are
necessary to salvation, not in order to obtain but to retain, salvation.
"In order to retain salvation and not to lose it again," he said, "they
are necessary to such an extent that, if you fail to do them, it is a
sure indication that your faith is dead and false, a painted faith, an
opinion existing only in your imagination." The reason, said Major
(Menius, too, later on expressed his agreement in this point with
Major), why he had urged his proposition concerning the necessity of
good works to salvation, was the fact that the greater number also of
those who claim to be good evangelical Christians "imagine that they
believe, and imagine and fabricate a faith which may exist without good
works, though this is just as impossible as that the sun should not emit
brightness and splendor." (Tschackert 515; Frank 2, 162. 373.)

Reducing his teaching to a number of syllogisms, Major argued, in
substance, as follows: Eternal life is given to none but the regenerate;
regeneration, however, is new obedience and good works in the believers
and the beginning of eternal life: hence the new life, which consists in
good works, is necessary to believers for salvation. Again: No one is
saved unless he confesses with his mouth the faith of his heart in
Christ and remains steadfast in such faith, Rom. 10, 9. 10; Matt. 22,
13; hence the works of confessing and persevering faith are necessary to
salvation as fruits of faith, in order that salvation, obtained by
faith, may not be lost by denial and apostasy. (Frank 2, 162.) Again:
The thing without which salvation cannot be preserved is necessary to
salvation; without obedience toward God salvation, received by grace
through faith, cannot be preserved; hence obedience toward God is
necessary in order that by it salvation, received by grace, may be
preserved and may not be lost by disobedience. At the conclusion of his
"Sermon on Paul's Conversion," Major also repeated his anathema against
all those who teach otherwise, and added: "Hiewider moegen nun Amseln
[Amsdorf] oder Drosseln singen und schreien, Haehne [Gallus] kraehen
oder gatzen [gakkern], verloffene und unbekannte Wenden und Walen
[Flacius] laestern, die Schrift verwenden, verkehren, kalumniieren,
schreiben und malen, wie sie wollen, so bin ich doch gewiss, dass diese
Lehre, so in diesem Sermon steht die rechte goettliche Wahrheit ist,
wider welche auch alle hoellischen Pforten nichts Bestaendiges oder
Gruendliches koennen aufbringen, wie boese sie sich auch machen."
(Preger 1, 371. 380.)

Schluesselburg charges Major also with confounding justification with
sanctification. In proof of this he quotes the following from Major's
remarks on Rom. 8: "Salvation or justification is twofold: one in this
life and the other in eternal life. The salvification in this life
consists, first, in the remission of sins and in the imputation of
righteousness; secondly, in the gift and renewing of the Holy Spirit and
in the hope of eternal life bestowed freely for the sake of Christ. This
salvification and justification is only begun [in this life] and
imperfect; for in those who are saved and justified by faith there still
remains sin, the depravity of nature, there remain also the terrors of
sin and of the Law, the bite of the old Serpent, and death, together
with all miseries that flesh is heir to. Thus by faith and the Holy
Ghost we, indeed, _begin to be justified,_ sanctified, and saved, but we
are not yet _perfectly justified,_ sanctified, and saved. It remains,
therefore, that we become _perfectly just and saved._ Sic per fidem et
Spiritum Sanctum _coepimus quidem iustificari,_ sanctificari, et
salvari, nondum tamen perfecte iusti et salvi sumus. Reliquum igitur
est, ut perfecte iusti et salvi fiamus." (7, 348.)

146. Menius Sides with Major.

Prominent among the theologians who were in essential agreement with
Major was Justus Menius. He was born 1499; became Superintendent in
Gotha 1546; was favorably disposed toward the Leipzig Interim; resigned
his position in Gotha 1557; removed to Leipzig, where he published his
polemical writings against Flacius; died August 11, 1558. In 1554 he was
entangled in the Majoristic controversy. In this year Amsdorf demanded
that Menius, who, together with himself, Schnepf, and Stolz, had been
appointed visitors of Thuringia, declare himself against the
Adiaphorists, and, in particular, reject the books of Major, and his
doctrine that good works are necessary to salvation. Menius declined,
because, he said, he had not read these books. As a result Menius was
charged with being a secret adherent of Majorism.

In 1556, however, Menius himself proved by his publications that this
suspicion was not altogether unwarranted. For in his _Preparation for a
Blessed Death_ and in a _Sermon on Salvation,_ published in that year,
Menius taught that the beginning of the new life in believers is
"necessary to salvation" (Tschackert, 517; _Herzog, R._ 12, 89.) This
caused Flacius to remark in his book, _Concerning the Unity of Those who
in the Past Years have Fought for and against the Adiaphora,_ 1556:
"Major and Menius, in their printed books, are again reviving the error
that good works are necessary to salvation, wherefore it is to be feared
that the latter misfortune will be worse than the former." (Preger 1,
382.) Soon after, Menius was suspended from office and required to clear
himself before the Synod in Eisenach, 1556. Here he subscribed seven
propositions in which the doctrine that good works are necessary to
salvation, or to retain salvation, was rejected.

The seven Eisenach propositions, signed by Menius, read as follows: "1.
Although this proposition, Good works are necessary to salvation, may be
tolerated in the doctrine of the Law abstractly and ideally (_in
doctrina legis abstractive et de idea tolerari potest_), nevertheless
there are many weighty reasons why it should be avoided and shunned no
less than the other: Christ is a creature. 2. In the forum of
justification and salvation this proposition, Good works are necessary
to salvation, is not at all to be tolerated. 3. In the forum of new
obedience, after reconciliation, good works are not at all necessary to
salvation but for other causes. 4. Faith alone justifies and saves in
the beginning, middle, and end. 5. Good works are not necessary to
retain salvation (_ad retinendam salutem_). 6. Justification and
salvation are synonyms and equipollent or convertible terms, and neither
can nor must be separated in any way (_nec ulla ratione distrahi aut
possunt aut debent_). 7. May therefore the papistical buskin be banished
from our church on account of its manifold offenses and innumerable
dissensions and other causes of which the apostles speak Acts 15."
(Preger 1, 383.)

In his subscription to these theses Menius declared: "I, Justus Menius,
testify by my present signature that this confession is true and
orthodox, and that, according to the gift given me by God, I have
heretofore by word and writing publicly defended it, and shall continue
to defend it." In this subscription Menius also promised to correct the
offensive expressions in his _Sermon on Salvation._ However,
dissatisfied with the intolerable situation thus created, he resigned,
and soon after became Superintendent in Leipzig. In three violently
polemical books, published there in 1557 and 1558, he freely vented his
long pent-up feelings of anger and animosity, especially against
Flacius. (384f.)

In these publications, Menius denied that he had ever used the
proposition of Major. However, he not only refused to reject it, but
defended the same error, though in somewhat different terms. He merely
replaced the phrase "good works" by "new life," "new righteousness,"
"new obedience," and affirmed "that it is necessary to our salvation
that such be wrought in us by the Holy Ghost." He wrote: The Holy Spirit
renews those who have become children of God by faith in Christ, and
that this is performed in them "this, I say, they need for their
salvation--_sei ihnen zur Seligkeit vonnoeten._" (Frank 2, 223.) Again:
"He [the Holy Spirit] begins righteousness and life in the believers,
which beginning is in this life (as long as we dwell on earth in this
sinful flesh) very weak and imperfect, _but nevertheless necessary to
salvation,_ and will be perfect after the resurrection, that we may walk
in it before God eternally and be saved." (222.) Works, said Menius,
must not be introduced into the article of justification,
reconciliation, and redemption; but when dealing with the article of
sanctification, "then it is correct to say: Sanctification, or renewal
of the Holy Spirit, is necessary to salvation." (Preger 1, 388.)

With respect to the proposition, Good works are necessary to salvation,
Menius stated that he could not simply condemn it as altogether false
and heretical. Moreover, he argued: "If it is correct to say:
Sanctification, or renewal by the Holy Spirit, is necessary to
salvation, then it cannot be false to say: Good works are necessary to
salvation, since it is certain and cannot be gainsaid that
sanctification and renewal do not and cannot exist without good works."
(386.) Indeed, he himself maintained that "good works are necessary to
salvation in order that we may not lose it again." (387. 391.) At the
same time Menius, as stated above, claimed that he had never employed
Major's proposition, and counseled others to abstain from its use in
order to avoid misinterpretation. The same advice he gave with respect
to his own formula that new obedience is necessary to salvation. (Frank
2, 165. 223.)

Menius also confounded justification and sanctification. He wrote: "By
faith in Christ alone we become just before God and are saved. Why?
Because by faith one receives first, forgiveness of sins and the
righteousness or obedience of Christ, with which He fulfilled the Law
for us; thereupon, one also receives the Holy Spirit, who effects and
fulfils in us the righteousness required by the Law, here in this life
imperfectly and perfectly in the life to come." (Preger 1, 387.) At the
synod of Eisenach, 1556, the theologians accordingly declared: "Although
it is true that grace and the gift through grace cannot be separated,
but are always together, nevertheless the gift of the Holy Spirit is not
a piece or part, much less a co-cause of justification and salvation,
but an appendix, a consequence, and an additional gift of grace.--
_Wiewohl es wahr ist, dass gratia und donum per gratiam nicht koennen
getrennt werden, sondern allezeit beieinander sind, so ist doch die Gabe
des Heiligen Geistes nicht ein Stueck oder Teil, viel weniger eine
Mitursache der Justifikation und Salvation, sondern ist ein Anhang,
Folge und Zugab be der Gnade._" (Seeberg 4, 487.)

147. Attitude of Anti-Majorists.

With the exception of Menius and other adherents in Electoral Saxony,
Major was firmly opposed by Lutheran ministers and theologians
everywhere. Even when he was still their superintendent, the ministers
of Mansfeld took issue with him; and after he was dismissed by Count
Albrecht, they drafted an _Opinion,_ in which they declared that Major's
proposition obscures the doctrine of God's grace and Christ's merit.
Also the clergy of Luebeck, Hamburg, Lueneburg, and Magdeburg united in
an _Opinion,_ in which they rejected Major's proposition. Chief among
the theologians who opposed him were, as stated, Amsdorf, Flacius,
Wigand, Gallus, Moerlin and Chemnitz. In their publications they
unanimously denounced the proposition that good works are necessary to
salvation, and its equivalents, as dangerous, godless, blasphemous, and
popish. Yet before the controversy they themselves had not all nor
always been consistent and correct in their terminology.

The _Formula of Concord_ says: "Before this controversy quite a few pure
teachers employed such and similar expressions [that faith is preserved
by good works, etc.] in the exposition of the Holy Scriptures, in no
way, however, intending thereby to confirm the above-mentioned errors of
the Papists." (949, 36.) Concerning the word "faith," 1549, Flacius, for
example had said that our effort to obey God might be called a "_causa
sine qua non,_ or something which serves salvation." His words are:
"Atque hinc apparet, quatenus nostrum studium obediendi Deo dici possit
causa sine qua non, seu huperetikon ti, id est, quiddam subserviens ad
salutem." But when his attention was called to this passage, he first
eliminated the _causa sine qua non_ and substituted _ad vitam aeternam_
for _ad salutem,_ and afterwards changed this phrase into _ad veram
pietatem._ (Frank 2, 218. 169.) However, as soon as the controversy
began, the Lutherans, notably Flacius, clearly saw the utter falsity of
Major's statements.

Flacius wrote: "Salvation is forgiveness of sins, as Paul testifies,
Rom. 4, and David, Ps. 32: 'Blessed are they whose sins are forgiven.'
'Thy faith hath made thee whole.' Matt. 9; Mark 5. 10, Luke 7. 8. 18.
Jesus saves sinners and the lost. Matt. 1, 18; 1 Tim. 1. Since, now,
salvation and forgiveness of sins are one and the same thing, consider,
dear Christian, what kind of doctrine this is: No one has received
forgiveness of sins without good works; it is impossible for any one to
receive forgiveness of sins or to be saved without good works; good
works are necessary to forgiveness of sins." (Preger 1, 375.) Again:
"Young children and those who are converted in their last hour (who
certainly constitute the greater part), must confess that they neither
possess, nor will possess, any good works, for they die forthwith.
Indeed, St. Bernard also wrote when on his deathbed: _Perdite vixi_--I
have led a wicked life! And what is still more, all Christians, when in
their dying moments, they are striving with sins, must say: 'All our
good works are like filthy rags; in my life there is nothing good;' and,
as David says, Ps.51: 'Before Thee I am nothing but sin,' as Dr. Luther
explains it." (376.) Again: "We are concerned about this, that poor and
afflicted consciences may have a firm and certain consolation against
sin, death, devil, and hell, and thus be saved. For if a condition or
appendix concerning our good works and worthiness is required as
necessary to salvation, then, as Dr. Major frequently discusses this
matter very excellently, it is impossible to have a firm and solid
consolation." (376.)

Flacius showed that Major's proposition taken as it reads, can be
interpreted only in a papistical sense, and that no amount of
explanations is able to cure it of its ingrained falsity. Major, said
he, must choose between his proposition or the interpretations which he
places upon it; for the former does not admit of the latter. He added
that a proposition which is in constant need of explanations in order
not to be misunderstood is not adapted for religious instruction. From
the fact, says Flacius, that the justified are obliged to obey the Law,
it follows indeed that good works are necessary, but not that they are
necessary to salvation (as Major and Menius inferred). "From the
premises [that Christians are in duty bound to obey the Law and to
render the new obedience] it merely follows that this obedience is
necessary; but nothing is here said of salvation." (392.) Flacius showed
that Major's proposition, even with the proviso that each and every
merit of works was to be excluded, remained objectionable. The words
"necessary to, _necessaria ad,_" always, he insisted, designate
something that precedes, moves, works, effects. The proposition:
Justification, salvation, and faith are necessary to good works, cannot
be reversed, because good works are not antecedents, but consequents of
justification, salvation, and faith.

For the same reason Flacius objected to the phrase that good works are
necessary as _causa sine qua non._ "Dear Dr. G." (Major), says he, "ask
the highly learned Greek philosophers for a little information as to
what they say _de causa sine qua non, hon ouk aneu._ Ask I say, the
learned and the unlearned, ask philosophy, reason, and common languages,
whether it is not true that it [_causa sine qua non_] must precede."
(377.) No one, said he would understand the propositions of Major and
Menius correctly. Illustrating this point Flacius wrote: "Can one become
a carpenter without the house which he builds afterwards? Can one make a
wagon or ship without driving or sailing? I say, yes! Or, dear Doctor,
are we accustomed to say: Driving and sailing is necessary to the wagon
and ship respectively, and it is impossible for a wagon or ship to be
made without driving or sailing? I hear: No!" (375.) "Nobody says:
Fruits and leaves are necessary to the tree; wine and grapes are
necessary to the vineyard; or dwelling is necessary to a house; driving
and sailing, to a wagon and ship; riding is necessary to a horse; but
thus they speak: Wagons and horses are necessary to riding, a ship is
necessary to sailing." (391.)

The charge that Major's proposition robbed Christians of their assurance
of salvation was urged also by Nicholas Gallus. He says: It is giving
with one hand and taking again with the other when Major adds [to his
proposition concerning the necessity of good works to salvation] that
our conscience is not to look upon our works, but on Christ alone.
(Frank 2, 224.) The same point was stressed in the _Opinion_ of the
ministers of Luebeck, Hamburg, Lueneburg, and Magdeburg, published by
Flacius and Gallus in 1553. (220.) The Hamburg theologians declared:
"This appendix [necessary to salvation, _ad salutem_] indicates a cause
and a merit." They added that in this sense also the phrase was
generally understood by the Papists. (Planck, _Geschichte des prot.
Lehrbegriffes_ 5, 505. 497.) Gallus also explained that it was
papistical to infer: By sins we lose salvation, hence it is retained by
good works; or, Sins condemn, hence good works save. (Frank 2, 171.)
Hesshusius wrote to Wigand: "I regard Eber's assertion that good works
are necessary to justification _because they must be present,_ as false
and detrimental. For Paul expressly excludes good works from the
justification of a sinner before God, not only when considered a merit
cause, glory, dignity, price, object or trust, and medium of
application, etc., but also as to the necessity of their presence
(_verum etiam quoad necessitatem praesentiae_). If it is necessary that
good works be present with him who is to be justified, then Paul errs
when he declares that a man is justified without the works of the Law."

Regarding this point, that good works are necessary to justification in
so far as they must be present, the Majorists appealed to Luther, who,
however, had merely stated that faith is never alone, though it alone
justifies. His axiom was: "Faith alone justifies, but it is not alone--
_Fides sola iustificat, sed non est sola._" According to Luther good
works, wherever they are found, are present in virtue of faith; where
they are not present, they are absent because faith is lacking; nor can
they preserve the faith by which alone they are produced. At the
Altenburg Colloquy (1568 to 1569) the theologians of Electoral Saxony
insisted that, since true faith does not and cannot exist in those who
persevere in sins against their conscience, good works must not be
altogether and absolutely excluded from justification, at least their
necessity and presence must not be regarded as unnecessary. (189.) The
theologians of Ducal Saxony, however, denied "that in the article and
act of justification our good works are necessary by necessity of
presence. _Sed impugnamus istam propositionem, in articulo et actu
iustificationis bona nostra opera necessaria esse necessitate
praesentiae._" "On the other hand, however, they, too, were solicitous
to affirm the impossibility of faith's coexisting with an evil purpose
to sin against God in one and the same mind at the same time." (237;
Gieseler 3, 2, 251.) In the _Apology of the Book of Concord_ the
Lutheran theologians declared: "The proposition (Justification of faith
requires the presence of good works) was rejected [in the _Formula of
Concord_] because it cannot be understood otherwise than of the cause of
justification. For whatever is present in justification as necessary in
such a manner that without its presence justification can neither be nor
occur, that must indeed be understood as being a cause of justification
itself." (238)

148. Major's Concessions Not Satisfactory.

In order to put an end to the controversy, Major offered a concession in
his "_Confession concerning the Article of Justification,_ that is,
concerning the doctrine that by faith alone, without any merit, for the
sake of Christ, a man has forgiveness of sins, and is just before God
and an heir of eternal salvation," 1558. Here he states that he had not
used the controverted formula for several years and, in order not to
give further cause for public contention, he promised "not to employ the
words, 'Good works are necessary to salvation,' any more, on account of
the false interpretations placed upon it." (Preger 1, 396.) In making
this concession, however, Major did not at all intend to retract his
teaching or to condemn his proposition as false. He promised to abstain
from its use, not because he was now convinced of his error and viewed
his propositions as false and incorrect as such, but merely because it
was ambiguous and liable to abuse, and because he wished to end the
conflict. (Frank 2, 166f. 223.)

Nor did Major later on ever admit that he had erred in the matter. In an
oration delivered 1567 he boasted of his intimate relation and doctrinal
agreement with Luther and Melanchthon, adding: "Neither did I ever
deviate, nor, God assisting me, shall I ever deviate, from the truth
once acknowledged. _Nec discessi umquam nec Deo iuvante discedam ab
agnita semel veritate._" He had never thought or taught, said he, that
good works are a cause of justification. And concerning the proposition,
"Good works are necessary to salvation," he had expressly declared that
he intended to abstain from its use "because it had offended some on
account of its ambiguity, _cum propter ambiguitatem offenderit
aliquos._" He continued: "The facts show that we [the professors of
Wittenberg University] are and have remained guardians of that doctrine
which Luther and Melanchthon ... delivered to us, in whose writings from
the time of the [Augsburg] Confession there is neither a dissonance nor
a discrepancy, either among themselves or from the foundation, nor
anything obscure or perplexing." (Frank 2, 224. 167.)

Also in his Testament (_Testamentum Doctoris Georgii Majoris_),
published 1570, Major emphatically denied that he had ever harbored or
taught any false views concerning justification, salvation, and good
works. Of his own accord he had also abandoned the phrases: "Good works
are necessary to salvation; it is impossible to be saved without good
works; no one has ever been saved without good works--_Bona opera sunt
necessaria ad salutem; impossibile est, sine bonis operibus salvum
fieri; nemo umquam sine bonis operibus salvatus est._" He had done this
in order to obviate the misapprehension as though he taught that good
works are a cause of salvation which contribute to merit and effect
salvation. According to this _Testament,_ he desired his doctrines and
writings to be judged. In future he would not dispute with anybody about
these phrases. (168.) Thus in his _Testament,_ too, Major withdrew his
statements not because they were simply false, but only because they
had been interpreted to mean that good works are the efficient cause of
justification and salvation. And while Major in later writings did
eliminate the appendix "_ad salutem,_ to salvation," or "_ad vitam
aeternam,_ to eternal life," he retained, and continued to teach,
essentially the same error in another garb, namely, that good works are
necessary in order to retain faith. Enumerating, in his _Explanation of
the Letter to the Galatians,_ of 1560, the purposes on account of which
good works ought to be rendered, he mentions as the "first, in order to
retain faith, the Holy Spirit, the grace bestowed, and a good
conscience." (218.)

Thus Major was willing to abandon as dangerous and ambiguous, and to
abstain from the use of the formula, "Good works are necessary to
salvation," but refused to reject it as false and to make a public
admission and confession of his error. This, however, was precisely what
his opponents demanded; for they were convinced that they could be
satisfied with nothing less. As a result the controversy continued till
Major's death, in 1574. The Jena professors, notably Flacius, have been
charged with prolonging the controversy from motives of personal
revenge. (Schaff, 276.) No doubt, the Wittenbergers had gone to the very
limit of rousing the animosity and resentment of Flacius (who himself,
indeed, was not blameless in the language used against his opponents).
Major had depicted Flacius as a most base and wicked man, as a cunning
and sly adventurer; as a tyrant, who, after having suppressed the
Wittenbergers, would, as a pope, lord it over all Germany; as an
Antinomian and a despiser of all good works, etc. (Preger 1, 397.) In
the address of October 18, 1567 already referred to, Major said: "There
was in this school [Wittenberg] a vagabond of uncertain origin,
fatherland, religion, and faith who called himself Flacius Illyricus....
He was the first one to spew out against this school, against its
principal Doctors, against the churches of these regions, against the
princes themselves, the poison which he had brewed and imbibed some time
ago, and, having gnawed and consumed with the bite of a serpent the womb
of his mother, to destroy the harmony of these churches, at first by
spreading his dreams, fables, and gossip but now also by calumnies and
manifest lies." (Frank 2, 217.) Melanchthon, too, had repeatedly written
in a similar vein. In an _Opinion_ of his, dated March 4, 1558, we read:
"Even if they [Flacius and his adherents] condemn and banish me, I am
well satisfied; for I do not desire to associate with them, because I
well know that the said Illyricus with his adherents does not seek the
honor of God, but publicly opposes the truth, and as yet has never
declared himself concerning the entire sum of Christian doctrine." (_C.
R._ 9, 463. 476. 311.) In an _Opinion_ of March 9, 1559, Melanchthon
even insinuated that Flacius denied the Trinity. (763.) Before this,
August, 1549, he had written to Fabricius: "The Slavic runagate (Slavus
drapetes) received many benefits from our Academy and from me. But we
have nursed a serpent in our bosom. He deserves to be branded on his
forehead as the Macedonian king did with a soldier: 'Ungrateful
stranger, xevnos acharistos.' Nor do I believe that the source of his
hatred is any other than that the place of Cruciger was not given to
him. But I omit these disagreeable narrations." (7, 449. 478 ff.) This
personal abuse, however, was not the reason why Flacius persisted in his
opposition despite the concessions made by Major and Menius,--
concessions with which even such moderate men as Martin Chemnitz were
not satisfied.

Flacius continued his opposition because he could not do otherwise
without sacrificing his own principles, compromising the truth, and
jeopardizing the doctrine of justification. He did not yield because he
was satisfied with nothing less than a complete victory of the divine
truth and an unqualified retraction of error. The truly objective manner
in which he dealt with this matter appears from his _Strictures on the
Testament of Dr. Major (Censura de Testamento D. Majoris)_. Here we
read, in substance: In his _Testament_ Major covers his error with the
same sophism which he employed in his former writings. For he says that
he ascribes the entire efficient cause, merit, and price of our
justification and salvation to Christ alone, and therefore excludes and
removes all our works and virtues. This he has set forth more fully and
more clearly in his previous writings, saying that the proposition,
"Good works are necessary to salvation," can be understood in a double
sense; _viz._, that they are necessary to salvation as a certain merit,
price, or efficient cause of justification or salvation (as the Papists
understand and teach it), or that they are necessary to salvation as a
certain debt or an indispensable cause (_causa sine qua non_), or a
cause without which it is impossible for the effect of salvation to
follow or for any one to obtain it. He now confesses this same opinion.
He does not expressly eliminate "the indispensable cause, or the
obligation without the fulfilment of which it is impossible for any one
to be preserved, as he asserted repeatedly before this, from which it
appears that he adheres to his old error. _Et non diserte tollit causam
sine qua non seu debitum, sine cuius persolutione sit impossibile
quemquam servari, quod toties antea asseruit; facile patet, eum
pristinum illum suum errorem retinere._" (Schlb. 7, 266; Preger 1, 398.)
Flacius demanded an unqualified rejection of the statement, "Good works
are necessary to salvation"--a demand with which Major as well as
Melanchthon refused to comply. (_C. R._ 9, 474 f.)

The _Formula of Concord_, however, sanctioned the attitude of Flacius.
It flatly rejected the false and dubious formulas of Melanchthon, Major,
and Menius concerning the necessity of good works to salvation, and
fully restored Luther's doctrine. Luther's words concerning "good works"
are quoted as follows: "We concede indeed that instruction should be
given also concerning love and good works, yet in such a way that this
be done when and where it is necessary, namely, when otherwise and
outside of this matter of justification we have to do with works. But
here the chief matter dealt with is the question not whether we should
also do good works and exercise love, but by what means we can be
justified before God and saved. And here we answer with St. Paul: that
we are justified by faith in Christ alone, and not by the deeds of the
Law or by love. Not that we hereby entirely reject works and love, as
the adversaries falsely slander and accuse us, but that we do not allow
ourselves to be led away, as Satan desires, from the chief matter, with
which we have to do here, to another and foreign affair, which does not
at all belong to this matter. Therefore, whereas and as long as we are
occupied with this article of justification, we reject and condemn
works, since this article is so constituted that it can admit of no
disputation or treatment whatever regard ing works. Therefore in this
matter we cut short all Law and works of the Law." (925, 29.)

The _Formula of Concord_ rejects the Majoristic formula, not because it
is ambiguous, but because it is false. Concerning ambiguous phrases it
declares: "To avoid strife about words, _aequivocationes vocabulorum,
i.e._, words and expressions which are applied and used in various
meanings, should be carefully and distinctly explained." (874, 51.) An
ambiguous phrase or statement need not be condemned, because it may be
made immune from error and misapprehension by a careful explanation. The
statement, "Good works are necessary to salvation," however, does not
admit of such treatment. It is inherently false and cannot be cured by
any amount of explanation or interpretation. Because of this inherent
falsity it must be rejected as such. Logically and grammatically the
phrase, "Good works are necessary to salvation," reverses the correct
theological order, by placing works before faith and sanctification
before justification. It turns things topsy-turvy. It makes the effect
the cause; the consequent, the antecedent, and vice versa.

Not personal animosity, but this fundamental falsity of the Majoristic
formula was, in the last analysis, the reason why the explanations and
concessions made by Major and Menius did not and could not satisfy their
opponents. They maintained, as explained above, that the words
"necessary to" always imply "something that precedes, moves, effects,
works," and that, accordingly, the obnoxious propositions of Major
"place good works before the remission of sins and before salvation."
(Preger 1, 377.) Even Planck admits that only force could make the
proposition, "Good works are necessary to salvation," say, "Good works
must follow faith and justification." "According to the usage of every
language," says he, "a phrase saying that one thing is necessary to
another designates a causal connection. Whoever dreamt of asserting that
heat is necessary to make it day, because it is a necessary effect of
the rays of the sun, by the spreading of which it becomes day." (4, 542.
485.) Without compromising the truth and jeopardizing the doctrine of
justification, therefore, the Lutherans were able to regard as
satisfactory only a clear and unequivocal rejection of Majorism as it is
found in the _Formula of Concord._

149. Absurd Proposition of Amsdorf.

Nicholas Amsdorf, the intimate and trusted friend of Luther, was among
the most zealous of the opponents of Majorism. He was born December 3,
1483; professor in Wittenberg; 1521 in Worms with Luther; superintendent
in Magdeburg; 1542 bishop at Naumburg; banished by Maurice in 1547, he
removed to Magdeburg; soon after professor and superintendent in Jena;
opposed the Interimists, Adiaphorists, Osiandrists, Majorists,
Synergists, Sacramentarians, Anabaptists, and Schwenckfeldians; died at
Eisenach May 14, 1565. Regarding the bold statements of Major as a blow
at the very heart of true Lutheranism, Amsdorf antagonized his teaching
as a "most pernicious error," and denounced Major as a Pelagian and a
double Papist. But, alas, the momentum of his uncontrolled zeal carried
him a step too far--over the precipice. He declared that good works are
detrimental and injurious to salvation, _bona opera perniciosa_ (noxia)
_esse ad salutem._ He defended his paradoxical statement in a
publication of 1559 against Menius, with whose subscription to the
Eisenach propositions, referred to above, he was not satisfied; chiefly
because Menius said there that he had taught and defended them also in
the past. The flagrant blunder of Amsdorf was all the more offensive
because it appeared on the title of his tract, reading as follows:
"_Dass diese Propositio: 'Gute Werke sind zur Seligkeit schaedlich,'
eine rechte, wahre christliche Propositio sei,_ durch die heiligen
Paulum und Lutherum gelehrt und gepredigt. Niclas von Amsdorf, 1559.
That this proposition, 'Good works are injurious to salvation,' is a
correct, true, Christian proposition taught and preached by Sts. Paul
and Luther." (Frank 2, 228.)

Luther, to whose writings Amsdorf appealed, had spoken very guardedly
and correctly in this matter. He had declared: Good works are
detrimental to the righteousness of faith, "if one presumes to be
justified by them, _si quis per ea praesumat iustificari._" Wherever
Luther speaks of the injuriousness of good works, it is always _sub
specie iustificationis,_ that is to say, viewing good works as entering
the article of justification, or the forgiveness of sins. (Weimar 7, 59;
10, 3, 373. 374. 387; E. 16, 465. 484; Tschackert, 516.) What vitiated
the proposition as found in Amsdorf's tract was the fact that he had
omitted the modification added by Luther. Amsdorf made a flat statement
of what Luther had asserted, not flatly, _nude et simpliciter,_ but with
a limitation, _secundum quid._

Self-evidently the venerable Amsdorf, too, who from the very beginning
of the Reformation had set an example in preaching as well as in living
a truly Christian life, did not in the least intend to minimize, or
discourage the doing of, good works by his offensive phrase, but merely
to eliminate good works from the article of justification. As a matter
of fact, his extravagant statement, when taken as it reads, flatly
contradicted his own clear teaching. In 1552 he had declared against
Major, as recorded above: "Who has ever taught or said that one should
or need not do good works?" "For we all say and confess that after his
renewal and new birth a Christian should love and fear God and do all
manner of good works," etc. What Amsdorf wished to emphasize was not
that good works are dangerous in themselves and as such, but in the
article of salvation. For this reason he added: "_ad salutem,_ to
salvation." By this appendix he meant to emphasize that good works are
dangerous when introduced as a factor in justification and trusted in
for one's salvation.

Melanchthon refers to the proposition of Amsdorf as "filthy speech,
_unflaetige Rede._" In 1557, at Worms, he wrote: "Now Amsdorf writes:
Good works are detrimental to salvation.... The Antinomians and their
like must avoid the filthy speech, 'Good works are detrimental to
salvation.'" (_C. R._ 9, 405 ff.) Though unanimously rejecting his
blundering proposition, Amsdorf's colleagues treated the venerable
veteran of Lutheranism with consideration and moderation. No one, says
Frank, disputed the statement in the sense in which Amsdorf took it, and
its form was so apparently false that it could but be generally
disapproved. (2, 176.) The result was that the paradox assertion
remained without any special historical consequences.

True, Major endeavored to foist Amsdorf's teaching also on Flacius. He
wrote: Flacius "endeavors with all his powers to subvert this
proposition, that good works are necessary to those who are to be saved;
and tries to establish the opposite blasphemy, that good works are
dangerous to those who are to be saved, and that they area hindrance to
eternal salvation--_evertere summis viribus hanc propositionem conatur:
bona opera salvandis esse necessaria. Ac contra stabilire oppositam
blasphemiam studet: Bona opera salvandis periculosa sunt et aeternae
saluti officiunt._" Major continues: "Let pious minds permit Flacius and
his compeers, at their own risk, to prostitute their eternal salvation
to the devils, and by their execrations and anathemas to sacrifice
themselves to the devil and his angels." (Frank 2, 221.) This, however,
was slander pure and simple, for Flacius was among the first publicly to
disown Amsdorf when he made his extravagant statement against Menius.
(Preger 1, 392. 384.)

The _Formula of Concord_ most emphatically rejects the error of Amsdorf
(the bare statement that good works are injurious to salvation) "as
offensive and detrimental to Christian discipline." And justly so; for
the question was not what Amsdorf meant to say: but what he really did
say. The _Formula_ adds: "For especially in these last times it is no
less, needful to admonish men to Christian discipline and good works,
and remind them how necessary it is that they exercise themselves in
good works as a declaration of their faith and gratitude to God, than
that works be not mingled in the article of justification; because men
may be damned by an Epicurean delusion concerning faith, as well as by
papistic and Pharisaical confidence in their own works and merits."
(801, 18.)

150. Other Points of Dispute.

Is it correct to say: God requires good works, or, Good works are
necessary, and, Christians are obliged or in duty bound to do good works
(_bona opera sunt necessaria et debita_)? This question, too, was a
point of dispute in the Majoristic controversy. Originally the
controversy concerning these terms and phrases was a mere logomachy,
which, however, later on (when, after the error lurking in the absolute
rejection of them had been pointed out, the phrases were still flatly
condemned), developed into a violent controversy. The _Formula of
Concord_ explains: "It has also been argued by some that good works are
not _necessary (noetig)_, but are _voluntary (freiwillig)_, because they
are not extorted by fear and the penalty of the Law, but are to be done
from a voluntary spirit and a joyful heart. Over against this the other
side contended that good works are _necessary_. This controversy was
originally occasioned by the words _necessitas_ and _libertas_
["_notwendig_" und "_frei_"], that is, necessary and free, because
especially the word _necessitas,_ necessary, signifies not only the
eternal, immutable order according to which all men are obliged and in
duty bound to obey God, but sometimes also a coercion, by which the Law
forces men to good works. But afterwards there was a disputation not
only concerning the words, but the doctrine itself was attacked in the
most violent manner, and it was contended that the new obedience in the
regenerate is not necessary because of the above-mentioned divine
order." (939, 4f.)

From the very beginning of the Reformation the Romanists had slandered
Luther also by maintaining that he condemned good works and simply
denied their necessity. A similar charge was made by the Majorists
against their opponents generally. And Melanchthon's writings, too,
frequently create the same impression. But it was an inference of their
own. They argued: If good works are not necessary to salvation, they
cannot be necessary at all. Wigand wrote: "It is a most malicious and
insidious trait in the new teachers [the Majorists] that they, in order
to gloss over their case, cry out with the Papists that the controversy
is whether good works are necessary. But this is not in dispute, for no
Christian ever denied it. Good works are necessary; that is certainly
true. But the conflict arises from the appendix attached to it, and the
patch pasted to it, _viz._, 'to salvation.' And here all God-fearing
men say that it is a detrimental, offensive, damnable, papistic
appendix." (Planck 4, 498. 544.)

It is true, however, that the Antinomians (who will be dealt with more
extensively in a following chapter) as well as several other opponents
of the Majorists were unwilling to allow the statement, "Good works are
necessary." Falsely interpreting the proposition as necessarily
implying, not merely moral obligation, but also compulsion and coercion,
they rejected it as unevangelical and semipopish. The word "must" is
here not in place, they protested. Agricola, as well as the later
Antinomians (Poach and Otto), rejected the expressions "_necessarium,_
necessary" and "duty, _debitum,_" when employed in connection with good
works. January 13, 1555, Melanchthon wrote: "Some object to the words,
'Good works are _necessary,_' or, 'One _must_ do good works.' They
object to the two words _necessitas_ and _debitum._ And the
Court-preacher [Agricola] at that time juggled with the word _must: 'das
Muss ist versalzen._' He understood _necessarium_ and _debitum_ as
meaning, coerced by fear of punishment, _extortum coactione_ (extorted
by coercion), and spoke high-sounding words, such as, how good works
came without the Law. Yet the first meaning of _necessarium_ and
_debitum_ is not _extortum coactione,_ but the eternal and immutable
order of divine wisdom; and the Lord Christ and Paul themselves employ
these words _necessarium_ and _debitum._" In December, 1557, he wrote:
"They [the Antinomians] object to the proposition: 'New obedience is
necessary;' again: 'New obedience is a debt (_debitum_).' And now
Amsdorf writes: 'Good works are detrimental to salvation,'and it was
Eisleben's [Agricola's] slogan: 'Das Muss ist versalzen.' In Nordhausen
some one has publicly announced a disputation which contains the
proposition: '_Summa ars Chriatianorum est nescire legem._--The highest
art of a Christian is not to know the Law.'" March 4, 1558: "Some, for
instance, Amsdorf and Gallus, object to the word _debitum._" (_C. R._ 8,
411. 194. 842; 9, 405. 474.)

Andrew Musculus, professor in Frankfurt on the Oder, is reported to have
said in a sermon, 1558: "They are all the devil's own who teach: 'New
obedience is necessary (_nova obedientia est necessaria_)'; the word
'must (necessary)' does not belong here. 'Good works are necessary to
salvation,' and, 'Good works are necessary, but not to salvation'--these
are both of a cloth--_das sind zwei Hosen aus EINEM Tuch._" (Meusel,
_Handlexikon_ 4, 710; Gieseler 3, 2, 216.)

Over against this extreme position, Melanchthon, Flacius, Wigand,
Moerlin, and others held that it was entirely correct to say that good
works are necessary. In the _Opinion_ of November 13, 1559, referred to
above, Melanchthon, after stating that he does not employ the phrase,
"Good works are necessary to salvation," continues as follows: "But I do
affirm that these propositions are true, and that one may properly and
without sophistry say, 'The new obedience or good works are necessary,'
because obedience is due to God and because it is necessary that, after
the Holy Spirit has been received, regeneration or conversion be
followed by motions corresponding to the Holy Spirit.... And the words
'duty' and 'necessity' signify the order of God's wisdom and justice;
they do not signify an obedience which is compelled or extorted by
fear." (_C. R._ 9, 969.) The Frankfurt _Rezess_ of 1558 [Rezess,
Rueckzug, Vergleich = Agreement], written by Melanchthon and signed by
the Lutheran princes, declared: "These propositions, '_Nova obedientia
est necessaria, nova obedientia est debitum,_ New obedience is
necessary, is a debt,' shall not be rejected." The _Rezess_ explained:
"It is certainly a divine, immovable truth that new obedience is
necessary in those who are justified; and these words are to be retained
in their true meaning. 'Necessary' signifies divine order. New obedience
is necessary and is a debt for the very reason that it is an immutable
divine order that the rational creature obeys God." (_C. R._ 9, 496.

In a similar way this matter was explained by Flacius and other
theologians. They all maintained that it is correct to say, Good works
are necessary. Even Amsdorf wrote 1552 in his _Brief Instruction_
against Major: "For we all say and confess that a Christian after his
renewal and new birth _should_ and _must_ (_soll und muss_) love and
fear God and do all manner of good works, but not in order to be saved
thereby, for he is saved already by faith." (Schlb. 7, 210.) This view,
which was also plainly taught in the _Augsburg Confession,_ prevailed
and received the sanction of our Church in Article IV of the _Formula of
Concord._ When a Christian spontaneously and by the free impulse of his
own faith does (and would do, even if there were no law at all) what,
according to the holy will of God, revealed in the Ten Commandments, he
is obliged and in duty bound to do--such works, and such only, are,
according to the _Formula of Concord,_ truly good works, works pleasing
to God. It was the doctrine of Luther, who had written, _e.g._, in his
_Church Postil_ of 1521: "No, dear man, you [cannot earn heaven by your
good works, but you] must have heaven and already be saved before you do
good works. Works do not merit heaven, but, on the contrary, heaven,
imparted by pure grace, does good works spontaneouslv, seeking no merit,
but only the welfare of the neighbor and the glory of God. _Nein, lieber
Mensch, du musst den Himmel haben und schon selig sein, ehe du gute
Werke tust. Die Werke verdienen nicht den Himmel, sondern wiederum
[umgekehrt], der Himmel, aus lauter Gnaden gegeben, tut die guten Werke
dahin, ohne Gesuch des Verdienstes, nur dem Naechsten zu Nutz und Gott
zu Ehren._" (E. 7, 174.) Again, in _De Servio Arbitrio_ of 1525: "The
children of God do good entirely voluntarily, seeking no reward, but
only the glory and will of God, ready to do the good even if, assuming
the impossible, there were neither heaven nor hell. _Filii autem Dei
gratuita voluntate faciunt bonum, nullum praemium quaerentes, sed solam
gloriam et voluntatem Dei, parati bonum facere, si per impossibile neque
regnum neque infernus esset._" (E. v. a. 7, 234.)

XIV. The Synergistic Controversy.

151. Relation of Majorism and Synergism.

The theological connection between Majorism and synergism is much closer
than is generally realized. Both maintain that, in part, or in a certain
respect, salvation depends not on grace alone, but also on man and his
efforts. The Majorists declared good works to be necessary to salvation,
or at least to the preservation of faith and of salvation. Thus
salvation would, in a way, depend on the right conduct of a Christian
after his conversion. The Synergists asserted: Man, too, must do his bit
and cooperate with the Holy Spirit if he desires to be saved. Conversion
and salvation, therefore, would depend, at least in part, on man's
conduct toward converting grace, and he would be justified and saved,
not by grace alone, but by a faith which to a certain extent is a work
of his own. The burden of both, Majorism and synergism, was the denial
of the _sola gratia._ Both coordinated man and God as the causes of our
salvation. Indeed, consistently carried out, both destroyed the central
Christian truth of justification by grace alone and, with it, the
assurance of a gracious God and of eternal salvation--the supreme
religious concern of Luther and the entire Lutheran theology.

Majorists and Synergists employed also the same line of argument. Both
derived their doctrine, not from any clear statements of the Bible, but
by a process of anti-Scriptural and fallacious reasoning. The Majorists
inferred: Since evil works and sins against conscience destroy faith
and justification, good works are required for their preservation. The
Synergists argued: Since all who are not converted or finally saved must
blame, not God, but themselves for rejecting grace, those, too, who are
converted must be credited with at least a small share in the work of
their salvation, that is to say, with a better conduct toward grace than
the conduct of those who are lost.

However, while Majorism as well as synergism, as stated, represented
essentially the same error and argued against the doctrine of grace in
the same unscriptural manner, the more subtle, veiled, and hence the
more dangerous of the two, no doubt, was synergism, which reduced man's
cooperation to a seemingly harmless minimum and, especially in the
beginning, endeavored to clothe itself in ambiguous phrases and
apparently pious and plausible formulas. Perhaps this accounts also for
the fact that, though Melanchthon and the Majorists felt constrained to
abandon as described in the preceding chapter, the coarser and more
offensive Majoristic propositions, they had at the same time no
compunctions about retaining and defending essentially the same error in
their doctrine of conversion; and that, on the other hand, their
opponents, who by that time fully realized also the viciousness of
synergism, were not satisfied with Major's concessions in the
controversy on good works, because he and his colleagues in Wittenberg
were known to identify themselves with the Synergists. For the same
reason the dangerous error lurking in the synergistic phrases does not
seem from the first to have been recognized by the Lutherans in the same
degree as was the error contained in the Majoristic propositions, which
indeed had even during Luther's life to some extent become a subject of
dispute. Yet it seems hardly possible that for years they should not
have detected the synergistic deviations in Wittenberg from Luther's
doctrine of free will. Perhaps the fact that at the time when
Melanchthon came out boldly with his synergism, 1548, the Lutherans were
engrossed with the Adiaphoristic and Majoristic controversies may help
to explain, at least to some extent, why the synergistic error caused
small concern, and was given but little consideration in the beginning.
As a matter of fact, although a considerable amount of synergistic
material had been published by 1548, the controversy did not begin till
1556, while the error that good works are necessary to salvation was
publicly opposed soon after its reappearance in the Leipzig Interim. At
the Weimar Disputation, 1560, Strigel referred to this silence, saying:
"I am astonished that I am pressed so much in this matter [concerning
synergism], since three years ago at Worms no mention whatever [?] was
made of this controversy, while many severe commands were given
regarding others." (Richard, _Conf. Prin.,_ 349.) The matter was
mentioned at Worms, but Melanchthon is reported to have satisfied Brenz
and others by declaring that in the passages of his _Loci_ suspected of
synergism he meant "the regenerated will."

152. Luther's Monergism.

According to Lutheran theology, the true opposite of synergism is not
Calvinism with its double election, irresistible grace, denial of
universal redemption, etc., but the monergism of grace, embracing
particularly the tenets that in consequence of Adam's fall man is
spiritually dead and utterly unable to contribute in any degree or
manner toward his own justification and conversion; moreover, that,
being an enemy of God, man, of his own natural powers, is active only in
resisting the saving efforts of God, as well as able and prone only to
do so; that God alone and in every respect is the Author of man's
conversion, perseverance, and final salvation; and that, since the grace
of God is universal and earnestly proffered, man alone is responsible
for, and the cause of, his own damnation.

_"Sola fides iustificat,_ Faith alone justifies"--that was the great
slogan of the Reformation sounded forth by Luther and his followers with
ever increasing boldness, force and volume. And the distinct meaning of
this proposition, which Luther called "_hoc meum dogma,_ this my dogma,"
was just this, that we are saved not by any effort or work of our own,
but in every respect by God's grace alone. The restoration of this
wonderful truth, taught by St. Paul, made Luther the Reformer of the
Church. This truth alone, as Luther had experienced, is able to impart
solid comfort to a terror-stricken conscience, engender divine assurance
of God's pardon and acceptance, and thus translate a poor miserable
sinner from the terrors of hell into paradise.

In the _Seven Penitential Psalms,_ written 1517, Luther says: "If God's
mercy is to be praised, then all [human] merits and worthiness must come
to naught." (Weimar 1, 161.) "Not such are blessed as have no sins or
extricate themselves by their own labors, but only those whose sins are
graciously forgiven by God." (167.) "It is characteristic of God (_es
ist Gottes Natur_) to make something out of nothing. Hence God cannot
make anything out of him who is not as yet nothing.... Therefore God
receives none but the forsaken, heals none but the ill, gives sight to
none but the blind, quickens none but the dead, makes pious none but the
sinners, makes wise none but the ignorant,--in short, He has mercy on
none but the miserable, and gives grace to none but those who are in
disgrace. Whoever therefore, is a proud saint, wise or just, cannot
become God's material and receive God's work within himself, but remains
in his own work and makes an imaginary, seeming, false, and painted
saint of himself, _i.e._, a hypocrite." (183.) "For he whom Thou [God]
dost justify will never become righteous by his works; hence it is
called Thy righteousness, since Thou givest it to us by grace, and we do
not obtain it by works." (192.) "Israel the true [new] man, does not
take refuge in himself, nor in his strength, nor in his righteousness
and wisdom.... For help and grace is not with themselves. They are
sinners and damned in themselves, as He also says through Hosea: O
Israel, with thee there is nothing but damnation, but with Me is thine
help." (210.) "He, He, God Himself, not they themselves, will deliver
the true Israel.... Mark well, Israel has sin and cannot help itself."

In his explanation of Ps. 109 (110), 1518, Luther says: "He calls these
children [conceived from spiritual seed, the Word of God] dew, since no
soul is converted and transformed from Adam's sinful childhood to the
gracious childhood of Christ by human work, but only by God, who works
from heaven like the dew, as Micah writes: 'The children of Israel will
be like the dew given by God which does not wait for the hands of men.'"
(701.) Again: "In every single man God precedes with grace and works
before we pray for grace or cooperate. The Doctors call this _gratiam
primam et praevenientem,_ that is, the first and prevenient grace.
Augustine: _Gratia Dei praevenit, ut velimus, ne frustra velimus._ God's
grace prevenes that we will, lest we will in vain." (710.)

In his 40 theses for the Heidelberg disputation, also of 1518, Luther
says of man's powers in spiritual matters: "13. Free will after sin [the
Fall] is a mere titular affair [an empty title only], and sins mortally
when it does what it is able to do. _Liberum arbitrium post peccatum res
est de solo titulo et dum facit, quod in se est, peccat mortaliter._"
"16. A man desirous of obtaining grace by doing what he is able to do
adds sin to sin, becoming doubly guilty. _Homo putans, se ad gratiam
velle pervenire faciendo, quod est in se, peccatum addit peccato, ut
duplo reus fiat._" "18. It is certain that a man must utterly despair of
himself in order to become apt to acquire the grace of Christ. _Certum
est, hominem de se penitus oportere desperare, ut aptus fiat ad
consequendam gratiam Christi._" (W. 1, 354.) By way of explanation
Luther added to thesis 13: "The first part [of this thesis, that free
will is a mere empty title] is apparent, because the will is a captive
and a servant to sin, not that it is nothing, but that it is free only
to [do] evil--_non quod sit nihil, sed quod non sit liberum nisi ad
malum._ John 8, 34. 36: 'Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.' Hence, St.
Augustine says in his book _De Spiritu et Litera:_ Free will without
grace can only sin--_non nisi ad peccandum valet._ And in his second
book against Julianus: You call that a free will which in truth is
captive, etc." To thesis 16 Luther added: "When man does what he is able
to do (_dum facit, quod est in se_), he sins, seeking altogether his
own. And if he is minded to become worthy of, and apt for, grace by a
sin, he adds proud presumption."

In his sermon of 1519 on Genesis 4, Luther remarked: "This passage ['The
Lord had respect unto Abel'] subverts the entire liberty of our human
will. _Hic locus semel invertit universam libertatem voluntatis
nostrae._" (Weimar 9, 337.) In a sermon of September 8, 1520, we read:
"By nature we are born accursed;... through Christ we are born again
children of life. Thus we are born not by free will, not by works, not
by our efforts. As a child in the womb is not born by its own works, but
suffers itself to be carried and to be given birth, so we are justified
by suffering, not by doing." (474.) "Where, then," Luther exclaimed
about the same time in his _Operationes in Psalmos,_ "will free will
remain? where the doing what one can? _Ubi ergo manebit liberum
arbitrium, ubi facere quod in se?_" (5, 544. 74.) In a sermon of
February 2, 1521, he said: "Whatever grace is in us comes from God
alone. Here free will is entirely dead. All that we attempt to establish
with our powers is lost unless He prevenes and makes us alive through
His grace. Grace is His own work, which we receive in our hearts by
faith. This grace the soul did not possess before, for it is the new
man.... The great proud saints will not do this [ascribe everything to
God and His mercy]. They, too, would have a share in it, saying to our
Lord: 'This I have done by my free will, this I have deserved.'" (9,
573; 5, 544.)

Thus Luther, from the very beginning of the Reformation, stood for the
doctrine of justification, conversion, and salvation by grace alone.
Most emphatically he denied that man though free to a certain extent in
human and temporal affairs, is able to cooperate with the powers of his
natural, unregenerate will in matters spiritual and pertaining to God.
This was also the position which Luther victoriously defended against
Erasmus in his _De Servo Arbitrio_ of 1525. Goaded on by the Romanists
to come out publicly against the German heretic, the great Humanist, in
his _Diatribe_ of 1524, had shrewdly planned to attack his opponent at
the most vulnerable point. As such he regarded Luther's monergistic
doctrine, according to which it is God alone who justifies, converts,
preserves, and saves men, without any works of their own. In reality,
however, as presently appeared from his glorious classic on the
_sola-gratia_ doctrine, Erasmus had assaulted the strongest gate of
Luther's fortress. For the source of the wonderful power which Luther
displayed throughout the Reformation was none other than the divine
conviction born of the Word of God that in every respect grace alone is
the cause of our justification and salvation. And if ever this blessed
doctrine was firmly established, successfully defended, and greatly
glorified, it was in Luther's book against Erasmus.

Justification, conversion, perseverance in faith, and final salvation,
obtained not by any effort of ours, but in every respect received as a
gracious gift of God alone--that was the teaching also to which Luther
faithfully, most determinedly, and without any wavering adhered
throughout his life. In his _Large Confession_ of 1528, for example, we
read: "Herewith I reject and condemn as nothing but error all dogmas
which extol our free will, as they directly conflict with this help and
grace of our Savior Jesus Christ. For since outside of Christ death and
sin are our lords, and the devil our god and prince, there can be no
power or might, no wisdom or understanding, whereby we can qualify
ourselves for, or strive after, righteousness and life; but we must be
blinded people and prisoners of sin and the devil's own, to do and to
think what pleases them and is contrary to God and His commandments."
(CONC. TRIGL. 897, 43.)

153. Luther's Doctrine Endorsed.

To adhere faithfully to Luther's doctrine of conversion and salvation by
grace alone was also the determination of the loyal Lutherans in their
opposition to the Synergists. Planck correctly remarks that the doctrine
which Flacius and the Anti-Synergists defended was the very doctrine
which "Luther advocated in his conflict with Erasmus." (_Prot.
Lehrbegriff_ 4, 667.) This was substantially conceded even by the
opponents. When, for example, at the colloquy in Worms, 1557, the
Romanists demanded that Flacius's doctrine of free will be condemned by
the Lutherans, Melanchthon declared that herein one ought not to submit
to the Papists, who slyly, under the name of Illyricus [Flacius],
demanded the condemnation of Luther, whose opinion in the doctrine of
free will he [Melanchthon] was neither able nor willing to condemn.
(Gieseler 3, 2, 232.) In their _Confession,_ published in March, 1569,
the theologians of Ducal Saxony (Wigand, Coelestin, Irenaeus, Kirchner,
etc.) declared: "We also add that we embrace the doctrine and opinion of
Dr. Luther, the Elias of these latter days of the world, as it is most
luminously and skilfully set forth in the book _De Servo Arbitrio,_
against Erasmus, in the _Commentary on Genesis,_ and in other books; and
we hold that this teaching of Luther agrees with the eternal Word of
God." (Schluesselburg, _Catalogus_ 5, 133.)

Luther's _sola-gratia_-doctrine was embodied also in the _Formula of
Concord,_ and this with a special endorsement of his book _De Servo
Arbitrio._ For here we read: "Even so Dr. Luther wrote of this matter
[the doctrine that our free will has no power whatever to qualify itself
for righteousness, etc.] also in his book _De Servo Arbitrio; i.e._, Of
the Captive Will of Man, in opposition to Erasmus, and elucidated and
supported this position well and thoroughly [_egregie et solide_]; and
afterward he repeated and explained it in his glorious exposition of the
book of Genesis, especially of chapter 26. There likewise his meaning
and understanding of some other peculiar disputations introduced
incidentally by Erasmus, as of absolute necessity, etc., have been
secured by him in the best and most careful way against all
misunderstanding and perversion; to which we also hereby appeal and
refer others." (897, 44; 981, 28.) In the passage of his _Commentary on
Genesis_ referred to by the _Formula,_ Luther does not, as has been
claimed, retract or modify his former statements concerning the
inability of the human will and the monergism of grace, but emphasizes
that, in reading _De Servo Arbitrio,_ one must heed and not overlook his
frequent admonitions to concern oneself with God as He has revealed
Himself in the Gospel, and not speculate concerning God in His
transcendence, absoluteness, and majesty, as the One in whom we live and
move and have our being, and without whom nothing can either exist or
occur, and whose wonderful ways are past finding out. (CONC. TRIGL.,
898.) And the fact that the Lutheran theologians, living at the time and
immediately after the framing of the _Formula of Concord,_ objected
neither to the book _De Servo Arbitrio_ itself nor to its public
endorsement by the _Formula of Concord,_ is an additional proof of the
fact that they were in complete agreement with Luther's teaching of
conversion and salvation by grace alone. (Frank 1, 120.)

This _sola-gratia_-doctrine, the vital truth of Christianity,
rediscovered and proclaimed once more by Luther, was, as stated, the
target at which Erasmus directed his shafts. In his _Diatribe_ he
defined the power of free will to be the faculty of applying oneself to
grace (_facultas applicandi se ad gratiam_), and declared that those are
the best theologians who, while ascribing as much as possible to the
grace of God, do not eliminate this human factor. He wrote: Free will is
"the ability of the human will according to which man is able either to
turn himself to what leads to eternal salvation or to turn away from
it." (St.L. 18, 1612.) Again: "Those, therefore, who are farthest apart
from the views of Pelagius ascribe to grace the most, but to free will
almost nothing; yet they do not abolish it entirely. They say that man
cannot will anything good without special grace, cannot begin anything
good, cannot continue in it, cannot complete anything without the chief
thing, the constant help of divine grace. This opinion seems to be
pretty probable because it leaves to man a striving and an effort, and
yet does not admit that he is to ascribe even the least to his own
powers." (1619.) One must avoid extremes, and seek the middle of the
road, said Erasmus. Pelagius had fallen into Scylla, and Luther into
Charybdis. "I am pleased with the opinion of those who ascribe to free
will something, but to grace by far the most." (1666.) Essentially,
this was the error held, nursed, and defended also by the Synergists,
though frequently in more guarded and ambiguous phrases. But their
theory of conversion also involved, as Schaff and Schmauk put it, "the
idea of a partnership between God and man, and a corresponding division
of work and merit." (_Conf. Principle,_ 600.)

However, these attempts to revamp the Semi-Pelagian teaching resulted in
a controversy which more and longer than any other endangered and
disquieted the Lutheran Church, before as well as after the adoption of
the _Formula of Concord._ Whether the unregenerate man, when the Word of
God is preached, and the grace of God is offered him, is able to prepare
himself for grace, accept it, and assent thereto, was, according to the
_Formula of Concord,_ "the question upon which, _for quite a number of
years now,_ there has been a controversy among some theologians in the
churches of the Augsburg Confession." (881, 2.) And of all the
controversies after Luther's death the synergistic controversy was most
momentous and consequential. For the doctrine of grace with which it
dealt is the vital breath of every Christian. Without it neither faith
nor the Christian religion can live and remain. "If we believe," says
Luther in _De Servo Arbitrio,_ "that Christ has redeemed men by His
blood, then we must confess that the entire man was lost; otherwise we
make Christ superfluous or the Redeemer of but the meanest part of us,
which is blasphemous and sacrilegious." Reading the book of Erasmus, in
which he bent every effort toward exploding the doctrine of grace,
Luther felt the hand of his opponent clutching his throat. In the
closing paragraph of _De Servo Arbitrio_ Luther wrote: "I highly laud
and extol you for this thing also, that of all others you alone have
gone to the heart of the subject.... You alone have discerned the core
of the matter and have aimed at the throat, for which I thank you
heartily.--_Unus tu et solus cardinem rerum vidisti, et ipsum iugulum
petisti, pro quo ex animo tibi gratias ago, in hac enim causa libentius
versor, quantum favet tempus et otium._" (E. v. a. 7, 367. 137; St. L.
18, 1967; Pieper, _Dogm._ 2, 543.) And so the Synergists, who renewed
the doctrine of Erasmus, also flew at the throat of Christianity.
Genuine Lutheranism would have been strangled if synergism had emerged
victorious from this great controversy of grace versus free will.

154. The Father of Synergism.

During the first period of his activity in Wittenberg, Melanchthon was
in perfect agreement with Luther also on the question of man's inability
in spiritual matters and the sole activity, or monergism, of grace in
the work of his salvation. As late as 1530 he incorporated these views
in the _Augsburg Confession,_ as appears, in particular, from Articles
II, V, XVIII, and XIX. His later doctrine concerning the three
concurring causes of conversion (the Holy Spirit, the Word, and the
consenting will of man), as well as his theory explaining
synergistically, from an alleged dissimilar action in man, the
difference why some are saved while others are lost, is not so much as
hinted at in the Confession. But even at this early date (1530) or soon
after, Melanchthon also does not seem any longer to have agreed
whole-heartedly with Luther in the doctrine of grace and free will. And
in the course of time his theology drifted farther and farther from its
original monergistic moorings. Nor was Luther wholly unaware of the
secret trend of his colleague and friend toward--Erasmus. In 1536, when
the deviations of Melanchthon and Cruciger, dealt with in our previous
chapter, were brought to his notice, Luther exclaimed: "_Haec est
ipsissima theologia Erasmi._ This is the identical theology of Erasmus,
nor can there be anything more opposed to our doctrine." (Kolde,
_Analecta,_ 266.)

That Melanchthon's theology was verging toward Erasmus appears from his
letter of June 22, 1537, to Veit Dietrich, in which he said that he
desired a more thorough exposition also of the doctrines of
predestination and of the _consent of the will._ (_C. R._ 3, 383.)
Before this, in his _Commentary on Romans_ of 1532, he had written that
there is some cause of election also in man; _viz._, in as far as he
does not repudiate the grace offered--"_tamen eatenus aliquam causam in
accipiente esse quatenus promissionem oblatam non repudiat_." (Seeberg 4,
442.) In an addition to his _Loci_ of 1533 he also spoke of a cause of
justification and election residing in man. (_C. R._ 21, 332.) In the
revised editions of 1535 and 1543 he plainly began to prepare the way
for his later bold and unmistakable deviations. For even though unable
to point out a clean-cut and unequivocal synergistic statement, one
cannot read these editions without scenting a Semi-Pelagian and Erasmian
atmosphere. What Melanchthon began to teach was the doctrine that man,
when approached by the Word of God, is able to assume either an attitude
of _pro_ or _con_, _i.e._, for or against the grace of God. The same
applies to the _Variata_ of 1540 in which the frequent "_adiuvari_"
there employed, though not incorrect as such, was not without a
synergistic flavor.

Tschackert remarks of the _Loci_ of 1535: "Melanchthon wants to make man
responsible for his state of grace. Nor does the human will in
consequence of original sin lose the ability to decide itself when
incited; the will produces nothing new by its own power, but assumes an
attitude toward what approaches it. When man hears the Word of God, and
the Holy Spirit produces spiritual affections in his heart, the will can
either assent or turn against it. In this way Melanchthon arrives at the
formula, ever after stereotype with him, that there are three concurring
causes in the process of conversion: 'the Word of God, the Holy Spirit,
and the human will, which, indeed, is not idle, _but strives against its
infirmity.'_" (520.)

However, during the life of Luther, Melanchthon made no further
measurable progress towards synergism. Perhaps the unpleasant
experiences following upon his innovations in the doctrine of good works
acted as a check also on the public development of his synergistic
tendencies. During Luther's life Melanchthon, as he himself admitted to
Carlowitz (106), dissimulated, keeping his deviating views to himself
and his intimate friends. After Luther's death, however, he came out
unmistakably and publicly, also in favor of synergism, endorsing even
the Erasmian definition of free will as "the power in man to apply
himself to grace." He plainly taught that, when drawn by the Holy
Spirit, the will is able to decide _pro_ or _con,_ to obey or to resist.
Especially in his lectures, Melanchthon--not indeed directly, but
mentioning the name of Flacius--continually lashed such phrases of
Luther as "purely passive," "block," "resistance,"--a fact to which
Schluesselburg, who had studied in Wittenberg, refers in support of his
assertion that Melanchthon had departed from Luther's teaching on free
will. (_Catalogus_ 5, 32.) While Melanchthon formerly (in his _Loci_ of
1543) had spoken of three causes of a good action (_bonae actionis_) he
now publicly advocated the doctrine of three concurring causes of
_conversion._ Now he boldly maintained that, since the grace of God is
universal, one must assume, and also teach, that there are different
actions in different men, which accounts for the fact that some are
converted and saved while others are lost. According to the later
Melanchthon, therefore, man's eternal salvation evidently does not
depend on the gracious operations of God's Holy Spirit and Word alone,
but also on his own correct conduct toward grace. In his heart,
especially when approaching the mercy-seat in prayer, Melanchthon, no
doubt, forgot and disavowed his own teaching, and believed and practised
Luther's _sola-gratia_-doctrine. But it cannot be denied that, in his
endeavors to harmonize universal grace with the fact that not all, but
some only, are saved, Melanchthon repudiated the monergism of Luther,
espoused and defended the powers of free will in spiritual matters, and
thought, argued, spoke, and wrote in terms of synergism. Indeed,
Melanchthon must be regarded as the father of both synergism and the
rationalistic methods employed in its defense, and as the true father
also of the modern rationalistico-synergistic theology represented by
such distinguished men as Von Hofmann, Thomasius, Kahnis, Luthardt, etc.
(Pieper 2, 582; Frank 1, 231.)

155. Unsound Statements of Melanchthon.

Following are some of the ambiguous and false deliverances of
Melanchthon: In the _Loci_ of 1535 the so-called human cause of
conversion which must be added to the Word and Spirit is described as
endeavoring, striving, and wishing to obey and believe. We read: "We do
not say this to ensnare the consciences, or to deter men from the
endeavor to obey and believe, or from making an effort. On the contrary,
since we are to begin with the Word, we certainly must not resist the
Word of God, but strive to obey it.... We see that these causes are
united: the Word, the Holy Spirit, and the will, which is certainly not
idle, but strives against its infirmity. In this manner ecclesiastical
writers are accustomed to join these causes. Basil says: 'Only will, and
God will precede,' God precedes, calls, moves, assists us, but let us
beware lest we resist.... Chrysostom says: He who draws, draws him who
is willing." (_C. R._ 21, 376.)

In conversion and salvation God certainly must do and does His share,
but man must beware lest he fail to do what is required of him. This is
also the impression received from Melanchthon's statements in the third
elaboration of his _Loci,_ 1543. We read: "Here three causes of a good
action concur (_hic concurrunt tres causae bonae actionis_): the Word
of God, the Holy Spirit, and the human will assenting to and not
resisting the Word of God (_humana voluntas assentiens, nec repugnans
Verbo Dei_). For it could expel [the Spirit], as Saul expelled [Him] of
his own free will. But when the mind hearing and sustaining itself does
not resist, does not give way to diffidence, but, the Holy Spirit
assisting, endeavors to assent,--in such a struggle the will is not
inactive (_in hoc certamine voluntas non est otiosa_). The ancients have
said that good works are done when grace precedes and the will follows.
So also Basil says: '_Monon theleson, kai theos proapanta_, Only will,
and God anticipates. God precedes, calls, moves, assists us; but as for
us, let us see to it that we do not resist. _Deus antevertit nos, vocat,
movet, adiuvat, SED NOS VIDERIMUS, ne repugnemus,_' (21, 658.) And Phil.
1, 6: 'He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the
day of Jesus Christ,' _i.e._, we are assisted by God (_adiuvamur a
Deo_), but we must hear the Word of God and not resist the drawing God."
(916.) "God draws our minds that they will, but we must assent, not
resist. _Deus trahit mentes, ut velint, sed assentiri nos, non repugnare
oportet._" (917.) Here we also meet the remark: "But the will, when
assisted by the Holy Spirit, becomes more free. _Fit autem voluntas
adiuvata Spiritu Sancto magis libera._" (663.) Frank comments
pertinently that the _magis_ presupposes a certain degree of liberty of
the will before the assistance of the Holy Spirit. (1, 198.)

The boldest synergistic statements are found in the _Loci_ of 1548. It
was the year of the Leipzig Interim, in which the same error was
embodied as follows: "The merciful God does not deal with man as with a
block, but draws him in such a way that his will, too, cooperates." (_C.
R._ 7, 51. 260.) As to the _Loci_ of this year, Bindseil remarks in the
_Corpus Reformatorum:_ "This edition is famous on account of certain
paragraphs inserted by the author in the article on Free Will. For these
additions contain the Erasmian definition of free will (that it is the
faculty of applying oneself to grace), on account of which Melanchthon
was charged with synergism by the Flacians.... For this reason the
edition is called by J. T. Mayer 'the worst of all (_omnium pessima_).'"
At the Weimar colloquy, 1560, even Strigel was not willing to identify
himself openly with the Erasmian definition of free will (_facultas
applicandi se ad gratiam_) as found in one of these sections. When
Flacius quoted the passage, Strigel retorted excitedly: "I do not
defend that definition which you have quoted from the recent edition
[1548]. When did you hear it from me? When have I undertaken to defend
it?" (Frank 1, 199. 135.) At the Herzberg colloquy Andreae remarked:
"The _Loci Communes_ of Melanchthon are useful. But whoever reads the
_locus de libero arbitrio_ must confess, even if he judges most mildly,
that the statements are dubious and ambiguous. And what of the four
paragraphs which were inserted after Luther's death? For here we read:
'There must of necessity be a cause of difference in us why a Saul is
rejected, a David received.'" (Pieper 2, 587.)

From these additions of 1548 we cite: "Nor does conversion occur in
David in such a manner as when a stone is turned into a fig: but free
will does something in David; for when he hears the rebuke and the
promise, he willingly and freely confesses his fault. And his will does
something when he sustains himself with this word: The Lord hath taken
away your sin. And when he endeavors to sustain himself with this word,
he is already assisted by the Holy Spirit." (_C. R._ 21, 659.) Again: "I
therefore answer those who excuse their idleness because they think that
free will does nothing, as follows: It certainly is the eternal and
immovable will of God that you obey the voice of the Gospel, that you
hear the Son of God, that you acknowledge the Mediator. How black is
that sin which refuses to behold the Mediator, the Son of God, presented
to the human race! You will answer: 'I cannot.' But in a manner you can
(_immo aliquo modo potes_), and when you sustain yourself with the voice
of the Gospel, then pray that God would assist you, and know that the
Holy Spirit is efficacious in such consolation. Know that just in this
manner God intends to convert us, when we, roused by the promise wrestle
with ourselves, pray and resist our diffidence and other vicious
affections. For this reason some of the ancient Fathers have said that
free will in man is the faculty to apply himself to grace (_liberum
arbitrium in homine facultatem esse applicandi se ad gratiam_); _i.e._,
he hears the promise, endeavors to assent, and abandons sins against
conscience. Such things do not occur in devils. The difference therefore
between the devils and the human race ought to be considered. These
matters however, become still clearer when the promise is considered.
For since the promise is universal, and since there are no contradictory
wills in God, there must of necessity be in us some cause of difference
why Saul is rejected and David is received; _i.e._, there must of
necessity be some dissimilar action in these two. _Cum promissio sit
universalis, nec sint in Deo contradictoriae voluntates, necesse est in
nobis esse aliquam discriminis causam, cur Saul abiiciatur. David
recipiatur, id est, necesse est aliquam esse actionem dissimilem in his
duobus._ Properly understood, this is true, and the use [_usus_] in the
exercises of faith and in true consolation (when our minds acquiesce in
the Son of God, shown in the promise) will illustrate this copulation of
causes: the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the will." (_C. R._ 21,

At the colloquy of Worms, 1557, Melanchthon, interpellated by Brenz, is
reported to have said that the passage in his _Loci_ of 1548 defining
free will as the faculty of applying oneself to grace referred to the
regenerated will (_voluntas renata_), as, he said, appeared from the
context. (Gieseler 3, 2, 225; Frank 1, 198.) As a matter of fact,
however, the context clearly excludes this interpretation. In the
passage quoted, Melanchthon, moreover, plainly teaches: 1. that in
conversion man, too, can do, and really does, something by willingly
confessing his fault, by sustaining himself with the Word, by praying
that God would assist him, by wrestling with himself, by striving
against diffidence, etc.; 2. that the nature of fallen man differs from
that of the devils in this, that his free will is still able to apply
itself to grace, endeavor to assent to it, etc.; 3. that the dissimilar
actions resulting from the different use of this natural ability
accounts for the fact that some are saved while others are lost. Such
was the plain teaching of Melanchthon from which he never receded, but
which he, apart from other publications, reaffirmed in every new
edition of his _Loci._ For all, including the last one to appear during
his life (1559), contain the additions of 1548. "The passage added by
the author [Melanchthon, 1548] after Luther's death is repeated in all
subsequent editions," says Bindseil. (_C. R._ 21, 570.)

The sections which were added to the _Loci_ after 1548 also breathe the
same synergistic spirit. In 1553 Melanchthon inserted a paragraph which
says that, when approached by the Holy Spirit, the will can obey or
resist. We read: "The liberty of the human will after the Fall, also in
the non-regenerate, is the faculty by virtue of which man is able to
govern his motions, _i.e._, he can enjoin upon his external members such
actions as agree, or such as do not agree, with the Law of God. But he
cannot banish doubts from his mind and evil inclinations from his heart
without the light of the Gospel and without the Holy Spirit. But when
the will is drawn by the holy Spirit, it can obey or resist. _Cum autem
trahitur a Spiritu Sancto, potest obsequi et repugnare._" (21, 1078; 13,

Other publications contain the same doctrine. While in his _Loci_ of
1543 he had spoken only of three causes of a good action (_bonae
actionis_), Melanchthon, in his _Enarratio Symboli Nicaeni_ of 1550,
substituted "conversion" for "good action." We read: In conversion these
causes concur: the Holy Spirit, the voice of the Gospel, "and the will
of man, which does not resist the divine voice, but somehow, with
trepidation, assents. _Concurrunt in conversione hae causae: Spiritus
Sanctus ... vox Evangelii ... et voluntas hominis, quae non repugnat
voci divinae, sed inter trepidationem utcumque assentitur_." Again: "And
concerning this copulation of causes it is said: The Spirit comes to the
assistance of our infirmity. And Chrysostom truly says: God draws, but
he draws him who is willing." Again: God's promise is universal, and
there are no contradictory wills in God; hence, though Paul is drawn in
a different manner than Zacchaeus, "nevertheless there is some assent of
the will (_tamen aliqua est voluntatis assensio_)." "God therefore
begins and draws by the voice of the Gospel but He draws him who is
willing, and assists him who assents." "Nor is anything detracted from
the glory of God, but it is truly affirmed that the assistance of God
always concurs in the beginning and afterwards (_auxilium Dei semper
initio et deinceps concurrere_)." (23, 280 ff.) Accordingly, God merely
concurs as one of three causes, among which the will of man is the
third. In his _Examen Ordinandorum_ of 1554, Melanchthon again replaced
the term "good action" by "conversion." He says: "In conversion these
causes concur: the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father and Son
send to kindle our hearts, and our will, assenting and not resisting the
Word of God (_et nostra voluntas assentiens et non repugnans Verbo
Dei_). And lest we yield to diffidence, we must consider that both
preachings are universal, the preaching of repentance as well as the
promise of grace.... Let us therefore not resist but assent to the
promise, and constantly repeat this prayer: I believe, O Lord, but come
to the help of my weakness." (23, 15.) Finally in his _Opinion on the
Weimar Book of Confutation,_ March 9, 1559, Melanchthon remarks: "Again,
if the will is able to turn from the consolation, it must be inferred
that it works something and follows the Holy Spirit when it accepts the
consolation. _Item, so sich der Wille vom Trost abwenden mag, so ist
dagegen zu verstehen, dass er etwas wirket und folget dem Heiligen
Geist, so er den Trost annimmt._" (9, 768.)

W. Preger is right when he says: "According to Melanchthon's view,
natural man is able to do the following [when the Word of God is
preached to him]: he is able not to resist; he is able to take pains
with respect to obedience; he is able to comfort himself with the
Word.... This [according to Melanchthon] is a germ of the positive good
will still found in natural man which prevenient grace arouses."
(_Flacius Illyricus_ 2, 189 f.) Schmauk writes: Melanchthon found "the
cause for the actual variation in the working of God's grace in man, its
object. This subtle synergistic spirit attacks the very foundation of
Lutheranism, flows out into almost every doctrine, and weakens the
Church at every point. And it was particularly this weakness which the
great multitude of Melanchthon's scholars, who became the leaders of the
generation of which we are speaking, absorbed, and which rendered it
difficult to return, finally, after years of struggle, to the solid
ground, once more recovered in the _Formula of Concord._" (_Conf.
Principle,_ 601.)

R. Seeberg characterizes Melanchthon's doctrine as follows: "A
synergistic trait therefore appears in his doctrine. In the last
analysis, God merely grants the outer and inner possibility of obtaining
salvation. Without man's cooperation this possibility would not become
reality; and he is able to refuse this cooperation. It is, therefore, in
conversion equally a cause with the others. _Sie [die Mitwirkung des
Menschen] ist also freilich eine den andern Ursachen gleichberechtigte
Ursache in der Bekehrung._" God makes conversion possible, but only the
decision of man's free will makes it actual,--such, according to
Seeberg, was the "synergism" of Melanchthon. (Seeberg, _Dogg.,_ 4, 444.

Frank says of Melanchthon's way of solving the question why some are
converted and saved while others are lost: "The road chosen by
Melanchthon has indeed led to the goal. The contradictions are solved.
But let us look where we have landed. We are standing--in the Roman
camp!" After quoting a passage from the _Tridentinum,_ which speaks of
conversion in terms similar to those employed by Melanchthon, Frank
continues: "The foundation stone of Luther's original Reformation
doctrine of salvation by grace alone; _viz._, that nothing in us, not
even our will moved and assisted by God, is the _causa meritoria_ of
salvation, is subverted by these propositions; and it is immaterial to
the contrite heart whether much or little is demanded from free will as
the faculty of applying oneself to grace." Frank adds: "What the
Philippists, synchronously [with Melanchthon] and later, propounded
regarding this matter [of free will] are but variations of the theme
struck by Melanchthon. Everywhere the sequence of thought is the same,
with but this difference, that here the faults of the Melanchthonian
theory together with its consequences come out more clearly." (1, 134f.)
The same is true of modern synergistic theories. Without exception they
are but variations of notes struck by Melanchthon,--the father of all
the synergists that have raised their heads within the Lutheran Church.

156. Pfeffinger Champions Synergistic Doctrine.

Prior to 1556 references to the unsound position of the Wittenberg and
Leipzig theologians are met with but occasionally. (Planck 4, 568.) The
unmistakably synergistic doctrine embodied in the _Loci_ of 1548, as
well as in the Leipzig Interim, did not cause alarm and attract
attention immediately. But when, in 1555, John Pfeffinger [born 1493;
1539 superintendent, and 1543 professor in Leipzig; assisted 1548 in
framing the Leipzig Interim; died January 1, 1573] published his "Five
Questions Concerning the Liberty of the Human Will--_De Libertate
Voluntatis Humanae Quaestiones Quinque._ D. Johannes Pfeffinger Lipsiae
Editae in Officina Georgii Hantschi 1555," the controversy flared up
instantly. It was a little booklet containing besides a brief
introduction, only 41 paragraphs, or theses. In these Pfeffinger
discussed and defended the synergistic doctrine of Melanchthon,
maintaining that in conversion man, too, must contribute his share
though it be ever so little.

Early in the next year Pfeffinger was already opposed by the theologians
of Thuringia, the stanch opponents of the Philippists, John Stolz,
court-preacher at Weimar composing 110 theses for this purpose. In 1558
Amsdorf published his _Public Confession of the True Doctrine of the
Gospel and Confutation of the Fanatics of the Present Time,_ in which
he, quoting from memory, charged Pfeffinger with teaching that man is
able to prepare himself for grace by the natural powers of his free
will, just as the godless sophists, Thomas Aquinas, Scotus, and their
disciples, had held. (Planck 4, 573. 568.) About the same time Stolz
published the 110 theses just referred to with a preface by Aurifaber
(_Refutatio Propositionum Pfeffingeri de Libero Arbitrio_). Flacius,
then professor in Jena, added his _Refutation of Pfeffinger's
Propositions on Free Will_ and _Jena Disputation on Free Will._ In the
same year, 1558, Pfeffinger, in turn published his _Answer to the Public
Confession of Amsdorf,_ charging the latter with falsification, and
denouncing Flacius as the "originator and father of all the lies which
have troubled the Lutheran Church during the last ten years." But at the
same time Pfeffinger showed unmistakably that the charges of his
opponents were but too well founded. Says Planck: "Whatever may have
moved Pfeffinger to do so, he could not (even if Flacius himself had
said it for him) have confessed synergism more clearly and more
definitely than he did spontaneously and unasked in this treatise." (4,
574.) Frank: "Pfeffinger goes beyond Melanchthon and Strigel; for the
action here demanded of, and ascribed to, the natural will is, according
to him, not even in need of liberation by prevenient grace.... His
doctrine may without more ado be designated as Semi-Pelagianism." (1,

At Wittenberg, Pfeffinger was supported by George Major, Paul Eber, and
Paul Crell and before long his cause was espoused also by Victorin
Strigel in Jena. Disputations by the Wittenberg and Leipzig synergists
(whom Schluesselburg, 5, 16, calls "cooperators" and "die freiwilligen
Herren") and by their opponents in Jena increased the animosity. Both
parties cast moderation to the winds. In a public letter of 1558 the
Wittenberg professors, for example, maligned Flacius in every possible
way, and branded him as "der verloffene undeutsche Flacius Illyricus"
and as the sole author of all the dissensions in the churches of
Germany. (Planck 4, 583.)

157. Statements of Pfeffinger.

Following are some of the synergistic deliverances made by Pfeffinger in
his _Five Questions Concerning the Liberty of the Human Will._ Par. 11
reads: "Thirdly, when we inquire concerning the spiritual actions, it is
correct to answer that the human will has not such a liberty as to be
able to effect the spiritual motions without the help of the Holy Spirit
(_humanam voluntatem non habere eiusmodi libertatem, ut motus
spirituales sine auxilio Spiritus Sancti efficere possit_)." Par. 14:
"Therefore some assent or apprehension on our part must concur (_oportet
igitur nostram aliquam assensionem seu apprehensionem concurrere_) when
the Holy Spirit has aroused (_accenderit_) the mind, the will and the
heart. Hence Basil says: Only will, and God anticipates; and Chrysostom:
He who draws, draws him who is willing; and Augustine: He assists those
who have received the gift of the call with becoming piety, and preserve
the gifts of God as far as man is able. Again: When grace precedes, the
will follows--_praeeunte gratia, comitante voluntate._" In Par. 16 we
read: "The will, therefore, is not idle, but assents faintly. _Voluntas
igitur non est otiosa sed languide assentitur._"

Paragraph 17 runs: "If the will were idle or purely passive, there would
be no difference between the pious and the wicked, or between the elect
and the damned, as, between Saul and David, between Judas and Peter. God
would also become a respecter of persons and the author of contumacy in
the wicked and damned; and to God would be ascribed contradictory wills,
--which conflicts with the entire Scripture. Hence it follows that there
is in us a cause why some assent while others do not. _Sequitur ergo in
nobis esse aliquam causam, cur alii assentiantur, alii non
assentiantur_." Par. 24: "Him [the Holy Spirit], therefore, we must not
resist; but on the part of our will, which is certainly not like a stone
or block, some assent must be added--_sed aliquam etiam assensionem
accedere nostrae voluntatis, quam non sicut saxum aut incudem se habere
certum est._" Par. 30: "But apprehension on our part must concur. For,
since the promise of grace is universal, and since we must obey this
promise, some difference between the elect and the rejected must be
inferred from our will (_sequitur, aliquod discrimen inter electos et
reiectos a voluntate nostra sumendum esse_), _viz._, that those who
resist the promise are rejected, while those who embrace the promise are
received.... All this clearly shows that our will is not idle in
conversion or like a stone or block in its conduct. _Ex quibus omnibus
manifestissimum apparet, voluntatem nostram non esse otiosam in
conversione, aut se ut saxum aut incudem habere._"

Par. 34 reads: "Some persons, however, shout that the assistance of the
Holy Spirit is extenuated and diminished if even the least particle be
attributed to the human will. Though this argument may appear specious
and plausible, yet pious minds understand that by our doctrine--
according to which we ascribe some cooperation to our will; _viz._, some
assent and apprehension (_qua tribuimus aliquam SYNERGIAM voluntati
nostrae, videlicet qualemcumque assensionem et apprehensionem_)--
absolutely nothing is taken away from the assistance rendered by the
Holy Spirit. For we affirm that the first acts (_primas partes_) must be
assigned and attributed to Him who first and primarily, through the Word
or the voice of the Gospel, moves our hearts to believe, to which
thereupon we, too, ought to assent as much as we are able (_cui deinde
et NOS, QUANTUM IN NOBIS EST, ASSENTIRI oportet_), and not resist the
Holy Spirit, but submit to the Word, ponder, learn, and hear it, as
Christ says: 'Whosoever hath heard of the Father and learned, cometh to
Me.'" Par. 36: "And although original sin has brought upon our nature a
ruin so sad and horrible that we can hardly imagine it, yet we must not
think that absolutely all the knowledge (_notitiae_) which was found in
the minds of our first parents before the Fall has on that account been
destroyed and extinguished after the Fall, or that the human will does
not in any way differ from a stone or a block; for we are, as St. Paul
has said most seriously, coworkers with God, which coworking, indeed, is
assisted and strengthened by the Holy Spirit--_sumus synergi Dei, quae
quidem synergia adiuvatur a Spiritu Sancto et confirmatur._" Evidently
no comment is necessary to show that the passages cited from Pfeffinger
are conceived, born, and bred in Semi-Pelagianism and rationalism.

Planck furthermore quotes from Pfeffinger's _Answer to Amsdorf,_ 1558:
"And there is no other reason why some are saved and some are damned
than this one alone, that some, when incited by the Holy Spirit, do not
resist, but obey Him and accept the grace and salvation offered, while
others will not accept it, but resist the Holy Spirit, and despise the
grace." (4, 578.) Again: "Although the will cannot awaken or incite
itself to spiritually good works, but must be awakened and incited
thereto by the Holy Ghost, yet man is not altogether excluded from such
works of the Holy Ghost, as if he were not engaged in it and were not to
contribute his share to it--_dass er nicht auch dabei sein und das Seine
nicht auch dabei tun muesse._" (576.) Again: In the hands of the Holy
Spirit man is not like a block or stone in the hands of a sculptor,
which do not and cannot "know, understand, or feel what is done with
them, nor in the least further or hinder what the artist endeavors to
make of them." (576.) "But when the heart of man is touched, awakened,
and moved by the Holy Ghost, man must not be like a dead stone or block,
... but must obey and follow Him. And although he perceives his great
weakness, and, on the other hand, how powerfully sin in his flesh
opposes, he must nevertheless not desist, but ask and pray God for grace
and assistance against sin and flesh." (577.) Planck remarks: According
to Pfeffinger, the powers for all this are still found in natural man,
and the only thing required is, not to recreate them, but merely to
incite them to action. (579.)

In 1558, in an appendix to his disputation of 1555, Pfeffinger explained
and illustrated his position, in substance, as follows: I was to prove
nothing else than that some use of the will [in spiritual matters] was
left, and that our nature is not annihilated or extinguished, but
corrupted and marvelously depraved after the Fall. Now, to be sure, free
will cannot by its own natural powers regain its integrity nor rise
after being ruined, yet as the doctrine [the Gospel] can be understood
by paying attention to it, so it can also in a manner (_aliquo modo_) be
obeyed by assenting to it. But it is necessary for all who would dwell
in the splendor of the eternal light and in the sight of God to look up
to and not turn away from, the light. Schluesselburg adds: "_Haec certe
est synergia_--This is certainly synergism." (_Catalogus_ 5, 161.)

Tschackert summarizes Pfeffinger's doctrine as follows: "When the Holy
Spirit, through the Word of God, influences a man, then the assenting
will becomes operative as a factor of conversion. The reason why some
assent while others do not must be in themselves.... Evidently
Pfeffinger's opinion was that not only the regenerate, but even the
natural will of man possesses the ability either to obey the divine
Spirit or to resist Him." (521.) According to W. Preger, Pfeffinger
taught "that the Holy Spirit must awaken and incite our nature that it
may understand, think, will and do what is right and pleasing to God,"
but that natural free will is able "to obey and follow" the motions of
the Spirit. (2, 192. 195.)

No doubt, Pfeffinger advocated, and was a candid exponent and champion
of, nothing but the three-concurring-causes doctrine of Melanchthon,
according to which God never fails to do His share in conversion, while
we must beware (_sed nos viderimus, C. R._ 21, 658) lest we fail to do
our share. Pfeffinger himself made it a special point to cite
Melanchthon as his authority in this matter. The last (41st) paragraph
in his _Five Questions_ begins as follows: "We have briefly set forth
the doctrine concerning the liberty of the human will, agreeing with the
testimonies of the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures, a fuller
explanation of which students may find in the writings of our preceptor,
Mr. Philip (_prolisciorem explicationem requirant studiosi in scriptis
D. Philippi, praeceptoris nostri_)." And when, in the subsequent
controversy Pfeffinger was publicly assailed by Amsdorf, Flacius, and
others, everybody knew that their real target was none other than--
Master Philip. Melanchthon, too, was well aware of this fact. In his
_Opinion on the Weimar Confutation,_ of March 9, 1559, in which the
synergism of the Philippists is extensively treated, he said: "As to
free will, it is apparent that they attack me, Philip, in particular."
(_C. R._ 9, 763.)

158. Strigel and Huegel Entering Controversy.

The synergistic controversy received new zest and a new impetus when, in
1559, Victorin Strigel and Huegel (Hugelius), respectively professor and
pastor at Jena, the stronghold of the opponents of the Wittenberg
Philippists, opposed Flacius, espoused the cause of Pfeffinger,
championed the doctrine of Melanchthon, and refused to endorse the so
called _Book of Confutation_ which Flacius had caused to be drafted
particularly against the Wittenberg Philippists and Synergists, and to
be introduced. The situation thus created was all the more sensational
because, in the preceding controversies, Strigel had, at least
apparently, always sided with the opponents of the Philippists.

The "_Konfutationsbuch_--Book of Confutation and Condemnations of the
Chief Corruptions, Sects, and Errors Breaking in and Spreading at this
Time" was published in 1559 by Duke John Frederick II as a doctrinal
norm of his duchy. In nine chapters this Book, a sort of forerunner of
the _Formula of Concord,_ dealt with the errors 1. of Servetus, 2. of
Schwenckfeld, 3. of the Antinomians, 4. of the Anabaptists, 5. of the
Zwinglians, 6. of the Synergists, 7. of Osiander and Stancarus, 8. of
the Majorists, 9. of the Adiaphorists. Its chief object, as expressly
stated in the Preface, was to warn against the errors introduced by the
Philippists, whose doctrines, as also Planck admits, were not in any
way misrepresented in this document. (4, 597. 595.) The sixth part,
directed against synergism bore the title: "_Confutatio Corruptelarum
in Articulo de Libero Arbitrio sive de Viribus Humanis_--Confutation of
the Corruptions in the Article Concerning Free Will or Concerning the
Human Powers." The _Confutation_ was framed by the Jena theologians,
Strigel and Huegel also participating in its composition. However, some
of the references to the corruptions of the Philippists must have been
rather vague and ambiguous in the first draft of the book; for when it
was revised at the convention in Weimar, Flacius secured the adoption of
additions and changes dealing particularly with the synergism of the
Wittenbergers, which were energetically opposed by Strigel.

Even before the adoption of the _Book of Confutation,_ Strigel had been
polemicizing against Flacius. But now (as Flacius reports) he began to
denounce him at every occasion as the "architect of a new theology" and
an "enemy of the _Augsburg Confession._" At the same time he also
endeavored to incite the students in Jena against him. Flacius, in turn,
charged Strigel with scheming to establish a Philippistic party in Ducal
Saxony. The public breach came when the _Book of Confutation_ was
submitted for adoption and publication in the churches and schools.
Pastor Huegel refused to read and explain it from the pulpit, and
Strigel presented his objections to the Duke, and asked that his
conscience be spared. But when Strigel failed to maintain silence in the
matter, he as well as Pastor Huegel were summarily dealt with by the
Duke. On March 27, 1559, at two o'clock in the morning, both were
suddenly arrested and imprisoned. Flacius who was generally regarded as
the secret instigator of this act of violence, declared publicly that
the arrest had been made without his counsel and knowledge. About six
months later (September 5, 1569) Strigel and Huegel after making some
doctrinal concessions and promising not to enter into any disputation on
the Confutation, were set at liberty. (Planck 4, 591. 604.)

159. Weimar Disputation.

In order to settle the differences, Flacius and his colleagues (Wigand,
Judex, Simon Musaeus), as well as Strigel, asked for a public
disputation, which John Frederick, too was all the more willing to
arrange because dissatisfaction with his drastic procedure against
Strigel and Huegel was openly displayed everywhere outside of Ducal
Saxony. The disputation was held at Weimar, August 2 to 8, 1560. It was
attended by the Saxon Dukes and their entire courts, as well as by a
large number of other spectators, not only from Jena, but also from
Erfurt, Wittenberg and Leipzig. The subjects of discussion, for which
both parties had submitted theses were: Free Will, Gospel, Majorism,
Adiaphorism, and Indifferentism (_academica epoche,_ toleration of
error). The disputing parties (Flacius and Strigel) agreed that "the
only rule should be the Word of God, and that a clear, plain text of the
Holy Scriptures was to weigh more than all the inferences and
authorities of interpreters" (Planck 4, 606.)

According to the proceedings of the Weimar Disputation, written by
Wigand and published by Simon Musaeus 1562 and 1563 under the title:
"_Disputatio de Originali Peccato et Libero Arbitrio_ inter M. Flacium
Illyr. et Vict. Strigelium Publice Vinariae Anno 1560 Habita," the only
questions discussed were free will and, incidentally, original sin.
Strigel defended the Melanchthonian doctrine, according to which the
causes of conversion are the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the will
of man feebly assenting to the Gospel and, at the same time, seeking
strength from God. He repeated the formula: "Concurrunt in conversione
haec tria: Spiritus Sanctus movens corda, vox Dei, voluntas hominis,
quae voci divinae assentitur." Flacius, on the other hand, defended the
_mere passive_ of Luther, according to which man, before he is converted
and endowed with faith, does not in any way cooperate with the Holy
Spirit but merely suffers and experiences His operations. At the same
time, however, he seriously damaged and discredited himself as well as
the sacred cause of divine truth by maintaining that original sin is not
a mere accident, such as Strigel maintained, but the very substance of
man. The discussions were discontinued after the thirteenth session. The
Duke announced that the disputation would be reopened later, charging
both parties in the mean time to maintain silence in public,--a
compromise to which Flacius and his adherents were loath to consent.

John Wigand and Matthias Judex however continued to enforce the _Book of
Confutation_ demanding an unqualified adoption in every point, _per
omnia._ When the jurist Matthew Wesenbecius declined to accept the book
in this categorical way, he was not permitted to serve as sponsor at a
baptism. John Frederick was dissatisfied with this procedure and action
of the ministers; and when they persisted in their demands, the
autocratic Duke deprived them of the right to excommunicate, vesting
this power in a consistory established at Weimar. Flacius and his
adherents protested against this measure as tyranny exercised over the
Church and a suppression of the pure doctrine. As a result Musaeus,
Judex, Wigand, and Flacius were suspended and expelled from Jena,
December, 1561. (Gieseler 3, 2, 244. 247.) Their vacant chairs at the
university were filled by Freihub, Salmuth, and Selneccer, who had been
recommended by the Wittenberg Philippists at the request of the Duke,
who now evidently favored a compromise with the Synergists. Strigel,
too, was reinstated at Jena after signing an ambiguous declaration.

Amsdorf, Gallus, Hesshusius, Flacius, and the other exiled theologians
denounced Strigel's declaration as insincere and in conflict with
Luther's book _De Servo Arbitrio,_ and demanded a public retraction of
his synergistic statements. When the ministers of Ducal Saxony also
declined to acknowledge Strigel's orthodoxy, a more definite
"Superdeclaration," framed by Moerlin and Stoessel (but not signed by
Strigel), was added as an interpretation of Strigel's declaration. But
even now a minority refused to submit to the demands of the Duke,
because they felt that they were being deceived by ambiguous terms, such
as "capacity" and "aptitude," which the wily Strigel and the Synergists
used in the active or positive, and not in the passive sense. These
conscientious Lutherans whom the rationalist Planck brands as "almost
insane, _beinahe verrueckt,_" were also deposed and banished, 1562.
Strigel's declaration of March, 1562 however, maintaining that "the will
is passive in so far as God alone works all good, but active in so far
as it must be present in its conversion, must consent, and not resist,
but accept," showed that he had not abandoned his synergism. In the same
year he applied for, and accepted, a professorship in Leipzig. Later on
he occupied a chair at the Reformed university in Heidelberg, where he
died 1569, at the age of only forty-five years.

In 1567, when John William became ruler of Ducal Saxony, the Philippists
were dismissed, and the banished Lutheran pastors and professors (with
the exception of Flacius) were recalled and reinstated. While this
rehabilitation of the loyal Lutherans formally ended the synergistic
controversy in Ducal Saxony, occasional echoes of it still lingered, due
especially to the fact that some ministers had considered Strigel's
ambiguous declaration a satisfactory presentation of the Lutheran truth
with regard to the questions involved. That the synergistic teaching of
Melanchthon was continued in Wittenberg appears, for example, from the
_Confessio Wittenbergica_ of 1570.

160. Strigel's Rationalistic Principle.

Although at the opening of the disputation the debaters had agreed to
decide all questions by clear Scripture-passages alone, Strigel's
guiding principle was in reality not the Bible but philosophy and
reason. His real concern was not, What does Scripture teach concerning
the causes of conversion? but, How may we harmonize the universal grace
of God with the fact that only some are converted and saved?
Self-evidently Strigel, too, quoted Bible-passages. Among others, he
appealed to such texts as John 6, 29; Rom. 1, 16; 10, 17; Luke 8, 18;
Heb. 4, 2; Rev. 3, 20; Luke 11, 13; Mark 9, 24; 1 Thess. 2, 13; Jas. 1,
18. But as we shall show later, his deductions were philosophical and
sophistical rather than exegetical and Scriptural. Preger remarks: In
his disputation Strigel was not able to advance a single decisive
passage of Scripture for the presence and cooperation of a good will at
the moment when it is approached and influenced (_ergriffen_) by grace.
(2, 211.) And the clear, irrefutable Bible-texts on which Flacius
founded his doctrine of the inability of natural will to cooperate in
conversion, Strigel endeavored to invalidate by philosophical reasoning,
indirect arguing, and alleged necessary logical consequences.

At Weimar and in his _Confession_ of December 5 1560, delivered to the
Duke soon after the disputation, Strigel argued: Whoever denies that
man, in a way and measure, is able to cooperate in his own conversion
is logically compelled also to deny that the rejection of grace may be
imputed to man, compelled to make God responsible for man's damnation;
to surrender the universality of God's grace and call; to admit
contradictory wills in God, and to take recourse to an absolute decree
of election and reprobation in order to account for the fact that some
reject the grace of God and are lost while others are converted and
saved. At Weimar Strigel declared: "I do not say that the will is able
to assent to the Word without the Holy Spirit, but that, being moved and
assisted by the Spirit, it assents with trepidation. If we were unable
to do this, we would not be responsible for not having received the
Word. _Si hoc [utcumque assentiri inter trepidationes] non possemus, non
essemus rei propter Verbum non receptum._" Again, also at Weimar: "If
the will is not able to assent in some way, even when assisted, then we
cannot be responsible for rejecting the Word, but the blame must be
transferred to another, and others may judge how religious that is. _Si
voluntas ne quidem adiuta potest aliquo modo annuere, non possumus esse
rei propter Verbum reiectum, sed culpa est in alium transferenda quod
quam sit religio sum, alii iudicent._" (Planck 4, 689. 719; Luthardt,
_Lehre vom freien Willen,_ 222.)

Over against this rationalistic method of Strigel and the Synergists
generally, the Lutherans adhered to the principle that nothing but a
clear passage of the Bible can decide a theological question. They
rejected as false philosophy and rationalism every argument directed
against the clear sense of a clear Word of God. They emphatically
objected to the employment of reason for establishing a Christian
doctrine or subverting a statement of the Bible. At Weimar, Flacius
protested again and again that human reason is not an authority in
theological matters. "Let us hear the Scriptures! _Audiamus
Scripturam!_" "Let the woman be silent in the Church! _Mulier taceat in
ecclesia!_" With such slogans he brushed aside the alleged necessary
logical inferences and deductions of Strigel. "You take your arguments
from philosophy," he said in the second session, "which ought not to be
given a place in matters of religion. _Disputas ex philosophia, cui
locus in rebus religionis esse non debet._" Again, at Weimar: "It is
against the nature of inquiring truth to insist on arguing from blind
philosophy. What else corrupted such ancient theologians as Clement,
Origen, Chrysostom, and afterwards also the Sophists [scholastic
theologians] but that they endeavored to decide spiritual things by
philosophy, which does not understand the secret and hidden mysteries of
God. _Est contra naturam inquirendae veritatis, si velimus ex caeca
philosophia loqui. Quid aliud corrupit theologos veteres, ut Clementem,
Originem, Chrysosthomum et postea etiam Sophistas, nisi quod de rebus
divinis ex philosophia voluerunt statuere, quae non intelligit
abstrusissima et occultissima mysteria Dei._" "May we therefore observe
the rule of Luther: Let the woman be silent in the Church! For what a
miserable thing would it be if we had to judge ecclesiastical matters
from logic! _Itaque observemus legem Lutheri: Taceat mulier in ecclesia!
Quae enim miseria, si ex dialectica diiudicandae nobis essent res
ecclesiae!_" (Planck 4, 709.)

In an antisynergistic confession published by Schluesselburg, we read:
"This doctrine [of conversion by God's grace alone] is simple, clear,
certain, and irrefutable if one looks to God's Word alone and derives
the _Nosce teipsum,_ Know thyself, from the wisdom of God. But since
poor men are blind, they love their darkness more than the light, as
Christ says John 3, and insist on criticizing and falsifying God's
truth by means of blind philosophy, which, forsooth, is a shame and a
palpable sin, if we but had eyes to see and know.... Whatsoever blind
reason produces in such articles of faith against the Word of God is
false and wrong. For it is said: _Mulier in ecclesia taceat!_ Let
philosophy and human wisdom be silent in the Church." (_Catalogus_ 5,
665f.) Here, too, the sophistical objections of the Synergists are
disposed of with such remarks as: "In the first place, this is but spun
from reason, which thus acts wise in these matters. _Denn fuers erste
ist solches nur aus der Vernunft gesponnen, die weiss also hierin zu
kluegeln._" (668.) "This is all spun from reason; but God's Word teaches
us better. _Dies ist alles aus der Vernunft spintisiert; Gottes Wort
aber lehrt es besser._" (670.)

Evidently Strigel's rationalistic method was identical with that
employed by Melanchthon in his _Loci,_ by Pfeffinger, and the Synergists
generally. Accordingly, his synergism also could not differ essentially
from Melanchthon's. Planck pertinently remarks: "It is apparent from
this [argument of Strigel that natural man must have power to cooperate
in his conversion because otherwise God would be responsible for his
resistance and damnation] that his synergism was none other than that of
the Wittenberg school; for was not this the identical foundation upon
which Melanchthon had reared his [synergism]?" (4, 690.) Like methods
lead to the same results, and _vice versa._ Besides, Strigel had always
appealed to the Wittenbergers; and in his _Opinion on the Weimar
Confutation_ 1559, Melanchthon, in turn, identified himself with
Strigel's arguments. (_C. R._ 9, 766.) The "Confession and Opinion of
the Wittenbergers Concerning Free Will--_Confessio et Sententia
Wittebergensium de Libero Arbitrio_" of 1561 also maintained the same

161. Strigel's Theory.

Strigel's views concerning the freedom of man's will in spiritual
matters may be summarized as follows: Man, having a will, is a free
agent, hence always able to decide for or against. This ability is the
"mode of action" essential to man as long as he really is a man and in
possession of a will. Even in matters pertaining to grace this freedom
was not entirely lost in the Fall. It was impeded and weakened by
original sin, but not annihilated. To be converted, man therefore
requires that these residual or remaining powers be excited and
strengthened rather than that new spiritual powers be imparted or a new
will be created. Accordingly, persuasion through the Word is the method
of conversion employed by the Holy Spirit. When the will is approached
by the Word, incited and assisted by the Spirit, it is able to admit the
operations of the Spirit and assent to the Word, though but feebly.
Hence, no matter how much of the work of conversion must be ascribed to
the Holy Spirit and the Word the will itself, in the last analysis,
decides for or against grace. Man is, therefore, not purely passive in
his conversion, but cooperates with the Holy Spirit and the Word, not
merely after, but also in his conversion, before he has received the
gift of faith.

"God who, outside of His essence in external actions, is the freest
agent," said Strigel "created two kinds of natures, the one free, the
other acting naturally (_naturaliter agentes_). The free natures are the
angels and men. Those acting naturally embrace all the rest of the
creatures. A natural agent is one that cannot do anything else [than it
does], nor suspend its action _e.g._, fire. Men and angels were created
differently, after the image of God, that they might be free agents.
_Homines et angeli aliter conditi sunt ad imaginem Dei, ut sint liberum
agens._" (Planck 4, 669.) This freedom, which distinguishes man
essentially from all other creatures, according to Strigel, always
implies the power to will or not to will with respect to any object. He
says: The act of willing, be it good or evil, always belongs to the
will, because the will is so created that it can will or not, without
coercion. "_Ipsum velle, seu bonum seu malum, quod ad substantiam
attinet, semper est voluntatis; quia voluntas sic est condita, UT POSSIT
VELLE AUT NON; sed etiam hoc habet voluntas ex opere creationis quod
adhuc reliquum, et non prorsus abolitum et extinctum est, UT POSSIT
VELLE AUT NON SINE COACTIONE_." (674.) According to Strigel, the very
essence of the will consists in being able, in every instance, to decide
in either direction, for or against. Hence the very idea of will
involves also a certain ability to cooperate in conversion. (689.)

This freedom or ability to decide _pro_ or _con,_ says Strigel, is the
mode of action essential to man, his mode of action also in conversion.
And in the controversy on free will he sought to maintain that this
alleged mode of action was a part of the very essence of the human will
and being. At Weimar Strigel declared: "I do not wish to detract from
the will the mode of action which is different from other natural
actions. _Nolo voluntati detrahi modum agendi, qui est dissimilis aliis
actionibus naturalibus._" (Planck 4, 668.) Again: "The will is not a
natural, but a free agent; hence the will is converted not as a natural
agent, but as a free agent.... In conversion the will acts in its own
mode; it is not a statue or a log in conversion. Hence conversion does
not occur in a purely passive manner. _Voluntas non est agens naturale,
sed liberum; ergo convertitur voluntas non ut naturaliter agens, sed ut
liberum agens.... Et voluntas suo modo agit in conversione, nec est
statua vel truncus in conversione. Et per consequens non fit conversio
pure passive._" (Luthardt, 217. 219. 209.)

What Strigel means is that man, being a free agent, must, also in
conversion, be accorded the ability somehow to decide for grace.
According to the _Formula of Concord_ the words, "man's mode of action,"
signify "a way of working something good and salutary in divine things."
(905, 61.) The connection and the manner in which the phrase was
employed by Strigel admitted of no other interpretation. Strigel added:
This mode of action marks the difference between the will of man and the
will of Satan, for the devil neither endeavors to assent, nor prays to
God for assistance, while man does. (Luthardt, 220.) Natural man is by
Strigel credited with the power of "endeavoring to assent, _conari
assentiri,_" because he is endowed with a will. But shrewd as Strigel
was, it did not occur to him that, logically, his argument compelled him
to ascribe also to the devils everything he claimed for natural man,
since they, too, have a will and are therefore endowed with the same
_modus agendi,_ which, according to Strigel, belongs to the very idea
and essence of will. Yet this palpable truth, which overthrew his entire
theory, failed to open the eyes of Strigel.

If, as Strigel maintained, the human will, by virtue of its nature as a
free agent, is, in a way, _able_ to cooperate in conversion, then the
only question is how to elevate this ability to an actuality, in other
words, how to influence the will and rouse its powers to move in the
right direction. Strigel answered: Since the will cannot be forced,
moral suasion is the true method required to convert a man. "The will,"
says he "cannot be forced, hence it is by persuasion, _i.e._, by
pointing out something good or evil, that the will is moved to obey and
to submit to the Gospel, not coerced, _but somehow willing. Voluntas non
potest cogi, ergo voluntas persuadendo, id est ostensione alicuius boni
vel mali flectitur ad obediendum et obtemperandum evangelio, non coacta,
sed ALIQUO MODO VOLENS._" (Seeberg 4, 491.) Again: "Although God is
efficacious through the Word, drawing and leading us efficaciously, yet
He does not make assenting necessary for such a nature as the will,--a
nature so created that it is able not to assent, if it so wills, and to
expel Him who dwells in us. This assent therefore is the work of God and
the Holy Spirit, but in so far as it is a free assent, not coerced and
pressed out by force, _it is also the work of the will. Etiam si Deus
est efficax per Verbum et efficaciter nos trahit et ducit, tamen non
affert necessitatem assentiendi tali naturae, qualis est voluntas, id
est, quae sic est condita, ut possit non assentiri, si velit, et
excutere sessorem. Est igitur hic assensus opus Dei et Spiritus Sancti,
sed quatenus est liber assensus, non coactus, expressus vi, EST ETIAM
VOLUNTATIS._" (491.) Strigel evidently means: The fact that man is able
not to assent to grace of necessity involves that somehow (_aliquo
modo_) he is able also to assent, according to man's peculiar mode of
action (freedom) he must himself actualize his conversion by previously
(in the logical order) willing it, deciding for it, and assenting to it;
he would be converted by coercion if his assent to grace were an act of
the will engendered and created solely by God, rather than an act
effected and produced by the powers of the will when incited and
assisted by the Spirit. Man is converted by persuasion only, because God
does not create assent and faith in him but merely elicits these acts
from man by liberating and appealing to the powers of his will to effect
and produce them.

In defending this freedom of the will, Strigel appealed also to the
statement of Luther: "The will cannot be coerced;... if the will could
be coerced, it would not be volition, but rather nolition. _Voluntas non
potest cogi;... si posset cogi voluntas, non esset voluntas sed potius
voluntas._" However, what Luther said of the form or nature of the will,
according to which it always really wills what it wills, and is
therefore never coerced, was by Strigel transferred to the spiritual
matters and objects of the will. According to Strigel's theory, says
Seeberg, "the will must be free even in the first moment of conversion,
free not only in the psychological, but also in the moral sense." (4,
492.) Tschackert, quoting Seeberg remarks that Strigel transformed the
natural formal liberty into an ethical material liberty--_"indem die
natuerliche formale Freiheit sich ihm unter der Hand [?] verwandelte in
die ethische materiale Freiheit._" (524.)

162. Strigel's Semi-Pelagianism.

Strigel's entire position is based on the error that a remnant of
spiritual ability still remains in natural man. True, he taught that in
consequence of original sin the powers of man and the proper use and
exercise of these powers are greatly impeded, weakened, checked, and
insulated, as it were, and that this impediment can be removed solely by
the operation of the Holy Spirit. "Through the Word the Holy Spirit
restores to the will the power and faculty of believing," Strigel
declared. (Luthardt, 250.) But this restoration, he said, was brought
about by liberating, arousing, inciting, and strengthening the powers
inherent in man rather than by divine impartation of new spiritual
powers or by the creation of a new good volition.

Strigel plainly denied that natural man is truly spiritually dead. He
declared: "The will is so created that it can expel the Holy Spirit and
the Word, or, when assisted by the Holy Spirit, can in some manner will
and obey--to receive is the act of the will; in this I cannot concede
that man is simply _dead--accipere est hominis; in hoc non possum
concedere simpliciter mortuum esse hominem._" (Frank 1, 199.) Natural
man, Strigel explained, is indeed not able to grasp the helping hand of
God with his own hand; yet the latter is not dead, but still retains a
minimum of power. (678.) Again: Man is like a new-born child, whose
powers must first be strengthened with nourishment given it by its
mother, and which, _though able to draw this nourishment out of its
mother's breast,_ is yet unable to lift itself up to it, or to take hold
of the breast, unless it be given it. (Preger 2, 209.)

With special reference to the last illustration, Flacius declared:
"Strigel, accordingly, holds that we have the faculty to desire and
receive the food, _i.e._, the benefits of God. Forsooth, you thereby
attribute to corrupt man a very great power with respect to spiritual
things. Now, then, deny that this opinion is Pelagian." (209.) "Your
statements agree with those of Pelagius, yet I do not simply say that
you are a Pelagian; for a good man may fall into an error which he does
not see." Pelagius held that man, by his natural powers, is able to
begin and complete his own conversion; Cassianus, the Semi-Pelagian
taught that man is able merely to begin this work; Strigel maintained
that man can admit the liberating operation of the Holy Spirit, and that
after such operation of the Spirit he is able to cooperate with his
natural powers. Evidently, then, the verdict of Flacius was not much
beside the mark. Planck though unwilling to relegate Strigel to the
Pelagians, does not hesitate to put him down as a thoroughgoing
Synergist. (Planck 4, 683f.) Synergism, however, always includes at
least an element of Pelagianism.

Strigel illustrated his idea by the following analogy. When garlic-juice
is applied to a magnet, it loses its power of attraction, but remains a
true magnet, and, when goat's blood is applied, immediately regains its
efficaciousness. So the will of man is hindered by original sin from
beginning that which is good; but when the impediment has been removed
through the operation of the Holy Spirit, the native powers of the will
again become efficacious and active. (Tschackert, 524; Planck 4, 672;
Preger 2, 198; Luthardt, 211.) Frank remarks: "The example of the
temporarily impeded power of the magnet, which was repeated also at this
juncture [in the disputation at Weimar], immediately points to the
related papal doctrine, for the Catholic Andradius explains the dogma of
the _Tridentinum_ to this effect: The free will of natural man may be
compared to a chained prisoner who, though still in possession of his
locomotive powers, is nevertheless impeded by his fetters." (1, 136.)
Also the _Formula of Concord,_ evidently with a squint at Strigel,
rejects as a Pelagian error the teaching "that original sin is not a
despoliation or deficiency but only an external impediment to these
spiritual good powers, as when a magnet is smeared with garlic-juice,
whereby its natural power is not removed, but only hindered or that this
stain can be easily washed away as a spot from the face or a pigment
from the wall." (865, 22.)

163. Strigel's "Cooperation."

When the impediment caused by original sin has been removed, and the
will liberated and aroused to activity, man, according to Strigel, is
able also to cooperate in his conversion. At Weimar he formulated the
point at issue as follows: "The question is whether [in conversion] the
will is present idle, as an inactive, indolent subject, or, as the
common saying is, in a purely passive way; or whether, when grace
precedes, the will follows the efficacy of the Holy Spirit, and in some
manner assents--_an vero praeeunte gratia voluntas comitetur
efficaciam Spiritus Sancti et aliquo modo annuat_." (Luthardt, 222.)
Following are some of his answers to this question: When incited by the
Spirit, the will is able to assent somewhat and to pray for assistance.
_Inter trepidationem utcumque assentitur, simul petens auxilium._
Contrition and faith, as well as other virtues, are gifts of God, "but
they are given to those only who hear and contemplate God's Word,
embrace it by assenting to it, strive against their doubts and in this
conflict pray for the help of God." (230.) The Holy Ghost converts
those "who hear the Word of God and do not resist stubbornly, but
consent," and God assists such only "as follow His call and pray for
assistance." (229.) "The will and heart do not resist altogether, but
desire divine consolation, when, indeed, they are assisted by the Holy
Ghost." "The will is neither idle nor contumacious; but, in a manner,
desires to obey." (Planck 4, 682.) "Man is dead [spiritually] in as far
as he is not able to heal his wounds with his own powers; but when the
remedy is offered him by the Holy Spirit and the Word, then he, at
least in receiving the benefit, is not altogether dead; for otherwise a
conversion could not occur. For I cannot conceive a conversion where
the process is that of the flame consuming straw (_denn ich kann mir
keine Bekehrung vorstellen, bei der es zugeht, wie wenn die Flamme das
Stroh ergreift_). The nature of the will is such that it can reject the
Holy Spirit and the Word; or, being supported by the Holy Spirit, can
in a manner will and obey. The remedy is heavenly and divine, but the
will--not the will alone, but the will supported by the Holy Spirit--is
able to accept it. One must ascribe at least a feeble consent and an
'Aye' to the will, which is already supported by the Holy Spirit."
(Preger 2, 208.) "In a betrothal, consent is necessary; conversion is a
betrothal of Christ to the Church and its individual members; hence
consent is required," which the will is able to give when assisted by
the Holy Spirit. (Luthardt, 224.)

It is, however, only a languid, wavering, and weak consent which man is
able to render (_qualiscumque assensio languida, trepida et imbecilla_).
"Compared with the divine operation," Flacius reports Strigel as having
said, "the cooperation of our powers in conversion is something
extremely small (_quiddam pertenue prorsus_). If, after drinking with a
rich man, he paying a _taler_ and I a _heller,_ I would afterwards boast
that I had been drinking and paying with him--such is cooperation,
_talis est synergia._" (Planck 4, 677; Luthardt, 220. 222.) According to
Strigel, therefore, man is not purely passive, but plays an active part
in his conversion. With Melanchthon and Pfeffinger he maintained: "These
three concur in conversion: the Holy Spirit, who moves the hearts; the
voice of God; the will of man, which assents to the divine voice.
_Concurrunt in conversione haec tria: Spiritus Sanctus movens corda, vox
Dei, voluntas hominis, quae voci divinae assentitur._" (Tschackert,

Flacius declared with respect to the issue formulated by Strigel: "I
explain my entire view as follows: Man is purely passive (_homo se habet
pure passive_). If you consider the native faculty of the will, its
willing and its powers, then he is purely passive when he receives (_in
accipiendo_). But if that divinely bestowed willing or spark of faith
kindled by the Spirit is considered, then this imparted willing and this
spark is not purely passive. But the Adamic will does not only not
operate or cooperate, but, according to the inborn malice of the heart,
even operates contrarily (_verum etiam pro nativa malitia cordis sui
contra operatur_)." (Planck 4, 697.) Thus Flacius clearly distinguished
between cooperation _before_ conversion (which he rejected absolutely)
and cooperation _after_ conversion (which he allowed). And pressing this
point, he said to Strigel: "I ask whether you say that the will
cooperates _before_ the gift of faith or _after_ faith has been received
whether you say that the will cooperates from natural powers, or in so
far as the good volition has been bestowed by the renovation of the Holy
Spirit. _Quaero, an dicas, voluntatem cooperari ante donum fidei aut
post acceptam fidem; an dicas, cooperari ex naturalibus viribus aut
quatenus ex renovatione Spiritus Sancti datum est bene velle._" (Seeberg
4, 492.) Again: I shall withdraw the charge of Pelagianism if you will
declare it as your opinion "that only the regenerated, sanctified,
renewed will cooperates, and not the other human, carnal, natural will."
"Confess openly and expressly and say clearly: 'I affirm that man
cooperates from faith and the good will bestowed by God, not from the
will he brings with him from his natural Adam--_quod homo cooperetur ex
fide et bono velle divinitus donato, non ex eo, quod attulit ex suo
naturali Adamo.'_" "We say, Only the regenerate will cooperates; if you
[Strigel] say the same, the controversy is at an end." Strigel, however,
who, to use a phrase of Luther (St. L. 18, 1673), was just as hard to
catch as Proteus of old, did not reply with a definite yes or no, but
repeated that it was only a weak assent (_qualiscumque assensio languida
trepida et imbecilla_) which man was able to render when his will was
incited and supported by the prevenient grace of the Holy Spirit.
(Preger 2, 217; Luthardt, 217. 222. 227; Frank 1, 115.)

164. Objections Answered.

At Weimar, Strigel insisted: The human will must not be eliminated as
one of the causes of conversion; for without man's will and intellect no
conversion is possible. Flacius replied: The will, indeed, is present in
conversion, for it is the will that is converted and experiences
conversion; but the inborn power of the natural will contributes nothing
to conversion, and therefore the will "is purely passive in the
reception of grace." (Preger 2, 217.) "We are pressed hard with the
sophistical objection that man is not converted without his knowledge
and will. But who doubts this? The entire question is: Whence does that
good knowledge originate? Whence does that good volition originate?"
(216.) "We certainly admit that in conversion there are many motions of
the intellect and will, good and bad. But the dispute among us is not
whether in conversion the intellect understands and the will wills; but
whence is the capability to think right, and whence is that good willing
of the will? Is it of us, as of ourselves, or is this sufficiency of
willing and thinking of God alone?" (Planck 4, 711.) The fact that God
alone converts man, said Flacius, "does not exclude the presence of the
will; but it does exclude all efficaciousness and operation of the
natural will in conversion (_non excludit voluntatem, ne adsit, sed
excludit omnem efficaciam et operationem naturalise voluntatis in
conversione_)." (Seeberg 4, 492.)

In order to prove man's cooperation in conversion, Strigel declared:
"Both [to will and to perform] are in some way acts of God and of
ourselves; for no willing and performing takes place unless we will.
_Utrumque [velle et perficere] aliquo modo Dei et nostrum est non fit
velle aut perficere nisi nobis volentibus._" Charging Strigel with
ambiguity, Flacius replied: "You speak of one kind of synergism and we
of another. You cannot affirm with a good conscience that these
questions are unknown to you." Strigel, protesting that he was unable to
see the difference, answered: "For God's sake, have a little forbearance
with me, I cannot see the difference. If that is to my discredit, let it
be to my discredit.--_Bitte um Gottes willen, man wolle mir's zugut
halten; ich kann's nicht ausmessen. Ist mir's eine Schand', so sei mir's
eine Schand'_." (Frank 1, 136.) Strigel, however, evidently meant that
man, too, has a share in _producing_ the good volition, while Flacius
understood the phraseology as Luther and Augustine explained it, the
latter, _e.g._, writing in _De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio:_ "It is
certain that we will when we will; but He who makes us will is He of
whom it is written: It is God who worketh in us to will. _Certum est nos
velle cum volumus; sed ille facit, ut velimus, de quo dictum est: Deus
est, qui operatur in nobis velle._" (Frank 1, 238.)

In his objections to the doctrine that man is purely passive in his
conversion, Strigel protested again and again that man is not like a
block or stone when he is converted. "That is true," said Flacius, "for
a block can neither love nor hate God, while man by nature hates God,
and scoffs at Him. Rom. 8, 1; 1 Cor. 2. Thus God is dealing with one
whose will and heart is altogether against Him. But here [in the denial
that man is purely passive in conversion] is buried a popish _meritum de
congruo_ and a particle of free will." (Preger 2, 191.) Flacius
furthermore explained that in his conversion man is able to cooperate
just as little as a stone can contribute to its transformation into a
statue. Indeed, man's condition is even more miserable than that of a
stone or block (_miserior trunco_), because by his natural powers he
resists, and cannot but resist, the operations of the Spirit. (Planck 4,

Strigel reasoned: If man is converted without his consent, and if he
cannot but resist the operations of the Holy Spirit, conversion is an
impossibility, a contradiction. He said: "If the will, even when
assisted by the Holy Spirit, is unable to assent, it must of necessity
resist Him perpetually, drive out, reject, and repudiate the Word and
Holy Spirit; for it is impossible that motions extremely conflicting and
contradictory, the one embracing, the other repudiating and persistently
rejecting, should be in the same will. _Si voluntas etiam adiuta a
Spiritu Sancto non potest assentiri, necesse est, ut perpetuo ei
repugnet, ut excutiat, reiiciat et repudiet Verbum et Spiritum Sanctum.
Nam impossibile est in eadem voluntate esse motus extreme pugnantes et
contradictorios, quorum alter est amplecti, alter repudiare et quidem
perstare in reiectione._" Flacius replied: You need but distinguish
between the sinful natural will inherited from Adam, which always
resists, and the new consenting will implanted by God in conversion.
"Man consents with the faith given by God, but he resists with the
inborn wickedness of his Old Adam." Your error is that you acknowledge
only an inciting grace, which mere incitation presupposes powers of
one's own to do and to perform (_talis incitatio includit proprias vires
ad perficiendum_). "I plead," said Flacius, "that by original sin man is
not only wounded, but, as the Scriptures affirm, entirely dead, and his
faculties to do that which is good have been destroyed; on the other
hand, however, he is alive and vigorous toward evil (_hominem ...
penitus esse mortuum, extinctum et interfectum ad bonum et contra
insuper vivum et vigentem ad malum_)." "The will is free with respect to
things beneath itself, but not with respect to things above itself. In
spiritual matters it is a servant of Satan." Hence, said Flacius, in
order to cooperate, new spiritual life must first be imparted to, and
created in, man by the grace of God. (Planck 4, 693ff.; Frank 1, 224ff.,
Luthardt, 224; Preger 2, 216.)

Strigel argued: If man is able only to sin and to resist the grace of
God, he cannot be held accountable for his actions. But Flacius replied:
"Also the non-regenerate are justly accused [made responsible for their
actions] for with the remnant of the carnal liberty they are able at
least to observe external decency (_Zucht_), which God earnestly demands
of us, for example, to hear God's Word, to go to church more frequently
than into the tavern." "Furthermore, there are many carnal
transgressions in which natural man could have done something which he
has not done." "God may justly hold us responsible also with respect to
things which we are unable to do because He has bestowed uninjured
powers upon the human race, which, though forewarned, man has shamefully
lost through his own fault." (Preger 2, 214f.)

Time and again Strigel told Flacius that according to his doctrine man
is coerced to sin and compelled to resist the grace of God. But the
latter replied: As far as his own powers are concerned, the natural will
of man indeed sins and resists inevitably and of necessity (_voluntas
repugnat necessario et inevitabiliter_), but not by coercion or
compulsion. Necessity to resist (_necessitas repugnandi_), Flacius
explained, does not involve coercion to resist (_coactio repugnandi_),
since there is such a thing as a necessity of immutability (_necessitas
immutabilitatis_), that is to say, man may be unable to act otherwise and
yet act willingly. The impossibility of being able to will otherwise
than one really wills, does, according to Flacius, not at all involve
coercion or compulsion. The holy angels are free from compulsion,
although they cannot sin or fall any more. It is the highest degree of
freedom and Christian perfection when, in the life to come, our will to
remain in union with God is elevated to immutability of so willing.
Again, though Satan cannot but sin, yet he is not coerced to sin. Thus
too, of his own powers, natural man is able only to resist grace, yet
there is no compulsion involved. The fact, therefore, that natural man
cannot but sin and resist grace does not warrant the inference that he
is compelled to sin; nor does the fact that natural man is not coerced
to resist prove that he is able also to assent to grace. The fact, said
Flacius, that the wicked _willingly_ will, think, and do only what
pleases Satan does not prove an ability to will in the opposite
spiritual direction, but merely reveals the terrible extent of Satan's
tyrannical power over natural man. (Luthardt 224. 231.) According to
Flacius the will always wills willingly when it wills and what it wills.
In brief: The categories "coercion" and "compulsion" cannot be applied
to the will. This, however, does not imply that God is not able to
create or restore a good will without coercion or compulsion. There was
no coercion or compulsion involved when God, creating Adam, Eve, and the
angels, endowed them with a good will. Nor is there any such thing as
coercion or compulsion when God, in conversion, bestows faith and a good
will upon man.

In his statements on the freedom of the will, Flacius merely repeated
what Luther had written before him, in _De Servo Arbitrio:_ "For if it
is not we, but God alone, who works salvation in us, then nothing that
we do previous to His work, whether we will or not, is salutary. But
when I say, 'by necessity,' I do not mean by coercion, but, as they say
by the necessity of immutability, not by necessity of coercion, _i.e._,
man, destitute of the Spirit of God, does not sin perforce, as though
seized by the neck [stretched upon the rack] nor unwillingly, as a thief
or robber is led to his punishment but spontaneously and willingly. And
by his own strength he cannot omit, restrain, or change this desire or
willingness to sin, but continues to will it and to find pleasure in it.
For even if he is compelled by force, outwardly to do something else,
within, the will nevertheless remains averse, and rages against him who
compels or resists it. For if it were changed and willingly yielded to
force, it would not be angry. And this we call the necessity of
immutability, _i.e._, the will cannot change itself and turn to
something else, but is rather provoked to will more intensely by being
resisted, as is proved by its indignation. _Si enim non nos, sed solus
Deus operatur salutem in nobis, nihil ante opus eius operamur salutare,
velimus nolimus. Necessario vero dico, NON COACTE, sed, ut illi dicunt,
necessitate immutabilitatis, NON COACTIONIS; id est homo cum vacat
Spiritu Dei, NON QUIDEM VIOLENTIA, velut raptus obtorto collo, NOLENS
facit peccatum, quemadmodum fur aut latro nolens ad poenam ducitur, sed
sponte et libenti voluntate facit. Verum hanc libentiam seu voluntatem
faciendi non potest suis viribus omittere, coercere aut mutare, sed
pergit volendo et lubendo; etiamsi ad extra cogatur aliud facere per
vim, tamen voluntas intus manet aversa et indignatur cogenti aut
resistenti. Non enim indignaretur, si mutaretur ac volens vim
sequeretur. Hoc vocamus modo necessitatem immutabilitatis, id est, quod
voluntas sese mutare et vertere alio non possit, sed potius irritetur
magis ad volendum, dum ei resistitur, quod probat eius indignatio._" (E.
v. a. 7, 155f. 134. 157; St. L. 18 1717. 1692. 1718.)

Flacius was also charged with teaching that "man is converted resisting
(_hominem converti repugnantem_)." In their _Confession and Opinion
Concerning Free Will,_ of 1561, the Wittenberg theologians repeated the
assertion that Flacius taught "_converti hominem ... repugnantem et
hostiliter Deo convertenti adversantem._" (Planck 4, 688.) But Flacius
protested: "I do not simply say that man is converted resisting
(_hominem repugnantem converti_). But I say that he resists with respect
to his natural and carnal free will." "It is not denied that God
converts us as willing and understanding (_quin Deus nos convertat
volentes et intelligentes_), but willing and understanding not from the
Old Adam but from the light given by God and from the good volition
bestowed through the Word and the Holy Spirit." (692.) "Man is converted
or drawn by the Father to the Son not as a thief is cast into prison,
but in such a manner that his evil will is changed into a good will by
the power of the Holy Spirit." (Preger 2, 218.) It is the very essence
of conversion that by the grace of God unwilling men are made willing.

In support of his error that natural man is able to cooperate in his
conversion Strigel appealed to Rom. 8, 26: "Likewise the Spirit also
helpeth our infirmities," etc.; and appealing to the _Augustana_ for the
correctness of his interpretation, he declared that this passage proves
that one may speak of a languid and weak assent in man even before he is
endowed with faith. Flacius replied that this Bible-passage referred to
such only as are already converted, and that Strigel's interpretation
was found not in the original _Augustana,_ but in the _Variata._--From
the admonition 2 Cor. 5, 20: "Be ye reconciled to God," Strigel inferred
that free will must to a certain extent be capable of accepting the
grace offered by God. Flacius answered that it was a logical fallacy,
conflicting also with the clear Word of God, to conclude that man by his
own powers is able to perform something because God demands it and
admonishes and urges us to do it.--From Acts 5, 32: "...the Holy Ghost,
whom God hath given to them that obey Him," Strigel argued that the will
is able to consent to the Holy Spirit. But Flacius rejoined that this
passage refers to special gifts bestowed upon such as are already
converted.--In support of his synergism, Strigel also appealed to the
Parable of the Prodigal Son, who himself repented and returned to his
father. But Flacius answered: If every detail of this parable taken from
every-day life were to be interpreted in such a manner, Strigel would
have to abandon his own teaching concerning prevenient grace, since
according to the parable the repentance and return of the son precedes
the grace bestowed by the father. (Preger 2, 210f.)

165. Teaching of the Anti-Synergists.

While the Philippists, also in the Synergistic Controversy, endeavored
to supplant the authority and doctrine of Luther by that of Melanchthon,
their opponents, Amsdorf, Flacius, Wigand, Hesshusius, and others
(though not always fortunate in the choice of their phraseology), stood
four-square on Luther's teaching of the _sola gratia,_ which, they were
fully convinced, was nothing but the pure truth of the Gospel itself.
They maintained that, as a result of the Fall, man has lost his original
holiness and righteousness or the image of God; that both as to his
intellect and will he is totally corrupt spiritually; that of his own
powers he is utterly unable to think or will anything that is truly
good; that not a spark of spiritual life is found in natural man by
virtue of which he might assent to the Gospel or cooperate with the Holy
Spirit in his conversion; that his carnal mind is enmity toward God;
that of his own powers he is active only in resisting the work of the
Holy Spirit, nor is he able to do otherwise; that such resistance
continues until he is converted and a new will and heart have been
created in him; that conversion consists in this, that men who by nature
are unwilling and resist God's grace become such as willingly consent
and obey the Gospel and the Holy Spirit; that this is done solely by
God's grace, through Word and Sacrament; that man is purely passive in
his conversion, inasmuch as he contributes nothing towards it, and
merely suffers and experiences the work of the Holy Spirit; that only
after his conversion man is able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit; that
such cooperation, however, flows not from innate powers of the natural
will, but from the new powers imparted in conversion; that also in the
converted the natural sinful will continues to oppose whatever is truly
good, thus causing a conflict between the flesh and the spirit which
lasts till death; in brief, that man's conversion and salvation are due
to grace alone and in no respect whatever to man and his natural powers.

The _Book of Confutation,_ of 1559, drafted, as stated above, by the
theologians of Jena, designates the synergistic dogma as a "rejection of
grace." Here we also meet with statements such as the following: Human
nature "is altogether turned aside from God, and is hostile toward Him
and subject to the tyranny of sin and Satan (_naturam humanam prorsus a
Deo aversam eique inimicam et tyrannidi peccati ac Satanae subiectam
esse_)." It is impossible for the unregenerate man "to understand or to
apprehend the will of God revealed in the Word, or by his own power to
convert himself to God and to will or perform anything good (_homini non
renato impossibile esse intelligere aut apprehendere voluntatem Dei in
Verbo patefactam aut sua ipsius voluntate ad Deum se convertere, boni
aliquid velle aut perficere_)." "Our will to obey God or to choose the
good is utterly extinguished and corrupted. _Voluntas nostra ad Dei
obedientiam aut ad bonum eligendum prorsus extincta et depravata est_."
(Tschackert, 523; Gieseler 3, 2, 229.)

The second of the Propositions prepared by Simon Musaeus and Flacius for
the Disputation at Weimar, 1560, reads: "Corrupt man cannot operate or
cooperate toward anything good by true motions, and such as proceed from
the heart; for his heart is altogether dead spiritually, and has utterly
lost the image of God, or all powers and inclinations toward that which
is good. _Homo corruptus nihil boni potest veris ac ex corde
proficiscentibus motibus operari aut cooperari, nom plane est
spiritualiter mortuus et Dei imaginem seu omnes bonas vires et
inclinationes prorsus amisit._" The third: Not only "has he lost
entirely all good powers, but, in addition, he has also acquired
contrary and most evil powers, ... so that, of necessity or inevitably,
he constantly and vehemently opposes God and true piety (_ita [tr. note:
sic on punctuation] ut necessario seu inevitabiliter Deo ac verae
pietati semper et vehementer adversetur._" The fourth thesis states that
God alone, through His Word and the Holy Spirit, converts, draws, and
illumines man, kindles faith, justifies, renews, and creates him unto
good works, while natural or Adamic free will is of itself not only
inactive, but resists (_non solum non cooperante ex se naturali aut
Adamico libero arbitrio, sed etiam contra furente ac fremente_). (Planck
4, 692; Gieseler 3, 2, 245.)

The same position was occupied by the Mansfeld ministers in a statement
of August 20, 1562, and by Hesshusius in his _Confutation of the
Arguments by which the Synergists Endeavor to Defend Their Error
Concerning the Powers of the Dead Free Will_. They held that in his
conversion man is purely passive and has no mode of action whatever;
that he is but the passive subject who is to be converted (_subiectam
patiens, subiectum convertendum_); that he contributes no more to his
conversion than an infant to its own formation in the womb of its
mother; that he is passive, like a block, inasmuch as he does not in any
way cooperate, but at the same time differs from, and is worse than, a
block, because he is active in resisting the Holy Spirit until he has
been converted. The _Confession_ presented by the theologians of Ducal
Saxony (Wigand, Coelestinus, Irenaeus, Rosinus, Kirchner, etc.) at the
Altenburg Colloquy March, 1569, occupies the same doctrinal position. As
stated before, these theologians made it a special point also to declare
their agreement with Luther's book _De Servo Arbitrio_. (Schluesselburg
5, 316. 133.)

166. Attitude of Formula of Concord.

The second article of the _Formula of Concord_, which decided the
questions involved in the Synergistic Controversy, takes a clear,
determined, and consistent stand against all forms and formulas of
synergism. At the same time it avoids all extravagant, improper,
offensive, and inadequate terms and phrases, as well as the numerous
pitfalls lurking everywhere in the questions concerning free will,
against which also some of the opponents of the Synergists had not
always sufficiently been on their guard. Article II teaches "that
original sin is an unspeakable evil and such an entire corruption of
human nature that in it and all its internal and external powers nothing
pure or good remains, but everything is entirely corrupt, so that on
account of original sin man is in God's sight truly spiritually dead,
with all his powers dead to that which is good (_dass der Mensch durch
die Erbsuende wahrhaftig vor Gott geistlich tot und zum Guten mit allen
seinen Kraeften erstorben sei_)" (CONC. TRIGL. 879, 60); "that in
spiritual and divine things the intellect, heart, and will of the
unregenerate man are utterly unable, by their own natural powers, to
understand, believe, accept, think, will, begin, effect, work, or concur
in working, anything, but they are entirely dead to what is good, and
corrupt, so that in man's nature since the Fall, before regeneration,
there is not the least spark of spiritual power remaining, nor present,
by which, of himself, he can prepare himself for God's grace, or accept
the offered grace, nor be capable of it for and of himself, or apply or
accommodate himself thereto, or by his own powers be able of himself, as
of himself, to aid, do, work, or concur in working anything towards his
conversion either wholly, or half, or in any, even the least or most
inconsiderable part; but that he is the servant [and slave] of sin, John
8, 34, and a captive of the devil, by whom he is moved, Eph. 2, 2;
2 Tim. 2, 26. Hence natural free will according to its perverted
disposition and nature is strong and active only with respect to what is
displeasing and contrary to God" (883, 7; 887, 17); that "before man is
enlightened, converted, regenerated, renewed and drawn by the Holy
Spirit he can of himself and of his own natural powers begin work, or
concur in working in spiritual things and in his own conversion or
regeneration just as little as a stone or a block or clay." (891, 24);
that, moreover, "in this respect" [inasmuch as man resists the Holy
Spirit] "it may well be said that man is not a stone or block, for a
stone or block does not resist the person who moves it, nor does it
understand and is sensible of what is being done with it, as man with
his will so long resists God the Lord until he is converted (_donec ad
Deum conversus fuerit_)" (905, 59); that "the Holy Scriptures ascribe
conversion, faith in Christ, regeneration, renewal, and all that belongs
to their efficacious beginning and completion, not to the human powers
of the natural free will, neither entirely, nor half nor in any, even
the least or most inconsiderable part, but _in solidum_, that is,
entirely and solely, to the divine working and the Holy Spirit" (891,
25); that "the preaching and hearing of God's Word are instruments of
the Holy Ghost, by, with, and through which He desires to work
efficaciously, and to convert men to God, and to work in them both to
will and to do" (901, 52); that "as soon as the Holy Ghost ... has begun
in us this His work of regeneration and renewal, it is certain that
through the power of the Holy Ghost we can and should cooperate
(_mitwirken_), although still in great weakness" (907, 65); that this
cooperation, however, "does not occur from our carnal natural powers,
but from the new powers and gifts which the Holy Ghost has begun in us
in conversion," and "is to be understood in no other way than that the
converted man does good to such an extent and so long as God by His Holy
Spirit rules, guides, and leads him, and that as soon as God would
withdraw His gracious hand from him, he could not for a moment persevere
in obedience to God," and that hence it is not a power independent from,
and coordinated with, the Holy Spirit, as though "the converted man
cooperated with the Holy Ghost in the manner as when two horses together
draw a wagon" (907, 66); and finally, that as to the
three-concurring-causes doctrine it is "manifest, from the explanations
presented that conversion to God is a work of God the Holy Ghost alone,
who is the true Master that alone works this in us, for which He uses
the preaching and hearing of His holy Word as His ordinary means and
instrument. But the intellect and will of the unregenerate man are
nothing else than _subiectum convertendum_, that is, that which is to be
converted, it being the intellect and will of a spiritually dead man, in
whom the Holy Ghost works conversion and renewal, towards which work
man's will that is to be converted does nothing, but suffers God alone
to work in him until he is regenerated and then he [cooperates] works
also with the Holy Ghost that which is pleasing to God in other good
works that follow in the way and to the extent fully set forth above"
(915, 90).

It has been said that originally also the _Formula of Concord_ in its
Torgau draft (_Das Torgausche Buch, i.e._, the draft preceding the
Bergic Book=_Formula of Concord_) contained the three-concurring-causes
doctrine of Melanchthon and the Synergists. As a matter of fact,
however, the Torgau Book does not speak of three causes of conversion,
but of three causes in those who are already converted,--a doctrine
entirely in agreement with the _Formula of Concord_, which, as shown,
plainly teaches that after conversion the will of man also cooperates
with the Holy Spirit. In the Torgau Book the passage in question reads:
"Thus also three causes concur to effect this internal new obedience in
the converted. The first and chief cause is God Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost.... The second is God's Word.... The third is man's intellect,
enlightened by the Holy Spirit, which ponders and understands God's
command [threat and promise], and our new and regenerate will, which is
governed by the Holy Spirit, and now desires with a glad and willing
heart (_herzlich gern und willig_), though in great weakness, to submit
to, and obey, the Word and will of God." In the same sense, at the
colloquy in AItenburg, 1568 to 1569, the Jena theologians also mentioned
as a "third cause" "the mind of man, which is regenerated and renewed,
and yields to, and obeys, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (_des
Menschen Gemuet, so wiedergeboren und erneuert ist und dem Heiligen
Geiste und Gottes Wort Folge tut und gehorsam ist_)." (Frank 1, 214f.)

XV. The Flacian Controversy.

167. Flacius Entrapped by Strigel.

Matthias Flacius Illyricus, one of the most learned and capable
theologians of his day and the most faithful, devoted, staunch, zealous,
and able exponent and defender of genuine Lutheranism, was the author of
the malignant controversy which bears his name. Flacius was born March
3, 1520, in Illyria hence called Illyricus. He studied in Basel,
Tuebingen, and Wittenberg. At Wittenberg he was convinced that the
doctrine of the Lutheran Church is in complete agreement with the Word
of God. Here, too, he was appointed Professor of Hebrew in 1544. In
April, 1549, he left the city on account of the Interim. He removed to
Magdeburg where he became the energetic and successful leader of the
opponents of the Interimists and Adiaphorists. He was appointed
professor at the University of Jena, founded 1547, partly in opposition
to Philippism. In December 1561, he and his adherents were banished from
Jena. When the latter returned in 1567, he was not recalled. Persecuted
by his enemies (especially Elector August of Saxony) and forsaken by his
friends, he now moved from one place to another: from Jena to
Regensburg, thence to Antwerp, to Frankfort-on-the-Main, to Strassburg
(from where he was expelled in the spring of 1573), and again to
Frankfort-on-the-Main, where he found a last asylum for himself and his
family (wife and eight children), and where he also died in a hospital,
March 11, 1575.

In the Adiaphoristic Controversy Flacius had time and again urged the
Lutherans to die rather than deny and surrender the truth. And when in
the controversy about original sin all shunned him and turned against
him he gave ample proof of the fact that he himself was imbued with the
spirit he had endeavored to kindle in others, being willing to suffer
and to be banished and persecuted rather than sacrifice what he believed
to be the truth.--The most important of his numerous books are:
_Catalogus Testium Veritatis_, qui ante nostram aetatem reclamarunt
Papae, 1556; _Ecclesiastica Historia_, or the so-called Magdeburg
Centuries (_Centuriones_), comprising the history of the first thirteen
centuries, and published 1559-1574; _Clavis Scripturae_, of 1567; and
_Glossa Novi Testamenti_. Walther remarks: "It was a great pity that
Flacius, who had hitherto been such a faithful champion of the pure
doctrine, exposed himself to the enemies in such a manner. Henceforth
the errorists were accustomed to brand all those as Flacianists who were
zealous in defending the pure doctrine of Luther." (_Kern und Stern_,

The Flacian Controversy sprang from, and must be regarded as an episode
of, the Synergistic Controversy, in which also some champions of
Luther's theology (Amsdorf, Wigand, Hesshusius, and others) had
occasionally employed unguarded, extreme, and inadequate expressions.
Following are some of the immoderate and extravagant statements made by
Flacius: God alone converts man, the Adamic free will not only not
cooperating, "but also raging and roaring against it (_sed etiam contra
furente ac fremente_)." (Preger 2, 212.) The malice of our free will is
a "diabolical malice (_nostra diabolica malitia carnis aut liberi
arbitrii_)." By original sin man is "transformed into the image of Satan
(_ad imaginem Satanae transformatus, eiusque charactere [foeda Satanae
imagine] signatus_)." (Gieseler 3, 2, 245.) By original sin "the
substance of man is destroyed (_substantiam hominis ablatam esse_);"
after the Fall original sin is the substance of man; man's nature is
identical with sin; in conversion a new substance is created by God. In
particular, the assertions concerning the substantiality of original sin
gave rise to the so-called Flacian Controversy. After Strigel, at the
second session of the disputation in Weimar, had dilated on the
philosophical definitions of the terms "substance" and "accident"
("_accidens, quod adest vel abest praeter subiecti corruptionem_"), and
had declared that original sin was an accident which merely impeded free
will in its activity, Flacius, in the heat of the controversy,
exclaimed: "_Originale peccatum non est accidens_. Original sin is not
an accident, for the Scriptures call it flesh, the evil heart," etc.
Thus he fell into the pitfall which the wily Strigel had adroitly laid
for him. Though Flacius seemed to be loath to enter upon the matter any
further, and protested against the use of philosophical definitions in
theology, Strigel now was eager to entangle him still further, plying
him with the question: "_An negas peccatum originis esse accidens?_ Do
you deny that original sin is an accident?" Flacius answered: "_Lutherus
diserte negat esse accidens_. Luther expressly denies that it is an
accident." Strigel: "_Visne negare peccatum esse accidens?_ Do you mean
to deny that sin is an accident?" Flacius: "_Quod sit substantia, dixi
Scripturam et Lutherum affirmare._ I have said that Scripture and Luther
affirm that it is a substance." (Luthardt, 213. 216.)

After the session in which the fatal phrase had fallen from his lips,
Wigand and Musaeus expostulated with Flacius, designating (according to
later reports of theirs) his statement as "this new, perilous, and
blasphemous proposition of the ancient Manicheans (_haec nova,
periculosa et blasphema veterum Manichaeorum propositio_)." (Planck 4,
611.) Flacius declared that, "in the sudden and pressing exigency, in
the interest of truth, and against Pelagian enthusiasm, he had taken
this expression [concerning the substantiality of original sin] from
Luther's doctrine and books." (Preger 2, 324.) In the following (third)
session, however, he repeated his error, declaring: I must stand by my
statement that original sin is not an accident, but a substance,
"because the testimonies of the Holy Scriptures which employ terms
denoting substance (_quae verbis substantialibus utuntur_) are so
numerous." (Planck 4, 610; Luthardt, 216.) Also later on Flacius always
maintained that his doctrine was nothing but the teaching of the Bible
and of Luther. As to Scripture-proofs, he referred to passages in which
the Scriptures designate sin as "flesh," "stony heart," etc. Regarding
the teaching of Luther, he quoted statements in which he describes
original sin as "man's nature," "essence," "substantial sin," "all that
is born of father and mother," etc. (Preger 2, 318.)

However, the palpable mistake of Flacius was that he took the
substantial terms on which he based his theory in their original and
proper sense, while the Bible and Luther employ them in a figurative
meaning, as the _Formula of Concord_ carefully explains in its first
article, which decided and settled this controversy. (874, 50.) Here we
read: "Also to avoid strife about words, _aequivocationes vocabulorum_,
that is, words and expressions which are applied and used in various
meanings, should be carefully and distinctly explained, as when it is
said: God creates the nature of men, there by the term _nature_ the
essence, body, and soul of men are understood. But often the disposition
or vicious quality of a thing is called its nature, as when it is said:
It is the nature of the serpent to bite and poison. Thus Luther says
that sin and sinning are the disposition and nature of corrupt man.
Therefore original sin properly signifies the deep corruption of our
nature as it is described in the _Smalcald Articles_. But sometimes the
concrete person or the subject that is, man himself with body and soul
in which sin is and inheres, is also comprised under this term, for the
reason that man is corrupted by sin, poisoned and sinful, as when Luther
says: 'Thy birth, thy nature, and thy entire essence is sin,' that is,
sinful and unclean. Luther himself explains that by nature-sin,
person-sin, essential sin he means that not only the words, thoughts,
and works are sin, but that the entire nature, person and essence of man
are altogether corrupted from the root by original sin." (875, 51f.)

168. Context in which Statement was Made.

In making his statement concerning the substantiality of original sin,
the purpose of Flacius was to wipe out the last vestige of spiritual
powers ascribed to natural man by Strigel, and to emphasize the doctrine
of total corruption, which Strigel denied. His fatal blunder was that he
did so in terms which were universally regarded as savoring of
Manicheism. As was fully explained in the chapter of the Synergistic
Controversy Strigel taught that free will, which belongs to the
substance and essence of man, and hence cannot be lost without the
annihilation of man himself, always includes the capacity to choose in
both directions, that also with respect to divine grace and the
operations of the Holy Spirit man is and always remains a _liberum
agens_ in the sense that he is able to decide _in utramque partem;_ that
this ability, constituting the very essence of free will, may be
weakened and impeded in its activity, but never lost entirely. If it
were lost, Strigel argued, the very substance of man and free will as
such would have to be regarded as annihilated. But now man, also after
the Fall, is still a real man, possessed of intellect and will. Hence
original sin cannot have despoiled him of this liberty of choosing _pro_
or _con_ also in matters spiritual. The loss of original righteousness
does not, according to Strigel, involve the total spiritual disability
of the will and its sole tendency and activity toward what is
spiritually evil. Moreover, despite original corruption, it is and
remains an indestructible property of man to be able, at least in a
measure, to assent to and to admit, the operations of the Holy Spirit,
and therefore and in this sense to be converted "_aliquo modo volens._"
(Planck 4, 667. 675. 681.)

It was in opposition to this Semi-Pelagian teaching that Flacius
declared original sin to be not a mere accident, but the substance of
man. Entering upon the train of thought and the phraseology suggested by
his opponent, he called substance what in reality was an accident,
though not an accident such as Strigel contended. From his own
standpoint it was therefore a shrewd move to hide his own synergism and
to entrap his opponent, when Strigel plied Flacius with the question
whether he denied that original sin was an accident. For in the context
and the sense in which it was proposed the question involved a vicious
dilemma. Answering with yes or no, Flacius was compelled either to
affirm Strigel's synergism or to expose himself to the charge of
Manicheism. Instead of replying as he did, Flacius should have cleared
the sophistical atmosphere by explaining: "If I say, 'Original sin is an
accident,' you [Strigel] will infer what I reject, _viz._, that the
corrupt will of man retains the power to decide also in favor of the
operations of the Holy Spirit. And if I answer that original sin is not
an accident (such as you have in mind), you will again infer what I
disavow, _viz._, that man, who by the Fall has lost the ability to will
in the spiritual direction, has _eo ipso_ lost the will and its freedom
entirely and as such." As it was, however, Flacius instead of adhering
strictly to the real issue--the question concerning man's cooperation in
conversion--and exposing the sophistry implied in the question put by
Strigel, most unfortunately suffered himself to be caught on the horns
of the dilemma. He blindly walked into the trap set for him by Strigel,
from which also later on he never succeeded in fully extricating

With all his soul Flacius rejected the synergism involved in Strigel's
question. His blunder was, as stated, that he did so in terms
universally regarded as Manichean. He was right when he maintained that
original sin is the inherited tendency and motion of the human mind,
will, and heart, not toward, but against God,--a direction, too, which
man is utterly unable to change. But he erred fatally by identifying
this inborn evil tendency with the substance of fallen man and the
essence of his will as such. It will always be regarded as a redeeming
feature that it was in antagonizing synergism and championing the
Lutheran _sola gratia_ that Flacius coined his unhappy proposition. And
in properly estimating his error, it must not be overlooked that he, as
will be shown in the following, employed the terms "substance" and
"accident" not in their generally accepted meaning but in a sense, and
according to a philosophical terminology, of his own.

169. Formal and Material Substance.

The terms "substance" and "accident" are defined in Melanchthon's
_Erotemata Dialectices_ as follows: "_Substantia est ens, quod revera
proprium esse habet, nec est in alio, ut habens esse a subiecto._
Substance is something which in reality has a being of its own and is
not in another as having its being from the subject." (_C. R._ 13,
528.) "_Accidens est quod non per sese subsistit, nec est pars
substantiae, sed in alio est mutabiliter._ Accident is something which
does not exist as such nor is a part of the substance, but is changeable
in something else." (522.) Melanchthon continues: "Accidentium alia sunt
separabilia ut frigus ab aqua, notitia a mente, laetitia, tristitia a
corde. Alia accidentia sunt inseparabilia, ut quantitas seu magnitudo a
substantia corporea, calor ab igni, humiditas ab aqua, non separantur...
Et quia separabilia accidentia magis conspicua sunt, ideo inde sumpta
est puerilis descriptio: Accidens est, quod adest et abest praeter
subiecti corruptionem. Whatever is present or absent without the
corruption of the subject is an accident." (_C. R._ 13, 523; Preger 2,
396. 407; Seeberg 4, 494.)

Evidently this last definition, which was employed also by Strigel, is
ambiguous, inasmuch as the word "corruption" may signify an
annihilation, or merely a perversion, or a corruption in the ordinary
meaning of the word. In the latter sense the term applied to original
sin would be tantamount to a denial of the Lutheran doctrine of _total_
corruption. When Jacob Andreae, in his disputation with Flacius, 1571,
at Strassburg, declared that accident is something which is present or
absent without _corruption_ of the subject, he employed the term in the
sense of destruction or annihilation. In the same year Hesshusius stated
that by original sin "the whole nature body and soul, substance as well
as accidents, are defiled, corrupted, and dead," of course, spiritually.
And what he understood by substance appears from his assertion: "The
being itself, the substance and nature itself, in as far as it is
nature, is not an evil conflicting with the Law of God.... Not even in
the devil the substance itself, in as far as it is substance, is a bad
thing, _i.e._, a thing conflicting with the Law." (Preger 2, 397.)

The _Formula of Concord_ carefully and correctly defines: "Everything
that is must be either _substantia_, that is, a self-existent essence,
or _accidens_, that is, an accidental matter, which does not exist by
itself essentially but is in another self-existent essence and can be
distinguished from it." "Now, then, since it is the indisputable truth
that everything that is, is either a substance or an _accidens_ that is,
either a self-existing essence or something accidental in it (as has
just been shown and proved by testimonies of the church-teachers, and no
truly intelligent man has ever had any doubts concerning this),
necessity here constrains, and no one can evade it if the question be
asked whether original sin is a substance, that is, such a thing as
exists by itself, and is not in another, or whether it is an _accidens_,
that is, such a thing as does not exist by itself, but is in another,
and cannot exist or be by itself, he must confess straight and pat that
original sin is no substance, but an accident." (877, 54; 57.)

Flacius, however, took the words "substance" and "accident" in a
different sense. He distinguished between the material and formal
substance, and the latter he regarded as man's true original essence.
This essence he explained, consisted in the original righteousness and
holiness of man, in the image of God or the will as truly free and in
proper relation toward God. He said: "Ipsum hominem _essentialiter_ sic
esse formatum, ut recta voluntas esset imago Dei, non tantum eius
accidens." (Seeberg 4, 494.) He drew the conclusion that original sin,
by which the image of God (not the human understanding and will as such)
is lost, cannot be a mere accident, but constitutes the very essence and
substance of fallen man. He argued: The image of God is the formal
essence of man, or the soul itself according to its best part, by
original sin this image is changed into its opposite: hence the change
wrought by original sin is not accidental, but substantial,--just as
substantial and essential as when wine is changed into vinegar or fire
into frost. What man has lost, said Flacius, is not indeed his material
substance (_substantia materialis_), but his true formal substance or
substantial form (_substantia formalis_ or _forma substantialis_). Hence
also original sin, or the corruption resulting from the Fall, in reality
is, and must be designated, the formal substance or substantial form of
natural man. Not all gifts of creation were lost to man by his Fall; the
most essential boon, however, the image of God, was destroyed and
changed into the image of Satan. "In homine," said Flacius, "et mansit
aliquid, et tamen quod optimum in ratione et essentia fuit, nempe imago
Dei, non tantum evanuit, sed etiam in contrarium, nempe in imaginem
diaboli, commutatum est." The devil, Flacius continued, has robbed man
of his original form (_forma_), the image of God, and stamped him with
his own diabolical form and nature. (Luthardt 215; Gieseler 3, 2, 253.)

170. Further Explanations of Flacius.

The manner in which Flacius distinguished between material and formal
substance appears from the tract on original sin (_De Peccati Originalis
aut Veteris Adami Appellationibus et Essentia_), which he appended to
his _Clavis Scripturae_ of 1567. There we read: "In this disputation
concerning the corruption of man I do not deny that this meaner matter
(_illam viliorem materiam_) or mass of man created in the beginning has
indeed remained until now, although it is exceedingly vitiated, as when
in wine or aromas the spirituous (_airy_) or fiery substance escapes,
and nothing remains but the earthy and watery substance; but I hold that
the substantial form or the formal substance (_formam substantialem aut
substantiam formalem_) has been lost, yea, changed into its opposite.
But I do not speak of that external and coarse form (although it too, is
corrupted and weakened very much) which a girl admires in a youth, or
philosophy also in the entire man, according to which he consists of
body and soul, has an erect stature two feet, hands, eyes, ears, and the
like, is an animal laughing, counting, reasoning, etc.; but I speak of
that most noble substantial form (_nobilissima substantialis forma_)
according to which especially the heart itself or rather the rational
soul, was formed in such a manner that his very essence might be the
image of God and represent Him, and that his substantial powers,
intellect and will, and his affections might be conformed to the
properties of God, represent, truly acknowledge, and most willingly
embrace Him." (Preger 2, 314; Gieseler 3, 2, 254.)

Again: "In this manner, therefore, I believe and assert that original
sin is a substance, because the rational soul (as united with God) and
especially its noblest substantial powers, namely, the intellect and
will which before had been formed so gloriously that they were the true
image of God and the fountain of all justice, uprightness, and piety,
and altogether essentially like unto gold and gems, are now, by deceit
of Satan, so utterly perverted that they are the true and living image
of Satan, and, as it were, filthy or rather consisting of an infernal
flame, not otherwise than when the sweetest and purest mass, infected
with the most venomous ferment, is altogether and substantially changed
and transformed into a lump of the same ferment." (Gieseler 3, 2, 254.)
Original sin "is not a mere accident in man, but his inverted and
transformed essence or new form itself, just as when a most wholesome
medicine is changed into the most baneful poison." "The matter remains,
but it receives a new form, namely, the image of Satan." "Man, who in
his essential form was the image of God, has in his essential form
become the image of Satan." "This change may be compared to the change
which the golden image of a beautiful man undergoes when it is
transformed into the image of a dragon, the matter at the same time
being corrupted." (Preger 2, 214. 217. 325.)

Dilating on the substantiality of original sin, Flacius furthermore
declared: "Original malice in man is not something different from the
evil mind or stony heart itself, not something that destroys him
spiritually as a disease consumes him bodily, but it is ruined and
destroyed nature itself (_sed est tantum ipsa perditissima et iam
destructissima natura_). Original malice was not, as many now think
infused from without into Adam in such a way as when poison or some
other bad substance is thrown or poured into good liquor, so that by
reason of the added bad substance also the rest becomes noxious, but in
such a way as when good liquor or bread itself is perverted so that now
it is bad as such and poisonous or rather poison (_ut illud per se iam
malum ac venenatum aut potius venenum sit_)." (Preger 2, 313.)

Also concerning the body and soul of fallen man Flacius does not
hesitate to affirm that, since they are permeated and corrupted by
original sin, "these parts themselves are sin, _eas ipsas [partes,
corpus et animam] esse illud nativum malum, quod cum Deo pugnat._" "Some
object," says Flacius, "that the creature of God must be distinguished
from sin, which is not of God. I answer: now do separate, if you can,
the devil from his inherent wickedness!... How can the same thing be
separated from itself! We therefore can not distinguish them in any
other way than by stating that with respect to his first creation and
also his present preservation man, even as the devil himself, is of God,
but that with respect to this horrible transformation (_ratione istius
horrendae metamorphoseos_) he is of the devil, who, by the force of the
efficacious sentence and punishment of angry God: 'Thou shalt die,' not
only captured us to be his vilest slaves, but also recast, rebaked, and
changed, or, so to speak, metamorphosed us into another man, as the
Scripture says, even as he [the devil] himself is inverted." All parts,
talents, and abilities of man, Flacius contends, are "evil and mere
sins," because they all oppose God. "What else are they than armed
unrighteousness!" he exclaims. Even the natural knowledge of God "is
nothing but the abominable source of idolatry and of all superstitions."
(Preger 316f.; Gieseler 3, 2, 255.)

That the fundamental view of Flacius, however, was much farther apart
from Manicheism than some of his radical phrases imply, appears from his
"_Gnowthi seauton, De Essentia Originalis Institutiae,_" of 1568. After
admitting that Augustine, Luther, and the _Apology of the Augsburg
Confession_ are correct when they define original sin as an inordinate
disposition, a disorder (_ataxia_), perversion, and confusion of the
parts of man, Flacius proceeds: "The substantial form of a certain thing
for the most part, consists in the right position and disposition of the
parts; as, for example, if a human body were born which had its eyes,
ears, and mouth on the belly or feet, and, _vice versa,_ the toes on the
head, no one would say that it was properly a man, but rather a monster.
... It appears, therefore, that the inordinate disposition of the parts
produces an altogether new body or thing. Thus, forsooth, the horrible
perturbation of the soul has also produced, as it were a new kind of
monster fighting against God." (Preger 2, 409.) Accordingly, it was not
man's body and soul as such, but the alteration of the relation of his
powers toward one another and the consequent corruption of these powers,
that Flacius had in mind when he designated original sin as the new
substantial form, or substance, of sinful man.

Flacius expressly denied that the fall of man or his conversion involved
a physical change. "I do not teach a physical regeneration," he
declared, "nor do I say that two hearts are created, but I say that this
most excellent part of the soul or of man is once more established, or
that the image of God is recast and transformed out of the image of
Satan, even as before the image of God was transformed into the image of
Satan. _Physicam renascentiam non assero nec dico duo corda creari, sed
dico istam praestantissimam animae aut hominis partem denuo condi aut ex
imagine Satanae refundi aut transformari imaginem Dei, sicut antea imago
Dei fuit transformata in imaginem Satanae._" (Seeberg 4, 495.) Gieseler
pertinently remarks: "It is apparent that Flacius did not deviate from
the common concept of original sin, but from the concepts of substance
and accident, but that here, too, he was uncertain, inasmuch as he
employed the terms _substantia, forma substantialis,_ and _substantia
formalis_ promiscuously." (3, 2, 255.)

If not necessarily involved in, it was at least in keeping with his
extreme position and extravagant phraseology concerning original sin
when Flacius, in his _De Primo et Secundo Capite ad Romanos, quatenus
Libero Arbitrio Patrocinari Videntur,_ rejected the doctrine of an
inborn idea of God and of His Law inscribed in the heart of natural
man. On Rom. 1, 19 he comments: It is only from the effects in the world
that man infers the existence of a supreme cause. And with respect to
Rom. 2, 15 he maintains that Paul's statements were to be understood,
not of a law written in the heart of man, but of a knowledge which the
heathen had derived by inference, from experience, or from tradition of
the fathers. On this point Strigel, no doubt was correct when he
objected: If the knowledge of God's existence were really extinguished
from the heart, there could be no discipline among men; and if man had
no inborn knowledge of the Law, then there could be no such thing as
conscience which condemns him when he sins. The fact that man fears
punishments even when there is no government to fear, as was the case
with Alexander when he had murdered Clitus, proves that in the heart
there is a certain knowledge both of God and of His Law. (Preger 2,
213.) However, Flacius did not, as Strigel seems to insinuate, deny that
natural man has an obscure knowledge of God's existence and Law, but
merely maintained that this knowledge was not inborn or inherited, but
acquired from without.

171. Controversy Precipitated by Flacius.

Though Flacius, when he first made his statement concerning the
substantiality of original sin may not have felt absolutely sure of the
exact meaning, bearing, and correctness of his position, yet the facts
do not warrant the assumption that afterwards he was in any way
diffident or wavering in his attitude. Whatever his views on this
subject may have been before 1560--after the fatal phrase had fallen
from his lips, he never flinched nor flagged in zealously defending it.
Nor was he ever disposed to compromise the matter as far as the
substance of his doctrine was concerned. In 1570 Spangenberg of
Mansfeld, who sided with Flacius, suggested that he retain his meaning,
but change his language: "_Teneat Illyricus mentem, mutet linguam._" To
this Flacius consented. On September 28 1570, he published his _Brief
Confession,_ in which he agreed to abstain from the use of the term
"substance." However, what he suggested as a substitute, _viz._, that
original sin be defined as the nature of man (the word "nature," as he
particularly emphasized, to be taken not in a figurative, but in its
proper meaning), was in reality but another way of repeating his error.

The same was the case in 1572, when Flacius, opposed and sorely pressed
by the ministerium of Strassburg (whence he was banished the following
year), offered to substitute for the word "substance" the phrase
"essential powers." (Preger 2, 371.) Two years later, at the public
disputation in Langenau, Silesia, where Flacius defended his doctrine
with favorable results for himself against Jacob Coler [born 1537;
studied in Frankfort-on-the-Oder, 1564 pastor in Lauban, Upper Lausatia
(Oberlausitz); 1573 in Neukirch; 1574 he opposed Leonard Crentzheim and
Flacius; 1575 professor in Frankfort; afterwards active first as
Praepositus in Berlin and later on as Superintendent in Mecklenburg,
published _Disputatio De Libero Arbitrio;_ died March 7, 1612], he
declared that he did not insist on his phrase as long as the doctrine
itself was adopted and original sin was not declared to be a mere
accident. But this, too, was no real retraction of his error. (Preger 2,
387.) In a similar way Flacius repeatedly declared himself willing to
abstain from the use of the word "substance" in connection with his
doctrine concerning original sin, but with conditions and limitations
which made his concessions illusory, and neither did nor could satisfy
his opponents.

At the disputation in Weimar, 1560, Wigand and Musaeus, as stated,
warned Flacius immediately after the session in which he had made his
statement. Schluesselburg relates: "Immediately during the disputation,
as I frequently heard from their own lips, Dr. Wigand, Dr. Simon
Musaeus, and other colleagues of his who attended the disputation ...
admonished Illyricus in a brotherly and faithful manner to abstain from
this new, perilous and blasphemous proposition of the ancient
Manicheans, which would cause great turmoil in the Church of God, and to
refute the error of Victorin [Strigel] concerning free will not by means
of a false proposition, but with the Word of God. However, intoxicated
with ambition, and relying, in the heat of the conflict, too much on the
acumen and sagacity of his own mind, Illyricus haughtily spurned the
brotherly and faithful admonitions of all his colleagues." (_Catalogus_
2, 4.) In his book _De Manichaeismo Renovato_ Wigand himself reports:
"Illyricus answered [to the admonition of his colleagues to abstain from
the Manichean phrase] that he had been drawn into this discussion by his
opponent against his own will. But what happened? Contrary to the
expectations of his colleagues, Illyricus in the following session
continued, as he had begun, to defend this insanity." (Preger 2, 324;
Planck 4, 611.) However, it does not appear that after the disputation
his friends pressed the matter any further, or that they made any
efforts publicly to disavow the Flacian proposition.

In 1567 Flacius published his tract _De Peccati Originalis aut Veteris
Adami Appellationibus et Essentia,_ "On the Appellations and Essence of
Original Sin or the Old Adam," appending it to his famous _Clavis
Scripturae_ of the same year. He had written this tract probably even
before 1564. In 1566 he sent it to Simon Musaeus, requesting his opinion
and the opinion of Hesshusius, who at that time was celebrating his
marriage with the daughter of Musaeus. In his answer, Musaeus approved
the tract, but desired that the term "substance" be explained as meaning
not the matter, but the form of the substance to which Hesshusius also
agreed. After the tract had appeared, Musaeus again wrote to Flacius,
June 21, 1568, saying that he agreed with his presentation of original
sin. At the same time, however, he expressed the fear that the bold
statement which Flacius had retained, "Sin is substance," would be
dangerously misinterpreted. (Preger 2, 327.) And before long a storm was
brewing, in which animosity registered its highest point, and a
veritable flood of controversial literature (one publication following
the other in rapid succession) was poured out upon the Church, which was
already distracted and divided by numerous and serious theological

By the publication of this treatise Flacius, who before long also was
harassed and ostracized everywhere, had himself made a public
controversy unavoidable. In the conflict which it precipitated, he was
opposed by all parties, not only by his old enemies, the Philippists,
but also by his former friends. According to the maxim: _Amicus Plato,
amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas,_ they now felt constrained,
in the interest of truth, to turn their weapons against their former
comrade and leader. Flacius himself had made it impossible for his
friends to spare him any longer. Nor did he deceive himself as to the
real situation. In a letter written to Wigand he reveals his fear that
the Lutherans and Philippists, then assembled at the Colloquium in
Altenburg (held from October 21, 1568, to March, 1569, between the
theologians of Thuringia and those of Electoral Saxony), would unite in
a public declaration against his teaching. Wigand whose warning Flacius
had disregarded at Weimar, wrote to Gallus: Flacius has forfeited the
right to request that nothing be published against him, because he
himself has already spread his views in print. And before long Wigand
began to denounce publicly the Flacian doctrine as "new and prolific
monsters, _monstra nova et fecunda._"

172. Publications Pro and Con.

According to Preger the first decided opposition to the Flacian teaching
came from Moerlin and Chemnitz, in Brunswick, to whom Flacius had also
submitted his tract for approval. Chemnitz closed his criticism by
saying: It is enough if we are able to retain what Luther has won
(_parta tueri_), let us abandon all desires to go beyond (_ulterius
quaerere_) and to improve upon him. (Preger 2, 328.) Moerlin
characterized Flacius as a vain man, and dangerous in many respects.
Flacius answered in an objective manner, betraying no irritation
whatever. (332.) In a letter of August 10, 1568, Hesshusius, who now had
read the tract more carefully charged Flacius with teaching that Satan
was a creator of substance, and before long refused to treat with him
any further. In September of the same year Flacius published his _Gnothi
seauton_ against the attacks of the Synergists and Philippists, notably
Christopher Lasius [who studied at Strassburg and Wittenberg, was active
in Goerlitz, Greussen, Spandau, Kuestrin, Cottbus, and Senftenberg,
wrote _Praelibationes Dogmatis Flaciani de Prodigiosa Hominis
Conversione;_ died 1572]. In the same year Hesshusius prepared his
_Analysis,_ which was approved by Gallus and the Jena theologians.

Realizing that all his former friends had broken with him entirely,
Flacius, in January 1570, _published_ his _Demonstrations Concerning the
Essence of the Image of God and the Devil,_ in which he attacked his
opponents, but without mentioning their names. His request for a private
discussion was bluntly rejected by the Jena theologians. Wigand, in his
_Propositions on Sin_ of May 5, 1570, was the first publicly to attack
Flacius by name. About the same time Moerlin's _Themata de Imagine Dei_
and Chemnitz's _Resolutio_ appeared. The former was directed "against
the impious and absurd proposition that sin is a substance", the latter,
against the assertion "that original sin is the very substance of man,
and that the soul of man itself is original sin." Hesshusius also
published his _Letter to M. Flacius Illyricus in the Controversy whether
Original Sin is a Substance._ Flacius answered in his _Defense of the
Sound Doctrine Concerning Original Righteousness and Unrighteousness, or
Sin,_ of September 1, 1570. Hesshusius published his _Analysis,_ in
which he repeated the charge that Flacius made the devil a creator of

In his _Brief Confession,_ of September 28 1570, Flacius now offered to
abstain from the use of the term "substance" in the manner indicated
above. A colloquium, however, requested by Flacius and his friends on
the basis of this Confession, was declined by the theologians of Jena.
Moreover, in answer to the _Brief Confession,_ Hesshusius published
(April 21, 1571) his _True Counter-Report,_ in which he again repeated
his accusation that Flacius made the devil a creator of substance. He
summarized his arguments as follows: "I have therefore proved from one
book [Flacius's tract of 1567] more than six times that Illyricus says:
_Satan condidit, fabricavit, transformavit veterem hominem, Satan est
figulus,_ that is: The devil created and made man, the devil is man's
potter." The idea of a creation out of nothing, however, was not taught
in the statements to which Hesshusius referred. (Preger 2, 348.)

Further publications by Andrew Schoppe [died after 1615], Wigand,
Moerlin, Hesshusius, and Chemnitz, which destroyed all hopes of a
peaceful settlement, caused Flacius to write his _Orthodox Confession
Concerning Original Sin._ In this comprehensive answer, which appeared
August 1, 1571, he declares "that either image, the image of God as well
as of Satan, is an essence, and that the opposite opinion diminishes the
merit of Christ." At the same time he complained that his statements
were garbled and misinterpreted by his opponents, that his was the
position of the man who asked concerning garlic and received an answer
concerning onions, that his opponents were but disputing with
imaginations of their own. (349f.)

In the same year, 1571, Wigand published a voluminous book, _On Original
Sin,_ in which he charged Flacius with teaching that original sin is the
entire carnal substance of man according to both his body and soul. In
his description of the Flacian doctrine we read: "Original sin is a
substance, as they teach. Accordingly, original sin is an animal, and
that, too, an intelligent animal. You must also add ears, eyes, mouth,
nose, arms, belly, and feet. Original sin laughs, talks, sews, sows,
works, reads, writes, preaches, baptizes, administers the Lord's Supper,
etc. For it is the substance of man that does such things. Behold, where
such men end!" Flacius replied in his _Christian and Reliable Answer to
All manner of Sophistries of the Pelagian Accident,_ 1572, protesting
that the doctrine ascribed to him was a misrepresentation of his
teaching. In the same year Wigand published _Reasons Why This
Proposition, in Controversy with the Manicheans: "Original Sin Is the
Corrupt Nature," Cannot Stand._ Here Wigand truly says: "Evil of the
substance and evil substance are not identical. _Malum substantiae et
mala substantia non sunt idem._" (Preger 2, 353. 410.)

In several publications of the same year Hesshusius asserted (quoting
testimonies to this effect from Augustine), that the Flacian doctrine
was identical with the tenets of the Manicheans, in substance as well as
terms. Flacius answered in _De Augustini et Manichaeorum Sententia, in
Controversia Peccati,_ 1572, in which he declared: "I most solemnly
condemn the Manichean insanity concerning two creators. I have always
denied that original sin is something, or has ever been something
outside of man; I have never ascribed to this sin any materiality of its
own." (355.) This book was followed by another attack by Hesshusius and
an answer, in turn, by Flacius.

In the same year Hesshusius, in order to prevent further accessions to
Flacianism, published his _Antidote (Antidoton) against the Impious and
Blasphemous Dogma of Matthias Flacius Illyricus by which He Asserts that
Original Sin Is Substance._ In this book, which was republished in 1576
and again in 1579, Hesshusius correctly argued: "If original sin is the
substance of the soul, then we are compelled to assert one of two
things, _viz._, either that Satan is the creator of substances or that
God is the creator and preserver of sin. _Si substantia animae est
peccatum originis, alterum a duobus necesse est poni, videlicet, aut
Satanam esse conditorem substantiarum, aut Deum esse peccati creatorem
et sustentatorem._" (Gieseler 3, 2, 256.) At this late hour, 1572, Simon
Musaeus, too, entered the arena with his _Opinion Concerning Original
Sin, Sententia de Peccato Originali._ In it he taught "that original sin
is not a substance, but the utmost corruption of it, in matter as well
as form," and that therefore "Pelagianism no less than Manicheism is to
be excluded and condemned."

When the ministerium of Strassburg turned against Flacius, he again
published several books defending his position on the controverted
questions, which resulted in his expulsion from the city. In 1573
Flacius published an answer to Hesshusius's _Antidote_ entitled, _Solid
Refutation of the Groundless Sophistries, Calumnies, and Figments, as
also of the Most Corrupt Errors of the "Antidote" and of Other
Neopelagian Writers._ Flacius charged Hesshusius with misrepresentation,
and demanded that he swear whether he really believed to have found the
alleged errors in his writings. (Preger 2, 364ff.)

Till his death, on March 11, 1575, at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Flacius
consistently adhered to his false terminology as well as teaching,
apparently never for a moment doubting that he was but defending
Luther's doctrine. One of his last books was entitled, _Some Clear and
Splendid Testimonies of Martin Luther Concerning the Evil Essence,
Image, Form, or Shape_ (Wesen, essentia, Bild, Form oder Gestalt) _of
the Earthly Dead Adam and Concerning the Essential Transformation of
Man._ (389.) As stated above, the mistake of Flacius was that he took
literally terms denoting substance which the Bible and Luther employ in
a figurative sense.

173. Adherents of Flacius.

The chief supporters of Flacius were the Mansfeldians, Count Vollrath
and Cyriacus Spangenberg [born 1528; studied in Wittenberg; served in
Eisleben, then in Mansfeld; died in Strassburg February 10, 1604]. In
the serious dissensions which arose in Mansfeld in consequence of the
controversy on original sin, the Count and Spangenberg were opposed by
the Jena theologians and Superintendent Menzel [Jerome Menzel, born
1517; studied in Wittenberg; wrote against Spangenberg; died 1590]. As
stated above, it was Spangenberg who endeavored to bring about an
understanding between the contending parties on the principle: "_Teneat
Illyricus mentem, mutet linguam._" A colloquy was held 1572 at Castle
Mansfeld, in which Flacius and his adherents were pitted against Menzel,
Rhode, Fabricius, and others. When Fabricius declared in the
discussions: "Only in so far as our nature is not in conformity with the
Law of God is it corrupt," Flacius exclaimed: "_Non quantum_, not in as
far; but I say it is not in conformity because it is corrupt, _quia
corrupta est_." (Preger 2, 375.) Count Vollrath and his adviser, Caspar
Pflug gave Flacius a written testimony that at the colloquy he had not
been convinced, but found to be correct in the controversy on original
sin. The publication of this testimony by Flacius as also of the minutes
of the Colloquy by Count Vollrath, in 1573, resulted in a number of
further publications by Flacius and his friends as well as his
opponents. At Mansfeld the animosity against the Flacians did not
subside even after the death of Flacius in 1575. They were punished with
excommunication, incarceration, and the refusal of a Christian burial.
Count Vollrath left 1577, and died at Strassburg 1578. Spangenberg, who
also had secretly fled from Mansfeld, defended the doctrine of Flacius
in a tract, _De Peccato Originali, Concerning Original Sin_, which he
published 1586 under a pseudonym. He died without retracting or changing
his views.

Another adherent of Flacius was F. Coelestinus, professor at Jena. After
his suspension he left the city and participated in the controversy. He
published _Colloquium inter Se et Tilem. Hesshusium_. He died 1572. In
August, 1571, Court-preacher Christopher Irenaeus and Pastors Guenther
and Reinecker were dismissed in Weimar because of Flacianism. Irenaeus
published _Examen Libri Concordiae_ and many other books, in which he
contends that original sin is a substance. Pastors Wolf in Kahla,
Schneider in Altendorf, and Franke in Oberrosla were dismissed in 1572
for the same reason. They, too, entered the public arena in favor of
Flacius. At Lindau four preachers, who had identified themselves with
Flacius, were also deposed. One of them, Tobias Rupp, held a public
disputation with Andreae. In Antwerp the elders forbade their ministers
to indulge in any public polemics against Flacius. Among the supporters
of Flacius were also his son, Matthias Flacius, and Caspar Heldelin. It
may be noted here that Saliger (Beatus) and Fredeland, who were deposed
at Luebeck in 1568 also taught "that original sin is the very substance
of the body and soul of man," and that Christ had assumed "the flesh of
another species" than ours. (Gieseler 3, 2, 257.)

In Regensburg four adherents of Flacius were dismissed in 1574, among
them Joshua Opitz [born 1543; died 1585]. These and others emigrated to
the Archduchy of Austria, where the Lutherans were numerous and
influential, Opitz frequently preaching to an audience of 7,000. No less
than 40 of the Lutheran ministers of Austria are said to have shared the
views of Flacius. (Preger 2, 393.) Only a few of them revealed symptoms
of fanaticism, which resulted in their dismissal. Among the latter was
Joachim Magdeburgius, then an exile at Efferding. He taught "that the
bodies of believing Christians after their death were still essential
original sin, and that God's wrath remained over them till the Day of
Judgment." (Joecher, _Lexicon_ 3, 32.) At the same time he branded as
errorists Spangenberg, Opitz, and Irenaeus, who declared their dissent.
In 1581 the Flacians in Austria issued a declaration against the
_Formula of Concord_, charging its teaching to be inconsistent with
Luther's doctrine on original sin. As late as 1604 there were numerous
Flacianists in German Austria.

174. Decision of Formula of Concord.

Seeberg remarks: "Flacius was not a heretic, but in the wrangle of his
day he was branded as such, and this has been frequently repeated." (4,
2, 495.) A similar verdict is passed by Gieseler and other historians.
But whatever may be said in extenuation of his error, it cannot be
disputed that the unfortunate phrases of Flacius produced, and were
bound to produce, most serious religious offense, as well as theological
strife, and hopeless doctrinal confusion. Even when viewed in the light
of his distinction between formal substance (man as endowed with the
image of God) and material substance (man as possessed of body and soul,
together with will and intellect), the odiousness of his terminology is
not entirely removed. It was and remained a form of doctrine and trope
or mode of teaching which the Lutherans were no more minded to tolerate
than the error of Strigel.

Accordingly, the first article of the _Formula of Concord_ rejects both
the synergistic as well as the Manichean aberrations in the doctrine of
original sin. In its Thorough Declaration we read: "Now this doctrine
[of original sin] must be so maintained and guarded that it may not
deflect either to the Pelagian or the Manichean side. For this reason
the contrary doctrine ... should also be briefly stated." (865, 16.)
Accordingly, in a series of arguments, the Flacian error is thoroughly
refuted and decidedly rejected. At the same time the _Formula of
Concord_ points out the offensiveness of the Flacian phraseology. It
refers to the controversy regarding this question as "scandalous and
very mischievous," and declares: "Therefore it is unchristian and
horrible to hear that original sin is baptized in the name of the Holy
Trinity, sanctified, and saved, and other similar expressions found in
the writings of the recent Manicheans, with which we will not offend
simple-minded people." (873, 45. 59.)

On the other hand, the _Formula of Concord_ is just as determined in
opposing every effort at extenuating the corruption wrought by original
sin. It is solicitous to explain that in designating original sin as an
accident, its corruption is not minimized in the least, if the answer
concerning the nature of this accident is not derived from philosophy
or human reason, but from the Holy Scriptures. "For the Scriptures,"
says the _Formula_, "testify that original sin is an unspeakable evil
and such an entire corruption of human nature that in it and all its
internal and external powers nothing pure or good remains, but
everything is entirely corrupt, so that on account of original sin man
in God's sight is truly spiritually dead (_plane sit emortuus_), with
all his powers dead to that which is good." (879, 60.)

Accordingly, the _Formula of Concord_ rejects the errors of Strigel and
the Semi-Pelagians, "that original sin is only external, a slight,
insignificant spot sprinkled, or a stain dashed, upon the nature of man
... along with and beneath which the nature nevertheless possesses and
retains its integrity and power even in spiritual things. Or that
original sin is not a despoliation or deficiency, but only an external
impediment to these spiritual good powers.... They are rebuked and
rejected likewise who teach that the nature has indeed been greatly
weakened and corrupted through the Fall, but that nevertheless it has
not entirely lost all good with respect to divine, spiritual things,
and that what is sung in our churches, '_Through Adam's fall is all
corrupt, nature and essence human,_' is not true, but from natural
birth it still has something good, small, little, and inconsiderable
though it be, namely, capacity, skill, aptness, or ability to begin, to
effect, or to help effect something in spiritual things." (865, 21ff.)

While the _Formula of Concord_ does not deny the capacity of fallen man
for salvation, it is careful in defining that this is not an active, but
a passive capacity. That is to say: Man is utterly incapable of
qualifying himself for, or of contributing in the least toward, his own
spiritual restoration; but what is impossible for man is not impossible
with God who, indeed, is able to convert man, endow him with new
spiritual powers, and lead him to eternal salvation,--a goal for the
attainment of which, in contradistinction from inanimate and other
creatures, man, being a rational creature, endowed with intellect and
will, was created by God and redeemed by Christ. In the _Formula of
Concord_ we read: "And although God, according to His just, strict
sentence, has utterly cast away the fallen evil spirits forever, He has
nevertheless, out of special, pure mercy, willed that poor fallen human
nature might again become and be capable and participant of conversion,
the grace of God, and eternal life; not from its own natural, active [or
effective] skill, aptness, or capacity (for the nature of man is
obstinate enmity against God), but from pure grace, through the gracious
efficacious working of the Holy Ghost. And this Dr. Luther calls
_capacitatem_ (_non activam, sed passivam_), which he explains thus:
_Quando patres liberum arbitrium defendunt, capacitatem libertatis eius
praedicant, quod scilicet verti potest ad bonum per gratiam Dei et fieri
revera liberum, ad quod creatum est_. That is: When the Fathers defend
the free will, they are speaking of this, that it is capable of freedom
in this sense, that by God's grace it can be converted to good, and
become truly free, for which it was created in the beginning." (889,

This accords with Luther's words in _De Servo Arbitrio_: "It would be
correct if we should designate as the power of free will that [power] by
which man, who is created for life or eternal death, is apt to be moved
by the Spirit and imbued with the grace of God. For we, too, confess
this power, _i.e._, aptitude or, as the Sophists [Scholastic
theologians] say, disposition and passive aptitude. And who does not
know that trees and animals are not endowed with it? For, as the saying
goes, heaven is not created for geese. _Hanc enim vim, hoc est,
aptitudinem, seu, ut Sophistae loquuntur, dispositivam qualitatem et
passivam aptitudinem, et nos confitemur; quam non arboribus neque
bestiis inditam esse, quis est, qui nesciat? Neque enim pro anseribus,
ut dicitur, coelum creavit._" (E. v. a. 158: St. L. 18. 1720.)

XVI. The Osiandrian and Stancarian Controversies.

175. Osiander in Nuernberg and in Koenigsberg.

In the writings of Luther we often find passages foreboding a future
corruption of the doctrine of justification, concerning which he
declared in the _Smalcald Articles_: "Of this article nothing can be
yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth, and whatever will
not abide, should sink to ruin.... And upon this article all things
depend which we teach and practise in opposition to the Pope, the devil,
and the world. Therefore we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and
not doubt, for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and devil and all
things gain the victory and suit over us." (461, 5.) Martin Chemnitz
remarks: "I frequently shudder, because Luther--I do not know by what
kind of presentiment--in his commentaries on the Letter to the Galatians
and on the First Book of Moses so often repeats the statement: 'This
doctrine [of justification] will be obscured again after my death.'"
(Walther, _Kern und Stern_, 26.)

Andrew Osiander was the first to fulfil Luther's prophecy. In 1549 he
began publicly to propound a doctrine in which he abandoned the forensic
conception of justification by imputation of the merits of Christ, and
returned to the Roman view of justification by infusion _i.e._, by
infusion of the eternal essential righteousness of the divine nature of
Christ. According to his own statement, he had harbored these views ever
since about 1522. He is said also to have presented them in a sermon
delivered at the convention in Smalcald, 1537. (Planck 4, 257.) Yet he
made no special effort to develop and publicly to disseminate his ideas
during the life of Luther. After the death of the Reformer, however,
Osiander is reported to have said: "Now that the lion is dead, I shall
easily dispose of the foxes and hares"--_i.e._, Melanchthon and the
other Lutheran theologians. (257.) Osiander was the originator of the
controversy "Concerning the Righteousness of Faith before God," which
was finally settled in Article III of the _Formula of Concord_.

Osiander, lauded by modern historians as the only real "systematizer"
among the Lutherans of the first generation, was a man as proud,
overbearing, and passionate as he was gifted, keen, sagacious, learned,
eloquent, and energetic. He was born December 19, 1498, at Gunzenhausen,
Franconia, and died October 17, 1552, at Koenigsberg, where he was also
buried with high honors in the Old City Church. In 1522 he was appointed
priest at St. Lawrence's Church in the Free City of Nuernberg. Here he
immediately acted the part of a determined champion of the Reformation.
Subsequently he also participated in some of the most important
transactions of his day. He was present at the Marburg Colloquy, 1529,
where he made the personal acquaintance of Luther and the Wittenbergers.
He also took part in the discussions at the Diet in Augsburg, 1530; at
Smalcald, 1537; at Hagenau and Worms, 1540. Nor were his interests
confined to theological questions. When, at Nuernberg, 1543, the work of
Copernicus, _De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium_, "Concerning the
Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies," was published for the first time,
Osiander read the proof-sheets and wrote the Preface, in which he
designated the new theory as "hypotheses," thus facilitating its
circulation also among the Catholics, until in the 17th century the book
was placed on the _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_, where it remained till
the 18th century.

When the Augsburg Interim was introduced in Nuernberg, Osiander
resigned, and with words of deep emotion (in a letter of November 22,
1548, addressed to the city council) he left the place where he had
labored more than a quarter of a century. January 27 1549, he arrived in
Koenigsberg. Here he was joyously received by Count Albrecht of Prussia,
whom he had gained for the Reformation in 1523. Moved by gratitude
toward Osiander, whom he honored as his "spiritual father," Count
Albrecht appointed him pastor of the Old City Church and, soon after,
first professor of theology at the University of Koenigsberg, with a
double salary, though Osiander had never received an academic degree.
The dissatisfaction which this unusual preferment caused among his
colleagues, Briessman, Hegemon, Isinder, and Moerlin, soon developed
into decided antipathy against Osiander, especially because of his
overbearing, domineering ways as well as his intriguing methods. No
doubt, this personal element added largely to the animosity and violence
of the controversy that was soon to follow, and during which the
professors in Koenigsberg are said to have carried firearms into their
academic sessions. (Schaff, _Creeds_ 1, 273.) Yet it cannot be regarded
as the real cause or even as the immediate occasion, of the conflict,
which was really brought about by the unsound, speculative, and mystical
views of Osiander on the image of God and, particularly, on
justification and the righteousness of faith,--doctrinal points on which
he deviated from the Lutheran teaching to such an extent that a
controversy was unavoidable. Evidently, his was either a case of relapse
into Romanism, or, what seems to be the more probable alternative,
Osiander never attained to a clear apprehension of the Lutheran truth
nor ever fully freed himself from the Roman doctrine, especially in its
finer and more veiled form of mysticism.

176. Opposed by Moerlin and Lutherans Generally.

Osiander, as stated, had conceived the fundamental thoughts of his
system long before he reached Koenigsberg. In 1524, when only twenty-six
years of age, he laid down the outlines of his theory in a publication
entitled: "_A Good Instruction (Ein gut Unterricht) and Faithful Advice
from the Holy Divine Scriptures What Attitude to Take in These
Dissensions Concerning Our Holy Faith and Christian Doctrine_, dealing
especially with the questions what is God's Word and what human
doctrine, what Christ and what Antichrist." Here he says: "Whoever
hears, retains, and believes the Word, receives God Himself, for God is
the Word. If, therefore, the Word of God, Christ, our Lord, dwells in us
by faith and we are one with Him, we may say with Paul: 'I live, though
not I, but Christ lives in me,' and then we are justified by faith."
(Gieseler 3, 2, 270.) In the following year, 1525, he wrote in his
_Action of the Honorable Wise Council in Nuernberg with their Preachers
(Handlung eines ehrsamen weisen Rats zu Nuernberg mit ihren
Praedikanten)_: "The one and only righteousness availing before God is
God Himself. But Christ is the Word which we apprehend by faith, and
thus Christ in us, God Himself, is our Righteousness which avails before
God." "The Gospel has two parts; the first, that Christ has satisfied
the justice of God; the other, that He has cleansed us from sin, and
justifies us by dwelling in us (_und uns rechtfertigt, so er in uns
wohnet_)." (271.) The embryonic ideas of these early publications
concerning the image of God and justification were fully developed by
Osiander in his book of 1550, _Whether the Son of God would have had to
be Incarnated (An Filius Dei fuerit Incarnandus), if Sin had Not Entered
the World;_ and especially in his confession of September, 1551,
_Concerning the Only Mediator Jesus Christ (Von dem einigen Mittler Jesu
Christo) and Justification of Faith_ which appeared also in Latin under
the title _De Unico Mediatore_, in October of the same year.

The public conflict began immediately after Osiander had entered upon
his duties at the university. In his inaugural disputation of April 5,
1549, "Concerning the Law and Gospel (De Lege et Evangelio)," Osiander's
vanity prompted him at least to hint at his peculiar views, which he
well knew were not in agreement with the doctrine taught at Wittenberg
and in the Lutheran Church at large. His colleague, Matthias Lauterwald,
a Wittenberg master, who died 1555, immediately took issue with him. On
the day following the disputation, he published theses in which he
declared: "Osiander denied that faith is a part of repentance." October
24 of the following year Osiander held a second disputation ("On
Justification, De Iustificatione") in which he came out clearly against
the doctrine hitherto taught in the Lutheran Church. But now also a
much more able and determined combatant appeared in the arena, Joachim
Moerlin, who henceforth devoted his entire life to defeat Osiandrism
and to vindicate Luther's forensic view of justification.

Moerlin (Moehrlein) was born at Wittenberg April 6, 1514, he studied
under Luther and was made Master in 1537 and Doctor in 1540; till 1543
he was superintendent in Arnstadt, Thuringia, and superintendent in
Goettingen till 1549, when he was compelled to leave because of his
opposition to the Augsburg Interim. Recommended by Elizabeth Duchess of
Braunschweig-Lueneburg, the mother-in-law of Duke Albrecht, he was
appointed preacher at the Dome of Koenigsberg in 1550. Clearly
understanding that solid comfort in life and death is possible only as
long as our faith rests solely on the _aliena iustitia_, on the
objective righteousness of Christ, which is without us, and is offered
in the Gospel and received by faith; and fully realizing also that
Christian assurance is incompatible with such a doctrine as Osiander
taught, according to which our faith is to rely on a righteous condition
within ourselves, Moerlin publicly attacked Osiander from his pulpit,
and in every way emphasized the fact that his teaching could never be
tolerated in the Lutheran Church. Osiander replied in his lectures. The
situation thus created was most intolerable. At the command of the Duke
discussions were held between Moerlin and Osiander, but without result.

In order to settle the dispute, Duke Albrecht, accordingly, on October
5, 1551, placed the entire matter before the evangelical princes and
cities with the request that the points involved be discussed at the
various synods and their verdicts forwarded to Koenigsberg. This aroused
the general interest and the deepest concern of the entire Lutheran
Church in Germany. Numerous opinions of the various synods and
theologians arrived during the winter of 1551 to 1552. With the
exception of the Wuerttemberg _Response (Responsum)_, written by John
Brenz, and the _Opinion_ of Matthew Vogel, both of whom regarded
Osiander's teaching as differing from the doctrine received by the
Lutheran Church in terms and phrases rather than in substance, they were
unfavorable to Osiander. At the same time all, including the opinions of
Brenz and Vogel, revealed the fact that the Lutherans, the theologians
of Wittenberg as well as those of Jena, Brandenburg, Pomerania, Hamburg,
etc., were firmly united in maintaining Luther's doctrine, _viz._, that
the righteousness of faith is not the essential righteousness of the Son
of God, as Osiander held but the obedience of Christ the God-man imputed
by grace to all true believers as their sole righteousness before God.

Feeling safe under the protection of Duke Albrecht, and apparently not
in the least impressed by the general opposition which his innovations
met with at the hands of the Lutherans, Osiander continued the
controversy by publishing his _Proof (Beweisung) that for Thirty Years I
have Always Taught the Same Doctrine_. And irritated by an opinion of
Melanchthon (whom Osiander denounced as a pestilential heretic),
published with offensive explanations added by the Wittenbergers, he in
the same year (April, 1552) wrote his _Refutation (Widerlegung) of the
Unfounded, Unprofitable Answer of Philip Melanchthon_. In this
immoderate publication Osiander boasted that only the Philippian rabble,
dancing according to the piping of Melanchthon, was opposed to him.

Before long, however, also such opponents of the Philippists as Flacius,
Gallus, Amsdorf, and Wigand were prominently arraigned against Osiander.
Meanwhile (May 23, 1552) Moerlin published a large volume entitled:
_Concerning the Justification of Faith_. Osiander replied in his
_Schmeckbier_ of June 24 1552, a book as keen as it was coarse. In 1552
and 1553 Flacius issued no less than twelve publications against
Osiander, one of them bearing the title: _Zwo fuernehmliche Gruende
Osiandri verlegt, zu einem Schmeckbier_; another: _Antidotum auf
Osiandri giftiges Schmeckbier_. (Preger 2, 551)

When the controversy had just about reached its climax, Osiander died,
October 17, 1552. Soon after, the Duke enjoined silence on both parties,
and Moerlin was banished. He accepted a position as superintendent in
Brunswick, where he zealously continued his opposition to Osiandrism as
well as to other corruptions of genuine Lutheranism. At Koenigsberg the
Osiandrists continued to enjoy the protection and favor of Duke Albrecht
and gradually developed into a quasi-political party. The leader of the
small band was John Funck, the son-in-law of Osiander and the chaplain
of the Duke. In 1566, however, the king of Poland intervened, and Funck
was executed as a disturber of the public peace. Moerlin was recalled
and served as bishop of Samland at Koenigsberg from 1567 till his death
in 1571. The _Corpus Doctrinae Pruthenicum_, or _Borussicum_, framed by
Moerlin and Chemnitz and adopted 1567 at Koenigsberg, rejected the
doctrines of Osiander. Moerlin also wrote a history of Osiandrism
entitled: _Historia, welcher gestalt sich die Osiandrische Schwaermerei
im Lande zu Preussen erhaben_.

177. Corruptions Involved in Osiander's Teaching.

Osiander's theory of justification according to which the righteousness
of faith is the eternal, essential holiness of the divine nature of
Christ inhering and dwelling in man, consistently compelled him to
maintain that justification is not an act by which God declares a man
just, but an act by which He actually makes him inherently just and
righteous; that it is not an imputation of a righteousness existing
outside of man, but an actual infusion of a righteousness dwelling in
man; that it is not a mere acquittal from sin and guilt, but
regeneration, renewal, sanctification and internal, physical cleansing
from sin that it is not a forensic or judicial act outside of man or a
declaration concerning man's standing before God and his relation to
Him but a sort of medicinal process within man, that the righteousness
of faith is not the alien (strange, foreign) righteousness, _aliena
iustitia_ (a term employed also by Luther), consisting in the obedience
of Christ, but a quality, condition, or change effected in believers by
the essential righteousness of the divine nature dwelling in them
through faith in Christ; that faith does not justify on account of the
thing outside of man in which it trusts and upon which it relies, but
by reason of the thing which it introduces and produces in man; that,
accordingly, justification is never instantaneous and complete, but
gradual and progressive.

Osiander plainly teaches that the righteousness of faith (our
righteousness before God) is not the obedience rendered by Christ to the
divine Law, but the indwelling righteousness of God (_iustitia Dei
inhabitans_),--essentially the same original righteousness or image that
inhered in Adam and Eve before the Fall. It consists, not indeed in good
works or in "doing and suffering," but in a quality (_Art_) which
renders him who receives it just, and moves him to do and to suffer what
is right. It is the holiness (_Frommigkeit_) which consists in the
renewal of man, in the gifts of grace, in the new spiritual life, in the
regenerated nature of man. By His suffering and death, said Osiander,
Christ made satisfaction and acquired forgiveness for us, but He did not
thereby effect our justification. His obedience as such does not
constitute our righteousness before God, but merely serves to restore
it. It was necessary that God might be able to dwell in us, and so
become our life and righteousness. Faith justifies, not inasmuch as it
apprehends the merits of Christ, but inasmuch as it unites us with the
divine nature, the infinite essential righteousness of God, in which our
sins are diluted, as it were, and lost, as an impure drop disappears
when poured into an ocean of liquid purity.

According to the teaching of Osiander therefore, also the assurance that
we are justified and accepted by God does not rest exclusively on the
merits of Christ and the pardon offered in the Gospel, but must be based
on the righteous quality inhering in us. Our assurance is conditioned
not alone upon what Christ has done outside of us and for us but rather
upon what He is in us and produces in us. The satisfaction rendered by
Christ many centuries ago is neither the only ground on which God
regards us as just, nor a sufficient basis of our certainty that we are
accepted by God. Not the Christ for us, but rather the Christ in us, is
the basis both of our justification and assurance. Accordingly in order
to satisfy an alarmed sinner, it is not sufficient to proclaim the
Gospel-promise of divine absolution. In addition, an investigation is
required whether the righteousness and holiness of God is also really
found dwelling in him. While Luther had urged alarmed consciences to
trust in the merits of Christ alone for their justification and
salvation, Osiander led them to rely on the new life of divine wisdom,
holiness, and righteousness dwelling in their own hearts. From the very
beginning of the controversy, Moerlin, Melanchthon, and the Lutherans
generally were solicitous to point out that Osiander's doctrine robs
Christians of this glorious and only solid comfort that it is not a
subjective quality in their own hearts, but solely and only the
objective and absolutely perfect obedience rendered by Christ many
hundred years ago, which God regards when He justifies the wicked, and
upon which man must rely for the assurance of his acceptance and

Consistently developed, therefore, the innovation of Osiander was bound
to vitiate in every particular the doctrine of justification restored
once more by Luther. In fact, his theory was but a revamping of just
such teaching as had driven the Lutherans out of the Church of Rome.
True, Osiander denied that by our own works we merit justification; that
our righteousness consists in our good works; that our good works are
imputed to us as righteousness. But the fact that he held a subjective
condition to be our righteousness before God gives to his doctrine an
essentially Roman stamp, no matter how widely it may differ from it in
other respects. Moehler, the renowned Catholic apologist, declared that
properly interpreted and illucidated, Osiander's doctrine was "identical
with the Roman Catholic doctrine." (Frank 2, 5. 91.) As stated before,
his teaching was Romanism in its finer and more veiled form of

178. Excerpts from Osiander's Writings.

In his publication of January 10, 1552 _Wider den lichtfluechtigen
Nachtraben_, Osiander endeavors to prove that he is in complete
doctrinal agreement with Luther. In it he gives the following summary,
but guarded, presentation of his views. "I understand it this way," says
he. "1. It flowed from His pure grace and mercy that God sacrificed His
only Son for us. 2. The Son became man and was made under the Law, and
He has redeemed us from the Law and from the curse of the Law. 3. He
took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, for which He suffered,
died, shed His blood, descended into hell, rose again, and thus overcame
sin, death, and hell, and merited for us forgiveness of sin,
reconciliation with God, the grace and gift of justification, and
eternal life. 4. This is to be preached in all the world. 5. Whoever
believes this and is baptized, is justified and blessed (_selig_) by
virtue of such faith. 6. Faith apprehends Christ so that He dwells in
our hearts through faith, Eph. 3, 17. 7. Christ, living in us through
faith, is our Wisdom, Righteousness, Holiness, and Redemption, 1 Cor. 1,
30, Jer. 23, 6; 33, 16. 8. Christ, true God and man, dwelling in us
through faith, is our Righteousness according to His divine nature, as
Dr. Luther says: 'I rely on the righteousness which is God Himself; this
He cannot reject. Such is, says Luther, the simple, correct
understanding; do not suffer yourself to be led away from it.'" (Frank
2, 7f.) Seeberg cites the following passage: "But if the question be
asked what is righteousness, one must answer: Christ dwelling in us by
faith is our Righteousness according to His divinity; and the
forgiveness of sins, which is not Christ Himself, but merited by Christ,
is a preparation and cause that God offers us His righteousness, which
He is Himself." (_Dogg_. 4, 498.) Incidentally Osiander's appeal to
Luther is unwarranted. For according to him Christ is our Righteousness
because His obedience is God's obedience, the work not only of His human
nature, but, at the same time, also of His divine nature, while
according to Osiander everything that Christ did for us merely serves to
bring about the indwelling of the divine nature of Christ, whose
essential holiness is our righteousness before God. That Osiander was
not in agreement with Luther, as he claimed, appears also from his
assertion that such statements of Luther as: Christ's death is our life,
forgiveness of sins is our righteousness, etc., must be explained
figuratively, as words flowing from a joyous heart. (2, 23.)

The manner in which Osiander maintained that Christ is our Righteousness
only according to His divine nature appears from the following excerpts:
"If the question be asked according to what nature Christ, His whole
undivided person, is our Righteousness, then just as when one asks
according to what nature He is the Creator of heaven and earth, the
clear, correct, and plain answer is that He is our Righteousness
according to His divine, and not according to His human nature, although
we are unable to find, obtain or apprehend such divine righteousness
apart from His humanity." (Frank 2, 12.) Again: "When we say: Christ is
our Righteousness, we must understand His deity, which enters us through
His humanity. When Christ says: I am the Bread of Life, we must
understand His deity which comes into us through His humanity and is our
life. When He says: My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink
indeed, we must take it to mean His deity which is in the flesh and
blood and is meat and drink for us. Thus, too, when John says, 1 John 1,
7: The blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin, we must understand the
deity of Christ which is in the blood; for John does not speak of the
blood of Christ as it was shed on the cross, but as it, united with the
flesh of Christ, is our heavenly meat and drink by faith." (23.)
Osiander, therefore, is but consistent when he reiterates that the Son
of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Father are our Righteousness, because
their divine essence which by faith dwells in Christians, is one and the

Osiander emphasizes that the essential righteousness of the divine
nature of Christ alone is able to save us. He says: "For of what help
would it be to you if you had all the righteousness which men and angels
can imagine, but lacked this eternal righteousness which is itself the
Son of God, according to His divine nature, with the Father and the Holy
Ghost? For no other righteousness can lift you up to heaven and bring
you to the Father. But when you apprehend this righteousness through
faith, and Christ is in you, what can you then be lacking which you do
not possess richly, superabundantly, and infinitely in His deity?"
Again: "Since Christ is ours and is in us, God Himself and all His
angels behold nothing in us but righteousness on account of the highest,
eternal, and infinite righteousness of Christ, which is His deity itself
dwelling in us. And although sin still remains in, and clings to, our
flesh, it is like an impure little drop compared with a great pure
ocean, and on account of the righteousness of Christ which is in us God
does not want to see it." (Frank 2, 100. 102.)

To this peculiarity of Osiander, according to which he seems to have had
in mind a justification by a sort of mystico-physical dilution rather
than by imputation, the _Formula of Concord_ refers as follows: "For one
side has contended that the righteousness of faith, which the apostle
calls the righteousness of God, is God's essential righteousness, which
is Christ Himself as the true, natural, and essential Son of God, who
dwells in the elect by faith and impels them to do right, and thus is
their righteousness, compared with which righteousness the sins of all
men are as a drop of water compared with the great ocean." (917, 2; 790,

In his confession _Concerning the Only Mediator_, of 1551, Osiander
expatiates on justification, and defines it as an act by which
righteousness is "infused" into believers. We read: "It is apparent that
whatever part Christ, as the faithful Mediator, acted with regard to
God, His heavenly Father, for our sakes, by fulfilling the Law and by
His suffering and death, was accomplished more than 1,500 years ago,
when we were not in existence. For this reason it cannot, properly
speaking, have been, nor be called, our justification, but only our
redemption and the atonement for us and our sins. For whoever would be
justified must believe; but if he is to believe, he must already be born
and live. Therefore Christ has not justified us who _now_ live and die;
but we are redeemed by it [His work 1,500 years ago] from God's wrath,
death, and hell.... This, however, is true and undoubted that by the
fulfilment of the Law and by His suffering and death He merited and
earned from God, His heavenly Father, this great and superabounding
grace, namely, that He not only has forgiven our sin and taken from us
the unbearable burden of the Law, but that He also _wishes to justify us
by faith in Christ, to infuse justification or the righteousness
(sondern auch uns durch den Glauben an Christum will rechtfertigen, die
Gerechtmachung eingiessen)_, and, if only we obey, through the operation
of His Holy Spirit and through the death of Christ, in which we are
embodied by the baptism of Christ, _to mortify, purge out, and entirely
destroy sin_ which is already forgiven us, but nevertheless still dwells
in our flesh and adheres to us. Therefore the _other part_ of the office
of our dear faithful Lord and Mediator Jesus Christ is now to turn
toward us in order to deal also with us poor sinners as with the guilty
party, that we acknowledge such great grace and gratefully receive it by
faith, _in order that He by faith may make us alive and just from the
death of sin, and that sin, which is already forgiven, but nevertheless
still dwells and inheres in our flesh, may be altogether mortified and
destroyed in us. And this, first of all, is the act of our
justification._" (Tschackert, 492f.; Planck 4, 268.)

That Osiander practically identified justification with regeneration,
renewal, and gradual sanctification appears from the following
quotations. To justify, says he, means "to make a just man out of an
unjust one, that is to recall a dead man to life--_ex impio iustum
facere, hoc est, mortuum ad vitam revocare._" (Seeberg 4, 499.) Again:
"Thus the Gospel further shows its power and also justifies us, _i.e._,
it makes us just, even as, and in the same degree as, He also makes us
alive (_eben und in aller Masse, wie er uns auch lebendig macht_)."
(Frank 2, 18.) "And here you see again how terribly those err who
endeavor to prove by this passage of David and Paul that our
righteousness is nothing else than forgiveness of sin; for they have
overlooked the covering of sin with the [essential] righteousness of
Christ whom we put on in Baptism; _they have also removed from
justification the renewal of the inner man effected by regeneration._"

Osiander was fanatical in denouncing those who identified justification
with the forgiveness of sins. In his Disputation of October 24, 1550, he
declared: "The entire fulness of the deity dwells in Christ bodily,
hence in those also in whom Christ dwells.... Therefore we are just by
His essential righteousness.... Whoever does not hold this manner of our
justification is certainly a Zwinglian at heart, no matter what he may
confess with his mouth.... They also teach things colder than ice [who
hold] that we are regarded as righteous only on account of the
forgiveness of sins, and not on account of the [essential] righteousness
of Christ who dwells in us through faith. _Glacie frigidiora docent nos
tantum propter remissionem peccatorum reputari iustos, et non etiam
propter iustitiam Christi per fidem in nobis inhabitantis. Non enim tam
iniquus Deus est, ut eum pro iusto habeat, in quo verae iustitiae
prorsus nil est._" (Frank 2, 97; Tschackert, 494; Seeberg 4, 497.) They
are errorists, Osiander declared, "who say, teach, and write that the
righteousness is outside of us." (Frank 2, 100.) "The [essential]
righteousness of Christ is indeed, imputed to us, but only when it is in
us." "For God is not so unrighteous, nor such a lover of unrighteousness
that He regards him as just in whom there is absolutely nothing of the
true righteousness; as it is written, Ps. 5, 4: 'For Thou art not a God
that hath pleasure in wickedness; neither shall evil dwell with Thee,'"
(Planck 4, 273.) Evidently, Osiander rejected or had never fully grasped
Paul's clear statement and teaching concerning the God who justifies the
ungodly, Rom. 4, 5: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him
that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

179. Attitude of Brenz and Melanchthon.

With the exception of Brenz and Vogel, who, as stated before, regarded
Osiander's doctrine as differing from the generally received view in
phraseology and mode of presentation rather than in substance, the
Lutherans everywhere were unanimous in rejecting Osiander's theory as a
recrudescence of the Romish justification not by imputation, but by
infusion. And as to Brenz, who put a milder construction on the
statements of Osiander, Melanchthon wrote October 1, 1557: "Concerning
the affair with Osiander, my writings are publicly known, which I hope
will be of benefit to many. Brenz also is agreed with us doctrinally. He
said he had advised peace, for he did not take Osiander's expressions to
be as dangerous as the opponents did, and for this reason could not as
yet condemn his person; but in doctrine he was agreed with us and would
unite in condemning Osiander if the charges made against him were
proved." Melanchthon himself fully realized the viciousness of
Osiander's error, although at the colloquy in Worms, 1557, he, too, was
opposed to condemning Osiandrism together with Zwinglianism, Majorism,
and Adiaphorism, as the theologians of Ducal Saxony demanded. (_C. R._
9, 311. 402.)

In May, 1551, Melanchthon wrote to Osiander that by the essential
righteousness of Christ renewal is effected in us, but that we have
forgiveness of sins and are reputed to be righteous on account of the
merit of Christ whose blood and death appeased the wrath of God. In his
confutation of the Osiandric doctrine, written in September, 1555, we
read: "Osiander's definition of righteousness is: Righteousness is that
which makes us do what is righteous.... Hence man is righteous by doing
what is righteous.... Thereupon Osiander, in order to say something also
concerning forgiveness of sins, tears remission of sins from
righteousness. He expressly declares that the sins are forgiven to all
men; Nero however, is damned because he does not possess the essential
righteousness; and this, he says, is God Himself, Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit.... Osiander contends that man is just on account of the
indwelling of God, or on account of the indwelling God, not on account
of the obedience of the Mediator, not by the imputed righteousness of
the Mediator through grace. And he corrupts the proposition, 'By faith
we are justified,' into, By faith we are prepared that we may become
just by something else, _viz._, the inhabiting God. Thus he in reality
says what the Papists say: 'We are righteous by our renewal,' except
that he mentions the cause where the Papists mention the effect. _Ita re
ipsa dicit, quod Papistae dicunt, sumus iusti novitate, nisi quod
nominat causam, ubi nominant Papistae effectum_. We are just when God
renews us. He therefore detracts from the honor due to the Mediator,
obscures the greatness of sin, destroys the chief consolation of the
pious, and leads them into perpetual doubt. For faith cannot exist
unless it looks upon the promise of mercy concerning the Mediator. Nor
is there an inhabitation unless the consolation is received by this
faith. And it is a preposterous way of teaching that one is to believe
first the inhabitation, afterwards forgiveness of sins (_prius credere
inhabitationem, postea remissionem peccatorum_). Since therefore this
dogma of Osiander is both false and pernicious to consciences, it must
be shunned and damned." (_C. R._ 7, 781; 8, 579ff.)

In another essay, of September, 1556, signed also by Melanchthon, the
following propositions are rejected: 1. Man becomes righteous on
account of the essential righteousness. 2. Man becomes righteous on
account of the essential righteousness of God the Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit. 3. Man becomes righteous before God on account of the indwelling
of God. 4. Righteousness consists in the indwelling of Christ, on
account of which God imputes righteousness to us.... 5. Nor must one say
there are two or more parts of justification: faith, inhabitation, good
works, etc. For justification before God is to receive forgiveness of
sins and to become acceptable to God on account of Christ.... 6. This
proposition, too, is false: The regenerate after the Fall are righteous
in the same manner as Adam was before the Fall, namely, not by
imputation, but by inhabitation or original righteousness.... 8. It is
also false when some say we are righteous by faith, namely, in a
preparative way in order afterwards to be righteous by the essential
righteousness. At bottom this is Popish and destructive of faith.... 9.
The following propositions must be rejected altogether: The obedience of
Christ is called righteousness in a tropical sense; Christ justifies
accidentally (_per accidens_). (_C. R._ 8, 561f.; 9, 3l9. 451. 455.

180. Osiander's Views on Image of God.

Osiander's corruption of the doctrine of justification was closely
connected with his peculiar view concerning the image of God (the
central idea of his entire system), of which, however, he declared that
he did not consider it essential, and would not contend with anybody
about it. Nor were the questions involved disputed to any extent or
dealt with in the _Formula of Concord_. As to Osiander, however, the
train of his thoughts runs as follows:--

The Logos, the divine Word, is the image of God, into whom His entire
essence flows in a manner and process eternal. In a temporal and
historical way the same image is destined to be realized in the nature
of man. Divine essential righteousness indwelling and efficacious in
humanity--such was the eternal plan of God. For the realization of this
purpose the Logos, God's image, was to become man, even if the human
race should not have fallen. This was necessary because in finite man
there is absolutely no similarity with the infinite essence of the
non-incarnate Logos. Without the incarnation, therefore, this infinite
dissimilarity would have remained forever (_esset et maneret simpliciter
infinita dissimilitudo inter hominem et Verbum Dei_). And in order that
man might be capable of God and share His divine nature (_capax Dei et
divinae naturae consors_), God created him according to His image;
_i.e._, according to the idea of the incarnate Logos. "God formed the
body of man," said Osiander, "that it should be altogether like unto the
future body of Christ. Thereupon He breathed into it the breath of life,
_i.e._, a rational soul together with the human spirit, adorned with the
proper powers, in such a manner that it, too, should be like unto the
future soul of Christ in everything." (Frank 2, 104.)

In the incarnate Logos, however, according to whom man was created,
humanity and divinity are personally united. When the Word was made
flesh, the divine essence was imparted to His human nature. And Christ,
in turn, imparts the same essence to all who by faith are one with Him.
From eternity the incarnate Word was destined to be the head of the
congregation in order that the essential righteousness of God might flow
from Him into His body, the believers. Before the Fall the Son of God
dwelled in Adam, making him just by God's essential righteousness. By
the Fall this righteousness was lost. Hence the redemption and atonement
of Christ were required in order again to pave the way for the renewal
of the lost image or the indwelling of God's essential righteousness in
man. The real source of this righteousness and divine life in man,
however, is not the human, but the divine nature of Christ. In the
process of justification or of making man righteous, the human nature of
Christ merely serves as a medium, or as it were, a canal, through which
the eternal essential wisdom, holiness, and righteousness of Christ's
divine nature flows into our hearts.

Christ, the "inner Word" (John 1), says Osiander, approaches man in the
"external Word" (the words spoken by Jesus and His apostles), and
through it enters the believing soul. For through Word, Sacrament, and
faith we are united with His humanity. In the Lord's Supper, for
instance, we become the flesh and blood of Christ, just as we draw the
nourishment out of natural food and transform it into our flesh and
blood. And since the humanity of Christ, with which we become one in the
manner described, is personally united with the deity, it imparts to us
also the divine essence, and, as a result, we, too, are the abode of the
essential righteousness of God. "We cannot receive the divine nature
from Christ," says Osiander, "if we are not embodied in Him by faith and
Baptism, thus becoming flesh and blood and bone of His flesh, blood, and
bone." As the branches could not partake of the nature of the vine if
they were not of the wood of the vine, even so we could not share the
divine nature of Christ if we had not, incorporated in Him by faith and
Baptism, become flesh, blood, and bone of His flesh, blood, and bone.
Accordingly, as Christ's humanity became righteous through the union
with God, the essential righteousness which moved Him to obedience
toward God, thus we also become righteous through our union with Christ
and in Him with God. (Frank 2, 104. 20ff.; Seeberg 4, 497f.)

In view of such speculative teaching, in which justification is
transformed into a sort of mystico-physical process, it is not
surprising that the charge of pantheism was also raised against
Osiander. The theologians of Brandenburg asserted that he inferred from
his doctrine that the believers in Christ are also divine persons,
because the Father, Son and Holy Ghost dwell in them essentially. But
Osiander protested: "Creatures we are and creatures we remain, no matter
how wonderfully we are renewed; but the seed of God and the entire
divine essence which is in us by grace in the same manner as it is in
Christ by nature and remains eternally in us (_das also aus Gnaden in
uns ist wie in Christo von Natur und bleibt ewiglich in uns_) is God
Himself, and no creature, and will not become a creature in us or on
account of us but will eternally remain in us true God." Frank says
concerning the doctrine of Osiander: It is not pantheism or a mixture of
the divine and human nature, "but it is a subjectivism by which the
objective foundation of salvation as taught by the Lutheran Church is
rent to the very bottom. It is a mysticism which transforms the Christ
_for us_ into the Christ _in us_, and, though unintentionally, makes the
consciousness of the _inhabitatio essentialis iustitiae_ (indwelling of
the essential righteousness) the basis of peace with God." (2, 19. 10.
13. 95. 103.) In his teaching concerning the image of God and
justification, Osiander replaced the comforting doctrine of the Bible
concerning the substitutionary and atoning work of Christ in His active
and passive obedience unto death with vain philosophical speculations
concerning divinity and humanity or the two natures of Christ. It was
not so very far beside the mark, therefore, when Justus Menius
characteized his theory as "a new alchmistic theology." (Planck 4, 257.)

181. Error of Stancarus.

The Stancarian dispute was incidental to the Osiandric conflict. Its
author was Francesco Stancaro (born in Mantua, 1501), an Italian
ex-priest, who had emigrated from Italy on account of his Protestant
views. Vain, opinionated, haughty, stubborn, and insolent as he was, he
roamed about, creating trouble wherever he appeared, first in Cracow as
professor of Hebrew, 1551 in Koenigsberg then in Frankfort-on-the-Oder,
next at various places in Poland, Hungary, and Transylvania. He died at
Stobnitz, Poland, November 12, 1574. Stancarus treated all of his
opponents as ignoramuses and spoke contemptuously of Luther and
Melanchthon, branding the latter as an antichrist. In Koenigsberg he
immediately felt called upon to interfere in the controversy which had
just flared up. He opposed Osiander in a fanatical manner, declaring
him to be the personal antichrist. The opponents of Osiander at
Koenigsberg however, were not elated over his comradeship, particularly
because he fell into an opposite error. They were glad when he resigned
and left for Frankfort the same year he had arrived at Koenigsberg. In
Frankfort, Stancarus continued the controversy, publishing, 1552, his
_Apology against Osiander--Apologia contra Osiandrum_. But he was
ignored rather than opposed by the Lutheran theologians. In 1553
Melanchthon wrote his _Answer (Responsio) Concerning Stancar's
Controversy_. Later on, 1561, when Stancarus was spreading his errors in
Poland, Hungary, and Transylvania, Calvin and the ministers of Zurich
also wrote against him. The chief publication in which Stancarus set
forth and defended his views appeared 1562, at Cracow, under the title:
_Concerning the Trinity (De Trinitate) and the Mediator, Our Lord Jesus
Christ_. As late as 1585 Wigand published his book _Concerning
Stancarism--De Stancarismo_.

Stancarus had been trained in scholastic theology and was a great
admirer of Peter Lombard. In his book _De Trinitate et Mediatore_ he
says: "One Peter Lombard is worth more than a hundred Luthers, two
hundred Melanchthons, three hundred Bullingers, four hundred Peter
Martyrs, five hundred Calvins out of whom, if they were all brayed in a
mortar, not one drop of true theology would be squeezed. _Plus valet
unus Petrus Lombardus quam centum Lutheri, ducenti Melanchthones,
trecenti Bullingeri, quadringenti Petri Martyres et quingenti Calvini,
qui omnes, si in mortario contunderentur, non exprimeretur una mica
verae theologiae._" (J. G. Walch, _Religionsstreitigkeiten_ 4, 177.)

Concerning Christ's obedience Peter Lombard taught: "_Christus Mediator
dicitur secundum humanitatem, non secundum divinitatem.... Mediator est
ergo, in quantum homo, et non in quantum Deus_. Christ is called
Mediator according to His humanity, not according to His divinity.... He
is therefore Mediator inasmuch as He is man, and not inasmuch as He is
God." (Planck 4, 451; Seeberg 4, 507.) In accordance with this teaching,
Stancarus maintained, in pointed opposition to Osiander, that Christ is
our Righteousness only according to His human nature, and not according
to His divine nature. The divine nature of Christ, Stancarus declared
must be excluded from the office of Christ's mediation and priesthood;
for if God the Son were Mediator and would do something which the Father
and the Holy Spirit could not do, then He would have a will and an
operation and hence also a nature and essence different from that of the
Father and the Holy Spirit. He wrote: "Christ, God and man, is Mediator
[and Redeemer] only according to the other nature, namely, the human,
not according to the divine; Christ made satisfaction for us according
to His human nature, but not according to His divine nature; according
to His divine nature Christ was not under the Law, was not obedient unto
death, etc." (Frank 2, 111.) Stancarus argued: "Christ is one God with
the Father and the Holy Spirit. Apart from the three personal properties
of '_paternitas, filiatio, and spiratio passiva_' the three divine
persons are absolutely identical in their being and operation. Their
work is the sending of the Mediator, whose divine nature itself, in an
active way, participates in this sending; hence only the human nature of
the God-man is sent, and only the human nature of the Mediator acts in a
reconciling way. Men are reconciled by Christ's death on the cross; but
the blood shed on the cross and death are peculiar to the human nature,
not to the divine nature; hence we are reconciled by the human nature of
Christ only, and not by His divine nature (_ergo per naturam humanam
Christi tantum sumus reconciliati et non per divinam_)." (Schluesselburg
9, 216ff.)

Consistently, the Stancarian doctrine destroys both the unity of the
person of Christ and the sufficiency of His atonement. It not only
corrupts the doctrine of the infinite and truly redeeming value of the
obedience of the God-man, but also denies the personal union of the
divine and human natures in Christ. For if the divine nature is excluded
from the work of Christ, then it must be excluded also from His person,
since works are always acts of a person. And if it was a mere human
nature that died for us, then the price of our redemption is altogether
inadequate, and we are not redeemed, as Luther so earnestly emphasized
against Zwingli. (CONC. TRIGL. 1028, 44.) True, Stancarus protested:
"Christ is Mediator according to the human nature only; this exclusive
'only' does not exclude the divine nature from the person of Christ, but
from His office as Mediator." (Frank 2, 111.) However, just this was
Luther's contention, that Christ is our Mediator also according to His
divine nature, and that the denial of this truth both invalidates His
satisfaction and divides His person.

The Third Article of the _Formula of Concord_, therefore, rejects the
error of Stancarus as well as that of Osiander. Against the latter it
maintains that the active and passive obedience of Christ is our
righteousness before God: and over against the former, that this
obedience was the act of the entire person of Christ, and not of His
human nature alone. We read: "In opposition to both these parties
[Osiander and Stancarus] it has been unanimously taught by the other
teachers of the _Augsburg Confession_ that Christ is our Righteousness
not according to His divine nature alone, nor according to His human
nature alone, but according to both natures; for He has redeemed,
justified, and saved us from our sins as God and man, through His
complete obedience; that therefore the righteousness of faith is the
forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and our adoption as God's
children only on account of the obedience of Christ, which through faith
alone, out of pure grace is imputed for righteousness to all true
believers, and on account of it they are absolved from all their
unrighteousness." (917, 4.)

182. Deviations of Parsimonious and Hamburg Ministers.

In 1563 a collateral controversy concerning the obedience of Christ was
raised by Parsimonius (George Karg). He was born 1512; studied under
Luther in Wittenberg; 1547 he became pastor in Schwabach, and 1556
superintendent in Ansbach; 1563 he was deposed because of erroneous
theses published in that year; he was opposed by Hesshusius and Ketzmann
in Ansbach; 1570, having discussed his difference with the theologians
in Wittenberg, Karg retracted and was restored to his office; he died
1576. In his theses on justification Parsimonius deviated from the
Lutheran doctrine by teaching that Christ redeemed us by His passive
obedience only, and by denying that His active obedience had any
vicarious merit, since as man He Himself owed such obedience to the Law
of God,--a view afterwards defended also by such Reformed divines as
John Piscator, John Camero, and perhaps Ursinus. (Schaff 1, 274.)

Over against this error the _Formula of Concord_ explains and declares:
"Therefore the righteousness which is imputed to faith or to the
believer out of pure grace is the obedience suffering, and resurrection
of Christ, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law, and paid
for our sins. For since Christ is not man alone, but God and man in one
undivided person, He was as little subject to the Law (because He is the
Lord of the Law) as He had to suffer and die as far as His person is
concerned. For this reason, then, His obedience, not only in suffering
and dying, but also in this, that He in our stead was voluntarily made
under the Law and fulfilled it by this obedience, is imputed to us for
righteousness, so that, on account of this complete obedience which He
rendered His heavenly Father for us, by doing and suffering, in living
and dying, God forgives our sins, regards us as godly and righteous, and
eternally saves us." (919, 16.)--

In their zealous opposition to the doctrine of Osiander according to
which the indwelling essential holiness of the divine nature of Christ
is our righteousness before God, also the Hamburg ministers went a step
too far in the opposite direction. They denied, or at any rate seemed to
deny, the indwelling of the Holy Trinity as such in believers. In their
_Response (Responsio)_ of 1552 they declared: "God is said to dwell
where He is present by His grace and benevolence, where He gives the
Word of His grace, and reveals His promises concerning His mercy and the
remission of sins, where He works by His Spirit, etc." (Frank 2, 107.)
Again: "That His indwelling pertains to His efficacy and operation
appears from many passages which describe without a figure the efficacy
and operation of Christ and of the Holy Spirit dwelling in believers."
"The dwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers signifies that they are
led by the Spirit of God." "But it cannot be proved by the Scripture
that the fulness of God dwells bodily in us as it dwells in Christ
Jesus. The inhabitation of God in us is a matter of grace, not of
nature; of gift, not of property." (107.)

In 1551 Melanchthon had written: "It must be admitted that God dwells in
our hearts, not only in such a manner that He there is efficacious,
though not present with His own essence, but that He is both present and
efficacious. A personal union, however, does not take place in us, but
God is present in us in a separable manner as in a separable domicile."
(_C. R._ 7, 781.) This was the view of the Lutheran theologians
generally. Article III of the _Formula of Concord_, too, is emphatic in
disavowing a personal union of the deity and humanity in believers, as
well as in asserting that God Himself, not merely His gifts, dwell in
Christians. (935, 54; 937, 65.) In addition to the aberrations
enumerated, Article III rejects also some of the Roman and the
Romanizing errors concerning justification in the Leipzig Interim, and
some views entertained by Majorists which are extensively and _ex
professo_ dealt with in Article IV. (CONC. TRIGL. 917, 5.)

XVII. The Antinomistic Controversy.

183. Distinction between Law and Gospel of Paramount Import.

Zwingli, who was a moralist and a Humanist rather than a truly
evangelical reformer, taught: "In itself the Law is nothing else than a
Gospel; that is, a good, certain message from God by means of which He
instructs us concerning His will." (Frank 2, 312.) While Zwingli thus
practically identified Law and Gospel, Luther, throughout his life, held
that the difference between both is as great as that between life and
death or the merits of Christ and our own sinful works; and that no one
can be a true minister of the Christian Church who is unable properly to
distinguish and apply them. For, according to Luther, a commingling of
the Law and the Gospel necessarily leads to a corruption of the doctrine
of justification, the very heart of Christianity. And as both must be
carefully distinguished, so both must also be upheld and preached in the
Church; for the Gospel presupposes the Law and is rendered meaningless
without it. Wherever the Law is despised, disparaged, and corrupted, the
Gospel, too, cannot be kept intact. Whenever the Law is assailed, even
if this be done in the name of the Gospel, the latter is, in reality,
hit harder than the former. The cocoon of antinomianism always bursts
into antigospelism.

Majorism, the mingling of sanctification and justification, and
synergism, the mingling of nature and grace, were but veiled efforts to
open once more the doors of the Lutheran Church to the Roman
work-righteousness, which Luther had expelled. The same is true of
antinomianism in all its forms. It amounts to nothing less than apostasy
from true Evangelicalism and a return to Romanism. When Luther opposed
Agricola, the father of the Antinomians in the days of the Reformation,
he did so with the clear knowledge that the Gospel of Jesus Christ with
its doctrine of justification by grace and faith alone was at stake and
in need of defense. "By these spirits," said he, "the devil does not
intend to rob us of the Law, but of Christ, who fulfilled the Law." (St.
L. 20, 1614; Pieper, _Dogm_. 3, 279; Frank 2, 268. 325.)

With the same interest in view, to save the Gospel from corruption, the
_Formula of Concord_ opposes antinomianism and urges that the
distinction between the Law and the Gospel be carefully preserved. The
opening paragraph of Article V, "Of the Law and the Gospel," reads: "As
the distinction between the Law and Gospel _is a special brilliant
light_ which serves to the end that God's Word may be rightly divided,
and the Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles may be properly
explained and understood, we must guard it with especial care, in order
that these two doctrines may not be mingled with one another, or a Law
be made out of the Gospel, whereby the merit of Christ is obscured and
troubled consciences are robbed of their comfort, which they otherwise
have in the holy Gospel when it is preached genuinely and in its purity,
and by which they can support themselves in their most grievous trials
against the terrors of the Law." (951, 1.) The concluding paragraph of
this article declares that the proper distinction between the Law and
the Gospel must be preserved, "in order that both doctrines, that of the
Law and that of the Gospel, be not mingled and confounded with one
another, and what belongs to the one may not be ascribed to the other,
_whereby the merit and benefits of Christ are easily obscured and the
Gospel is again turned into a doctrine of the Law_, as has occurred in
the Papacy, and thus Christians are deprived of the true comfort which
they have in the Gospel against the terrors of the Law, and the door is
again opened in the Church of God to the Papacy." (961, 27.) The blessed
Gospel, our only comfort and consolation against the terrors of the Law,
will be corrupted wherever the Law and the Gospel are not properly
distinguished,--such, then, was the view also of the _Formula of

Articles V and VI of the _Formula_ treat and dispose of the issues
raised by the Antinomians. In both Luther's doctrine is maintained and
reaffirmed. Article V, "Of the Law and Gospel," teaches that, in the
proper sense of the term, everything is Law that reveals and rebukes
sin, the sin of unbelief in Christ and the Gospel included; that Gospel,
in the proper and narrow sense, is nothing but a proclamation and
preaching of grace and forgiveness of sin, that, accordingly, the Law as
well as the Gospel are needed and must be retained and preached in the
Church. This was precisely what Luther had taught. In one of his theses
against Agricola he says: "Whatever discloses sin, wrath, or death
exercises the office of the Law; Law and the disclosing of sin or the
revelation of wrath are convertible terms. _Quidquid ostendit peccatum,
iram seu mortem, id exercet officium legis; lex et ostensio peccati seu
revelatio irae sunt termini convertibiles_." Article VI "Of the Third
Use of the Law," teaches that although Christians, in as far as they are
regenerate, do the will of God spontaneously, the Law must nevertheless
be preached to them on account of their Old Adam, not only as a mirror
revealing their sins and as a check on the lusts of the flesh, but also
as a rule of their lives. This, too, is precisely what Luther had
maintained against Agricola: "The Law," said he, "must be retained [in
the Church], that the saints may know which are the works God requires."
(Drews, _Disputationen Dr. Martin Luthers_, 418; _Herzog R._ I, 588;
Frank 2, 272; Tschackert, 482.)

184. Agricola Breeding Trouble.

In the Lutheran Church antinomianism appeared in a double form: one
chiefly before the other after the death of Luther. The first of these
conflicts was originated by Agricola who spoke most contemptuously and
disparagingly of the Law of God, teaching, in particular, that true
knowledge of sin and genuine contrition is produced, not by the Law, but
by the Gospel only, and that hence there is in the Church no use
whatever for the Law of God. After Luther's death similar antinomistic
errors were entertained and defended by the Philippists in Wittenberg,
who maintained that the sin of unbelief is rebuked not by the Law, but
by the Gospel. Poach, Otto, and others denied that, with respect to good
works, the Law was of any service whatever to Christians after their

Barring Carlstadt and similar spirits, John Agricola (Schnitter,
Kornschneider, Magister Islebius--Luther called him Grickel) was the
first to strike a discordant note and breed trouble within the Lutheran
Church. Born April 20, 1492, at Eisleben, he studied at Leipzig, and
from 1515 to 1516 at Wittenberg. Here he became an enthusiastic
adherent and a close friend of Luther and also of Melanchthon, after the
latter's arrival in 1518. In 1539 Luther himself declared that Agricola
had been "one of his best and closest friends." (St. L. 20, 1612.) In
1519 he accompanied both to the great debate in Leipzig. In 1525 he
became teacher of the Latin school and though never ordained, pastor of
the church in Eisleben. Being a speaker of some renown he was frequently
engaged by the Elector of Saxony, especially on his journeys--to Speyer
1526 and 1529, to Augsburg 1530, to Vienna 1535. At Eisleben, Agricola
was active also in a literary way, publishing sermons, a catechism, and,
1526, a famous collection of 300 German proverbs (the Wittenberg edition
of 1592 contains 750 proverbs).

When the new theological professorship created 1526 at Wittenberg was
given to Melanchthon, Agricola felt slighted and much disappointed. In
the following year he made his first antinomian attack upon Melanchthon.
The dispute was settled by Luther, but only for a time. In 1536
Agricola, through the influence of Luther (whose hospitality also he and
his large family on their arrival in Wittenberg enjoyed for more than
six weeks), received an appointment at the university. He rewarded his
generous friend with intrigues and repeated renewals of the antinomian
quarrels, now directing his attacks also against his benefactor. By 1540
matters had come to such a pass that the Elector felt constrained to
institute a formal trial against the secret plotter, which Agricola
escaped only by accepting a call of Joachim II as courtpreacher and
superintendent at Berlin. After Luther's death, Agricola, as described
in a preceding chapter, degraded and discredited himself by helping
Pflug and Sidonius to prepare the Augsburg Interim (1547), and by
endeavoring to enforce this infamous document in Brandenburg. He died
September 22, 1566.

Vanity, ambition, conceit, insincerity, impudence, arrogance, and
ungratefulness were the outstanding traits of Agricola's character.
Luther said that Agricola, swelled with vanity and ambition, was more
vexatious to him than any pope; that he was fit only for the profession
of a jester, etc. December 6, 1540, Luther wrote to Jacob Stratner,
courtpreacher in Berlin: "Master Grickel is not, nor ever will be, the
man that he may appear, or the Margrave may consider him to be. For if
you wish to know what vanity itself is you can recognize it in no surer
image than that of Eisleben. _Si enim velis scire, quidnam ipsa vanitas
sit, nulla certiore imagine cognosces quam Islebii._" (St. L. 21b,
2536.) Flacius reports that shortly before Luther's death, when some
endeavored to excuse Agricola, the former answered angrily: "Why
endeavor to excuse Eisleben? Eisleben is incited by the devil, who has
taken possession of him entirely. You will see what a stir he will make
after my death! _Ihr werdet wohl erfahren, was er nach meinem Tod fuer
einen Laerm wird anrichten!_" (Preger 1, 119.)

185. Agricola's Conflict with Melanchthon.

The antinomian views that repentance (contrition) is not wrought by the
Law, but by the Gospel, and that hence there is no room for the Law and
its preaching in the Christian Church, were uttered by Agricola as early
as 1525. In his _Annotations to the Gospel of St. Luke_ of that year he
had written: "The Decalog belongs in the courthouse, not in the pulpit.
All those who are occupied with Moses are bound to go to the devil. To
the gallows with Moses!" (Tschackert 481; _Herzog R._ 1, 688; E. 4,
423.) The public dispute began two years later when Agricola criticized
Melanchthon because in the latter's "Instructions to the Visitors of the
Churches of Saxony" (Articles of Visitation, _Articuli, de quibus
Egerunt per Visitatores in Regione Saxionae_, 1527) the ministers were
urged first to preach the Law to their spiritually callous people in
order to produce repentance (contrition), and thus to prepare them for
saving faith in the Gospel the only source of truly good works.
Melanchthon had written: "Pastors must follow the example of Christ.
Since He taught repentance and remission of sins, pastors also must
teach these to their churches. At present it is common to vociferate
concerning faith, and yet one cannot understand what faith is, unless
repentance is preached. Plainly they pour new wine into old bottles who
preach faith without repentance, without the doctrine of the fear of
God, without the doctrine of the Law, and accustom the people to a
certain carnal security, which is worse than all former errors under the
Pope have been." (_C. R._ 26, 9.) Agricola considered these and similar
exhortations of Melanchthon unfriendly and Romanizing, and published his
dissent in his _130 Questions for Young Children_, where he displayed a
shocking contempt for the Old Testament and the Law of God. In
particular, he stressed the doctrine that genuine repentance
(contrition) is wrought, not by the Law, but by the Gospel only. In
letters to his friends, Agricola at the same time charged Melanchthon
with corrupting the evangelical doctrine. (Frank 2, 252.)

At a meeting held at Torgau, November 26 to 28, 1527, the differences
were discussed by Agricola and Melanchthon in the presence of Luther and
Bugenhagen. The exact issue was: Does faith presuppose contrition?
Melanchthon affirmed the question, and Agricola denied it. Luther
finally effected an agreement by distinguishing between general and
justifying faith, and by explaining that repentance (contrition),
indeed, presupposes a general faith in God, but that justifying faith
presupposes the terrors of conscience (contrition) wrought by the Law.
His decision ran "that the term faith should be applied to justifying
faith which consoles us in these terrors [produced by the threats of the
Law] but that the word repentance correctly includes a general faith,"
_viz._, that there is a God who threatens transgressors, etc. (_C. R._
1, 916.)

In agreement herewith Melanchthon wrote in the German _Unterricht der
Visitatoren_, published 1528 at Wittenberg, that, in the wider and more
general sense, the term "faith" embraces contrition and the Law, but
that in the interest of the common people the word "faith" should be
reserved for the special Christian or justifying faith in Christ. We
read: "Denn wiewohl etliche achten, man solle nichts lehren vor dem
Glauben, sondern die Busse aus und nach dem Glauben folgend lehren, auf
dass die Widersacher [Papisten] nicht sagen moegen, man widerrufe unsere
vorige Lehre, so ist aber doch anzusehen, weil [dass] die Busse und
Gesetz auch zu dem gemeinen Glauben gehoeren. Denn man muss ja zuvor
glauben, dass Gott sei, der da drohe, gebiete, schrecke usw. So sei es
fuer den gemeinen, groben Mann, dass man solche Stuecke des Glaubens
lasse bleiben unter dem Namen Busse, Gebot, Gesetz, Furcht usw., auf
dass sie desto unterschiedlicher den Glauben Christi verstehen, welchen
die Apostel _iustificantem fidem_, das ist, der da gerecht macht und
Suende vertilgt, nennen, welches der Glaube von dem Gebot und Busse
nicht tut und doch der gemeine Mann ueber dem Wort Glauben irre wird und
Fragen aufbringt ohne Nutzen." (_C. R._ 26, 51f.)

186. Luther's First Disputation against the Antinomians.

At Wittenberg, in 1537, Agricola renewed his antinomianism by secretly
and anonymously circulating a number of propositions (_Positiones inter
Fratres Sparsae_) directed against both Luther and Melanchthon, whom he
branded as "contortors of the words of Christ," urging all to resist
them in order to preserve the pure doctrine. Quotations from Luther and
Melanchthon were appended to the theses in order to show that their
teaching concerning the "mode of justification (_modus
iustificationis_)" was sometimes "pure," sometimes "impure." Agricola
wrote: "Impure [among the statements of Melanchthon and Luther] are: 1.
In the _Saxon Visitation:_ 'Since Christ commands that repentance and
remission of sins is to be preached in His name, hence the Decalog is
to be taught,' 2. Again ... 'As the Gospel therefore teaches that the
Law has been given to humiliate us, in order that we may seek Christ,'
etc. 3. In his _Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians_ Luther says
that it is the office of the Law to torment and to terrify the
conscience, that it may know Christ more readily. Many similar passages
are found in this commentary, which we reject as false, in order to
maintain the purity of the doctrine." (E., v. a. 4, 422f.; St. L. 20,

Luther answered by publishing, December 1, 1537, the theses of Agricola
together with _Other Antinomian Articles (Alii Articuli Antinomi)_,
compiled from written and verbal expressions of Agricola and his
followers. In his introductory remarks Luther not only disowned and
emphatically condemned (_nos ab eiusmodi portentis prorsus abhorrere_)
Agricola's _Positiones inter Fratres Sparsae_, but also announced a
number of disputations against antinomianism. (E. 4, 420.) The first was
held December 18, 1537, in which Luther maintained: Contrition is
wrought by the preaching of the Law; but a man is able to make a good
resolution and to hate sin out of love toward God only after the Gospel
has comforted his alarmed conscience.

Following are some of the 39 theses discussed by Luther in his first
disputation against the Antinomians: "4. The first part of repentance,
contrition, is [wrought] by the Law alone. The other part, the good
purpose, cannot be [wrought] by the Law. 24. And they [the Antinomians]
teach perniciously that the Law of God is simply to be removed from the
church, which is blasphemous and sacrilegious. 25. For the entire
Scripture teaches that repentance must begin from the Law, which also
the order of the matter itself as well as experience shows. 31.
Necessarily, then, sin and death cannot be revealed by the Word of Grace
and Solace, but by the Law. 32. Experience teaches that Adam is first
reproved as a transgressor of the Law and afterwards cheered by the
promised Seed of the woman. 33. Also David is first killed by the Law
through Nathan, saying: 'Thou art the man,' etc.--afterwards he is saved
by the Gospel, declaring: 'Thou shalt not die,' etc. [2 Sam. 12, 7. 13.]
34. Paul, prostrated by the Law, first hears: 'Why persecutest thou Me?'
Afterwards he is revived by the Gospel: 'Arise,' etc. [Acts 9, 4. 6.]
35. And Christ Himself says, Mark 1, 15: 'Repent ye and believe the
Gospel, for the kingdom of God is at hand.' 36. Again: 'Repentance and
remission of sins should be preached in His name,' [Luke 24, 47.] 37.
Likewise the Spirit first reproves the world of sin, in order to teach
faith in Christ, _i.e._, forgiveness of sin. [John 16, 8.] 38. In the
Epistle to the Romans Paul observes this method, first to teach that all
are sinners, and thereupon, that they are to be justified solely through
Christ." (Drews, 253ff.; St. L. 20, 1628ff.)

187. Luther's Second Disputation against the Antinomians.

Since Agricola did not appear at the first public disputation against
the Antinomians, moreover secretly [_"im Winkel"_] continued his
opposition and intrigues, Luther insisted that his privilege of
lecturing at the university be withdrawn. Thus brought to terms
Agricola, through his wife, sued for reconciliation. Luther demanded a
retraction to be made at his next disputation, which was held January
12, 1538. (Drews, 248. 334f.; _C. R._ 25, 64; 3, 482f.) Here Luther
explained that, though not necessary to justification, the Law must not
be cast out of the church, its chief object being to reveal the guilt of
sin; moreover, that the Law must be taught to maintain outward
discipline, to reveal sin, and to show Christians what works are
pleasing to God. (Drews, 418.)

Following are some of the 48 theses discussed by Luther in his second
disputation: "3. When treating of justification, one cannot say too much
against the inability of the Law [to save] and against the most
pernicious trust in the Law. 4. For the Law was not given to justify or
vivify or help in any way toward righteousness. 5. But to reveal sin and
work wrath, _i.e._, to render the conscience guilty. [Rom. 3, 20; 4,
15.] 8. In brief, as far as heaven is from the earth, so far must the
Law be separated from justification. 9. And nothing is to be taught,
said, or thought in the matter of justification but only the word of the
grace exhibited in Christ. 10. From this, however, it does not follow
that the Law is to be abolished and excluded from the preaching of [done
in] the church. 11. Indeed, just for the reason that not only is it not
necessary to justification, but also cannot effect it, it is the more
necessary to teach and urge it. 12. In order that man, who is proud and
trusts in his own powers, may be instructed that he cannot be justified
by the Law. 18. Whatever reveals sin, wrath, or death exercises the
office of the Law, whether it be in the Old or in the New Testament. 19.
For to reveal sin is nothing else, nor can it be anything else, than the
Law or an effect and the peculiar power of the Law. 20. Law and
revelation of sin or of wrath are convertible terms. 24. So that it is
impossible for sin to be, or to be known, without the Law written or
inscribed [in the heart]. 27. And since the Law of God requires our
obedience toward God, these Antinomians (_nomomachi_) abolish also
obedience toward God. 28. From this it is manifest that Satan through
these his instruments teaches about sin, repentance, and Christ in words
only (_verbaliter tantum_). 29. But in reality he takes away Christ,
repentance, sin, and the entire Scripture, together with God, its
Author. 46. For the Law, as it was before Christ, did indeed accuse us;
but under Christ it is appeased through the forgiveness of sins, and
thereafter it is to be fulfilled through the Spirit. 47. Therefore the
Law will never, in all eternity, be abolished, but will remain, either
to be fulfilled by the damned, or already fulfilled by the blessed. 48.
These pupils of the devil however, seem to think that the Law is
temporary only, which ceased under Christ even as circumcision did."
(Drews, 336ff.; St. L. 20, 1632ff.)

Following is a summary of the views expressed by Luther in his second
disputation: "Why is the Law to be taught? The Law is to be taught on
account of discipline, according to the word of Paul, 1 Tim. 1, 9: 'The
Law is made for the lawless,' and that by this pedagogy men might come
to Christ as Paul says to the Galatians (3, 24): 'The Law was our
schoolmaster to bring us to Christ,' In the second place, the Law is to
be taught to reveal sin, to accuse, terrify, and damn the consciences,
Rom. 3, 20: 'By the Law is the knowledge of sin;' again, chapter 4, 15:
'The Law worketh wrath,' In the third place, the Law is to be retained
that the saints may know what kind of works God requires in which they
may exercise their obedience toward God. _Lex est retinenda, ut sciant
sancti, quaenam opera requirat Deus, in quibus obedientiam exercere erga
Deum possint._" (Drews, 418; _Herzog R_. 1, 688.)

188. Third and Fourth Series of Luther's Theses against Antinomianism.

Having complied with the conditions, and publicly (also in two sermons
delivered April 23) retracted his error, and declared his assent to the
views expressed in Luther's second disputation, Agricola was again
permitted to preach and teach. As a result, Luther also, though he had
no faith in the sincerity of Agricola's retraction, did not carry out
his original plan of discussing a third and fourth series of theses
which he had prepared against antinomianism. (Drews, 419ff.; E. 4,

From the third series, comprising 40 theses, we quote the following: "1.
The repentance of the Papists, Turks, Jews, and of all unbelievers and
hypocrites is alike in every respect. 2. It consists in this, that they
are sorry and make satisfaction for one or several sins, and afterwards
are secure as to other sins or original sin. 5. The repentance of
believers in Christ goes beyond the actual sins, and continues
throughout life, till death. 8. For the sin in our flesh remains during
the entire time of our life, warring against the Spirit, who resists it.
[Rom. 7, 23.] 9. Therefore all works after justification are nothing
else than a continuous repentance, or a good purpose against sin. 10.
For nothing else is done than that sin, revealed by the Law and forgiven
in Christ, is swept out. 17. The Lord's Prayer, taught by the Lord
Himself to the saints and believers, is a part of repentance, containing
much of the doctrine of the Law. 18. For whoever prays it aright
confesses with his own mouth that he sins against the Law and repents.
27. Therefore also the Lord's Prayer itself teaches that the Law is
before, below, and after the Gospel (_legem esse ante, sub et post
evangelium_), and that from it repentance must begin. 30. From this it
follows that these enemies of the Law [Antinomians] must abolish also
the Lord's Prayer if they abolish the Law. 31. Indeed, they are
compelled to expunge the greatest part of the sermons of Christ Himself
from the Gospel-story. 32. For Matt. 5, 17ff. He does not only recite
the Law of Moses, but explains it perfectly, and teaches that it must
not be destroyed. 34. Everywhere throughout the Gospel He also reproves,
rebukes, threatens, and exercises similar offices of the Law. 35. So
that there never has been nor ever will be more impudent men than those
who teach that the Law should be abolished." (St. L. 20, 1636ff.; E. 4,

From the fourth series of 41 theses directed by Luther against the
Antinomians we quote: "12. Therefore we must beware of the doctrine of
the Papists concerning repentance as of hell and the devil himself. 13.
Much more, however, must we avoid those who leave no repentance whatever
in the Church. 14. For those who deny that the Law is to be taught in
reality simply wish that there be no repentance. 15. The argument:
'Whatever is not necessary to justification, neither in the beginning,
nor in the middle, nor in the end, must not be taught,' etc., amounts to
nothing. 17. It is the same as though you would argue: The truth that
man is dead in sin is not necessary to justification, neither in the
beginning, nor in the middle, nor in the end; hence it must not be
taught. 18. To honor parents, to live chaste, to abstain from murders,
adulteries, and thefts is not necessary to justification; hence such
things must not be taught. 22. Although the Law helps nothing toward
justification it does not follow therefrom that it ought to be abolished
and not to be taught. 26. Everywhere in Paul [the phrase] 'without the
Law' must be understood (as Augustine correctly explains) 'without the
assistance of the Law,' as we have always done. 27. For the Law demands
fulfilment, but helps nothing toward its own fulfilment. 35. But faith
in Christ alone justifies, alone fulfils the Law, alone does good works,
without the Law. 37. It is true that after justification good works
follow spontaneously, without the Law, _i.e._, without the help or
coercion of the Law. 38. In brief, the Law is neither useful nor
necessary for justification, nor for any good works, much less for
salvation. 39. On the contrary, justification, good works, and salvation
are necessary for the fulfilment of the Law. 40. For Christ came to save
that which was lost [Luke 19, 10], and for the restitution of all
things, as St. Peter says [Acts 3, 21]. 41. Therefore the Law is not
destroyed by Christ, but established, in order that Adam may become such
as he was, and even better." (St. L. 20. 1639ff.; E. 4. 433.)

189. Luther's Third Public Disputation against the Antinomians.

Soon after his second disputation Luther obtained evidence of Agricola's
relapse into his former errors and ways. The upshot was another
disputation on a fifth series of theses held September 13, 1538, in
which Luther denounced the Antinomians as deceivers, who lulled their
hearers into carnal security. He also explained that the passages culled
from his own writings were torn from their historical context, and hence
misinterpreted. His former statements, said Luther, had been addressed
to consciences already alarmed, and therefore in immediate need of the
consolation of the Gospel; while now the Antinomians applied them to
secure consciences, who, first of all, were in need of the terrifying
power of the Law. (Drews, 421f.; Tschackert, 482.)

From the 70 theses treated by Luther in his third disputation, we submit
the following: "1. The Law has dominion over man as long as he lives.
[Rom. 7, 1.] 2. But he is freed from the Law when he dies. 3.
Necessarily, therefore, man must die if he would be free from the Law.
7. These three: Law, sin, and death, are inseparable. 8. Accordingly so
far as death is still in man, in so far sin and the Law are in man. 9.
Indeed, in Christ the Law is fulfilled, sin abolished, and death
destroyed. 11. That is, when, through faith we are crucified and have
died in Christ, such things [the Law fulfilled, sin abolished, and death
destroyed] are true also in us. 13. But the fact itself and experience
testify that the just are still daily delivered to death. 14.
Necessarily, therefore, in as far as they are under death, they are
still also under the Law and sin. 15. They [the Antinomians] are
altogether inexperienced men and deceivers of souls who endeavor to
abolish the Law from the church. 16. For this is not only foolish and
wicked, but also absolutely impossible. 17. For if you would abolish the
Law, you will be compelled to abolish also sin and death. 18. For death
and sin are present by virtue of the Law, as Paul says [2 Cor. 3, 6]:
'The letter killeth,' and [1 Cor. 15, 56]: 'The strength of sin is the
Law,' 19. But since you see that the just die daily what a folly is it
to imagine that they are without the Law! 20. For if there were no Law,
there would be neither sin nor death. 21. Hence they should have first
proved that the just are altogether without sin and death. 22. Or that
they no longer live in the flesh, but are removed from the world. 23.
Then it might justly be taught that also the Law is altogether removed
from them and must not be taught in any way. 24. This they cannot prove,
but experience itself shows the contrary to their very faces. 25. So,
then, the impudence of the teachers who wish to remove the Law from the
church is extraordinary. 26. Yet it is a much greater impudence, or
rather insanity, when they assert that even the wicked should be freed
from the Law, and that it should not be preached to them. 29. If,
however, they pretend that their church or their hearers simply are all
pious men and Christians, without the Law, 30. Then it is evident that
they are altogether of unsound mind and do not know what they say or
affirm. 31. For this is nothing else than to imagine that all their
hearers have been removed from this life. 35. Thus it [the Law] is also
given to the pious, in so far as they are not yet dead and still live in
the flesh. 40. Now, in as far as Christ is raised in us, in so far we
are without Law, sin, and death. 41. But in as far as He is not yet
raised in us, in so far we are under the Law, sin, and death. 42.
Therefore the Law (as also the Gospel) must be preached, without
discrimination, to the righteous as well as to the wicked. 44. To the
pious, that they may thereby be reminded to crucify their flesh with its
affections and lusts, lest they become secure. [Gal. 5, 24.] 45. For
security abolishes faith and the fear of God, and renders the latter end
worse than the beginning. [2 Pet. 2, 20.] 46. It appears very clearly
that the Antinomians imagine sin to have been removed through Christ
essentially and philosophically or juridically (_formaliter et
philosophice seu iuridice_) 47. And that they do not at all know that
sin is removed only inasmuch as the merciful God does not impute it [Ps.
32, 2], and forgives it (_solum reputatione et ignoscentia Dei
miserentis_). 61. For if the Law is removed, no one knows what Christ
is, or what He did when He fulfilled the Law for us. 66. The doctrine of
the Law, therefore, is necessary in the churches, and by all means is to
be retained, as without it Christ cannot be retained. 67. For what will
you retain of Christ when (the Law having been removed which He
fulfilled) you do not know what He has fulfilled? 69. In brief, to
remove the Law and to let sin and death remain, is to hide the disease
of sin and death to men unto their perdition. 70. When death and sin are
abolished (as was done by Christ), then the Law would be removed
happily; moreover, it would be established, Rom. 3, 31." (Drews 423ff.;
St. L. 20, 1642ff.; E. 4, 436ff.)

190. Agricola's Retraction Written and Published by Luther.

Seeing his position in the Wittenberg University endangered, Agricola
was again ready to submit. And when a public retraction was demanded, he
even left it to Luther to formulate the recantation. Luther did so in a
public letter to Caspar Guettel in Eisleben, entitled, _Against the
Antinomians--Wider die Antinomer_, which he published in the beginning
of January, 1539. (St. L. 20, 1610.) In a crushing manner Luther here
denounced "the specter of the new spirits who dare thrust the Law or the
Ten Commandments out of the church and relegate it to the courthouse."

Complaining of "false brethren," Luther here says: "And I fear that, if
I had died at Smalcald [1537], I should forever have been called the
patron of such [antinomian] spirits, because they appeal to my books.
And all this they do behind my back, without my knowledge and against
my will, not even considering it worth while to inform me with as much
as a word or syllable, or at least to ask me regarding the matter. Thus
I am compelled to proceed against Magister John Agricola," etc. (1611.)
"But since he was afraid that he might not express it in a manner such
as would be considered satisfactory, he has fully authorized and also
requested me to do it [write the retraction for Agricola] as well as I
could, which, he being satisfied, I agreed to do, and herewith have
done, especially for the reason that after my death neither Master
Eisleben himself nor anybody else might be able to pretend that I had
done nothing in this matter and simply allowed everything to pass and go
on as fully satisfactory to me." (1612.)

Referring to his former statements appealed to by Agricola, Luther
continues: "I have indeed taught, and still teach, that sinners should
be led to repentance by the preaching of, and meditation upon, the
suffering of Christ, so that they may realize how great God's wrath is
over sin, seeing that there is no other help against it than that God's
Son must die for it.... But how does it follow from this that the Law
must be abandoned? I am unable to discover such an inference in my
logic, and would like to see and hear the master who would be able to
prove it. When Isaiah says, chap. 53, 8: 'For the transgression of My
people was He stricken,' tell me, dear friend, is the Law abandoned
when here the suffering of Christ is preached? What does 'for the
transgression of My people' mean? Does it not mean: because My people
have sinned against, and not kept, My Law? Or can any one imagine that
sin is something where there is no law? Whoever abolishes the Law must
with it also abolish sins. If he would allow sins to remain, he must
much more allow the Law to remain. For Rom. 6, 13 [4, 15] we read:
'Sin is not imputed where there is no law.' If there is no sin Christ
is nothing. For why does He die if there be neither Law nor sin for
which He was to die? From this we see that by this spiritism
[_Geisterei_] the devil does not mean to take away the Law, but Christ,
who fulfilled the Law. [Matt. 5, 17.] For he well knows that Christ may
well and easily be taken away, but not so the Law, which is written in
the heart." (1613f.) "Therefore I request of you, my dear Doctor
[Guettel], that, as you have done heretofore, you would continue in the
pure doctrine and preach that sinners should and must be led to
repentance not only by the sweet grace and suffering of Christ, who has
died for us, but also by the terrors of the Law." (1615.) "For whence
do we know what sin is if there is no Law and conscience? And whence
shall we learn what Christ is, what He has done for us, if we are not
to know what the Law is which He has fulfilled for us, or what sin is,
for which He has atoned? And even if we did not need the Law for us and
were able to tear it out of our hearts (which is impossible), we
nevertheless must preach it for the sake of Christ (as also is done and
must be done), in order that we may know what He has done and suffered
for us. For who could know what and for what purpose Christ has suffered
for us if no one were to know what sin or the Law is? Therefore the Law
must certainly be preached if we would preach Christ." (1616.) "This,
too, is a peculiar blindness and folly, that they imagine the revelation
of wrath to be something else than the Law (which is impossible); for
the revelation of wrath is the Law when realized and felt, as Paul says
[Rom. 4, 15]: '_Lex iram operatur_. The Law worketh wrath.'" (1618.)

By way of conclusion Luther remarked: "Let this suffice at present, for
I hope that since Master Eisleben is converted and retracts, the others,
too, who received it [the antinomian error] from him, will abandon it,
which God may help them to do! Amen." (1619.) At the same time, however
he did not withhold the opinion that Agricola's self humiliation would
hardly be of long duration. "If he continues in such humility," said
Luther, "God certainly can and will exalt him; if he abandons it, then
God is able to hurl him down again." (1612.)

191. Luther's Fourth Disputation against the Antinomians.

Luther's distrust was not unfounded, for Agricola continued secretly to
teach his antinomianism, abetted in his sentiments among others also by
Jacob Schenck [since 1536 first Lutheran pastor in Freiberg, Saxony;
1538 dismissed on account of his antinomianism 1540 professor in
Leipzig; later on deposed and finally banished from Saxony]. Indeed in
March, 1540, Agricola even lodged a complaint with the Elector, charging
Luther with "calumnies." In the first part of the following month Luther
answered these charges in a _Report to Doctor Brueck Concerning Magister
John Eisleben's Doctrine and Intrigues_. (St. L. 20, 1648ff.) About the
same time; Count Albrecht of Mansfeld denounced Agricola to the Elector
as a dangerous, troublesome man. Hereupon the Elector on June 15 1540,
opened formal legal proceedings against Agricola, who, as stated above,
removed to Berlin in August without awaiting the trial, although he had
promised with an oath not to leave before a legal decision had been
rendered. (Drews, 611.) Incensed by the treacherous conduct of Agricola,
Luther, September 10, 1540, held a final disputation on a sixth series
of theses against the Antinomians, charging them with destroying all
order human as well as divine. (St. L. 20, 1647; E. 4, 441.)

Regarding Agricola's duplicity, Luther, in his _Report_ to Brueck, said
in substance: According to the statements of Caspar Guettel and
Wendelin Faber, Agricola had for years secretly agitated against the
Wittenbergers and founded a sect at Eisleben calling themselves
Minorish [Minorists]; he had branded and slandered their doctrine as
false and impure, and this, too, without conferring with them or
previously admonishing them; he had come to Wittenberg for the purpose
of corrupting and distracting the Church; his adherents had made the
statement that Eisleben would teach the Wittenbergers theology and
logic; he had inveigled Hans Lufft into printing his Postil by falsely
stating that it had been read and approved by Luther; in his dealings
with the Wittenbergers he had acted not as an honest man, let alone a
pious Christian and theologian, but treacherously and in keeping with
his antinomian principles; parading as a loyal Lutheran at public
conventions and laughing and dining with them, he had misled "his old,
faithful friend" [Luther] to confide in him, while secretly he was
acting the traitor by maligning him and undermining his work. In the
_Report_ we read: "Agricola blasphemes and damns our doctrine as impure
and false (_i.e._, the Holy Spirit Himself in His holy Law); he slanders
and defames us Wittenbergers most infamously wherever he can; and all
this he does treacherously and secretly, although we have done him no
harm, but only did well by him, as he himself must admit. He deceives
and attacks us [me], his best friend and father, making me believe that
he is our true friend. Nor does he warn me, but, like a desperate
treacherous villain, secretly works behind our back to cause the people
to forsake our doctrine and to adhere to him, thus treating us with an
ungratefulness, pride, and haughtiness such as I have not frequently met
with before." (1656.)

In his charge against Luther, Agricola had said that it was dangerous to
preach the Law without the Gospel, because it was a ministry of death
(_ministerium mortis_). Luther answered in his _Report_ to Brueck:
"Behold now what the mad fool does. God has given His Law for the very
purpose that it should bite, cut, strike, kill, and sacrifice the old
man. For it should terrify and punish the proud ignorant, secure Old
Adam and show him his sin and death, so that, being humiliated, he may
despair of himself, and thus become desirous of grace, as St. Paul says:
'The strength of sin is the Law; the sting of death is sin,'[1 Cor. 15,
56.] For this reason he also calls it _bonam, iustam, sanctam_--good,
just, holy. Again, Jeremiah [23, 29]: 'My Word is like a hammer that
breaketh the rock to pieces.' Again: '_Ego ignis consumens_, etc.--I am
a consuming fire,' Ps. 9, 21 [20]: '_Constitue legislatorem super eos,
ut sciant gentes, se esse homines, non deos, nec Deo similes_--Put them
in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men.'
Thus St. Paul does Rom. 1 and 2 and 3 making all the world sinners by
the Law, casting them under the wrath of God, and entirely killing them
before God. But here our dear Master Grickel appears on the scene and
invents a new theology out of his own mad and reckless fool's head and
teaches: One must not kill and reprove the people, _i.e._, one must not
preach the Law. Here he himself confesses publicly in his suit [against
Luther] that he has condemned and prohibited the preaching of the Law."
(St. L. 20, 1657.)

The _Report_ continues: "Since, now, the little angry devil who rides
Master Grickel will not tolerate the Law, _i.e., mortificantem,
irascentem, accusantem, terrentem, occidentem legem_,--the mortifying,
raging, accusing, terrifying, killing Law,--it is quite evident what he
intends to do through Master Grickel's folly (for he nevertheless wishes
to be praised as preaching the Law after and under the Gospel, etc.),
_viz._, to hide original sin and to teach the Law no further than
against future actual sins, for such is the manner of his entire Postil;
even as the Turks, Jews, philosophers, and Papists teach who regard our
nature as sound; but Master Grickel does not see that it is just this
which his little spirit [devil] aims at by his bragging and boasting,
that he, too, is preaching the Law.... Thus Christ and God are
altogether vain and lost. And is not this blindness beyond all blindness
that he does not want to preach the Law without and before the Gospel?
For are these not impossible things? How is it possible to preach of
forgiveness of sins if previously there have been no sins? How can one
proclaim life if previously there is no death? Are we to preach to
angels who have neither sin nor death concerning forgiveness of sins
and redemption from death? But how can one preach of sins or know that
there are sins, if the Law does not reveal them? For according to its
proper office the Gospel does not say who [is a sinner] and what is sin;
it does, however, indicate that there must be some great hurt, since so
great a remedy is required; but it does not say how the sin is called,
or what it is. The Law must do this. Thus Master Eisleben must in fact
(_re ipsa_) allow the Law to perform its duty (_occidere_, to kill,
etc.) prior to the [preaching of the] Gospel, no matter how decidedly
he, with words only, denies it, to spite the Wittenbergers, in order
that he also, as _novus autor_ (new author), may produce something of
his own and confuse the people and separate the churches." (1658.)

From the 20 theses which Luther treated in his last disputation against
the Antinomians we cull the following: "1. The inference of St. Paul:
'For where no law is there is no transgression' [Rom. 4, 15] is valid
not only theologically, but also politically and naturally (_non solum
theologice, sed etiam politice et naturaliter_). 2. Likewise this too:
Where there is no sin, there is neither punishment nor remission. 3.
Likewise this too: Where there is neither punishment nor remission,
there is neither wrath nor grace. 4. Likewise this too: Where there is
neither wrath nor grace, there is neither divine nor human government.
5. Likewise this too: Where there is neither divine nor human
government, there is neither God nor man. 6. Likewise this too: Where
there is neither God nor man, there is nothing except perhaps the devil.
7. Hence it is that the Antinomians, the enemies of the Law, evidently
are either devils themselves or the brothers of the devil. 8. It avails
the Antinomians nothing to boast that they teach very much of God,
Christ, grace, Law, etc. 10. This confession of the Antinomians is like
the one when the devils cried: 'Thou art the Son of the living God,'
[Luke 4, 34; 8, 28.] 12. Whoever denies that the damning Law must be
taught in reality simply denies the Law. 14. A law which does not damn
is an imagined and painted law as the chimera or tragelaphus. 15. Nor is
the political or natural law anything unless it damns and terrifies
sinners Rom. 13, 1. 5; 1 Pet. 2, 13ff. 17. What the Antinomians say
concerning God, Christ, faith, Law, grace, etc., they say without any
meaning as the parrot says its '_chaire_, Good day!' 18. Hence it is
impossible to learn theology or civil polity (_theologiam aut politiam_)
from the Antinomians. 19. Therefore they must be avoided as most
pestilential teachers of licentious living who permit the perpetration
of all crimes. 20. For they serve not Christ, but their own belly [Rom.
16, 18], and, madmen that they are, seek to please men, in order that
from them, as a man's judgment, they may gain glory." (Drews, 613; St.
L. 20, 1647; E. 4, 441.)--Regarding Luther's disputations against the
Antinomians Planck pertinently remarks that they compel admiration for
his clear and penetrating mind, and rank among the very best of his
writings. (1, 18; Frank 2, 311.)

192. "Grickel" Remained Grickel.

At the instance of Elector Joachim, negotiations were begun with Luther,
which finally led to a sort of peaceful settlement. Agricola was
required to send (which he also did) a revocation to the preachers, the
council, and the congregation at Eisleben. However, the new and enlarged
edition (1541) of the catechism which Agricola had published in 1527
revealed the fact that also this last recantation was insincere; for in
it he repeated his antinomistic teaching, though not in the original
defiant manner. Little wonder, then, that despite the formal settlement,
cordial relations were not restored between Luther and Agricola. When
the latter visited Wittenberg in 1545, Luther refused to see the man
whom he regarded incurably dishonest. "Grickel," said he, "will remain
Grickel to all eternity, _Grickel wird in alle Ewigkeit Grickel

And "Grickel" he did remain; for in 1565 he published a sermon in which
he said: "Every one who is to be appointed as teacher and preacher shall
be asked: What do you intend to teach in the church? He shall answer:
The Gospel of Jesus Christ. But when further asked: What does the Gospel
preach? he shall answer: The Gospel preaches repentance and forgiveness
of sins." Considering this a further evidence that Agricola still
adhered to, and was now ready once more to champion, his old errors, the
preachers of Mansfeld registered their protest in a publication of the
same year. A controversy, however, did not materialize, for Agricola
died the following year. (Planck 5, 1, 47; Frank 2, 267.)

193. False Propositions of Agricola.

Following are some of Agricola's radical statements concerning the Law
and the Gospel. The first thesis of his _Positions_ of 1537 reads:
"Repentance is to be taught not from the Decalog or from any law of
Moses, but from the violation of the Son through the Gospel.
_Poenitentia docenda est non ex decalogo aut ulla lege Mosis, sed ex
violatione Filii per evangelium_." (E. 4. 420.) Thesis 13: "In order to
keep the Christian doctrine pure, we must resist those [Luther and
Melanchthon] who teach that the Gospel must be preached only to such
whose hearts have previously been terrified and broken by the Law.
_Quare pro conservanda puritate doctrinae resistendum est iis, qui
docent, evangelium non praedicandum nisi animis prius quassatis et
contritis per legem_." (421.) Thesis 16: "The Law merely rebukes sin,
and that, too, without the Holy Spirit; hence it rebukes to damnation."
Thesis 17: "But there is need of a doctrine which does not only condemn
with great efficacy, but which saves at the same time; this, however, is
the Gospel, a doctrine which teaches conjointly repentance and remission
of sins." (421.) In his _Brief Summary of the Gospel_, Agricola says:
"In the New Testament and among Christians or in the Gospel we must not
preach the violation of the Law when a man breaks or transgresses the
Law, but the violation of the Son, to wit that he who does not for the
sake of the kingdom of heaven willingly omit what he should omit, and
does not do what he should do, crucifies Christ anew." (St. L. 20,
1622ff.; Frank 2, 313, Gieseler 3, 2, 137; Pieper, _Dogm_. 3, 265ff.)

A commingling of the Law and Gospel always results in a corruption of
the doctrines of conversion, faith, and justification. Such was the case
also with respect to Agricola, who taught that justification follows a
contrition which flows from, and hence is preceded by, love toward God.
Turning matters topsy-turvy, he taught: Repentance consists in this,
that the heart of man, experiencing the kindness of God which calls us
to Christ and presents us with His grace, turns about, apprehends God's
grace, thanks Him heartily for having spared it so graciously, begins to
repent, and to grieve heartily and sorrowfully on account of its sins,
wishes to abstain from them, and renounces its former sinful life.
"This," says Agricola, "is repentance (_poenitentia, Buessen_) and the
first stage of the new birth, the true breathing and afflation of the
Holy Spirit. After this he acquires a hearty confidence in God,
believing that He will condone his folly and not blame him for it, since
he did not know any better, although he is much ashamed of it and wishes
that it had never happened; he also resolves, since he has fared so
well, never to sin any more or to do anything that might make him
unworthy of the benefit received as if he were ungrateful and forgetful;
he furthermore learns to work out, confirm, and preserve his salvation
in fear and trembling...: this is forgiveness of sins." (Frank 2, 247.)
These confused ideas plainly show that Agricola had a false conception,
not only of the Law and Gospel, but also of original sin, repentance,
faith, regeneration, and justification. Essentially, his was the Roman
doctrine, which makes an antecedent of what in reality is an effect and
a consequence of conversion and justification. Viewed from this angle,
it occasions little surprise that Agricola consented to help formulate
and introduce the Augsburg Interim in which the essentials of
Lutheranism were denied.

194. Poach, Otto, Musculus, Neander.

The antinomistic doctrines rejected, in particular, by Article VI of the
_Formula of Concord_, were represented chiefly by Andrew Poach, Anton
Otto, Andrew Musculus, and Michael Neander. Poach, born 1516, studied
under Luther and was an opponent of the Philippists, he became pastor in
Halle in 1541; in Nordhausen, 1547; in Erfurt, 1550; Uttenbach, near
Jena, 1572, where he died 1585. At Erfurt, Poach was deposed in 1572 on
account of dissensions due to the antinomistic controversies. He signed
the _Book of Concord_.--Otto [Otho; also called Herzberger, because he
was born in Herzberg, 1505] studied under Luther; served as pastor in
Graefenthal, and from 1543 in Nordhausen where he was deposed in 1568
for adherence to Flacius. However, when Otto, while antagonizing
Majorism and synergism, in sermons on the Letter to the Galatians of
1565 rejected the Third Use of the Law, he was opposed also by Flacius,
who reminded him of the fact that here on earth the new man resembles a
child, aye, an embryo, rather than a full-fledged man.

In his zealous opposition to the Majorists, Andrew Musculus (Meusel,
born 1514; studied at Leipzig 1532-1538, then at Wittenberg; became a
zealous and passionate adherent of Luther, whom he considered the
greatest man since the days of the apostles; from 1540 till his death,
September 29, 1581, professor and pastor, later on, General
Superintendent, in Frankfurt-on-the-Oder) also made some extreme
statements. Later on, however, he cooperated in preparing and revising
the _Formula of Concord_. Musculus wrote of Luther: "There is as great a
difference between the dear old teachers and Luther as there is between
the light of the sun and that of the moon; and beyond all doubt, the
ancient fathers, even the best and foremost among them, as Hilary and
Augustine, had they lived contemporaneously with him, would not have
hesitated to deliver the lamp to him, as the saying is." (Meusel,
_Handl_. 4, 709; Richard, 450.)

The most prominent opponents of these Antinomians were the well-known
theologians Moerlin, Flacius, Wigand, and Westphal (chiefly in letters
to Poach). The controversy was carried on with moderation, and without
any special efforts to cause trouble among the people. The main issue
was not--as in the conflict with Agricola--whether the Law is necessary
in order to effect contrition and prepare men for the Gospel, but the
so-called Third Use of the Law (_tertius usus legis_), _i.e._, whether
the Law is, and is intended to be, of service to Christians after their
regeneration; in particular, whether the regenerate still need the Law
with respect to their new obedience.

The conflict with Poach arose from the Majoristic controversy. Dealing
in particular with the aberrations of Menius, the Synod at Eisenach,
1556, adopted seven theses which Menius was required to subscribe. The
first declared: "Although the proposition, Good works are necessary to
salvation, may be tolerated hypothetically and in an abstract way in the
doctrine of the Law (_in doctrina legis abstractive et de idea tolerari
potest_), nevertheless there are many weighty reasons why it ought and
should be avoided no less than this one: Christ is a creature." (Preger
1, 383.) While Flacius, Wigand, and Moerlin defended the thesis, Amsdorf
(who first, too, adopted it, but later on withdrew his assent; Seeberg
4, 488), Aurifaber, and especially Poach rejected it. This marked the
beginning of the so-called Second Antinomistic Controversy. Poach denied
that the Law has any promise of salvation. Even the most perfect
fulfilment of the Law, said he, is but the fulfilment of a duty which
merits no reward. The only thing one may acquire by a perfect fulfilment
is freedom from guilt and punishment. Fulfilment of our duty (_solutio
debiti_) does not warrant any claim on salvation. Yet Poach was careful
to declare that this did not apply to the fulfilment of the Law which
Christ rendered for us. Why? Poach answered: Because Christ, being the
Son of God, was not obliged to fulfil the Law. When, therefore, He did
fulfil it in our stead, He rendered satisfaction to divine justice, so
that righteousness can now be imputed to us and we become partakers of
eternal life.

Poach wrote: "It would not be correct to say: In the doctrine of the Law
all the works commanded in the Law are necessary to salvation. _In
doctrina legis omnia opera mandata in lege sunt necessaria ad salutem_."
(Schluesselburg 4, 343.) Again: "The works of Christ, which are the
fulfilment of the Law, are the merit of our salvation. Our works, which
ought to have been the fulfilment of the Law, do not merit salvation,
even though they were most perfect, as the Law requires,--which,
however, is impossible. The reason is that we are debtors to the Law.
Christ, however, is not a debtor to the Law. Even if we most perfectly
fulfilled all the commandments of God and completely satisfied the
righteousness of God, we would not be worthy of grace and salvation on
that account, nor would God be obliged to give us grace and salvation as
a debt. He justly demands the fulfilment of His Law from us as obedience
due Him from His creature, which is bound to obey its Creator. _Etiamsi
nos omnia mandata Dei perfectissime impleremus et iustitiae Dei penitus
satisfaceremus, tamen non ideo digni essemus gratia et salute, nec Deus
obligatus esset, ut nobis gratiam et salutem daret ex debito. Sed iure
requirit impletionem legis suae a nobis, ut debitam obedientiam a sua
creatura, quae conditori suo obedire tenetur_." (274.) Again: "The Law
has not the necessity of salvation, but the necessity of obligation
(_non habet lex necessitatem salutis, sed necessitatem debiti_). For, as
said, even though a man would most perfectly do the works of the Law, he
would not obtain salvation on account of these works. Nor is God under
obligation to man, but man is under obligation to God. And in the Law
God requires of man the obedience he owes; He does not require an
obedience with the promise of salvation." (276.)

As to Otto, he distinguished, in a series of Latin theses a double
office of the Law, the ecclesiastical; and political--_officium
ecclesiasticum_ and _officium politicum_. The former is to give
knowledge of sin; the latter, to coerce the old man and maintain order
among the obstinate. He denied that the Law in any way serves Christians
with respect to good works. Otto declared: "The Law is useful and
necessary neither for justification nor for any good works. But faith in
Christ the Mediator alone is useful and necessary both for justification
and the good works themselves. _Lex enim non modo ad iustificationem sed
neque ad ulla bona opera utilis et necessaria est. Sed sola fides in
Christum mediatorem utilis et necessaria est tam ad iustificationem quam
ad ipsa bona opera_." Quoting Luther, he said: "The highest art of
Christians is to know nothing of the Law, to ignore works. _Summa ars
Christianorum est nescire legem, ignorare opera_," _i.e._, in the
article of justification, as Otto did not fail to add by way of
explanation. (Luther, Weimar 40, 1, 43; Tschackert, 485.) Seeberg
remarks that in reality, Poach and Otto were merely opposed to such an
interpretation of the Third Use of the Law as made the Law a motive of
good works, and hence could not be charged with antinomianism proper.
(4, 488f.)

Planck, Frank, and other historians have fathered upon Otto also a
series of radical German theses, which, however, were composed, not by
Otto, but probably by some of his adherents. These theses, in which all
of the errors of Agricola are revamped, were discussed at the Altenburg
colloquy, 1568 to 1569; their author, however, was not mentioned. We
submit the following: "1. The Law does not teach good works, nor should
it be preached in order that we may do good works. 3. Moses knew nothing
of our faith and religion. 5. Evangelical preachers are to preach the
Gospel only, and no Law. 7. A Christian who believes should do
absolutely nothing, neither what is good nor what is evil. 10. We should
pray God that we may remain steadfast in faith till our end, without all
works. 14. The Holy Spirit does not work according to the norm or rule
of the Law, but by Himself, without the assistance of the Law. 16. A
believing Christian is _supra omnem obedientiam_, above all Law and all
obedience. 17. The rebuking sermons of the prophets do not at all
pertain to Christians. 21. The Law, good works, and new obedience have
no place in the kingdom of Christ, but in the world just as Moses and
the government of the Pope. 25. The Law has no place in the Church or in
the pulpit, but in the court-house (_Rathaus_). 28. The Third Use of the
Law is a blasphemy in theology and a monstrosity in the realm of nature
(_portentum in rerum natura_). 29. No man can be saved if the Third Use
of the Law is true and is to be taught in the Church. The Holy Spirit in
man knows nothing of the Law; the flesh, however, is betimes in need of
the Law." (Tschackert, 485; Planck 5, 1, 62.) Frank also quotes: "The
Christians or the regenerate are deified (_vergoettert_); yea, they are
themselves God and cannot sin. God has not given you His Word that you
should be saved thereby (_dass du dadurch sollst selig werden_); and
whoever seeks no more from God than salvation (_Seligkeit_) seeks just
as much as a louse in a scab. Such Christians are the devil's own,
together with all their good works." (2, 326. 275.)

Also Musculus is numbered among the theologians who were not always
sufficiently discreet and guarded in their statements concerning the
necessity of good works and the use of the Law. All expressions of the
Apostle Paul regarding the spiritual use of the Law, said Musculus, must
be understood as referring to such only as are to be justified, not to
those who are justified (_de iustificandis, non de iustificatis_). But
he added: "For these, in as far as they remain in Christ, are far
outside of and above every law. _Hi enim, quatenus in Christo manent,
longe extra et supra omnem legem sunt_." (Tschackert. 486.)

Michael Neander of Ilfeld, a friend of Otto was also suspected of
antinomianism. He denied that there is any relation whatever between the
Law and a regenerate Christian. But he, too, was careful enough to add:
"in as far as he is just or lives by the spirit, _quatenus est iustus
seu spiritu vivit_." In a letter, Neander said: "I adhere to the opinion
that the Law is not given to the just in any use or office whatsoever,
in so far as he is just or lives by the spirit.... 'For the Law,' as
Luther says in his marginal note to Jeremiah, chap. 31, 'is no longer
over us, but under us, and does not surround us any more.' Love rules
and governs all laws, and frequently something is true according to the
Law, but false according to love (_saepeque aliquid lege verum,
dilectione tamen falsum est_). For love is the statute, measure, norm,
and rule of all things on earth.... The Law only accuses and damns, and
apart from this it has no other use or office, _i.e._, the Law remains
the norm of good works to all eternity, also in hell after the Last Day,
but for the unjust and reprobate, and for the flesh in every man. To the
just, regenerated, and new man, however, it is not the norm of good
works, _i.e._, the Law does not govern, regulate, and teach the just
man; _i.e._, it is not active with respect to him as it is with respect
to an unjust man, but is rather regulated and governed and taught by the
just man. It no longer drives the just (as it did before conversion and
as it still drives the flesh), but is now driven and suffers, since as
just men we are no longer under the Law, but above the Law and lords of
the Law. How, therefore, can the Law be a norm to the just man when he
is the lord of the Law, commands the Law, and frequently does what is
contrary to the Law (_cum iustus legis sit dominus, legi imperet et
saepe legi contraria faciat_)?... When the just man meditates in the Law
of the Lord day and night, when he establishes the Law by faith, when he
loves the Law and admires the inexhaustible wisdom of the divine Law,
when he does good works written and prescribed in the Law (as indeed he
alone can), when he uses the Law aright,--all these are neither the
third, nor the fourth, nor the twelfth, nor the fiftieth use or office
of the Law,... but fruits of faith, of the Spirit, or regeneration....
But the Old Man, who is not yet new, or a part of him which is not as
yet regenerated, has need of this Law, and he is to be commanded: 'Put
on the new man; put off the old.'" (Schluesselburg 4, 61; Tschackert,

195. Melanchthon and the Philippists.

A further controversy concerning the proper distinction between the Law
and the Gospel was caused by the Philippists in Wittenberg whose
teaching was somewhat akin to that of Agricola. They held that the
Gospel, in the narrow sense of the term, and as distinguished from the
Law, is "the most powerful preaching of repentance." (Frank 2, 327.)
Taking his cue from Luther, Melanchthon, in his _Loci_ of 1521 as well
as in later writings, clearly distinguished between Law and Gospel. (_C.
R._ 21, 139; 23, 49; 12, 576.) True, he had taught, also in the
_Apology_, that, in the wider sense, the Gospel is both a preaching of
repentance and forgiveness of sin. But this, as the _Formula of Concord_
explains, was perfectly correct and in keeping with the Scriptures.
However, in repeating the statement that the Gospel embraces both the
preaching of repentance and forgiveness of sins, Melanchthon was not
always sufficiently careful to preclude misapprehension and
misunderstanding. Indeed, some of the statements he made after Luther's
death are misleading, and did not escape the challenge of loyal

During a disputation in 1548, at which Melanchthon presided, Flacius
criticized the unqualified assertion that the Gospel was a preaching of
repentance, but was satisfied when Melanchthon explained that the term
Gospel was here used in the wider sense, as comprising the entire
doctrine of Christ. However, when Melanchthon, during another
disputation, 1556, declared: The ministry of the Gospel "rebukes the
other sins which the Law shows, as well as the saddest of sins which is
revealed by the Gospel (_hoc tristissimum peccatum, quod in Evangelio
ostenditur_), _viz._, that the world ignores and despises the Son of
God." Flacius considered it his plain duty to register a public protest.
It was a teaching which was, at least in part, the same error that
Luther, and formerly also Melanchthon himself, had denounced when
espoused by Agricola, _viz._, that genuine contrition is wrought, not by
the Law, but by the Gospel; by the preaching, not of the violation of
the Law, but of the violation of the Son. (_C. R._ 12, 634. 640.)

These misleading statements of Melanchthon were religiously cultivated
and zealously defended by the Wittenberg Philippists. With a good deal
of animosity they emphasized that the Gospel in its most proper sense is
also a preaching of repentance (_praedicatio poenitentiae,
Busspredigt_), inasmuch as it revealed the baseness of sin and the
greatness of its offense against God, and, in particular, inasmuch as
the Gospel alone uncovered, rebuked, and condemned the hidden sin
(_arcanum peccatum_) and the chief sin of all, the sin of unbelief
(_incredulitas et neglectio Filii_), which alone condemns a man. These
views, which evidently involved a commingling of the Law and the Gospel,
were set forth by Paul Crell in his Disputation against John Wigand,
1571, and were defended in the _Propositions Concerning the Chief
Controversies of These Times_ (also of 1571), by Pezel and other
Wittenberg theologians. (Frank 2, 277. 323.)

As a consequence, the Philippists, too, were charged with antinomianism,
and were strenuously opposed by such theologians as Flacius, Amsdorf,
and Wigand. Wigand attacked the Wittenberg _Propositions_ in his book of
1571, _Concerning Antinomianism, Old and New_. Pezel answered in his
_Apology of the True Doctrine on the Definition of the Gospel_, 1571;
and Paul Crell, in _Spongia, or 150 Propositions Concerning the
Definition of the Gospel, Opposed to the Stupid Accusation of John
Wigand_, 1571. The teaching of the Philippists was formulated by Paul
Crell as follows: "Since this greatest and chief sin [unbelief] is
revealed, rebuked, and condemned by the Gospel alone, therefore also the
Gospel alone is expressly and particularly, truly and properly, a
preaching and a voice of repentance or conversion in its true and proper
sense. _A solo evangelio, cum peccatum hoc summum et praecipuum
monstretur, arguatur et damnetur expresse ac nominatim solum etiam
evangelium vere ac proprie praedicatio ac vox est poenitentiae sive
conversionis vere et proprie ita dictae_." (277. 327.)

This doctrine of the Philippists, according to which the Gospel in the
narrow and proper sense, and as distinguished from the Law, is a
preaching of repentance, was rejected by Article V of the _Formula of
Concord_ as follows: "But if the Law and the Gospel, likewise also Moses
himself as a teacher of the Law and Christ as a preacher of the Gospel,
are contrasted with one another, we believe, teach, and confess that the
Gospel is not a preaching of repentance or reproof, but properly nothing
else than a preaching of consolation, and a joyful message which does
not reprove or terrify, but comforts consciences against the terrors of
the Law, points alone to the merit of Christ, and raises them up again
by the lovely preaching of the grace and favor of God, obtained through
Christ's merit." (803, 7.)

XVIII. The Crypto-Calvinistic Controversy.

196. Contents and Purpose of Articles VII and VIII.

In all of its articles the _Formula of Concord_ is but a reafflrmation
of the doctrines taught and defended by Luther. The fire of prolonged
and hot controversies through which these doctrines passed after his
death had but strengthened the Lutherans in their conviction that in
every point Luther's teaching was indeed nothing but the pure Word of
God itself. It had increased the consciousness that, in believing and
teaching as they did, they were not following mere human authorities,
such as Luther and the Lutheran Confessions, but the Holy Scriptures, by
which alone their consciences were bound. Articles VII and VIII of the
_Formula of Concord_, too, reassert Luther's doctrines on the Lord's
Supper and the person of Christ as being in every particular the clear
and unmistakable teaching of the divine Word,--two doctrines, by the
way, which perhaps more than any other serve as the acid test whether
the fundamental attitude of a church or a theologian is truly Scriptural
and fully free from every rationalistic and enthusiastic infection.

The Seventh Article teaches the real and substantial presence of the
true body and blood of Christ; their sacramental union in, with, and
under the elements of bread and wine; the oral manducation or eating and
drinking of both substances by unbelieving as well as believing
communicants. It maintains that this presence of the body and blood of
Christ, though real, is neither an impanation nor a companation, neither
a local inclusion nor a mixture of the two substances, but illocal and
transcendent. It holds that the eating of the body and the drinking of
the blood of Christ, though truly done with the mouth of the body, is
not Capernaitic, or natural, but supernatural. It affirms that this real
presence is effected, not by any human power, but by the omnipotent
power of Christ in accordance with the words of the institution of the

The Eighth Article treats of the person of Christ, of the personal union
of His two natures, of the communication of these natures as well as of
their attributes, and, in particular, of the impartation of the truly
divine majesty to His human nature and the terminology resulting
therefrom. One particular object of Article VIII is also to show that
the doctrine of the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the
Holy Supper, as taught by the Lutheran Church, does not, as was
contended by her Zwinglian and Calvinistic adversaries, conflict in any
way with what the Scriptures teach concerning the person of Christ, His
human nature, His ascension, and His sitting at the right hand of God
the Father Almighty. The so-called Appendix, or Catalogus, a collection
of passages from the Bible and from the fathers of the ancient Church,
prepared by Andreae and Chemnitz was added to the _Formula of Concord_
(though not as an authoritative part of it) in further support of the
Lutheran doctrine particularly concerning the divine majesty of the
human nature of Christ.

Both articles, the seventh as well as the eighth, were incorporated in
the _Formula of Concord_ in order thoroughly to purify the Lutheran
Church from Reformed errors concerning the Lord's Supper and the person
of Christ, which after Luther's death had wormed their way into some of
her schools and churches, especially those of Electoral Saxony, and to
make her forever immune against the infection of Calvinism
(Crypto-Calvinism)--a term which, during the controversies preceding the
_Formula of Concord_ did not, as is generally the case to-day, refer to
Calvin's absolute decree of election and reprobation, but to his
doctrine concerning the Lord's Supper, as formulated by himself in the
_Consensus Tigurinus_ (Zurich Consensus), issued 1549. The subtitle of
this confession reads: "Consensio Mutua in Re Sacramentaria Ministrorum
Tigurinae Ecclesiae, et D. Iohannis Calvini Ministri Genevensis
Ecclesiae, iam nunc ab ipsis autoribus edita." In this confession,
therefore, Calvin declares his agreement with the teaching of Zwingli as
represented by his followers in Zurich, notably Bullinger. Strenuous
efforts were made by the Calvinists and Reformed everywhere to make the
_Consensus Tigurinus_ the basis of a pan-Protestant union, and at the
same time the banner under which to conquer all Protestant countries,
Lutheran Germany included, for what must be regarded as being
essentially Zwinglianism. The _Consensus_ was adopted in Switzerland,
England, France, and Holland. In Lutheran territories, too, its teaching
was rapidly gaining friends, notably in Southern Germany, where Bucer
had prepared the way for it, and in Electoral Saxony where the
Philippists offered no resistance. Garnished as it was with glittering
and seemingly orthodox phrases, the _Consensus Tigurinus_ lent itself
admirably for such Reformed propaganda. "The consequence was," says the
_Formula of Concord_, "that many great men were deceived by these fine,
plausible words--_splendidis et magnificis verbis_." (973, 6.) To
counteract this deception, to establish Luther's doctrine of the real
presence of the body and blood of Christ, and to defend it against the
sophistries of the Sacramentarians: Zwinglians, Calvinists, and
Crypto-Calvinists--such was the object of Articles VII and VIII of the
_Formula of Concord_.

197. John Calvin.

Calvin was born July 10, 1509, in Noyon, France. He began his studies in
Paris, 1523 preparing for theology. In 1529 his father induced him to
take up law in Orleans and Bourges. In 1531 he returned to his
theological studies in Paris. Here he experienced what he himself
describes as a "sudden conversion." He joined the Reformed congregation,
and before long was its acknowledged leader. In 1533 he was compelled to
leave France because of his anti-Roman testimony. In Basel, 1535, he
wrote the first draft of his _Institutio Religionis Christianae_. In
Geneva where he was constrained to remain by William Farel [born 1489;
active as a fiery Protestant preacher in Meaux, Strassburg, Zurich,
Bern, Basel, Moempelgard, Geneva, Metz, etc.; died 1565], Calvin
developed and endeavored to put into practise his legalistic ideal of a
theocratic and rigorous puritanical government. As a result he was
banished, 1538. He removed to Strassburg, where he was held and engaged
by Bucer. He attended the conventions in Frankfort, 1539; Hagenau, 1540;
Worms, 1540; and Regensburg, 1541. Here he got acquainted with the
Lutherans notably Melanchthon. September 13, 1541, he returned to
Geneva, where, woefully mixing State and Church, he continued his
reformatory and puritanical efforts. One of the victims of his
theocratic government was the anti-Trinitarian Michael Servetus, who,
at the instance of Calvin, was burned at the stake, October 27, 1553.
In 1559 Calvin established the Geneva School, which exercised a
far-reaching theological influence. He died May 27, 1564.

Calvin repeatedly expressed his unbounded admiration for Luther as a
"preeminent servant of Christ--_praeclarus Christi servus_." (_C. R._
37, 54.) In his _Answer_ of 1543 against the Romanist Pighius he said:
"Concerning Luther we testify without dissimulation now as heretofore
that we esteem him as a distinguished apostle of Christ, by whose labor
and service, above all, the purity of the Gospel has been restored at
this time. _De Luthero nunc quoque sicut hactenus non dissimulanter
testamur, eum nos habere pro insigni Christi apostolo, cuius maxime
opera et ministerio restituta hoc tempore fuerit Evangelii puritas_."
(Gieseler 3, 2, 169.) Even after Luther had published his _Brief
Confession_, in which he unsparingly denounces the Sacramentarians
(deniers of the real presence of Christ's body and blood in the Lord's
Supper), and severs all connection with them, Calvin admonished
Bullinger in a letter dated November 25, 1544, to bear in mind what a
great and wonderfully gifted man Luther was, and with what fortitude,
ability, and powerful teaching he had shattered the kingdom of
Antichrist and propagated the salutary doctrine. "I am frequently
accustomed to say," he declared, "that, even if he should call me a
devil I would accord him the honor of acknowledging him to be an eminent
servant of God." In the original the remarkable words of Calvin read as
follows: "_Sed haec cupio vobis in mentem venire, primum quantus sit vir
Lutherus, et quantis dotibus excellat, quanta animi fortitudine et
constantia quanta dexteritate, quanta doctrinae efficacia hactenus ad
profligandum Antichristi regnum et simul propagandam salutis doctrinam
incubuerit. Saepe dicere solitus sum, etiamsi me diabolum vocaret, me
tamen hoc illi honoris habiturum, ut insignem Dei servum agnoscam, qui
tamen, ut pollet eximiis virtutibus, ita magnis vitiis laboret_."
(Gieseler 3, 2, 169; _C. R._ 39 [_Calvini Opp._ 11], 774.)

However, though he admired the personality of Luther, Calvin, like
Zwingli and Oecolampadius at Marburg 1529, revealed a theological spirit
which was altogether different from Luther's. In particular, he was
violently opposed to Luther's doctrines of the real presence in the
Lord's Supper and of the majesty of the human nature of Christ.
Revealing his animus, Calvin branded the staunch and earnest defenders
of these doctrines as the "apes" of Luther. In his _Second Defense_
against Westphal, 1556, he e